The reason this game is the #1 game on my list is because this is the game where I simply had to most god damn fun playing it.
When it first came out, together with 3 of my friends, I ended up playing 20 hours of this game non-stop until we had done almost everything you could do. I haven't had a marathon session with a game like this in a long time.
Of course if it was just that single marathon session than it may not be my #1 game, but what really puts Terraria on top is the never ending content updates. They have come strong and fast, and just 3 weeks ago the same group of friends and I delved in for another 20 hours of fun gaming.
This game is simply a bundle of fun, from building strongholds, riding on my jetpack, shooting lasers at unicorns, massive orc attacks, and all the other crazy things in this game.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Anyone who knows me very well should probably expect this: I love Zelda. Although, the people who hung around with me in IRC may be a little surprised that I have this on my list. They had to suffer through my frustration with this game's controls, and complaining about mini-games and such, but the rest of this game is so good that I cant leave it off this list.
This Zelda is probably the first Zelda game to break the stranglehold Ocarina Of Time had on my heart. Its just got a great combat system and a really cool story for a Zelda game. There are places where the motion controls fumble: a few fights required a lot of precision and the mini-games come to mind. There are also a few places where the old Z-targeting camera system shows it's age (the sealed one boss is frustrating for this reason).
Overall though, outside of the few times I got frustrated at the controls, I was feeling happy throughout the whole game. It was just a fun experience and I think it's probably my new favorite Zelda game. (Excluding Okami)
3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
I have never seen the kind of zeitgeist that Skyrim got for an RPG before. This is probably Bethesda's best game when it comes to game play. The story/world is also really good, although I think Fallout has a more interesting world in general.
This game deserves to be on this list for no other reason than the sheer amount of time I sunk into it. I have put so much time in this game, and yet I have barely scratched the surface. I may be the king of thieves and the Dovvakhin, but I still need to master the arcane arts and become the best Assassin in the world.
The refined game play is excellent, taking care of a lot of the problems the older games had. Despite it still having bugs, it simply feels more polished. There are some mechanics from older games that would have been nice to have in here (custom spells and more elaborate enchanting come to mine), but they aren't super important. The attention to detail is amazing as always, and the landscapes are beautiful. Simply a wonderful game.
4. Portal 2
One of the most hilarious experiences I have had in video games. The original Portal is renown for it's quirky humor and interesting puzzles, and Portal 2 does not fail to one-up Portal in those aspects.
While Portal 2 doesn't have the same shock factor that Portal had, it more than makes up for that by having a hilarious set of new characters and and endlessly interesting look into the minds and history behind aperture science.
Beyond the humor, Portal 2 introduced a lot of cool interesting game play mechanics and a lot of hard mind bending puzzles.
5. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
This game is made by the same people who brought you Phoenix Wright, and boy does it show. A lot of the same surreal humor and characters that draws players to those games is present in this game as well. All of it is wrapped up in an unbelievably weird story of ghosts and time travel.
Beyond the interesting story, the game play itself is tons of fun. It's mainly a puzzle game where you move from item to item on screen attempting to trigger events at the right time in order to progress (and you have a time rewinding potion if you should fail). The puzzles are interesting, make good use of the time mechanic, and are just puzzling enough to be fun to solve but not frustrating.
6. Puzzle Agent 2
A lot of people compare this game to Professor Layton, and certainly the similarity is there, but this game brings a kind of atmosphere to the table that Layton just can't touch.
This game has one of the most interesting "worlds" I have seen in a video game, focusing on a small town (Skoggins, Minnesota) and the incredibly weird things that happen in it. The story telling is paced amazingly, and the weird jokes are pulled off just right for them to be hilarious. It has the same atmosphere that Puzzle Agent 1 had, but expands on a lot of the other weird parts of the universe (such as what the heck the FBI's puzzle agency is like).
The only downside to this game is that the puzzles themselves are not top notch. Most of them are fine, just not hard enough to provide a good challenge. However, while the puzzles aren't the best the story and setting more than make up for it.
This game came as kind of a surprise to me. I had seen the quick look and sort of wrote it off as just another weird indie game, and It wasn't until it was part of the HIB (which I bought for other games) that I actually owned it. Even after buying it I really didn't give it a try until I just needed something simple to play during vacation.
Boy was I surprised when this game turned out to be awesome. This game is a Metroid style game based off of playing musical notes to activate powers. (You can use hotkeys instead of the music if you don't want to bother with that mechanic) It's set in a weird underwater world where the main character seems to be the only living thinking creature alive. The story revolves around her quest to seek answers about who she is, what she is doing there, and why no one else seems to be around.
The gameplay is fun, the story is really interesting (especially the secret twist ending), the voice acting for the main character is good, and overall it's just a really relaxing and fun experience. The fun and light atmosphere makes the really creepy moments of the game all the more creepy. The only complaint I have about the game is that the animations can be a little stiff, but since this is an indie game I can forgive that.
This game doesn't revolution the Metroid genre, but it's a really solid and really interesting game of that type, and I hope they get to make a sequel to this game.
8. Batman: Arkham City
O.K. Guys, its confession time. I never played Arkham Asylum. I know it's a great game, and I know it was a huge surprise the year it came out, but some how I never got around to playing it. I did watch my room mate play it so I know the whole story, but I never actually played the game itself.
So then, imagine my joy in playing this game. This was my first introduction to the revolutionary game mechanics that everyone enjoyed from Asylum. I was blown away by how great the combat system in this game is. Beyond that, the story of this game is great. The writers were really able to break away from standard Batman continuity and bring a lot of great twists to the Batman family of villains (That ending was amazing).
The game has flaws: the boss battles are kind of boring (except Mr. Freeze), the side quests could be better (so many trophies, and 2 of the side quests are just uneventful and unsatisfying), and a few other things. However, these minor complaints pale in comparison to sheer joy I experiences while playing the game.
9. Dark Souls
Those who hang out with me on IRC and those who read my tweets may know one thing about me: when it comes to games I am kind of masochist. I play Nethack. A game designed to crush your soul and grind it to tiny pieces with its difficulty. Despite the problems with Nethack, In my heart I love it more than most games.
Imagine my excitement then when people kept telling me about this game that is "like Nethack" in it's insane difficulty. I had to check it out. Now to clear something up, this game is fairly different than Nethack, despite what people seem to be saying. The one thing it does have in common though is that the game is fair, but not forgiving. The game very rarely kills you with a "cheap death", and even then it's usually just for effect, but it will kill you the moment you stop paying attention.
Dark Souls is just an extremely gratifying game. For every moment you get pissed dying to boss or falling off a cliff or even dying to a normal enemy, you feel that much more vindicated when you smash that enemy in the face or destroy that boss. I haven't beaten Dark Souls, heck I haven't even been able to get that far, but those few moments where I beat the game at something, those few precious moments, are some of the most gratifying moments I have ever had in a video game.
10. Dungeon Defenders
I didn't play Dungeon Defenders when it first came out. It seemed interesting, but I was strapped for cash and my friends had already formed up a team for playing the game, so I figured I would pass on it. I was all set to just let this game pass me by without playing it at all, luckily though internet friends came to the rescue. RustySpoon managed to buy a couple extra copies of the game during the steam sale and gifted it to a few of us Tested guys, and now I regret not grabbing the game sooner.
This game is jut a really good take on the Tower Defense genre. It of course wasn't the only one, Orcs Must Die! and Trenched both come to mind this year, but I feel like this is the one that does the best at both multi-player and the tower aspects of the game.
This is one of those games that once you start playing, you have a hard time stopping. Even if its 3 AM in the morning, you just want to keep going because you 're having such a good time.