December 29, 2013

Random Encounters: Top o' the Year to Ya!

For many, we've reached not only the end of 2013 but a transitional phase from one gaming generation to another. The term "generation," though, is a word that is quickly losing its meaning. It really only refers to an arbitrarily-defined, vague time period in which certain game consoles are thought to compete with one another in the same context. Increasingly, we're seeing systems like Nintendo's Wii or DS overlapping different gens, and the smartphone and PC space seem to hold no regard for the definition whatsoever. Outside of video games, the term is certainly meaningless -- are there "generations" of toasters or refrigerators? What "gen" of books are we on, now? It makes me wonder if this is one of the last traditional gaming "generations" we will see.

Still, there's no harm in grouping games together while it still makes sense to do so, for the purposes of reflection. We'll start off today's round-up of stories from around the web with a look at some hidden gems that didn't perhaps didn't get their fair 15 minutes of fame (or at least not their due sales).

The 100 Most Overlooked Games of the Generation

GamesRadar's piece had me agreeing with a lot of their choices, especially in Valkyria Chronicles, Folklore, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, Retro Game Challenge, and Lost Odyssey. Some others I really can't speak to, though I think puzzle-platformer Offspring Fling should have been on the list. And where's Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning? It did make headlines quite a bit, but mainly for its publisher's infamous financial scandals and not so much for being a masterfully-crafted action RPG. And how about indie fan game Rokko Chan? She really needs some more recognition!

The 30 Best Comics of 2013

I really need to get over to Dorkly more often -- their animated shorts always crack me up, and their comics are usually a cut above, too. They've compiled their choice of the 30 best comics of the year (I've linked to the top 10).

Is 11,000 Games Enough?

The Huffington Post reports on Buffalo, NY's Michael Thomasson, who made the Guinness Book of World Records for owning the largest collection of video games in the world. And I thought my Steam backlog was getting up there!

Finally, Chess 2: The Sequel!

Wired GameLife brings us the story on David Sirlin, who decided it was high time for the game of Chess to get a much-needed update. His new set of rules for Chess 2: The Sequel are designed for use with a standard Chess set, but promise to minimize over-reliance on familiar move sequences and minimize draws while promoting a more organic approach to strategy. Apparently, players may choose from any of six different army make-ups, rather than the standard one everyone's been playing with for centuries.

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