Best of 2011

My 20 favorite games of 2011.

List items

  • A vast, physics driven, content rich world that I've grown quite fond of, with random spectacles and carefully planned scenarios at every turn. Ambitious, all consuming, the best that Elder Scrolls has been to date. And while the first person combat may not be tactical, bashing everything to bits from skeletons to giants with a menacing, glowing club is still a pretty good time.

  • An unassuming, deeply satisfying mystery that is a joy to play both for the story hooks and unique puzzle mechanics.

  • Brutal, dark and brilliant stuff, with miserable lows and soaring highs unlike anything else I played this year. Intensely satisfying combat.

  • Compelling near-future fiction, with branching gameplay systems that innovate while still feeling refreshingly old school.

  • A game with soul and character and tight controls and moments and variety and lots of people should probably play it.

  • Mario games are comfort food. And this one is some particularly good comfort food, with extra levels and Tanooki suits on top.

  • I did everything there was to do in this game. The humor, style and creative mechanics all add up to something genuinely unique. Also - farting on nesting dolls.

  • Open world madness that is positively overflowing with dumb/great ideas. Fun Factor: 5.0

  • The pacing, writing, sound design, and of course the devilish, finely tuned puzzle boxes more than make up for any feelings of deja vu.

  • Beautiful and deep PC RPG, full of interesting things to do and tough choices to make along the way.

  • An appropriately nostalgic return to form for a lost series. Content filled, featuring the best story mode in a fighting game yet.

  • As good as video game basketball has been to date. All the classic players, teams and presentation options put it over the top.

  • Love the way it looks, feels, sounds, and the corny new age internet vibe. It's no Rez and in no way worth the MSRP, but it still left a strong impression.

  • There are failings here. But given it's roots in PC adventure games, L.A. Noire was a methodically engaging period piece that struck a chord with me. And that face tech, goddamn.

  • Wadjet Eye makes authentic PC point and click adventure games, and Gemini Rue is their best overall yet. Would love to see what they could do with a bigger budget.

  • Simple original puzzle design, hours of gameplay both in game and via user generated levels. A nice little late year surprise.

  • Impressive on many levels but not quite as exciting the second time around. Still a great Batman game with best in class hand-to-hand combat.

  • Outrageous premise with solid shooter mechanics and hand crafted 16-bit artwork. Never winks and nods at the player, which is appreciated.

  • I played the poop out of Jetpack Joyride. Then I got an iPad, started over, and played the poop out of it even more.

  • Drenched in atmosphere, painstakingly pixelated. Nonsensical and poetic. And Twitter integration, heey!