I could see 2012 being a divisive year for a lot of gamers, but for me personally, I thought it was nothing short of great. Even if most are clamoring for new consoles/hardware (homeconsole-wise), I think in 2012 Sony presented a very strong argument for the current gaming hardware, even so late in the cycle, with plenty of solid games on different platforms and especially exclusives.
To start this off, earlier this year and after some not so subtle persuasion by word of mouth I was
forced, coerced, encouraged to buy/play Journey (and later on Papo & Yo/Tokyo Jungle). And frankly, I'm extremely glad I did. Of course, for Journey, describing what it is and the appeal is a feat in itself, but if I were to say anything about it for the uninitiated: be absolutely sure to play online your 1st time through and play it all in one sitting. While I have nothing but complements for it and the fantastic experience it provided me (visually, musically, or the surprisingly emotional momentseven in an anonymous online setting), it also marked the 1st game I was able to get my parents to play, who, let me emphasize, REALLY don't like gaming and totally look down on it (Though, they play questionable "games" on other devices...). But anyway, after some bribery with a nice dinner, I was able to get them to sit down and play it when I visited them on the Thanksgiving break, and they were surprisingly enthralled by the whole experience. So, thank you Journey, you made a game that not only I really liked but made my crazy parents see what great gaming is capable of without presenting a large barrier of entry and with such style and vision.
There is also Papo &Yo and Tokyo Jungle, while I'm not sure sure if they are my parent material (Papo&Yo might be, but not yet. I think), and I think they have some rough edges (but I'm picky), they are very cool games for what they try to achieve. Papo & Yo which mostly is presented in a family-friendly manner and aesthetic, but weaves together some surprisingly mature undertones/themes, with the ending in particular being very powerful stuff. There is also Tokyo Jungle, which is, well, Tokyo Jungle. As bizarre as it is interesting, a post-apocalyptic game where animals, from Pomeranians to even Dinosaurs, rule the earth and fight eachother for their survival. While Tokyo Jungle didn't resonate with me as much as others, I think it is a great concept and has a ton of fresh ideas and that I'd love to see in an improved sequel, and Papo & Yo I found to be a pretty endearing game and does some very interesting stuff for videogame storytelling and artistically (plus, it has some pretty bomb music).
Of course, since it is me, I'd love to have an excuse to talk about the more lesser known rpgs I also really enjoyed this year (Yes, I think Mass Effect 3 is great too, even if the ending could've been better...). Like on PS3, we finally got Tales of Graces F overseas and also the admittedly very niche, but secretly awesome, Atelier Meruru *I refuse to accept any dissent!*, both I found to be very fun jrpgs. I also snuck in and played a couple rpg gems on my, what is now viewed as dated, PSP with SRPG games like Gungnir and Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time. Even if Gungnir is a relatively charming game, Wayfarer of Time was the real standout to me and I did not hesitate to play the game multiple times due to my frequent portable outings and because of its very enticing replay value, storytelling, and is just plain dense with (challenging) SRPG goodness.
2012 also marked my newest and very proud addition of gaming hardware: The Playstation Vita. While initially an excuse to fuel my rpg
addiction appetite, I quickly fell in love with my new portable system for so much more (and so short of time, since I've had it for little over a month). Even if my original game plan was centered around playing one of my all-time favorite games again with Persona 4: Golden, PSN+ and some impulse purchases have proven to me that the Vita is capable of so much more. Like the Gravity Rush: a very stylish new IP with some great music and exhilarating gameplay mechanics involving, well, Gravity. Also got to play Uncharted: Golden Abyss which is provides a very console-like experience and was a pleasant diversion from more recent Uncharted games, and also DJMax Technika Tune, which I feel like is the foundation for a very dangerous music game addiction (but I really enjoy it). I'm very eager to dig into so many more titles that I simply haven't had the time to get around to properly playing yet: like Persona 4: Golden (which I know is a beast in length ), Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, Ragnarok Odyssey, Sound Shapes, Dokuro, and more.
For better or worse, 2012 didn't actually mark the end of the world . What 2012 did leave behind was a great and interesting year for gamers like myself (and even my family for a bit). Well...not really like myself per se, but hopefully in general. Anyway, I apologize for going on for so long and talking about, dare I say, GAMING, and my experiences so much. Regardless of whatever 2013 brings, though, hopefully Sony will continue to present the gaming goods I really enjoy playing, even if my tastes are of the often times of a less popular variety. With plenty of promising titles like The Last of Us, Ni No Kuni, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, or on the Vita specifically with Soul Sacrifice and Tearaway (and hopefully a few more trickle from Japan) I have little reason to doubt that.