Looking back at 2012 (kind of)

Grumpy Cat <3 joo!

Well here I am again. Sat in front of the PC, nursing a somewhat epic hangover from the night before yet I see so clearly what I wish to look back on for the past year and slightly beyond.

I could start off by looking towards the end of 2011 and pondering as to why I didn’t mention this in my 2011 end of year summary last year. Looking at my 2011 post, it would seem that it was geared towards anything BUT my own life. This on the other hand won’t be. I lost a dear Twitter friend towards the end of 2011, she didn’t pass away or anything no! The aftermath of an argument/quarrel etc is never good and I ended up being blocked for simply airing my thoughts on what was a heated conversation. You meant so much to me, and I am sorry the way it all turned out.

Work absolutely dominated my life in 2012 and this was one year that absolutely that really dragged on. Mass renovation work at our work complex meant that the small engineering team I am part of were stretched in their work duties. Imagine having to carry out your daily tasks, manage machine repairs whilst at the same time assisting with the renovation work and moving whole departments. Yeah…fuck me I was mentally drained at the end of every single working day of the year.

This of course wasn’t helped by a godamn 80KG cast iron vacuum pump landing on my index finger and crushing it horribly during a repair job in November 2012. Hobbling into A&E was hilarious as the staff couldn’t understand why I was so calm despite having blood all over the place. Looking back on that day I recall being in shock with a cheesy grin on my face as I walked in :S All of this turned out to be a blessing in disguise – I met and made friends with some awesome staff/nurses at my local A&E and we still keep in touch today. After a mere two months the bones have mended up faster than expected and I can actually use my right hand to an extent – all thanks to the folks at Northwick Park A&E. You are all awesome, thank you and see you soon (not in A&E!) for drinks.

Olympic Rings at the White Cliffs of Dover

The Olympics hit London like nothing I had ever witnessed before. The 27th of July marked the date in which London and indeed the watching world were blown away by an opening ceremony that still resides in the thoughts of many Londoners. The epic musical build up as the Olympic rings came together was awe inspiring. The events themselves and the fact that Team GB was actually winning Gold medals brought the nation together like never before. Everywhere I looked, people were watching sports on the box or talking about going to see them live. People around the UK were happy, talkative and mostly so focused on the games even if they didn’t like sports. The dire Olympic logo, which resembled Lisa Simpson giving Bart a blowjob was completely overshadowed by this sporting event. Excellents!

Gaming was poor for 2012. I didn’t play much, was it because I am getting older or did I want to spend my free time differently I thought? Pretty much both of these I would say. I found myself reading about technology, gadgets and manufacturing more than I actually gamed. I did manage to play a few though!

Mass Effect 3 – Worra croc. The epic ME sci-fi story was to come to an end with this final title but instead raised a shitstorm when it ended in the poorest possible way, so much so that Bioware were pressured into releasing an add-on DLC pack just to clarify the endings. Suffice to say that the damage had been done and millions of gamers/fans were still left with ‘CLICKY‘ look on their faces. Mass Effect has one of those storylines that many gamers will eventually tell their children about so it was sad to see it end the way it did. Bioware, from 2007 onwards had forged a solid story with incredible backing lore and characters then blew everything apart in a single 10minute moment. That said, ME3’s Multiplayer mode was amazing, and hugely addictive. I still play it to this day as I am rather good at it (I have all the good guns see!)

Sleeping Dogs – A flash random purchase that turned out to be a brilliant one. Basically Grand Theft Auto in Hong Kong but so well executed. It’s only real failing was that it was rather short and there were a few elements the game could have expanded on.

Tera Online – In an attempt to take my mind off work I turned to an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game. Tera was a westernised version of the popular Korean game and oh so good. Powered by the Unreal engine it had stunning visuals and in my opinion the best combat I have ever experienced in ANY MMO that I have played. It’s only failing I hear you ask? It is run by complete CLOWNS and through their efforts I have no doubt the game will go F2P (free 2 play) in the near future. A tragic shame really because it is a promising title.

Guild Wars 2 – The hugely anticipated title came with a bang. I tried it, and was impressed by certain elements but I just struggled from the start with the UI (user interface) completely. The UI and the fact that after witnessing Tera combat, GW’s combat felt rather stale led to me putting aside this game rather fast. I confess that I should have put more time into it though.

Assassins Creed 3 – Another ‘croc’. Like Mass Effect, Assassins Creed has an epic storyline behind it, one that I hugely enjoyed being part of. In every AC title, Ubisoft Montreal have performed some of the most extensive building research ever conducted in order to bring extremely accurate renderings of historical buildings around the world. Sadly AC3 had none of this and didn’t even feel like Assassins Creed straight from the offset. The game is set between 1753-1783 during the American Revolution and our protagonist was Ratonhnhaké:ton, an American native turned assassin who was just DULL. The supporting cast was also poor bar the main antagonist and gameplay was a complete mess, feeling disjointed from the previous titles. AC3’s one saving grace was that you had the ability to sail your own ship and take part in sea missions which was I do admit was immense fun. AC3 was the biggest let down of the year for me.

The Walking Dead – Telltale Games produced a huge hit with this one. An adventure/interactive movie title that reproduced the tension and grim zombie filled environments of the hit TV show. The game pushes our protagonist Lee Everett into situations where you need to make quick decisions, which could effect his relationship with other characters. The almost fatherly like care he had for Clementine, a little girl he rescued in the first episode is so dramatic that you cannot help but get drawn in. I now eagerly await Season 2 of TWD in 2013. This is my Game of the Year.

From a technological side of things I began a shift away from Apple’s iOS towards Google’s Android operating system this year. Unimpressed by a lot of Apple’s 2012 decisions and the fact that iOS on the iPhone has changed very little (from a visual perspective since 2007) meant that I wanted to look elsewhere. Apple’s epic failure that was ‘Apple Maps’ helped me hugely in that move – according to Apple Maps I had a bed store around the corner from me and two wine bars at the top of my road…

So I purchased a Samsung Galaxy S3 after deciding not to purchase an iPhone 5. The experience on the other side of the fence has been interesting. Android as a mobile phone OS is much more capable than iOS out of the box, yet it still contains complexity that would baffle non-techy types who would be more suited to an iPhone. It does a LOT of things that were a massive chore to do on iOS and it does them very well however if Google continue to sit back and let mobile phone operators control (thusly ruin) the way Android is distributed then we will continue to see antiquated Android Gingerbread as the most popular version in use today instead of the latest version titled Jelly Bean.

The phone itself is incredibly light, being made out ‘Samsung Plastic’ I would expect so. My iPhone 4 feels and looks better and I hope Samsung come up with some decent designs in 2013 for the Galaxy S4. The S3 I have feels cheap and like a toy in comparison. I have no doubts that on the phone front I will stay with Android in 2013. For Tablets however iOS and the iPad still rules supreme..for now.

I think I have run out of things to say, apart from one last thought that popped into my head. In 2012 we bid farewell to the legend that was Neil Armstrong and he once said:




“I think we’re going to the moon because it’s in the nature of the human being to face challenges. It’s by the nature of his deep inner soul…we’re require to do these things just as salmon swim upstream”

So here’s to 2013 people. I hope it treats you all well o/. – Darren aka Kainz

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