My Ten Seemingly Random Games of the Year (plus 1 other)

I decided to do one of these game of the year thingies. But seeing as I didn't play a bunch of games released in 2013 I bent the rules a little bit.

But first, a small essay like thing regarding an honorable mention:

Honorable Mention - Multiplayer of the Year Award

I don't play a lot of multiplayer games these days. For me, the company with whom I play has always been the major draw of multiplayer. I fondly remember what are for me the glory days of the N64, me and friends sitting in my room playing Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Mario Kart, the old AKI wrestling games, hell even that shitty South Park first person shooter for hours upon hours. It often didn’t matter what game we were playing, how good it was, or how good we were at it. We had fun.

Over the years we kept the fun going with Super Smash Bros. Melee, NBA Street Vol. 2, the Halo series, Rock Band and more, but gradually the friends I shared these times with lost interest in games or just moved on with their lives, until finally video games became an almost entirely solitary hobby for me. Playing online with random strangers didn’t fill that void. As a result I missed out on some fun games that I very much would liked to have played because I didn’t have anyone to play them with.

But in recent years there has been something of a mini renaissance for me with multiplayer gaming. For one thing, I became a somewhat active member of this here community, gotten to know some really cool folks, and even managed to play some games with a few of them. Highlights of which from this past year include some Dota 2, a bit of Guild Wars, and a New Years Eve Windjammers session with one earlessshrimp (I can now confirm that game is just as fun as the staff proclaims). However, as much fun as all that was and as great as the people I played them with are and as awesome as the games we played were, there’s one multiplayer experience this year that outshines them all.

And the winner is...

Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach isn’t the best or most fun multiplayer game I played this year, but one thing set it apart from the rest. I played it with one of my two favorite people on the planet, my nephew.

He’s nine, maybe a bit of a miniature dudebro, and certainly his taste in games is somewhat questionable for a kid his age, but I love that kid (and his sister, my other favorite person in the world, though sadly she’s not as much of a gamer) to pieces. These past couple of weeks we completed Reach together, my first time playing a Halo game since the month Halo 3 came out and a couple buddies and I blasted through that games co-op online.

Reach was still very much a Halo game, so it was fun, though the kid ain’t so great at games so we played on normal, which made for something of a watered down Halo experience. But as we play games together I remember the times back when I was about his age and I would play games with my older brother, who at the time was about as old as I am now. And looking back I think of those times even more fondly than all the times I played games with friends put together. I hope in about 20 years that my nephew will feel the same way. And still be into games, because I’ll still need someone to play with.

So I’m sorry other games in the running, but you really didn’t stand a chance.

The Top 10

At number 10, the I Miss That Fucker Award goes to…

Hotline Miami

I must’ve watched the Hotline Miami quick look at least a dozen times this year, mostly in July. I played Hotline Miami briefly back in January, but couldn’t wrap my lifelong console gamer’s mind around the mouse and keyboard controls in such a short time and quickly walked away, but at some point around viewing number 6 or 7 of the quick look I decided to give the game another shot. And I’m glad I did because damn, it’s fun.

Though rather than talk more about Hotline Miami, I’d like to give a quick word on Ryan Davis. The Ryan Davis we saw and got to know in the videos and on the podcasts is the man I wish I could be, hilarious, able to find the joy or humor in pretty much anything, and he just didn’t give a fuck. I miss that fucker.

At number 9, the Hey Guys Have You Heard of This Game It’s Pretty Fucking Fun? of the Year Award goes to…

Windjammers

After al l the live streams I was getting a little bit tired of watching the dudes play Windjammers… And then about 4 and a half hours before midnight last night I played Windjammers.

That game is pretty fun you guys.

At number 8, the Just Hold On a Moment My Top Ten Aren’t All Games Featured Prominently on Giant Bomb, I Promise! Award goes to

Dota 2

I suck at Dota 2. I will never not suck at Dota 2. That’s the only complaint I have about Dota 2.

At number 7, the Mindfuck of the Year Award goes to…

Antichamber

I played both Fez and Antichamber for the first time this year, and also replayed Portal 2, so my mind was good and fucked this year. But you know why I respect you so much, Antichamber? When it came time for you to fuck me, you were very gentle.

At number 6, the Game That Made Me Cry of the Year Award goes to…

To the Moon

Oh, sure, a few other games tried to make me cry this year, Fragile Dreams, Brothers, Spelunky, and a few even came close, but I will readily admit to shedding some tears during the end of To the Moon, making it the first, and so far only, game to ever make me cry. I believe that accomplishment alone means this game deserves the number 6 spot on my list.

At number 5, the Hey Didn’t I Play This Game Before? of the Year Award goes to…

Metroid Prime

Of all the games I played for -not- the first time this year, this was my favorite.

At number 4, the I Preordered This Game More Than Two Years Before It Was Released and I Don’t Usually Preorder Games of the Year Award goes to…

BioShock Infinite

I really fucking enjoyed this game. It lived up to my crazy expectations.

At number 3, the I Don’t Have a 3DS so I Couldn’t Play Fire Emblem but This’ll Do of the Year Award goes to…

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

But really I’m this [] close to ordering a 3DS. Feel free to encourage me to do so.

At number 2, the I Can’t Believe I Like This Game As Much As I Do of the Year Award goes to…

Spelunky

I usually prefer games which have a strong story. I’m not particularly good at games. I get frustrated very quickly by games where you die a lot and have to replay it over and over again. And yet I spent almost half of this year regularly playing Spelunky. My death counter is at 600+, but that seems a bit low. Maybe it doesn’t count all the times I used shortcuts?

I even managed to beat it once starting from world 1-1, surely a highlight in my gaming career. Though most of my truly memorable moments playing Spelunky are the idiotic times I failed, like the time I was so fucking close to getting to Hell for the first time, only to die as I was trying to lure Olmec over to Hell’s entrance, because I stupidly flew my jetpack just a little too high and for just a little too long and with only one heart left I fell to my death. I still haven’t made it to Hell…

At number 1, the Game Of The Year of the Year Award goes to...

Depression Quest

I went back to college earlier this year, after years of stalling, my fear of returning hold me back. I spent the last few years living a relatively stress free life but solitary life, hiding away playing video games, reading books, generally keeping myself distracted. I’ve never been particularly good at dealing with stress or anxiety, and college provides a lot of sources of anxiety, tests, homework, due dates, and other people like students and professors, as I’ve never felt very comfortable making friends, talking to others, working in a group, any of that social stuff.

So what does this have to do with Depression Quest being my Game of the Year? Well, I’ll recount a story I’ve already told on this website a time or two. A day back in March, about halfway through my first semester, the work and the stress hadn’t gotten to be too much. On top of that, being around people all the time was actually making me lonelier than hiding away had. So I reached a point where I was very close to giving up. Then I saw someone, Patrick I think, tweet about Depression Quest.

When I started messing around with it, I initially made a few choices that more or less reflected how I felt in that moment, and obviously they were poor choices. But for whatever reason I quickly began to approach the choices differently, instead of making choices that reflected what I felt in that moment I began to make the ones that actually seemed healthy and lead to improving the character’s situation. The kinds of choices I’d really want to make. By the time the game was over both the main character and I were feeling a bit better. So for a brief moment Depression Quest picked me up when I needed it. And it inspired me to try and make some better choices, and do some things differently.

So there you have it. Thanks for reading my bizarre list here. I hope you enjoyed at least some of it.

16 Comments

So Lincoln Force, as designed by me. (timely, I know)

No, not a real game, just ideas. Sorry.

In a valiant effort to keep on not playing Nier I started to throw around some ideas for what I'd do if somehow I was designing a real, actual Lincoln Force. Why? I don't know. It was just the first thing that popped into my head I guess. Anyways I'm sure this sort of thing already exists somewhere so I apologize, and this is real basic stuff (like I'd like this kinda stuff, stuff not in any way a real well thought out design) but still here we go:

So gameplay wise 3rd person shooter. Weapon options would be a basic set of pistols (with some dumb names like Life and Liberty or something) with unlimited ammo, and Lincoln's top hat could act as a melee weapon, and maybe be thrown Oddjob style in certain situations or as an upgrade.

But I guess the main gun, which could have a dumb name as well (I was leaning towards The American Way, but I don't know Superman kinda played that out didn't he? Also it's a bit on the nose, gun = The American Way, but I wouldn't let that stop me) would be a little unique. I was thinking it could be neat to have a sorta Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts style build your own gun thing. Maybe you could have 2 - 4 preset builds available to swap between on the fly for variety/to kill the different enemy types or whatever. You'd get more powerful parts to build cooler guns so there's some sort of progression. And new enemies that are strong to one type of gun but weak to others would encourage switching and experimentation.

(note if there is a game out there with this I'm not aware of it, so a preemptive sorry to whoever whatever game I'm ripping off)

Also I really want to work in Arkham games style stealth sequences every once in a while, because I really would like to be able to drop Lincoln's hat down over an enemy's head from above and pull it back up only now the enemy has no head! I've no idea how to contrive an excuse to get Lincoln on any gargoyle equivalent but maybe someone else to figure it out.

Also Lincoln's ship/time travel vehicle would be called "The Pursuit of Happiness" or maybe "In" instead of "The". Probably not important, that, but maybe the ship could provide some justifcation for the stealth scenes somehow, so it could have some gameplay significance.

And every level would end in a bossfight against a helicopter. But not normal helicopters, craaazy helicopters that can do stuff like go underwater or turn into a rockem sockem type robot that you then have to fist fight old timey style, or other dumb stuff.

Story wise I was thinking of a couple elements, like FDR would be the handler/coordinator of your team who gives out exposition from the headquarters. And JFK would be a counterpart who would be suave to others, but sort of a jackass when you cross paths with him.

Lincoln of course would be the brooding, angsty type hero. And John Wilkes Booth (now of course, just a head in a jar) would be a guy who was in on the plan to recruit Lincoln to this time-traveling troupe of ex-presidents, and would be suitable snarky (and maybe not really there). Also maybe some special attacks would use him somehow. I don't know how.

Like I said this wasn't well thought out. But hey! I'm still not playing Nier! So it served it's purpose.

Any suggestions, or comments, or criticism, or ideas of your own welcome. Although if you do offer a criticism (or even just a comment or well intentioned suggestion) beware that my response may be "Well fuck you and why don't you die? Fuckhole!" (No it won't, I'm kidding.)

Again, sorry for this. I reeeaaaallllllllyyyyyyyyy don't want to play Nier.

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