5 Lessons from 2014 & Resolutions for 2015

2015 is finally here, and as everyone knows, the time has come for us to reflect on our past while setting a course for the future. 2014 was an interesting year for the gaming industry, but while I have many wonderful gaming memories from this past year, 2014 left me with more bitter than sweet memories. While I have never been one to focus on the negative aspects of any situation, I always use every experience to help me become better and wiser (or so I like to believe). With that in mind, I would like to share 5 lessons I’ve learned from 2015 and the resolutions I’ve made for 2015.

5. Never Preorder Season Passes

destinyexpansionyoThere’s nothing quite like new content being released for our favorite games. The euphoria of finishing a great game followed by the bleak, emptiness when you realize that it’s all over can be a rather traumatic experience. Thankfully, developers know our pain, and many times they offer us the remedy we’re so desperate for, DLC.  “More stories?! More maps?! New characters?! Yes, please, and thank you!” While DLC can be a wonderful thing, the impact and reception have been diminished by misleading marketing, underwhelming content, and unkept promises.

For a long time, I refused to purchase DLC before it was released. Never before had any game pushed me to the point where I felt like I absolutely had to purchase the DLC on day one of a release. Then, there was Destiny. I jumped on the hype-train “like white on rice in a glass of milk on a paper plate in a snow storm (Major Payne).” I was sure that Destiny, from the infallible creators of the Halo franchise, would cement itself as one of the most memorable games of the past and present generation. Unfortunately, I was right.

While Destiny is an addictive experience with a great gameplay foundation, is frustrating flaws and disappointing narrative left me bitter that I had dropped $30 for the DLC. When the new content finally arrived, I was even more upset to find out that not only was the new content just more of the same thing, but it was already on the disk! I just had to pay to unlock it! You know what, Activision and Bungie? Lesson learned. Thank you. I may not save $5 for preordering DLC ahead of time, but I will save my dignity… and my sanity.

4. Don’t Buy AAA Games Week 1

driveclubWhat can I say that already hasn’t been said a thousand times this past year? Not much to be honest. The end of 2014 was a train-wreck with all the broken games that were released. Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Drive Club,  Assassins Creed: Unity, NBS2K15Dragon Age: Inquisition, Little Big Planet 3, and Sonic Boom are all guilty of this crime against gamers. I remember a time, long ago, when games were released completed, polished, and working. Sadly, the age of money-hungry publishers and day-1 patches has left many gamers wary of their most anticipated games. I must be fair and say that most publishers and developers are honest, good people. Sadly, the few that only have their own interests at heart lead us to doubt the whole.

I understand the difficulty in saying “no” to buying games on their release date. I do! I’m as guilty as anyone for not having the willpower to resist the games that are paraded in front of us for years. When you sit through two years of trailers and gameplay footage for games that you’re desperate for, it’s hard to wait when you know it’s sitting on the GameStop shelf just waiting for you. However, while waiting an extra week may be frustrating, buying a broken game will be even more so. Am I saying that I will never buy a game on day 1? No. I know that this is not a realistic goal for myself, but it is something that I will try to apply as a guideline for my future purchases. Video games can get expensive, so it’s important for us to be wise about what we spend our hard-earned money on… and what we don’t.

3. Don’t Give Antagonists Attention

cartmanFor those gaming enthusiasts who are as active in social outlets as they are on their gaming platforms, 2014 was truly a year of disappointments. Not only did we have to deal with frustration of games and those involved in the gaming industry that let us down, but we also had to put up with the many antagonists and trolls who just made things worse. Don’t misunderstand me, because there is a big difference between the fun, playful trolls and those with a cruel intent to insult, frustrate, and hurt others. Similarly, there is also a big difference between having a civil, open-minded disagreement and arguing with an angry, closed-minded jerk.  The time has come for us to learn to take a stand, ignore those who feed on our frustration, and stop fueling the fire of ignorance. Enough said!

2. Keep an Open Mind to Indies

transistorFor a long time, I could never quite move beyond just having a faint interest in independent games. I have always been encouraged by the thought of indie developers creating their own games, and I always recognized the importance of this community. However, I never personally found any interest in the games coming from the indie scene. It’s not that the games weren’t great, but I had been conditioned by marketing and the gaming community to only recognize AAA titles as “worthy of my time.” When the current generation consoles were announced, I made a pledge to myself to really give indie games a try and change my perspective. It was my experience with Supergiant Games’ Transistor at E3 2013 that brought about this entire change in my thinking.  If I hadn’t given indies a chance, I would have missed out on one of my favorite games of all time.

2014 was not the best year for AAA titles, but it was a phenomenal year for indie games. For many like me, games such as Transistor, Shovel Knight, Broken Age, Banner Saga, Five Nights at Freddy’s, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and This War of Mine are only a handful of incredible games that, in my opinion, saved 2014. With the quality of indie games reaching the level that they did this past year, to pass on such titles such as these is tantamount to torturing oneself through self-deprivation. In fact, many of my favorite games of 2014, including my top two picks, were indie titles. Now, with 2015 looking to be an even bigger year for indies, I cannot encourage gamers enough to do what I have done. If you love great games, you must stop saying “no” to these incredible indie treasures.

1. Don’t Say No to Other Consoles

ConsoleWarsConsole wars… are hell. In console wars, there is no winner, only the tragedy of those who “choose a side” and fail to recognize the wonders that await them on the other side of the battlefield. The truth is, we need multiple console manufacturers in order to drive innovation forward and push cost for consumers down. Many people, including myself, have dreamed of a day when only one console would exist, but that pipe dream would actually be a nightmare if it came to pass. The last thing the gaming industry needs is one console having a monopoly over the market and dictating the future of video games. That said, it is time for us to lay down our arms and shake hands with our brothers and sisters that we’ve battled against for so long. After all, the only people that those fighting this battle are hurting… is themselves.

2014 was a fascinating year for gaming consoles as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One went head to head in a bloody match to the death, while the Wii U stood in a ring alone, beating itself. Strangely enough, all three walked away winners. In fact, Nintendo surprised many in the gaming community by delivering several of the best games of 2014. (Whether or not the Wii U is doomed in the long run is a different discussion entirely.) If we’ve learned anything from 2014, it is that we should never say never to any console. The list of incredible exclusives like InFamous: Second Son (PS4), Sunset Overdrive (Xbox One), and the plethora of great Wii U titles like Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart 8, or Super Smash Bros is only going to grow as first-party developers roll out many more essential games over the next several years. My advice? If you can get all three systems, do it! If you can only get two, then get a PS4 or Xbox One and a Wii U. If you can only get one console… start eBay-ing your stuff until you can afford another one.

Be sure to let us know your thoughts on 2014 and 2015 in the comment section below!

About The Author

Derrick D
Editorial/Reviews Writer

Derrick has been an avid gamer since before he even started kindergarten. He is a video games enthusiast first and foremost and has a unconditional love for the gaming industry. His fun-loving personality, wide array of experiences, as well as his background in gaming and the film industry have helped him to develop a unique perspective that is always thoughtful and invariably entertaining.