Jay-Z once said “in order to look forward you need to back dat azz up first” and really that’s the inspiration for the first blog of 2021 (and my whole life tbh). We’ve all had an absolute shit year for a plethora of reasons, but mostly due to the global pandemic that is shattering our everyday lives. Like I’ve had to call my mom more than once a month guys. We’re talking on almost a weekly basis. Do you understand the number of times I have asked “what are you guys up to” knowing that they’re just sitting at home watching Netflix and eating Whole 30 air fryer meals? I can smell the buffalo cauliflower nuggets from here.

But while everything in the world pressed pause for what seems like 8 years, the gaming industry soared to new heights. 2020 broke records for both growth and engagement in gaming. So before we look forward to 2021 (spoiler, that’s Thursday’s blog), let’s take a quick look back at 2020 before we back our azz into 2021.

Multiplayer Games Filled All The Holes We Needed Filled

First off, I really don’t know why everyone is so bummed about staying inside for months on end. I’ve been #TeamIndoors for years. I fucking hate the outside. It’s overrated as fuck. My family used to drive 3 hours to this place in the mountains to hike all day and let me tell you I would rather DIE than DRIVE miles and miles just to WALK more miles in the fucking heat or cold of the atmosphere surrounded by bugs and animals that make my mom cry. No thanks, I’ll just stay at home in my thermostat-controlled house, order some Papa Johns, and play games until my eyes melt or I die of a caffeine overdose.

But if there is one thing I’ve missed due to quarantine, it’s hanging out with friends. Luckily, gaming helped fill that hole for me and many of you this year with a variety of multiplayer titles. Whether you dabbled in party games like Among Us and Fall Guys, competitive shooters like Valorant and Warzone, or something else like Animal Crossing or WoW, there was likely a game this year that helped you stay sane by having fun with your friends from the safety of your own home.

Triple A’s Continued To Get Owned By Indies

This year was absolutely loaded with highly anticipated titles from premiere triple-A studios…only for almost every one of them to suck ass. That’s a big of an exaggeration; I think Cyberpunk will be good in a patch or two (for PC at least), TLOU2 was good but got alot of negative feedback, we all knew Marvel’s Avengers would be dogshit wrapped in catshit so no surprise there, and Halo Infinite dodged the bullet by delaying a full year to “polish” the game. That’s not to dismiss all the triple-A games that did meet expectations like Animal Crossing, Doom Eternal, Half-Life: Alyx, and more, but when you look at games like Hades, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Streets of Rage 4, Phasmophobia, and Spelunky 2 which were made on a FRACTION of the budget and were received exponentially better than many of the highly anticipated titles above, you start to wonder how much longer triple-A’s can operate in their current state.

With all the talk about crunch culture and the gaming community’s desire to play shorter games, I’m curious how quickly we will see triple-A’s transition into making games that are much smaller than the behemoths they’re making now. I think it would actually be a good idea since most of the big studios tend to bite off more than they can chew in pre-production anyway, which leads to the crunch and horrible working conditions most game devs burn out from in the first few years of their career.

Call of Duty Returned To Prominence…Despite Themselves

Yes, you can argue that since Call of Duty has never left the annual Top 10 Best Selling Games ranking since it’s inauguration that it never really left the top of the mountain, but there was a period of about 4 years where the series took a significant downturn from both a quality and community aspect. But that all changed with the return of the Modern Warfare franchise, the launch of battle royale mode Warzone, and a successful launch of the franchised Call of Duty League. CoD is consistently back at the top of every streaming site and has one of the most active communities in gaming once again.

However…it’s not all sunshine and rainbows Rocky Jr. While Modern Warfare and Warzone are some of the best selling Call of Duty titles of all time and brought many former players back to the series, they are heavily flawed games that didn’t get (and still haven’t) the support needed by the devs. A constant flood of overpowered weapons, a complete lack of an anti-cheat system, game-breaking bugs and glitches, bitter exchanges on social media between dev and fan alike; this game was a mixed bag of clusterfucks and skittles. The CDL also was plagued by numerous issues that are common with a brand new esports league, but considering CoD has been an esport for over a decade at this point it’s kinda mindblowing how much they fuck some of the easy things up.

Still, between MW, Warzone, and now BOCW, CoD is probably my most played game this year and will be for some time. Let’s just hope Treyarch does a better job than Infinity Ward did.

Fortnite Is Never Gonna Die

I’ve already talked about this recently but yea, Fortnite will never die. Hell, they even got ME to play it again. ME! The biggest Fortnite hater on the planet. The one who has been waiting two years for it to implode so I can drink its blood, dance on its ashes, and watch the sunrise on a new era. Yet here I am again hopping around Pleasent Park like it’s 2018 and I’m the god I used to be. I’m nothing now. In almost every other game I am a force to be reckoned with, but in Fortnite I’m like an inflatable toy that adults buy to do horrible, horrible things to when no one’s watching. That’s what I am. Just blow my face off and move on so I can go back to chilling in my bush hoping the next circle rotation is on me and I can cheese my way to a win.

Everbody Hates Twitch (Spoiler: They Don’t Care)

Streaming, like gaming, really blew up during quarantine as millions of people looked for new forms of entertainment to fill the void of sports. Twitch led the charge as usual but they grew even stronger in 2020 as they reacquired streaming stars Ninja and Shroud after the shutdown of Mixer, cementing their place as the top streaming platform.

But as always with Twitch, every move is shrouded (pun) in controversy and eventually outrage. First came the digital “Me Too” resurgence where we found that many Twitch employees were sexual predators and scummy pieces of shit, then (to deflect attention) the Dr. Disrespect ban that we STILL don’t know the reasoning for, then the DMCA hellfuck where most of the site’s history was completely wiped, and now rumors of favoritism and inconsistency regarding bans and DMCA strikes. I mean, they literally cannot get out of their own way. But do they care? Not really considering most of their big-time talent is tied up in contracts for the next couple of years and everyone else is a minnow in a creek compared to them. No, they will continue to sit on top of their throne of money and dominance until the next big threat arises, which I think is going to be YouTube Gaming in 2021.

I’ve talked with multiple streamers now and if YouTube can somehow figure out a better interface and an easier way to clip streams, they’d have left Twitch a long time ago. The purple snakes may be the biggest they’ve ever been but one more false move and I could see a huge move from streamers to YT or Facebook Gaming.

The Next-Gen Has Yet To Arrive…In Many Ways

And finally, 2020 marked the turn of the next generation of console hardware. New graphics cards, new game engines, new controllers…and the same pre-order system that has been exploited for half a decade. I have legitimently tried to buy a PS5 and a Nvidia 3080 over 5 times each and I cannot win against the bots. It’s impossible. It’s a futile effort. You might as well be trying to fight off Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger with a rotten banana and a hot glue gun. Please dear god find a way for real humans to be able to buy new toys @JeffBezos.

But also, I can wait. There are literally only 2 games worth owning a next-gen console for right now and it’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and the Demon Souls Remake. There are no exclusives for Xbox Se. X until like March and all the other games run fine on older consoles or PC. So really, unless you’re dying to play either of those two games (like me) or you have the base model Xbox One/PS4, you probably aren’t missing anything until the big games start to launch next year like Horizon 2 or Halo.

As for me, well 2020 was a shitshow.

Got the chance to work for my dream job for a bit but that fizzled out in October and I’ve been trying to figure out what direction to take my own content in as I return to it this year. One thing I learned last year is that more people are inclined to watch a video than read a long funny award-winning blog like on PartyChat.org. So I’m going to pour more time into taking these blogs and turning them into videos.

I’m still going to release a new blog every week on Tuesday and Thursday for the people that love reading this shit, but I probably won’t be going back to the blog-a-day type stuff you saw in 2019 before I took a break to work for Barstool.

Instead, I’m going to try to be a little more consistent with my schedule this year. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday I plan to stream on either Twitch or YouTube. Most of it will be Valorant and Tarkov right now as those are the games I’m interested in, but you never really know what you’ll see.

I am starting a new Minecraft Realm I plan to milk for content (because why be a content creator when you can just have others make the content for you). So if that’s something you think you’d enjoy, you can join my Discord here and I’ll give the rules for joining the Realm in the next week or so.

And finally like I said above, I’m launching a YouTube channel with my first vid coming out this Friday. These vids are going to be a mixed bag to start but the plan at the moment is to make them similar to the blogs I used to write just in video form. You’ll see what I mean Friday.

So 2021 is going to be a big year. Hope you join the party.