Growing up, I've always been a straight up RPG gal who seldom delves into other gaming genres. I couldn't help it; RPGs gave me stories to appreciate and characters to connect with. I often find that many characters or stories in other genres just don't have enough going for them, so outside of beat'em ups, the RPG was king in my gaming life.
2012 was the first year I actually played just as many non-RPGs as I did RPGs. While I still found myself swept up in Arland in Atelier Meruru, or becoming accidental lesbian romanced in Skyrim, I found myself falling head over heels in love with open-world games. Skyrim and the Yakuza series do a great job of being role-playing games in a vast open world, I found myself completely charmed by the violence and insanity brought about by Saints Row: The Third, a game which, thanks to staff member, Glenn "7th Circle" Wilson, I never would have touched with a ten-foot floppy purple dildo.
The calamity and insanity completely evoked a wild side in me that most RPGs seldom bring out. I am a lover of story after all, yet this was an unexpected courtship. I found myself later in the year cheating on Saints Row: The Third with Sleeping Dogs, a Hong Kong style open world game, wherein players take on the role of Wei Shen, an undercover cop who may be turning Triad. The story in this game was fabulous, thoughtful, and the gameplay was everything I wanted it to be. I loved being a foodie, destroying parking meters for quick cash, and hanging out with my bro, Jackie Ma.
Outside of these open world games, I found myself even more charmed by graphic adventures. I have always been a fan of graphic adventures, but this year saw me devour even more of those than RPGs. All three of my favourite 2012 games were graphic adventures, as I found myself devoured in the darkness that is Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom, being betrayed in Virtue's Last Reward, and wandering walker-infested Georgia with my girl, Clementine in The Walking Dead. These games not only emotionally touched me, but they genuinely surprised me with their quality in a way that may of the RPGs I played did not.
While there were many great RPGs in 2012, for whatever reason they didn't leave as much as an impression on me the way these graphic adventures and open world games did. I used to think that RPGs were greatest way to get an interactive story and gaming experience. 2012 showed me not only how wrong I was, but it gave me new genres to appreciate the value of narrative. While I hope I have a better year in the RPG department, I continue to anticipate more non-RPGs in my future, especially ones that play on the power of storytelling.