2014: A year in review from the couch

By Stephan Bazzocchi

Wow. The end of 2014 is upon us already.
First, the formalities. Happy whatever it is you celebrate in the way you celebrate or don’t – I think I have covered all possibilities with that blanket statement.
Growing up I never much thought about 2014 or 2015 for that matter. The year 2000 was the magical number that always stirred my imagination. But here we are.
This time of year is filled with hopes of new consoles or games wrapped in glittering paper or fast downloads, and the never-ending year-in-review posts all over the Internet.
Yes, this is one of those articles; no, it’s not about all the controversial/disheartening/bloody stuff that’s happened in the past year. You can get that fix somewhere else. Instead, I offer a view of some positive introspection, hoping that you too, dear reader, take some time to see how you’ve grown and developed over the past year.
Of course, being a pretty consistent gamer (I’ve logged 23 hours in EVE this past weekend, what did you accomplish!), I have my own sources of self-analysis.
Turn-based games
Let’s start with some turn-based games. This year, I purchased both Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land and XCom: Enemy Unknown. Growing up, I played quite a few – everything from the original Dungeons and Dragons games to the Age of Empires series.
As I’ve grown, so has the complexity of this style of gaming. They’ve taught me logic and cause and effect to a pretty serious degree. Granted, I was pretty rusty at the beginning of the year, but just like riding a bike, those thinking processes reawaken pretty quickly, and continue to grow sharper with every play.
Don’t bother with all those other brain games. Set these ones up in the retirement home and the effects would be astounding.
Once you delve headfirst into some pretty serious themes, you need to counter that. What would life be without any amount of silliness in it? It would be pretty boring and monotonous, especially for someone who has loved the likes of Monty Python since I was a wee lad growing up in a shoebox (you know the rest).
Goat Simulator
What better way to get silly and have some laughs than with Goat Simulator (now with more goats and a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) update), and Gary’s Mod. Both these games reminded me of my love of things like the Ministry of Silly Walks, goats, and just pure lunacy the likes of what most people have never seen.
I haven’t had a chance to check out the MMO update for Goats yet; maybe that might be put on a list of New Year’s resolutions.
Kerbal Space Program
And lastly, I remembered to keep on dreaming, thanks to some little green guys and their little space program. If you haven’t heard, development is hitting final beta. Like Kerbals, I look at the stars every night and hope that maybe one day in my lifetime I might make it up there.
This little game has reignited that passion for the cosmos. It refueled my passion for playing EVE. It also taught me once again, that things don’t always work out the first time; you need to just add more struts and more boosters, and try again. Most people call that perseverance – I call it being like Jeb Kerman.
So among all the feasts, beverages, family, and presents, take some time and look at your gaming habits. See how they made you grow this year, because I am pretty sure that they did.

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