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Ian Dallas' Top 5 Games of 2017

In a busy year, the creative director behind What Remains of Edith Finch found a little time for some of the year's best games.

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Ian Dallas is the creative director at Giant Sparrow, creators of What Remains of Edith Finch (2017) and The Unfinished Swan (2012). He's interested in creating experiences that help people see the world in new ways and in making the world a stranger place.

I was so busy finishing our own game this year that I got behind on playing new games, but here's five from this year that stood out for me.

Universal Paperclips

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One of the few games where I feel like I learned things about myself by playing it. It’s a free browser-based game and the less you know about it beforehand the better, but I do want to warn you not to give up. Initially it looks basic and stupid but if you stick with it for a few minutes it evolves (and keeps evolving) in ways that will surprise you.

Everything

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I wish there were a hundred games each year that didn’t fit into any existing genre because their emotional goals were so bizarre and questionable and noble but this year I know of only one: Everything. The premise that you can become anything you see--zebra, fern, galaxy, etc--is a lovely start, but the inclusion of thoughtful audio clips from philosopher Alan Watts, and the gentle progression tied to discovery, help to round out the experience into something worth sinking into.

Pyre

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Does a 3-on-3 game of mystical football need a good story? Probably not. Does it need one of the most imaginative and charming worlds I found this year in games? Definitely not. I don’t know if the game’s writer, Greg Kasavin, is too good at his job or he just didn’t know how little he could have gotten away with. Whatever the reason, I’m glad this game exists.

Super Mario Odyssey

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There is too much in this game that is new and weird and fun and breathtaking for me to remember all of it after I finished, but the parts I do remember were wonderful, like: becoming a stretchy millipede, or a creature with expanded stilts for legs, or the delightful 2D bits.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The positive glow around the new Zelda is so intense that I feel comfortable recommending it even though I haven’t played it yet (I will, I will). This is a game we should both be playing if we haven’t already.

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5 Comments

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Cav829

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Cav829 • 

You know what's also one of the best games of 2017?

What Remains of Edith Finch

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hassun

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hassun • 

Normally I'd be uninterested in people recommending games they didn't play, but in this case I just want to thank you and the team over at Giant Sparrow. Edith Finch is a very interesting experience.

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Algernonblackwood

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Edited By Algernonblackwood • 

Nice to see some Everything love, my personal goty.

Haven't played Edith Finch yet, but it's at the top of my list once I get back to my PS4 after the holidays.

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sbarre

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Edited By sbarre • 

That's a really spoilery screenshot for Universal Paperclips.

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UnsolvedParadox

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UnsolvedParadox • 

Kudos on What Remains of Edith Finch! For the longest time, I kept mixing it up with The Vanishing of Ethan Carter for some reason.

I've been meaning to get around to Everything, adding to the (huge) backlog...