Community Review: 2018

With eight days remaining until Christmas, it's as good a time as any to take stock of 2018.

It's been a rollercoaster of a year, whether you're just looking at games, the tech around them, or the world in general. The tech and gaming world had a spanner thrown into the works in the first few weeks of the year with the revelation of Meltdown and Spectre, two security vulnerabilities that ended up affecting almost every modern computer on the planet.

We had a total lunar eclipse and first blue moon eclipse for over 30 years, and from the gaming side someone found a way to make a 3D game engine - inside of Microsoft Excel.

The start of the year also saw Fortnite eat more and more of PUBG's lunch, en route to its total domination of the battle royale genre. Monster Hunter: World launched to public and critical acclaim, while our delightful government was still modelling video games as a pastime for children.

People discovered a typo in Civilization VI that affected AI behaviour, while Blizzard finally got rid of a well-known griefer who had ruined thousands of Overwatch matches. "They have a large number of separate accounts with copious reports each, all of which have been previously suspended for extended periods of time and one of which is permanently banned," Blizzard said at the time.

The mainstream media started discovering Fornite, a crusade which has continued to this day. Sony's first-party exclusives started to land, and the ongoing battle between Steam and the ACCC finally came to an end after a consumer rights notice started appearing on the front page of Steam.

One of the quirkier stories of the year was from April, when a group of malware hunters discovered a particular piece of malware that locked your computer - unless you played PUBG:

There's A New Malware That Locks Your Files Unless You Play PUBG

A new malware locks infected computers' files unless they fire up PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Unlike other ransomware, PUBG Ransomware doesn't want infected users' money; it just wants them to enjoy a game of Battlegrounds.

Read more

One of the world's most recognisable arcade game players, Billy Mitchell, had his records disqualified and his entries removed from the Guinness World Book of Records. The homebrew scene started cracking the Switch en masse, and we learned what happened behind the scenes of Hangar 13, the makers of Mafia 3.

YouTube critic, reviewer and StarCraft 2 caster John 'TotalBiscuit' Bain passed away, and we started on the long, bizarre train that would become Fallout 76. The Classification Board found itself in the press after We Happy Few was banned, reviewed, and then unbanned, and the federal government surprised everyone by backing a Greens amendment to launch an inquiry into loot boxes and microtransactions.

Japan terrified the world with its whisky shortage, and the NBN managed to hit another own goal after its outgoing CEO awkwardly likened gaming to Netflix (which it's not, but probably will be very soon). He did walk those comments back shortly thereafter, but the damage was already done.

More companies started talking about their cloud gaming projects, with Telstra revealing that they had helped run trials with major publishers. Google's efforts were the first to become publicly playable, using Assassin's Creed: Odyssey as a test.

Real-time ray tracing became available (eventually), and the world started lusting over Cyberpunk 2077 after CD Projekt Red was comfortable enough to upload footage online. Blizzard wrote a heel turn into Sylvanas Windrunner, and then took a heel turn themselves with the reveal of Diablo Immortal.

We did, however, finally get an Uncharted film. It was a short one, but it was nigh on perfect:

I could go on and on, but needless to say: it's been a busy year. Personally - and particularly given recent events - I'm very happy to see the back of 2018 and move into 2019 afresh. I am eternally grateful that my family is all together, mind you: my mother had a major cancer scare and began chemotherapy, and it wasn't until the very end of the year that things started to take a turn for the better.

Things, as always, could have been so much worse. Sometimes, just being able to see out the new year is reward enough.

How has 2018 been for you?


    Gaming wise, 2018 has been the year I played the Switch whilst the PS4 took a backseat.
    I also finally played and completed both Okami and SOTN, which was good to finally achieve after too many years. Gaming highlight of the year would have to be Spidey on PS4 for me.

    It’s been a wonderful year for video games. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for reality, which was fucking terrible on a number of fronts.

    Some very good games, though.

    For me 2018 has been a pretty Ho Hum year in terms of gaming with a lot of it being spent wishing it was the first half of 2019 already. The industry trends continue to worry me and this sudden surge of new marketplaces all competing for developers has me worried that next year will be a year of storefront exclusivity rather than the "Choose where you want to buy from" philosophy that has thus been upheld.

    I think we're also starting to see the indie scene start to hit peak saturation and I feel like it's only going to get harder for new games to stand out amongst the crowd, especially on Switch which is starting to drown in indie games.

    In term of consoles, it's pretty clear that the Switch is still enjoying the fact that the PS4 and XBox One have been around long enough for everyone to have one so the competition isn't as fierce. Nintendo definitely need to up their game though because a second year slump isn't a good sign. They'll finish strong this year with recent releases but I can't think of anything notable confirmed for next year which is worrying.

    All in all, bring on 2019 already.

    It's been a good year for me. I've made strong progress in the right direction surrounded by my family, which is all I really need. I'm now also 2 years sober which has literally improved every aspect of my life. I used to drink booze like water so that's a big achievement.

    Been exercising and eating healthily for over a year now and it's starting to show. I feel fit and healthy, which is good, except for some postural issues from using a PC too much, but nothing's perfect. I'm not cutting down on PC time, that's for sure. I'm doing a lot of writing and that gets done on my PC.

    Some bad moments as well, but they were also strong learning experiences which will help me in the future.

    I also bought a scooter and started keeping it in the car. Now when I park I then scooter almost everywhere. So much fun!

    I hope everyone here can take the good stuff from this year and use it for the next, as well as leave all the bad stuff back in 2018 where it belongs. 2019 is a fresh start and a new chance. These things are valuable so let's use them wisely!

      Multiple achievements unlocked. You're crushing it!

      Just out of interest, what kind of writing are you doing?

        I'm trying to become a pro filmmaker. So writing and directing are the main things I do. I just finished shooting my 5th short film, so I'm happy with the progress I'm making.

        I like writing action screenplays but I'd like to think I'm doing them in a more 'cerebral' style than a lot of the stuff that gets made. Of course I'm just starting out in my career so who knows what I'll be writing in 5 years time. One thing I've learned is that you have to write what's selling. There's no point in writing genius works that there's no interest in. If you want to get paid, you have to write things that people will pay cash moneys for.

        It's an interesting conundrum. Become a writer because you think you have something interesting and unique to say. Then get some experience and realise that sequels, reboots and rehashes sell better than anything else on the market and that no-one cares about your unique viewpoint until you've already made it.

        Thanks for asking and thanks for the props man. I'm working hard! It's fun, but it's still work.

          That's awesome! Be sure to share anything once you feel it's in a shareable state. Would love to see/read.

            Thanks man. This is my site if you're interested: :D

              Thanks for sharing man. I'm too scared to share any of my stuff with the Kotaku community.
              I can't promise anything, but I can show some peeps in the industry over the first few weeks after xmas.
              Me and another individual have been working on an animation and separate comic project to shop around for the past 18 months, but it's a long, time consuming process. I understand how much of a slog it is, so good luck!

                Thanks man. That's super awesome of you. Feel free to say hi on FB if you'd be more comfortable sharing there. Would love to see what you're up to. Animation AND comic is a really strong combo but yeh, soooo time consuming. I wrote a pretty good feature script, got some interest but they wanted me to take notes. The re-write process? It's taken over a year now with no guarantee of a successful outcome. Still... it's good networking and good practise, but yeah, super time consuming.

                Fun though. More fun than normal work anyhow!

              Great!!! Thanks - love your night time photography too!

                hahaha. Awesome. I love doing landscapes. I feel like you really get to know the location when you set up a camera and just wait for the sun to set. it's very relaxing.

    Despite international outrage across the world at both state and federal levels in many countriesat the start of the year due to loot boxes... very little has been done.

    The ineffectiveness of goverment to pritect childten and consumers in a modern electronic world is amazingly stupid and idiotic. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck... lets hold seversl inquiries and do nothing! 2018 goverments are impotent.

    2019 can only get better for me. Been a very up and down year for me. Gaming has always been my refuge from life and I've been enjoying everything I've been playing this year. Spider-man is far and away my game of the year, I know its got its faults and is pretty much a collect-athon but I love it. Even more than RDR2 which is fantastic in its own right.

    Looking forward to Ace combat 7 and Tales of Vesperia remastered in the new year. That's my gaming done for months as I grind out Vesperia again, god I love that game.

      I've also been hungry for a sequel to Ace Combat 6 since it launched. Disappointed it didn't land this year as planed, but so long as it's on the radar for a confirmed release, I don't care how long it spends taxiing the runway.

        Assault Horizon was a fun experiment (All fairness I haven't played it, only watched gameplay) but yeah I've been wanting a follow up to AC6 for a long time too.

        I'm also thinking about getting into more serious combat sims in the new year. Been watching a ton of Falcon BMS and that's got me wanting to jump on that.

        All that said, I've got a 19 month old so my gaming time is severely limited by her and her needs so I'll take whatever I can get.

          Yeah, I used to go hard on the Microprose sims back in the day for that realism kick, but now I don't have the patience for too much beyond Ace Combat's more arcadey style. (Quite liked Hawx, actually. Although the story was pure garbage.)

    It's been a bad gaming year for me, I have played some really good ones. Though typically I will finish a game no matter how bad it is, until this year. There has been several I have just given up on.

    For me, 2018 was the year that toxic asshats finally got fired from their jobs for being toxic asshats on social media, which anyone with half a brain would avoid doing. The worst (or funniest?) part was how many played the victim card and blamed various 'isms' for their firing rather than taking a look at themselves and accepting their faults. Of course, there was selective reporting at the firing trying to frame it as poor victims and evil corporations, but checking out the social media accounts in question revealed that the terminations were well deserved.

    Gamewise? I guess I moved more to playing games I'd used to exclusively play on consoles on PC instead and fell in love with using a PS4 controller on PC.

    Also, can't help but love more Best-sona 3, with Dancing in Moonlight. So many feels.

    I think I spent most of the year playing old games. I went through the Fallout series from 1 again, then did the same with TES I onward. Fiddled with stuff on emulators like the Silent Hill series. Replayed some old C64 games from when I was younger. I suspect I was trying to avoid the modern world, but I'm not sure if that's true or I was on a nostalgia trip. Oh, played a little Stalker, got frustrated at the later section (again). Finally got round to playing Everybody's Gone To the Rapture, which was a bit of a relief because the voice acting and writing were actually good. Yeah. Weird time. The new stuff I played was RDR II and Far Cry 5. A little Elite Dangerous until my internet connection borked out after 5 minutes and I just couldn't be bothered. Dabbled with a bit of NMS which didn't sustain my interest very long, but mostly I just played old things. Was messing about in San Andreas again tonight.

    Last edited 18/12/18 4:21 am

    Me, with games this year:

    It's been somewhat heartening to see the gaming audience concentrate a lot of pushback against crass, anti-consumer behaviour from major publishers, and disheartening to see way too many of them shrug it off. As harsh as it sounds, I'm hoping 2019 is the year some big players learn some harsh lessons in ways they can't shrug off and ignore like usual.

    Could be worse, but still terrible. Gaming things continue to either go nowhere or in directions I don't like at all (especially the introduction of the worthless NSO), personal life is much the same. Certainly don't have any hopes for next year being any better.

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