Game of the Year 2016

Guess what? The year that I got very serious with my significant other is also the year I played precious few video games. Or maybe it was because this year I started living with people who took way too much control of the big TV? Who knows. All that I do know is that I haven't played every relevant game like I typically do. I would have liked to try Deus Ex, Dishonored and Hitman, but I just didn't get to them. I didn't finish Doom (I decided to wait for the big TV for that one) or Ratchet and Clank, but who cares about that? Good games while I played them are still good games.

List items

  • The Witness caused me to be more absorbed into a video game than anything else this year. I was dreaming about line puzzles. I saw them while I was out in the real world. I had graph paper and scissors to figure out the damn things. It was an amazing experience. The philosophizing was... odd... but it added into the overall vibe of the experience.

  • The shooting in Doom is amazing. The story is irreverent. If your blood doesn't pump while playing Doom, you're doing something wrong.

  • Civilization VI is a great update to one of my favorite series. This might be number 1 on the list if it hadn't crashed causing me to lose a couple hours of progress. Which is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but still it leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth.

  • Recognizing the Blood and Wine Expansion is a no brainer. One of the best RPGs of all time got even better this year witch some of the most inventive and fun portions of the entire series. I don't believe it's as high a height as Hearts of Stone, but it was a near perfect send off for Geralt.

  • This game is crazy. I was texting my fiancee while playing and she asked me to stop because she was getting uncomfortable. That uncomfortableness made the game a fun crazy scifi thing. I loved every minute of the experience.

  • Character platformer and action games like this are very rare now a days. As a person who never played the original games, this was a great jumping in point. It's beautiful, plays well and you can't say much else about it.

  • It doesn't out Journey Journey. But what it does do it hit some of the same notes from a different point of view. The game made swimming in a game actually fun which is saying something pretty special.

  • Realistic dialogue coming from a video game? Who would have thought? It's gorgeous with great music, excellent voice work, and a fun story that you want to just keep coming back to.

  • I may have liked Firewatch more than Gone Home, but because Gone Home came first, it felt like Firewatch was hitting too many of the same notes. The anti-climax at the end didn't bother me, but what did bother me was how little I was enraptured by the world and story. It still drew me in and was effective, but missing a slice of originality really took the game down a peg. Still one of the best 10 experiences of the year.

  • I didn't want Uncharted 3, much less Uncharted 4. I had a good time with the game. The gameplay didn't evolve but the storytelling did and that was why I made sure to see the game through to the end. The last boss of this game, maybe only boss, is why this isn't higher. I hated every bit of it, from the implications to the characters to the actual crappy gameplay that I'm shocked Naughty Dog allowed into their game. It didn't fully ruin an amazing game, but it sure did knock it down.