The Hardcore Awards: Non-Apocalypse Edition

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We’re still here!

I am writing this column the day after Christmas, and yes this proves that the supposed Mayan apocalypse never happened. Just like the Rapture last year and Y2K before it, we are still alive and kicking. And yes I am still playing games and letting you all know how I feel about them.

This week, I am taking that to a whole new level because with the year ending, it’s once again that time for me to give out my special awards. And as all of you know, getting an award from me is not always something to be proud of, because I love to talk about the best, and of course, the worst, the gaming industry had to offer this year, and what better way to start off than to give my first ever Thank You For Caring About Classic Gamers award.

With the abundance of cookie cutter shooters and motion based shovelware out on the market, it’s good to see select developers who do care about classic gamers and want to appease them. As you all know, when I heard about XCOM coming back as a first person shooter, my reaction was less than pleased. Thankfully, the night before MAGFest I hear the greatest news I could ever hear: the return of a TURN BASED XCOM, and nine months later it became a reality. XCOM became one of my best games of the year, and I have to thank both Garth DeAngelis and Jake Solomon for giving it to me. Enjoy the award guys, you sure deserved it!

But, as always, for something good to come, there has to be something bad as well. And that means a company would do something that would make me ask WHAT THE **** ARE THEY THINKING? so that gets an award too. I know there were a lot of strange moments out there that made me want to hit my head against a wall, but none as much as what Nintendo did this year. You all might be asking what I have against the Wii U as a result, right? Wrong! I’m still impartial about the Wii U, and am waiting to see what 2013 provides, but it’s the fact that Nintendo is releasing the Wii mini without any wireless access whatsoever that deserves this award.

You actually want to release a Wii that loses almost half its functionality? It doesn’t make sense at all. Once again, it’s this year’s PSP but at least for now it’s only available in Canada.

Some mistakes don’t just make me shake my head, they can even mess up a company that was once dominant, and in doing so they earn what I call the Botch of the Year. I didn’t realize how bad a situation THQ was in back in E3 when they sold their UFC rights to EA, but it really took a head when they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month. Add to that a report that THQ now owes their other major license, World Wrestling Entertainment, nearly $45 million, and we have a recipe for disaster. I don’t know how THQ is going to recover from a botch like this.

But what about Capcom you all ask? Oh yes, poor Capcom, the company that can’t do anything right these days. After all, they won last year’s Dumbass of the Year award for all of their mistakes. Well, guess what? They are the first two time winner of the award for one game in particular: Street Fighter X Tekken.

Why do I hate the game? Contrary to popular belief I don’t hate it. The gameplay is actually quite good. It’s what Capcom did with this game that infuriated me. For one, they placed 12 characters intended as DLC on the disc, which means that I have to pay TWICE for 12 characters. Even worse, Capcom flat out lied in their manual regarding cross system play on the Xbox 360. They claimed that due to the architecture of Xbox Live that they could not get tag team gameplay on multiple 360 systems, and will not provide a patch to fix it. Then why did Mortal Kombat have no problem doing that exact same thing? And let’s not forget the ‘True Ending’ DLC for Asura’s Wrath or the killing off of one of your most cherished franchises in Mega Man. Come on Capcom, time to make it three years in a row. I know you can do it!

Just a few weeks ago I finally came across someone worthy enough of Badass of the Year award. And much to my shock it’s from a game series I originally didn’t care about. I was never a Far Cry fan, but the more I heard of Far Cry 3, the more I wanted to play it. The whole ‘Skyrim with guns’ slogan might have been worth the price of admission, but it’s the antics of the game’s cover boy Vaas and his definition of insanity that made him so badass, so freaking awesome, and made me want to see more of him in the game. Even better, the actor who voiced and motion captured Vaas, Michael Mando, even portrayed Vaas in a few live action webisodes on Machinima as he tortured Christopher Mintz-Plasse in various ways. The character is just awesome and I would love to see more of him. It actually made me want to play Far Cry 3 more, and I am loving it.

And for my last award, I’m giving it to what I consider the Gaming Platform of the Year. This will come as a surprise to many but I am picking the Android operating system. Yes, I love playing my Xbox 360, but have stopped playing my PlayStation 3 and have given up on the PlayStation Vita due to the lack of titles and Sony’s slow pace in getting PSP classics to run on it. The Wii U, as I said, my jury is still out. And for iOS, it is still constrained by iTunes and I prefer to be more open with my operating system. Before the year I became accustomed to Android with my phone, but with getting a tablet this year and with Ouya in the works, it looks like Android is going to kick into full gear in 2013. Will it be able to hold its own once the next generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles are announced? Time will tell. But for now, I’ll keep playing on my Android devices.

And that is where I am going to end it for now. As always, the next GamerGeeks episode will feature my top and bottom five games of the year, so keep an ear out for it. In the meantime, have a safe 2013 and be sure to tell off the doomsdayers who are still making excuses about 2012!

Currently Playing: Far Cry 3 (360)

Waiting For: MAGFest

PLATFORM OF THE YEAR: Android

BOTCH OF THE YEAR: THQ’s bankruptcy, leading to EA buying UFC and WWE being owed $45 million

THANK YOU AWARD: Garth DeAngelis and Jake Solomon from Firaxis Games

WTF ARE THEY THINKING: Nintendo for their Canadian release of the Wii mini

DUMBASS OF THE YEAR: Capcom for the second year in a row, most notably for flat out LYING to Xbox 360 owners

GAMING PLATFORM OF THE YEAR: Android

BADASS OF THE YEAR: Vaas from Far Cry 3

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