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2015 GoTY – Ark:SE

January 3, 2016

There is always an element of hyperbole involved in choosing a Game of the Year. Yesterday, however, after taking out a giant eagle, just to fly around a bit and see the sights because, you know, YOU CAN, and then later jumping on its quicker, but less substantial reptilian brethren, the Pteranodon to go mine some metal off a neighboring peak, after witnessing Blanky, Taifu, and Kenai pass through the Behemoth Gate on their T-Rex to go on a “meat run”, and later seeing them in the river valley stomping on the sandy shores as the sun set, eating anything and everything that came across their paths, there was no longer any doubt in my mind. Yep. I am watching Cornie play the Game of the Year.

For those of you who might be skeptical, I understand your doubt. So I had some almost “religious” experiences playing and even just watching the game. So what. Lots of games provide fantastic “water-cooler” moments. Why should Ark get all the glory? After all, it is darn near impossible even just to find an open server, isn’t it? Yes, it is.

But you know what, even in all its Alpha roughness (for which we got a reduced price), I can only think of two major problems with the game: a dearth of servers (with no queuing system) and framerate issues. Sure, the UI could be better, and I am sure it will get better, as will the major issues I just mentioned.

The fact is, however, not being able to play a game is nothing new to this “Next Gen” experience we have had for the past two years. Just last night, Blank and rED gave up trying to play AC:Unity, a game that has been out for over a year now. Servers were down. The online MP features of Halo 5 and Battlefront are completely useless to Cornie and I if we are not escorted into a lobby by a friend residing in North America. What’s worse, EA’s Battlefront doesn’t even offer anything more than a few short training missions for the offline gamer. At least Ark offers a fully-featured single player game! So, if the negatives kind of cancel each other out in this modern gaming world, one must consider the positives.

In Ark, you fight just to survive. Then, when you do survive, you hunt, explore, design, build, tame, destroy, negotiate, cooperate, compete, help, learn, and grow in knowledge and (s)kills. I have been rescued by giant flying eagles not once, but twice, in two nights. Not something to brag about, but when events from some of the greatest literature ever written spontaneously unfold before your eyes, the ego takes a back seat to the desire to share. I didn’t just dream about the game, I woke up several times in the middle of the night wanting to play it.

Picking Game of the Year is always a very subjective undertaking, especially when you have played as few games as I have. So, feel free to disagree with me and tell me all about all the other games you think are better. I love learning about games, especially good ones that I haven’t tried. In the meantime, I will just look forward to the next time I can jump in with Cornie and whoever else is available and say, “Let’s Ride!” as I mount an eagle and take to the skies.

Thanks to Kenai, Seth, and Luke for doing all the heavy lifting so that we could see past the first hours of hard labor and into the true fun of it all. Great to see this kind of experience finally making it to the consoles. Gamers win!

Check here for our previous coverage which includes links to helpful sites.

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10 Comments
  1. January 4, 2016 2:14 am

    no doubt. I know there’s not many survival games on console but I think it is still a great game among PC survival games.

    It’s addictiveness is there and the MMO component, but it’s been surprisingly to find so many watercooler moments.

    There’s depth in the mechanics and the expirience transforms in phases, the key is the evolution. Is not a simple toy box.

    Also this:

    https://news.xbox.com/2015/12/29/whats-next-for-ark-survival-evolved/

    There are no survers because we passed PC daily counts.

  2. Blankman permalink*
    January 4, 2016 8:31 pm

    R.I.P. Colonel Dom “T-Rex” & Cornie’s eagle (cue the playing of Taps). Dom went on a solo meat run & decided to take on an alpha T-Rex which he mistook as an “alpha raptor.” That’s why you don’t go on solo meat runs. Seth takes Cornie’s eagle to recover the saddle & he winds up flying too low to the alpha. Chomp chomp. Worst. Meat. Run. Ever. At least the alpha T-Rex’s belly is full.

    • January 4, 2016 10:11 pm

      Sorry Cornie. We’ve got your saddle back though…. πŸ™‚ If you tame one, feel free to take my saddle and we’ve got yours in our locker. Remember to fly a bird to find a bird, have it chase you back to the base and have your guys ready to shoot. Cheers!!

      P.s. Great post Suns! P.p.s. Blank and I were rolling as the events unfolded. Kenny blurts out, “Next T-Rex Dom gets, we’re naming it…. Alpha Raptor”!!

    • January 4, 2016 11:22 pm

      Sure, you can laugh about it when it isn’t happening to you! I can just imagine the screams and cries as Dom got taken out, and then Seth got torn from the skies!

      Just getting attacked by a guy on a frog had Kenny screaming like a school girl yesterday! πŸ˜‰ I kid, frog man had a friend on a T-Rex, and for people with a conscience, getting someone else’s pet killed is worse than losing your own. Kenny was afraid Little John was going to get taken out, and that is Kenai’s favorite Carno.

      So epic! I probably spent 60 minutes writing up stories to tell my friend Mark. Cornie won’t mind about the Eagle (and great stuff getting the Saddle back!). Cornie would mind if Susie Smithereens were taken out though. It is so much more meaningful when one has taken the time to tame it.

      I am going to start a new thread where we can update each other via text for the times when we cannot actually tell each other “in person”.

      LOVE this game!!!!!!

  3. January 4, 2016 11:26 pm

    It may be time for The Stranded to go into Podcast mode:

    “Tales By The Fire”

    Tell the tales. Going back to listen and remember would be hilarious.

  4. January 5, 2016 10:23 am

    I can’t wait for the update that makes it so we can actually play other times than 2am-6am PST. :p

    Seriously though, I am back to the apocalypse schedule, so gaming will be very slim on weekdays (if at all). Which pretty much makes it impossible for me to play this game.

    The more I hear these stories, the more this game reminds me of “Rust”. I think there really is a lot of potential for the game to continue to grow in content.

  5. Herandar permalink
    January 5, 2016 7:16 pm

    Alright, I purchased the game about an hour ago.

    • January 5, 2016 7:31 pm

      Herandar! Haul your Level One ass over to NA server 67. Jump into the Stranded Party Chat and someone will either come pick you up, or die and spawn near you to welcome you into the Tribe. Then pick up an ax and earn your keep! πŸ˜‰ Cheers! This one is a keeper, if we don’t all get sick and lose our jobs, homes, and Internet connections in the meantime.

      and @ Zos. NOOOOOooooo! We will be looking for you on the weekends. Join in, even as a level one. Now that the holidays are over, it seems to be a little easier to get on the server. Hopefully that will be the same for the weekends.

  6. Herandar permalink
    January 6, 2016 9:43 am

    Back on original topic, the game I enjoyed the most in 2015 was an old free game with gold: Valiant Hearts: The Great War. Don’t think it’s eligible to be GotY, and not any replay value, truly, but I REALLY liked it.

    • January 6, 2016 3:53 pm

      Thanks for the heads-up on that one. I downloaded it, but never played it.

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