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Felix Kramer's Top 10 Games of 2015

Cat photo enthusiast Felix Kramer returns with a list full of joys and regrets in equal measure.

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Felix Kramer does PR and production for a bunch of indies, helps organize a slew of events, and generally enjoys video games (except when killing them). Follow @legobutts if you really like kittens, cuz Felix got two last month and won’t stop posting pictures.

I know I say it every year, but 2015 passed by too quickly. I've had so many opportunities to work with incredible teams on projects I can’t wait to show off in 2016! But as most developers know, making games sometimes means it’s hard to find the time to actually play them. For every game I played this year, it feels like there were two I wish I’d have had time to play. I suppose I could just NOT play so much Destiny, but let's be real: that’s not an option. In fact, I’m not even including Destiny in my list this year even though I played more of it than most of these titles combined, because that would be too easy. So, with THAT said, I submit:

Felix’s “Games Other Than Destiny That I Loved AND Games I Really Friggin Wish I Could Have Played Had I Not Been Insanely Busy” List of 2015. It’s a working title, and I'm sure Alex will change it, because I'm an editor's nightmare. [Editor's Note: Nope! Suffer by your own hand!]

(PLAYED) King’s Quest Chapter 1 & 2

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I grew up on King’s Quest, and this reimagining is, so far, extremely satisfying. If you’re into the idea of Christopher Lloyd telling you Dad Jokes for hours at a time, pick it up. If you’re for whatever reason NOT into that idea (weirdo), play it for the stunning visuals and charming story. I’m halfway through Chapter 2 and can’t wait for more. Remember, use the hatchet.

(WISH I PLAYED) Ori and the Blind Forest

God DAMN this game is pretty looking, and from what I hear, it’s a real challenge. Between this and Axiom Verge, I only wish I had time to actually master deeply polished, skill based games that require my undivided attention. Simple, right? Just play more games. Some…day...

(PLAYED) OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood

I love this game, I LIVE for this soundtrack, and I want to master this extensive tricktionary. The controls can take some getting used to if you’re a Tony Hawk Pro but give it a chance. Landing that Frontside 360 Shove-it off of the Salad Grind (or whatever) is almost as satisfying as bailing four thousand times on your way to perfecting it. I probably only played about 20 hours all year but I’ve listened to 40 hours of the soundtrack, easy. So we’ll call that 60 hours of OlliOlli 2.

(WISH I PLAYED) Undertale

In a big ol’ twist that shocks absolutely no one, I really really want to play this game. I got about twenty minutes in and was totally overwhelmed with a feeling of affection--not just because Earthbound is in my top five games of all time--but because Undertale is meant to evoke feelings of compassion, love, and tenderness. In an industry where I refer to every second game as "shooty shooty man man,” a little compassion goes a long, long way. Undertale and others like it are good for the soul. I’ll be making time for it soon.

(PLAYED) Regency Solitaire

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Steam says I played 26 hours of this game. TWENTY SIX HOURS. OF ROMANTIC REGENCY ENGLAND THEMED SOLITAIRE. I have absolutely no shame in loving casual games--I'm not sure why anyone would, to be honest. Playing Regency Solitaire for 26 hours was an honour and a delight. When you fly as much as I do, having a highly charming game with high replay value is essential to sanity. This spring Regency Solitaire was that game. I predict I play a lot more of their next game, Shadowhand, too.

(WISH I PLAYED) Splatoon

I lost my Wii U in a split last year, and have been meaning to buy another one for months. I played about two hours of Splatoon at indiehouse Vancouver when it came out, and watched at least ten more hours of my friends trying to make their way up the ranks. As far as I’ve seen and felt, Splatoon has the potential to make it into my all-time favourite shooters. I will say this: I have played more Splatoon than Halo 5 on my new XBOne and I don’t even own a Wii U anymore. So. That’s a thing.

(PLAYED) Her Story

I have feelings about this game--it brought back lots of nostalgia when it comes to weird text based mystery games like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego--but the game took itself so seriously that I had a tough time getting into the story. It makes my list not because of the content so much as the execution. Searching for keywords and grabbing a notepad to scratch out which clips I’ve seen and in what order they occur--that sort of puzzle solving requires dedication and investment, and at no point was I unwilling to give it. I can’t really say more without fully spoiling the game, so if you haven’t already picked it up, I’ll say it makes a great iPhone game for a flight or two. I just wish I’d known from the get go that the story would be so "Law & Order circa 1998."

(WISH I PLAYED) Until Dawn

This game’s trailer late last year turned me off, and it was a long time before I came around on the “slasher game” genre concept. But for the decision trees alone, I want to see how this game plays out. Everything I hear points towards the game being true to the slasher movie genre, too, so I’m certain it has a couple jump scares here and there. Just how I like my horror games. I just know that as soon as I pick it up I’m going to become obsessed with keeping everyone alive, and that’s going to require time. It’s high on the list.

(PLAYED) Life Is Strange

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I kept seeing complaints about the dialogue in the game--that teens don’t actually say “hella” or “sad face", that Blackwell Academy was unrealistic. Whatever. VIDEO GAMES. But it’s important to note that my relationship with Life Is Strange is complicated. The whole game is about personal decision making, so I will stay away from major spoilers--just know that it’s FULL of intense material that may or may not cause you distress based on past personal trauma. I appreciate that I had to take my time with my decisions, that everything really did seem to matter--but it’s incredibly stressful at the same time, never knowing if you made the “right" choice. I don’t know if I have the stamina to replay the whole thing, but I’m not sure that even if I did I’d change much. That’s sort of neat, I think.

(WISH I PLAYED) Super Mario Maker

I don’t actually know how I’m including this on my WISH I PLAYED list after seeing all the pain my friends have been through trying to complete Matt Thorson and Dan Ryckert’s insanity levels, but let’s chock it up to masochism and call it a day. I’m waiting until Christmas to buy myself a new Wii U and Mario Maker is first on the list. Pain and suffering, here I come.

There are too many titles that I either played very little of or purchased and never got the chance to touch. I need to buy a new iPad just for Lara Croft Go, Lumino City, and The Room Three. I backed the Armello Kickstarter and the hour or so I played of it made me think I might actually LIKE long form board games. N++ and Rocket League were multiplayer games that I’ll be coming back to for ages. Downwell, Read Only Memories, SOMA…hell, my friends over at Vlambeer FINALLY released Nuclear Throne. I guess I’ll just have to make sure my New Year’s Resolution for 2016 is to complete my 2015 backlog. That is, if I ever put down Destiny for long enough to do so. ;)