2016 GamePunchers Non-Game Things of the Year

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So, in addition to games - which is, uh, what the show is about - we also had some picks for things non-game related for 2016. Let's get to the point, here are the picks:

Steve
Book: Horus Rising by Dan Abnett
Movie: Rogue One
Show: Game of Thrones
Gadget: PSVR (What the shit Steve, that's game related)
Music: DOOM Soundtrack

Jon
Comic: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan
Movie: Rogue One
Show: The Night Manager
Gadget: AirPods
Music: Coheed and Cambria - The Color Before the Sun

Fraser
Movie: Eddie the Eagle
Show: Narcos
Gadget: Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ Controller (runner up: a vacuum)
Music: The Orb - Chill Out World

Fish
Movie: Arrival
Show: Game of Thrones
Gadget: AirPods
Music: Frank Ocean - Blonde

Yep. So that's it. Now back to your regularly schedule video games.

2016 GamePunchers' Game of the Year

Once again we all locked ourselves away to discover what was hot and spicy in our year of gaming.  We used the same weighting system as we do every year, even though Steve tried to change it.  Never change. For anyone.

The top result was conclusive, but let's not downplay the showing by some slightly unexpected titles. 

Going from 5th to 1st for each we have ....

FISH - World of Warcraft: Legion, AM2R, Overwatch, Rez Infinite, Doom

STEVE - Gears of War 4, Battlezone VR, Deadly Tower of Monsters, The Last Guardian, Doom

JON - Firewatch, Gears of War 4, Titanfall 2, Doom, Uncharted 4

FRASER - Deadly Tower of Monsters, Stardew Valley, Ratchet & Clank, The Last Guardian, Doom

In third place - there is a few, Uncharted 4, Deadly Tower, Rez ....

In second place, and well deserved - The Last Guardian.   Trico!

And so, by the power invested in me in the state of Canuckistan, I now pronounce Doom and the Game of Year 2016, happily wedded somethings.

#YOLG The Year of Living Gamegerously. (we didn't make that name up)

For those of you who listened to Episode 169 or are tuned into our gaming community will know that Jon and Fraser have committed to working through a list of 30 (ish) games and getting them finished.  This list is more commonly known as a 'pile-of-shame'.

You can check out Robin Tate's blog (click the lady above if you prefer) to get a better understanding of the challenge and who is taking part.  Needless to say we are both excited, and we can tell you that having a little impetus to get you back to games you may have left at the roadside is a great thing.

Lists are as follows, along with status.

Note how Jon's is in alphabetical order. Snazzy.

FM

Halo 5 - COMPLETED
Titanfall 2
Pneuma - COMPLETED
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon - COMPLETED
Battlefield 1 - COMPLETED
The Witcher 3
Dead Rising 3
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime - COMPLETED
Fru
Assassins Creed Chronicles China - COMPLETED
Octodad - COMPLETED
The Witness
The Last Guardian - COMPLETED
Hotline Miami - COMPLETED
Ryse: Son of Rome
Fallout 4
Sniper Elite 4
Lara Croft GO - COMPLETED
Sunset Overdrive
Zombie Army Trilogy
Peggle 2 - COMPLETED
Transformers Devastation
QUBE - COMPLETED
Submerged
Battlefield Hardline
COD: World at War
Lara Croft: Temple of Osiris - COMPLETED
Deadly Tower of Monsters - COMPLETED
Little Big Planet 3 - COMPLETED
Grow Home - COMPLETED

 

JL

Alien: Isolation
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China
Batman (Telltale)    
Battlefield 4
Battlefield Hardline    
Beyond: Two Souls    
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
Deadlight - COMPLETED
Deadpool  
Dying Light
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim    
Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture    
Fallout 4    
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon       
God of War 3 Remastered    
GTAV    
Halo 4    
Heavy Rain
Infamous: Second Son    
Journey - COMPLETED
Life is Strange    
Mad Max    
Ori and the Blind Forest    
Ratchet and Clank    
Sunset Overdrive
Tales from the Borderlands    
Titanfall  2 - COMPLETED  
Unravel    
Wolfenstein: The New Order - COMPLETED
Zombie Army Trilogy

UPDATES (latest first)

Mar 6th 2017 - JL - As discussed on the show, and mirroring Fraser below, I made a few substitutions on my list. I had some massive time sinks on my list, that I do intend on finishing someday, but I needed to revise the list a bit to make my YOLG a bit more realistic of a goal. Coming off the list is Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, and The Witcher 3. Replacing those three are Assassin's Creed Chronicles: ChinaInfamous: Second Son, and Sunset Overdrive. The three of those combined essentially equals one Far Cry 4. Also, although I removed one game with a colon, I added two more... so there's that. Whatever that means.

Mar 6th 2017 - FM - I have removed The Crew and replaced it with Sniper Elite 4.  I never paid for The Crew (Games with Gold), and I really can't be bothered with a mission based driving game. I've already played Forza Horizon 3 this year.   I'm also swapping out Tales from the Borderlands as I apparently don't own the full version.  I'm replacing it with The Witness.  Not sure if that was wise or not.

Jan 19th 2017 - FM - A good run for me recently and REALLY enjoyed Hotline Miami.  Can't find my copy of COD:WAW.  May have to swap that out.  Also, my son has deleted my save on Grow Home.  I was at the end of the game.  Damn.

Jan 10th 2017 - JL - Alright, four checked off and still a lot of gameplay to go. Still pondering some substitutes for a couple of titles, will make that decision this week. Feels good to wrap up some of these games, even better to free up the hard drive space.

Jan 9th 2017 - FM - After much soul-searching, I am removing two games and replacing with different options.  Divinity: Original Sin needs to go, and so does Max: Curse of the Brotherhood.  Both have been given chances, but I can't bring myself to play them. I replace them with Ryse: Son of Rome, and Hotline Miami

Jan 3rd 2017 - FM - A few more games done. Of note is The Last Guardian which I received as a Christmas present and promptly finished in a few days.  It replaces Assassin's Creed Black Flag.  It turns out I don't own a game that was on my list.

Dec 22nd 2016 - JL - Two games down, 28 to go. I'm finding it difficult to chose what to tackle next, bouncing between games. Not the method I want to go with, I'd rather target one at a time and finish it up. Focusing on the smaller ones to parse down the list, leaving giants like Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 as the final bosses of my #YOLG. Playing Telltale's Batman on iOS, making it convenient to play anywhere. Thinking of pulling a Fraser and replacing Battlefield 4 to avoid that madness. TBD!

Dec 20th 2016 - FM - I fired up Divinity the other day.  I had no idea what was going on.  This game scares me. I know there is a great game in there, but what if I can't find it? It's the longest game on my list.  Maybe I will bite the bullet and replace it.

Dec 11th 2016 - FM - A high and a low from today.  Pneuma got finished, hooray.  I also decided to get stuck into Banner Saga 2.  I'm not gonna hate on it as it looks like a very polished game and has good feedback from players, but it's not my thing at all.  I will never finish it.  I'd rather stick pins in my eyes.  I had 31 games on my list, so I'm down to 30 (which is what it should be).  Net loss of zero.

Dec 9th 2016 - FM - Fired up Battlefield 4, only to find that about 2 hours of progress was not saved.  According to the interweb, this is a known problem with Battlefield 4's campaign.  Removed from the list and replaced with Lara Croft GO.  Hopefully the same happens with that piece of shit Battlefield Hardline.

Dec 8th 2016 - FM - Not content with finishing Deadly Tower of Monsters, I went back and platinumed that SOB.

 

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2015 GamePunchers Game of the Year

2015 GAME OF THE YEAR IS IN THE BAG!    If you want to listen to the show look for Episode 151 in the podcast list.

Here is a list of each presenter's choices from five to number one.

Fish - Heroes of the Storm / Axiom Verge / Undertale / MGS V Phantom Pain / Soma

Jon - Star Wars Battlefront / MGS V Phantom Pain / Batman Arkham Knight / Rise of the Tomb Raider / Until Dawn

Fraser - Zombie Army Trilogy / Captain Toad Treasure Tracker / Ori and the Blind Forest / Batman AK / MGS V Phantom  Pain

Steve - Fallout 4 / Witcher 3 / Batman AK / Dying Light / Wolfenstein The Old Blood

Sooooo...., if we give reverse points (five for 1st, four for 2nd etc..), and shuffle Steve's about so Batman doesn't win, we have the following interesting results.

- Only 3 games on our lists got repeat votes. That means between us, we voted for 15! different titles.  Vive la différence!

As such, we leave it to you to decide who should get 3rd place.  Put your own game in there if you want.

2nd - Even with a ton of criticism and a PC mess...  BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT 

but it's the pod's favourite....

1ST - METAL GEAR SOLID V : THE PHANTOM PAIN

We love you Snake!  (and Hideo!)


2014 GamePunchers / Bullshot Game of the Year

2015 GAME OF THE YEAR IS IN THE BAG. If you want to listen to the show look for episode 111 in the podcast list.

Here is a list of each presenter's choices from five to number one.

Jim - Mario Kart 8 / Monument Valley / Destiny / Hearthstone / Titanfall

Fish - Bayonetta 2 / Hearthstone / Alien Isolation / Talos Principle / Wolfenstein

Dave - Evil Within / Wolfenstein / Titanfall / Talos Principle / Shadow of Mordor

Jon - Monument Valley & Framed..WTF? / Hearthstone / Shadow of Mordor / Destiny / Diablo III

Fraser - Wolf Among Us / Shadow of Mordor / Wolfenstein / Hearthstone / Rust

Steve - Wolfenstein / Alien Isolation / Mario Kart 8 / Shadow of Mordor / Destiny

 

So, if we give reverse points (five for 1st, four for 2nd etc..), our joint top 5 (actually 6) looks like this.....

Joint 6th & 5th - Titanfall & The Talos Principle

4th - Wolfenstein The New Order

Joint 3rd & 2nd - Destiny & Hearthstone

1ST - Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

so there you go...again..

2013 GamePunchers / Bullshot Game of the Year

.. we just recorded the 2014 GOTY show, so what better time than now, to post up the results of last years 2013 meeting.  If you want to listen to the show look for episode 68 in the podcast list.

Here is a list of each presenter's choices from five to number one.

Jon - Ridiculous Fishing / Rogue Legacy / Bioshock Infinite / Brothers / Tomb Raider

Fish - The Swapper / AC IV Black Flag / Tomb Raider / Bioshock Infinite / Gone Home

Steve - The Swapper / Killzone Shadowfall / AC IV Black Flag / Tomb Raider / Last of Us

Dave - Brothers / Killer Instinct / DMC / Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon / Last of Us

Fraser - QuizUp / World of Tanks / Lego Marvel / Tomb Raider / The Swapper

Jim - Brothers / Gone Home / GTAV / Tomb Raider / Last of Us

 

So, if we give reverse points (five for 1st, four for 2nd etc..), our joint top 5 looks like this.....

JOINT 5th / 4th / 3rd - BIOSHOCK INFINTE, GONE HOME & THE SWAPPER

2nd - THE LAST OF US

1st - TOMB RAIDER

so there you go...


Games of the Generation Top 10

Episode 58 of our podcast was devoted to choosing our top 10 games of the last console generation.  In case you haven't listened (in which case you should), or if you have listened and need to see the list in print, see below.  Like most lists, this one is purely subjective on our part, and a lot of games were grudgingly put to the sword to get to these ones.  Check out the podcast to hear how we got this result, and feel free to drop us a line with any feedback. gamepuncherspod@gmail.com

Gears of War

Voted by all three of us, it made the list, no questions asked.  Gears brought new mechanics, an exciting new IP, and above all, fun, to our Xbox 360.

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Portal 2

The only debate here was 'Portal' or 'Portal 2'.  Portal 2 had to win after they added so much to an already amazing game.

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Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Love it or hate it, COD4 took the FPS on the consoles and cranked it beyond 11. 

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Red Dead Redemption

Grand Theft Horse. An epic battle for survival in a beautiful open world.

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Uncharted 2

Too slick to be unseated by Tomb Raider. Nathan Drake gave us a thrilling ride from start to finish.

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Bioshock

Nothing prepared us for the world of Rapture and the story and adventure that would unfold.

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Minecraft

Bafflingly simple concept, unbelievably immersive and addictive.

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Skyrim

Action role-playing on an immense scale. 

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The Last Of Us

Another PS3 exclusive, another Naughty Dog triumph.

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Batman: Arkham Asylum  

A super-hero game? Done well? You better believe it.

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Honorable mentions (games that fought hard but didn't make the ten)

Tomb Raider

The Walking Dead

Super Mario Galaxy

Halo 3

Assassin's Creed 

Mass Effect

Shadow Complex

.... and about 20 others....

 

Buying a PS4 or XBone? I love you.

 

...and here's why.  I like bang-for-buck.  I always have.  If I'm not maximizing return on my spending I feel like I'm doing it wrong.  This mentality came about when I entered the working world and learned all about profit margins.

Everything has a cost, but everything on top of that is money out of my pocket and into somebody else's.  When those wonderful new consoles go to market, they hit the ground running at the largest profit margins they'll probably see in their lifespan. I don't begrudge anyone that.  Sony and Microsoft have millions of dollars of investment tied up in these units, and so do retailers and developers.  None of us work for love only.

Return on those investments secure a console's future and lurking around the corner, ready to pounce when things cool off in a few months, is me.  That's when I get on board.  Price reductions should be in effect on the machines, and the used market for games will have reached a slow simmer.  But that scenario is not in my future if the enthusiastic fans or 'early-adopters' don't help it get there.  You are the ones who finance the march of the consoles and the games. You help highlight problems on the early units and also fund re-designs.  You keep the buzz going. You make it happen.

 

And for that, I love you. x

Doom Is the Best Game Ever Made

Doom is the best game ever made.

Once, a long time ago (and quite possibly 1994), Doom being the best game ever made was, quite simply, indisputable. To speak it was to merely state the obvious. "Doom," you would say, definitively,  and those around you would nod and smile, knowingly, "Yes, Doom."

By the time 1996 had wound down to the coldest December nubs, a quiet legion of grizzled PC gamers were not only aware of Doom, but had completed Doom, had scoured every inch of Doom, had most likely thrown together a .wad file or two to be played in Doom, and had with absolute certainty used noclip on the 'Icon of Sin' level to see John Romero's head on a spike in Doom (2).

These were good times, and they were our times. No one can take that from us. Calm down. And also get excited.

Nowadays, however, anyone with fingers can enjoy the latest and loudest First Person Shooter, and scream homophobic garbles into their turnkey-operation internet communication devices. Nowadays, nothing is earned. Everything is given. Nothing is sacred. Everything is dispensable. Nothing is important.

It is now easier than ever to play video games of eye-blistering clarity and ear-sexing tenor. It is almost easier to play Call of Duty than it is to *not* play Call of Duty these days... and as for Halo 4, I'm all but certain Microsoft has extended it's ad campaign to now make me buy Halo 4 merchandise in my sleep. But still...

Doom is the best game ever made.

Nowadays saying Doom is the best game ever made would likely result in a concerned call to the police and a trip to Shutter Island, but for the doubters among you I feel it needs the re-utterance, if for nothing else than to pull the thing, snarling and frothing, from the depths of video gaming's past, and hold it under the spotlight once more.

See? I told you: Doom is the greatest game ever made. Wondrous in its simplicity. Unbridled in its purity, and unmatched in its clarity of player-purpose.

In these heady times of graphical whiz-bangery and orchestral maneuverings, there seems to be little room left in the average development schedule for that thing called gameplay. And that, fellow punchers of games, is a damned shame. It's a team-loss all round.

Modern Actiony-shootery titles have, over time, become over-simplified and almost idiot-proof, relying more on spectacle than player-interaction. Modern Warfare and Black Ops in particular would be more accurately described as blockbuster CG movies that occasionally let you control the pacing and outcomes of certain scenes. But don't get it twisted, video games they are not.

If leaving control with you runs the risk that you'll miss the F18's as they dramatically fly through the Mushroom cloud, its the gameplay that gets the axe, not the blockbuster set-piece.

Before we go too far down Contemporary Combat hate-speech lane, let me be clear: The COD's and BLOPSes of the world have their place in the market too -- especially in their triumphant multiplayer modes -- just ask the 11 or so million unit sales they enjoy every year. But don't view them as successors to Doom, like they are two separate blips on the line of one genre's evolution. There are two different genres here.

The term FPS connotes that shooting will happen in the first-person perspective. To that end, Modern Warfare and BLOPS fit that bill perfectly.

Doom, however, is a platform & puzzle, exploration game that involves shooting a hell of a lot of monsters. There are differences there both subtle and obvious.

Doom is all gameplay, all the time. The story is minimal, and is just enough of a morsel to provide context and a rough goal. No explanation is offered regarding the red, yellow and blue skulls and keycards, or why a science facility would leave acid-proof suits in acid. Doom's levels are video-gamey to a fault, eschewing reason and common sense in level design for impossible spaces built specifically to leverage the mechanics at your disposal in fun and inventive ways

100ft-tall towers of skin and sinew rise and fall unpredictably, over impractical rivers of blood. Giant-sized brains with mechanical spider-legs fire plasma rifles at you from across an outdoor arena covered in blue carpet. 12ft-tall skeletons run in close to deliver a quick punch to your face, before backing off and firing heat-seeking missiles at you from their shoulder-mounted launchers. Floating, brown, one-eyed 'Pain Elementals' spew flying, flaming skulls from their huge, gaping mouths. This preposterous assortment forms a small, grotesque and hilarious chunk of the overall Doom experience.

There is a purity of purpose to the Doom games that sets it apart from modern FPS'es. There are two key tenets at play: Exploration and combat.

Doomguy runs at approximately 50mph everywhere, only slowing down to warily check corners or navigate narrow walkways. The sense of speed and character control is sublime and never works against you. it never resists. You do what you want, when you want. There is no animation priority to consider here, no stuffy physics engine holding you back and killing your reaction time.

The risk/reward balance is perfect and timeless. The weapons selection is delightful and varied. The levels are inventive, devious and downright sadistic at times. Always encouraging in the right way while beating you over the head at the same time, the difficulty curve can be somewhat unforgiving, especially to the younger recruits among us who cut their teeth on Halo, but the difficulty challenges you to do better, and very rarely feels utterly un-winnable.

Doom 4 needs to be a lot like Doom 1 and 2 if it stands a chance of being successful. Arguably the chief failure of Doom3 lied in its stoicism and grimness.

Explore a series of monster mazes. Find keys to open doors. Kill hundreds of monsters along the way. That's it. Oh, and try to beat John Romero's par times.

That is Doom. And Doom is the best game ever made.

Quick update about all these things... oh, and Halo 4 looks like its doing well

Hi all,

I know I've been incommunicado over the last few weeks, as well as not putting out any podcasts or much of anything at all really.... well, I've uploaded a couple of Doom gameplay quasi-video tests, but not much else beyond that.

I have good news.

As has been the case for two years running now, Kat's schoolwork makes poscasting somewhat impossible, and now with a babby formed, in the words of Snap! "it's gettin', it's gettin', it's gettin' kinda hectic".

All that ends on the week of November 17th. She's ready to talk about some games

At some point here I'll be recording video of my playthrough of both Doom and Doom 2 on Ultra-Violence settings on the Xbox Live Arcade version of the games (which I think we can safely say are the definitive versions of the games now). These will commence shortly after I get my hands on the video capture equipment I am presently eyeing.. all of this should start happening around the end of November.

In the meantime, wow. Halo 4 is shaping up to be a flawed masterpiece, and Assassin's Creed III is making me less and less excited about the thing the more time I spend with it. What a world!

That'll do, pig.

The Walking Dead - A Watershed Moment For The Adventure Genre

The Walking Dead by adventure alumnni TellTale Games started out for me as a maudlin foot-dragger, filled to the gills with aimless busy-work and mindless conversation trees.

The shitness reached its apex as I found myself stuck in its deepest, darkest duldrums of the drug store, around mid-season 1. At this point I'd had more than my fill of the cocky guy with the handlebar mustache, the 'gee-wiz' kid with freckles on his nose, and the token 'miserable bitch'.

I'd had enough, but somehow I dug deep into the well of my soul and pulled out enough gumption to power through to Season 2.
And I'm glad I did.
Holy balls. The Walking Dead -- as an entity consisting of the whole 5 episodes -- is currently my number 2 spot for GOTY (Journey on the PS3 being my No.1).

Episodes 2 and 3 have impressed me immeasurably. I have been faced with moments of decision-making no game before it has ever had the brass balls to even hint at. Not only this, but when the game executes on these moments, they hit with true impact and meaning, which is a testament to the rock solid voice cast.

If you've been on the fence on this one at all, get off it and play.