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My Favorite Games of 2012

My favorite games of 2012.

Other potential contenders that I haven't played or simply haven't finished yet: ZombiU, Far Cry 3, Dishonored, X-COM: Enemy Unknown, Forza Horizon, Torchlight II, Mark of the Ninja and a whole lot of indie games.

Honorable mention: Mass Effect 3, Max Payne 3, Syndicate, Sleeping Dogs, Binary Domain, Halo 4.

List items

  • The moment I saw a trailer for Fez I instantly fell in love with its beautiful visual style and hypnotic soundtrack. It brings forth memories of discovery, exploration and game-myth from my childhood gaming experiences--an age before the internet and FAQs existed. It succeeds in creating these same types of experiences in spite of our persistently online world.

  • One of the few games I can think of that has a mature, coherent and engaging story that ends up being the bulk of the experience and not a childish afterthought. A great example of storytelling for all future games to follow.

  • It's not about the destination, it's about the Journey and I enjoyed every moment it had to offer. It's a hard game to describe as there aren't really any objectives per se; there's no combat or lengthy cutscenes, just you, the environment and the journey onward wherein you may encounter other sojourners along the way. It is more of an interactive experience than a game but, while it is brief, it is unique and worth having.

  • Incredibly violent, surprisingly introspective and easily one of my favorite soundtracks of 2012.

  • Super Hexagon is like a bullet-time simulator in that a playtime that feels like a tense collection of minutes is really a matter of seconds. It can be greatly frustrating and yet all the while I can't stop playing it.

  • If at first you don't succeed, die, die again. This was a great year for games with roguelike qualities. Spelunky offers randomly generated chaos that can quickly kill you but still remains fun to play.

  • Unique and bizarre fun from Japan, the likes of which North America doesn't see enough of anymore. How else are you going to be able to pit baby chicks against lions, tigers and dinosaurs?

  • One of the first, and perhaps only, games where the cliched and oft-reviled Quick Time Event is well implemented and entirely appropriate. RT BURST!

  • It's not perfect, nor is it necessarily the spiritual successor to Burnout Paradise that everyone may have been hoping for, but this game is a blast and I couldn't stop playing until I had won every race with every car. The multiplayer challenges are also enjoyable whether you're winning, losing or just causing mayhem.

  • While the end game was disappointing and I certainly have no desire to return to it, it's hard to say Diablo III wasn't at least a lot of fun while it lasted given the 130-some hours I spent with it.