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Jhonen Vasquez's Top Games of 2012

The creator of Invader Zim and Johnny the Homicidal Maniac gives us his top games of 2012 for reasons I can't entirely comprehend.

Jhonen Vasquez is a... guy. I think? I don't really know what else to say. I met him once, briefly, and he was super-nice in that way that you don't expect people who create really fucked-up, disturbing shit to be, but always are. Like, I bet H.R. Giger was a total sweetheart. Anyway, I made a Hot Topic joke at his expense and he sent me this self-portrait on the right. Pretty great, huh?

So here's what stood out for me in 2012 in no real particular order. I'm not easy with putting them in a best-to-worst way because they're just so different from one another. Mostly I just wanna say this is a list of shit that most distracted me from solving all of the world's troubles this year.

The Walking Dead

This did everything for me, made me laugh, curse at my TV, shout in horrified surprise. Someone should make a Walking Dead TV show, or at least a comic book.

Super Hexagon

The worst kind of addictive. I'd get texts from Penn Ward saying "I beat your score in Super Hexagon." and I'd play til I beat him back, not eating or using the restroom in the actual restroom.

Retro City Rampage

This game reminded me I had a Vita, and that's pretty impressive. Awesomely stupid game, great soundtrack.

Borderlands 2

More of the same, but the same was still me and my friends on headsets having a good time just shooting the shit while we shot shit. Much better writing this time around made the cold cold mechanics of grinding go down a lil' smoother.

The Room

Holy god I can play things like this forever. I swear I could hear the dopamine surging through my tubes with every latch I'd uncover and every gear I'd set moving with the right combination of OH GOD I WANT MORE.

Max Payne 3

Yeah, it's a different feel from the previous games I loved so much, but when Max's neighbor walks out and explodes himself after a few creepy words, I had no choice but to be cool with everything.

ZombiU

Surprised how much I got into this game. Can't even say I had "fun" playing it, but the stark, miserable stressful slog through garbage and undead horrors was addictive as hell for me. Reminded me of Condemned, only with less beating to death of homeless people.

Letterpress

I love winning, and even losing is fun when I play this--THAT's how much I love word games and this one in particular. Yeah, yeah, I cry when I lose, but in a fun way.

Sound Shapes

Pure charm this game, though it was barely a game in the usual sense. I'm a sucker for interactive music in games and this game was just growing smiles the whole way through.

FTL: Faster Than Light

Infuriating! I HATE you, FTL! What the hell is your merciless problem? My crew didn't deserve that shit! -plays FTL again-

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

More of the same same same yeah, but zombies has given me and my friends countless hours of awesome since World at War, and this is MORE zombies. Campaign was idiotic fun, and also vomit-inducing punch-glove.

Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit

Exactly the sort of thing me from the past would have imagined gaming on the Genesis of the future would be like.

Deadlight

Didn't trust the player to figure things out quite enough, but loved the art direction and the flashbacks to games like... well... Flashback.

85 Comments
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Posted by SSully

Pretty damn good list! Bravo

Posted by Fascismo

how does the GB crew know Jhonen Vasquez? Also, really weird to see somebody namedrop the creator of Adventure Time in a top 10 list.

Posted by SuperJoe

Times New Roman is the wrong font for Jhonen's list.

Edited by Vigorousjammer

Jhonen Vasquez only made three short-lived comic book series, and a single cartoon series that lasted for two seasons, yet he's so incredible that his legacy is bigger than some people who do this stuff for their entire lives.

I'm incredibly impressed with him, and also incredibly jealous. Anyway, cool list.

Posted by GreggD

Vomit-inducing punch-glove is also my favorite thing this year.

Posted by Gerhabio

Was not expecting this one. I remember reading JTHM when I was like 15 and just learning English.

Posted by ArtisanBreads

The crazy hobo neighbor in Max Payne 3 was a great throwback to Max Payne 2.

Posted by Rmack

"Anyway, I made a Hot Topic joke at his expense and he sent me this self-portrait on the right. Pretty great, huh?"

That's fucking awesome. Nice list, too. I really need to jump on the Super Hexagon bandwagon, if not just to support that guy making weird games with awesome music.

Posted by dropabombonit

I had to take a double take when I seen the name of the person who did this list, don't know how you got him to do it but awesome list

Posted by jNerd

Very interesting that they got Jhonen to do a Top 10 List. I like.

Posted by kagato

I miss the happy noodle boy... Actually great to see Jhonen weigh in on his favourite games of they year though, i wonder what hes up to creatively these days...

Posted by Clark

Very cool that Jhonen did a list for you guys. Love that man!

Posted by fisk0

@Vigorousjammer said:

Jhonen Vasquez only made three short-lived comic book series, and a single cartoon series that lasted for two seasons, yet he's so incredible that his legacy is bigger than some people who do this stuff for their entire lives.

I'm incredibly impressed with him, and also incredibly jealous. Anyway, cool list.

Well, Joss Whedon's magnum opus only lasted a season, yet he's been deified, so two seasons and three comic books doesn't sound bad.

Posted by MrGtD

@fisk0: You say that like he didn't also have another TV show that was on for almost 8 years. And didn't then go on to direct one of the most successful movies of all time.

Posted by stise

For additional proof of the "people who create disturbing art are invariably super congenial" thesis, check out David Lynch's twitter.

Posted by satansmagichat

Johnny the Homicidal Maniac got me into comics. Not sure if curse or blessing.

Either way, I love you, Mr. Vasquez!

Posted by SockLobster

HR Giger is a misogynistic pervert. But yeah Jhonen's cool :)

Posted by SlackerMonkey

WHAAAA?! How did you guys make this happen? squeeeeee

Posted by MeatSim

Video games! preventing the worlds troubles from being solved.

Posted by IzunaDrop

@fisk0 said:

@Vigorousjammer said:

Jhonen Vasquez only made three short-lived comic book series, and a single cartoon series that lasted for two seasons, yet he's so incredible that his legacy is bigger than some people who do this stuff for their entire lives.

I'm incredibly impressed with him, and also incredibly jealous. Anyway, cool list.

Well, Joss Whedon's magnum opus only lasted a season, yet he's been deified, so two seasons and three comic books doesn't sound bad.

And by magnum opus you mean his Astonishing X-Men run, right? ;P Also, reading content from the mind that created Happy Noodle Boy on Giant Bomb makes me happy. Get him every year :D

Posted by Zippedbinders

I'm going to mirror everyone else's feelings on this. Never expected a list from Jhonen, but I love that its here. I love his taste in games too.

How's that ninja show going?

Posted by Dan_CiTi

Kendrick Lamar has to credit this guy, I mean his new album has Invader Zim all over the songs.

Posted by Frootsnax

@ApolloBob: PS3 as well my friend, PS3 as well.

Posted by ripelivejam

@Dan_CiTi said:

Kendrick Lamar has to credit this guy, I mean his new album has Invader Zim all over the songs.

sample or lyric, cause i didn't catch any of that...

Online
Posted by neato
shooting the shit while we shot shit
Posted by SpaceJamLunchbox

This is very cool! He's got great taste!

Posted by ApolloBob

@Frootsnax: Oh! Well I do indeed have one o them - good to know!

Posted by DS23

Oh wow, Jhonen! He's a pretty rad dude.

Posted by Dan_CiTi

@ripelivejam said:

@Dan_CiTi said:

Kendrick Lamar has to credit this guy, I mean his new album has Invader Zim all over the songs.

sample or lyric, cause i didn't catch any of that...

the "bitch don't kil my vibe, bitch don't kill my vibe" hook is definitely sung by Invader Zim.

Posted by awesomeusername

Invader Zim is THE SHIT!

@ApolloBob: It's also on PS3. So that makes no sense, unless you're being sarcastic.

Posted by Shakezula84

I'm for the most part not surprised what he picked. Still, I love Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Zim and I do care to hear what games he liked to play.

Posted by FakeKisser

I really want more Jhonen Vasquez on my shelf... Great to read this list, in the meantime. :)

Posted by OneGuyInMelb

Surprised he didn't include any of the darker arcade games such as Binding of Issac

Posted by Orbitz89

I've only seen the first episode of Invader Zim. I thought it was good.

This is an interesting list, I really should give Retro City Rampage a go.

Posted by curry_chips

Nice list.