Roundtable: Why we’re thankful for games in 2014

November 27, 2014


It’s Thanksgiving, and we’re taking this opportunity to share what each of us are thankful for in the world of games this year. 

Graham Russell: Even in a year with so many great original releases, I find myself being most thankful for those who are working to give old gems a second chance on new platforms. Whether it’s North American debuts like Vib-Ribbon and The Mysterious Murasame Castle, overlooked titles like Valkyria Chronicles and The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky or simply great oldies that are tough to find today like Mega Man Battle Network and Pokemon Trading Card Game GB, this is such a fruitful time for those who love old properties and want to experience them again.

Andrew Passafiume: This isn’t a recent trend, but every year I find myself more thankful for the ever-growing indie scene in games. In a year full of lackluster (or completely botched) AAA releases, there have been plenty of indie games released to remind me why I love this medium so much. Titles like Shovel Knight, Transistor and A Bird Story all completely stand out in a year that has otherwise been disappointing. And next year looks even more promising than ever before.

Henry Skey: The Wii U gaining momentum, particularly due to two very important decisions by Nintendo. The first? Saving Bayonetta 2 and giving us one of the best action games ever. The company took a risk, and we’re all lucky for it. The second: the Mario Kart DLC. Even the concept of Nintendo DLC gets me giddy, and the fact that we have another batch on the way, and who knows how many in the future, increases Mario Kart 8’s stock even further. I can’t wait to see what this means for Smash Bros and other Wii U titles.


Ryan Dunn: Near the end of the last console generation, I felt many major publishers were playing it safe by releasing games in universes that were already well-established and successful. There are a lot of new IPs releasing this year as we begin to settle in to the current console generation, and while they have been met with varying degrees of success, I am excited for the change. Titles like Destiny, Sunset Overdrive, Titanfall, Watch Dogs and The Evil Within have all provided new fictions to explore, and I look forward to the many other new experiences that are still to come.

Chris Ingersoll: Thanks to my regular board game night, going out with my wife and various Magic: the Gathering events, I don’t spend enough time at home during a typical week to get everything done as far as gaming, movies and TV are concerned. Being able to multi-task is essential to not being buried by a mountainous backlog. This is what makes Wii U off-screen play so brilliant. By turning my console into a makeshift handheld, I can still play games like Mario Kart 8, Guacamelee! STCE, Hyrule Warriors, Bayonetta 1 & 2 and soon Super Smash Bros. for Wii U while freeing our TV to play whatever else we want to be listening to (if not actually watching) in the background.

Justin Last: It used to be the case that licensed games were terrible by default. This year alone we’ve seen games set in The Walking Dead, Fables and The Lord of the Rings universes. I can look at my bookshelf and see a series of books that I love, and then turn on my PS4 and play a game that feels like a legitimate and appropriate part of that universe. Not only do the events of a game like Shadow of Mordor fit in with the greater fiction of the universe, but the gameplay is fantastic as well. Growing up playing games like Stargate on the SNES, Friday the 13th on the NES and Enter the Matrix on the PS2, I never thought we’d get to this point, and I’m very thankful that we’re here.


Jeff deSolla: One of the greatest things to happen recently is the number of Japanese games finding their way to PC, either on Steam or as standalone releases. With Valkyria Chronicles, Ys: Oath in Felghana, Trails in the Sky and the first two titles in the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy releasing and Metal Gear Solid V also slated to arrive on the platform, it’s a great time for people who love tweaking their PC for performance but also love what were formerly console-exclusive genres. Putting these releases on PC means they won’t just fall into oblivion as the previous console generation fades, and gives us a lot of great options from user modding, like playing in 1440p and whatever other crazy things modders dream up as time goes on.

Eric Albuen: It’s been a pretty good year for gaming so far. I’m thankful for a nice chunk of Japanese games finally getting translated and brought to the West. The standouts for me in particular are Danganronpa 1 and 2, Tales of Hearts R and Project Diva F 2nd. Everything from visual novels and JRPGs to insanely tough music games shined their bright, obscure light on Western shores. A few years ago, it would be wishful thinking to even get half of these games here, but patience pays off.