Top 10 Games I Played in 2016

So, I didn't play a lot of new stuff this year. I already wrote a blog post about what my "official" game of the year is, but I played a lot of stuff that came out either last year or even earlier, and I wanted to give credit to that stuff, too. So this list is going to include my top games that I either played or finished for the first time in 2016.

List items

  • Steins;Gate is the best time travel story I have ever read. And yes, I said "read", because it's a visual novel. Most of what you do in the game is read. Visual novels are kind of like... anime books, except they let you make a few choices yourself that makes the whole experience feel a bit more personal. And Steins;Gate does that wonderfully. There are moments in the game where you have to do something awful. And I mean, awful. But you kind of have to do it. I mean, they don't make you do it. But it's fantastic at making you understand the impact of your decisions. Steins;Gate is one of the best, if not THE best, visual novels I have ever experienced.

  • This game needed some more love this year. I think it's one of the best titles on Wii U, and it's one that wasn't even really made by Nintendo. It has a fantastic battle system that kept me engaged and even got me to bump up the difficulty setting, which is something I never do in games.

  • I think this one may be the best one yet. I've seen many a hardcore Pokemon player bemoan this game for reasons I cannot understand, but I'm pretty deep into that side of the Pokemon gameplay myself. There a few minor things that make it more difficult to play competitively, but they're small hurdles that can be pretty easily overcome. I think that the changes they have made to the game are fantastic. It's easier than ever for a new player to jump in, and packed with content to satisfy a veteran like myself.

  • I dumped over 40 hours into this little gem, and have been itching to play more. I'm holding out for the multiplayer patch, though, so that when a friend and I jump in, him for the first time and me the second, we'll both have new stuff to experience.

  • Starbound is a game best played with friends. Duh. And I actually got to do that this time around. It's a lot like Terraria, obviously, but with a few quality-of-life improvements that make some of the more tedious aspects of that game more tolerable. The UI is terrible, though, and it runs like garbage on my laptop. Which I realize isn't a fair criticism, but man. Terraria runs on this thing, and I kind of bought in the hopes that it was something I could play on this machine. Ah well. I can't hold that against it, really, so the fun I had on my beefier machine was enough to earn it this spot on my list.

  • Put your pitchforks down. I have definitely played The Legend of Zelda before. But this year was the first time I made myself finish it. It would be higher on the list, but it's hard to look past some of the stuff that doesn't hold up anymore. A number of the secrets are totally arbitrarily hidden, and that last dungeon was ZERO fun to play through. But really, it's such an influential game, and I still don't think there's anything out there that captures the look and feel of this one quite right. For still being a unique experience 30 years after it's release, The Legend of Zelda makes my list.

  • This is a fantastic visual novel that has some goddamn NUMBERS in it. If you like stats and numbers and leveling stuff up, this game is your jam.

    Also, this game will kill you. It will kill you to death. Everything in this game is trying to kill you, and you will die. And when you do, you'll start again and try to build your stats a new way. Make a new "build", basically, which is a fun concept to have in a visual novel.

  • On the surface, this game has bad free-to-play systems out the ASS. But, as it turns out, if you spend about 20$ on it, all of those systems disappear. Literally. They remove the stamina bar entirely and give you as much paid currency as you want, for free, at the tap of a button. This game is free-to-play, but if spend 20 $ on it, it doesn't ask for your money ever again. That's part of the reason it makes this list. If anytime I spent 20$ on a free game I was able to never spend a dime on it again and get the full experience, I would never feel taken advantage of by a free game ever again.

    The other reason it makes the list is because Picross is rad. And in this game, you catch Pokemon who have powers that reveal part of the board, give you clues, or correct you when you make mistakes. It's cool. Catch Pokemon, play Picross.

  • You can bring the first one and the second one into this, too. This game helped my family have fun over the holidays. While people wanted to withdraw or do their own thing, the promise of Quiplash or Tee K.O. kept us all hanging out and having a blast.