Gameplay Trends of 2014
This is a translation of the Norwegian article I wrote for Gamereactor Norway. You can read the original here.
2014 has been a big year for gameplay. The year has been filled with both next-gen gems and indiegames with unforeseen popularity, and the gameplay community has given us both. About a year ago, YouTube created an own channel under their “Best Of YouTube”- collection just for gameplay, and since then the page has been filled up with videos from both old and new faces. While Pewdiepie still runs the show with over 33 million subscribers (!), other channels seem to be following in his footsteps. So what did some of the most famous YouTube-personalities play this year?
Here are 5 of the biggest gameplay-trends of 2014.
Five Nights At Freddy’s 1 & 2
The biggest trend of last year was without a doubt Five Nights At Freddy’s (FNAF). The jumpscare-game became massive in very little time, much thanks to Markiplier’s hilarious FNAF-series, which currently has over 20 videos. The game started as a Steam Greenlight-game, first released by Desura in August, but by November the game’s developer, Scott Cawthon, has managed to release the second installment. In a sense, FNAF became last year’s Slenderman, and few gameplay channels didn’t have at least one playthrough of the game. Critics loved the point-and-click game as much as the fans did, and the game has received multiple tributes, including a popular GMOD-version. Of the over 400,000 or so gameplay-videos with FNAF-gameplay that was released in 2014, Markiplier’s first video of the game remains one of the most popular, with over 18 million views. It was also recently revealed that the third installment is right around the corner. We can’t wait.
Grand Theft Auto V
It’s no surprise that Grand Theft Auto V would be one of the biggest gameplay trends of the year, especially with the next-gen (current gen?) release. With the massive success the game has had this past yeare, it wasn't a big surprise that videos are still being made, especially from the online part. With nearly a million GTA V video hits, it seems that the gameplay community has embraced the game as much as gamers outside of it, and the variations between the videos has made it an interesting trend to follow. A particularly fun video is the over 2-hour long stream by TheSyndicateProject, in which the British YouTuber goes through police chases, fancy cars, and an insane shopping spree. What’s even more interesting is that such a long video, which is rare to become popular on YouTube to begin with, has reached nearly 14 million views. Turns out short and simple isn’t always the right way to go.
Goats. Not a rare occurrence on YouTube. Ever since the infamous goat remixes from 2013 hit the internet, goats have become quite a familiar sight on YouTube. Yet, the fact that Goat Simulator became as huge as it did last year is still quite the mystery. Sure, the gaming world has grown fond of simulator games, from Surgeon Simulator to Baking Simulator, which also was a popular game last year, but the fact that simulator games aren’t exactly breathtaking gaming-experiences is exactly why they’re gameplay gold. Viewers love watching glitch, horrible games, even more so seeing people trying to enjoy them. With that said, Goat Simulator was a surprisingly entertaining game, and most channels played through it. Even KSI, most famous for his over-the-top FIFA-gameplays decided to get in on the action. It looks like goats will forever be part of the internet.
More commonly seen as GMOD in video titles, Garry’s Mod has become one of the most common gameplays to be featured on YouTube. The sandbox game, which originally was meant as a Half-Life 2 mod, was turned into a free-standing game for PC, OS X and Linux, and has given gamers (who don’t play Minecraft) the freedom to create wonderful and fun things for us to watch. It’s also no surprise that Five Nights At Freddy’s GMOD-maps was one of the most popular types of GMOD-videos seen last year, despite Prop Hunt and Trouble In Terrorist Town remaining as some of the most commonly seen playthroughs. The famous gameplay-group The Creatures have often played GMOD the past year, a group with consist of, amongst others, popular gamers Kootra and Uberhaxornova. The latter’s GMOD Storm Chasers-video is one of the most popular videos from the group, with over a million views. Not too bad for a game that’s about…well, just watch it.
Of course Minecraft has to be featured. Whether you love it or hate I, it’s one of the most popular games in the world, and every gameplay-fan has probably seen at least one video of the game. It’s also a game that in many ways almost started the gameplay-trend, with YouTubers such as CaptainSparklez and Sky Does Minecraft becoming widely-known names in the gameplay-world thanks to it. Sky even got to be in Lady Gaga’s G.U.Y music video thanks to the game – which apparently Lady Gaga loves. Who knew. And even if you find the game horrendous and unplayable, I promise you that Inside Gaming’s Drunkcraft video will make you rethink playing it - or at least watch someone else do it.
Most popular gameplay video of 2014: Pewdiepie’s Funny Montage #2
Surprise! Pewdiepie has one of the most popular gameplay videos of last year! Ok, so not a huge surprise, but it is incredible how the Swedish gamer has managed to get over 42 million views on his compilation video. It is hilarious though, and features some of his best moments playing through GTA V, Baking Simulator, Skate 3, South Park: The Stick Of Truth and Goat Simulator, to name some. Whether you love Felix or hate him, you got to admit that the fact that he’s made a gameplay channel the most popular thing on YouTube is awesome. And his compilation is one of the funniest gameplay-videos from last year – I mean, who doesn’t love flying cows?
Animatronic killer bears, flying goats, fancy cars, props and green blocks – this year has been quite a mashup of things. 2015 will be an interesting year, with a great lineup of games to be released for the new consoles. Yet, I find myself looking for new simulators. That’s what great gameplay-personalities do. They make what might be boring, dumb or just horrible be interesting and fun. I for one hope the year will start with a simulator where you’re something as dumb as a slice of bread or something and…oh.