2013 has been a great year for gaming, we got superb games in the form of Triple-AAA stuff like The Last of Us and cool indies like Thomas Was Alone. And, in case anyone forgot, we also got ourselves two new video game consoles. That in itself is more than enough to put the whole of 2013 into the plus column.
But, unfortunately, where there are video games, there's controversy. As great as this year has been, we've had to put up with a lot unnecessary crap from the industry, the community and the games themselves. With 2013 busy shutting down and as we prep for a 2014 filled with Xbox One and PlayStation 4 gaming goodness (we hope), it's time to look back on the year gone by and reflect upon (read that as moan some more) the many controversies that marked 2013. As much as some of these issuse got out backs up, we can at least agree they gave us something to talk about. These are my picks for the most bothersome stuff to happen this year.
1. Aliens: Colonial Marines
There was a lot of excitement by Aliens fans for Aliens: Colonial Marines, a lot of it based on positive previews posted on a number of reputable video game sites. But when the final game actually made it's retail appearance, the final code took a marked dip in quality compared to the preview code that Gearbox showed off. Videogamer did a great side-by-side video showing off the differences between the preview code and the final code and when you watch it, it's not hard to see why fans felt lied to. Gearbox faceman, Randy Pitchford didn't help the issue either, getting into fights with fans on twitter and being unwilling to listen to negative comments about the game, of which there were many. The distrust this issue caused was significant enough, that some fans launched a class action lawsuit against Gearbox and publisher SEGA claiming false advertising,
2. Xbox One Launch
When it was revealed that Microsoft would be announcing a new video game console to replace the Xbox 360 the excitement train hit full speed. And then hit a dead stop once the Xbox One was actually announced. Yes, everyone seems happy with their systems now, but those few weeks after the reveal was a shitstorm of monumental proportions and Microsoft's response to the whole thing wasn't helping. Whether it was concerns about the DRM, always-online, mandatory installs, restrictions on trading of games or it's focus on non-gaming features, Microsoft just kept putting their foot in it, with vague comments and evasions. The rage reached such a fever pitch that Microsoft did a complete 180 on their policies. The communities anger at Microsoft's intentions with the Xbox One. right or wrongly, was best exemplified by Angry Joe in a rant shortly after the reveal. Check it out up top.
3. Releasing of Broken Games
You know what we've had a lot of this year? Games that didn't work. Sim City, Diablo III, GTA Online, Battlefield 4, Batman: Arkham Origins and the most recent offender, Ashes Cricket 2013, are all games that weren't ready for prime time. Ashes aside, all those games were released by big name video game publishers and yet all those games started out as broken messes. Whether it was a case of the games suffering from connection issues, thanks to their online nature, or just generally being broken in their own right, all those titles proved to be less than enjoyable experiences. The sad part is, for most of those games, a few more weeks or months in the oven could have seen those games released without issue. Or in the case of Sim City and Diablo III, the elimination of the Always-online DRM would have done the trick as well. Unfortunately, now that consoles can download patches, broken games getting released aren't going anywhere.
4. Justin Carter's Arrest
At best, all the stuff mentioned earlier is inconvenient. At worst, They're bad consumer relations. In either case it can't compare to what happened to Justin Carter. A Texas teenager, Carter was jailed as a “terrorist” after making a controversial Facebook post. As reported by our own Stephanie Duchenne, an argument about League of Legends spilled on to Facebook, where Carter made a sarcastic comment about "going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts".
The comment somehow came to the attention of a Canadian women, who contacted the authorities in Carter's home town and they subsequently arrested and charged him for making a terrorist threat. The police investigation following the arrest yielded no weapons, no motive, no target, no intended victims, no conspiracy, and no plans to carry out an attack by Carter. His entire arrest was predicated on a Facebook post. A Facebook post. Yes, that really happened. During his prison stay, Carter was repeatedly assaulted by other inmates and spent periods in solitary confinement. He "celebrated" his 19th birthday while incarcerated. An anonymous donor would eventually pay Carter's $500 000 bail.
Explaining why Carter's experience tops whatever else happened in gaming this year, seems redundant; its pretty self-evident why this is a bad thing. About the only solace to be taken from the whole sordid affair is that the industry and its community hold no responsibility for what happened to Carter. But then again, that's not much solace at all,
5. How gamers showed their displeasure
It seems that gamers' inability to handle disappointment just keep on escalating year after year. My top ones for 2013 are:
Which video game moments would you list as the most disappointing for 2013?
Other News from Around the 'Net:
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd