Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Year Ahead in Gaming: My 2014 Wishlist

As gamers, we've developed little quirks, preferences, and (let’s face it) obsessions over the years of playing. Whether you started playing beloved platformers like Super Mario Bros. 3 or are a more recent gamer and stick to your guns in Call of Duty or Battlefield, you’re likely looking to the gaming industry to give us newer and better things every year. In a year that gave us 2 amazing new consoles in the Xbox One and PS4, 2013 was far from disappointing in the realm of exciting things. Console innovations like the Ouya and Oculus Rift are proof that video gaming is in the verge of a revolution where game development will be more open to the public to create and share, but gameplay now has the potential to immerse us into an experience we've dreamed since the term “virtual reality” was coined.

As we look ahead to what promises to be an amazingly exciting year in gaming, I’d like to share some things that I hope to see (and not see) in the next 365 days or so. With new consoles, tons of amazing games, and even some new and potentially annoying innovations on the horizon, there’s plenty of room for opinions all around. So please, enjoy mine:

Continued Support for the Xbox 360 and PS3
If there’s one thing that the lifespan of the PS2 taught the gaming world it’s that a console can live a long time after a new generation of consoles is released. The unusually long tenure of the PS2 was due in no small part to the fact that developers still gave the little black box attention years after the PS3 was on the market. Sure, it may not have had any of the flashy new series like Uncharted or Resistance, but people who loved sports titles like Madden or were interested in Japanese ports had plenty of reasons to keep their PS2 plugged firmly into their TVs. If Microsoft and Sony wish to please their customers, they’d be wise not to shift all their attention to the PS4 and XB1 too soon. Personally, I’ll be hanging onto my Xbox 360 for another year or two, and until I jump to the next generation of consoles I’d love to see plenty of support for those still hanging onto their beloved 360s and PS3s.

Seriously, nobody has that many hands!

Gaming Industry to Stop Shoving Peripheral Gaming Down Our Throats
This post has nothing to do with people using their Androids and iPhones for playing mobile games. By all means, have fun playing Angry Birds, Candy Crush, and Temple Run on the toilet – I won’t judge. Instead, this is about the latest, and in my opinion most obnoxious and pointless push by the gaming world at large to get every gamer out there to use their smart phones, iPads, Kindles, FitBits, and anything with a wireless signal to play console games with their friends or when away from home. I’m not opposed to playing mobile games or playing with friends, but so many next-gen games are touting this new functionality to play games on both the console and a tablet when it seems like nobody really asked for it. If Sony and Microsoft are trying to piggy-back off of the WiiU, they’re missing the mark IMO.

Fewer “Gamers” and More Gaming
Seriously people, let’s all just get along. If you play video games, you’re a gamer. This has irked me for some time, not because I've come under any scrutiny myself, but because I hear this argument far too often from other gamers, mainly online. Anonymity makes even the nicest people IRL dicks online, and it seems that priority #1 is trying to make other gamers feel like they aren't “real” gamers. Before I turn this into a full page rant, I’ll just point you to this amazing post by Yamilia over at Twinfinite who sums up the ridiculousness of this “debate” quite nicely.

Never underestimate the power of nostalgic gamers in large numbers.

Extended Appreciation of Retro Game(r)s
For years people have been clamoring on about an HD remake of the NES classic DuckTales, and in 2013 they’re patience and passion was finally rewarded. On top of that, Nintendo released a lot of classic (S)NES games to their Virtual Console on the cheap to satiate the appetite of those rabid retro gamers. This trend needs to continue into 2014. The video game industry didn't get to where it is today overnight. Over the last few decades it’s been built on the backs of dedicated gamers, classic consoles like the 2600, SNES, and Dreamcast, and people’s nostalgia for their now-classic games. Rewarding those fervent fans with re-releases on XBLA, VC, and/or PSN, or even better with HD remakes is like saying thank you to their tireless dedication over the years. Besides, it’s not like they’d have to give the games away – they priced DuckTales Remastered at $15 and it’s sold pretty damn well so far. We aren't asking for much; just a little appreciation.

There you have it – what I’d like to see happen in the world of gaming in 2014. What about you? Have any burning desires for the New Year? Any awesome games you’d love to see announced or amazing innovations you’d love/hate to see? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter. 

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