2015 turned out to be an incredible year for videos games for me. That’s a good thing because I was playing for the Extra Life charity to raise money for Johns Hopkins. I’d heard about it when the Giant Bomb guys spoke about it, but this year I had a reason – Johns Hopkins had saved Scarlett’s life twice! I’d experimented with recording myself playing video games when Dan started his Let’s Plays and used Camtasia. But there was no way I could justify paying $100 to record myself playing games. Then I discovered OBS which was, in typical FLOSS fashion, impossible to figure out. But then I found XSplit which had recently gone to having a freemium model. Once I learned what all the terminology was in XSplit I was able to go back to OBS – which I did because they actually catered to Linux in addition to Windows. The most fun moments have been when people have stepped into my Twitch or Youtube Gaming channels and chatted during the game. It brings back the social aspect that I grew up with back before everyone had internet.
It was also a big year for me with my hatred of DRM. GOG Gaming launched their Galaxy client which is a Steam competitor that I hope ends up forcing Steam to improve their customer service. It also allows me to buy games that I know will always be mine and it simplifies GOG’s previous patch methodology.
The Witcher (47 hours):
Once again Vinnie of Giant Bomb made a recommendation for a game I really enjoyed. This is one of my first American style RPGs (Bioware games being the actual firsts) and I enjoyed it quite a bit for someone who was a diehard JRPG fan back in the day. The actual story of the game was good, not great, but the individual moments and nearly all of Geralt’s quips were worth every minute of gameplay. The game also netted me my biggest donation – $100 from Ivo Terrugi.
Team Fortress 2 (34 hours 45 minutes):
Even though I’ve ended up paying something like $10 for various keys in TF2, the value proposition was DEFINITELY worth it. Another 35 hours this year and it’s in a solid second place with 146 hours all time. Most entertainment I pay for doesn’t give me that kind of enjoyment. Additionally, I really like the Halloween modes they added this year.
Civilization V (30 hour 40 minutes):
Not much to add here that I haven’t said over the past five or so years. Played a game on my own and then continued the multiplayer games I’ve been playing with Dan and Dave.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (26 hours):
I always mention (as with The Witcher) how Giant Bomb often leads me to great games. THIS game, however, is one time that they led me astray. They (and the rest of the net) seemed to be talking about how insanely difficult this game was and I imagined it as something I could not possibly have fun with. It sounded like a masochist’s idea of a good time and I imagined Civ 5 level graphics. Instead it was tons of fun and well-designed. A good gift from Dan.
Cook, Server, Delicious! (12 hours):
I always enjoy these types of games. They’re a fun bit of stress since I can come and go rather than having it be my day job.
Civilization: Beyond Earth (7 hrs):
Played one game during a free weekend or something. It was fun, but I’ve got too many other games to play right now.
Go! Go! Nippon! ~My First Trip to Japan~ (5 hours):
Sometimes visual novels are more than they seem on the surface. Not so with this one. It was typical anime-fare alone with the requisite panty shots. I kept hoping something interesting would happen. Oh well.
Super Mario 64 (3 hours):
Scarlett asked to watch me play and I obliged. I am REALLY out of practice on my Mario games.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (2 hours 45 min):
Another game Scarlett wanted to play with me.
Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator (2 hours):
David’s suggestion for a game the entire Extra Life team could play together. I have to admit that it was more fun than I thought it would be.
Poker Night 2 (2 hours):
As I mentioned yesterday, just a way to pass the time.
Super Mario World (2 hours):
Scarlett wanted to see Bowser and it was going to take me too long with Super Mario 64.
The Stanley Parable (2 hours):
This game messed with my head in a way that it hasn’t been messed with in a long time. I’m happy that video games are getting so innovative nowadays.
Tengami (2 hours)
A strange little game that was beautiful. A work of art.
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger (1 hour):
A strange, very anime fighting game.
A Bird Story (1 hour):
It was OK. I didn’t enjoy it as much as it’s predecessor.
Super Mario Galaxy (1 hr):
Played just enough to get to the hub world.
Road Not Taken (1 hour):
I really, really liked this Rogue-like. I hope to get to play some more in 2016.
Pac-Man Chapionship Edition DX (1 hour 8 minutes):
Just playing it on computer.
Katamari Damacy (30 min):
Using it to test out an emulator.
Bastion (30 minutes):
Testing out Steam on Linux on the big screen and let Scarlett have a turn playing.
Bubble Bobble (30 minutes):
Reliving some old memories with Danielle.
Balloon Fight (15 Minutes):
Reliving some old memories with Danielle.
Long Live the Queen (15 minutes):
I did not like this game at ALL!
Game of the Year
I played some pretty great games this year. But, looking back, I’d have to say that my game of the year is The Stanley Parable. It was the most innovative game I played and it used its soundtrack and everything else it could to mess with my head during one of the endings. The way it made me think about life, death, and the workplace shows how games can be about more than just competition. I also loved its warped humor about the workplace.