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No Goblin's Top Games of 2020

Shout out to Dan and Panzer for coming through with the only recap of 2020's best video games presented via crossword puzzle.

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Dan Teasdale and Panzer are the dynamic duo that make up independent video game development studio No Goblin, creators of Roundabout and 100 ft Robot Golf. Hit them up on Twitter @deliciousbees and @panzerskank, respectively.

Dan: 2020’s over, baby! It’s 2021’s time to shine! Hell yeah, we’re living in the Johnny Mnemonic year!

Panzer: Aw fuck yeah, more Keanu Reeves.

Dan: To celebrate, we’ve put together a Game of the Year crossword puzzle for you to usher in the cyber future. If you want to play, just click on the Online Crossword Experience link below to get teleported to a new page that has a crossword on it.

Panzer: The clues are uhhh Mostly video game related. It’s close enough, probably. You’ll enjoy it.

Dan: You might be expecting a good crossword puzzle, since we are professional game designers with decades of experience. Please prepare to be whelmed at best. If you just want to see what we thought about video games, you can scroll down and check out some of our clue commentary below.

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CLICK HERE TO ENGAGE IN THE ONLINE CROSSWORD EXPERIENCE

(...or download and print the paper crossword)

Crossword Clue Commentary

It’s at least a C+

Answer: SEABASS

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Panzer: You knooooooow Animal Crossing has gotta be on here. It’s back and… well not “better than ever” but it’s back and it’s still that Animal Crossing you know and love. You catch a bug, you sell a fruit. Tom Nook is there. What more do you people want?

Dan: I didn’t get into Animal Crossing as much as Panzer, but I did set up a house on her island that I then surrounded with about two dozen seahorses that I fished out of the ocean. It’s modern art.

Panzer: This could also be our baby’s favorite game of 2020. He is OBSESSED with watching Dan fish up more god damn seahorses.

A new Pokémon that has an organ dedicated to producing “fighting energy”

Answer: KUBFU

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Panzer: This clue is an obscure way of me saying I love the new Pokémon Sword/Shield DLC. The first release was Isle of Armor, and that was honestly my Most Favorite of the two (the second is Crown Tundra and it's... it’s fine. You know? I liked it.) In Isle of Armor you have to help train this little pissed off teddy bear that follows you around and kicks shit to death. Kubfu’s just a great little dude.

The DLC also introduced the idea of an entire designated area being treated like a wild area from the main game. This means you have full camera control all the time, and you’re just loose in a big crazy area full of pokémon just havin’ at it. They are everywhere eatin’ stuff and walkin’ around, yelling at each other and trying to bite you. It’s every Pokémon fan’s dream.

Dan's stuck trying to collect popcorn buckets in this remake because he's 20 years older than when he beat the original game

Answer: THPS

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Dan: I’ve finished both these games before, but I’m stuck halfway through the absolutely fantastic remaster because I am unskilled in 2020. Is this what getting old is? Your body slowly deteriorating, hungover after eating only four pounds of Christmas chocolate, no longer being able to chain together the correct series of moves in order to do sick grinds to collect floating popcorn buckets in a small sandbox city? How is Tony Hawk still doing this actually For Real as someone in his fifties?

You can marry this man in Rune Factory 4, provided you defeat his monster form first.

Answer: LEON

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Panzer: I’m such a bad stupid sucker for the Rune Factory games, and this year they rereleased Rune Factory 4 Special onto the Switch. I’ll be real, it’s Very Much a 3DS game running on the Switch. It is kinda ugly and the sound design is aggressive. However, if you like Harvest Moon games this is the shit you’re gonna love, baby. There’s a million farming and cooking and crafting systems all smushed together, you get to dungeon crawl and ride around on elephants and I married a catboy. My farm is so stupidly huge that I just have an army of weird pineapple monsters take care of watering it. It’s fine, they know what they’re doing.

Dan's favourite Genshin Impact character.

Answer: AMBER

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Dan: I am a simple man with simple needs, and those needs are for one of my characters in a video game to be a long range sniper that shoots fire arrows. I don’t understand why Amber is at the bottom of the community tier lists for Pro Gatcha Video Game players. Is it because she’s not a horny anime librarian witch? Is she frowned on because she’s part of your starting crew? Or is it because guide writers are soulless math nerds who don’t understand how satisfying it is to shoot a fire arrow from afar to set bad guys on fire?

Just when Panzer thought she was out, this MMO pulled her back in.

Answer: WOW

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Panzer: Oh well this is embarrassing. I have MOVED ON from Worldy Warcraft, I’m a FFXIV person now, but the new WoW expansion pack is just real good. I’m approaching it like a new game and explicitly not looking at what they’ve done to old content or trying to level from 0, I’m just truckin on forward into new lands with my good ol’ worgen druid.

There’s a lot of fun stuff to do and it doesn’t feel grindy or wildly unbalanced like Battle for Azeroth did. It’s just a good ol’ fashioned wow time. I’m basically the old MMO lady sitting on the front porch with a glass of sun tea remembering the good times with WoW. This won’t last but it’s nice while it’s happening.

Best Game Song of 2020

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Answer: GPU

Dan: I don’t think "GPU" is a timeless song by itself, and I only know the lyrics to the chorus, but the Astro’s Playroom banger is designed to lodge its way into your head and never escape. It’s a cheesy song on top of a charming package of Sony Nostalgia, which is a thing I didn’t realise I had until now.

Panzer: If you’re lucky enough to snag a PS5 you absolutely need to sit down and play Astro’s Playroom. It is so, so much more fun that I was expecting from a free pack-in platformer. We honestly spent the first week or two with our new consoles just playing Astro and ignoring everything else.

Panzer’s Best Patch Number of 2020

Answer: FIVEPOINTTHREE

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Panzer: HEY GUYS IT’S TIIIIIIIIIIIME TO TALK ABOUT FINAL FANTASY!!! If you are not currently playing Final Fantasy XIV you are sincerely missing out on one of the greatest games ever made. Genuinely, it is merely a fantastic MMO up to the Shadowbringers content, where it then transforms into probably one of my favorite games I’ll ever have experienced.

Patch 5.3 was the post-release patch that added in the final main storyline quests for Shadowbringers, and I really can’t talk about much in the patch without huge huge spoilers, but it really is just that good guys. I cried. I still cry if I go and watch the trailers around it. It’s really an emotionally intense roller coaster that you owe it yourself to experience if you enjoy video games as a storytelling medium at all.

Dan’s Greatest Himbo of 2020

Answer: ICHIBAN

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Dan: My loving wife and business partner says that I can’t keep calling everything a “himbo”, but I would like to present to you a man who may just be the world’s most perfect himbo of 2020: Ichiban Kasuga. Let’s run the list:

  • Heart of gold: Check. He helps old ladies across the street (by using explosive Kimchi) and saves poor innocent animals from being eaten (and then recruits them to beat up people).
  • Dumb as rocks: Check. My pal Ichi can be in the lair of an underworld organization, with the boss of that organization explaining their nefarious illegal operations, and even then ol’ Ichi will be all like “Hang on a second everyone, I think something might not be on the level here”. I also reinforce this by making him fail tests on explosive materials and local lore at great expense to Ichi.
  • Buff as all hell: Checkmate. My dude Ichi takes a bullet to the chest at the start of the game and just walks it off. It definitely isn’t anything to do with Namba, who is a terrible person who absolutely couldn’t have saved him with his useless medical skills (please note we are only up to chapter 9 as of writing this and have not seen if Namba redeems his lame ass or not, but it’s going to have to be a real 180 at this point).

Checks out, baby! Thanks for coming to my TEDx talk.

Panzer: Here’s my public apology to the world for introducing the word “himbo” to Dan. To be fair we were watching Bones and I was talking about David Boreanaz.

Panzer’s Greatest Himbo of 2020

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Answer: ZAGREUS

Panzer: HADES man, let’s talk about Hades. Supergiant was like “What if we took Greek mythos and made it slap harder than it has ever slapped? What if we rendered every god damn god with the horniest detail ever imagined?” If you took this game back in time and showed it to an ancient Grecian they would probably die on the spot.

You’ve probably read a million GOTY pieces on how good this game is, so I’ll keep it brief. Every part of it is SATISFYING. The combat, the story, the voice acting, the art, the upgrades, the progression, THE MUSIC, the fuckin’ SMACK when you hit monsters. What a great game.