So, I umm played a lot of video games this year.... In 2017, I thought I had an unhealthy enough year at 36 games, but this year, thanks mostly to the insane amount of ports/remasters that came to the Switch and my inability to say no to $15 purchases at 11 P.M., I basically doubled that with a ridiculous 71. Quite a bit even changed with my gaming habits. Sure, I still spent an inordinate amount of time in my single player comfort zone, which dominated my top 10, but I also really explored the world of online gaming and being called a n00b by strange preteens for the first time. Most importantly, though, I even finally kicked a 3 year mobile game habit that was taking up far too much of my daily life.
We play video games to escape from the mundaneness of our jobs and everyday life. Through them, we become super heroes, gods, cowboys, treasure hunters, and scrappy plumbers with princess girlfriends. Despite a wealth of sexier options at its disposal, one of the most memorable and compelling video game experiences of the year thrust me in the role of an insurance adjuster of all things.
Toward the end of last year, I kept seeing Doki Doki Literature Club pop up on best of lists. Somehow, this free game that appeared to be an anime dating sim was leaving its mark on one of the best years ever in gaming. After finally realizing that I could download Steam on my Mac, I decided to give it a try and see what everyone was raving about. I had heard nothing was as it seems in this game and that it would mess with your head, so I did not go in completely blind. But nothing could have prepared me (or my poor friend Trey who I later convinced to play and whose reaction is captured at the end) for what was to come.
Seven years ago, I spent a lot of time immersed in the scientific experiments of Aperture Labs in Portal 2. I enjoyed my introduction to Valve's Portal universe so much that I still drink my coffee out of an Aperture mug, but due to modern consoles not having the game that started it all, I had never played the first Portal. Given my recent penchant for puzzle games (Gorogoa, Opus Magnum, and my own game that I'm building) and my discovery that so many amazing old games are on Steam, I thought it was about time that I finally jumped into what is generally considered to be one of the greatest puzzle games (and games in general) of all time. Could the original still hold up after all these years and my previous exposure to the much more refined sequel?
In what seems like a previous life, I was a chemist. I loved all of the wonderful theory behind chemistry, and I especially loved teaching that theory to others. As for the whole doing experiments in a lab part, I often found myself indifferent to the whole painstakingly accurate mess and quickly learned in grad school and the real job world that I'd rather be the one telling people what experiments to do than actually doing them.