Let’s be honest, the world of gaming is pretty weird at the best of times. If you don’t believe us, sit down with a non-gamer and try to explain the plot of Kingdom Hearts.
Would you expect anything else from a world that’s embroiled in monsters, post-apocalypses, magical mushrooms and so many biologically enhanced beings we can’t even count them?
Every year, it feels like the world of gaming has nothing left to surprise us with, and every year, we are proven wrong. Let’s take a look over the wonders of 2015, and pick out some of the strangest happenings throughout.
1. Konami switched to pornographic pinball
Never shy of a bit of controversy, Konami have certainly had their fill of trouble this year, with all the Hideo Kojima civil war thing and their odd choice of marketing strategies. They were once giants of technology, at the forefront of next generation quality productions, and always striving to create an immersive but fun experience for their players.
So you can imagine gamers’ surprise, then, when the company announced that they were slowing down the production of their triple-A titles, and leaning more towards mobile gaming – but that was just the tip of the iceberg.
You can imagine even more vividly gamers’ surprise when Konami also announced that they were heavily investing in a new Pachinko company, starting up a new project that involved erotically dancing vampires. WHAT?
2. We all became masochists
We attribute the epic rise of atmospheric horror games to YouTube ‘let’s play’ videos, but it doesn’t detract from the genre’s complete grip on the gaming community. True, horror games were a serious thing before last year, but the release of Until Dawn in August may have marked a real landmark in their popularisation.
Now-a-days, it’s a regular occurrence to go round to friend’s house, turn all of the lights off, and play through a nightmarish campaign, obviously prepping yourself for a back-sweating nightmare in the process.
We hesitate to use the word ‘mainstream’, but the gaming community definitely has a new-found love for emotionally scarring themselves with fear.
3. Predator invaded Mortal Kombat
Casual fans who haven’t yet invested in the new fighter Mortal Kombat X might not be aware of the fact that you can play as Predator – as in “GET TO THE CHOPPER” Predator – in the new game.
Hey, we get it all right. Mortal Kombat is all about having fun, pitting some demonic looking dudes against each other in a bid to find the ultimate fighter, and a couple of novelty characters have never gone amiss, nor do they do the game any harm. But Predator? The guy has a laser cannon, infra-red tracking and metal blades on his arm.
Surely the fight is already over?
4. Activision bought Candy Crush
This one’s weird enough without us explaining it. Activision, the gaming giants who publish the Call of Duty series, Destiny, and pretty much anything they can get their hands on that’ll make them a few quid, purchased the mobile game Candy Crush for $5.9 billion in November.
The size of the company should make this transaction seem normal. Given their growing monopoly on video games, they were bound to diversify eventually. But for some reason, it still seems weird.
Maybe we’ll get some dodgy cross-overs. An airstrike wouldn’t go amiss in Candy Crush, especially on the later levels when you get the insurmountable urge to launch your phone at a wall.
5. Borderlands Online was cancelled
Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?
If I had a millennium alone on a desert island, with nothing but my thoughts for company, I could not think of a reason why Borderlands Online was cancelled. Elder Scrolls: Online was a massive let down for fans of the series, and fans of MMOs, and fans of actual re-playable content, Destiny seems to be ever-walking a tightrope with its fanbase, and the industry’s increasing obsession with a console-PC MMO hybrid is reaching annoying levels.
This would have been the perfect remedy to the mundaneness that is online gaming at the minute, but the hope of rendering ‘a bazillion’ guns into one open world has gone. This looked like a sure-fire best seller, but for whatever reason, completely against the grain, the studio was shut down.
6. Mobile gaming became an actual thing
Remember when mobile gaming was just a way to pass the time while you were on the toilet? Well, the days of 8-bit snake are long gone.
Over the past year, mobile gaming has exploded right under our noses, becoming an industry in its own right. The aforementioned Konami are heavily involved with the mobile gaming market, and Electronic Arts have re-assigned their Maxis division to EA Mobile.
In the future, consoles might even seem like a retro option to the streamlined mobile service. Think about that.
7. Splatoon was awesome
How bad did Splatoon look at first? All right, all right, we know people will defend Nintendo to death, and sure, they make fun games, but just look at it. It looks like Super Mario had a heavy night in the pub, came home and vomited all over the toilet seat.
But don’t judge a book, as they say, and Splatoon not only proved to be quite the masterpiece, but it also beat out Black Ops III, Destiny, Halo 5 and Rocket League for the Best Multiplayer Award at 2015 Game Awards.
So apparently, Super Mario’s stomach contents aren’t that bad to play with friends…which is a weird sentence in itself.
8. Fallout didn’t break the internet
Over the years, gamers have become accustomed to Fallout games just generally being amazing. Hours and hours have been spent traversing the various amalgamations of a post-apocalyptic America, and we doubt a single person had issue with the acclaim that Fallout 3 received.
So when Fallout 4 started being hyped, you can bet your last quid that people were excited. In reality though, the release of the game didn’t bring about quite as much excitement as everyone was hoping. For the first time ever, we were experiencing a Fallout game that didn’t quite feel right.
That was a shame, really. But I suppose stranger things have happened. See above.