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Rich Gallup's Top 10 Games of 2013

New-ish dad and Game of Thrones enthusiast Rich Gallup puts down his baby and his Facebook sword long enough to remember ten games he played in 2013.

Rich Gallup is Executive Producer for Disruptor Beam, currently working on Game of Thrones Ascent. Recently, he launched the Dad Strength podcast with Ben Coello, helping new dads figure out how to best spend their limited free time alongside ill-informed parenting advice. You'll find Rich talking about dad stuff and Game of Thrones and sometimes the Red Sox on his Twitter page.

Hello Everybody!

In 2013 I scored a Dad Hat Trick. The birth of my son Calvin, the purchase of our first house, and a new job as Executive Producer at Disruptor Beam forced me to finally accept that I will no longer be able to play every video game that catches my eye, let alone finish them. My free time has never been more precious, leading me to heavily value enjoyable moment-to-moment gameplay experiences, which I believe the following list will reflect!

10. Paint it Back

When I need a puzzle game diversion on my phone Paint it Back by Casual Labs has been it. Featuring 2D picross with smooth controls, a sense of humor displayed through puzzles like “Secret Agent Crab Zip-lining to Safety” and “The Resultant Vocalization of Uncontainable Inner Turbulence,” and a loose story of art theft, it’s like I’m Thomas Crown living in the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum!

9. Knightmare Tower

I almost put Ridiculous Fishing in this space for its art, quirkiness and mastery of the iPhone’s tilt controls, but even though I fished every fish and unlocked every item, it didn’t get its hooks into me the same way as Juicy Beast Studio’s Knightmare Tower. It’s just like Ridiculous Fishing, but you’re a knight flying upwards instead of a fishing lure sinking downwards, and there’s more swords and stabbing. I felt like I could play it forever. One day, in a moment of clarity, I deleted this game from my phone and erased its name from my memory. Until now…

8. Kentucky Route Zero

I want to read a 700-page book written in the tone and world of the text-only side missions found in Kentucky Route Zero. They are haunting and distinct with a breadth of cohesive weirdness.

7. Grand Theft Auto V

My love of GTA V has nothing to do with its characters or story (both of which feel outdated) and everything to do with its impressive environment technology. What an amazing, seamless world! Also, bonus points for being the first GTA game where it’s fun to drive a car. Next request to address, legible UI! And story missions that don’t ask you to precisely land an object in a tiny spot while flying an unwieldy helicopter!

6. Icarus Proudbottom Teaches Typing

Last year I made a horrible mistake in my list of Games of the Year by leaving out Frog Fractions. Today, I’m making amends to the Doofy Web Gods. I can never seem to make time for lengthy computer gaming sessions, but I will quickly eat up any short, simple, and yes, doofy web games. Holy Wow Studios' Icarus Proudbottom is my favorite such game of 2013, combining typing tutorials with a fun, humorous story, plus an extra challenging trial mode that allowed my sister and I to rekindle our old typing wars!

5. Saints Row IV

Not the best Saints Row game, but the best game to pay tribute to They Live, ever. Saints Row IV executes on a lot of great things that other open world games could learn from, including a strong, diverse cast of characters, fun variety in missions and weapons, and the inclusion of a map that shows the location of all hidden collectibles. Cannot stress that last one enough! This was the only game of 2013 I was driven to reach 100% completion on, and the OCD side of my gaming habits appreciated the help.

4. Guacamelee!

I just picked up a Vita and fully planned to have fill my days with marathon Lumines sessions, fall in love with Tearaway, and bolster my ego through endless personality quizzes in Doki Doki Universe. Instead I have become obsessed with completing Guacamelee!, the first “metroidvania” style game to ever grab ahold of me. I blame the game’s style as I love the art and music. The jumping puzzles are nicely tuned to match the controls so I feel suitably challenged by a tricky spot, not frustrated to the point of quitting.

3. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Brothers is the perfect game for anyone with limited gaming time, as there is practically no fat to it. As I played through this relatively short, tightly-assembled game, I pictured the team behind it was saying “Here, have a type of puzzle to solve! Done with that type of puzzle? We are too! Onwards to something new!” This position doesn’t really exist in a game studio, but Brothers felt like it had gone through an editor, who neatly trimmed away everything that wasn’t needed to deliver a nicely told story in a gorgeous, distinct world. That said, as a right-handed older brother I did not appreciate that the younger brother was controlled by the right analog stick. I called dibs!

2. Candy Box

2013: Year of the Web Games That Let You Click Away from Them for a Couple Hours and Come Back to Find a Lot of Sugar-Based Resources to Spend On Upgrades to Get More Sugar-Based Resources. I feel the late surge by Cookie Clicker overshadowed Aniwey’s Candy Box, the game that introduced us to whatever this genre should be called. Ignorable Sugar Management Games? Candy Box’s gameplay and depth unfolds in a surprising, rewarding manner, and if you haven’t experience it yet, you should!

1. Device 6

Acquiring a Vita was a loud, personal reminder that the majority of my portable gaming experiences should come on a dedicated device, as most games I want to play greatly benefit from the expanded control scheme and immediate response provided by buttons. That said, Simogo’s Device 6 is the strongest statement I have seen that dedicated phone gaming could really shine, proving that a team can design a game that perfectly fits the controls and style of the iPhone. Device 6 is a cool, sleek puzzle game with a distinct, mysterious style that I could not imagine playing on any other medium. It simply wouldn’t have the same impact on a television or laptop. I have always considered my iPhone as the “busy games” device, while the “real games” waited to be played on their various boxes at home. Device 6 showed me that game makers may finally be figuring this phone thing out as a gaming medium rather as opposed to a monetizable distribution platform, and that makes it my Game of the Year.

Thanks for reading!

56 Comments
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Posted by ihateyou

Good to see KRZ getting more love!

Posted by mlarrabee

The Richest of Top Ten lists.

Posted by Atwa

this list is rich

Posted by mlarrabee

@atwa: You can't say that, I already said that. MOM!

Posted by Microshock

I don't get how people think Saints Row 4 had fun mission variety. Besides the game being incredibly lazy, with them basically pulling the majority of it's assets from Saints Row 3, it was just plain boring most of the time. The missions went on way too long, took away your fun superpowers in practically every single one, and just were not fun. The game had a strong beginning though.

Fuck Saints Row 4.

Posted by Atwa

I don't get how people think Saints Row 4 had fun mission variety. Besides the game being incredibly lazy, with them basically pulling the majority of it's assets from Saints Row 3, it was just plain boring most of the time. The missions went on way too long, took away your fun superpowers in practically every single one, and just were not fun. The game had a strong beginning though.

Fuck Saints Row 4.

Stop liking what I don't like!

I had fun with it, really fun. The city didn't feel the same to me since the gameplay is completely changed.

Edited by MetalBaofu

@microshock said:

I don't get how people think Saints Row 4 had fun mission variety. Besides the game being incredibly lazy, with them basically pulling the majority of it's assets from Saints Row 3, it was just plain boring most of the time. The missions went on way too long, took away your fun superpowers in practically every single one, and just were not fun. The game had a strong beginning though.

Fuck Saints Row 4.

And I don't get how someone could think what you do about it, so all's good. I don't remember ever being bored while playing Saint's Row 4. Also don't remember them taking away your powers as much as you say they did. I did play the whole thing co-op too, so I don't know if that could have made me enjoy it more than I would have alone or not.

Posted by wonderva

@microshock: You don't always get what other people like?

Go figure!

Posted by FoxMulder

Yeah Guacamelee!

Posted by Winternet

Solid list, Richie G.

Posted by BaconGames

Yeah Icarus Proudbottom Teaches Typing! Along with Carrie's mention of Hundreds, I feel some justice has been done.

Posted by Milkman

@microshock: I don't get how people get so pissy about this stuff. It's just video games, dude. Not everyone is going to like the same thing

Hell yeah, Icarus Proudbottom! That game is so awesome. Everyone should play it.

Posted by csl316

Interesting list. Good list!

Edited by Dan_CiTi

Device 6 is great, I loved The Atlantic's article on the game.

Edited by nyv

@ihateyou said:

Good to see KRZ getting more love!

Indeed.

Edited by alanm26v5
Posted by JoeyRavn

Those grey sideburns give put the "Rich" in "Rich Gallup".

Posted by BigDaddyTool

Paint It Back is soooooooooo good. Easily the best Picross game on iOS.

Edited by HatKing

It's like he's Benjamin Buttoning and at the end of the movie he becomes Jay Mohr.

Posted by Atom

Loving how varied some of these guest GOTY lists are.

I need to check out the iOS stuff, and give Guacamelee a try..

Edited by fusion42

Geez! Rich spawned! Congratulations Rich and all the best to your family, esp. that little rascal: SUPER cute, SUPER cute.

Posted by pyide
Posted by Budwyzer

CANDY BOX!!

Playing CANDY BOX 2 on the side while I wait for Candy Box to give me more candies.

NOM NOM NOM NOM

Posted by automatontribe

Happy to see swedish games getting some appreciation with Brothers, Device 6 and Rymdkapsel on Will's list!

Edited by coaxmetal

really glad to see KRZ getting some well-deserved props

Edited by NTM

"And story missions that don’t ask you to precisely land an object in a tiny spot while flying an unwieldy helicopter!"

Yeah, that was a pain in the butt. I would say though, that the characters are really what made GTA 5 great to me, as in, while I didn't particularly love the characters themselves, I liked them enough and my favorite parts of the game were when the trio were on a mission together having conversations.

Edited by Herk

MMmmm-HM

Posted by EightBitShik

It was nice to see a list of games that I haven't heard about. I will have to check them out. I don't have an Iphone though so I guess I'll miss out on your game of the year. Have a great year and grats on the kid Rich <3

Posted by Crunchman

First list that really has a bunch of games I haven't heard of. Kind of exciting.

Posted by ultrapeanut

IDEA: Giant Bomb East, based in Boston, featuring Rich Gallup (and me). Get on it, Moonves!

Also, Kentucky Route Zero is so dang stylish. =]

Posted by Elwoodan

So I stopped reading and immediately got Paint it Back, I love goddamn picross. Awesome list overall.

Posted by DSale

This list was so divergent from the mainstream. Its amazing.

Thank you Rich Gallup.

Thank you.

Posted by iamthemoneyj

Dang, Rich has gone grey!

Edited by scaramoosh

This year is great just for the fact that everyone has such different lists and there are hardly any "AAA" games on them.

Posted by scrappypixels

Kentucky Route Zero! Nice one Rich :)

Posted by Rich

Thanks for reading, all! Believe it or not, I've been more or less that grey since I met my wife in 2001, but growing my hair out draws extra attention to it. It's the perfect look for when I finally get to play a distinguished, evil executive in some future-tech megacorp/Big Brother sci-fi movie. Of the week. On SyfyX. Which should be a channel.

Posted by DrDarkStryfe

I am really loving the variety being added to the lists this year. The amount of handheld, browser, and indie titles being played and included is really showing that the industry is finally starting to expand out after the collapse of the "middle class" games last generation.

Edited by Kraznor

Going to check out Knightmare Tower and Paint it Back, been looking for a good phone game since I finished Scurvy Scallywags. And I've had Device 6 since day one but got stuck pretty early. I'll give it another go sometime.

Thanks for the list Rich! Can't wait till your podcast hits iTunes (lazy with stuff like that)

Edited by Rolyatkcinmai

I don't get how people think Saints Row 4 had fun mission variety. Besides the game being incredibly lazy, with them basically pulling the majority of it's assets from Saints Row 3, it was just plain boring most of the time. The missions went on way too long, took away your fun superpowers in practically every single one, and just were not fun. The game had a strong beginning though.

Fuck Saints Row 4.

This.

Posted by AMyggen

A really great list and a sweet picture too :)

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