Gaming has been a personal passion since the first time I saw an arcade in a mall. I have owned every major console released since the Sega Genesis, with the exception of the original XBox. For me, a Saturday spent playing video or board games with my wife or a few close friends would always be more appealing than a night out. Gaming is, and always will be a part of me.
So what happens when a hardcore gamer brings life into the world? Would my gaming self cease to exist, buried in a cavalcade of dirty cloth diapers? Would the world be forced to evolve without my tsunami of treachery and weiner jokes?
Maybe to a degree. I may not have finished many games this year, but I experienced a lot. Enough so that I am thinking of shifting my focus away from traditional reviews of games, to sharing my impressions of them after spending a decent amount of time with a title. We’ll see what the new year brings.
I will always remember 2018 as the year my daughter was born, but there were a number of gaming highlights as well:
Games I Beat
- Middle-Earth Shadows of War – Jan. 22
- Lego Jurassic World – Jan. 24
- Tomb Raider – June something
- Injustice 2 – July 22
Wow, that’s a short list. And I see I didn’t write a single review about a game I beat in 2018 – looks like I have an easy New Year’s resolution for 2019!
Games I Loved
For as few games as I saw the credits for this year, there were a number I fell in love with. Here is where I wound up spending most of my gaming time:
- Marvel Spider-Man – My favorite character made a triumphant return to video games, delivering my favorite game of the year. I hope to write a full review in January (I am THIS close to finishing!), but suffice it to say, this game is a can’t miss experience for web-heads.
- Ghost Recon Wildlands – This game was arguably the most fun I have had with cooperative gaming. We got a reliable squad of four players together, and we came very close to beating the game this year. I’m not a huge shooter fan, but this game was a blast. Single player was fun, but it really shines when you and your buddies are scrambling to escape after I run in and hit the button.
- Pillars of Eternity and Divinity Original Sin – I have always had an affinity for isometric RPGs. These two games brought the genre back in a big way, and I love them both. I got maybe half way through Pillars, and had a nice run of playing an hour or two every night during the last couple months of pregnancy. I can’t wait to get back into it. I am playing Divinity cooperatively with my colleague Hobby Box Burns, and it’s been great to explore this genre with a human companion. Especially one who has a penchant for picking up heavy, and utterly unnecessary items, and dragging them back to town.
- Overwatch – I’ve had the game since just after launch, but never really got into it until a bunch of my friends jumped on during a free weekend this year. And then I was hooked. I started out playing mostly healers, and expanded into tanks. I’m terrible with damage dealers, my mains are Lucio, Reinhardt and Winston.
- Switch RPGs – My PS4 is by far my favorite toy, but you can’t beat the Switch’s portability. There are some amazing titles on it. While I am a little disappointed with Octopath Traveler, it hasn’t been bad. I’m really enjoying Disgea 5 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I haven’t event tapped into Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild yet. Every RPG fan should own a switch.
- Mobile Games – Along with the Switch’s portability, I find time almost every day to play Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes and Marvel Strike Force nearly every day. I’d rather play XCOM, but I am hooked on building my squads and making tiny improvements every day. I am proud to say I did not spend a dollar on any mobile games this year.
The Biggest Disappointments
Not every game is a winner. For me, there were a couple big disappoints this year. The biggest one was Middle Earth: Shadows of War. One of the few games I completed this year, it failed to capture the magic of its predecessor. It was fine, and fun, but Shadow of Mordor was one of the most addictive games of the last two console generations for me. I played the sequel to completion and was happy to move onto something else.
Sea of Thieves was a big bust for me too. You can read my impressions. It failed to deliver the pirate adventure I hoped for. If you are interested in checking it out, you can find a very passionate fanbase on the subreddit.
Interesting People I Talked To
- 16,000 Games and Counting
- Former MLB Pitcher on Balancing Career and Gaming
- Illustrator John Gallagher on Working in Movies, DC Shows, Comics and Gaming
- Olivia Mears Innovates in Cosplay and Food Fashion
The Games I Want to Get To in 2019
- God of War
- Last of Us
- Horizon Zero Dawn
- Red Dead Redemption I and II
- The Witcher I, II and II
- Every Dark Souls-inspired game
- Grand Theft Auto 5
We live in an amazing time for gaming. I have missed some of the top games of the last couple years, and I hope to get to them this year. We’ll see how it goes.