Best of 2012, or, "The Big Box Game is Dead! Long Live Indie Games!"

Alright, that title is a little unfair, but, come on, this year kind of sucked for major releases. Mass Effect 3 was a train wreck, Assassin's Creed 3 is just made of sadness and despair, and Diablo 3 just plain sucks even if I did put over 80 hours into it. Also, notice how all of those games have a '3' in the title?

On the other hand, a bunch of indie games really showed us that games can still be fun and not have a '3' in the title. Fez hijacked the internet for 2 weeks, Journey made me cry tears of joy, and The Walking Dead managed to fill my heart with dread with every choice I made.

I think it's safe to say that 2012 will be a year that is not too fondly remembered by a lot of gamers. That doesn't mean there weren't any good games. You just had to look a little harder.

List items

  • Say what you will about it's creator, Phil Fish, but he almost single-handedly crafted one of the industries most ingenious games to ever see release. Sure it had some technical problems, but just how much effort and thought went into this game make it an obvious choice for number one. Also, the soundtrack is kick ass.

  • I cried goddamn tears of goddamn joy while playing this game! It's going to sound pretentious, but the only way I can describe Journey is 'rapturous' and 'joyous'.

  • What an emotional rollercoaster of a game! Seeing that starved zombie kid in episode 5 broke my heart. Laying him down to rest only made it worse. Just like with Journey, I cried, but this time it was out of sadness.

  • I expected nothing from this game and it gave me one of the most powerful stories to come out of the gaming industry. Not only that, but it works as a good critique of the industry as a whole. It takes what looks like another Call of Duty clone, shoves a shit load of horrifying themes and imagery that other developers wouldn't dare touch to remind you that war is actually a terrible, joyless event, and asks you, "Is this something that you should really be enjoying?"

  • Soundtrack of the year.

  • This game is so nerve wracking to play, but it's just so damn fun!

  • The sound design really makes this game. This game just oozes atmosphere. Just the sound of the main character walking on hardwood floors makes my stomach tighten up. It's great.

  • Well, color me surprised by this one. There was something about Dragon's Dogma that just grabbed me. No other game this year gave you the same scope of scale as Dragon's Dogma and it is just plain epic.

  • XCOM perfectly encapsulates the feelings I had while playing the original so many years ago. It brought me right back to being scared shitless while playing it in the middle of the night.

  • Honestly, I didn't like Borderlands 2 all that much, but I needed a tenth game to fill out the list. The story was complete garbage with more holes in it than swiss cheese, every single character was annoying and terrible, Handsome Jack and Tiny Tina may be the two worst characters ever, none of the classes felt all that interesting to play, and it takes a good 4 to 5 hours to even get interesting or fun. With all that said, I still played a lot of it and enjoyed the gun play. Also, hearing an engineer scream out "I just paid off my mortgage." before dying is kind of hilarious.