The votes are in! Check out our Game of the Year 2013 winners and see how each of us reasoned the whole thing out. Unanimous decisions are not welcome.

Friday, 4:49 pm – Gavin

Nintendo can last a very long time.  The 3DS continues to print money and was the best-selling video game device of 2013.  Nintendo has WAY more operating capital than Sony and Microsoft’s entertainment division is a gigantic money pit that is kept alive by Microsoft’s other divisional money factories.  Bottom line, despite the shiny new boxes we’re all playing with, gaming as a whole is in a pretty precarious place.

Consider how well the PS3 sold.  Now, do you remember how well it sold one year in?  3.25 million units, a million less than the Wii U had sold by the same point in its life cycle.  Tell me again that Nintendo is doomed.  Go on, tell me.

Iwata as CEO has done some phenomenal things.  He oversaw the DS, the Wii, and the 3DS.  His track record is actually phenomenal – in ten years, he’s been there for two of the three best-selling gaming devices of all time.  Nintendo’s coffers have exploded under Iwata.  The gaming community loves to criticize Nintendo, but you can’t legitimately criticize Nintendo without criticizing other companies for the exact same thing.  So, if Nintendo is dying now and should get out of the hardware market, then Sony was dying a year into the PS3 release, and Microsoft was dying two years into the Xbox release, and both should have ditched hardware altogether.  But obviously that didn’t happen.

That said, Iwata has to acknowledge his failures in terms of marketing.  He loves to position Nintendo as a company that isn’t competing directly with Sony or Microsoft, but if gamers, the ones actually purchasing the consoles and games, don’t buy into that philosophy, then the effects can be strong and negative.  The Wii U failed very heavily in terms of marketing.  Nintendo did not do anything to convince those people who bought a Wii as their first console to pick up a Wii U – people like my parents.  And Nintendo also needs to acknowledge that while designing a system with children in mind is awesome because Sony and Microsoft don’t do that, you do need to consider that a significant portion of your customers are adults as well.  You need a more competent online service.

I would also note that in response to that Eurogamer article to which matt linked, plenty of developers have come forward to discredit the anonymous source, saying that the Wii U is just as easy to develop for as the 360 or PS3 were.

Friday, 11:05 am – matt -the one and only-

yikes, ive long considered Nintendo and my beloved Blackberry (Z10 all the way!!) to be equals, as both face extreme competition from rival companies in a VERY fast moving industry, and sadly looks like they might be moving more towards BB than I ever imagined. projected profits turning into projected losses is a serious problem, and one that ricky is probably spot on in calling, perhaps a new face to be seen and voice to be heard. When I read that developers blog concerning the issues Nintendo was having with the Wii-U and that no one on the board had even played a Ps3 or Xbox 360, showed they are a bunch of ostriches with their heads in the sand, stubbornly trying to convince people they were delivering what their consumers wanted.

http://vdubhero.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/nintendo-living-in-a-bubble/

Friday, 11:05 am – Ricky

Some sad news out of the Nintendo camp this morning: Wii U will undersell vs. forecast by about 6 million units, and a ~$500 million USD profit projects has been slashed to a ~$250 million USD loss projection.

Iwata has stated that, despite losses now in 3 consecutive years, he doesn’t indeed to step down as president. I couldn’t disagree more – the man has done a ton for that company and the industry, but it’s time to step back and bring in someone new. I’d suggest an outsider for a fresh, modern perspective. I know Nintendo has money hats, and this loss will still not spell doom for them, but realistically how much more can they take before collapsing under the financial pressure?

Thursday, 11:15 am – Ricky

This seems like a much, much better approach to your backlog. I think my resistance to outright abandon games in my backlog kept me from focusing on playing the titles worth my time. Making the “hard choices” about what to try and what to leave behind is half the battle to getting over the backlog hurdle. Good for you for reasoning this out, and if you want to tackle it, I promise to stop gifting you games… for a while… maybe…

I mentioned a little while back that I’ve been jonesing for some strategy gaming – Civ 5 will likely be that fix, but I also have Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion installed. Space strategy and sim games were a thing of my dreams growing up – a friend and I even mapped out plan for a SoaSE-type game when we were 14, I place Xwing vs Tie-fighter for hours on end and I originally planned to go into computer programming in CEGEP (Quebec represent!) just so I could make space games like the ones I had enjoyed and imagined.

While the programming never came to pass, I still have the chance to enjoy all that the genre has to offer. It’s actually in the middle of a resurgence – Sins has been around for a while, but with the recent success of Star Citizen crowdfunding, other publishers are ramping up their efforts too. Stardock is in the process of polishing it’s new game engine, hopefully to be used with Sins 2 and Galactic Civilizations 3. Check out the teaser for the engine below. They’re boasting over 10,000 units on screen at the same time.

I really hope Disney jumps on board and gives us a new Xwing… A man can dream!

Wednesday, 9:57 am – Gavin

I was chatting with Ricky about this the other day, but I’m almost wondering if 2014 should be the year of my own backlog challenge.  I know that Ricky said that it didn’t really work for him due to circumstance, but my motivations are different – they are both financial and temporal.  I’m trying desperately to plan out my game purchases for 2014.  It figures to be an expensive year with work to be done around the house, so a bit of budgeting could go a long way, both in terms of money and time.

There are fives 2014 games that I would very much like to play, one of which I’ve already purchased and one of which I received as a gift:

  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
  • Mario Kart 8
  • The Long Dark (kickstarted this in 2013)
  • Yoshi’s New Island
  • The remainder of The Walking Dead, Season 2 (gifted this)

Part of the problem with my Steam backlog is that many of those games were gifted to me, and in many cases, were gifted unsolicited – as in, I own games that I don’t desperately want to play and didn’t ask for.  I needed to weed down my own list, writing off the games that I didn’t want to play and acknowledging that there are those that I purchased that I’ll never play, due to greed or poor impulse control, or what have you.

I’ve decided that the following games are going to be on my “try this in 2014” list.  I specifically say “try”, because I don’t feel a compulsion to power through a game that I don’t like just because I own it.  Obviously preferable to complete, but as long as I at least do them the appropriate justice, I’ll be satisfied.  There are plenty of games in my library that I’ve played for half an hour, decided I didn’t like them, and that was it.

  • Driver: San Francisco, PC
  • Mark of the Ninja, PC
  • Assassin’s Creed IV, Wii U
  • Mass Effect 1 and 2 (2 is contingent on whether or not I like 1), PC – these were gifted to me
  • Bioshock Infinite, PC – gift
  • Mario Kart 7 – 3DS
  • Splinter Cell 3D – 3DS

Couple this with two ongoing titles, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, which has eaten close to 20 hours of my life and I’ve barely scratched the surface, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, which destroys my commute every day and is goddamn amazing.

There are a few I’d like to get to that people have sent me – Dark Souls, Arkham City, The Swapper, Darksiders, maybe even Metro 2033 (if that can run on my underpowered laptop), but I won’t be desperately sad if I don’t get to them.

So I’m effectively writing off quite a few titles that I purchased myself that I’ll never get to:

  • Syberia 1 and 2
  • The Longest Journey
  • Botanicula
  • Samorost 2
  • FTL
  • Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
  • Jamestown
  • Hammerfight
  • Gratuitous Space Battles

This puts my “you wasted your money for literally nothing” total at $25, which, when I actually write it out, makes me feel a lot better about my purchases.  That’s not to say that I haven’t spent money on this I didn’t think were worthwhile – you all know what I think about Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and I didn’t care for Shank, Machinarium, And Yet It Moves, etc.  Plenty of titles I bought only to play them once, think they weren’t my thing, and then move on.  But at least I’m not looking at a gigantic money pit for things I will never touch.  It’s not much different to me than buying some food you want to try or a book you think you want to read, and then you realize you don’t like it, so you get rid of it.

So, you heard it here first.  Until I clear out all of the games on my “try this in 2014” list, my purchases are completely limited to what was previously mentioned, and The Stanley Parable if it comes on sale (because I really want to play that one, dammit) and I’m requesting that nobody gift me anything else.  2015 will be the year I start fresh, so 2014 is the year I get my money’s worth.  Based on this post, it looks like I should expect to spend about $200 on new titles this year, as both Donkey Kong and Mario Kart will be $60 titles, Yoshi’s New Island will be a $40 title, and the odd scattered title here or there if I complete my own challenge will be up there.

This averages out to around a game a month, bearing in mind that I play portable titles concurrently with console/PC titles.  Looks like I’d better finish off Blacklist before the end of January!  Time to get a move on!

Wednesday, 9:13 am – Ricky

I will finish The Last of Us! It’s just a question of when. With my man cave incoming in the next few months, I’ll have my own dedicated TV to play the vidyagams on, which means no more excuses.

That said, I do keep adding titles to the backlog – I received 2 games I backed on Kickstarter in 2012 on the same day! Double Fine’s point-and-click adventure game Broken Age and Stoic’s turn-based RPG Banner Saga both released yesterday. I’m trying to manage my bandwidth for the remainder of the month (being home sick = lots of Netflix, apparently), so I’ll give them a shot at some point. Realistically, my gaming time will be pretty limited this week and throughout the weekend, so it’s much more likely I’ll be spending time with Assassin’s Creed 4 my Vita thinking about playing games.

Monday, 3:03 pm – matt

I see your confusion over the 14 for ’14, but keep in mind there are 14 PS3 titles, and 14 VITA titles making up that 28, but individually it is indeed 14 ps3 games for ’14 and 14 VITA games for ’14. yay? puppeteer at $7 looks to be a great deal.

fun reading over everyone’s G.O.T.Y lists. will ricky finally admit he might not finish Last of Us?

🙂

Monday, 12:55 pm – Ricky

Sony is launching a round of sales tomorrow, calling it their 14 for ’14 sale. Even though there are 28 games for sale… Hey, no one help Sony with the math on that one, mmkay?

I’ll probably consider Spelunky on Vita for $3.75 and Puppeteer for $7. We’ll see how strong my willpower is.

Monday, 8:13 am – Ricky

Good morning! I get a copy of The Banner Saga this week because I backed it on Kickstarter wayyyy back in the day. I don’t even remember what the game is about… I’ll report back later this week!

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