The year’s end is upon us and it wouldn’t be right and just if we didn’t go through some of the stuff that really let us down over the course of the past twelve months.
So, without further ado, and before time is called on 2016, Trevor, Maz, Thomas, and Neil, talk disappointment, bitter, bitter, disappointment.
This is an easy one. Destiny fans will probably understand. My biggest disappointment of the year was Festival of the Lost. As a Year 2 player, I wasn’t around for the first one. It sounded like a special kind of bonkers fun – kill things, get candy, exchange candy for paper masks, wear masks to look like Crota or Atheon or whatever.
It turned out to be an exercise in milking microtransactions for all they’re worth. Enormous disappointment. I had all of the masks that I could collect without spending actual money within a couple of hours of playing, there was no grind to enjoy, and I was terribly, terribly sad. Plus, I wanted the Ghost Ghost with all of my heart and I had to pay real money to get it. Curses, vexation and damnation.
At least Bungie learned from the fiery, burning rage that haunted reddit and their forums and streamer commentary on the Festival, and redeemed themselves gloriously with The Dawning. They fixed Christmas, sure, but they buggered up Halloween.
Srsly Bungo – I wanted a Ghost with a little sheet draped on top of his little Ghost head and it was locked behind a wall made from real-world money. For that, there can be no forgiveness. (Look how goddamn adorable it is. *sob*)
No Man’s Sky – This was a game that I had had pre-ordered for a while, and ever since I had seen the footage of Hello Game’s NMS at E3 a few years ago I was hooked. It brought to life everything that I didn’t know I wanted from a video game and ignited my love of space travel all over again. As a child I would watch Star trek and wish I could surf the skies on my very own star ship. I looked to the skies in the evening and wonder what was out there that I could find on my humble little ship with a crew compliment of me, myself and I…
So when No Man’s Sky was finally released I gobbled it up. I spent hours attempting to answer distress calls, scanning the sparse environment for lifeforms that I could name; planets were given random names true to any star trek fan… Viridian V, Elipio III… the possibilities were endless… until I landed on yet another pink barren planet and struggled to find even the simplest of resources to get my overly upgraded ship of the ground… yet another warp core gobbled up for me to find a star system that was toxic with nothing to indulge the space faring needs I had.
The game was lonely… I hate Massive Multiplayer games, so this wasn’t my problem… but where were the colonies I could interact with? How could this procedurally generated game be so… empty?
This was certainly not what I had paid for… I spent hours traveling away from the centre of the universe hoping to find something of worth, and when that gave me nothing, I spent hours traveling back, hoping that the closer I got the more life I would find…. Maybe there was something I was missing, maybe this game was so huge I was still in its infancy and that the next warp core would deposit me into lush green field of galloping Bunniesaurus’ that I could frolic with…
The simple truth of matter is that no matter how many hours I put into that game, the resources were sparse, the life barren and the fun questionable… a game that could have been the answer to my childhood dreams became just another game to sit on my shelf forgotten…
Nostalgia. It had a good run. 1996-2016. RIP. It got the dysentery. But it died choking on the piece of ox dung that was The Oregon Trail Card Game. I should caveat this category a bit to be not only Disappointment of the Year, but also Most Likely To Be A Disappointment, like those things we voted on in our high school yearbooks. My classmates voted me most likely to live in my mom’s basement. Ha! Guess what? Now I write for a nerdy websi…
The Oregon Trail Card Game was that guilty purchase I made in the back alley behind the local Target, too ashamed was I to show my face to the cashier. I took it home, said a quick prayer to the Macintosh gods, and tore off the shrink. There were, surprisingly, lots of good ideas in this game, it’s just that they were all half-baked. Sure there was hand and resource management, but some of the resources only had two cards you could use them on. And some cards just straight up, unavoidably killed you. And you were out of the game, forced to watch your friends struggle on without you. Which was actually a blessing because it kept you from having to continue to play The Oregon Trail Card Game. I would have rather watched the ink dry when the cards were originally printed.
Having discovered how great Kickstarter is for finding new and interesting tabletop gaming options, to then have both the games I backed delay release by a couple of months was pretty disappointing, particularly as one was scheduled for a pre-Christmas release and would have been great family entertainment over the festive period. I don’t know if this is commonplace with KS projects but it definitely proves a dampener on the spirits.
I’m new to board games, and even newer to Kickstarter, but I see it as a fantastic way for designers to get their ideas out there where they might have previously gone unseen. However, in a day and age when waiting five seconds to skip a YouTube ad is infuriating, waiting five months for a game to land, and then an additional two encapsulates disappointment. Perhaps it’s modern life that disappoints, and the fact that I’ve lost all patience and want everything right away.
This isn’t exactly a 2016 thing, but, the price of getting a ticket on the virtual reality train is a little disappointing, if not exactly unexpected. I know it’s new technology and high price points go hand in hand with such, but to chance getting on-board with something that might yet fizzle out is a massive gamble. I’ve already been bitten by the failure of Dreamcast, and HD-DVD, and it seems 3D TV sets have become something of a fad, so although the thought of playing in virtual reality appeals, the pricing makes it pretty unrealistic right now.
Finally, I come to The Walking Dead. Somewhere around the middle of the latest run it dawned upon me that the only time this season had any sort of electricity and energy to it was when Negan was on screen. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was such a presence, so ridiculously charismatic and terrifying all wrapped up in a leather jacket and a shit eating grin, that everything else seemed tame and boring by comparison.
The episode where Tara was centre stage lacked any sort of impact, and at times bordered on the ridiculous, Daryl had his balls chopped off right until he let loose with an iron bar in the last episode, Rick bore the weight of the opening ‘Lucille skull crusher’ episode throughout the entire run, everything that took place at the Kingdom lacked spark, and Carl, well, Carl was just as annoying as shit, but then that’s par for the course. The season was carried on the shoulders of Negan, a truly magnificent character, it’s just a shame he couldn’t have been in every damned scene!