Sparkly's Game of the Year - 2011

So, trying to recall all that I played this year that had a big impact on me was a bit tough. Most of the titles that I played were either remakes or things to have released in years prior as I attempt to whittle down my backlog. Or released so close to the end of last year that I'm not sure if they'd count. (Like Raskulls for example. A game I really liked, but just another option and all.)

I guess we'll start at the tail end of this! That's fun, it'll be like I'm building suspense and tension. And everybody loves that.

--------------------------------

10. Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns

I know this is typically more of the same, but something about Harvest Moon just keeps drawing me back in to it. It's got a charm and a whimsy that I can really get behind. The gameplay overall comes off as being incredibly simple initially, but once you dig deeper in, you find out that, like previous games, there is a that extra level of complexity to give this innocent little game a whole lot of depth. The contrast between the towns and the attempt at actually making a story that didn't start off as most of the others ("Grandpa died and gave me his land") was an interesting pace. I've spent quite a few nights perfecting what it is I need to do be productive as time passes and the towns grow/change. It may not be at the top of my list, but it does have a special place in my heart. <3 Oh nostalgia~

9. Gears of War 3

After playing Horde mode with some of the duders here, my opinion of this game series took a pretty dramatic shift. The first two Gears games really weren't something for me. I could enjoy them, but that was mostly because I was too busy focused on talking down to what the game was since, well, I'm a close-minded silly filly who thinks that Gears tries to hard to be a "man's man manly-mcman" sort of game. (And, well, it kind of still is? A bit? (I really should not be doing this write up so late, but whatever. Onwards!)) The way everything handles in Gears 3 just felt different somehow, a whole lot better. Playing offline with my dad for the co-op ending up being a blast, making me instantly regret not taking my time with this series sooner and writing it off as quickly as I did. Good game! Lesson learned! Oops!

8. L.A. Noire

Oh. My. Good. Lord. I can't drive for shit. Erm, what I meant was: The way that LA Noire mirrors the classic film noire to a tee is still overwhelming to me. I approached this title with the intention of playing it in that classic film style and with as little outside help as possible, and that definitely didn't lessen the experience. If anything, it really added an extra punch to make it that much more enjoyable. I really adored the different personalities and wide range in the colorful cast of characters, even if their dialogs didn't always quite fit during interrogation or even if they were a gigantic asshole. (Yeah, Roy, I mean you. You are a dick.) The accuracy of the city and the amount of awe-inspiring detail and technology put behind the faces of the people is one thing, but the presentation of the cases and whatnot is what really makes this one of my top games this year. I'm used to playing games that have moments that shock me and whatnot, but never as gritty or dark as this. I can anticipate that from a film, but in a game was completely new to me. Anyways, I guess what it comes down to is... Are you a size 8?

7. Forza Motorsport 4

The single player isn't why this is making an appearance on my list. Not to bash on it or anything! But that's not why I go "Oh man, I cannot wait to play this today!" I go in to play to collect profits from my storefront and make My Little Pony related art for the upgrade in the multiplayer. It's almost pointless to me to pour my heart and soul into making the most fabulous car with all the junk in her trunk if I have no means to wreck her into the tail end of a Hummer as it is being pushed up a mountain or slam some of the most courteous and kind big-headed and loud mouthed doo-doo heads into a wall because I want to be the one to make the winning goal. In a traditional race, I'm the back of the pack... Always. All the time. Never not last. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying myself. I always learn a different thing, too. Whether the new thing is hearing different little tips and tricks to how everyone tunes or if Slowbird came up with a new bad joke, something always happens. ...Although I do totally love to just make vinyls and plaster them all over my car. I'm 5 at my core and I still love the fuck out of stickers.

6. You Don't Know Jack

Trivia games tend to be that sort of game that if I go in with a group of friends, we leave as enemies at the end. This isn't the case when it comes to YDKJ. The humor and pop culture references turn what could have been a bloodbath with my buddies into a laughfest. At the end, the points mean nothing, just that we all had a great time and learned a few useless facts that we can use for new jokes. (Like how the Facebook Creeper of our group is named Nate. And Natesbook means "ass"book. Lololololololol. (I sound like a damn turkey when I say Lolololol outloud. The price I have to pay.) Even in single player, it's still a great time and the prizes are just bad enough to make you want every single one. Although the points do matter if you ever play online. Especially true if you play with a numbers-loving-jerkwad, but hey! That can be fun, too, right?

5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Would this be higher if no one took my sweetroll? Good question. Skyrim is a phenomenal time sink. In previous Elder Scrolls titles, I know that they said you can do whatever you want, but for once, when it came to Skyrim, I actually believed that. In Oblivion, I remember starting off doing whatever I wanted, but then when it came to spending points and becoming stronger when I leveled, I felt incredibly restricted and almost punished for not doing specific tasks. This is definitely not the case with Skyrim and it's overwhelming to be given so much freedom like that. The core story of being the most Specialist-Special-Person-Of-Ever doesn't even have time to bring me down because there is a whole world to explore and dragons who need to have their lives brought to an end. That to me is absolutely fascinating and delaying the progress of most of the questlines makes running around as an ordinary lizard wizard that much more appealing.

4. LittleBigPlanet 2

I think Pinkie Pie said it best when she earned her cutiemark. "I'd never felt joy like that before" is a very accurate description for when I got my grimy little hands on the sequel to LBP. The minor advancements to the previous Little Big Planet formula were great, the story tweaks, and the amount of new stuff for me to create with is really something. LBP2 encourages you to create and imagine more, while giving you a chance to play and share with friends. The dedication that some people put into making breath taking levels is definitely not something to sneeze at and the amount of joy and glee I get from solving puzzles, jumping on goofy looking enemies, and tagging my friends with stickers is unmatched anywhere else.

3. Catherine

I have to confess, I played the ever loving shit out of Catherine. The story, drama, and dynamic between all of these characters and the circumstance they're in won me over. The game play can be really repetitive, but the added complexity and need to speed up and power through was enough to have me think of blocks outside of it. Catherine was a bit of a summer obsession for me. I was dreaming of blocks and the questions that were asked of you as you played made me take a step back and evaluate my own stance with relationships. It was almost scary. Catherine is one of the few games I can say that started to infect my day-to-day, I was analyzing responses to minor questions and imagining what sort of challenges I'd have to solve next to go from floor to floor. That's not something I've done in years and that honestly shocks me.

2. Bastion

The Kid sat for a bit, and struggled to come up with a way to convey how she felt about one of her favorite games this year. She then realized that using the narration style to give her opinion would be silly, so many had gone down that same path before her and so many excelled at that writing style better than she. But she went on anyways, telling her tale of triumph as she saw each task before her set out to completion. So, wow. Bastion. Incredibly moving for a game made by a team so small that, last I check, I had more fingers on one hand! (That was a joke. I don't have 8 fingers on my hand-OH MY GOD, WHERE DID YOU THREE COME FROM?) Everything that could be said about Bastion would just be me echoing the sentiments of a million others. This game is beautiful and I would totally live there if things weren't falling apart. Ah well.

1. Portal 2

SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE. Portal 2 learned that loads of the same isn't always a bad thing and I can respect that. The story went a lot deeper than I had originally thought that it would and... Okay. I'm going to be honest.

This is number one because I love Wheatley. There. I said it. He's my little darling and he can do no wrong in my eyes. I will go with him 'til the end of the world. To the moon, even. That adorable little bastard.

--------------------------------

And there you have it. My Game of the Year list. Honorable mentions include: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Pushmo, Camping Mama: Outdoor Adventures, Jamestown, and Saints Row: The Third.

Skylanders would be somewhere on this list, but seeing as it just entered my life as the year was ending? I'm not going to count it. I'm too busy running around town trying to add to my collection and that scares me.

The last game on this list that I would like to mention would be ' Bullet Bill 3. Like I said, this list of games is for those that had an impact on me. And seeing as how I was given the opportunity to test and be one of the first players for something a friend of mine has been working on? That's really cool and something I'm pretty proud and happy to say I've been a part of. I still think the game is difficult (Darn laptop!) but I've enjoyed it nonetheless and I honestly can say that I can't wait to see what else Psycosis has up his sleeve for his next game.

Thanks for reading, you potentially crazy person, you! <3

-Sparkly

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Posted by Sparklykiss

So, trying to recall all that I played this year that had a big impact on me was a bit tough. Most of the titles that I played were either remakes or things to have released in years prior as I attempt to whittle down my backlog. Or released so close to the end of last year that I'm not sure if they'd count. (Like Raskulls for example. A game I really liked, but just another option and all.)

I guess we'll start at the tail end of this! That's fun, it'll be like I'm building suspense and tension. And everybody loves that.

--------------------------------

10. Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns

I know this is typically more of the same, but something about Harvest Moon just keeps drawing me back in to it. It's got a charm and a whimsy that I can really get behind. The gameplay overall comes off as being incredibly simple initially, but once you dig deeper in, you find out that, like previous games, there is a that extra level of complexity to give this innocent little game a whole lot of depth. The contrast between the towns and the attempt at actually making a story that didn't start off as most of the others ("Grandpa died and gave me his land") was an interesting pace. I've spent quite a few nights perfecting what it is I need to do be productive as time passes and the towns grow/change. It may not be at the top of my list, but it does have a special place in my heart. <3 Oh nostalgia~

9. Gears of War 3

After playing Horde mode with some of the duders here, my opinion of this game series took a pretty dramatic shift. The first two Gears games really weren't something for me. I could enjoy them, but that was mostly because I was too busy focused on talking down to what the game was since, well, I'm a close-minded silly filly who thinks that Gears tries to hard to be a "man's man manly-mcman" sort of game. (And, well, it kind of still is? A bit? (I really should not be doing this write up so late, but whatever. Onwards!)) The way everything handles in Gears 3 just felt different somehow, a whole lot better. Playing offline with my dad for the co-op ending up being a blast, making me instantly regret not taking my time with this series sooner and writing it off as quickly as I did. Good game! Lesson learned! Oops!

8. L.A. Noire

Oh. My. Good. Lord. I can't drive for shit. Erm, what I meant was: The way that LA Noire mirrors the classic film noire to a tee is still overwhelming to me. I approached this title with the intention of playing it in that classic film style and with as little outside help as possible, and that definitely didn't lessen the experience. If anything, it really added an extra punch to make it that much more enjoyable. I really adored the different personalities and wide range in the colorful cast of characters, even if their dialogs didn't always quite fit during interrogation or even if they were a gigantic asshole. (Yeah, Roy, I mean you. You are a dick.) The accuracy of the city and the amount of awe-inspiring detail and technology put behind the faces of the people is one thing, but the presentation of the cases and whatnot is what really makes this one of my top games this year. I'm used to playing games that have moments that shock me and whatnot, but never as gritty or dark as this. I can anticipate that from a film, but in a game was completely new to me. Anyways, I guess what it comes down to is... Are you a size 8?

7. Forza Motorsport 4

The single player isn't why this is making an appearance on my list. Not to bash on it or anything! But that's not why I go "Oh man, I cannot wait to play this today!" I go in to play to collect profits from my storefront and make My Little Pony related art for the upgrade in the multiplayer. It's almost pointless to me to pour my heart and soul into making the most fabulous car with all the junk in her trunk if I have no means to wreck her into the tail end of a Hummer as it is being pushed up a mountain or slam some of the most courteous and kind big-headed and loud mouthed doo-doo heads into a wall because I want to be the one to make the winning goal. In a traditional race, I'm the back of the pack... Always. All the time. Never not last. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying myself. I always learn a different thing, too. Whether the new thing is hearing different little tips and tricks to how everyone tunes or if Slowbird came up with a new bad joke, something always happens. ...Although I do totally love to just make vinyls and plaster them all over my car. I'm 5 at my core and I still love the fuck out of stickers.

6. You Don't Know Jack

Trivia games tend to be that sort of game that if I go in with a group of friends, we leave as enemies at the end. This isn't the case when it comes to YDKJ. The humor and pop culture references turn what could have been a bloodbath with my buddies into a laughfest. At the end, the points mean nothing, just that we all had a great time and learned a few useless facts that we can use for new jokes. (Like how the Facebook Creeper of our group is named Nate. And Natesbook means "ass"book. Lololololololol. (I sound like a damn turkey when I say Lolololol outloud. The price I have to pay.) Even in single player, it's still a great time and the prizes are just bad enough to make you want every single one. Although the points do matter if you ever play online. Especially true if you play with a numbers-loving-jerkwad, but hey! That can be fun, too, right?

5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Would this be higher if no one took my sweetroll? Good question. Skyrim is a phenomenal time sink. In previous Elder Scrolls titles, I know that they said you can do whatever you want, but for once, when it came to Skyrim, I actually believed that. In Oblivion, I remember starting off doing whatever I wanted, but then when it came to spending points and becoming stronger when I leveled, I felt incredibly restricted and almost punished for not doing specific tasks. This is definitely not the case with Skyrim and it's overwhelming to be given so much freedom like that. The core story of being the most Specialist-Special-Person-Of-Ever doesn't even have time to bring me down because there is a whole world to explore and dragons who need to have their lives brought to an end. That to me is absolutely fascinating and delaying the progress of most of the questlines makes running around as an ordinary lizard wizard that much more appealing.

4. LittleBigPlanet 2

I think Pinkie Pie said it best when she earned her cutiemark. "I'd never felt joy like that before" is a very accurate description for when I got my grimy little hands on the sequel to LBP. The minor advancements to the previous Little Big Planet formula were great, the story tweaks, and the amount of new stuff for me to create with is really something. LBP2 encourages you to create and imagine more, while giving you a chance to play and share with friends. The dedication that some people put into making breath taking levels is definitely not something to sneeze at and the amount of joy and glee I get from solving puzzles, jumping on goofy looking enemies, and tagging my friends with stickers is unmatched anywhere else.

3. Catherine

I have to confess, I played the ever loving shit out of Catherine. The story, drama, and dynamic between all of these characters and the circumstance they're in won me over. The game play can be really repetitive, but the added complexity and need to speed up and power through was enough to have me think of blocks outside of it. Catherine was a bit of a summer obsession for me. I was dreaming of blocks and the questions that were asked of you as you played made me take a step back and evaluate my own stance with relationships. It was almost scary. Catherine is one of the few games I can say that started to infect my day-to-day, I was analyzing responses to minor questions and imagining what sort of challenges I'd have to solve next to go from floor to floor. That's not something I've done in years and that honestly shocks me.

2. Bastion

The Kid sat for a bit, and struggled to come up with a way to convey how she felt about one of her favorite games this year. She then realized that using the narration style to give her opinion would be silly, so many had gone down that same path before her and so many excelled at that writing style better than she. But she went on anyways, telling her tale of triumph as she saw each task before her set out to completion. So, wow. Bastion. Incredibly moving for a game made by a team so small that, last I check, I had more fingers on one hand! (That was a joke. I don't have 8 fingers on my hand-OH MY GOD, WHERE DID YOU THREE COME FROM?) Everything that could be said about Bastion would just be me echoing the sentiments of a million others. This game is beautiful and I would totally live there if things weren't falling apart. Ah well.

1. Portal 2

SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE. Portal 2 learned that loads of the same isn't always a bad thing and I can respect that. The story went a lot deeper than I had originally thought that it would and... Okay. I'm going to be honest.

This is number one because I love Wheatley. There. I said it. He's my little darling and he can do no wrong in my eyes. I will go with him 'til the end of the world. To the moon, even. That adorable little bastard.

--------------------------------

And there you have it. My Game of the Year list. Honorable mentions include: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Pushmo, Camping Mama: Outdoor Adventures, Jamestown, and Saints Row: The Third.

Skylanders would be somewhere on this list, but seeing as it just entered my life as the year was ending? I'm not going to count it. I'm too busy running around town trying to add to my collection and that scares me.

The last game on this list that I would like to mention would be ' Bullet Bill 3. Like I said, this list of games is for those that had an impact on me. And seeing as how I was given the opportunity to test and be one of the first players for something a friend of mine has been working on? That's really cool and something I'm pretty proud and happy to say I've been a part of. I still think the game is difficult (Darn laptop!) but I've enjoyed it nonetheless and I honestly can say that I can't wait to see what else Psycosis has up his sleeve for his next game.

Thanks for reading, you potentially crazy person, you! <3

-Sparkly

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King

You had trouble driving in L.A. Noire? I was pretty good at it, even if I drove like Stinkmeaner the whole time. (I couldn't find the clip necessary for that to make sense.) (It was an excuse to blast the siren.)

Oh, and no. You won't go to the Moon with Wheatley. There's no way I'd let either of you up here. You're human, and he's destructive.

Posted by ArclightBorealis

Shit, forgot about LittleBigPlanet 2. In fact, it seems like most places have forgotten about that game.

Shame. I really liked the first one.

Posted by slowbird

BAD JOKES BAD JOKES BAD JOKES BAD JOKES! seriously though you're silly.

Posted by ThePickle

#1 is the correct choice.

Posted by Sparklykiss

@Alaska_Gamer: I'm glad I'm not the only one to have noticed that. It was a damn shame. :(

@Video_Game_King: I wanted to be a law-abiding citizen and trying to not ram into everyone while on a high speed chase was rough! And people need to stop crossing the street so often. >:|

@slowbird: @ThePickle: You guys are silly/the correct choice!

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King

My problem was just with them freaking out. I'd get on the sidewalks and drive at walking speed just to watch people freak out at a courteous citizen like myself. I just want to cross the street like you guys; why do you hate me so?

Posted by Sparklykiss

@Video_Game_King: I couldn't do that, it stressed me out. I've probably yelled at LA Noire than I have at any other game. I hated when I take a turn to fast and bump up on the sidewalk where no one was. People would run rampant. But, hey, still a pretty great game! :D

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King

Oh, right. I forgot you were human. I guess you have problems with killing your virtual kind or something. Trust me: it's fun to fuck around like that, like the rest of the game is.

Posted by Sparklykiss

@Video_Game_King: There are countless other games where your objective is to cause mayhem and maim every person you encounter. I don't think LA Noire is one of those games. That justifies me being careful, I think.

Moderator
Posted by FinalDasa

Skyrim is only at five, you made a mistake.

Moderator
Posted by RecSpec

Forgot about LBP 2 as well. I wouldn't have put it anywhere near the top of my list, but playing through that with my brother and sister was more fun than a lot of things I did this year.

Posted by Sparklykiss

@FinalDasa: You're a mistake!

@RecSpec: I think that game needs to get an aware for "Most Neglected Amazing Game of 2011." Surefire winner by my standards.

Moderator
Posted by FinalDasa

@Sparklykiss: Ouch. Least I didn't mention anything about Skylanders :P

Moderator
Posted by slowbird

@Sparklykiss: Yep! :P