Best & Worst of 2011

In years past, I've composed a Best Of list. This year, I've decided to match things up with my Screened List for Movies & TV and added some "Worst" picks as well. So here they are, my Best and Worst Games for the Year that Was, 2011.

List items

  • Game of the Year | 3DS Game of the Year | Portable Game of the Year | Racing Game of the Year | Best Competitive Multiplayer | TIED FOR: Best Titling |

    Ah Mario Kart 7. My adoration for this game is legendary. This is the game that fixed everything that was wrong with Mario Kart Wii - a decidedly weaker entry in the series than Mario Kart DS in many ays. Yes, Seven is a significant advancement on its predecessor and I love the heck out of it, online and off. It's the only game this year I've played extensively online, and I didn't exactly neglect the Single Player.

    Easily the best experience in gaming for me this year.

    It also ties for the Best Titling Award. In this case, it's because I find the title far cleaner than we're used to these days. No subtitle, no double-barrelled franchise branding, just the name and the sequential position. Marvellous.

  • Multiplatform Game of the Year | Home Console Game of the Year | Best Use of Three | TIED FOR: Best Titling |

    A game every bit as good as the hype, Saints Row: The Third is a fantastic addition to the already rather impressive Saints Row franchise. No longer a game you could fairly accuse of being Grand Theft Auto clone, this is a beefy release - a tonne of content, almost all of it great. A great Third entry in this expanding franchise.

    It ties for Best Titling for the same reason it wins for Best Use of Three. The Third Street Saints star in Saints Row: The Third? Sweet.

  • Episodic Game of the Year | Licensed Game of the Year | Best Voice Acting (DISTINCTION: Christopher Lloyd, A.J. LoCascio & Michael J. Fox) | PC/Mac Game of the Year |

    The 'Back to the Future: The Game' Series, here represented by its season finale, kicked off in December of last year and got better and better as it went along. Devastatingly funny, incredibly captivating, supremely engrossing and wickedly fun, this was a delight to play.

    And, speaking as a massive Back to the Future fan, an entirely worthy fourth entry in the series. Yes, this game stands up as the equivalent to a fourth movie, and it's GREAT.

  • Platform of the Year 2011 |

    I know, I know. A lot of you hardcore gamers are snickering about PlayStation Vitas and making snide remarks about price cuts. But you know what? I played the shit out of my 3DS since I got it, and I love using it. Only the PlayStation 3 got a look in at competing with it.

  • Last Generation Game of the Year | Roleplaying Game of the Year |

    A roleplaying game which I enjoy is a rarity. Pokémon I played the shit out of this year. I racked up nearly a hundred hours between Pokémon White, Pokémon SoulSilver & replaying Pokémon Emerald on an emulator this year. So Pokémon White gets the awards for best Roleplaying Game and the best game on a console which is no longer current ten technology.

  • Best use of 3D in a Game | Underrated Game Award | Kleptomania Award for Getting People to Dedicate Themselves to Collecting Things and Getting Medals |

    Here's a game a lot of people probably missed. I probably played enough of it for all of them. I kept going back to this 3DS Launch Title both to collect shit (Which is a rarity for me, though less so now) and to enjoy the 3D Eye Candy.

    Seriously, the eye candy? Worth the admission price.

  • Downloadable Game of the Year | Best Freebie |

    I downloaded it legally this year, it counts. And it was free. Here's the high benchmark to which I measure all Mario Kart games. A game I played the shit out of so hard the battery save died. And now it's on my 3DS. Good thing, as this will make it easier for me to compare Mario Kart 7 to the best game in the series up to this point.

    I'll let you know some time in the new year if 7 has bested it.

  • Sports Game of the Year | Simulation Game of the Year | DEMERIT: Most Worsened Game Mechanic |

    F1 2011 is, on the whole, a meter game than the already very good F1 2010. A slight against it though is the way Codemasters managed to make the "Live the Life" aspect of the Career mode even more lame and pointless than it was in its predecessor.

    Still, in almost every other respect, it is improved.

  • Phone Game of the Year |

    A very addictive little game, and well worth a look if you like motor sport and/or Game Dev Story.

  • Constantly Iterative Game of the Year |

    Those DAMEND Pig Nazis just will not stop finding new ways to terrorise my (Admittedly angry) bird friends.

  • Best Value Game of the Year | Best Use of a Console Add-on |

    Never heard of it? This is a Counter-Strike Clone with a vaguely Modern Warfare Series-esque aesthetic that was released by Gameloft for the PSN. It was also dirt cheap and had full support for the PlayStation Move, and playing it that way it was a cheap relatively distinct and decidedly fun way to pass some time.

  • 2011's 2010 Game of the Year |

    I'm an unashamed Mickey Mouse fan, and I loved the shit out of Warren Spector's last year - it won for Game of the Year with me. And lo and behold, it's was my favourite 2010 game this year too.

  • Most Surprising Comeback of my Gaming Life 2011 |

    Look! A mostly forgotten open world game from 2009. The Saboteur is a game I was really psyched for in 2009. It got away form me in early 2010 (Stuff came up) and I never got back to it until late this year.

    And it's RAD. How many games let you both blow the shit out of Nazis AND drive classic Grand Prix cars around the streets of Paris? Just one that I know of.

  • Technologic Innovation of the Year |

    OnLive is something I'm really into the idea of making more use of. I was a skeptic until I paid £1 for an OnLive copy of Borderlands. You know what? OnLive totally works, and I'm seriously thinking about getting a Microconsole & making more use of the service in 2012.

  • 2011 Games I Mad I Missed |

    Oh Mario, don't worry. I'll get to you.

  • 2011 Games I'm Mad I Missed | DEMERIT: The "What is this, 2003!?" Award for Most Inexplicably Limited Platform Support |

    I gave up on Star Wars Galaxies after the trial period (Twice - once with the original gameplay and once after they changed it) because I felt like I was all alone in the Star Wars Galaxy far too often. I never played WoW past the trial for the same reasons. The only MMO I ever dedicated serious time to was Phantasy Star Online, and I left it behind because of the monthly cost. Still, PSO was the only one where I didn't feel alone in a big bad world.

    The Old Republic has, since, been the only MMO I've seriously had excitement for. Mainly because the game's developers have built-in a way to prevent that: companions, voice acting & a personal story. As such, you get a single-player-esque experience as part of it, so the world is less of an echo chamber.

    Unfortunately, the game is PC exclusive (No Mac love :( ) and has a monthly fee. So I can't really get into it. A true shame.

  • DEMERIT: Worst Trend of the Year |

    I am sick of Military-themed shooters. E3 2011 was a procession of the damn things and my only response was "DONE.".

    It's played out. I didn't touch Modern Warfare 3 or Battlefield 3 and I may never do so. Publishers, developers, come up with a new theme. We haven't had a good bunch of sci-fi FPSes in a while? How about some more of that?

    What's that? Borderlands 2 is coming?

    Sweet.

  • DEMERIT: DUDEBRO Award for Most Offensively DUDEBRO Game of the Year |

    This game is an insult to the intelligence of the entire hardcore. The worst thing about it? They lapped it up. Dick jokes and excessive swearing?! DUDE AWESOME BRO!

    No. It was probably a competent enough game, on a purely mechanical level. But playing it would be an impossibility for me, it's EMBARRASSING.

  • Flatout Worst Game of the Year |

    Yeah. Yeah...At least Bulletstorm had some decent gameplay to make up for its shortcomings. DNF is shit all over.