The Worst of the Year: 2016's Gaming Disasters

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

The Worst of the Year: 2016's Gaming Disasters

I eventually realized that doing a best-of in 2016 gaming was kind of a dumb idea, mostly because I already covered it back in the "Gamer's Thanksgiving" article just about five weeks ago. Yeah, Thanksgiving is a little over a month old right now. Crazy, isn't it? Anyway, it hit me that the big thing left to cover before the grand parade of optimism that will be the first article of the year is the things that will make us glad that 2016's hitting the bricks. So let's have a look at the low points of our year in gaming 2016.

No Man Wanted No Man's Sky

Oh wow. Wow. You really can't talk about the worst in gaming without talking about No Man's Sky, and for many good reasons. While I mostly stayed out of this fray, it was hard to ignore it altogether as gamers were promised the galaxy and delivered roughly one city block. For those who don't want to get into the specifics. there's one great video that sums the whole mess up in a nutshell. It features the original trailer video, that magnificent slice of eye candy, and plays the Jurassic Park theme in the background. It subsequently inserts actual gameplay footage, and the majestic Jurassic Park theme is replaced by the Jurassic Park played on a melodica. And not very well, either. The gameplay footage suffers a similar loss of quality, showing us that clearly the gamers did not receive what the trailer had promised.

Bethesda Snubs Every Game Reviewer

This was something of a pocket disaster, but perhaps only to the biggest enthusiasts. Toward the end of the year, Bethesda announced it was no longer offering review codes for game reviewers to download and play games in advance so that actual reviews could be written. Fairly standard stuff, right? Oh no, says Bethesda, who notes that it would rather have everyone experience the game at the same time. Considering that this emerged right before the less-than-stellar--okay, way less than stellar--launch of Dishonored 2, it looked like the studio was trying frantically to sweep catastrophes under the rug. Throw in ramped up encouragement to preorder games--by offering the game for play and download a day ahead, which clearly violated the whole "let's have everyone experience the game at the same time" concept--and it looked like Bethesda was trying desperately to get gamers to buy crap before any decent reviewer could warn the gamers ahead of buying. Starting to sound like maybe Bethesda should be putting more time and cash into Bethesda Game Studios proper.

Pokemon Go: Buggy Mugger Bait Edition

Largely a victim of its own success, the emergence of Pokemon Go showed us just what an augmented reality game could do, and then proceeded to do it. All of it. Whether it should do it or not. It had Pokemon crop up in the worst places--a museum devoted to the Holocaust is not a great place to hunt Pokemon--it became a marketing tool for businesses (Hey parents! Your kid literally won't stop whining until you pull in here and let them catch that rare Pidgey or whatever it is!), it became a lure for muggers. Throw in the technical glitches and errors that would cause players to lose lures on system outages or throw every Pokeball they had to catch one Pokemon and the end result was a great idea that didn't hold up so well in the real world, or what bit of it gamers interacted with.

Polygon Plays Doom Like a Haddock Wearing Mittens

In a move that made gamers everywhere question the quality of game reviews they were getting, Polygon--perhaps best known for its frequent forays into the social justice side of gaming--revealed that its skills at gaming itself weren't always the greatest. The game itself took home a thoroughly satisfactory 8.5 out of 10--not my personal score; I would have put it down around a six myself, fun but a bit repetitive--but the actual gameplay video offered up in conjunction with the review suggested that perhaps the reviewer was playing the game by pressing the controller to his or her forehead and rolling the controller around accordingly. Colorful imagery aside, the community was outraged that game reviews were apparently being left to gamers whose skills were questionable to say the least.

Naturally, there were plenty of other gaming topics that hit this year, and many of them did not make us gamer types look great. So as we stride boldly into 2017 and the optimism of a great year to come, we look forward to what we will see. We eagerly await the new games that will give us bleary, eye-heavy workdays to follow and, yes, even those occasional flubs and scandals that keep us all watching with just a smidge of schadenfreude.

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