Monday, January 5, 2015

2014: The Kiblitzing Year in Review

If you read just one Kiblitzing post this year, you should probably make it this one... since it's a summary of all the posts I made in the previous year.

Nom nom tasty samurai

This served as something of a renaissance for Kiblitzing, since the blog was updated quite rarely in the past. Highlights include a Heiankyo Alien retrospective and the start of a Top 40 Genesis games list that I, uh, never finished. (I kind of hit a brick wall with Landstalker. Sorry 'bout that!)

This was also around the time I bought a Wii U from a pawn shop for around $150. At the time, I thought I needed my head examined for such a frivolous purchase, but the Wii U has gone a long way toward proving its worth in 2014 with Mario Kart 8 and some generous offers. Thanks to Club Nintendo and the Digital Deluxe promotion, I've got a half dozen games that otherwise wouldn't be in my collection.

February was full of cheap gaming delights for the Xbox 360, my favorite last-gen console. Radiant Silvergun got a long overdue tribute, and there was some grousing about the apparent demise of hot mustard sauce. Mercifully, its death was highly exaggerated, returning nationwide at the end of the year. Eat that, Habenero Ranch!


You've gotta give it a hand.
March came in like a wrecking ball to my poor stomach, which needed reconstructive surgery to reroute digestive juices that had been building up thanks to last year's pancreatic peril. Fortunately, my Game Boy Micro came to the rescue, keeping me entertained during my week-long recovery. I also posted a thorough examination of the Yoshi's Island instructions, along with a couple choice pages from a Super Mario Bros comic.

This was unofficially Atlus month, so I took the time to complain about the company's new store-brand logo... and oh yeah, talk about a few of their games, too. Microsoft's Phil Spencer got a well-deserved kick in the teeth for his limp defense of the Xbox One, originally designed to punch players in the dick and record it for the world to see with its creepy Kinect camera. It took the disposal of that peripheral and several deep price cuts for it to come anywhere near the sales figures of its competitor the Playstation 4.


It's a good song, really!
May brought one of Kiblitzing's all-time most popular posts, Knife Edge. This was applauded for its examination of the Tomodachi Life controversy and ridiculed for its frequent references to progressive rock references, all in the same breath! I mentioned in the article how America's view of homosexuality has shifted in the last twenty years, and I must sheepishly admit that my own opinions on the subject have changed as well. Maybe I've become more empathetic since I graduated from high school, or just experienced life more fully, but these days, I don't care what consenting adults do in their spare time. Besides, it never hurts to have more options in a video game... I appreciated the chance to scratch my bi-curious itch in Fable 2, even if none of the NPCs were willing to play along. I just gave you a gift and did a handstand for you! What more do you WANT from me!?


June brought the Playstation Vita to my doorstep, and it's hard to think of another game system that's left me feeling so ambivalent. On one hand, it's super powerful, and it's probably gobbled up more of my spare time than any other handheld in 2014 thanks to its colorful display and extensive backward compatibility. This thing runs PSOne AND PSP games, and they've never played better thanks to a fully exposed D-pad! Yet at the same time, it never really lives up to Sony's promise of a console-quality handheld experience, and there's every evidence that the Vita doesn't have much life left due to a dearth of first-party titles and a rush by retail stores to clear it from shelves. At least it's a great way to put all my favorite fighting games in my pocket, bulging though it may be.


Still not hungry for The Last
of Us, Mom.
The next generation of consoles have arrived, and brought with them... prettied up versions of last generation's games. Bleech. The notion put forth by Andrew House that lapsed gamers will want to play all the blood-soaked, user-hostile titles they intentionally avoided by purchasing a Wii last decade really set me off. Just how deluded IS Sony, anyway? Ugh.

This month is producing a lot of monosyllabic grunts and moans, so let's jump to the next one, shall we?


Now we're talking! This is when I bought my first game-ready PC, which will likely be paired with the Wii U as my consoles of choice for this generation. I mean, what the hell, I've got sixty games on Steam already, and I'm not even sure how I got half of them!

August also marked the rise of GamerGate, the nefarious movement that claims to be about ethics in gaming journalism but in practice is more about making video games the exclusive domain of fat pink nerds who can't get a date. There's room in this hobby for more than just sheltered dorks like us, honest!


Terra Cresta in your toy chest-a!
This was when I complained about the announcement of a new, new, NEW 3DS and wondered aloud how I would turn my recently acquired yard sale computer into a gaming powerhouse. That wasn't any great mystery, by the way... I just needed to throw it into a more spacious case and add a decent graphics card. It could probably use another four gigs of RAM, but considering the fact that it's still packed away in a box somewhere, that upgrade can probably wait.

And oh yeah, September was the month that re-ignited my interest in Terra Cresta, the morph-inomenal shooter by niche developer Nichibutsu. Someone on the other side of the country offered me a free Terra Cresta cabinet after reading this feature. Lord how I wish I could have taken it.


Hoo hoo, there were TONS of posts this month thanks to my declaring it Oktober-Fist! A variety of versus fighting games were covered, including a handful of not-that-great-but-still-strangely-compelling Dreamcast titles and Garou: Mark of the Wolves, the pretender to Street Fighter 3's lofty throne. The festivities were capped off by a tribute to my all-time favorite fighter Darkstalkers, and... more of that GamerGate crap. You people can go away now, really.


November marked a momentous occasion for Kiblitzing. Halfway through the month, I relocated to the southwest to escape another punishing Michigan winter. That move limited Kiblitzing's output, but it did give me an opportunity to play the incredibly fun light gun shooter Deadstorm Pirates, and discuss the origins of this blog's oddball title. (Yes, it's a portmanteau of two Yiddish words. No, I'm not Jewish, but I can understand the confusion.)

Sigh, man.

Last but certainly not least is December, which set two great handhelds in my lap... the PSP-3000 at the start of the month, and the 3DS XL at its conclusion. I purchased a buttload of games for the former system, with Burnout Legends and Valkyrie Profile Lenneth standing above the rest as my favorites. The latter system has sparked new interest in Nintendo's games, since the larger screen means I can actually SEE them. As big and bulky as the 3DS XL is, I could scarcely imagine returning to the original model.

On a more somber note, December was the month when Ralph Baer stepped off this mortal coil and into video game history. Baer not only invented the first home game system, but pioneered video game digitization in the early 1980s with the arcade title Journey. Baer was also famously open to interaction with his fans. The Lost Levels editor Frank Cifaldi mused that until December, you could Email the inventor of video games and probably get a response. It's a harsh reminder that you have to take these opportunities while you can. After all, who knows how long they'll last? 


  1. Happy 2015 to you, Jess! Here's hoping this year is better than the last--no matter how good (or bad) 2014 was for either of us.

    Are your health issues pretty much gone now, BTW? I hope so. Also, I had no idea you actually MOVED to the southwest. I just thought you went on a vacation XD

    One last thing: I'm going to bite on the Vita *very* shortly--which will continue my trend of buying (and hopefully enjoying) systems that no one else cares about :P

    1. I thought I responded to this already! Curse you, free McDonald's wi-fi!

      Uh, anyway. I think the pancreatitis is a thing of the past-creatitus, although I have some scars from that whole debacle. I'm taking pills for high blood pressure and stomach acid, but that's a big improvement over the truckload of meds and vitamins I had to take a little over a year ago. I can also eat pretty much anything I want and even indulge in alcohol without a gall bladder, but I don't want to push my luck.

      I like to think of the trip to Arizona as an "extended vacation." Right now we plan to stick around until April, but my mother wants to head back in the spring and drag me along with her. Me, I'm not so sure if I want to go back to MI just yet, although the sizzling summers of AZ may convince me to return. It's all up in the air at this point.

      Glad to hear you'll be buying a Vita soon... misery loves company after all! I kid, I kid. So did you find a good deal, or just decided not to wait for one? I think Target was clearing out their old stock of Vitae for half price earlier this month (similar to what they did with the 3DS XL), but those were all the OLD systems, and it sounded like you had your heart set on a unit with bigger buttons and an LCD screen.

      Anyway, you picked a good time to hop aboard... they're having a sale on pinball games this week! Heh heh! Heh heh heh... ugh. (Sony's weekly discounts really bite lately.)

    2. Oh, it's good to hear you're feeling much better these days. Here's hoping it continues!

      Ah, so your time in AZ is something between a full-on move and a vacation? I get it. Sounds like you're enjoying it so far, at least, which is all that matters right now, I guess.

      RE: me and a Vita--nope, no deal. Or, actually, I don't know that I'd say I found a "good" deal. I just want another system, and this seems like the best option for me at the moment. Plus, there are a good handful of games I want to play on the system, and more will be released this year, so why not jump on board while I still have some money? :)