Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare releases this week, but I’d like to take you back in time instead. Think back to 2007 – what were you doing? How was your life different? How were video games different? I’ll help answer that last one for you: We saw the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, a game-changer for first person shooters and home consoles. I personally spent hundreds of hours playing Modern Warfare, a feat I have not repeated with a first-person shooter since.

Check out this great article from Eurogamer about the “seven year shadow left by Modern Warfare”. Can you think of any other genre-defining games?

Friday, 7:02 pm – Albert

Hooray! Go Ubisoft Key!

I actually have to say that Uplay is awful. I tried playing Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and it the Uplay servers were down and I couldn’t play multiplayer without it… The way that AC does multiplayer is weird where they have to start up another session if you click multi. So I had to start AC from steam, connect to Uplay, open AC program, open multiplayer AC program, then play the game. FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS! Anyways, the multiplayer is awesome and i’m hoping to get more people to play (HINT HINT)

That was my ramble and here’s this!

Overwatch has been announced by Blizzard. Check it out!

Friday, 12:41 pm – Gavin

UNRIP RICKY’s UBISOFT STEAM KEY.  ZOMBIE UBISOFT KEY LIVES.

Far Cry 4, AC: Unity and The Crew are back on the Steam storefront.  I’m curious to know why they were yanked, but more importantly, I don’t really give a crap one way or the other, because this is a stupid non-problem for everyone except Ricky, who had a financial interest in the outcome.

Friday, 9:28 am – Gavin

RIP Ricky’s Ubisoft Steam Key, 2010-2014.

Ubisoft appears to have pulled Assassin’s Creed: Unity, The Crew, and Far Cry 4 from the Steam storefront.  Right now, both Ubisoft and Valve are tight-lipped about what’s going on, but nonetheless, Ubisoft has yanked 3 AAA titles from the most popular PC digital distribution service out there.  I’ve always wondered how much of their overall sales that the PC platform accounts for, but as it stands, you’ll have to head to uPlay to get these titles.

All of Ubisoft’s old titles are still available on Steam as of this morning, but I do wonder where this is headed.  Anyway, as long as I still have access to Splinter Cell, I’m OK.

It’s annoying to have to operate through three different storefronts to get the games you want (Steam, Origin, uPlay).  On an academic level, I have to imagine that Ubisoft is banking on loyalty to franchises and to the publisher name, since they’re probably going to lose out on the casual browsing aspect of game-purchasing.  You have to hope that Ubisoft will take a cue from Valve and will put the big titles on SOME sort of discount for the inevitable Thanksgiving/Holiday sale.  Even 10% discounts bump AAA titles to the top-sellers list.

That said, I’ll be blunt: on a practical level, this barely affects me at all.  I don’t just casually purchase games – I always have an idea of what I want to buy before I buy it (Steam sales excepted, but even then, I haven’t bought a game for myself from the holiday sales in over a year), I barely play any multiplayer games that aren’t local, and I’m not playing so much that constantly switching between one storefront and another would post an issue beyond spending five seconds to close one and launch the other.  Of the three main options, Steam is definitely the most user-friendly and is the nicest aesthetically, but it really wasn’t that much of an issue to load up Origin to access Mass Effect 3, or for uPlay to run in the background while I played Splinter Cell: Conviction or Driver: San Francisco.  I’d prefer to load up Steam, but I’m there for the game, not for the doorway to the game.

Wednesday, 1:29 pm – Gavin

Man, I can’t believe MW1 has been out for 7 years.  7 years for that, for Mario Galaxy, for Bioshock, for Mass Effect, so many big titles.

I feel like there are a few major titles that really elevated their genres, with MW1 being one of the primo examples. No one title has surpassed all others in a genre – major steps taken by one game wouldn’t have been possible without major steps taken by other earlier games.   A game can only “define a genre” for so long before it’s surpassed by something better.  I also believe that a game can only be considered “genre-defining” when the new-shininess of it has worn off and we’ve had time to reassess it in context.  I can’t list anything from 2014, and I’m reticent to list anything from 2013.

In the interests of not listing every single thing I loved, or listing games that were just “the best”/”really great games”, I’ll try to narrow it down as best I can.

  • Super Metroid
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
  • Super Mario Galaxy
  • Half-Life (and CS by extension)
  • Bioshock.  Though I never played it, I acknowledge that its narrative is widely received as incredibly influential in video game storytelling history, to the point that critic Brendan Keogh defines narrative design as being “pre-Bioshock” and “post-Bioshock”.
  • Deus Ex
  • NHL 94.  There’s a reason that EA still allows for “NHL 94 controls” as an option in the modern incarnations.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • Portal
  • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent

I suppose it’s only coincidence that so many of those are on my list of my favourite games of all time.  Maybe I just have good taste.  A game can’t be “genre-defining” and also be a bad game (not to get too much into the discussion of objective vs subjective), so obviously you’re going to see games that have achieved mainstream popularity.  That’s not to say that they’re all my favourites – I have zero desire to pick up NHL 94 right now, and I’ll probably never play Amnesia again.

I guess it’s tough to distinguish between “genre-defining” and “elevating the genre”.  Half-Life 2 was a fabulous game, but aside from the physics engine, it didn’t do a lot *new* that Half-Life hadn’t done before. It may have elevated the genre, as it improved upon Half-Life in almost every conceivable way, but Half-Life was a watershed moment in gaming.  Half-Life 2 wasn’t.

I can say the same thing about Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Bioshock Infinite, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Portal 2, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid Prime (the whole trilogy, really), Mass Effect (I think I need time for that one before I can put it on this kind of list), Gone Home, Max Payne, Mirror’s Edge, and a host of other games.  All games that I truly and thoroughly enjoyed, but I’m not certain I’m ready to put them on a list as a standout of their genre.  Though it is not the best game out of this list, I think the only one I’d be prepared to do that for is Mirror’s Edge.  No other game has handled 3D platforming the way that it has (yes, I know there aren’t many 3D platforming games out there in the first place).  To that end, I even enjoyed some of these games more than the “genre-defining” ones.  I liked Skyward Sword more than Ocarina of Time, and I liked Galaxy 2 more than Galaxy 1.

And then there’s Spec Ops: The Line, and to a lesser degree, The Stanley Parable, which is a genre in and of itself – games that are themselves critiques of genres.

Monday, 7:43 am – Ricky

Hello Monday, my old friend.

I have no interest in the new Call of Duty. I’ve been enjoying Destiny with matt and our buddy Degenotron, and that’s enough first person shooting for me. If I really get the itch, I’ll have Far Cry 4 to tackle in just a couple short weeks. Yes, it’s that time of year again. Here’s a completely subjective rundown of awesome releases for the final couple months of the year:

  • November 11: Assassin’s Creed Unity
  • November 18: Far Cry 4, LittleBigPlanet 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Grand Theft Auto 5 (PS4, XBONE)
  • November 21: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (yes, it has the name of the system in the title)
  • December 2: The Crew
  • December 9: Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (PC and XBONE)

That may not seem like very many titles, but it’s easily 500 hours worth of single player content in a little over a month. Truly, we live in a golden age of gaming.

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