I have a confession to make. The year 2016 was filled with a wonderful assortment of high-quality games. From indie gems to AAA games bucking the trend, this year was in no short supply of awesome. As an enthusiast of digital interactive media, I dipped my toes into a lot of games this year. Which is why I must remove this burden from my shoulders and confess that I, dear readers, did not fulfill my promise to finish some great games of 2016. I broke some hearts, leaving a trail of damaged egos as my attentions fell elsewhere.
This is my letter of apology to all the games I shunned this year.
Dear The Witness,
I must confess that I had spent quite a number of years thinking about you. Ever since you were first announced in 2009, I longed for your existential brain teasers. I was immediately drawn to your meticulously crafted island of secrets. Yet, it was those same secrets that pushed us apart. Admiration turned to jealousy as I struggled to understand you. How many nights did I find myself alone on the couch, drink in hand, while you entertained others with your philosophical quotes and high-browed line puzzles? I will always respect you, but I will never be able to keep up. I’m sorry.
I feel like I never truly gave you a shot. When it was announced that you would be taking an episodic approach for your latest release, I scoffed. Just another ploy from your publisher to take more of our milk money, I said. Yet you proved us all wrong, didn’t you? You managed to hold the attention of fans throughout the whole year. Every level brimming with detail. Elusive Targets every week that playfully tweaked the fundamentals. Your release schedule ran like clockwork, showing the world how an episodic game should be done. And yet, I could never get past the tutorial. Maybe it was bad timing on my part (My PC was in the middle of a major upgrade) or maybe it was the release of Overwatch that overshadowed you. In the end, I was your Elusive Target, just out of reach.
To be blunt: You weren’t supposed to be so good. You weren’t supposed to be so damn fun. A middling multiplayer beta, no early review copies and the pressure of a long dormant yet beloved franchise spelled DOOM right from the start. You came out of the gates of Hell with something to proved and by golly, you proved it. I never felt more alive than when I was with you. Every (enemy) encounter left me with sweaty palms and elevated heartbeats. You rekindled a love I haven’t felt since I was a youth, sneaking over to a friend’s house to watch R-rated movies and play your original incarnation on a Windows 95 computer. Back then, I was too scared to finish you. I have no excuse now.
Dear Tokyo Mirage Sessions,
I wasn’t sure about you at first. At the time, I wasn’t in the mood for a JRPG. My lack of familiarity with the Fire Emblem franchise also made me wary. But I was bored, and it was Wednesday, so I picked you up at my local Best Buy. I was immediately taken in by your J-Pop sensibilities and too-cool visual aesthetic. Your combat was more akin to Persona and as such, I was hooked. You brought a little edge to an otherwise kid-friendly console and if it wasn’t for you, I may never have turned on my Wii U this year. You deserved all of my time; I just could not give it to you. One day, I hope. Maybe a Nintendo Switch port?
Dear Dishonored 2,
You came at a very bad time. I was still very much into Titanfall 2, you see, and the release of Final Fantasy XV was just on the horizon. I loved the original Dishonored though, so I felt like I owed you one. I want to like you, I really do, but your sub-par performance on the Playstation 4 holds you back. Titanfall 2 gives me mobility and 60 frames per second. Your inability to consistently keep up 30 frames per second gives me headaches. I don’t know if we would ever work out, but maybe I’ll come back around once I finish Final Fantasy. In the meantime, pull yourself together.
To all of the games I left behind in 2016, it wasn’t you. It was me.