2014 was a year of controversies. From games being forcibly removed from online stores to claims of sexism and even that games make you racist, last year had it all. So now that we are into a new year, with new promises from gamers and devs alike, we decided to take a quick look back at some of the more interesting controversies of 2014. Now beware. These are touchy subjects that were approached with no quarter given by me. I love a controversy. Nothing bolsters marketing like a good scandal. That being said, let’s get to it. And if something pisses you off that we missed, please feel free to add it to the comments section. Oh, and for those of you that like to leave death threats on my Twitter account, I deleted it. Why? Because every time you posted something stupid, a hipster punched a baby and I hate seeing babies get punched…but oddly not as much as I hate hipsters. Anyway, on to the countdown.
So Microsoft did what they do to anyone who buys their products–they took a big, steamy dump on them. They claimed that the Xbox One would require Kinect for use. Yes, you would not be able to play your Xbox One if you didn’t have Kinect. At least that’s what they told everyone. So everyone was up in arms about Big Brother in their house being on all the time and having to stay connected to the internet and that the government was secretly using Xbox’s to spy on households all over America. Then the unthinkable happened. When the One released, there was a cheaper version released that featured no Kinect at all. But did they publicize it? Nope. Like I said… steamy dump. Thanks, Miscrosoft. You’re awesome.
West Games decided they had a good idea. Get on Kickstarter and tell the whole world that they were making a sequel to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. , the classic shooter game. Then they also thought it would be a good idea to not actually make the game, but rather just tell people they were and solicit their funding for whatever else it was they planned on using the money for. They even went so far as to claim that Russian President Valdimir Putin was a fan of their game. The funny thing is that there were unable or unwilling to answer any questions concerning the game. They released no screen shots, nor would they even discuss what the game was about. In the end, Kickstarter stepped in and gave them the axe. Proof that if you are a fake, someone will sniff you out.
Everyone who was a fan of the Dark Souls series was pumped by the footage shown prior to the games release. But then it hit the shelves and made it to consoles where, to everyone’s surprise, it looked totally different. It was graphically inferior to the game shown at E3. Even worse than that, most players found it to be far less a game than its predecessor. In fact, most fans had nearly given up on it completely until From Software finally broke the silence and announced DLC for it, promising new gameplay elements and upgraded graphics. Fortunately for them, they delivered and the DLC ended up being even better–and more popular–than the actual game.
Ubisoft was just awash in controversy in 2014. From announcing titles that were never going to be released on time to issues with games that did come out, they had some issues. They were even touted as being sexist and regressive to the female gamer. So to say that Ubi had a good year would be lying. Sure, that sold a butt-load of games, which to them is a win. But truth be told, they lost a lot of fans this year because of their BS. Let’s start with AC Unity . Buggy, glitchy and generally not fun at all– Unity was mired in bad coding and horrible online issues. Oh, and for the feminists, there weren’t any girl characters either. Then there’s Watch Dogs . What a smoking turd that was. Everyone’s fervent hope was that it could capture some of the awesomeness of the Assassin’s Creed franchise and bring it into modern day with cool tech and urban jungles to traverse. There was even supposed to be real-time mobile app support where people could help you in your game via their mobile device. Have you tried it yet? If you haven’t… don’t. And let’s not even get started on the fact that they wouldn’t allow reviews of some of their games until after they had already released.
Feminism Gone Wild
This year saw the rise of feminism to prominence in the media… again. Not that anyone actually cares, but now femi-nazis are attacking video games and claiming that they are sexist, misogynistic and sexually repressive toward females. I recall female gamers getting super-pissed at Epic Games and Cliff B. when they introduced playable female characters in their Gears of War series. In fact the outcry was so great that it circulated all over the internet that they did it to make their games, “more female-gamer friendly.” Now, if you were a woman who played a game because you loved it enough to buy the first game and its sequel, do you really care how many playable females are in the game? Then there was violence against “sex workers” in GTAV (like nobody saw THAT one coming), as well as the exclusion of female characters in Assassin’s Creed Unity ’s online gameplay (yeah, cause that was all that was wrong with it). Yes games like Bayonetta and DOA pander to pre-pubescent teen males and perverts everywhere. Yes there are boobies and ass all over the place in video games, but look at the media in general–it ain’t just in video games.
You’re Racist Because You Play Games
This is one of my favorites. Honestly I believe racism still exists because people allow it to. The more press you give a monster like this, the more it grows. Kind of like Charlie Sheen. But I digress. Here’s the scoop on being a racist because you play video games. Brad Bushman and his colleagues supposedly did a study that showed irrefutable proof that playing violent video games as a black character reinforces harmful stereotypes to the Black-American race. He also states that these stereotypes have real consequences that can lead to more aggressive behavior. And while the study involved gamers being randomly assigned black or white characters in Saint’ Row 2 and given tasks to complete. It seems that one of the results of the study also stated gamers agreeing with the statement that if any race would only try harder to do the right thing, everyone would be better off. So how does gaming make us racists, again?
I am not going to lie to you. At first I had no freaking clue what this was. I saw it everywhere. It was on certain news shows. It was in gamer news all over the web. It was even being tweeted and FB’d everywhere for a myriad of reasons. So it was difficult for me to discern exactly what #GamerGate was. Well, I am happy to report that I still don’t have a freakin’ clue what it is. But whatever, or whoever started it is a genius. This little hashtag has gotten people from all walks of life and several different industries fired up. It has divided people all over. The topic? Sexism in gaming (See #4 on this countdown). Pure and simple, people don’t have enough actual concerns in their lives so they start shouting about boobies in video games and how it is regressing the rights and cause of the woman proper. Ok. Whatever, you’re pissed about boobs in games and the way that women are portrayed. Ok, I get that. But how are porn stars good candidates to help further your cause? Again, no one really knows what GamerGate is. I rest my case.
It hurts me to write this because I love Destiny . But the truth of it is that the game has not met up with any of the expectations that people had following its showing at E3. The open-world, shared shooter has virtually no story at all. As a matter of fact, at least in the story department, the trailers were vastly better than the actual game. Now I know that had a lot to do with certain parties leaving Bungie at inopportune times, but that’s no excuse. The Halo series was known for an enthralling story as well as great gameplay. And while Destiny does, in fact, have great gameplay… there is virtually no story whatsoever. And with the DLC arriving in pieces, it only furthered people’s distaste for the title by feeling rushed and underprepared for release. Hopefully in the future, Bungie will get themselves together and get a real writer to pen something solid so that we’re not left to an eternity of endless grinding to get some exotic weapon. Oh, and fix the damned Strike Playlist so I don’t have to play the same freakin’ strike nine times in a row. Seriously?!
Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Facebook, the social media titan, purchased Oculus, Rift, and pretty much everyone that worked on it in 2014. For those of you who don’t know what that is, here’s a recap. Rift is a virtual reality headset that was created by Kickstarter darlings, Oculus. Their crowd-funded stroke of genius was an amazing thing to behold. It got rave reviews and even a few sickened stomachs by how incredibly it displayed various games in virtual 3D. But then, Facebook and its pack of hyenas swooped in and bought up the entire company–not just the device. They even purchased the loyalty of Rift’s creator, Palmer Luckey, by bringing him into the FB fold. So basically everything that was ever going to be awesome about this device just got ruined. Now we’ll be able to play Candy Crush Saga or Farmville in 3D. Zuckerberg, you’re a d*ck.
99 Problems But a Bird Ain’t One
Paul Tassi was making $50,000 a day off his 8-bit, mobile, rip-off game Flappy Bird . Yeah, you all know what happened to it. It’s gone. Removed from our mobile gaming queues forever. He claimed to have removed the game due to its “addictive nature.” But the truth is that he got his ass in some serious trouble and had to remove it. Check out the end boss of the game if you’re wondering why. We’re fairly certain that a dude making fifty G’s a day got someone noticing. And this time, the right people noticed that he was copping someone else’s gig. So claim what you want, Paul. We know why Flappy Bird has flown away… but not before you nabbed yourself a sweet pot of cash. Sure, this may not be as truly controversial as GamerGate of Feminism. But damn it, I am tired of hearing and writing about that crap. So congrats, Paul Tassi, you win again.