I mean, we're not even done yet - a couple of the big franchises are still to drop - but any year in which you get Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild, Horizon Zero Dawn, Sonic Mania, Cuphead, Resident Evil 7, and - alright - Player Unknown's Battleground and Destiny 2, can only really be regarded as a bit of a banner year.
Even though I had a big span of several months right in the middle of 2017 where I didn't really play anything - I was otherwise preoccupied - I've had some of the best gaming of my life this year.
And now... I'm sort of flitting between Call of Duty: WW2, Wolfenstein 2, and Assassin's Creed: Origins, while picking up my Switch during the cutscenes and mopping up the moons on Mario. I've not really played any enough yet to give my review - barring Mario - but I'm enjoying them all, and the weird thing is how much I'm enjoying the familiarity. It's an embarrassment of riches.
Oddly, though, given that all of the aforementioned games are almost too comfortable and safe, if they'd been released at any other time of year I might've not looked so fondly upon them. Playing games pre-Christmas adds a little semi-indefinable something for me. In short, I'm unable to look completely objectively upon games... almost as if the fact I'm a human being who has a life and a load of inner workings somehow impacts upon how I view them.
Wha... wha... whaaaaaaa?!?
Yeah, it's, like we don't see things as they are - we see them as we are...
See, I've been lucky the past couple of weeks. I've had a bit of down time between finishing Found Footage, and starting the work that'll carry me into next year. I've had time to indulge in some serious gaming for the first time in months. But, and this might sound odd, this is my favourite time of the year to play games.
Due to the fact I work in kids TV, most of the work is done between January and August - because the typically school-age casts need to do the bulk of the filming during the summer holidays. It means I'm usually panicking about where my next pay cheque is coming from (no real change this year - but at least I've got paid work on the horizon for once), and twiddling my thumbs.
However, that enforced holiday normally allows me to play games with a little less guilt than I typically would. Plus, being inside when the weather turns, means that gaming in the autumn and winter months is kind of guilt-free in that respect too. I don't have to justify to myself why I'm not outside enjoying the garden, or going on a walk to look at a horse.
And then there's Christmas. Gaming began for me at Christmas - Horace and the Spiders, thanks - and the two are synonymous.
I like tradition. I like knowing where I am at any given point in the year, and - much as it pains me to say it - I like the annual instalments of Call of Duty, even if the games are all becoming much of a muchness. Combined with the weather changing, combined with having a bit of free time, combined with Christmas on the horizon - it gives me a warm, fuzzy, feeling, like a pair of rotting slippers that I've heated up in the microwave.
If they released CoD or Assassin's Creed at any other time of year it would feel wrong, but this enforced gaming break has given me the chance to sort of reflect on where we are with gaming, and it really is a blessed time. Consequently, I'm aware that it's colouring my opinions.
But... at least I'm aware of it. Things get troublesome when somebody isn't aware that their view of the world is affected by all sorts of internal and external sources.
See, it's just worth stating - given that last week I got called a "fucking moron" for expressing a "political agenda" in my Mario review (though how wanting equality for all can be viewed as "political" or an "agenda", rather than - y'know - just basic decency, is beyond me) - that I can't separate my self from my reviewing, even if I try. A review is a snapshot of a person at a point in their life as much as it is a document about a game.
To suggest I've got any sort of agenda is hilarious to me. I don't see myself as a part of the left or the right, or wherever the battle lines are drawn these days. I don't define myself with anything so reductive as a label and a list of things I must agree and disagree with; I'm just who I am; a complex, shifting, mix of stuff, built up over a lifetime.
However, if any games journalist tells you that they can switch off all of that - that their reviews are anything other than a product of who they are - then they're lying both to you and lying to themselves. You can choose to hide your feelings and opinions and talk about nothing other than gameplay mechanics, but that is a choice that is also influenced by time and space and place and life and people.
I'm lucky in that I am, at least, aware of all this. I spent two-and-a-half years training to be a psychotherapist, and in that time I had to strip myself down to nothing, and look at every part of me (matron). As a result, it's rare that I can have a feeling or an opinion without asking myself where it comes from. It can be exhausting, but I trace everything back to its source.
Why do I not like Jonathan Ross's annual Halloween party? Because, if you must know, it reminds me of not being one of the cool kids, and hating how some people get labelled as "cool" and others as "outsiders", for the most arbitrary reasons.
Want to know why I get so het up about the current sexual harassment scandals? Because it reminds me of being bullied by those with more "status" and "power" than me, and those who use that power for selfish, abusive, ends. Because I hate feeling powerless, and don't want any human being to have absolute power over any other.
Because I don't want them to have power over me...
I only realised last night that the mantra "keep political opinions out of game reviews" is something that began with Gamergate, but if you think I can avoid mentioning that there are Nazis in CoD: WW2 and Wolfenstein 2 - the latter even features the Ku Klux Klan walking around openly on American streets - then you're deluded.
All too often it feels like "keep politics out of things I like" translates as "keep the opinions I disagree with out of things I like".
If I'd written that Mario Odyssey review to say "Yeah, good for Nintendo keeping with tradition, and not bowing to political correctness by making Peach the hero" then they'd have probably been fine with it, but I'd have had grief from a whole other audience. Also, again, I'd have been lying to myself, and to you.
Fact is, regardless of whether we all agree on stuff or not, we have to accept that opinions are opinions, and we're never going to agree with everything that someone else thinks. Doesn't mean you can't respect where they are at, or what they believe, when they write a game review.
Dismissing someone's opinion as a product of a political agenda, or because they're some brainwashed snowflake, because you don't agree with it, is beyond nonsense. And not liking what I write because it's not like the stuff I wrote 25 years ago, on a service that broadcast on a defunct technology, is ignoring the fact that a person changes a lot over the course of their life, and they grow and evolve. Yeah, even those who clutch to their beliefs as a form of security blanket.
So, here's the thing; you can call me a moron, or fat, or stupid, or brainwashed, or a child, or a a lefty who can't do memes, but you're not going to bully me into changing. I'm 46 years old. I'm pretty secure in my beliefs, but secure enough to know that what I'm feeling might change with the seasons.
And, unfortunately for you, being aggressive or name-calling is only going to reinforce to me that you're wrong and incapable of seeing the world clearly, because I'm secure enough in myself to know that I sometimes have to peer through the surface fog to see the world. And that sometimes I see the world in a way that feels wrong to me, or is worth commenting on.
Also, if you get aggressive or passive-aggressive all it's going to do is underline that my beliefs are correct and morally secure. If you attack, the other person is going to instinctively go on the defensive.
Think about that next time you don't like something you read. Try going in there with something more akin to reasoned discourse. You've got a better chance of getting people to take you seriously than starting the discussion with abuse.