Posts Tagged ‘home’

Best of 2017: Top 5 Game Consoles

At this time of year, as people look back on the 12 months that were and attempt to make sense of them, it’s not uncommon to hear phrases like “It was a year of two halves”. Well, this is a list of two halves. Or it would be if you could divide five in half cleanly. You know what I mean.

By the standards I use to make this short list every year (quality of exclusive gaming releases, features and/or general usability improvements), two major gaming consoles had a pretty dour 2017, two had an absolutely incredible 2017, and one in the middle surprised a lot of people with its tenacious refusal to die. Even outside the spheres of online fanboy arguments, there were some clear winners and losers when it came to videogame consoles in 2017. It was a truly fascinating year to be an observer of the console gaming space, let alone a participant in it.

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VR BEST OF 2017 DISCLAIMER

This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s strange. Intriguing, but strange. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.

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5. PlayStation Vita

(LAST YEAR: 4th)

Some might question why I even see fit to include the PS Vita on this list anymore. After all, by this point Sony’s most recent portable has been declared either dead or dying for most of its actual life. Such a narrative continues to echo (faintly, it must be said) throughout a general gaming community that has long since written it off. In a year that saw the debut of the Nintendo Switch, a handheld so rich in quality indie and Japanese games that some have taken to calling it the “Vita 2”, plenty of Vita die-hards finally pulled the plug on Sony’s little beast. All things considered, the Vita’s 2017 records shows a much lower output of the fresh indie games, JRPGs and visual novels that were once its bread and butter. There were some exceptions of course – Stellar portable versions of Undertale, Danganronpa V3 and Ys VIII gave the Vita some semblance of relevance over the Switch at times throughout the year, if only for a small community of gamers – but with such a dripfeed of indie support and the (tragically) dwindling mainstream relevance of PSN trophy-hunting, the truly wondrous Playstation Vita may finally be on its last legs. Like, actually. For real this time.

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New Experiences, Served Steamed

When it comes to videogames, I’ve always been a console guy. In terms of priorities when choosing how I want to play games, it has always been handhelds first, then home consoles. PC games have rarely, if ever, featured at all. That’s just the way it is. Real Time Strategy titles and MOBAs aren’t my thing and just about every other worthwhile title that comes to PC also hits the home console market in due time. Less hassle. Increasingly often, they also come to the Playstation Vita, which is an even better place to play them if you ask me. And yet late last year, I finally got a Steam account and bought a game on PC.

Why, you may ask? The short answer is Samurai Gunn, a four-player pixelated brawler I knew would eventually come to PS4 in the long run but just looked so good that I downloaded it through Steam anyway. Countless hours of ridiculous fun with friends followed, but Samurai Gunn just isn’t all that great to play solo and my Steam account was looking a little bare. So I picked up a $50 retail Steam voucher and decided to dive into some of the low-tech PC games I had seen on the big-name Game of the Year lists last year. That $50 bought me the following three games, with precisely three cents to spare. Here are my brief thoughts on them:

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable is the kind of game that could probably only work on PC. A first person experience that both is and isn’t a game, The Stanley Parable digs its self-aware tendrils into every crevice of the gamer’s specifically-trained brain and dances around gleefully. Its designers evidently anticipated just about every possible way the average player would attempt to outsmart it, up to and including editing bits of the game’s code, which just shows another level of attention to detail. To say any more would be to ruin some of the game’s appeal, but I will mention that no game has ever made me feel so foolish for being so dedicated to the endless chase of Trophies /Achievements etc.

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