Even though it's only the 18th December, for us ever impatient gamers, the year 2012 is practically speaking done and dusted. All the big titles for the year have already come out - Mass Effect 3, Halo 4, Dishonored
, et al - and the Wii U is out in shops and in peoples homes. As far as we're concerned 2012 is the past and we're already looking forward to all the gaming goodness to grace us in 2013.
But 2012 is more than the year that gave us the conclusion to the tale of Commander Sheperd or where we revisited the story the Master Chief. 2012 is important to gaming for a few other reasons as well.
3. 2012 Year of the Smaller game
Despite Borderlands 2, Black Ops II, Halo 4, Assassin's Creed III
and Far Cry 3
, 2012 was the year that the smaller games came into their own. Smaller games have found success before 2012, 2008's Braid
being the most obvious example. But this year we saw a number of must play games that wouldn't have the words "Triple-AAA" attached to their sell sheet. Sine Mora, Fez, Trials Evolution, Journey, Mark of the Ninja, Deadlight, Trine 2, Natural Selection 2, Gotham City Impostors
and The Walking Dead
. Just last year it would have been tough to name two great small scale titles and that rundown there was just off the top of my head, with out the aid of Google-fu. And if you still have your doubts about whether the smaller games are worth playing, lemme just say: Game of the Year 2012 - The Walking Dead.
2.2012 Year of the Crowdfunded game
Or Kickstarter if you prefer. I think Tim Schafer was as surprised as anyone when his Kickstarter for the Double Fine Adventure
game exceeded its funding goal by a staggering 834%. $400,000 is what he asked for, $3,336,371 is what he got. Was it a fluke? Nope, in the wake of Double Fines success, there have been a number of equally
successful Kickstarters that received overwhelming support from the public and in the process wrested control of how games get made out of the hands of the traditional publisher/developer model. There's no telling at this point whether any of these games will actually be good - or even come out
- but there's no denying that this may be the first step in an industry wide shake-up
1.2012 Year of Women and Gaming
While the other two points can definitely be seen as wholly positive, this one is unfortunately covered with a layer of filth. The misogynous treatment of women in gaming is nothing new. I've read countless editorials over the years, citing countless examples of the harassment and unfair treatment women experience in gaming, both as end-user players and those working in development. This year marked a turning point in the discussion about women and gaming, in that there actually was a discussion.
As I said, there have been countless editorials and feature articles from both men and women on this topic. And while many have made valid and insightful points about it, more often than not they made good reading and that was the end of that. In 2012, whether it was just that women themselves had gotten gatvol or whether technology had made it easier for the discussion to actually take place, finally people started talking about this bullshit. From the phenomenon of the Booth Babe, Anita Sarkeesian, Lara Croft's attempted rape (or lack thereof), Hitman's Stripper Nuns, the 'Fake' Geek Girl or #1reasonwhy, for the first time that I can remember, gamers were actually having a real discussion about how we treat nearly 50% of our number. And how that treatment is wrong, and how we need to change it.
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