Danielle Riendeau is the managing editor of Waypoint at Vice, a website about fan fiction and also sometimes video games. When she's not hanging out with her favorite video game characters, co-hosting Idle Weekend, or punching her way through the League of Heels, you can find her on Twitter @DanielleRi. You can also find her official list of her top 10 games of 2016 over at Waypoint.
I played a lot of really great games this year. I’m sure plenty of other people have said this, but it was a pretty awful year politically, and still, somehow, a lot of the games managed to be spectacular, often in surprising ways. Mainly, because a lot of them were about interesting, fun, weird, or just plain charismatic characters who carried everything from the best-designed action-puzzles to the coolest meditations on a goofy theme.
Here are the new characters (from 2016) that I’d most like to hang out with, and the excellent games they graced.
I like to work out. Zarya likes to work out. I like buff gals. Zarya probably likes buff gals. I think pink hair and eager support for one’s teammates is rad—see a pattern here? I think Zarya and I would get along ridiculously well. We wouldn’t even need to say much, really, Zarya could just take me to her gym and give me some rad workout tips and we’d get all swole together, like true friends.
I also want to hang out with Tracer. The Cavalry’s queer and all that!
Aliph, Even The Ocean
Aliph was the star of the year’s best 2D platformer, which also offered a meditation on political power and environmental balance. They’re also, generally, a rad human being who tries to do the right thing. I want to get Aliph a beer and just chat about life in Whiteforge City.
Look, Emily is a super-powered badass who probably has the best stories out of anyone on this list. I want to hear about the time she used far reach to grab a guard sitting on a toilet and threw him into an open dumpster. Or the time she Shadow Walk-choked a bunch of dudes and then stacked them all in the same bunk. Plus, I really want her to give me some fashion tips.
I think Mafia III is a well-done, important game. It tackles racism in America with clear eyes and a full heart, even if the game was overstuffed with #content. It was also stuffed with memorable characters: badass protagonist Lincoln Clay, wildly off-kilter CIA agent John Donovan, sympathetic Nicki Burke, and the powerful, put-together Cassandra, who I would put in charge of any business I wanted run with ruthless efficiency and panache.
Look, it’s been a rough year. There’s no reason why I can’t chill with a friendly, sweet, loving lil’ Popplio. I just want to pet them and cuddle and give 2016 the middle flipper. In the cutest way possible!