For those who don't already know, the online games publication Joystiq has, after 10 years in the business, shut it's doors for the final time. They were a fantastic online games publication that produced a swathe of fabulous content, and will be missed dearly in the space.
One of the interesting initiatives Joystiq had come up with in it's time was the #4iF challenge: finishing four games on your pile of shame in the month of February. This will be the third year running for the challenge.
As someone with a massive pile of games just waiting to be played - being the reason why I created the App Pile of Shame on Android and iOS in the first place - I thought it was fitting to join in with this challenge and see if I can't knock a few of mine off the pile.
If you are like me and have a ton of games from years gone by waiting to be played, why not join in the fun?
As for me, this is what I'll be playing this February:
Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
The Pokemon franchise holds a dear place in my heart - dating back to the original gameboy.
Pokemon gold and silver had been released, and my friends were right into it. Santa had been insanely nice and given me a gameboy for Christmas, but it just felt incomplete without a Pokemon game. After much... encouragement, my Mum eventually bought for me my very own gold version.
I clocked over 200 hours on my main play through of this game. I had a whole box full of level 100's that I'd trained myself (no rare candies here) and a whole box of legendaries, that may or may not have come from a blaze xploder cheat cartridge. I lost so much of my life with my Pokemon from that game, with no regrets.
After gold, I also managed to play through both blue and emerald versions of the game - then I stopped. I spent the next 8ish years thinking that Pokemon was for little kids, and not a game I'd be interested in anymore.
Then out came Pokemon X & Y.
While I'm not in a position to put another 200 hours into a Pokemon game, Y was a fantastic re-introduction into the series. I happily played through the campaign and side quests, enjoying the work that gamefreak has put into bringing the franchise into the modern era.
Being a remake of one of the games I played when I was younger, I was keen on checking out the improved version. Now it's time to catch 'em all.
Being a massive Zelda fan (thanks to an old friend of mine lending me Ocarina of Time when I mistakenly thought it couldn't be that good - thanks Katy) I was originally torn on Hyrule Warriors. It might feature the Zelda characters, sure, but this game played like one from the Dynasty Warriors franchise (which I admittedly really enjoyed when I was younger). I had the thought in my mind that it would be tainted, that the experience would be lessened as it would just not be a Zelda game.
I was glad to find, after playing a demo at the EB Expo 2014, that this was not the case.
Don't get me wrong, it definitely follows the mechanics of a Dynasty Warriors experience - it's not all dungeons and exploring, rather frantically button mashing through 1000s of enemies - but the mashup has been well crafted into a game that pulls fantastically from two very different series'. It is another example of a game that is just fun.
After playing through the first couple of levels yesterday, I'm happily hooked here. It may not have the the key elements that make a Zelda game a Zelda game, but I know I will still enjoy this one for what it is.
The oldest of the games I will be playing this Feb, Journey is an experience I've heard so much about but never had the pleasure of enjoying.
After having it in the back of my mind as a game I would pick up when it was eventually remastered for the PS4 (all the good ones are), I ended up finding the collectors edition for PS3 at my local JB for $19. After all I've heard about this game, I couldn't wait any longer - and I was happy to pay that price.
There is still plenty of mystery surrounding this game for me - I'm keen to understand why this has such an impact on so many people.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
All it took for me to want to play this game was a screenshot.
I mean come on. Just look at that picture. It's in game footage. No really. It is.
After reading an interview where the developer of this game talking about the choice to offer a shorter game for a smaller price vs. a larger game for full price, I was in. The fact that it is only short and that I should be able to finish it in an afternoon is a big draw for someone who works full time and works on other personal projects.
I enjoyed Gone Home to an extent, it was a brilliant story, but I did leave that game feeling like I wished there was a bit more to it. I feel like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter will be a great fit for what I'm after.
What will you be playing this February?