The time has come to bid a fond farewell to 2014 and to embrace the bright future of 2015. Recently, Allen and I were discussing just that, and we determined that we should start naming each year, with a focus on gaming. Of course, 2013 was The Year of Luigi, there was no question there. But what about 2014? It would be easy to look back and say it was The Year of Smash. Or perhaps, it was The Year of Destinies. Or maybe, it was the Year of Another CoD, the Year of the Zelda Reveal, or for some of you out there, the Year that Gaming Stood Still. But this article isn’t about you, reader. It’s about me. So the question at hand is, what was last year all about for me?
A BLEAK PREDICTION
Twenty-fourteen was the year that began with a thousand questions. If you don’t believe me, just go check out Episode 10 of our Podcast, where we looked forward at the next twelve months before us in both anticipation… and apprehension. It is no secret that, here at Turtle Jump, we fancy ourselves Nintendo Fanboys. This is undeniable in the light of our backlog of episodes, of which more than half are based on games played exclusively on Nintendo consoles. With that being said, January 2014 found both of us in a state of concern for the gaming company of our hearts. Since the launch of the Wii U, Nintendo had dug themselves in a financial and critical pit of despair. Sales for the home console were abysmal, gaming websites took to the interwebs to poke fun at them every chance they got, and even the dyed-in-the-wool fanbase, like us, found themselves shaking their heads and averting their eyes. Reading each new piece of press concerning the Wii U was like witnessing a car accident: unbearable to watch, but impossible to look away.
This time last year, I was a stalled gamer. I’d enjoyed my time playing Super Mario 3D World, but essentially every other game I turned to left me with a sour taste. The landscape of Gaming was not what I thought it would be. The Xbone and PS4 had landed, but to little or no effect. Call of Duty wasn’t enough to sell me a console. There were just no games out there to play. Nothing was calling to me anymore, I had no drive to go out. I walked into stores like GameStop and left without even considering a purchase. There was nothing to entice me, to draw me in, and I felt myself slipping away from the medium altogether.
THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED
By the time June arrived, I’ll admit I had all but given up. We had already been given two consecutive E3’s that promised to show Nintendo’s hand and really turn things around for the Kyoto-based company. I went into last year’s conference with equal parts anticipation and dread.I certainly never saw it coming when they came out swinging with more new IP announcements than I can ever remember seeing from them at a single conference: Splatoon? Captain Toad? Mario Maker? All of these and more rekindled within me that fire that had dwindled down to no more than a flickering spark. Could we really be on the precipice of something unforgettable? Could Nintendo, going on their third year on a “doomed” console, turn things around for the better?
Yes. We could.
Maybe you disagree? Maybe you weren’t impressed by Nintendo’s outing, or by Sony’s, or Microsoft’s. As the summer wound down, I found myself fervently searching for news on my favorite gaming sites. I sat and watched gameplay videos, read journalist’s impressions on the hottest new titles, and even began expanding my horizons. In September, I purchased a Playstation 4, along with Destiny. And over the next two months, I was captivated by the pure, unadulterated fun of playing online with my partners in crime. I found myself falling for a FPS for the first time since Halo 2. I was a new man, driven by a need to play that I hadn’t felt in ages.
And that same fervor that drove me to my PS4 for Destiny has bled over into new games, new experiences, and a love for gaming that I feared I would lose until the next incarnation of Zelda. Destiny fed into Super Smash Bros. (for 3DS and Wii U). SSB fed into Dragon Age: Inquisition, which turned me on to a brand new franchise that I will now revisit for years to come. From Dragon Age I fell into A Dark Room (iOS), Majora’s Mask 3D, and Pokemon: Alpha Sapphire. Now I have a slew of games on my list for 2015, from Code Name S.T.E.A.M. to The Witcher 3, and there’s no end in sight.
Gaming is now more vibrant and alive to me than it has been since I was a young boy. Perhaps 2014 was, for you, the Year that The Media Killed Gaming. Maybe it was the year you lost interest, or the year you got too busy for games. For me? 2014 was The Rebirth of Gaming. From the remains of what was once my love for the gaming arose a fiery, majestic creature, bursting from the ashes and burning bright for all to see. One year later, the Gamer was Reborn in me.