2012 was a year of extremes. We had some of the biggest outcries and rage-fests in gaming history, both in terms of the games themselves and the culture around them. But for every terrible ending, misogynistic rant and farcical E3 presentation, we had wonderful, fresh and exciting titles coming out of nowhere like Journey, The Walking Dead and Dishonored and uplifting, positive acts from gamers such as the surge in Kickstarter funding and the most successful Desert Bus to date.
I'd also like to hand out a few little mini-Gav "awards" I feel deserve to be mentioned. Just my own take on a few of the year's events, people and products. I hope you enjoy them and whether you agree or disagree, feel free to let me know in the comments!
Annoying/Misused Words People Said A Lot In 2012 That Need To Go Away Forever
"All The Feels"
"He couldn't have gotten back to Gotham"
"OMG! Hashtag [Insert massive Walking Dead spoiler here]"
Let Down Of The Year - Resident Evil 6
Hammer the buttons and wiggle the sticks.
Album Of The Year - Koloss by Meshuggah
There's metal and then there's Meshuggah. Koloss is possibly the heaviest record I've ever heard in over 25 years of metal fandom. It makes me joyful.
Dumbest Descision By a Protagonist In a Cutscene 2012 - Agent 47
I'm in a vent, stealthily moving around. There's a massive tank of a man with a neck the size of South Dakota. I could just shoot him in the back of the skull with my silenced pistol, but just for shits and giggles I think I'll fuck up all the player's stealthy play so far try and strangle him with my puny piano wire. What could possibly go wrong?
Industry Villain of the Year: Deadlines
Every time I hear BioShock Infinite is getting delayed, I think, "Good. They're taking the time to get it right." I saw so many games this year that, had they been given more time by impatient, greedy publishers, had the potential to be masterpieces, or at least half decent as opposed to crud.
This trend bothers me because it reminds me of the music industry, churning out a conveyor belt of rushed, half-assed material which inevitably will end up in a cultural, creative stagnation. Publishers, give your developers a little more time. Stop yearly sequels. We love good games and we want to spend our money on them. But the more broken, buggy, unfinished products you give us, the less we will want to buy from you in the future.
Industry Badass of the Year: Jessica Merizan (Community Manager, BioWare)
If there was one un-enviable position in the industry this year, one would imagine Community Manager at BioWare would be it. The amount of misplaced fury and aggression aimed at people in the company would make most of us want to say "Fuck this" and disconnect our internet for a few days.
But time and time again on Twitter, on Facebook, on the various forums and social media, there was a calm voice of reason - reassuring, listening to and supporting heartbroken fans, taking notes and hearing what they wanted, always keeping a cool head when faced with some less-than-polite words. That voice was Jessica Merizan, a lady with the patience of a saint.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jess and the BioWare crew again at Comic Con this year and it honestly felt like vindication to see them chatting and partying with smiling, happy, adoring fans. Those guys worked their butts off this year and whatever your thoughts on the Mass Effect 3 you-know-what (more on that later), it would be folly to even consider for a moment that these people don't care about their fans. The internet has a loud voice but the love from the fans at Comic Con also spoke volumes. They have my massive respect.