My Favorite Games of the Year in Haiku Form

2013 has been a great year for gaming. Whether it be the high production releases such as Grand Theft Auto and Bioshock, or the smaller releases like Gone Home and Rogue Legacy there was a lot to love. I had a difficult time choosing which game I had the most fun with this year and instead of choosing just one game I decided that I would just lump them all together. And there were some games that I didn't get to spend enough time with that were also great, most notably Risk of Rain, Don't Starve, and Papers, Please that I highly recommend everyone check out.

Anyway here are my top ten games of 2013 in no particular order and what says game of the year better than some crappy poetry?

Games of the Year 2013

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Expansion, all zerg

But Protoss is the best, dawg

Rush more why don't you.

The Wolf Among Us

Like The Walking Dead

But about a big bad wolf

Why you so mean, Bigs?

Dota 2

Dota you so mean

Why can't we all get along?

Stop yelling at me!

Europa Universalis IV

Yo, look at these maps

What are you doing, England?

Oh no! Please stop that

BioShock Infinite

Dope story telling

Not just Rapture in the sky

Booker you the best

Pokémon X/Y

All new Pokeman

It is actually true

Fuck you, Pikachu

Rogue Legacy

Man, this game is great

Middle finger to the face

But I still love you

Gone Home

This might be a game

But fuck that conversation

Gone Home is superb

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Turn based awesomeness

Where did everybody go?

Oh right. They all died

Grand Theft Auto V

Three main characters

Awesome new game mechanics

Yo, Trevor. Calm down

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The Bread Basket: Super Bowl MVP Lando Calrissian & Dumb Aztecs

      

 
January, being something of a dead month for video gaming, hasn't seen a dramatic change in my game rotation. I'm in some sort of weird limbo about what game to delve into next. I've got an increasingly growing amount of backlogged Steam games to play. Which let's be honest, this is a chunk of games that will probably never get played. The urge I used to have to just sink a ton of time into one specific game is becoming a rare coinsurance for me lately. Maybe it's some form of video game ADD. Who knows. Anyway, here is what I've been spending the most time with since my last blog post.

Madden 13

 
Madden 13 is something of a surprising entry into my now playing lineup. I've never been too big on sports games. Sure, I'd dabble here and there, but I've always gotten worn out after a few weeks of playing. That hasn't been the case with Madden 13, to say the least. I blame my journey down the rabbit hole on my sports-nerd friends, who put together an online league for us to compete in. The ability to play connected careers online is actually a ton of fun. Especially since our league consists of entirely user drafted teams. Think fantasy football drafting, but with the ability to actually play your team. With a heaping dose of friendly shit talking.
 
Anyway, I'm not going to go too into my Madden experience. Aside from the fact that I am currently dead last in my league. I mean let's be honest, it's an iterative series with little changing from year to year. With that said. The thing that I've been having the most fun with has been the addition of EA's Game Face. I've been goofing around making various players or coaches using this feature. And behold.  
 
 It's Lando!

 

Crusader Kings 2

 
Yep. I'm still playing Crusader Kings 2. My Irish play through concluded fairly horrifically and I started up a new game playing as Scotland. Which began pretty boring at first, being in the same general location on the map, but this game has been going way better. Not only was I able to take control of the Kingdom of Scotland, but I eventually took over all of Ireland, and I am currently working on putting the nail in England's coffin. Thanks mostly in part to Norway and France weakening England for me to slowly make headway into an all out land grab.  
 
 Slowly taking England down.
 
Though my new empire may be neighboring my old Irish kingdom, this play through has been completely different. And with that an amazing realization hit me that both excites me and frightens me; there is an incredible amount of replay value in Crusader Kings 2, but I'm afraid of how much time I will end up sinking into this game over the coming months. At least until Europa Universalis 4 is released. During this go around  I've had at least two, maybe three, leaders die from completely random in game events. One dude fell from a broken banister railing and another died in an inn explosion. Goddamn, I love this game. 
 
 
 Bad luck, I guess.

 Aww, come on!
 
I ended up buying the Sunset Invasion downloadable content pack and I was pretty disappointed. For those that don't know what this content adds, it randomly engages an all out Aztec invasion of Europe. That sounded like an awesome concept to me, but the execution is fairly lackluster. You are randomly prompted that a fleet of Aztec ships are making their way to the Old World. However, when the Aztec fleet finally arrives you are merely met with a massive invasion force. It more or less just creates an endgame where the Aztecs pillage their way across Europe and destroy everything in their path.  I quickly reloaded an old save after coming to this realization and don't see myself ever playing with it enabled.  
 
 I'm screwed.
 
I do have the Game of Thrones mod installed, but I've been experiencing some crashing. I am looking forward to checking that out once I run my Scottish empire into the ground. I cannot recommend this game enough to fans of strategy games. The learning curve is pretty deep, but once you take the plunge it will have been well worth it. I'll probably take a break from championing this game, as it is probably making me seem like a crazy person.
 
  
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The Bread Basket: Reboot - Irish Dukes and Deer Ticks

 

So, I haven't done a formal blog in a long while and I figured I'd try get back into that. You know, spreading bread based nonsense.
 

Crusader Kings 2: Damn You, England! 

 
If you read my Game of the Year blog post you may have noticed that I think Crusader Kings 2 is a great game, albeit for crazy people, but a great game nonetheless.  I had been getting into Europa Universalis 3, though bingeing may be the more appropriate term, when I revisited the Crusader Kings 2 Quick Look. Upon doing some research into the game, which included watching bits and pieces of various Let's Plays online and checking out the game's forums here on Giant Bomb, I decided to take the plunge into Crusader Kings 2.
 
I began my first campaign as part of a non-unified Ireland, since I read that this was the best area for a beginner. As I began to get into the groove of things I slowly made some moves to take over different regions and was able to unite Ireland as a single country, with me as their illustrious leader. How unfortunate for them. Now this was where I had a realization of sorts; I can do whatever I want. That's what is great about games such as Europa and Crusader Kings. There is no set path or set in stone objectives that the player must adhere to. It's all about personal accomplishments. 
 
My Irish kingdom began modestly, I've taken Iceland, remaining mostly inwardly focused, but I have begun to encroach upon Scotland. So far I've taken over only about three or four provinces, but goddamn England is messing up my plans! As these sorts of games are deeply historical, here is a general pro tip; Do. Not. Fuck. With. England. So at the moment I am sort of at an impasse as to what my next move will be, but I feel like I've spent enough time playing this campaign that I sort of want to wage war on England and see how horribly that goes. 
 
If you're semi-interested in the general craziness that Crusader Kings 2 can offer, definitely check it out. Especially now. Thanks to the ongoing Steam sale. 

 

New Year's Eve with Deer Tick

 
   
  
 
I don't know if anyone here on Giant Bomb is a fan of Deer Tick, but they are a fucking great band. I saw them earlier this year and was lucky enough to see them on New Year's Eve, for a second time. My group and I arrived just at the perfect time and we were able to get a standing area right in front of the stage. The show was great and was a hell of a way to ring in the new year. Check out their stuff and the pictures below. I recorded some video, but since I was standing right next to a speaker it is nothing more than a rattling booming noise. I am glad I have these pictures to remember the concert because the rest of the night was a drunken haze.
 
 Before the Show 
 Setting Up
 Ringing in the New Year
 The End

Anyway, I'm keeping this one rather short. Mostly because I haven't really been playing anything of note. I do however have a sneaking urge to play Fez and go down that rabbit hole.

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Breadfan's 2012 Bread Basket Awards

Best of 2012

Ah, yes. Another Game of the Year list. Below are some of the games that stuck with me throughout the year, for one reason or another. 2012 has been a pretty good year for games. And if anything it has shown me that my personal taste in games is slowly beginning to change. This year I found myself playing a surprising amount of smaller, more indie games and found myself immersed in strategy games meant for crazy people. I'm looking at you Europa Universalis 3.   This appreciation of smaller titles, the hipster genre of video gaming, such as Dear Esther and To the Moon (though a 2011 release) has somewhat renewed my faith in an industry that thrives on pumping out sequel upon sequel.

There are some noticeable omissions to this list. Games such as Journey, Fez, Mark of the Ninja, and others for one reason or another. I feel bad for not jumping into these games back when they were released. I really would have liked to have taken part in the craziness of Fez. But that will have to wait until 2013, it seems.

1. The Walking Dead

What can I say about the Walking Dead, that hasn't already been said. This game is absolutely fantastic. The episodic releases had me excited every month for the next chapter to come out. I also kind of  teared up after the final chapter. I'll man up and admit that. Anyone who said they did not feel something called emotion at this game's conclusion is a stone cold motherfucker. Hands down one of the greatest uses of storytelling in a video game.

2. Far Cry 3

This is where you toss everything I said about the Walking Dead's amazing story out the window. Far Cry 3's story isn't the best, but the game is a heaping mess of fun. Whether it be playing through the story missions or just goofy about, I don't know, hunting deer with grenades, Far Cry always provides me with a reaction along the lines of 'oh shit, did that just happen?' I really enjoyed Far Cry 2 with all of its baggage, and the improvements made to its successor are truly great. The game itself is gorgeous and its tropical setting provides a great playground for straight up craziness.

3. Crusader Kings II

I love this game. Which may make me a crazy person. I'm just not sure yet. The concept of ruling an entire kingdom or a small province is oddly appealing. Also, did I mention this game might be for crazy people? Maintaining diplomatic relations and figuring out a way to take control of that prized piece of land you want is a hell of a lot of fun. I generally tend to just try and straight up assassinate fools. Which isn't the BEST idea when it comes to governing a kingdom, but it gets the job done. Or well. Fucks me over entirely and I have all of Europe gunning for me. This game is dope.

4. Torchlight II

If you told me last year that Torchlight 2 would have been more fun to me than Diablo III, the game I've been waiting years upon years to play, I would have punched you in the jaw. No really. But that was the case this year. Don't get me wrong, Diablo III is a great game, but once I got through the game once. I kind of had my fill. Torchlight 2 on the other hand had me playing over and over. It has the perfect mix of old and new. I mean some of the additions to this genre of game are simple, yet make the game a whole lot better. You say my pet can now buy me potions as it sells my items? You magnificent bastards.Also, loot. Loot. Loot. Loot!

5. Dear Esther

I debated whether or not to add this game to this list. 'Cause you know, it's hard to really consider it a game. But like the Walking Dead, this game resonated with me throughout the year. I went into Dear Esther knowing literally nothing about it and walked away with an understanding for why people consider games to be art. The soundtrack is absolutely amazing and the game's narration and script is a beautiful lament. Check this game out. It might not be for everyone, but it's a great interactive experience.

6. FTL: Faster Than Light

FTL is super awesome. It has a great soundtrack, a cool art style which makes the game's 'fuck you' attitude bearable, and it's a hell of a lot of fun to play. I picked up FTL not knowing a whole bunch about it, but goddamn it quickly had me wanting more and more. Also, fuck you, space spiders. Fuck. You.

7. XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM: Enemy Unknown was something of a surprise to me. I didn't really have any initial interest in the game, but goddamn this game is great. Playing this game as I was wrapping up a Dark Souls playthrough probably wasn't the best combination, but apparently I love punishing myself. I spent probably 7 or 8 hours on my first run through of Enemy Unknown and you know what? It failed miserably. I just totally fucked myself over. It takes an extremely awesome game to make me want to immediately jump back in and start a new game after something like that happens. Also putting your friends in the game adds an almost meta-game like appeal to creating your alien hunting crew. Some scenarios have come down to only being able to save one friend, which makes me feel like a horrible HORRIBLE human being.

8. Mass Effect 3

You know what? Mass Effect 3 is a great game. My adventure in the last of Shepard's trilogy was a great ride. The character dynamic between Shepard and his crew members is probably some of the best character interaction in any game, in years. Hanging out with my main dude Garrus made moving on from this universe a bit sad. Sure the ending was somewhat of a bummer (I personally think the uproar was absolutely unwarranted), but the journey itself was a lot of fun.

9. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare

Oh man. This game is awesome. If anything, 2012 has become the year that made me realize I am, more or less, done with competitive online multi-player games. That was until I played Chivalry. This game makes losing almost enjoyable. Getting stuck in an intense one-on-one duel with some dude, only to get my head caved in, is oddly amusing. The mechanics of the first person melee combat is nearly perfect. Giving you a sense of weighted control over your weaponry. If you're starting to find the influx of generic first person shooters to be unbearable, check this game out. You won't be disappointed.

10. Max Payne 3

The Max Payne games have been some of my personal favorites since their release. I've always loved their dark and gritty tone. Max Payne 3 continues in this fashion and oh man. This game is dark. I can see why some people got turned off by the game's overall mood. Max ain't in a good place. Max's journey to semi-redemption is a great tale in Max Payne 3.

 
  
  

Bread Basket Awards: 2012

This list is for special recognition of games from 2012.

  
1. Dear Esther

Best Soundtrack.

2. Crusader Kings II

2012's Game for Crazy People.

3. Dark Souls

2012's 2011 Game for Crazy People.

4. To the Moon

2012's 2011 Game that Made Me Sob like a Bitch

5. Major League Baseball 2K12

Game series that I WANT picked up by EA in 2013.

6. Diablo III

2012's Game That Was Impossible to Live Up to the Hype.

7. Torchlight II

2012's *Click Click* Game of the Year

8. Garrus Vakarian

2012's Best Alien to Party With.

9. Max Payne

2012's Worst Person to Party With.

10. Duck

2012's Unsung Hero.

11. FTL: Faster Than Light

2012's 'Well, That Went Wrong Fast' Game of the Year.

12. Madden NFL 13

2012's Best Kinect Trolling Game.

13. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare

2012's Best Use of First Person Disembodied Head Camera Angles.

14. Far Cry 3

2012's Best Use of Open World Jank.

15. Journey

2012's Game I Feel Bad About Not Playing.

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Giant Bomb, Help Me Quit Smoking.

I Haven't made a proper blog in a long time, and I figured getting a little personal here would help me out. I haven't been a smoker for too long, but I'm doing my best to stop this horrible habit. I'm starting to catch myself out of breath walking to up stairs and developing a "smoker's cough", along with my bank account being eight bucks emptier whenever I buy a pack of cigarettes. This has to end.

Quitting smoking is difficult. I've tried before, went smoke free for about three weeks and caved. I'm aware of the numerous quit smoking tips online, but I sort of wanted to open up a discussion with any other Giant Bomb users who have quit smoking, or are also in the process of quitting. Maybe get some tips about how to cope with trying to quit. I've tried going cold turkey, which really really sucks, but it seems the most effective method of quitting. A few of my friends also smoke, and I'm trying to get them to quit with me. Sort of a support group, so nobody tempts the others.

Anyway, that's all. Any advice for quitting would be greatly appreciated.

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The Bread Basket Awards: 2011.

 
 

 

So it's the end of the year and we all know what that means; end of the year lists. Below are my top ten favorite games of 2011, along with a random list of honorable mentions.


Best of 2011

Here are my top ten games of 2011. It seems like I may have left some noteworthy games off of this list (Arkham City, Saints Row: The Third, The Witcher 2, and more) but I wanted to keep it to games that I actually played throughout the year. 

1. Bastion

If you told me that my favorite game of 2011 would be the debut game from a developer I probably would have had some reservations. However, that was not the case. Bastion is a fantastic game; Great story, presentation, game play, and most of all, an amazing original soundtrack. Bastion offers this sense of immersion that is hard to describe to anyone who has not played it. The game shares bits and pieces of the universe of Bastion, mostly through some of the greatest video game narration ever seen in a game, while also leaving some things to be inferred by the player. Even with all of the great "AAA" games that game out this year Bastion stayed with me throughout 2011.

2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

My first Elder Scrolls experience was Oblivion. A great game in its own right, but it never latched onto me as it did for many other people. I loved setting out and just exploring the world, but I found most of its content pretty repetitive. This is definitely not the case with Syrim. Syrim was everything that I wanted for a sequel to Oblivion. A vivid world full of character, in depth character customization, and a sense of endless potential. By simply setting out with some objective in mind, whether it be to do a quest, discover a new location, or just wander about the world, you would stumble upon something crazy. I once came across a necromancer dude shooting electricity at a bunny, it was totally awesome.

3. Dark Souls

I never played Demon's Souls because I don't own a Playstation 3, but when I heard that Dark Souls would be released on the Xbox 360 I was ready for some self-punishment. I went into the game with almost no information, except for the fact that I was going to die...a lot. I'll admit that Dark Souls made me want to toss my Xbox out a window at times, but it only made the completion of a difficult task a rewarding moment. At least until you come across another moment of punishment. The addition of only cooperative play also added a great element of success. The first time some dude joined my game and we defeated a boss was a very cool moment. Say what you will about Dark Souls and its sinister game play, but it is one great game.

4. Terraria

I never got into the whole Minecraft madness so it was kind of surprising that I loved Terraria so much. What made Terraria so awesome was that, similar to Minecraft, it offered some great ways to create stuff while also feeling more like a video game. Whether it be building crazy fortresses with endless tunnels to "Terraria hell", fighting a crazy boss battle, or having goblins invade your world, Terraria had a great amount of content to be played. Plus the whole 2D presentation was pretty awesome as it added this sense of nostalgia.

5. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Knights of the Old Republic is probably one of my favorite RPGs of all time. So when Bioware announced that they were making a Star Wars MMO based on this universe, I was sold. There was a lot of doubt and speculation leading up to the release of The Old Republic, but it seems to have all payed off. The Old Republic doesn't do much to revolutionize the MMO formula, but it does make some welcomed innovations, mostly in the form of its use of story. I dabbled in World of Warcraft on and off, but I always ended up hitting this point where the game play and constant level grinding and loot lust just got old. I'm aware that it is far too early to say that this will not happen with The Old Republic, but there is this sense of purpose that other MMOs lack. There is an interesting overarching story that actually gets you involved in the universe through the use of signature Bioware dialogue options in an MMO system.

6. Battlefield 3

The Battlefield series has always been one of my favorite multiplayer experiences. Jumping into a game with a group of friends and crashing helicopter full of people into a tank is fucking awesome. Now, I'll admit, Battlefield 3 does little to change the Battlefield mechanics. You still hop in vehicles and blow stuff up, crazy stuff happens, explosions, etc, but if it's not broken, don't fix it.

7. Dead Space 2

Dead Space 2 didn't change much from Dead Space, but more Dead Space is always welcomed. The game offered some of the same great, creepy atmosphere that the original Dead Space had and more. Some of the larger environments were a little hit and miss, but it had a different feel than Dead Space. The story was interesting and offered a deeper look into the horrified space future that is the world of Dead Space. Also, dude. That scene with the eye thing...probably one of the most tense moments of 2011. I didn't get into the multiplayer that much it was cool to try out, but nothing special. I'm looking forward to more Dead Space, but I think it will take a more drastic change to keep me engaged.

8. Mortal Kombat

A Mortal Kombat game in 2011? Yeah, right. What? It has a crazy alternate dimension plot? I'm listening. Oh, and it's actually fucking awesome? Sold. I was kind of skeptic about Mortal Kombat after playing MK vs DCU. I enjoyed that game, but I was getting pretty tired of the 3D fighting environments creeping into Mortal Kombat. Avoiding Sub-Zero's ice beams by sidestepping? No thanks. Mortal Kombat took things back to the series' roots, literally. It basically resets the entire MK universe in a pretty insane way. Aside from having a surprisingly robust and interesting single player section, which is crazy considering this is a fighting game, the game play is fantastic. It's a perfect blend of old school MK mixed with some of the new mechanics that were implemented throughout the PS2 era games. The only thing that really soured my experience was the broken online play. I literally could not play this game online for the first few weeks of its release. In fact I ended up giving up entirely, which is a shame because I was looking to get crazy into fighting other dudes online.

9. L.A. Noire

L.A. Noire was an odd choice for my game of the year list. I got roughly halfway through the game's story and I just got pretty tired of it. The modernized adventure game mechanics were very cool up until I realized that I can literally get every question wrong in an interrogation and still complete the mission in most cases. There just didn't seem like there was any sort of responsibility for my actions during these sequences. Particularly when Phelps questions a small girl about the death of her mother and I selected the lie option. Well, Phelps screams at this girl and then seconds later everything is back to being polite and normal. Don't get me wrong, it's difficult to develop aspects of game play mechanics that stay grounded in reality, especially with a game so robust with dialogue like L.A. Noire, but it really stood out. That along with the pretty strung together ending really left me wanting more from the game's plot, but it was a great take on what a modern adventure game could be in 2011.

10. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Again, another odd choice for my game of the year list. I loved the hell out of Call of Duty 4. It is definitely up there with one of my most played games of all time, but after that I was pretty burned out on the Call of Duty craze. Sure, I played Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops, but hardly anything more than getting my feet wet with the online multiplayer. That seems to have changed with Modern Warfare 3. Maybe it was because I took a few years to really get back into the series, but it seems to have been better that way. The campaign was as expected, a bombastic trek jumping from one area of conflict to another, but I enjoyed it. I had this odd investment in the Call of Duty story. Yeah, I know. Crazy. Aside from that the online multiplayer is still the shining star. We've all played Call of Duty so I am not going to spend too much time explaining why it is so great, but some of the class change stuff is really cool and though I will NEVER be as good as most other Call of Duty players, I'll definitely be having a lot of fun with this game in the future.


 ...on a less serious note.

 

Bread Basket Awards: 2011

The definitive list of awesome for 2011. 
 
This is not a top games list in the traditional sense. See each game's description for the specific mention.

1. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Best Game That Would Benefit From the Addition of Ewoks.

2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Best Game That Was Worth The Wait.

3. Terraria

Best Surprise of the Year.

4. Dragon Age II

Best Game That I Kind of Hated Myself for Liking.

5. Battlefield 3

Best Game Where Playing as an Idiot Pays Off.

6. Rucks

Best Mark Twain Body Double.

7. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

Game that I wish I got around to playing in 2011.

8. Metal Gear Solid HD Collection

Best HD Mullets of 2011.

9. Dead Space 2

Best Use of Eye Gouging Technology.

10. L.A. Noire

Best-Worst Use of Wrapping Up a Story.

11. Dark Souls

Game That Would Be a Great Situational Sitcom Series.

12. Anders

Biggest "What the Fuck" moment. Also, Biggest Jerk!

13. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

Worst Game to Play While Drunk.

14. Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012

Best Way To Prove You Are A Bad Person.

15. Diablo III

Best Game of 2012.


  

  Good Luck, Have Batman.

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