Cblog End-of-Year Recaps 2015: Definitive Edition


More cblogs, more power

[I’d like to thank all recappers, past and present, on their work recapping the cblogs. They give the community’s blogs a second chance for people who tend to miss great stuff, whether they’re hung over, working late, or just binged on a game too much. Also, kudos for this year’s End-of-Year Recaps go to ShadeOfLight. The madness of the old gods that is composing this monster has touched me, Pixie, and now you too Shade. MADNESS I SAY! ~Strider]

Hello again and welcome to the annual Cblog Recaps Year in Review! That’s right: it’s that time of year again when your faithful Recappers look back on a year of quality Cblogs to highlight the blog of the crop, the blog de la blog, the very best like no blog ever was. Before we get to that though, we would like to extend our thanks to the community managers who continue to keep us loose cannons in check, and to everyone who keeps the site running. Destructoid is a home away from home for a lot of us, so we’re very thankful for every gear in the system.

Now then. 2015 was certainly a year alright. It was the year in which we overtook Back to the Future, the year in which Star Wars came back with a vengeance, the year in which people spent a full week arguing over the color of a dress, the year in which Quickposts took Destructoid by storm, the year in which we got blindsided byUndertale, and the year in which Cloud got inSmash Bros.

2015 was a tough year as well. It was a tough year for the world at large, and it was a tough year for gamers. A much-beloved icon left us long before his time, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Satoru Iwata’s passing wasone of the most prominent blog topics this year, from the Destructoid community directly to him.

As we close out the year, we’d like to thank you all for sharing your words with us, be it to spread joy, share grief, or drop knowledge. Even if you’re not featured below, know that we’ve seen your work and we appreciate your efforts. We hope that you’ll all continue to STFU and Just Blog Video Games throughout 2016.

But first; our shout-outs from 365 days of blogs, 2015-style!

– The Cblog Recaps team

Destructoid of 2015 has been a rather controversial year to me, although it is likely made more noticeable as a fresh-faced individual who has been around regularly since late last year. I’m sure some veterans could tell me about how time is a flat-circle; one that loops endlessly as a thunderous cacophony with repeating community rebirth like cells dying and being shed only to be replaced. We’ve seen people being fired, unpopular writers taking their place and an ongoing over-six-month redesign that has invaded every part of the website with, at best, all the woes of a beta. All this has led to an exodus of users, once a tidal wave of infuriated forum-users and now a constant trickle of the upset.

…And yet you stayed.

Yes, you. The reader. Despite all the metaphorical explosions going off around you, soaking you with a thick dose of drama, disgruntlement and apathy, you stuck through it. You people, the readers who leave silly comments and create blogs, are to me the heart and soul of the website.

As someone whose minor games journalism career has existed on websites without a community at all, it feels apparent to me that you people (the ‘participating audience’ for lack of a better term) lend color to what could have been a drab website existing until one misstep plummets it into obscurity (something I’ve witnessed firsthand). Among the various folk I’ve spoken with who have turned their back on Destructoid or have played with the idea in their head, the thriving community has always been at least a recession to criticism and at most the defining convincing point to stay.

So, in dedication to you lot, I wish to dive in with excitement to the blogs that stick out to me this year. They may not be the best, but they’re the ones that make my brain pulse with excitement and thoughts, even if the run-off substance is wordy paragraphs when a sentence would do.

The release ofXenoblade Chronicles Xbrought in gleeful excitement by the bucket load, perhaps being one of the strongest contenders for Wii U Game of the Year for various websites. To thisShadeOfLightoffered his thoughtson how it was a game that played to its own strengths of environment exploration. Environment design, to me, is such an under-discussed subject it is fantastic to see Shade talk about it.

With the advent of being able to make a blog as a direct response to another blog, I admit I thought this would have cropped up a lot more than it has. Only once I recapped a blog and its response. Despite this, theconversation betweenJosh RiversandOverlordZettaon what I thought would be a tired subject (sexism, as much as a shame as it is to occur, is a very common topic within video game commentary circles)manages to instead breathe some life into the topic. Especially as it does dip into male sexualization, which is comparatively silent compared to discussions on female sexualization.

I admit thatJames Internet Egoalways seems able to crank out something interesting when he writes. I really could just blindly throw a dart at his blog list and chances are high it’d make it onto this list, however I should keep it to one blog. So let’s go withhow Garrus was something more than a companion in theMass Effectseries. He feels more like a co-star alongside the protagonist, as he naturally develops gently from Dirty Harry cop (i.e. cop who finds that the bureaucracy of the law gets in the way of justice) to something that can’t be boiled down to a comparison. He still wants to be the law to protect people, but his opinions, actions and quips go beyond this simple desire. It still makes me wish I could have toleratedMass Effectenough to finish the trilogy, to experience more scenes of Garrus.

Okay, last one, promise. So speed-running is a scene that has never clicked for me, it is the type of thrill others have but I do not as I prefer just traversing the land for stories. However, liketechsupportdid forDrive Club, once I got that urge to be the best in the world as it felt within my reach.His discussion about just being 4 points from the top reminds me of my speed runs ofForest in Lemma, trying shave off seconds so I can be within the top 10 of the world. Currently I rest at 9 I think, but one day I will return to cut more seconds off, just like how techsupport will likely one day return toDrive Clubto get his Platinum Trophy.

I’m sorry if you’re left out in the cold and you didn’t get mentioned by me, as you still matter. A community isn’t four people who I just happen to enjoy the blogs of, it is the countless people still posting their own blogs of their own thoughts, quips and ramblings. Every single one of you matters; from the provocative criticism, to the silly dumb-humor all the way to love letters to the games and topics we hold dear. Thank you, every single one of you, and I hope you continue on.

– Riobux

I am generally not inclined to join online communities; I don’t use social media at all, and I have less friends on my PS and Nintendo than I do in real life. Before Destructoid, I only ever joined one online forum.

However, as I grew up, my love of video games remained constant, while my circle of friends simply never gotten into video games beyond some core N64 party games andWinning Eleven. Naturally, it was online that I could find like-minded people discussing video games. Yet, I found most online communities to focus less on the joy of gaming, and more on how to bring down that joy for other people. That is until I stumbled on Destructoid. While not perfect in any way, the Dtoid community and staff realized that while they are hugely tied to video games, they are just that; games. The site didn’t take itself seriously, and neither did the community. I could expect any genre of games to be reviewed here, and if not by the staff, then by the wonderful blogging community.

I probably lurked for more than two years. In that time, I was taking a hiatus from a game review project. I planned to review the top 100 SNES list by IGN, but due to many reasons I stopped even before finding Dtoid. When I decided to continue the project, I realized this would be the perfect chance to join Dtoid and start blogging those reviews.

Now, just over a year after joining the clan, I finally finished that SNES review marathon. I am just starting a Sega Genesis reviews marathon, while doing one for the DS and Wii as well. I have managed to write over 70 blogs, and even managed several attempts at writing humorous blogs (not my strong point). This is not me bragging, this my thanks to the site and community. If I didn’t feel the acceptance this site has for people of all walks of life, I wouldn’t have dedicated as much time to these blogs as I am now. To give a little back, I jumped at the first chance to become a Recapper, and now I am the regular Monday recap guy.

So, this year was the year I became a member of this weird, horny, lovable community, and the year that I managed to finally finish my first Blogging series. Thanks to you, the community, I feel glad recapping these blogs regardless of the Blog Editor’s condition.

Here are my top blogs:

Terry 309wrote an excellent blog aboutoptions in video games extending beyond narrative choices.

ChrisHannardhad an amazing Halloween list featuring obscure horror games.This one aboutNight Trapwas hilarious.

I really don’t understand what this blog from VeryImportantQuestion is about, but it was funny throughout.

I don’t think I am the only one who likedUsurpMyProseBravely Defaultresponse to Meddling Kids Bloggers Wanted prompt.

I really likedSubparLobster‘sdiscussion about the growth of the horror genre in both movie and video games.

– Lord Spencer

There was plenty to be happy about and plenty to be frustrated about this year. It surely wasn’t an easy year for some, but for me, the theme of this year was determination. Through the power of determination, we can make our dreams come true, despite the hardships against us and various other anime cliches.

This marks the year where I became a Cblog Community Manager and promoted Cblogs I liked. This year was the last year I attended school for the purposes of learning how to earn money. This was the year where I left my comfort zone to move out of my parents’ house to be with my fiance in San Francisco. Many notable community members left Dtoid and many lovable Dtoiders either joined or became more prolific. Thanks to the power of determination, the world kept turning and we refused to give up.

Strictly in terms of gaming, I haven’t joined the next proper generation of consoles yet, which somewhat limits my options to talk about cutting edge GOTY titles. But Nintendo’s determination proved sufficient in providing plenty of enjoyable experiences despite lagging behind the quantity of PS4 and Xbone. Some games even continue to release on the 360, for whatever reason. But the point is, with determination, we can do anything. Including this entry for the year’s cap. Just kidding! I’m going to sleep as of the time of this composition and I’ll be restarting after a night’s sleep!

RedHeadPeakis a longtime member whose activity with the community tapered off towards the middle of the year for good reason. Education and opportunity presented itself to him and turning away from such a gift would be crazy. Of course, that doesn’t mean he still didn’t contribute some badass blogs to build towards his rep as an educationally focused games blogger.

Humor is a great subject to approach during times of emotional stress and pain. More times then anyone else, I was tempted to just continuously promote Spielerdad‘s Cblogs becauseI just always lovedthem, especially when they were digestible, comedy based Cblogs.

Many Dtoiders are really good about contributing to the site, no matter what happens. And due to their diligent participation, I really take notice of their individual quirks and personalities that shine through on all of their work.OverlordZettafor example is one of the more verbose bloggers on the site. Tell him he has a word count to stay under and he’ll likely blow right past it. But he’s also one of the more unabashed otaku on the site, standing up for the stuff Japanophiles love about gloriousNippondespite what filthy westerners may think.

Virtua Kazamais one of the more active fighting game delegates as well, with of course an obvious franchise being his bread and butter. Still, it does my heart good that people like Virtua Kazama still exist and will talk shop on the Cblogs when most people would rather have discourse on outrage porn.

If there’s one thing I appreciate about the Cblogs, it’s that it constantly surprises me with things that are new, fresh, and sometimes downright educational or eye opening. It always amazes me, the stories of gaming in other countries, likeLatin America. Or Cbloggers who are well-versed in obscure collections or knowledge, like Bardley, ooktar, and extatix. Or just plain can share their unique experiences, framed in a context we all share: video games. I haveManchild,Linkslayer, andRico the Penguinto thank for that.

Of course what’s a good read if not a good old-fashioned list? But Dtoiders don’t typically settle for just any list. We gotta use music! LikeShade‘s assimilation of bbain’s jukebox, or Screamaid‘s long-running music series. How about El Dango‘s food list, complete with great images and catchy headers. That’s not even game related but damn if it’s not good eating.

Also, shout-outs toWrench, theforever mecha soul. Stay determined.

– StriderHoang

If I were to sum up 2015 in as few words as possible, it’d be this: 2015, to me, was the year of e-friends. My e-friends were the ones who celebrated my best times with me this year, such as the release ofXenoblade, the announcement of Bayonetta inSmashand even real life stuff like my internship early this year. But unfortunately I also had some significant downs this year, as 2015 was often a very lonely time for me. Even during those times I could count on my e-friends to remind me that I matter to them, and that things would eventually get better. It makes all the difference in the world.

So who are these people, these e-friends? Well, they’re you guys. Whether you comment here, write or read blogs, or just hang out to shoot the shit, there’s a good chance I know who you are and I appreciate you. Granted I don’t know all of you as well as I should like, but just having you all here gives me a place to belong. That’s something I needed this year more than ever. Thank you all very much for you doing you, and remember: you’ve got a friend in me.

But you came here for blogs, and not to hear me sap on. So here are some of my favorite blogs this year, as written by my e-friends.

Sometimes, all you need from your e-friends is that they gush about games they enjoy for a while. It can be through words, like whenDr. Melrecalled playing his favorite game, or whenCelicaCrazedwent througha love/hate-but-mostly-love relationship withMario Kart 8. It can also be through pictures, asDr. Light ate your MagiciteandCannibal Stevenprovided photo documentation of their runs throughEarthboundandThe Evil Within. You can even go completely off your rocker and justdraw a bunch of dicks on your game of choice.

Other times, you look to them for some meatier stuff. Looking deeper into video games as an art form, this year we hadRedHeadPeakdiscussinghow video games can be enjoyed,Avtrspiritteaching ushow to games criticism,James Internet Egogoing on his quest for immersion, wutangclam showing his literary side by examining Lovecraft in games, and TheLimoMaker explaining his love for minimalist storytelling.

E-friends can help you gain different perspectives on things, on many different subjects. For example,Voltechtalked at length about what“a powerful female character”should mean. In the same vein,OverlordZettadiscussed thecharacter behind the fanservice, even in a series likeSenran Kagura. But on a way different topic,Titannelcan tell youwhat it’s like to own an N-Gagejust as easily. That’s mobile’s past; for its future you askJoyfulSanity, who can tell you all aboutwhy “mobile as the future of gaming” can be so scary. On a more personal level,Manchildtold us abouthow to deal with internet controversy, whileKyWiiurged games media to be more positive for a change.

And finally,nobodydropsbuckets of truthlikeElsa.

Sometimes, e-friends disappeared as quickly as they arrived. Avoclefo wrote anexcellent blog onFinal Fantasy, then was never seen blogging again. But the best ones are those who stick by you throughout the years, likebbainand his always fun and recognizableExperience Points.

– ShadeOfLightMay you always find water and shade

Howdy folks, James’ Internet Ego here. 2015 has been an odd year for me. I have both gained and lost so much. But on the ‘gain’ side of this year was Destructoid. I’ve lurked on the site since around March of this year and in April I finally made an account. I tried to write one blog every two days, and for a few months I was successful. Then I started university, so my output slowed. Add to that how the editor has gradually been getting more fucked up and well… things have been quieter than I’d like. Among my new year’s resolutions is to try and write one blog a week, as well as buy a new wardrobe, make new friends and be less insular as a person. Next year should be good for me.

You lot are wonderful, so unashamedly yourself and contrary to most of the internet, you are at least semi-reasonable. You have the qualities I look for in a community, and it is what keeps me here. That and I have a completely free space in which to write, which is pretty neat. It’s been fun reading through your blogs and I look forward to continuing this into next year.

Having only been following the blogs since April and being a recapper since November, there’s an issue. We are supposed to take our favorites from the recaps we’ve done, but I’ve only done 4 recaps (maybe 5 by the time you read this) so that’s not practical. Therefore, I’ve taken my picks from when I started reading Destructoid earlier this year.

One of my favorite blogs of the year was so good it got promoted, even though it started life as a homework assignment. Rereading it has also reminded me of a 2000 word essay I have to write. So… bugger. Anyway,ShadeOfLightwrote abouthis love ofArkham Asylumin a way that I found to be very to the point without being even slightly dull. I give this blog my thumbs up because it doesn’t waffle or ramble or digress, it just says its thing concisely and persuasively.

The funniest blogs must get a mention as well. Before he was made a staff member,CJ Andriessenwrote satire blogs that were downright hilarious, so much so that I went back and found his older blogs to see what they were like. Now his blogs are front page articles, but of his pre-stardom workthis piss-take of Gearboxwas my favorite.

I also like insightful blogs about things we all do but don’t particularly think about. The stand-out blog for me in this category isPixie The Fairy‘sanalysis of the post-game juggling act, where we sit there switching between lots of games, unsure which one we want to give our time to. It’s the phase I’m in right now, I’ve got Life is Strange, The Witcher 3, Mass Effect and GTA V all calling to me but I just can’t make up my mind. Also to consider isthis blog about character creation from Driver, who doesn’t generally like it and, I have to say, I largely agree. Default FemShep is my FemShep, and I hate sliders.

– James Internet Ego

What’s up, everybody? It’s your boy, Dreamweaver!

“Wait a minute, you’re a Recapper? 0_o”

I understand the confusion, and I would like to apologize for that. As you may have been aware, I’ve been doing Comments of the Week for the better part of the year. While I was able to keep up my duties as a Recapper so far, unfortunately I haven’t been able to devote my time evenly. Thus, I haven’t had the pleasure of reading as many blogs as I could’ve, which means I can’t really recommend the best blogs of this year. I’m sorry, folks. This one’s all on me. T^T

I will say that I still read all the blogs that fall under my day (Saturdays!), and place them under their appropriate categories, but I also understand there are still six days worth of blogs that I have been less attentive to. I do sometimes see something interesting and give it a quick read, but I also feel guilty because I feel like I’m pretty much just playing favorites at this point.

“But Dreamweaver, it’s okay! We LOVE Comments of the Week!”

Thanks, voice inside my head! However, the reason I feel this way is because reading blogs and commenting were a couple of the reasons why you guys welcomed me with open arms when I first decided to become a more prominent part of the community. The Cblog section is among one of the heart and souls of Destructoid: it’s where people can freely voice their thoughts (and post awesome porn blogs :3), interact with one another, and even receive a chance to write on the front page like the Recappers before us (Wrenchfarm and bbain). By not being able to keep up with the blogs, I feel like I am a bit out of touch with the personal side of the community. 8^8

While I can’t make any promises (even Comments of the Week’s future have been in question for months), hopefully I’ll be able to return to my roots in the future. Until then, I hope you will all do me (:3) the honor of reading as many blogs as you can. People work hard on these blogs (or get hard :D) and they deserve a little recognition!

– Dreamweaver

I set out this year with a couple goals in mind. One was inspired by this very thing I’m doing right now, which is the Yearly Recap, and 2014’s recap set me on the idea that maybe we could recap all the best blogs of a month in the same fashion we did daily recaps. I thought it might be a useful tool for community managers as well, to help them catch any potential blogs that might slip though the cracks and a great way to highlight the community at the end of each month.

Then I got tapped as one of the community managers and Andy retired from being a CM. And while I’ve done a fair bit of blog promotions this year, the monthly became very difficult for me to maintain in addition to moderating, spam-busting and ensuring people play nice around these parts. That and I’ve been taking on jobs that either require long commutes and have no Wi-Fi or they do have Wi-Fi and they’re very hard on the digits.

Well, and you try to combine Dreamweaver, Script, Nanashi, Riobux and ShadeOfLight’s varying blogging formatting styles and see if it doesn’t take you days on end to unify that into one coherent blog with hundreds of embedded links. It’s self-inflicted torture and not as sexy as the kind found inDeception IV: The Nightmare Princess. So I not only learned what Strider learned about doing monthly recaps, in becoming a community manager, I obsoleted my own feature.

My other goal was to write a bunch of silly blogs. That was easy, I had “The Agenda.” Whenever people find vague things to blame, I will specifically make fun of them. When trans women are implied to have special powers at competitive video games, I will be there to decide my superheroine costume. When Bayonetta is claimed to exist to appease the male gays, I will be there to point out Bayonetta is for everyone that likes fabulous, secretly naked Umbra witches.

And when one pansexual dragon is one too many for your roster, well, I’ll point out Feathered Fox – so there.

And now for my favorite blogs of 2015:

Bardleywrote many blogs pertaining togaming ads from days gone by, but it started here with Atari ads.

Remember that timeGoofierBrutedared to say he didn’t likeMajora’s Mask? We treated him real nice.

Daylight Savings time destroys Termina.

UsurpMyProseprefers the life of a hunter to that of a trainer.

FlanxLycanthwrites aconsumer epic worthy of Homer– but which Homer?

OrochiLeonaandthe choice of character.

Sephzillabegs Square-Enix not to changeFinal Fantasy VIItoo much.

James Internet Egoandthe moral complexity ofKnights of the Old Republic II.

Ckarasuweighs in on theFire Emblem: Fatescontroversy.

– Pixie the Fairy

So ends my first year as recapper. It’s not 100% true that I didn’t come into challenge fulfilling this responsibility.

It’s tough to write a blog a week, especially when you feel like you’ve literally exhausted every last thing to talk about. But I pushed on, as many of us did. The Recap team mission was really something I found to be honorable and incredibly helpful during my stay here at Dtoid. So naturally I wanted to become a part of that. After almost not passing the preliminary processes I believe I came out the gate as a fairly good and reliable recapper.

None of the time that went into writing the blogs, and making them interesting again was wasted. Honestly it was just a blast to interact with people who love to write about things and see them referenced/critiqued by a total stranger that holds some apparent power (not really). It’s a nice feeling to look over others work and then engage with them in the comments.

And now without further ado, by the power invested in me by the website of Destructoid.com I give you my best blogs of the year!

October was fairly awesome for me this year because I took time out of my month to play a butt-load of horror games and stream them and then write about them. I just love October, it’s so much better than November and December. ?

Not unlike me, many Dtoiders had traditions that they like to keep or do and one such seasonal blog that really struck me wasAgent9‘s October 31 Days of scary video game music blog. Short and sweet but oh so good. It’s awesome honestly just to see someone set their mind out to do something like this and see it through. Kudos brother. Read his work here, here, here, here or here.

Moving on,Riobux, Dtoid newbie and recent addition to the Recaps team set me on fire with one of my favorite things I’ve seen this year. Blog playthroughs. I just love them. Video playthroughs are kind of overblown and lazy to be honest. But to see someone actually write out the whole process as they play through a game is incredible. Also well done man, kudos.Part 1,Part 2andPart 4. In a similar way,Gajknightalso set me ablaze with a blog and that was his (image heavy)Journeyplaythrough blog. Love it bro.

Another new recapper also took me by surprise as becoming one of my favorite writers out of the community for 2015 and that is none other thanJames Internet Ego. Here are my favorites by him:Painful old games,On VerdunandThose Meddling Kids Entry.

I also enjoyed the work ofRetrofractionthis year in the Cblogs, namely for his work managing another favorite community sub project of mine,Band of Bloggersand fun blogs likethis one!

Now that my favorite bloggers awards are revealed (highly prestigious of course) there’s still;

Terry 309– whom I also really really enjoy when he writes things likethis right here.

Rudorlf– who got the best of me bytalking aboutMax Payne!

wutangclam– my favorite oceanic rapper who gets me withhis charming writing style.

Virtua Kazama– who is new but awesome about it and love him someVirtua Fighterand promoting itlike so.

OverlordZetta– because damn this guycan write!

Extatixbringing us his various collections, which I adore reading about.

n0signal– for picking up again the favorite community sub-project of mine here at Dtoid, here!

AlphadeusDtoid’s resident music man.

StriderHoangDtoid’s ninja (officially).

– Nanashi

And that’s all we have for you today! Don’t forget to bookmark your favorites, or go read up on the few Monthly Recaps we managed to get out: January, February, March, April, May, June and July. Of course, you could alsohit that shiny Longblog buttonto write something worthy of song yourself! We’ll be here to read it all throughout 2016!