2019 is already shaping up to be an exciting year in gaming

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2019 is already shaping up to be an exciting year in gaming

Games, goals and good deeds — let's talk about the start of 2019.

January (‘The Practice Month’™) has officially passed us by. True to regular form, it’s been a bizarre period of limbo: a time for reflecting upon the year that was and embracing the opportunities of the year that shall be, while we somehow exist between neither states, sustaining ourselves on the leftover remnants of a three-week old Christmas pudding.

As we collectively fuel up for yet another year of thrills and wide-eyed hope, it’s tempting to ask ourselves what 2019 has in store. There’s a pressure to feel silly about enjoying the goofy minutiae of gaming culture. It’s a hobby not without its controversies and with each passing year the cynicism of our planet etches another wrinkle into my corrugated-iron sheet of a forehead. It’s always important, however, to appreciate why you enjoy what you enjoy – to return to the roots of what you love about gaming. What is there to look forward to in 2019?

Most obviously, there are the games themselves. There’s a well of killer titles promised for the coming year. For the nostalgic among us, January has already delivered us a Resident Evil 2 remake and the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts 3 – both of which have received widespread acclaim. In upcoming titles, RPG-shooter Anthem is promising open world exploration and customisable Iron Man-like ‘exo-suits’, if you can figure out how and when you’re supposed to play it.

Best of luck with that.

Sci-fi shooter Atomic Heart recently dropped ten minutes of sweet, sweet gameplay that promises an unnerving mystery set in an alternate-universe Soviet Union full of horrifying robot dolls. Mortal Kombat 11 is also looking simultaneously gorgeous and disgusting, promising over-the-top violence that fans will no doubt lose their mind over.

Dreams (from the creators of LittleBigPlanet) will allow you to build your own surreal worlds, the wacky Psychonauts 2 will finally see you hop into people’s minds once more and Control gives you a shape-shifting gun (which is all the information you should need to want that game).

These are probably enough reasons alone to get excited about gaming in 2019. Every so often, however, you get a truly incredible moment, like a fresh burst of oxygen; a moment that strips the cynical streaks from your psyche and brings it all back to basics. One of the real reasons why you should be excited about gaming in 2019.

Youtube personality Hbomberguy, aka Harry Brewis, recently raised $340,523.01 USD (over $470,000 AUD) for the gender diverse and transgender youth support group Mermaids UK with the help of Donkey Kong 64. You did not misread that last sentence.

Brewis live streamed a whopping 58-hour marathon session of the Nintendo 64 classic on Twitch — vowing to not stop until he had completed the entire game. The idea arose as a response to Father Ted and IT Crowd creator Graham Linehan’s attempted campaign to prevent the funding. Several high-profile guests dropped by Brewis’ stream to express their support and encouragement, including the creator of Doom John Romero, activist Chelsea Manning, American congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and even the voice of Donkey Kong himself, Grant Kirkhope. Please take a moment to appreciate that, again, this all actually happened.

One who battles misinformation and provides a platform for others to express their solidarity in an increasingly accepting world must strike a chord with even the most hardened soul. In a world where pursuits can be seemingly hijacked by the selfish and stone-hearted, it is a triumph to witness benign intentions not only noticed, but rewarded ten-fold. I’ve thought long and hard about what I’m looking forward to in 2019 and actions such as Hbomberguy’s have brought it home to the most important fundamental – the reason why so many of us enjoy games in the first place.

People. I’m looking forward to seeing more from people.

It feels strange to say this against the backdrop of a pursuit that has, to put it politely, an uncomfortable history of being unwillingly tied to misanthropy and poor faith at times. I don’t mean ‘People’ with a capital P, of course: that jaded, nihilistic disappointment we personify when we are reminded of atrocity and ignorance. ‘People’ still suck, but ‘people’ — that essence of an average conviction, where we silently know we are capable of great things — can change the balance of perception. It’s slow and not without adversity, but as Hbomberguy has demonstrated, it’s nice to be shown that it’s possible. It’s nice to just be kind.

There are people who earnestly enjoy pursuits and see their application for good – no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. People who foster an inclusive atmosphere, instead of an exclusive, poisonous competitiveness.

People who’ll stand up for each other. People who game to connect – not dominate. People who are more interested in sharing a passion than rewarding deception.

People who aren’t part of a ‘community’ formed in the vacuum of base entitlement. People who won’t employ the sort of cheap underhanded tactics that will be used to justify that mindset.

People who don’t feel compelled by the pressure of a merciless schedule to push themselves into 100-hour work weeks. People who don’t have to fear a dangling dagger above their careers because of the mismanagement of others. People who give more of a shit about those horrendous conditions than getting their shiny new toy on time.

People who are okay with one particular thing that does not explicitly fucking cater to them.

2.2 billion diverse, unique, eclectic, interesting people, just doing what they love – that’s what I’m looking forward to seeing more of in 2019.

Well, that, and the Goose game where you steal people’s hats.