I've been kicking around doing a year end blog for a while. I've always loved game of the year time and the potential for smart discussion it generates. I thoroughly enjoy seeking out reviewers and industry figures that I trust and getting their insight as to what their favorite games of the year were. I also enjoy looking at list of other gamers. There's a ton of that though, and unless you do something extraordinary with how you present it, year end thoughts for your Average Joe's such as myself kind of fall by the wayside. As someone who's childhood dream was to be a games journalist, but gave up on chasing that one a long time ago, I'd like to start blogging more. In effort to get that ball rolling into 2013, I've decided to blogify my thoughts on the last year for your viewing pleasure.
My game of the year...
...is The Walking Dead. Real original, right? I can't say anything about the game that hasn't already been said. It seems like everyone's played, so I'll jump to my justification. I feel pretty good about my choice. Story has always been super important to me and The Walking Dead does storytelling unlike anything I've ever experienced. It gives the illusion that I'm making meaningful choices that carry weight. As a result, I grew attached to the characters in a way I'd never done before in my 27 years of life. I'm a grown ass man and even though the way the season ended was no surprise, it succeeded in making me tear up. The only other game to have ever done so is To the Moon. Maybe I'm just getting soft at my old age? Who knows. The Walking Dead is my game of the year.
I feel awful for...
...Fez. Fez is my number four game of the year but feel as if it's forgotten in the shadow of Journey. It's not a knock on Journey at all, it's my runner up for game of the year and left me in awe each time I played through it. Fez brought me back to a time before the internet was a thing and you'd swap tips with friends or stumble across notes in the back of instruction booklets in rented games. I can say with pride the only things I looked up online for this game were the monolith solution and a hint to look for the quick brown fox. Once I fell down that rabbit hole, there was no pulling me out. I spent hours wrapping my brain around Fez and it's various puzzles. My wife gave me the, "Who the fuck did I marry?" look when she stumbled across my composition book dedicated to Fez notes. With the recent resurgence of retro platformers, Fez sits on a throne on top of them all.
My iOS game of the year...
...is Plague Inc. by a wide margin. I went in expecting a twisted game about unleashing diseases and plagues on the world and left blown away with the level of depth and complexity Plague Inc offered me. Taking the time to learn about the different mutations you can evolve your plague with and the best way to spread your plague kept me playing for literally dozens of hours. The way the game implements touch controls is perfect. I generally won't include an iOS game in my overall game of the year list, but Plague Inc made and was a late scratch. I can't recommend Plague Inc enough. It's still really well supported and is getting new content updated. Play this game.
I never got around to playing...
... as much as I wanted to. I blame my work schedule changing. My backlog is obscene, and there's a number of games that maybe could have cracked my top 10 that I really wanted to get to. I'm currently playing through Mark of the Ninja and am waiting for that to pick up. I love the art style, but I feel like I'm maybe the klutziest ninja ever. Sleeping Dogs has been beckoning to be played. Tokyo Jungle is installed and waiting to go. Binary Domain is a game I hear I should play and am told will be overlooked on a lot of lists. Far Cry 3 is in the mail and should arrive next week. Hitman: Absolution will get some play time at some point as well. ZombiU is going to get the attention it deserves after Christmas.
Hats off to...
...GiantBomb. I'll admit I was pretty skeptical when they made the move back to CBSi. I originally felt this grassroots website I grew to love and support from when it was a WordPress blog sold out. They kept on keeping on though and haven't let me down yet. I appreciate the attention indie games have gotten as well. Regardless of your thoughts on Patrick, his quick looks have brought games that would probably be overlooked to light. I personally purchased McPixel, Thomas Was Alone, and Hotline Miami because of the coverage they got. I also genuinely don't think Hotline Miami, which made a lot of game of the year lists, would have gotten the love it's received had it not been for the quick look.
Other Various Bullets
- After I caved and bout a Wii U recently, I've begun to prepare my wife for the possibility of purchasing the new Xbox coming if it launches in 2013. Hopefully she'll take it better than she did my Wii U purchase.
- On the subject of my wife, the plan is hopefully to have a kid next year. I've come to accept I'll have less and less time to play games. I'm at peace with this.
- Don't watch a Christmas Story 2.
- BioShock Infinite is my most anticipated game of 2013. Portal and Bioshock are my favorite new franchises from this generation.
- I suck at XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
- I suck at FTL: Faster Than Light
- New Years Resolution for 2013: Beat a Kinect game.
Christmas and my Top 10 list
If you're still reading, thank you. I want to be best friends with you. Any feedback is appreciated. With Christmas coming up, I'm taking a vacation from work the week of so I hope to dive into some of the above games. Until then, I have to slog through Christmas parties. Two work Christmas parties. My wife's work Christmas party. A friend's Christmas party. It's too much spending time with strangers and people that I don't want to spend time with. Fingers crossed nothing crazy happens December 21st and actually get to attend the one Christmas event I'd attend, which is with my family on the 25th.
I leave you with this gem and the rest of my full top 10. Thanks for reading and have a great Christmas!
1 - The Walking Dead
2 - Journey
3 - Diablo III
4 - Fez
5 - Far Cry 3
6 - Halo 4
7 - Hotline Miami
8 - Sleeping Dogs
9 - Cook, Serve, Delicious!
10 - Lollipop Chainsaw
Edit: 12/31 - Revised wording on Plague Inc section. Reworked top 10 list to reflect games played since release.