GOTY 2013

A lot of great games this year. Looking back, it seems like the bulk of my gaming time was spent on the 3ds, then the PC, then the PS3. One game I'd like to put on here but can't was FEZ, which I was finally able to play because it got a PC release this year, and was amazing, but since it was released last year I won't put it here.

I'm swapping in The Last of Us at the last minute because I got a copy for Christmas, played it through, and can't deny how compelling the story is...not just from a narrative perspective, but how the gameplay feeds into how the story plays out. I'm still thinking about that ending.

List items

  • My gut gives AC New Leaf the win this year because of all the games I've played in 2013, I got the most enjoyment out of it, spent the most time, and overall feel like the AC team has really outdone themselves with this release and created the most impressive achievement I've played this year, underneath the deceptively simple package. This is one of those games with a really simple premise but gets insanely deep if you decide explore its world. After all this time I still check on my town for a few minutes a day.

  • Who'd have thought someone would make a game about being a immigration bureaucrat in a cold war era soviet-like regime, and that it would be so damn good?

  • Wow. If only the teenage me watching Ghilbi movies on VHS could play this game. Makes me happy to live in a time where this kind of game is possible. I can only imagine the crazy budget on this thing and really hope future Ghibli collaborations with the quality of this one will happen in the next gen of consoles.

  • Basically follows the tradition from Bioshock of a combat heavy first person game with a dense narrative. I enjoyed the story (it probably helped that I'm a big fan of meta-narrative) and the combat was well crafted and continued to evolve enough as the game progressed to keep me interested. Also helped that the graphics and soundtrack were amazing.

  • This was obviously Nintendo's attempt to get a wider audience interested in strategy games, and while I can't speak for it's success on that account the end product is outstanding. Easily the best Fire Emblem game I've played. The new mechanics introduced like the members having affection ratings and the ability to team two characters up added a great deal to the game. Should also mention the cut scenes which were so high quality I had a hard time believing they were on the 3ds.

  • A rogue-like in the truest sense of the word. A simple premise (get to the bottom of the pit), but expertly crafted and sadistically hard. I've only been able to beat this on easy, but logged in an insane amount of hours because its just fun to play. And there is some sense of progression even after you die because you keep the knowledge of crafting recipes.

  • As expected, a thoroughly engrossing open world game. The heist mechanic works well and fits the GTA universe perfectly.

  • You can't argue that this game wouldn't exist without nostalgia, but at the same time A Link Between Worlds is a full fleshed quality game in its own right that isn't afraid to insert new mechanics into the Zelda universe. I also loved the remixed soundtracks (again, this relies on my own nostalgia for the snes game).

  • It's funny, but I find myself comparing this to Papers, Please: both were emotionally exhausting to actually play, but in the end I ended up loving them. The relentless brutual combat scenarios ended up completely exhausting me by the end of the game, but it wasn't hard to realize that's kind of the point (like Papers Please) and my own emotions after forcing myself to live in Joel's muderific shoes did make the end of the game much more poignant.

  • An action platformer with randomly generated levels, Super House of Dead Ninjas is a fast paced window of nostalgia and insanity. Controls are very tight, and the difficulty was just about perfect for me, definitely not easy, but not frustratingly hard either.