2017 Year in Review

As is tradition, I would like to do a post about gaming in 2017. I know 2017 was a rough year in reality. I would argue worse than 2016 in many ways. But we’re only gonna talk about gaming here and in that realm I would say though there were some definite low points, overall it wasn’t a horrible year. As I always say, I’m gonna do my best to sum up gaming this year but I’m only one man not being paid to do this so realistically I’m probably gonna miss a number of events and I’m only writing from one perspective. Also as we should be aware, I focus primarily, but not exclusively, on console gaming.

First, let me talk about how gaming was for me personally in 2017. It was a solid year. It wasn’t like 2016 where I was able to get through 52 games. But I was able to tackle an acceptable 22 titles. Of those 22, only two game were actually released in 2017. Those would be Mass Effect: Andromeda, which I will of course discuss later in this post, and StarFox 2 on the SNES Classic. In my opinion, the best game I completed in the last year was unquestionably Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Not only was it the best Uncharted game, but it was just genuinely one of the best games I’ve played in a long time. Naughty Dog just doesn’t disappoint.

Paper Mario Color Splash Screenshot 2017-10-22 19-30-45

As far as completing my gaming goals for 2017, I did ok. If you look at my list of 2017 gaming goals from the beginning of the year, I had 12 main goals and six bonus goals. Of those 12 main goals I managed to complete nine of them which is pretty good. But I will say that I did not complete, or even start, two of the most important ones. That is play The Witcher 2 (yes that is a 2) and play Final Fantasy VII. I am making these two games a priority in 2018, starting with FFVII. I’ve even set my desktop and mobile wallpapers to FFVII images in order to motivate myself to play the game. Of the six bonus goals, I completed four of them, which is also pretty good. That’s an overall completion rate of 72%. Not an amazing grade, but definitely passable. Now let’s talk about the highlights of 2017 for the rest of the gaming community. Events are in no particular order.

Indies Take the Reigns

This was an amazing year for indie games. We saw some phenomenal releases of games that were not only critically acclaimed, but financially successful in record time.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

I haven’t personally played this game, but one cannot deny the success or importance of it. Not only has it broken records for Steam concurrent users but it’s also sold at record numbers and rushed out an XBOX ONE release last minute. I actually take a lot of issue with this game. The fact that people are so misguided in their judgement that a movement actually formed calling for an early access game with no single player campaign to be considered for game of the year is insane. It’s one of the most preposterous things I’ve ever heard. But it only shows just how successful the game is. It will be interesting to see what this means for AAA FPS games. If an indie studio can make a single mode FPS game with no campaign or serious production value and only charge $30 for it then how will companies like Activision continue their current COD business model?

Cuphead
Winner of Best Indie Game (The Game Awards 2017)

Cuphead

I knew this game would be a success when it was first announced at E3 back in like 2013. I was actually the person who created the Cuphead wiki page on IGN when I worked for their E3 wiki team that year. It’s beautiful, different, retro, and has a very Disney style story based campaign. It’s already gone double platinum and has spawned various articles and fan creations.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

This game had basically no publisher and kind of came out of nowhere but they’ve already sold enough copies to be profitable. There was a lot of controversy at the beginning about saves possibly getting erased and really I think that ultimately helped the game. This is just another example of how large publishers like EA are blatantly lying to the public when they say single player campaigns are no longer viable and/or profitable because this game is objective proof against that statement. Hellblade also addresses mental illness as part of the gameplay and adds both an interesting perspective to gameplay and brings the conversation about mental illness to the forefront of the gaming community, both of which are good things.

A-Hat-in-Time

A Hat in Time

This game hasn’t been out too long but it’s doing very well both critically and financially. People really seem to like it, which is great because we need more traditional single player platformers other than just Nintendo first party games and Ratchet & Clank. Hopefully the success of this game will inspire other larger studios to revisit the genre with more than just HD remakes of older games.

EA Screws Everything Up

I’m not going to say it hasn’t happened before, but I can’t recall any other year where EA screwed the pooch so big, so many times, so quickly. Like if you took away EA Sports from the equation, I wouldn’t be surprised if they folded next year after all the bullshit they tried to pull in 2017.

Mass Effect Andromeda

Now personally I didn’t hate this game, but it was no Mass Effect 3. There was a ton of negative press and public opinion because of graphical issues. The story was kind of flat in the end. No DLC was released even though some was promised originally. The game was clearly rushed out; which is sad because it had so much potential. And this really hurt BioWare, which sucks because they used to be one of my favorite studios. But it’s clear that most of these problems are the fault of EA management rather than bad work on the developer side. EA keeps shoehorning in multiplayer, loot boxes, and open world into games, forcing developers to work on too much too quickly and ultimately put out lackluster games, all while being forced to use an engine that’s really only good for one genre. But the worst part is that EA refuses to acknowledge this. They just keep blaming the studios for the failures. They even shuttered BioWare Montreal.

MEA Cover

Visceral Games

EA shutdown Visceral Games, the studio that brought you Dead Space. But what was really bad about this was when, why, and how they did it. The studio was in the midst of creating a single player, linear, story focused Star Wars game. Also known as exactly the type of game real Star Wars fans have been waiting for since like The Force Unleashed II. Then when asked about it, EA made a statement that sounded like they were declaring an end to single player, linear campaigns. They then came back and said that’s not what they meant, but it just goes to show you that EA can’t be trusted because they refuse to just give a straight answer about any topic. And that policy of using marketing speak instead of concrete words is finally coming back to bite them in the ass. And it absolutely did not help them that they were releasing a Star Wars themed multiplayer shooter with a joke of a campaign just a few months after closing down Visceral Games and stating that they were not killing but were changing the scope of their project considerably. Read my full thoughts on the closing of Visceral Games here.

Star Wars Battlefront II and the Loot Boxes

Star Wars Battlefront II is the sequel no one really asked for. It was a cash grab game made to symbiotically increase sales and popularity of the Star Wars IP with Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. The true irony being that both works garnered a ton of controversy and negativity among the populous. The film did at least make money though.

stock down

Because of a combination of predatory business practices, bad blood over the Visceral Games Star Wars game, and an unacceptably long series of social faux pas, Battlefront II has done terribly. Its sales were considerably lower than its predecessor out of the gate. Disney forced them to completely remove microtransactions from the game until further notice, but they are supposed to be returning at some point. It was reported that EA’s stock value dropped by about $3 Billion because of this whole travesty of a game release. And the company is now responsible for the most downvoted comment in Reddit history.

The most important thing about this entire series of events is that it showed that we as a group actually do have real power over the gaming industry. Our comments, tweets, Reddit posts, and angry YouTube videos do make a difference when we work as a single unit with a common goal. This whole ordeal proved that if we would just get organized we could truly change things. And things are changing. Apple now requires all mobile apps with loot boxes to display the possible win percentages. And politicians in the United States and other countries are starting to discuss legislation about stopping predatory monetization practices in games.  You can read my full account of the Star Wars Battlefront II controversy and timeline here.

mari odyssey

Nintendo Owns It Hard

Nintendo has the odd habit of doing everything the public says they shouldn’t and then making a killing in sales and approval, both critical and public, and no one can ever seem to understand why or how they make this work. They’re just a magical company that shits gold time and time again. Here are some of their highlights for 2017.

Switch

They released a new console that people weren’t sure about and that many said would cannibalize their own handheld market. The console is doing very well and has already outsold the Wii U by leaps and bounds. Not to mention, the top two contested games of the year were both first party Switch games (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild / Super Mario Odyssey). I wasn’t even planning on buying a Switch this year, but they finally got me with Odyssey.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Everyone said it was impossible to make Rabbids not the most annoying thing ever. I too was one of those people. The idea of a turn based RPG starring Mario and Rabbids sounded ridiculous. In fact it still does. But ultimately it won best strategy game at The Game Awards 2017.

GOTY Zelda

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Objectively speaking this was the best game of 2017. It won the Golden Joystick Awards. It won The Game Awards. It made the Switch a financial success much sooner than expected. It’s being called by many the greatest Zelda game ever made, which is a bold statement to even consider making. This is like the new Final Fantasy VII. I haven’t personally played it yet, but from what I understand your children’s children will still be talking about this game.

SNES Classic

The best way to make money is to do so without doing anything you haven’t already done before. Nintendo exercises this statement boldly with the SNES Classic and the NES Classic before it. It’s another amazing trip down memory lane, they’re sold out everywhere, and scalpers are making a killing reselling them. Because Nintendo refuses to manufacture enough of them in order to artificially keep demand high. I actually was able to get one and I have to say that it’s an amazing console.

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp

Mobile Games

The idea of Nintendo getting into mobile games was offensive and worrisome. They already control the handheld market. How would they possibly participate in both markets without quality lacking somewhere? I still don’t really know how to answer that question. But I do know that Super Mario Run was the most downloaded app at one point in 2017. And people seem to love Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.

Newsworthy Trailers

The business of trailers seemed to stand out a lot in 2017. Three games stand out the most. By newsworthy I don’t mean the best looking or even most anticipated trailers. I mean trailers that garnered actual news stories other than just “check out this trailer”.

Death Stranding Trailer

Death Stranding is the latest example of everything that’s wrong with celebrity game development. Just because a specific name, studio, or actor is tied to a game does not mean it will be good. We have seen no gameplay footage and gotten no concrete details but everyone is creaming their jeans over Death Stranding simply because it’s being made by Kojima. The latest trailer makes no sense, tells you nothing, and gives no sort of clues about the gameplay but everyone was losing their minds over it.

Death-Stranding

Last of Us 2 Trailer

I actually really liked this trailer. It doesn’t show us any gameplay footage, but we can assume that because it’s a sequel the gameplay will at least be similar to the first game. What this trailer does show us is that in a Walking Dead style of narrative, zombies are not the biggest problem in the post apocalypse. It’s actually other people. We are shown that we can expect powerful, violent, uncomfortable scenes from the next installment of The Last of Us and that’s a good thing. But many people were angry about the fact that the trailer shows women being tortured. Personally I thought this entire debate was hypocritical bullshit because the women were being tortured by a woman so this can’t be misconstrued as some form of sexism or even objectification for the male gaze. But internet gonna internet so whatever.

Detroit: Become Human Trailer

Similar to the way people reacted to The Last of Us 2 trailer, a lot of people were really unhappy with the child abuse shown in the latest trailer for Detroit: Become Human. There was a lot of debate about whether or not this kind of thing was ok to show in the marketing of video games or be shown in video games at all. I think this is hypocritical because we wouldn’t be having that conversation when talking about film. Gaming is an entertainment medium with the largest population of users being legal adults. It is perfectly acceptable to address serious themes in such a medium in the same way that it’s socially acceptable to have such things depicted in movies.

Detroit

Destiny 2

To nobody intelligent’s surprise, Bungie and Activision did exactly what I expected of them. Destiny 2 used the same bullshit scheme of overpromising, under delivering, hiding all the content behind additional paywalls, and delivering no end game; and that shouldn’t have surprised anyone. But this time they screwed up and put a vanilla game trophy behind a DLC paywall when they released an expansion and that really hurt their reputation and supposedly their stock price, for at least a time.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Probably the best example of why EA is bullshit from 2017. Guerilla Games created a beautiful, big budget, story based single player game. And it sold like hot cakes. People loved it. Critics loved it. Sony loved it. They even released a large expansion and priced the whole game fairly with it. Many non-Nintendo gamers believed it should have been game of the year. I definitely think we’ll see a sequel to this game and I hope other studios/publishers take Horizon Zero Dawn as an example for future projects.

Bethesda

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Most Socially Aware Marketing Campaign of all Time)

Bethesda makes good games. I don’t love all or even most of their stuff, but I have always respected them as a company. But this year what they showed more than anything else is that they do not function in a vacuum. The company makes marketing campaigns and quite possibly games based on current events and popular opinion. I’ve never played any of the Wolfenstein games, old or new. I’ve always known about the franchise but I’ve never been that interested. I took an interest in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus strictly because of the ad campaign. Trailers and banners with calls to action saying “Make America Nazi Free Again” hit so close to home in 2017. And this campaign wasn’t lost on anyone. Trump supporters were pissed about being called Nazis. Liberals thought it was hilarious and pre-ordered the game just to support the message. It was amazing marketing and ultimately I do think I’ll end up not only buying this game but also the previous titles to get the full story.

Save Single Player Games

Bethesda didn’t stop with Wolfenstein. They also went after EA and launched a campaign to save single player games. Also a super relevant and socially aware ad campaign that absolutely increased sales.

xbox one x

XBOX ONE X Released

Microsoft released “the most powerful console on the market” and people still don’t know what the point of that is if you don’t have a healthy lineup of exclusive titles that you can’t play on a much better PC, which the console doesn’t. They claim this console is for the fans who want the best of the best but even those people are smart enough to build a PC when you look at the games available. And to top it all off, Microsoft keeps focusing on bringing back old titles which often don’t even look good in 4k. It’s like they’re trying to compete with Sony and Nintendo at the same time and failing on both fronts.

Honorable Mentions

A few smaller things happened in 2017 that are not worth going over in detail but should be mentioned when grading the year in gaming as a whole.

Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back

This actually happened and that’s worth talking about in and of itself.

PCNioh

Nioh (PC Version)

This was entirely unexpected and while it’s pretty shitty for early adopters I think it ultimately was a good thing because it lowered the price on both platforms and made all the content easier to access for all late adopters.

Sonic Forces

This happened. Amazing concept to allow people to create their own Sonic characters, but the game itself is about what we’ve come to expect from modern Sonic the Hedgehog. I still bought it predicting that would be the case for some reason.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

Even on their worst day Naughty Dog only ever creates gold and this was far from their worst day.

Overall I’d say 2017 was a solid year for gaming. There were definitely some serious low points, most of which the fault of EA. But the high points outnumber them tenfold. I look forward to 2018 hoping for another year of excellent gaming but I’m curious to see what we get from Nintendo because they came out of the gate with some heavy hitters. I don’t want to see the Switch peter out after only a year.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.
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Gaming Photography – Paper Mario Color Splash

Time for another Gaming Photography post. It’s actually been a few weeks but at the beginning of this month I completed Paper Mario Color Splash and wanted to share the experience with you in picture form.

This was an excellent game worthy of the Paper Mario franchise. The new addition of the paint and card mechanics made this a gameplay experience that was different from the past Paper Mario games (I’ve played all the console ones going back to the original on the N64) but ultimately had the same Mario RPG feel. I have to say that this was possible the best written Mario game I’ve ever played. The dialog was hilarious, the plot had a few more dimensions than most Mario games, and the characters (at least the two main ones) had a multidimensional relationship that genuinely affected me emotionally with the way the story ended. If you have a Wii U, I definitely recommend this game.

I took 2,113 pictures over the course of this game without any filters or stylized shots. It was just a very photogenic game that had a lot of visual moments that I wanted to preserve. So now I’d like to present my top 20 photos from Paper Mario Color Splash. I take my photos through my PC with an Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro in the case of console games. I also post them on my Twitter and Instagram often.

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*If you’d like to see the full resolution image please right click and press “view image”.

Please let me know what you think of my shots. Any feedback is appreciated because I would like to improve my gaming photography skills.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year!

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me Bungie (Destiny 2)

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you know that I have no love for the Destiny franchise, Bungie, or Activision. I preordered Destiny Limited Edition and have regretted that decision pretty much since the third, if not first, expansion was released. It’s a mechanically sound, beautiful, horribly written, terribly scripted PVP fest with literally no end game. Now if you, unlike me, do buy games strictly for PVP and you don’t mind paying $60 for the same 10 – 15 maps over and over again in hopes of some RNG drops for gear that you ultimately don’t need because you’re already winning at PVP then that’s fine. If you think of Halo and COD as the origins of console gaming, I won’t fault you for your age. But please do me the same courtesy and don’t fault me for mine. Because when I think of the origins of modern console gaming I think of Mario and Sonic. Or even earlier for my true old schoolers who like to bust out the ColecoVision and the Atari. When I think of proper gaming I don’t think FIFA, Madden, CSGO, PUBG. I think The Witcher, Knights of the Old Republic, Ratchet & Clank, God of War. I came up in the era where single player story based campaigns were king, pretending for the purposes of rhetoric that they still aren’t. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, games of the year baby. So for me Destiny is/was a bad game.

GOTY Zelda

I was recently asked to take part in one of those tech comparison tests. Basically they had me play the same game on three different systems (PCs in this case) and compare the performance. For whatever reason they chose Destiny II as their test game. I was not happy about this but I agreed to do the test so I had to stomach playing it. Here’s the problem. I only played the first 20 or so minutes of the game. And I enjoyed it. Furthermore, I enjoyed it enough and was interested in the story enough to think to myself “I would actually like to keep playing this game.” And that angered me because then I realized what was happening to me all over again.

I was not actually planning on buying the first Destiny when it was announced. It looked like a generic FPS that just happened to have a shared world component. And that’s exactly what it is. The way they got me was with the beta. I played the closed and open beta and as was their intention, I got conned. See the beta didn’t give you much but it made you feel like there was much to come. And as I’ve already said, the gameplay is solid. As much as I hate Destiny and everything about how Bungie and Activision conduct business, let it never be said that they can’t design core shooting mechanics. From the beta all the way to when I quit playing the real game, I always enjoyed how it felt to play Destiny. The core gameplay is really solid. It’s one of the few shooters that made me feel like I was actually good at them. And for someone like me who avidly hates shooting games, especially those in first person, it’s very special when an FPS makes me feel good about the gameplay. And I don’t care if you say it’s auto-assist, or the gameplay is too easy in general, or whatever other FPS aficionado bullshit you have to say. The point is they constructed an FPS that at the core level I enjoyed playing and that’s an accomplishment. But ultimately the beta was misleading.

destiny 2 beta
I played the beta for I but not II just to clarify.

I bought Destiny because the beta led me to believe that the game would have more content than it really did, presented just enough story to get me interested and believe that there actually was gonna be a fully developed and fleshed out story, and again I enjoyed the core gameplay . . . a lot. So I preordered it. And that’s speaking as someone who basically never preorders games. I’ve preordered like three in the last five years and my girlfriend has preordered two others as gifts for me. Of those five games I regret buying/owning three of them. And the fourth one I don’t regret buying but I do regret preordering. So the fact that Bungie was able to convince me to preorder their game, taking into account the last Bungie game I had purchased prior was Halo 2 from literally 10 years earlier, which I ultimately regretted buying as well, is an astounding feat. That’s why I was so unhappy with how I responded to the Destiny II trial session I had.

Bungie tried to pull the same shit on me again, and if I wasn’t self-aware it might have worked . . . again! I played the trial for about 20 minutes and found myself interested enough to want to keep playing. Knowing full well it was the same bullshit. Knowing about the general lack of content and end game. Hearing about the base game trophies being locked behind new paid DLC.  All that shit which has come to define the franchise and the companies behind it did not stop me from feeling like I wanted to keep playing the game. And that’s a problem. Not for me. Because I am self-aware. I am smart enough to spot what’s going on. To realize that the opening 20 – 30 minutes has been painstakingly constructed to make players think they’re going to get a full and proper game. I’ve been gaming hardcore since the NES. I’ve been reading about games for more than 10 years. I’ve been writing about them seriously for nearly five. They’re not gonna get me again. But they will and did get many people who aren’t as aware as I am. And that pisses me off. Even other players in the test who hadn’t played it before said they’d enjoyed the game and would consider looking into it. That’s not a good thing. Remember that they are currently running a free trial which will let you play exactly enough to get hooked but not enough to see the truth of the situation.

NES
Here’s where I started home gaming.

No this isn’t loot boxes. We’re not talking about EA. But we are still talking about very dishonest and predatory practices, which Bungie has already been accused of before with their slot machine RNG psychology tricks in the first Destiny. They know exactly what they’re doing. They know how to con people. But many people don’t have the knowledge or the defenses to fight against it. Especially casual players.

Now I can’t say Bungie did anything objectively wrong in this case like I would EA. I can’t say that they’ve broken any laws. I can’t even say that we don’t already know better because we absolutely do by looking at Destiny just three years ago. So I’m not gonna do my usual heavy handed call for a boycott or all that dramatic stuff. But I do think this is an important issue that needs to be talked about more and I think we as a community need to do more to try to educate, help, and warn other players, especially unsuspecting casuals, about what’s really going on here and why people need to watch out when playing trials, because if the trial doesn’t give you an accurate sense of what the full game experience is going to be like then it’s not really a trial at all. It’s a dishonest marketing tool and shouldn’t be trusted.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

Gaming Photography – Uncharted 4

Time for another Gaming Photography Post. Recently I completed Uncharted 4 on PS4.

This was without a doubt the best conclusion I’ve seen for any franchise ever. If you’ve been playing the Uncharted series since the first one but haven’t played 4, you’re missing out. I can’t believe I waited this long to play it. It was narrative genius. Possibly the best work Naughty Dog has ever done. And yes I realize they made The Last of Us. I stand by my statement. The gameplay was of course great as it’s always been. And they even added a few new mechanics which I really liked. But the story was just top notch. It was everything I wanted in a Nathan Drake conclusion.

I took literally 1,856 photos while playing this game. For the first time I did use the photo mode and I used the shit out of the filters, effects, and frames. I couldn’t stop myself. It’s just such a beautiful game and the photo mode lets you create shots that you just otherwise couldn’t do.

So now I’d like to present my top 20 photos from Uncharted 4. I know I usually do just 10 but I just have too many to choose from to limit it to such a small number. I also post gaming photos on my Twitter and Instagram often.

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*If you’d like to see the full resolution image please right click and press “view image”.

Please let me know what you think of my shots. Any feedback is appreciated because I would like to improve my gaming photography skills.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

Black Friday Aftermath – 2017

Well Black Friday (the month since it’s no longer a 1 day event) is over and it’s time to recount the hopefully many great purchases we all made and appraise how well I/we actually did in terms of my goals going into the joyous event.

I have to say that this was a pretty disappointing Black Friday. The deals were limited and not nearly as drastic as I’ve seen in past years. Certain games barely budged and other ones were/are being way overly valued relative to standard gaming pricing degradation. For example: I bought Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End in a Black Friday sale last year (2016) for $20. Having recently just beaten the game, I have to say that it was an excellent game and I have no regrets about the $20 I spent. But let us remember that Uncharted 4 came out in May 2016. So I paid $20 for a six month old highly acclaimed AAA game. That’s fine and fair. No one can objectively complain about that scenario. But why was Uncharted 4 being sold for $20 in Black Friday sales this year? We’re now talking about an 18 month old game that has since then had a “sequel” or spin-off if you prefer. The spinoff, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, was released August 2017 for $40. I was able to buy that, as a standalone physical, during Black Friday this year for $15. That means a newer game from the same series degraded in price by 63% in just three months, while a game that’s been around for literally six times as long has only managed to degrade by only 66%. That’s mathematically ridiculous. Regardless of the quality of Uncharted 4, and again it’s is of the highest level of quality as far as modern games are concerned, it still should have been in the $10 pile for Black Friday 2017. This was the kind of lackluster deals and overvalued games I saw this year. And as such I only made a fraction of the purchases I had wanted to.

Black Friday 2017 with Prices

Here’s what I managed to get and how much I had originally planned to spend based on my shopping list going into Black Friday this year.

  1. Nioh Complete Edition (PS4) – $40 (Originally planned for $50)
    1. I will also note that I actually could have gotten this for a few dollars less on PC but due to the reported issue with the port I settled on the PS4 version.
  2. Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition(PS4) – $40 (Originally hoped for $35 but planned for $40)
    1. Made as separate purchases for all content through PSN
  3. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4) – $15 (Originally planned for $15)
  4. Knack II (PS4) – $15 (Originally planned for $20)
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Explorer’s Edition (Switch) – $60 (Originally planned for $50)
    1. I am extremely unhappy that I had to pay above my intended value for this but I was worried about not being able to get a copy of this edition later because of Nintendo’s tendency to under produce in demand products.

I also managed to get a few games that weren’t on my list.

  1. Unravel (PS4) – $5
  2. The Surge (PS4) – $20.46 (46 cents higher than my intended price for this game when I decided I’d eventually buy it.)
  3. Yooka-Laylee – $14.21

As you can see, I only managed to grab eight games this year, down from the nine I got last year, and my net savings based on my personal spending goals was only $5, which when you take into account the overpriced sales tax I incur as a resident of California, my savings were basically negligible.

Bad Deal

I was also surprised by a lot of the deals I didn’t see this year. If you look at the items on my original list that I didn’t buy it comes down to a lack of deals. As I said in my original Black Friday 2017 post, there were some games that just weren’t going to hit my desired prices because they were just too new. I didn’t legitimately expect to be getting Injustice 2, Assassin’s Creed Origins, South Park: The Fractured But WholeMiddle-earth: Shadow of War for a good price this Black Friday and I didn’t. But I very much did expect to see the other games on my list at, near, or even below my intended prices this year. I was also very surprised by how disappointing both the Steam and GOG sales were this year. I literally didn’t buy a single PC game for Black Friday this year and that’s very abnormal for me.

I do not understand how Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is still $60 both digital and physical. The game was released in 2014. My only conclusion is that it was published by Activision and as we’ve recently seen with Destiny 2 and their plummeting stock prices, they don’t know shit about running a business in the current gaming industry. I will say pretty much the same thing about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan, also published by Activision, but released in 2016. This year I finally decided to give up and remove both from my shopping lists altogether. They just aren’t going to happen.

Activision Sucks

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 got a little bit of a discount but I expected better in the wake of Dragon Ball FighterZ coming out soon. Once that game drops DBX2 will essentially be dead in the water so I expected them to try to garner as much sales as possible before the inevitable demise.

Cuphead, Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy, and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice all got discounts, but none of them as much as I predicted based on where those games currently stand in the market. So while I didn’t purchase any of them I do believe that I’ll be seeing the discounts I expect(ed) soon enough and will then end up picking them up.

Black Friday 2017 Sucked

Overall it wasn’t a great Black Friday and compared to last year and the year before, shows a trend of the quality of deals steadily declining from year to year. I hope to see this trend reverse in 2018, otherwise the frugal gaming community stands to suffer greatly in the coming years.

How did you do for Black Friday this year? Let me know what you got in the comments and how you felt about the holiday overall compared to last year.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

 

Star Wars Battlefront II: The People’s Rebellion on Gaming Rebellion

Since I reviewed the Star Wars Battlefront II beta, much shit has gone down with that game. So I wrote an extensive piece on the events and causes leading up to the troubled release which has supposedly led to EA’s stock value plummeting 3 billion dollars. It’s a long, but quite interesting read, if I do say so myself. Here’s the introduction:

stock down

 

I have been tasked with trying to summarize and discuss the controversy surrounding EA DICE’s most recent game, Star Wars Battlefront II. This is no small feat considering the layers upon layers of incidents that have taken place surrounding this game and EA in general around the same time. I enter this endeavor knowing full well that it is impossible to accurately summarize and address the many parts of the shit sandwich that this game has become. But I will do my best. I think the best way to go about this is to try to piece together some semblance of a timeline and discuss specific points of that timeline and why they were/are significant. Then to conclude with some general thoughts and possible predictions as a result of this mess. Here goes nothing.

You can read the rest right here. Please check out my Author’s Archive for other articles by me on Gaming Rebellion.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

Black Friday 2017

Once again, the day commeth upon us. A day that liveth in infamy. The very speaking of its name strikes fear into the hearts of children and ire into the hearts of men. A day where the strong and diligent are rewarded and the weak and lazy punished. A day of love. A day of hate. I’m talking about Black Friday!

Looking back at Black Friday 2016, I have to say that it was pretty disappointing. I was not able to achieve even half of my gaming deal  goals. Here’s what I started with.

black-friday-2016-no-price

A decent list of games overall. A fair haul for any gamer worth his salt. But looking at my post showing what I actually managed to snag, at the prices I wanted of course, I didn’t manage to get much.

post-black-friday-2016

A measly 5 games out of 16. That’s super depressing. I remember years where I managed to snag more than 80% of my list for fair prices. Now it’s become terribly impossible to get anything at a good price that isn’t over a year old. Sadly, a lot of publishers have started the intentional practice of releasing their games later in the year so they’re either to close to Black Friday so they don’t have to give a price drop. Often they even wait till after Black Friday has passed so they don’t even have to deal with it. Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition is a good example of this with it’s December 5th release date.  So now I make my lists and continue to value the games with the same metric I always have, but I’ve accepted that I won’t be able to get nearly as many games as I’d like to until Christmas season or even next year. But let the records show I that I do keep track of these lists forever. To date I now have 11 of those 16 games and have given up on three of them because of lack of interest or lack of supply (glances at Devil’s Third). Some games still haven’t come down to an appropriate price point. Looking at you Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan. And I’ll most likely be retiring that from the list at the end of this year. But I was diligent for the entire year in my desire to buy it at a fair price.

As it tradition, here is my Black Friday/Holiday Season shopping list for 2017 with my ideal price points. As always, if you see a deal that’s at or below my numbers please take the time to shoot me a link. You can leave a comment here or tweet me @GameChangerDOC. Note that these aren’t necessarily the prices that you’ll see for all these games/products. Again, these are not necessarily prices you will see. They’re prices I’m willing to pay. And I have no illusions about the fact that many of them I won’t see at the prices listed below. I’ve accepted that. As always, I’ve created this easy reference picture for deal hunters on the go.

Black Friday 2017 with Prices

1. Injustice 2 Champions ED – $30
2. Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark – $10
3. TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan – $10
4. Nioh Gold edition – $50
5. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Full – $20
6. Horizon Zero Dawn GOTY ED – $40
7. Uncharted Lost Legacy – $15
8. Cuphead – $10
9. Assassin’s Creed Origins Full Edition – $25
10. Crash Bandicoot Trilogy – $15
11. South Park: The Fractured But Whole – $30
12. Star Wars Battlefront II – $20
13. Shadow of War – $15
14. Knack II – $20
15. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – $15

Just a quick note about Star Wars Battlefront II. It’s on my list because my friend wants to play it, but I honestly don’t care if I never get that game. I am so fed up with EA and their bullshit microtransactions/loot crate models and even just the idea of supporting them in any way puts a bad taste in my mouth. I care so strongly about this issue that I took the time to mention it here in this completely unrelated post.

Thanks for taking the time to help a gamer win his hunt. Much appreciated as always. Happy Black Friday and may the deals be ever in your favor. Also Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers out there.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.