2015 Has Been The Best Year For Gaming And It's Killing Me

Last night I turned the TV off. I looked at the time. 1am. Bollocks. I have to wake up in five hours. How the hell did this happen?

Oh, yeah. I forgot. Video games.

Or Metal Gear Solid V to be more precise. For the second (or maybe third?) night in a row, I trundled my broken, sleep-deprived body to bed past midnight. My wife, snoring gently, nudged awake by my clumsy footsteps in the dark: "why do you keep doing this to yourself?"

Video games. It's because of the gosh darn video games.

"I don't normally do this." That was my what I mumbled to my wife, before sleeping the sleep of the dead and the damned, only to be woken four hours later by my two-year-old son ("WAKE UP DADDY. IT'S WAKEY WAKEY TIME. I WANT TO BRUSH MY TEETH.")

Today is gonna be a tough one. It's 8.26 at time of writing. I'm already on my second tea.

I don't normally do this. Except, this year I do. This has become a state of normality. For one simple reason: 2015 has been the best year in video games. The best since maybe 2007 — the BioShock/Mario Galaxy/Modern Warfare/Uncharted/Assassin's Creed year. We get these years every so often — 1998, 2004 , 2011 — years where everything awesome comes out at once and you remember precisely why you love video games so much; why this is all worth it.

I love sleep. I am not a "night owl". I am a morning person. On the weekend I wake up early and spend an hour making fancy porridge for Christ's sake. My body is not used to this sort of punishment. I don't normally do this.

Except this year I do.

I did it for Bloodborne. A game that, if it was released in 2014, would be a clear lock for game of the year but, in 2015, is just another contender in a sea of greatness.

I did it for Splatoon. A game that proved that Nintendo can literally do anything — including making an endlessly fun multiplayer shooter that's about covering things in paint instead of shooting each other in the face.

I did it for Everybody's Gone To The Rapture. Partly because it took me so goddamn long to actually walk anywhere in that video game, but mostly because it told a compelling story in a unique, interesting way. Mostly because it has one of the the best soundtracks I've ever experienced in a video game. Partly because it was beautiful.

I did it for Rocket League. God knows I'm still doing it for Rocket League. A game I didn't even know existed until it existed. Until I downloaded it for free and it was 2am and I'm like, one more match. They're only five minutes long, right? Fucking Rocket League...

Now I'm doing it for Metal Gear Solid V. A game that makes so many weird design decisions but somehow works in the most profoundly brilliant way. A game that's just so consistently inventive, engaging and flat out weird. I'll spend an hour doing one single goddamn mission and it'll feel like the best five minutes of my gaming life.

Hyperbole? Probably. But I can't help myself. I'm running on five hours sleep and I'm feeling super enthusiastic about video games right now.

Video games: they're really, really, really good. But probably bad for my ability to get through a train journey without falling asleep on some poor bastard's shoulder.

On a personal (read: self-indulgent note) video games have often felt like a burden. As a new father, with so much going on in my life, finding the time to stay on top of 'video games' sometimes felt like actual work; like a chore. It felt difficult and — worst of all — stressful. 2015, for me, has been the year where I feel as though I've fallen in love with games all over again.

And strangely, going to bed at 2am when I really shouldn't be going to bed at 2am? That's the best measure for me. The surefire sign that games are a thing I am incredibly passionate about again.

But boy am I tired right now. I am really, really tired.


    "I did it for Bloodborne. A game that, if it was released in 2014, would be a clear lock for game of the year but, in 2015, is just another contender in a sea of greatness."

    Also I can relate Mark. I'm a teacher and this years releases have been killing my sleeping pattern. Picked up Until Dawn on release day, played it till 6 am because I couldn't put it down. Metal Gear 5 - I've been slogging away through each mission getting an S ranking (the profanities that come out of my mouth when I've made it through 95% of a chapter without killing/being seen and I bump into someone that just appears out of no where). I'm only 25% of the way through and I'm having the time of my life with it. Only problem is I read a spoiler for it by complete accident while reading some back story on characters from previous games and I'm kicking myself for it. Wish there were more hours in the day for games like this.

    Or they at least released them in the school holiday period to give us teachers a fair chance :P

    Last edited 09/09/15 10:09 am

      Heh, so you played it until dawn. I don't know why I find that so amusing, but I do.

        I actually made this joke at the time. To my dog. He also found it amusing.

        "I SURVIVED... UNTIL DAWN!!"

    Mark - My wife got out little one some sleep clock thing. When he goes to bed, you press a button and a big star comes up in the middle with little stars around it. Over the course of the night, the little stars all disappear until a big yellow sun appears. That is when he is allowed to get up. She set it for 7am and now we get to sleep undisturbed until at least then. It even comes with a little kids book about not getting up until the sun is up.

    Anyways, I have not been keeping up with my video games. Having two little ones and recently getting Netflix and US Netflix. Soooo much top tier content....

    I haven't even got Splatoon yet :(

      My sister has one of those clocks for her son and it works wonders. Totally getting one for my daughter when she's older.

      Yeap, that clock is awesome, we have one too.


    felt like actual work; like a chore. It felt difficult and — worst of all — stressful

    This is actually where I'm at with gaming. Life is crazy busy, and with what little free time I have, there's nothing gaming wise which really interest me enough.

    I'm hoping it'll be next year for me. Fallout 4 [this year], Uncharted 4, Dishonored 2, Mirror's Edge, Horizon Zero Dawn....... Hopefully these will pull me out of my rut!

      Yep, certainly a chore right now too. too many other things going on right now. and by the time you get home, cook dinner, its time to sleep, not game. :/

        I have the latter problem, but not the earlier one. I have no time to game, but I really want to continue playing Arkham Knight. I would have bought MGSV on launch day, except I knew I had no time to actually play the thing...

    Completely agree with you , Mark. My body and my wallet both feel the impact.

    "On the weekend I wake up early and spend an hour making fancy porridge for Christ’s sake".

    My goodness! I bet that tastes like heaven.

    So in other works mark is very fast becoming a husk out of mass effect he will soon be nothing more than a sleep deprived corpse :p

    On the other note it's been a fantastic year for games. I'm loving mad mad and mgs5 atm. And can't wait for Forza 6 tomorrow and we haven't even got into the busy time of the year yet

    "A game I didn’t even know existed until it existed." - gameception?

    Rubbish. Theres been some good titles I will give you but the half a year of empty titles given up to the indy space this isnt a "Best Year Eva" year by any common sense. Maybe best ending half to the year. If you could combine the 2014 titles and use it as gap filler for first half 2015 you could pretend it was though.

    MGSV is pretty bad when it comes to taking breaks or stopping for the night. The other Metal Gear games don't have clear breaks, but I'm finding MGSV takes it a step further by creating the illusion that it does while leading into itself. You say 'I'll just do this mission' because that sounds like a perfectly reasonable way to decide when to take a break, but the mission also includes extraction which can include taking out an outpost or returning to Mother Base for a shower. It can include waiting 2 minutes for a dispatch mission to finish that turns into 'why not just do this while I'm waiting' and 20 minutes later you're back in the deep end. The missions themselves are super long and they don't have cut scenes so it's all action for the entire half hour without a pause to bow out. You look up and it's two hours later.

      That and unlike previous Metal Gear games, most missions don't actually have a huge plot advance. So you're sitting there waiting for something to have happened and you're going - I'll finish up when something actually advances the plot. Nekminnit - It's 10 missions later.

      I love the PS4's sleep mode just for this reason. Lets me stop in the middle of a 3 hour mission (which most of them seem to turn into (not a complaint)) at 1am and start up again without any waiting or other bollocks in only a few seconds. It's like saving but so much better.

      40 hours played, just got to Africa. Game of the year. No question.

        Yeah. I still have a little trouble finding a good place to stop but it's one of the more practical features of the new consoles. It's not just loading a save it's picking up exactly where it left off. Makes a huge difference not having to back track from a recent checkpoint.

      Totally agree.

      Cool just do 1 side op mission. Drives by an outpost. "Oh look A++ stats". Stops at Outpost. Proceeds to take out everyone in the outpost. 15 minutes later. Finally once again running towards mission. Runs by a flock of sheep. Proceeds to sleep everyone of them and fulton them. 5 mins later, continues running. Sees a cluster of 3 plants just out of my way, but enough to make me run towards it instead. 3 minute diversion. Comes to another a small city hub where you spy an A++ guy in the middle of 15 other guys. 20 minutes diversion. Finally get to the side op mission and complete it. Running to extract. Sees another flock of sheep, aaaaaaaand the cycle continues.

    I don't even want to think about what happens when Fallout 4 comes out.

    Bloodborne and Metal Gear are definitely destroying me.

    Lets see, Dying light, Saint Row: Gat out of Hell, GTA 5 PC, Wolfenstein: the Old Blood, Witcher 3, Act of Aggression, Mad Max, MGS:TPP, and theres still Just Cause 3 and Fallout 4 to arrive. And thats just what ive played on PC. 2015 has definately been a fucking great year for gaming sofar

      I think there's something wrong with me...... Not one of those games interest me in the least :/
      [I'd already played GTA5 to death on PS3]

    You have touched upon a very serious issue, I mean 1am and im up for 4am to go to a job that doesn't involve games, apart from playing that game stupid with colleagues of which I can never win...
    ...So don't worry about terrorism and plagues, as pcs get better and game keep getting better this issue is just going to get worse.
    We need to begin addressing this now!

    @markserrels aren't you glad you didn't get too caught up in Witcher 3? 4 months in it's still keeping me up past 1am every night.

    I'm in the same boat with Bloodborne and MGSV at the moment. The other thing is both games are like caffeine for my brain and even when I do go to sleep I lay awake for an hour or two trying to wind down.

    2015 between work, commute, kids, wife, Netflix and Bloodborne there were not enough hours in my evenings...

    Loving Until Dawn and this is the first game that I have actually got my wife to play along with me. Recommended. Sometimes shorter games are great. Values my time.

    Also after 150 hours of Destiny I am too scared to go back into that one. I feel that the likes of MGSV, The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 are too time consuming for me at the moment. Shame but them are the breaks.

    2015 has been insane. I say every better is better but the current gaming high I'm riding tells me the gap is wider for me this year than recent years. So good.

    I think @markserrels should look at Lifehacker more often, in particular this article:
    You never know, some of these things could start happening to you ;p

    Bloodbourne, MGSV and Xenoblade coming. The Japanese still rule videogaming imo

    Also no mention of Witcher? This has been a great year and still keen for Fallout and Hitman.

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