As we near the end of another year it's time once again to collect our thoughts and think back on all the absolute garbage we have all had to endure from the gaming industry over these past 12 months. This ranges from terrible games, to terrible developers and publishers, the gaming press, and even the gaming community. Undoubtedly, some of the "worst" offenders will be obvious, but maybe, just maybe, there will be a few surprises included below.

This will differ from previous years in that this will be more of an informal piece. I am writing this first and foremost on the blog section of Total Gaming Network. These have always been opinion pieces and since I don't really have anybody else to bounce ideas off of, it's also always been a personal list of the "worst" and "best" for each year. It may be poorly written, it may be incomplete, and it may even be rude. I'm sure none of you give a damn about any of that so let's just get this party started.

Remember when Valve first unveiled Steam Machines? It was all they and much of the industry could talk about for a few weeks after the reveal. Then suddenly, silence. Manufacturers, namely Alienware, would pop up a few bits and pieces of their Steam Machines hardware offerings but Valve remained near silent. The last "official" word we had about Steam Machines came in June of this year. The only purpose of that was to announce a delay of the hardware until 2015. We've seen no updated designs, no announcements, not even a hint at development or what prompted the delay.

The Steam Controller? Still absent. It has gone through a few revisions now and made more to resemble an Xbox 360 controller rather than the innovative piece of hardware we initially saw. But for the past handful of months? Nothing. Whatever hype there may have been for a Steam Machine or a Steam Controller has long since come and gone. Valve's radio silence effectively killed most of the gaming public's interest in such a device. With a full year having come and gone since the first reveal, the hype train has lost a lot of its steam. PC enthusiasts will either build their own living room computers or they have one already if they really want that. If Valve was hoping to instead tackle the console crowd with Steam Machines, that ship probably sailed already due to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One dominating the market now for a year.

Hey, remember how staff members at Valve used to write blog entries that gave some insight on some of the behind the scenes work at Valve? The last update came in January of 2014. That's right, we're nearing a year of nothing new on that front.

Beyond that, we have the usual complaints about how Valve continues to remain completely silent on any new or upcoming projects. Yes, Half-Life 3 is obviously missing for yet another year. Hell, the company couldn't even mention anything when Half-Life 2's tenth anniversary came and went! This is the franchise that allowed Valve to become the studio they are today and we haven't heard a single thing about the future of the franchise for seven years now. Valve's main focus this year was very clearly Dota 2 once again with some additional love also given to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Even Team Fortress 2 seems to have fallen by the wayside in 2014 with a bulk of its new and update content now coming from the community instead of from Valve. What exactly is everyone at Valve working on? Who knows.

Even Valve itself doesn't seem to know what Valve is doing within their own studio. They first pulled a very controversial game from Steam Greenlight and then a day later add it back with a personal apology from Gabe Newell? That is still baffling even now. Reinstating that game on Steam Greenlight remains a move from them that I flat out do not agree with.

Not unique to 2014 is Valve's terrible customer service. Time and time again I read "horror stories" of interactions with Valve's customer support. I read about how people wait multiple days, sometimes even a couple of weeks just to get a form response back. Often it seems as though the person responding didn't bother to read through the actual issue and merely selected a response that best matched a few keywords from the ticket. I've even read more than one remark that says EA's customer support is leagues better than Valve's customer support. Ouch. Maybe one day Valve's customer support will remark to a customer that they will 'surely get the Half-Life 3' and all will be right with the world. Until then, Valve has earned their spot as one of the biggest disappointments in 2014.

Speaking of studios that really screwed up in 2014...

Ah Ubisoft, what happened to you? The downward spiral may have begun some time ago but it all really came to a head this year. Well, more specifically, the issues really started with Watch Dogs and the whole issue about it being visually "downgraded" from its showing at various tradeshows. Then it came out and proved to be relatively underwhelming for fans.

Before things started to go really haywire for Ubisoft, they had a few months of really solid releases in 2014. Games such Child of Light, Valiant Hearts: The Great War, and South Park: The Stick of Truth turned out to be amazing experiences in the early to midway part of 2014.

Fast-forward to the start of the late year releases. Far Cry 4 turned out to be "okay" but it launched with some performance issues on the PC. Subsequent patches seem to have broken or disabled some visual effects across the console release but those have been fixed (I believe). Their open world racer, The Crew, went through quite a few beta tests and it seems to have released without too many issues. It's just a shame that it's not actually all that fun when compared to other open world racing titles. Plus, there have been numerous complaints about the handling of the cars in the game. When your game is literally all about racing, having cars that don't feel right when using them isn't something you really want.

And then there were the releases of the Assassin's Creed titles. There was Assassin's Creed Rogue on the old generation of consoles. By most accounts, that game is actually quite good. It doesn't really try anything new from the previous entries in the series, but it's a solid release. Now Assassin's Creed Unity is an entirely different story. The game started to draw some criticism when Ubisoft revealed it was going to be the same resolution and framerate between the PS4 and XB1.

And then it was released and oh good God, what in the hell did they do?! It was a broken mess across every platform including PC. Performance was abysmal, often dipping below 30fps on both consoles despite running at 900p on both platforms. Then there were the bugs where you would fall through the world, get hung up on invisible ledges, NPC's faces that were ripped straight out of your worst nightmares, and a laundry list of issues. Some were game breaking, others were merely cosmetic or minor. But these would all be fixed quickly in a patch or two, right?

Ehhh, not quite. We're now up to the fourth major patch for Unity and it continues to have issues. Granted, most of the biggest issues seem to have been taken care of, even if the latest patch introduced other bugs.

So Watch Dog's "downgrade" was bad. Far Cry 4's sort of rocky launch was a bit of a concern. Unity continues to be a blight against the company. These are all true but at least they're trying to make things right. Unity owners were given a free game as a way of apologizing for how badly the company screwed up. That doesn't excuse them by any means. Let's be honest here, at the very least Assassin's Creed Unity should have been delayed until at least early 2015. It also really makes me worried for Rainbow Six Siege and The Division. There are already fears that these two games will not look anywhere near as good as what they looked like in early reveals, similar to what happened with Watch Dogs and Unity.

I suppose it's a good thing that Ubisoft's latest release of Tetris went off without a hitch. I mean, how could you possibly screw up Tetris, right? Haha! Hm? They screwed up Tetris? This is a video from IGN showing how they completely screwed up a release of Tetris for the PlayStation 4, a game that can run on a Game Boy? Oh for fuc

Broken Games
Assassin's Creed Unity and Watch Dogs weren't the only game released this year that could have used another few months in the development oven.

Xbox One owners had the misfortune of Halo: The Master Chief Collection being broken out of the gate. Even after a number of patches from 343 Industries, the multiplayer component failed to deliver on a number of promises. Team based modes remained broken for quite some time, often resulting in matches where one team was perpetually down a player or more. Connectivity was broken for quite some time and still isn't fully resolved. Dedicated servers for multiplayer were also AWOL. Achievements either refused to pop for players or they popped long after they should have.

PlayStation 4 owners had to deal with Driveclub's broken online functionality. One of the main features of the game, the club aspect didn't work due to server issues that lingered for weeks after its launch. It's also the main reason why the game did not have its long anticipated "free" PlayStation+ release. There is still no ETA on when that version of the game will be released. To its credit, Sony and Evolution Studios have made significant improvements in the weeks following its release. However, the PlayStation+ version still remains in release limbo.

This is 2014. Developers have been releasing games for decades now, so why are games still releasing in almost completely broken states like this? 2014 seemed to be especially bad as far as broken game releases are concerned. It's a very worrying trend and it honestly makes me worried about 2015 and beyond. If developers are slacking this badly on QA now, it doesn't bode well for future releases. The current mantra of some of these studios seems to be that they can simply fix issues in patches released after the game is out. Consumers need to make it clear to these developers and publishers that this is not an okay practice.

PlayStation 4 Firmware Updates & Features
The PS4 launched in 2013 with plenty of promised features completely missing. It was a stripped down and barren landscape when compared to the PlayStation 3. Yes, the Xbox One also shipped with plenty of features missing but unlike Sony, Microsoft added in a wealth of functionality on a near monthly basis to the Xbox One.

The Suspend/Resume feature promised for the PS4 is still nowhere to be found. There is still no DLNA streaming support on the PS4. There is still no HBO application on the platform. All of these are supposed to be coming but the "when" is anybody's guess at this point.

The 2.0 firmware update for the PlayStation 4 was almost a breath of fresh air when it released. It added theme support, the ability to stream music from USB, Share Play, and more. The problem was, this update broke a number of PlayStation 4 systems when the console's Rest Mode was used. Keep in mind that this was an update that was revealed months prior to its actual release and yet that major issue still managed to be sent out without anybody at Sony noticing.

The PlayStation Network is also another huge sore spot for Sony. The network is down on a fairly regular basis. While it could be slightly excusable on the PlayStation 3 where online play is free, there is no excuse for the poor performance on the PlayStation 4. With the PS4, if you want to play online you need to pay a subscription fee. The more it happens, the more it becomes a big deal. PS4 owners will be less likely to resubscribe to PlayStation+ if the main reason they pay a monthly fee simply doesn't work as often as it should. I haven't even mentioned the disappointing download speeds through the PlayStation Network that many users have experienced throughout 2014.

Look out for the second part of "2014's Biggest Gaming Disappointments" tomorrow.