You may remember CNET Editor at Large Jeff Bakalar from a number of his appearances on Giant Bomb's Giant Beastcast. He's currently in a very spiteful mood and is only doing this top 10 as a service to his countless supporters to which he is forever grateful. He'll continue to appear in the Beastcast's rotating chair as long as he has to. If you enjoy value, you'll do well to follow him on Twitter.
The best part about being a member of the Giant Bomb extended family is undoubtedly the community. The endless interaction, feedback, and hot meme action is something I'm always impressed with, surprised by and, of course, thankful for.
So when I say "forced me to play," I mean I either took advice, was influenced by, or really liked what someone from the Giant Bomb team or beyond had to say about a game, leaving me no choice but to investigate and play for myself.
Here are the top 10 games that I otherwise likely wouldn't have played if it wasn't for YOU.
In no particular order, away we go:
6 refrigerators out of this smartwatch I'm not using anymore.
Shout out to everyone on Twitter who let me know that I should have been all over Little Nightmares, mostly because I'm a sucker for anything that resembles Inside in some capacity. Aside from that game's serious sense of style and slop-human characters, it was also a wonderfully creepy platformer that I finished in a single sitting.
2 wireless toasters out of a slideshow
Vinny sold me on The Sexy Brutale after he detailed his first impressions with it on an episode of The Giant Beastcast. After a few hours with the game, I came to really dig its take on the classic mansion murder mystery storyline where you use a time travel loop to learn and then intervene in the killings. And can we stop and appreciate that soundtrack for a second?
9 digital picture frames out of They Live
Noted man of little athletic prowess, Dan Ryckert, turned me on to this one after he reported about the fun he had playing on an episode of the Beastcast. I bought the game that night and was genuinely won over. Despite its pixelated presentation I was not expecting the brash attitudes of everyone I met in the game, which turned out to be one of the things I loved the most. All the little missions and strange objectives seemed important enough for me to see them through, and yeah, there's some decent golf in there too.
12 AR drones out of an OLED
One day I heard Abby Russell shriek from within the Giant Bomb studio. Instead of running in and seeing if everyone was OK, I figured my safest bet was to open a new tab and check out the livestream. Phew, was I relieved. Turns out she was not being murdered, but rather had been playing Layers of Fear, a game I mostly enjoyed from last year. It was then she helped me discover that developer's (Bloober Team) newest game Observer, which I also played through because I am a pushover for horror and anything that thinks Blade Runner is tantamount to gospel.
4 Alexas out of some Chinese takeout leftovers
I'm a dad and I love cul-de-sacs. So what's not to love about Dream Daddy? Give credit for this one to Abby and Vinny, who both convinced me to play this after an educational conversation I had with them on a recent episode of the Beastcast. Aside from later learning cul-de-sacs are America's biggest threat, I found Dream Daddy to be way funnier than I originally expected and full of some real honest heart, which is way easier said than done.
6 smart egg cookers out of HDMI 2.2
I felt like a real supreme asshole when Scott Benson guested on the Beastcast and I hadn't yet played Night in the Woods. I went home and bought the game and finished it in two sessions. Not everything resonated with me, but man, when that game connected, it was like I had slipped into a wormhole to have conversations with what 2003 Jeff was thinking every night at 3am.
19 connected coffeemakers out this LED lightbulb that has Bluetooth for some reason
OK, I probably would have got around to playing NieR:Automata at some point, but to hear Alex excited about literally anything is a clear sign to pay attention. I didn't finish the game 25 times like he did, but I really enjoyed the hell out of its gameplay, even if it didn't "speak to me" the way it did to Alex.
8 Star Wars-branded Wi-Fi enabled leak detectors out of Waypoint.zone
I had started Hollow Knight soon after its release back in February, but moved on for reasons I can't remember. It wasn't until a recent resurgence in conversation about the game from Dan Ryckert and the GB community did I make the decision to jump back in--and I couldn't believe I ever stopped playing it to begin with. It hit all the platforming notes that made Ori and the Blind Forest so much fun for me, with a really smart take on how the game deals with dying.
10 connected robot vacuums out of the lost-and-found box at your nearest public library
I was not a Persona fan before I met Giant Bomb people. OK, if we're being totally honest here, I had never even heard of Persona until I met Giant Bomb people. I was this close to playing Persona 4 before everyone told me to wait for Persona 5. I did not know what to expect, but I'm sure glad I started playing it. Imagine you're me, with no experience or knowledge of what to expect, and then you're inside the minds of some real shitty people. So yeah, thanks.
26 smart locks out of Dan Ryckert's wrestling career
It's a lay-up, yes, and I'm sure I would have eventually gotten around to playing PUBG, but the overwhelming consensus from the community and the hilarious stuff coming from sites like GB, Waypoint and Polygon expedited my first parachute jump. I'll probably get back to more PUBG in 2018, especially with the Xbox One version just dropping--but let's be real, I still need me my first chicken dinner.
Happy holidays and a big ol' kiss on the cheek from all of us in the Bakalar clan. And because I don't have all of your mailing addresses, here's our 2017 holiday card for you all to enjoy.