The Stranded 5Th Anniversary
Yesterday marked five years since I made an account on WordPress and wrote my first post here. Fittingly, it was on pinball. Within a couple of weeks, a bunch of us were hangin’ out here, waiting with open arms to welcome the Charger, the Spitter, and the “I’m weiner-ed!” Jockey in the L4D sequel.
Lots has happened since then. Gears of War Three was released to much hype and expectation, and by Christmas, only two months later, no one was playing it except for Kenny and Zender. I guess that single dedicated server in CliffyB’s closet wasn’t the panel van of candy he was hoping for.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 took everyone by surprise, especially me. I thought the Frostbite engine with its cel-shading effect was ugly, until I played the demo (with paddles unlocked). I ended up playing that demo more than I have played most of the games on my shelf. The game proper came shortly after, and even with the stink of EA’s “VIP Pass”, most of us continued to play it. Indeed, one of my all time favorite gaming memories is playing BF:BC2 and running up the jungle road on Laguna Presa with ELEVEN other green and blue nametags flashing above the soldiers’ heads, all of whom were friends. Such an epic moment in Stranded gaming.
Since then, I wrote my piece on the Gamer Appeal Profile, something I am still proud of and completely convinced of its relevance to getting and keeping gamers playing a single title. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is the most recent example of wide-appeal design. Even a gamer with a greatly impoverished sense of humor and gaming skills can have fun.
Grymm’s output has slowed of late, but he has also kept us entertained with his videos and music.
And, of course, there was a wedding, in fact, there were two. But facebook stole most of that thunder, as it continues to do with most events, including the addition of a very short person this past year.
(I don’t say that bitterly. The benefits of not being on facebook so outweigh the good that could ever come of “being networked”, it is a price I am and will be willing to pay daily for the rest of my life. It reminds me of the scene in Band of Brothers when the old man interviewed says 50 years after the fact, “I still wake up glad I am not in the (frozen) forests of Bastogne”.)
Over the years, there have been many epic posts and comments, but the one I remember best is from Kenai in response to the announcement of the Vietnam Expansion for BC2:
“Oh…. We ARE buying these maps!
I play like… 4 games
BC2, Reach, Gears and Left 4 Dead.
I BUY maps. I just do.”
Every time the boys and I are tottering on the fence about a game related purchase, someone says, “I buy maps. I just do.” That, or they start using “Kenny Math”, “I had a coupon, and two gift certificates, so it only cost me 6 dollars!”
Just this weekend, Cornie started listing the number of games 2GN has already bought on their Ones. A few more and it will be in the double digits. Not bad for a crew that didn’t plan on buying more than two or three games a year.
The new consoles finally came out. With the latest update, the One OS is finally nearing the place where the 360 left off. Admittedly, things can get crazy (good) from here on out because of the foundational architecture. Remember Apple abandoning OS9 and changing to NeXT with OSX? 12 years and they haven’t looked back once.
I do have a single concern about this Next Gen, however. With the flood of new games, and all the non-gaming options available, are the communities going to be large enough to support the plethora of MPvs lobbies? Seriously, for those who think the 100+ maps for the Master Chief Collection is going to be awesome, you might want to be sure that you have another 7 friends buying the game. Halo games have never had bots…only quitters. LOL (sorry, I couldn’t resist). On the other hand, if you have a crew to play with, set up the private lobbies and don’t come out till The Division is released.
There have been some disappointments. In fact, there have been so many, that I am no longer the angry gamer I once was (NextGen Hardware rants aside).
Caveat emptor and all that.
Still, after what Gearbox, Overkill, and Splash Damage did to A:CM, Payday 2, and Brink, respectively, I suspect I won’t be buying any more games from those specific “developers”.
AT the other end of the spectrum there is Diablo 3, and while that may hold more sway for some than others, there is no denying the longevity of that polished gem. I am genuinely happy for Blankman because it is a system seller. It is literally worth the price of the One for just that game. (I was wishing BF4 would have been that for me.)
For movies, there really hasn’t been anything in the last five years that made me want to buy a DVD, but in TV, we saw AMC’s Breaking Bad. There was a rumor started this weekend that a Sixth Season was in the works, and what surprised me was my willingness to change the ending of the 5th in my head so that a 6th would actually be possible. So great was my desire to see Jesse and Walt again. (The rumor was ridiculous to begin with, but was also immediately nuked, from orbit, just to be sure.)
What will the next five years bring? Well, certainly graduation for a number of our children. It may even bring some more weddings, and/or children! It only takes an instant to fall in love, and it only takes nine months to have a bouncing baby boy or girl!
As for games, there are some really shiny prospects: The Division, Rainbow Six:Siege, and Evolve to name the soonish ones. Halo 5 might deliver as might Gears of War Four. 343 has proven that fans can make a better product than the original creators.
Tonight, we did our part to let Microsoft know that they want to support digital pre-order downloading. Sunset Overdrive is pre-installed on two of our machines, ready to be played as soon as it is unlocked. The day J&T leave for Canada, C is having a friend over and they are gonna play all night. For those who liked Tony Hawk games, it seems like a no brainer.
Here’s to an even better five more years! Catch you in the party!