Opinion: Why 2013 Was Such A Great Year In Gaming

2013 was an intense roller coaster ride of a year, filled with highs and lows right from beginning to end. Not only was I player/coach of my hometowns returning footy side. It was also my first year as a home owner with a daunting amount of debt weighing over my head. Each day as I fronted up to my day job, I needed something to keep me enthused and something to look forward too. Apart from coming home each day to the amazing love of my dearest partner, I had video games. gahsh

Video games have always been a huge passion of mine and to many of my mates, my name and PlayStation are synonymous. 2013 was an amazing year of games and for me personally I bought 4 consoles. An updated PS3 after my original unfortunately succumbed to the “yellow light of death”. A PS2 to relive some of the gaming glory days with my dearest brother and a PS Vita, fortunately I found both for a steal on eBay. Finally my last purchase was the PS4.

I still remember the day that the PS4 was announced. I was working on site, in a location that had next to nothing in terms of phone reception. Every chance I got I was trawling anywhere for news on the details of the announcement in a desperate attempt to my feed my curiosity. From that day, I knew 2013 was going to be an amazing year for gamers worldwide.

In the meantime gamers were treated to some brilliant games to keep their appetite going until the looming drop of the “next gen” consoles. For example God of War: Ascension, a prequel to the series and a solid entry. Leading up to May and the pending release of Injustice, a game I had long waited for (anyone who knows me is well aware of my passion for superpowers and heroes). I remember one Sunday afternoon as I was watching the under 18’s game of the club I coached, my phone was chiming with the alert of an email. The email was the notification of a chance to write here on Press-Start, where through the conversation we concluded that Injustice would be used as my trial piece. The 18s had finished and I was gearing up to take my newly formed side against perhaps the most physically dominant side of the competition.

Injustice had launched (early) and I had submitted my trial piece. To my excitement I was accepted. Although I had never excelled at English in school, I was now taking the first steps to do something that I had long wanted to do with my life, writing about video games. I knew I needed this next step in life after footy because at the ripe age of 23 my impact ridden body was already falling apart. This was my chance to share my passion with the world at the best of my ability.

After learning the ropes and submitting my first features and news articles, I was handed my first official review, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger and what a smack from the blind side that was, a great title with a great amount of charm aptly suiting the western genre. Throughout the course of the year gamers worldwide were treated to highs and lows. Games like Insomniacs “Fuse” and High moon Studios “Deadpool”. Then in June, the world was rocked with the release of Naughty Dogs “The Last of Us”, a game that drew such emotional investment from my partner and myself. It was something the world had never seen before. I gave it not only a well-deserved perfect score, but also my game of the year. It is a fantastic game.

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As I mentioned before I had purchased a PS2 to power through some of those great gaming moments that I experienced by myself and also with my brother. Ploughing through many multiplayer hours on James Bond’s Night Fire and boosting around the tracks of Jak X. The greatest memories of gaming for me will always be of the two Zelda games on Nintendo 64. Throughout the beginning of 2013 I got a quick run through of Ocarina of Time, a game that still to this day never fails to capture my imagination. Around August after what concluded one of the most stressful football seasons of my career, I was blessed to get half a run through of Majora’s Mask with my beloved baby brother. By half I mean we only just got Epona back. He played whilst I was the aggressively productive guidance to the team. These hours shared under the light of the screen are just some of the moments that have drawn us together and forged a bond that all brothers should have.

Leading up to the launch of the PS4 I decided I would get a PS Vita. Sony were staying strong with their advertisements for remote play and I was more than interested. In the mean time I got on board with the indie powerhouse it had become and followed suit with some of Sony’s franchises that had made their debuts on the Vita, such as Resistance and Uncharted. From the moment I powered this portable up, I was made instantly aware of just how much power this little beast contained. It really is a shame that it has and still continues to be a bit more than slow out of the starting blocks.

Leading up to what felt would be my PS3’s final hoorah, I had got my hands on Batman Arkham Origins. I lived through the earlier games of the series and had basically done the same with this. Getting to the point that I could see grapple gun possibilities on the skeleton frame of the factory I was working on, plus I had gotten over the 13 flights of stairs whilst carrying my tools very quickly.

Finally, after what had felt like lifetime, on the 29th of November the PS4 had finally released. Alarms and alerts were going off all around me. I had tuned in everything to go off in celebration of this momentous occasion. As soon as my pre-order was available I raced down the street, politely picked it up, trying my absolute best to contain my excitement as I raced back to my car, safely buckled it in the passenger seat and cautiously made my way home.

After carefully un-wrapping it and bestowing it on its new mantle I powered it up and dived right into Knack with my wonderful partner. Knack was an interesting game that we both enjoyed but during the course of our co-op adventure I came to realise that like the gaming experiences I shared with my brother, the experiences shared with my partner had forged an even stronger relationship between us.

That is what gaming does, it has the power to bring people together and strengthen their individual relationships. It can create new friendships through the power of online gaming or even at your local video game store. I am infinitely grateful I am in the position I am in where I have not only the opportunity to play all these wonderful games but also to express and share my passion of them with potentially the world. With this driving force and the uncharted steps of the newly released PS4 I cannot wait to see what the future holds.