2014 Reviews in Review

Mount Your Friends Featured

Mount Your Friends Featured

2014 is over! Wow, what a year it has been in regards to video games and my relation to them. Ever since I began reviewing my feelings about games have changed – but more importantly so have my habits. Last year was probably the first when I fully realized that the more I review the less time there is to play just for fun. But isn’t reviewing fun? Certainly, the titles reviewed are almost always selected by me… yet there’s something different about playing with the intent of writing. Work is work, no matter what, and maybe it’s a bad thing to combine my main hobby with work to such an intense degree.

With all that said, I’ve definitely kept up the same pace gained in 2013. However, the sites my writing appears on have changed slightly. Game Podunk is still a lovely place that I’m happy to be Managing Editor of, although it seems reviews tossed my way have decreased. Hardcore Gamer has quickly gained traction for me as I’ve been allowed to review games 100% in my wheelhouse (visual novels, hyper indie whatnot). Pixel Pacas is something that continues to receive my continued, unwavering support. However, a new site by the name of Cliqist also joined the ring. With a focus on crowdfunding it allows me to explore another niche interest of mine.

So, how did my time split between these four sites? Here are my findings: 113 reviews for Pixel Pacas, 53 via Hardcore Gamer, 24 for Game Podunk, and 16 for Cliqist. This is 206 video game reviews in all. This does not include previews, Early Access reviews, or reviews of non-gaming content (books, movies, etc). Weirdly enough, my percentage of writing devoted to Pixel Pacas is exactly the same as last year at 55%.

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The “next generation” of gaming is in full swing now supposedly but it doesn’t really feel that way to me. Despite being fortunate enough to own the trio of newer consoles I find myself increasingly compelled by PC releases. This fully explains why PC dominated my reviewing attention this year. There was a burst of PS4 and Xbox One reviews as well, but very little released on any of those consoles was tremendously inspiring.

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Throughout my life I’ve always spouted off my favorite genres as being horror, rhythm/music, adventure, and puzzle. Does that still jive with me today? Yes, although each year I also find myself increasingly in love with visual novels. In any case, here’s the layout of genres (in the broadest sense – ex: “action”) of games I reviewed in 2014. Somehow, platformers really snuck up on me! Finally, it’s worth noting that “shooter” refers primarily to anything where your goal is to shoot tons of bullets, not specifically FPSes. Like I said, some of these are incredibly loose descriptions.

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Despite personally despising review scores I continue to use them for most of the reviews I end up writing. So let’s talk about the scores! A very small chunk of titles fared horribly enough for me to grant them a 2 out of 10. Most were older releases, such as Construction Bob Escapes from Hell and Waxworks. In regards to new games the “worst” was Gynophobia. On a positive note, the developer reached out to thank me for reviewing their game – despite panning it. If nothing else, it’s good to see they can take criticism in stride!

14 games received a 9 out of 10 from me, which is 2 less than last year. Among these high performers were Cloud Chamber, Escape Goat 2, Iron Fisticle, Mount Your Friends, Spelunky, and TxK. The average of review scores for me is 6.5 this year – which lies squarely between 6 (in 2013) and 7 (in 2012). Interesting!

I have no idea what 2015 will have in store for reviews, but some things will likely remain the same. I still intend to be a champion for indie products. Given the time, digging into itch.io more also seems like great fun. Honestly, so many awesome projects mulled over this year, but there just wasn’t the time. Perhaps we’ll see one (or more) finally come to fruition now!

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  • apricotsushi

    Sounds like you had a busy year! I am constantly amazed by how many games you play. Do you have a “gaming schedule” to help balance time between games and other things? Usually I find the day is over and I don’t know where all my time went, when I should’ve had at least an hour or 2 to chip away at something D:

    • Yeah, scheduling is very important to keep gaming in check alongside everything else! It depends on other scheduled stuff but usually there is 2~ hours on any given day to play (but unlikely in one 2 hour sitting – more like little nibbles in morning and evening). Basically I swap between games frequently as well to keep things from feeling stale, so I might go back and forth between games X, Y, and Z.