What 2012’s Games Taught Me

As many people do when an old year becomes a new one, I’ve been looking back on the previous 12 months. I’ve been trying to recall any important life lessons that I might have been taught by this past year’s stable of videogame releases and I’ve made a list.

Here’s my top five things that 2012’s games have taught me, in no particular order. Because top five lists are terribly important for videogames websites and that.

[drop2]Never trust a leopard – Far Cry 3.

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Wildlife enthusiasts have been telling us all for years that leopards are endangered. They say this beautiful animal has been hunted to dangerously low numbers by people who would quite like to make coats out of their fur for rich people with no taste. That’s clearly a load of rubbish.

I played Far Cry 3 this year and I don’t think I was ever more than ten yards away from a leopard, except for the times when I was being chewed by a tiger. Or a shark. Apart from those times, it was all leopards all the time.

They’re sneaky buggers. No sooner do you settle down into the shrubbery of a batshit crazy polynesian island, intent on replacing bits of goat with bits of arrow, than a leopard jumps out and eats your face. Every time.

The world needs another Micro Machines – MotorStorm RC

Now, MotorStorm RC was a great game, one of my favourite Vita games of the year. But I had one issue with it for the entire time I played it: I never got to drive around a chequered table-cloth, dodging puddles of milk and weaving between Cheerios.

As good as MotorStorm RC was, it simply reminded be that the greatest local multiplayer racer ever to grace a games console had been away for too long. It’s time to bring back Micro Machines.

You don’t need rings or cloaks to be invisible, just lean! – Dishonored.

Dishonored was packed full of important lessons about trust and duty and the importance of hiding your arcane runes a little more carefully. But the biggest revelation I garnered from Dishonored was the irrefutable fact that, as long as I’m only leaning, I become completely imperceptible to the human eye.

I discovered this while crouched behind a desk in somebody’s office. I think they were an overseer or G-Man from Half Life or maybe that shady dude from V for Vendetta, I wasn’t really paying attention. Anyway, I was crouched there, barely concealed by the functional piece of furniture when I decided I’d take a peek. So I swung my head a few feet out from the edge of the desk, only to come face to, er… midsection with a heavily armed, jackbooted guard.

I froze, because sometimes the lessons learned in Jurassic Park just take over, and I was relieved to see my nemesis swivel 180 degrees and stroll away, none the wiser to my jauntily-angled self. Mischief managed!

Peter Molyneux has a lot of photos – Curiosity.

I think I’ve worked out what’s in the Cube. It’s the password to Molyneux’s Flickr account.

The first layer of 22Cans’ much-publicised cube was just a colour. So was the second layer. But then shit got real and, in true trailblazing fashion, Molyneux’s new studio blazed some trails. Their big innovation to keep people clicking? Photos. Now, each successive layer of the tap-happy bore-o-tron is another picture of something. It’s seemingly random, too.

Also, the cube in question doesn’t appear to be shrinking by much. I looked at it a few times a week or two after it launched and then again last week, only to discover that it’s still a massive cube with a photo on it. Exciting.

It’s almost like a 3D version of an Instagram stream now, except that Curiosity doesn’t have nearly enough photos of cappuccinos in front of a bare-brick wall.

Mufasa was right – Journey.

Walt Disney’s The Lion King is the zenith of modern storytelling. That’s an indisputable fact. But Journey was also quite good at emoting a narrative. Thankfully, for those of us with limited capacity for variation, they were both telling basically the same story.

[drop]In The Lion King, our protagonist is a small creature, cloaked in earthy tones and naive about his place in the world. He’s guided by unknown forces (as well as his dad’s ghost, a weird monkey dude with a stick and some formulaic comic relief) to find his place in The Circle of Life.

In Journey, our protagonist is a small figure, cloaked in earthy tones and naive about his place in the world. He’s guided by unknown forces (as well as some weird paintings, a random dude on PSN and some of those tickets from the end of The Crystal Maze) to find his place in The Circle of Life.

It’s basically identical, apart from the whole bit with the Ku Klux Klan costume at the end of Journey, I’m not sure where that comes from.

Rovio devs are smarter than George Lucas – Angry Birds Star Wars

Quite aside from being a compelling, smart and often amusing development of the Angry Birds saga, Rovio’s latest showed a love for the franchise that has been mostly absent since the Ewoks hollowed out its skull and brewed soup in it.

For me, this revelation came after several levels when the Han Solo-costumed bird was introduced. The funny little pictorial introduction showed Solo-bird (who knows what to call them?) clearly shooting his blaster at Greedo-pig. And thus, balance was restored to the galaxy.

Oops, I seem to have done six. Are top six lists a thing? I suppose it just means an extra one’s worth of those hot internet hits I’m always hearing about, right? Can’t wait.

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34 Comments

  1. Always seems to be the wild dogs in Far Cry 3 for me.

    • Wild dogs are my Far Cry 3 nemesis too.

    • Only got the game yesterday, but so far a crocodile has been the most successful in almost managing to give me a heart attack!

      • Was the crocodile when you were looking for blue plants in one of the first missions? That happened to me and I had a heart attack.

        For me though it’s always dogs, or Komodo Dragons, those things are fucking bastards, and low enough to hid in most grass.

    • Cassowary, what’s their f**king problem!?

      • Maybe they are the ones that got you banned for a month last year. :O

      • Just seems like bird can’t help but be attracted to me…..

      • Maybe you shouldn’t wear the bird version of Lynx. ;)

    • Same here, more dog skin than one can handle

  2. Oh man, Micromachines. Great game. Great game.

    • Don’t think there has been a new one since the PSP. Would love another one or even a re-release of the ps1 games.

      I lost so many hours to V3.

      • Me and my old school mates played some 8 way V3 just before Christmas, it’s still wonderful and, in our opinion, has aged better than Goldeneye 64!

      • I remember using two people on each controller before I had a multitap

    • Peter is so right Micro Machines was amazing they really should bring it back!

    • Whilst I loved Micro Machines, I was also a big fan of Skidmarks (queue jokes) and Circuit Breakers. Interesting/uninteresting fact regarding the latter, it was the only PSone game that had DLC, which was via a OPSM disc.

  3. I think I’ve only encountered two leopards in Far Cry, it’s mostly tigers for me.

  4. 2012 taught me that Bioware is going to suffer the same fate as Origin Studios. Don’t remeber who they were? Thank EA for that as they were considered to be the best RPG developer back during the late 80s and early 90s before EA bought them. Then forced them to release Ultima 8 out only after 3 months of development(may have been 6 not sure) and U9 is said to be a massive middle finger to the fans, which more or less resulted in them going bust as they didn’t recover from that. DA2 was a crap sequel and ME3’s ending was just weak so if Bioware keeps this pattern up, they will end up going under or shut down.

    Also, never trust SCEE with anything as i’ve learnt that in 2012 and thus started my dislike of them. As well as taking the pie out of them and trying to outdo Haz in the wall of text rants against SCEE. She is currently winning. :op

    Oh and Bethesda are now no longer to be trusted with DLC if you are a PS3 gamer, PC gamer, have the name bob, ginger,a woman,A welshmen etc.. Some of this may not be true. They did a SCEE with Dawnguard by waiting two-3 weeks after the original release date for both platforms and told us that we won’t see them. 7 months later and we are still waiting for it. So much for the Creation engine being better if it can’t handle DLC implentation on 2/3 of the target audience’s platform of choice. Even Gamebyro managed to not break down when they released the DLC for Fallout 3 and the Shivering isles for Oblivion. Bethesda, just come out and say that MS have either got a year long exclusive period or that you designed Skyrim for the 360 with the intention of porting it over for the PS3/PC and that has backfired on you. Nothing against the 360 but they should have used the PC as the lead platform as they built their reputation on that platform. Oh well, i’ll just pick up the STOP FECKING CRASHING YOU BUGGY GAME edition of Skyrim when it is released also known as the GOTY edition. That turned out to be longer then i had intended to.

    Also, never trust From Software as they are cruel barstewards! I discovered DS in 2012 so it counts.

    Doing top 6 lists now Peter? You must really want TSA to win a GMA. ;)

    • EA have a long & shameful history of buying up good devs & shutting them down after making them ruin the “franchises” they created.

      • Sadly, it will always happen due to the power that EA have. Although Bioware could and should have went with Take2(who own Bethesda) or another major publisher(not Acti) as EA will rip them apart whereas Zenimax seem to have a hand off approach and just chuck cash at them. They’ve already managed to almost destroy Dragon Age and caused a massive outrage for ME3’s ending. I still maintain people were overracting about ME3’s ending. DA3 will be the game that decides if Bioware can recover or will suffer the same fate as Origin. Heck, their founders have already left and that is never a good sign. If DA3 is another DA2, Dragon Age will be dead and what is left would be a cash cow that only serves to be milked.

    • I love you, Steven. (:

      Everything you said was so true. I hate EA so much. Hoping they save DA in DA3. I love DA but they’re ruining it, trying to make it action-ey rather than role-playing, just like Mass Effect. I did like the fluidity of the combat in DA2, and the art style, the rest was average.

      Let’s hope EA can somehow redeem themselves in 2013.

  5. I think a top 6 list is something revolutionary you may have just changed the entire world.

    • I’m blazing trails, like a trailblazer.

  6. Definitely needs to be a new micro machines. A HD, online multi revamp of V3 on the Ps store & Xbox would surely sell nicely.

  7. “some of those tickets from the end of The Crystal Maze”

    Win.

  8. Nice read :)

    Is it just me that didn’t like dishonored then? Rented it, didn’t like it. Pushed through the 4 hour barrier to see if it got any better. It didn’t.

    Then I got it for xmas. Yay! Tried it again, y’know, just to be polite. Don’t like it.

    Too clunky and sooo boring……

    • Sell it to me for a tenner. ;-)

    • I’m loving it so far ! About two hours in, I think.

  9. Well Far Cry 3 for me has taught me never to take a story at face value – always look deeper into it. Some things may seem like a fantasy or too exaggerated, any maybe they are :)

    And we are on the subject of blood thirsty wildlife, it’s always tigers and komodo dragons that get me!

  10. Funny! Totally agree about Micro Machines too! Did you know the Lion King is secretly Hamlet? Does this mean Journey is Hamlet too?

    • Everything is Hamlet, if you look closely enough. Except E.T., that was the story of Jesus.

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