Games I Played in 2016

Here are the games I played in 2016, in order of how much they rule. Many of the games were released before 2016, but please understand I am only one man. I have a budget and a job and other hobbies. There are games that I played a lot this year that don't make this list (Rocket League, Fallout 4, etc) because I also played them a lot before 2016.

List items

  • (2016) The Witness cemented itself as one of my favorite games of all time. It's gorgeous and brilliant. My daughter and I traded the controller back and forth as we played, and I can't imagine not having another set of eyes there to help solve the puzzles. Now that I've learned everything the game had to teach me, I wish I could reset the part of my brain where that memory lives and experience it again. This game is best experienced in a bubble, with no guides, no tips, and no knowledge of what's ahead of you. If you don't understand what the game is trying to teach you, move on to another area or take a break. The feeling you get when something finally clicks is worth the time you spend staring at a puzzle or wandering the environment looking for clues.

  • (2016) Inside takes Limbo, which was a very good game, and improves on it in every way. It sets the bar high for animation, art direction, and atmosphere. It's cinematic and polished at a level rarely seen in video games. Care was given to every tiny detail, even the level select menu. A masterpiece.

  • (2016) At first I tried playing this with a controller, but I bounced right off of it. Once I got a proper monitor and desk for my PC, I could finally mouse and keyboard and this game really opened up. The original Doom series was popular before I got into PC games, so I have no real nostalgia for it personally. This new Doom succeeds on its own merits. I thought the days of the chaotic fast mobile shooter were over, but I was very very wrong.

  • (2016) Another visually stunning game. Olly Moss and the Idle Thumbs guys have their DNA all through this one. I'm really eager to see what they do next.

  • (2012) I've owned this for a while but I keep forgetting I have a PS3. I finally decided to play through this and did it in one sitting. It was every bit as good as I hoped it would be. It evokes a lot of same moods and sense of wonder I had playing Ico.

  • (2015) Like the original Doom, the old Obsidian games were released before I got into PC gaming, so this is my first foray into this type of RPG. As of this writing, I'm about two-thirds through the main story. The writing is exceptional, and the amount of content is just staggering. I'm reading everything I can and it consistently delivers. The combat is fun and challenging, though I'm admittedly not very good at it. It's really satisfying to lose a big encounter a few times, then finally pull it out using actual RPG strategy, rather than just telling all your guys to attack and hoping for the best. I still have dozens of hours ahead of me, and that doesn't even include the expansions. A special shoutout to the guy voicing Edér. He did a phenomenal job.

  • (2016) I bought this a few months after release, after the second DLC was out. By that time, according to my friends, most of the bugs and player complaints of the launch version had been addressed. What I came into was an extremely polished game. I've never been much of a fan of third person shooters, but the actual shooting here changed my mind. It feels really good. I'm a sucker for end-of-the-world scenarios and how humanity handles it, so the single player grind was perfect for me. So many little vignettes and stories are scattered around the world. I collected 100% of everything and could have gone for more. Some of the main storylines fizzled out towards the end, but I'm willing to forgive that. My friends persuaded me to buy this so we could play multiplayer, but 99% of my time so far has been solo, and it's been great.

  • (2016) This is another game where I've done more spectating than actual playing, but for a game like Hitman, that counts. Half the time I'm criticizing my daughter's reckless gameplay, and the other half I'm encouraging her to be even more reckless. We got in late, after all the missions were out, so we don't quite have the motivation to play one map over and over, but the challenges help with that somewhat. I hope this game keeps expanding with new content.

  • (2016) I played quite a bit of this myself, but spent even more time watching my daughter play. It's charming and addictive as hell. All the stuff I loved about Animal Crossing, plus a ton more. The amount of content and number of systems here is really impressive for such a small game.

  • (2015) I was looking for a tactical combat game and this one fit the bill nicely. It's challenging, but not punishing; deep, but approachable. It also plays really well with a controller on a couch. The sound design stands out, especially when you advance time on the overview screen. That one sound in particular has some emotional impact to it.

  • (2014) I've owned this for a little while, and I noticed they recently released the Redux version which apparently improves performance and smooths over some bumps in the gameplay, so I decided to give it a try. What a gorgeous game. I still had to look up solutions to one or two of the puzzles, but it was a minor issue. The reveal at the end of the story really hit me.

  • (2015) Neat little story told in an interesting way. It's a little cheesy in parts, and I could see how the narrative might fall apart if you hit things in the wrong order, but it held up for me. The little postscript was a nice touch.

  • (2015) This is an interesting exploration of how you can tell a meta story using video games as a medium. I tried my best to go in fresh, without really knowing what to expect. I'm glad I did because the narrative goes to some unexpected places.

  • (2015) I tried the original Flash prototype back in the day, but didn't realize it came out for real last year. After some debate I went with the iPad version and I have no regrets. This game swings between calming and stressful in a way I really enjoy. I love the minimalist design too.

  • (2013) I sorted my Steam library by shortest time to finish, and this game was near the top of the list. I played through it three times in about 30 minutes, which was enough to see a good number of the scenarios that can play out. It's an interactive storybook with some random dice rolls. The first time through I wasn't really sure what was happening, but by the third, I had more purpose. That isn't to say I did better, but different things happened, and they were all interesting. The way some stories intertwine was very effective.

  • (2013) This is a better game than its predecessor, and the story touched on some topics I wish the first one had. It can get cheesy in parts, and the uncanny valley sex scene was straight up weird, but I still had fun. Some of the voice work was impressive, too.

  • (2010) I'm not sure if the redux versions of these games smooth out some of the weird bullet currency mechanics, or if they never mattered in the first place. I never really engaged with it, and never felt like I needed to. I enjoyed the game overall, and it looks really nice, but it was nothing special.

  • (2016) This is a tight little game with an art style straight out of the original Quake. After about 30 minutes of playing, my personal best time was stuck around 60 seconds. You can watch a replay of any player's best run straight off the leaderboard, which is a really smart move by the developer. I went several thousand places up rankings to see if I could pick up some tips. Watching that replay was pretty sobering, realizing there was no way I could match that, even with a lot of practice. So I said hell with it and went up to watch the #1 replay. After the first few minutes, I don't even understand how anyone could parse what was happening on the screen. It was an indecipherable mess of pixels and screams for 10 solid minutes. When it was over, I promptly uninstalled the game. Worth it.

  • (2016) If you like Carl Burton's art style, you'll like this game. It's a collection of vignettes totaling about 45 minutes. Definitely worth a few bucks for the look alone.