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Jordan Hass' Top 10 Games of 2020 List

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Jordan Hass is a writer, podcaster and sometimes meme master on the Twitter Dot Com and the Award Winning Podcast, Fun Time Calls.

He has no other projects going on as of the time of this recording (December 7th, 2020)

I have no idea what to expect with this year's game of the year choices. I honestly expect the same stuff year after year. "OH THIS YEAR SUCKED SO MUCH, MAYBE NEXT YEAR WILL GET BETTER" but I said that about 2019, and 2018, and 2017, and 2016, and 2015, and 2014... maybe we are just burning ourselves out.

But you know, while 2020 was the year of COVID-19, encouragement of wearing masks, social distance and washing your hands. It was also an encouragement to others to maybe, just maybe, do stuff at home. Like, for instance, play video games.

Now, more than any other time in history. Did we need video games. And while some people were using video games for STEM-Education, or to have group meetings in Animal Crossing : New Horizons. Others made the best out of a bad situation, and decided "Actually, Why Not Discord Meetings Instead of Zoom" so they can distract themselves with a comedy gaming server. I saw you!

For my selection of 2020 games, I had to go through a bit of criteria, it must have been released in 2020 (Sorry "Among Us" fans, while it did become the go-to Streaming Sensation game, you should've plugged it two years ago!) And I had to own a copy, and physically play it, so I'm sorry but all you doofuses hoarded the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5s that I couldn't actually review the quality of such touchstones as "Cyberpunk 2077" which I am sure as today was the day of releases, got plenty of 5 out of 5s, and anybody pointing out bugs and glitches and errors and not at all whiny baby gamers upset about any 4 out of 5s or 9 out of 10s because of these grave errors.

Certainly, we've grown up, haven't you heard? G4TV is coming back!

And as they used to say on X-Play back in the day - It's Game Time.

10. Cloudpunk

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I hate to say this game is "boring", because it might bring up bad connotations, but this game is actually "boring" in a very chill, relaxing way. Essentially, this is part of a new genre of gaming called "Postmates Simulation" (See: Death Stranding, Totally Reliable Delivery Service) where in the not-so-distant-future, you are given delivery runs in a gig economy to build up your stats, and in certain times, maybe get a nugget of a storyline.

Cloudpunk is one of those games. However, along the way you get one of the greatest soundtracks to come out this year. It's not just "lo-fi beats to study" it's "lo-fi beats to transport what might be human organs". And through a chaotic year, it's a great game to just "relax for a bit and enjoy"

9. Goofballs

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There is a 97.75% chance you never heard of this game. It's a free game, you can learn more about it on their website. Southern Methodist University's Game Design Program let's their students create projects under their umbrella to better understand what goes into Game Development. In an effort to help them get into the gaming industry.

And if you want to know the quickest way to win my heart as a student project? Create a simple party game. I hate to say "Rogue-like" with this game, because it's all randomly generated, but it's not really difficult to understand - the courses are all random from the track to the field, to even the ball, you might get a bowling ball or a beach ball or a shuttlecock, who knows!

But that sort of randomized gameplay, mixed with a frantic "put the ball in the hole-goal" fun, makes it very enjoyable. And I hope all the students wind up making the next weirdly fun game with friends.

8. Bugsnax

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Bunger? Bunger Bunger Bunger Bunger Bunger Bunger Bunger...

Bugsnax is one of the more original games I have played this year. I love the idea of "munch monsters" and all the wordplay with food and creative ideas such as "Fryder" (The French Fry Spider) and "Chillynilly" (The Ice Cream Sandwich).

One thing I did not expect with this game, is the overlaying arc of depression and sadness and the reasons people went to Snaktooth Island, from hiding their relationship with family, to feeling like a failure in business, to Imposter Syndrome.

It made the best it could with a limited time window, like Pokemon Snap, Ape Escape and a bit of Kind Words thrown in there for good measure.

7. Watch Dogs : Legion

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The video game that remembered for that hot moment when "NPC" was used as an insult and then decided to make a game where "What if the NPCs WERE the main characters!" And that is honestly one of the strongest game mechanics in this game.

The London of the future is very bleek, as would any "technology overtakes our lives" stories, but how it handles puzzle elements and strategies to completing missions is still very interesting, even if it gets frustrating at selective times (News Drone in the Spooky Abandoned Building)

But what I love about this game is you could play it passive and just taze the enemies, or if you just want to say "screw this", play as the bounty hunter and just start mowing down enemies with your Automatic Rifle, they really don't care how you play.

I really hope you enjoy riding drones for twelve hours.

6. Murder By Numbers

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Any chance I can to play Picross, I am taking it. Murder By Numbers is a cross between a detective show, Phoenix Wright, and Mario's Picross.

Fill in the puzzles to figure out the item, that will be used as evidence to talk to people about a murder.

It also has one great anime-style opening.

I'm not kidding. It's fantastic. SCOUT might be one of my favorite new characters of 2020. I love that weird robot.

5. Jackbox Party Pack 7

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Another year, another "Jackbox Makes The List" and yet again, another mini ranking of Jackbox Games. (because of course I would) But this time around, I am going to rank them in order of potato chips.

Pringles Pickle Rick - The Devils And The Details

It's a game where the gimmick is you talk over each other to do tasks, it makes for lousy streaming, and it gives you a headache after day one, but you still have to complete three days of it. Cooperation!

Baked Cheetos White Cheddar - Talking Points

Hey, do you like Improv Comedy? You know that funny game where the improv actor has to make up a TedTalk while unprepared stuff airs behind them on a powerpoint, don't worry Impractical Jokers did that Season 2. What if you get to do it? While it is a funny game, it's best played with people who have microphones and can talk with you over Skype, Discord or Zoom. This means do not play this with your friends on Twitch, because it'll just be you talking to a wall for a half hour. And that's not fun for anybody, especially the wall.

Lay's Sour Cream & Onion - Champ'd Up

The usual "there needs to be a drawing game" is here, and in this one, you just have to create a character that fits an adjective. That's it. Best thing that fits the adjective wins. Make a cardboard box, make Papa Vinny, who cares, most likely you'll draw a penis and get a cheap laugh and win anyway.

French Onion Sun Chips - Blather Round

This is honestly, my favorite to play in the Jackbox Party Pack, and should be on top of the list. But I figure this ranking isn't just my favorite games to play, but ones that will make the most out of your Jackbox Party Pack 7 Purchase. Blather Round is like a throwback "Guessing Game" like Taboo or Outburst, but it's with limited clues and limited help and it's a very funny to play, and really, the safest game to play with your family this year. Trust me, play this with the kids.

Zapp's Voodoo Fire - Quiplash 3

I still have no idea why Quiplash is so much fun to play, but it just works. This time around, they finally fixed the final round with a "triplash" that follows classic comedy rule of threes, and the prompts are very clever this year, once again, you can make your own prompts (if you want to be silly) or install new packs that the jackbox team created, which is a real throwback, because updates to the game that's free? Normally you'll have to pay $5 for this kind of DLC Pack! (Please don't do that Jackbox)

4. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2

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This was a nostalgia purchase, obviously. I can't think of that many people who bought this game, who have never played the original Tony Hawk games for Playstation One (or Nintendo 64).

But this was a Tony Hawk Game done right. This was the Tony Hawk game fans of the series have wanted for over a decade and got, even though it's merely just a reboot of the classic thing.

But then again, they brought back Supermarket Sweep this year, another classic thing people remember from the 1990s and it turned out that was great too!

So for me, turning this on for the first time, I was very hesitant. I've been burnt by Tony Hawk HD and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5. But as an honest writer, I will admit, I did tear up playing Warehouse with these super updated graphics.

It took me to that time in your childhood when you got home from school and played video games, and not that much to care about, not that much stress in life. And the only stressful thing you can have is screwing up your 200,000 point combo with twelve seconds left on the clock.

The gameplay was seamless, the controls were timeless, and yes, I still couldn't complete Roswell. I'm bad at video games. But that doesn't mean I can't get nostalgic over this one.

3. Fuser

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Harmonix has done it again! Fuser might be my favorite music and rhythm game, ever created. I love it more than Guitar Hero, love it more than Rock Band and love it even more than Twitch Sings, yes Twitch Sings.

Something about this game and your ability to unlock songs and remix music and playing tracks, much like Drop Mix gives it a great vibe, but the way you can eventually just unlock every song (and then return to the good ol' days of buying music at a couple dollars a track) brightened up my day.

You can be a musical equivalent of a shitposter, and mix "All Star" by Smash Mouth with "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley and "The Numa Numa Song" (Dragostea Din Tei) or you can actually try and make something really amazing with "Blinding Lights" by The Weekend with "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepa and maybe even sprinkle in a little "Regulate" by Warren G for good measure.

This is a perfect, PERFECT, vibe game. While we are stuck at home away from nightclubs and dance parties, picking up this game will give you the closest thing to a great night out, order a couple pizzas, stream the game with friends and make it a night!

2. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

You ever just SEE a video game that you feel might've been created especially for you? I think that's exactly what Mediatonic did when they came up with "Battle Royale Game, But Instead of First Person Shooter, We Made it It's a Knockout at Takeshi's Total Wipeout Castle Elimination Challenge"

You can dress up as a hamburger and go through an obstacle course, to try and not be eliminated by either coming in last in race challenges or falling into the yoplait strawberry yogurt infinite void.

What I love about this game is when a new season starts, and there are all sorts of new levels to play with, that everybody is on equal footing to figuring out the pattern so everybody has a chance. What I don't like about this game is when the season is near completion that if you are new to the game, you'll most likely lose because you are still trying to learn how to jump from a See-Saw but everybody else is "stratting" by hitting the big bonk and flying into the finish line.

While it is still a work in progress, it is one of those games where I will admit to playing more than any other game this year, even though I think I only won maybe 10 times out of possibly 500 games?

Like I said, I'm not good at video games.

BEFORE WE GET TO NUMBER ONE...

Here are a few games I played this year, and didn't put on this list, with a few reasons.

Kirby Fighters 2 - Kirby was made for hugging, not fighting.

Animal Crossing : New Horizons - It's nothing but grinding.

Among Us - Remember what I said about it being from 2018?

Super Mario 3D All Stars - I was so disappointed, you have no idea.

Teardown - I stepped on a Lego before writing this GOTY list and wanted to enact revenge.

Ghostrunner - Reminded me too much of Mirror's Edge that I played Mirror's Edge instead.

NBA 2K21 - Kobe would've hated the PC Edition.

Super Mario Bros. 35 - I never won and I'm petty.

Death Stranding - The PC Edition was Okay, I Guess

WWE 2K Battlegrounds - I played the game once and expected Wrestlefest and instead got Celebrity Deathmatch for Playstation 2.

NOW THE NUMBER ONE GAME

1. Hades

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You know probably by the time this list goes out, there will be at least two dozen Unlicensed Zagreus Body Pillows available for sale, and I would probably want to preorder a couple of them.

Hades is my jam, that game that filled that Devil May Cry itch I needed, but also, have this unique art-style that gives it a cross between Saturday Morning Cartoon and Visual Novel that I just love.

Every character feels like they have their purpose in the game, from Hypnos being this tiresome companion to offer inane advice like "Don't Die" as if they were the embodiment of GamePro "Protips", to Ares trying to offer words of encouragement like a football coach at the 4th Quarter, to your very disappointed father, Hades, who has no time to play with his son, but all the time in the world for work.

And of course, Cerberus, they are a good boy.

A very, very good boy.

The combat in this game is so amazing, while it's quick to say "Rogue-like" and call it a day. Much like Tony Hawk, it threw me back to the days of playing Gauntlet Legends by myself because I had no friends and was so lonely, but there was wave after wave of enemies in these dungeons.

But also, the decision-making in the game, which door do you want to go? Do you want cosmetics after this run, or do you want to get some coins for a shop that's three rooms in, but you don't know yet?

It's random maze design, it's character design, it's soundtrack, all of it are just a simple pleasure. You will have a crush on just about every character in the game from Aphrodite to Dionysus, to that spooky ghost shop skeleton guy. What a hunk!

Plus, it offers this amazing overlaying storyline of hope and encouragement. At first you think a failed run is failure, but by playing it a few times, it leads you more into the story, how those around you can help, and ultimately, how to get through that goal. You think it's the true definition of insanity of trying the same thing over and over expecting a different result, and the game points it out, but when you get that mid-boss completed or if you survive until the end.

You can't help but want to return to the game. Eventually you become so good it takes you a couple hours to complete this quest, and even then, sometimes you still fail because of a misstep or falling into lava.

And instead of getting annoyed or pissed off, you still feel rewarded, you don't feel discouraged to continue and you know that next adventure is just a button press away.

I hope you all have a great 2021, with a bunch more games, but please don't forget about all the games that came out this year, as much as we all want to forget about 2020, the games we've seen were amazing.

And, we will miss you, Alex Trebek. You amazing game show host!

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