Tuesday, December 28

Game of the Year Awards 2021

Game of the year; Halo Infinite

I thought this would be yet another year with a Resident Evil game of the year. RE8 did come in a close second followed by Aliens Fireteam Elite in a respectable third place. 

Ultimately, it’s the story of Halo Infinite that made me want to give it my game of the year award. The themes of grief hit home for me. The game starts after former ally turned enemy Cortana has been killed. At first, this bothered me. Halo 5 set up Cortana as this massively powerful galaxy-wide threat with personal connections to the Chief only for Infinite to then kill her off between games. But as I kept playing, I started to see this story for what it is. This isn’t a cliché story about whether or not the Chief can bring himself to kill his former friend. It’s a story about him having to accept that she’s already gone. Cortana is dead, there is nothing even the Master Chief can do to save her. He’s haunted by the space she used to take up. He can’t fight it, beat it or overcome it in any way like he normally does. He has to learn to just live with it. I’ve lost my Nan, Gran, Aunty and a friend over 2018 and 2019. I can tell you from personal experience that Halo Infinite recreated what grief feels like in a surprisingly effective way and it deserves praise for that.

Best Non-2021 game I played this year; Pokémon Red/Blue

Over December, I’ve gotten into Pokémon for the first time since Black and White on the DS. Part of this experience has been going back to the classic that started it all with Red and boy is this still a great game. I’ll admit it lacks a lot of quality of life touches from the newer games but it’s still a blast to play through. The world of Kanto and Pokémon as a whole feels so thought out and fully rounded even in this first game. Just travelling around Kanto is an absolute joy as you learn more about the history of the region. Finding the destroyed lab where Mew was resurrected from fossils was a personal highlight for me. I have no idea how such a big adventure fits on such a small cartridge. It honestly blows my mind how the Pokémon company were able to manage all of this on the original Gameboy back in 1996!  

Worst Game of the year; Grand Theft Auto San Andreas The Definitive Edition

This award would probably go to the entire GTA Trilogy Definitive Edition if I had played them, but I didn’t. I skipped paying for these games and only played the San Andreas remake as it was on GamePass. I could talk about the awful condition this game launched in but you can go anywhere to see the myriad of bugs, derpy NPCs, typos and so on that litter the game. The thing I want to focus on is what pissed me off about this disgusting game and it’s something I don’t see anyone else mentioning.

GTA San Andreas is downright offensive, degrading and dehumanizing. There’s the obvious mistreatment of sex workers that everyone knows about to the less talked about transphobia and homophobia. I played this game a lot when it came out and as such have a lot of nostalgia for it but replaying it just opened my eyes to all of this. It was when I was driving around Los Santos that I heard a radio station advert that outright called all transgender women drag queens that it started to hit me. The opening of the advert went as follows:

“Sexual re-alignment used to require years of therapy, months of hormone treatments, and you still ended up looking like a drag queen.”

After this, I went on to play a mission that has you chasing down a flamboyant gay dude so that you can murder him because he’s telling everyone about the time he had gay sex with your friend. Then I noticed the car garage company was called ‘Transfenders Car Body Swap’. As I continued to play I noticed more and more things that I could mention but honestly, I don’t think I want, nor need to. 

GTA San Andreas The Definitive Edition gets my worst game of the year for being just fucking horrible. 

Final Notes

2021 has been one hell of a year. In terms of gaming, we’ve had a lot of good games come out. Resident Evil 8 VIlliage was amazing. It took what RE4 started and managed to improve upon it! Then we had Aliens Fireteam Elite that I loved. Kinda sad to see not everyone felt the same way about it. Still, I think it’s the best Aliens game we’ve ever gotten. Fireteam Elite is to Aliens what Isolation is to Alien in my opinion. 

Then we also had horrid stories of abuse coming from all around the AAA publishers. The biggest two of course being the Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard stories. Gaming is an industry and fandom I’m starting to hate more and more. A few years ago I would have happily called myself a gamer but now that word just feels dirty and disgusting. I’m no longer proud of this hobby. I hope things improve for those working in the gaming industry but I can’t say I expect it to.

Outside of gaming, my sister got married this year which was a big thing and I’m glad to see her so happy. I also had bottom surgery which thankfully went pretty well. There are some small issues but I’m going in for day surgery in February to get them sorted then I should be good to go. Since the op, I’ve felt so much better in my body. I’ve been wearing a lot more dresses which I’m enjoying. I even managed to start using the toilets in public which I never thought I would feel confident enough to do. Don’t get me wrong it’s still scary as fuck but doing it at all is more than I ever thought I would be able to do! I just feel happier with my body now. After the revision surgery in Feb, I should be all good with my body and that feels amazing. I honestly never thought I would get to the point where I’m at now. I’m engaged to the love of my life, I’m legally recognised as a woman, I have my beautiful flat with my fiancée, I’ve managed to transition with HRT and now I’m even post-op. 5 years ago I thought I would have killed myself before my 30’s. Now 2022 is on the horizon which will see me turn 30 and I’ve never been happier. I’m so proud of myself and so thankful for everyone in my life who didn’t let me give up when I wanted to.

If anyone is reading this and you feel like your life will never be the way you want it to be then just listen to what I’ve said. I felt like that but I was wrong, so wrong. Don’t give up, keep fighting and one day you won’t need to anymore. 

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