Greg Miller is the ringleader of the violent street gang known as Kinda Funny. Greg is easily identified by his #TEAMFAT crop top and transfixing stomach. If you encounter him on Twitter, do not approach, or he will scream at you about fog machines.
What's up, everybody?! I'm Greg Miller from Kinda Funny, and I'm either really happy that you dig my content or so sorry for being the worst guy on the Internet and ruining Giant Bomb for you.
Either way, I played a lot of games in 2015 and am ready to put them into a numbered list so that you can argue about them in the comments. These are my favorite games. Were there bigger games? Were there better games? Probably, and if I was voting for the GOTY award to end all GOTY awards, I might jostle a few picks here and there, but I'm not.
These are my favorites; these are the games that rocked Greg Miller's world in 2015.
WHAT UP, NICOLE TAN?!
My first memory of #IDARB is Jeff and Brad camping out on the demo station at the Microsoft Lounge and keeping me from playing. I cursed them for being so quick on the draw, made note of the game looking cool, and went about eating mini-sandwiches. Upon release, my first few games of #IDARB proved that I had never played the game and knew nothing of the mechanics, but damn, were those first steps fun. And that never stopped--even once everyone in the house got their #IDARB legs, the game only continued to get more enjoyable. In the beginning, there’s something about speed, the janky graphics, and the announcing that hooks you; but when you start comprehending dodging, scoring, and need for teamwork, #IDARB goes to this other level. Suddenly, the “Ha, ha! I can’t believe you scored!” crap is out the window; when it clicks, #IDARB becomes bloodsport--and my best multiplayer experience of the year. Also, if you’re wondering, the mini-sandwiches were good, but the roast beef one had too much butter on the bread.
A lot of what I do on the Internet goes like this: 1. Find cool games coming out. 2. Tell you about the cool games coming out. 3. Never play cool game upon release because I’m off doing some event or bar mitzvah. That’s what happened with the original State of Decay; I did tons of Let’s Plays leading up to release, but never sat down and got lost on my home console. Luckily, State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition came around. It’s a prettier version of the zombie survival game along with all the DLC that ever came to Xbox 360. Why’s it awesome? There’s permadeath, you can fortify your base, and you get to go out and loot the countryside. Oh, the joy of seeing little black Xs appear over the homes you’ve plundered! All of this zombie survival stuff without any multiplayer--it’s heaven.
8. Until Dawn
I don’t know if you know this, but I’m kind of synonymous with PlayStation. Depending on who you ask, that’s a good or bad thing, but the gist is that PlayStation was my beat for 8 years, so I know it pretty well. I remember seeing Until Dawn years ago when it was a PlayStation Move game, and holy crap, did it not look great. So, imagine my surprise, when the game resurfaces, looks good, and has one of the stars of ABC’s Nashville (a show you should all be watching because I can’t believe Avery’s taking care of this baby on his own). Until Dawn feels like it came out of left field, but that’s only because we were doubting it at every turn. Even when I had the preview build and was doing a Let’s Play, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like, “Oh, see, the framerate sucks, so this game is still this game.” But the other shoe never came. Until Dawn is that teen horror movie you play. It’s the choice-based games where your choices actually lead you to drastically different endings. It’s fun to play, and after you’ve beaten it, perhaps more enjoyable to watch others try. Until Dawn is something special. (P.S. - If you’d like to talk more about Nashville, please Tweet me. It’s, like, Gunnar, focus. Am I right?)
Speaking of games I didn’t expect shit out of, let’s talk about Tales from the Borderlands. When Telltale, 2K, and Gearbox were all “This is a thing,” I didn’t give it the time of day. I play Borderlands for shooting stuff with friends, and I play Telltale Games for story. I’ve tried shooting in Telltale Games (and it ain’t good), and even though I’ve played three Borderlands games, I struggle to tell you anything about the story other than Handsome Jack is bad and there are Vaults that I think always contain monsters. So, anyway, Tales from the Borderlands comes, I download it, and I forget it. Weeks later, I’m bent out of shape about something, none of the games I have are hitting the spot, and I pop in Tales expecting to get bored in 15 minutes. Not only do I finish the episode in one sitting, I’m legitimately laughing the entire time. As more and more episodes come, I get deeper and deeper into the tale. I find myself quoting Loaderbot, demanding Gortys plushies, and actually caring about the Borderlands universe. Tales from the Borderlands is the funniest game I played this year, and it has, without question, the best title crawls of 2015.
Oh, God, why couldn’t Rise of the Tomb Raider have come to PlayStation 4 this year?! No, not because I’m boycotting it or because I care about its sales--it’s because I loved this game so much that I really wanted to add its Platinum Trophy to my collection. Rise of the Tomb Raider is so, so good. And I’m talking about it from a gameplay level--the hook of entering new areas, getting distracted for an hour by coin caches and caves, and then getting on to scaling the next huge thing to push the plot forward. Sure, I think I’ll forget the story just like I did with the first one, but I won’t forget the hours of hunting, crafting, and exploring that made this one of my games of the year.
I’ve never been one for the “toys to life” games, but when TT Games said it was taking the LEGO gameplay I already love and tossing in minifigs for Batman, Portal, Back to the Future, and more, I was in. Well, actually, I was rolling my eyes until they announced Superman and Ghostbusters, but that’s beside the point. I’m a LEGO game fanatic to begin with (there’s something about the seemingly endless collecting), but even if I had never played before, I think LEGO Dimensions would get my money. There’s humor here, fanservice, and plenty to do. Still, the thing that really blew my hair back was building. It was a magical moment when the game stopped me from playing the first time and gave me an onscreen instruction manual to build my minifigs and set pieces. I found myself buying more Fun Packs just so I could come home and build another addition to my world. With more and more waves planned through 2016, there’s a reason my LEGO Dimensions Portal still stands proudly in my entertainment center--I’m anxious for more.
What sucks about Batman: Arkham Knight is that when I talk about it, I sound like I hate it. The first things I want to tell you are that the Bat-Tank missions stink and I thought the “twist” in the story was telegraphed hours before the reveal. However, getting hung up on those qualms clouds that fact that I am still playing Batman: Arkham Knight today. Literally. The Season of Infamy stuff comes out tomorrow (as of this writing), and I only need the Azrael, Red Hood, and Harley AR challenges to have all of the DLC Trophies. That’s right, I’ve Platinumed Arkham Knight, and I’ve played ALL of the DLC. Every race, every map, and every character. I can’t get enough. Why? Well, the gameplay continues to be amazing, I like driving the Batmobile, and I can’t get over the nods to DC fanboys like myself. The ‘60s Batmobile tracks are filled with Adam West Easter eggs, the movie tracks are littered with iconic set pieces, and--and you know what, I’m way off track. Even if you’re never going to touch the DLC, the actual Arkham Knight game is a blast. I loved the side mission structure, the performances, and living in Gotham City.
3. Fallout 4
We all knew Fallout 4 was going to be awesome. It came out, and it was awesome. I Platinumed it, fell in love with Curie, and I can’t wait for the DLC.
I dunno; writing about Fallout 4 just seems so foolish, right? It’s more Fallout. It’s incredible and vast and I hated the base building. What else is there to say? Play it.
Here’s the game that knocked me on my ass this year. All I knew about Emily Is Away when I sat down to play it with Tim Gettys was that it as a game about AOL Instant Messenger. For sure, it was that, but the real hook to Emily Is Away is that it’s a time machine. I was playing it with a light and camera on me in the Kinda Funny studio, but somewhere after picking my Buddy Icon and starting to chat, I was transported to the year 2001 where I was sitting at my freshman dorm desk chatting with high school friends. The story of Emily Is Away is fantastic and made me happy, angry, and sad all at once, but the actual game had me being nostalgic for things I didn’t even know I missed. I’m talking about sound effects, the way kids wrote their AOL profiles, and the emotions you felt waiting for a girl you liked to write back. Emily Is Away is short and is just a text adventure, but goddamn did it devastate me. This is one of those games I point to when I talk about the power of this medium.
When I played Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for a few days at a preview event, I knew it was going to be my Game of the Year unless something huge came along. Witcher 3 came, Fallout 4 came, and so did dozens of other contenders, but Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain never moved. It’s weird because on paper, I should hate Phantom Pain. I didn’t like Ground Zeroes (felt like I was getting caught every turn), I play Metal Gear for story (that isn’t Phantom Pain’s strong suit), and I’m a David Hayter fanboy (no offense, Kiefer). But sitting down with this game, it consumes you. The gameplay loop is marvelous; you go out on a mission, but there are all these mini-missions
you put on yourself. There are soldiers to capture, resources to gather, troops to send out on quests, things to develop, and so on. You’re never just going out and doing this one thing; you’re constantly spinning 7 plates and seeing the rewards each time you return to Motherbase. And it’s all introduced so slowly that by the time you look back and realize you’re running an empire, you’re 30 hours in and just starting “Chapter 2.” I don’t know if Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is my favorite Metal Gear of all time, but I know that moment to moment gameplay has never been this good.