I went with 3D platformers. I was considering voting for turn-based RPG's, but they never really died down if you include indie games and, if anything, are continuing to rise with developers trying new ways to make the combat more interesting. I miss 3D platformers from the PS1 and PS2 eras because the environments usually got really weird and creative and levels frequently felt open and packed with secrets.
Seeric's forum posts
The biggest problem with YouTube's Content ID stuff is that it's 'all or nothing' - either the maker of a video gets the money from the ads or the maker of the content the video is about gets it (or the video just gets blocked entirely and the video creator likely gets a rather nasty strike). It would be nice if the profits could just be split between the two, though even then sometimes videos can run into Content ID issues from the musicians (or more likely their record labels) behind the music in a game rather than from the developers.
Short, narrative experiences can definitely be hurt by the existence of videos showing off the full game with uncut gameplay, especially if the video creators don't bother to give a polite warning at the start that anyone interested in the game should play it for themselves before watching, but I would question just how much harm is actually done. Many of the people watching would likely be doing so at least as much for the LP'ers commentary as for the game itself, others would have pirated it or would have waited until it appeared in a bundle or fell to an extremely low price during a sale, and others still likely would not have ever gotten it at all (or would have tried to abuse Steam's refund system).
For big retail games it's definitely the focus on being 'cinematic' (though this entire craze seems to be dying down a bit). I don't mind cutscenes, but I hate having control constantly ripped away from me just so a scene can play out the way the developers envisioned it. I also find cinematic games to be wildly inconsistent - a good chunk of the reason why I could never get into the Uncharted games was due to what Nathan Drake could and could not do and what he could or could not climb at any point in time feeling completely arbitrary (he can climb around on something like a tapestry one moment, but he can't climb a few crumbly walls or trees the next).
As for indie games, I hate how a good number of them label themselves as 'retro' or '8-bit' and then proceed to spew spikes and pixel perfect jumps everywhere. I love plenty of old games, but their notoriously high difficulty, which is generally not actually as high as many people seem to remember, usually came from careful level design and enemy placement and not from lining every surface with instant death.
For a long time now I've seen role playing in video games as being a word which refers to two different takes on the concept.
On the one side of things, you are creating and playing out a role within an existing world. There may be some limitations on just what that role can and cannot do, but it is largely a blank slate and you are free to decide the overall role which this character plays in the story as this form of role playing resembles that found in improvisational pieces and tabletop games like D&D. It's jarring when control is taken away from you or when you are forced into a single decision because it is fairly equivalent to a DM railroading a D&D campaign - control is taken away even though freedom was promised.
On the other side of things, you are playing out a role (or roles) in a way similar to that of an actor performing a role in a play. In this case, the character is not a blank slate and has a specific role which they must fulfill; Romeo must always fall in love with Juliet, Tidus must always fall in love with Yuna, and Wander must always slay the colossi. What you are creating here is not the role itself, but a performance of that role; there is much that you have no control over, but you do control the enactment of the role(s) through your actions and sometimes dialogue choices (which often may change the 'performance' without changing the 'plot').
A whole lot of games fall somewhere in the middle or blur the lines here and there, but I personally think it's important for us to stop looking at 'role-playing' in games in a sense of 'freedom vs limitation' and more in a sense of 'creation vs performance'.
While I appreciate the sentiment behind the attempt, it's the type of thing which is better off not passing. Sexism is a very real issue in games, but it is a very broad and at times very vague topic; it would be a nightmare to draw any sort of concrete legal line or to even decide what would be on either side of said line. For example, the law apparently would include games which have "violences against women", but where would just about any given fighting game or any combat-focused game with a female protagonist fall in that? Your girlfriend gets punched and kidnapped by the main villain in Double Dragon and you certainly fight some female enemies along the way so would something like that count even though the violence is framed as being 'bad' or enacted against 'the villains'? It would just end in a mess where games which probably shouldn't be affected by the law would be and vice versa because it is horribly vague and relies far too heavily upon personal opinion.
Laws which strictly enforce or encourage censorship aren't necessarily bad, but they need to be handled with a whole lot of care and need to be designed to target very specific things rather than something as vague and subjective as a concept.
I recently started playing (and kept playing) Voidspire Tactics and it would have easily made it onto my Top Games of 2015 list had I tried it sooner. It has turn-based grid-based combat, but it also has a very freeform style of exploration like in Dark Souls or the first Zelda.
There are plenty of fights, but they are balanced out by being short and fast with both your party and enemies dying quickly in most cases. There are also a ton of environmental puzzles and obstacles and just about all of them can be overcome in multiple ways depending on which skills and items you have (ex: a gap filled with water can be jumped over if you have a character with a high jump stat, but you can also freeze it with an ice skill or possibly find or make some other route). What ended up being the main appeal to me, and what I was expecting the least, was the sheer number of secrets; there are hidden areas and secret entrances absolutely everywhere and more than a few of them lead to small dungeons and even optional boss fights.
I'd like to see a complimentary category to 'Best New Character' called 'Best New World' or something similar to it. Basically, while the Best New Character award zeroes in on a single, memorable character, there isn't currently a decent alternative for games with strong overall casts and/or locations (ex: various Undertale characters and interactions with them were mentioned in a good number of the award nominations, but none of them actually won in large part because they were looked at individually rather than as a collective whole).
This award would be for games where there is not necessarily a single stand-out character/event/location, but the world and inhabitants as a whole are so engaging that you actively want to interact with and learn more about them from beginning to end. I don't think 'Most Immersive World' would quite work because immersion generally implies believability and I think it is entirely possible to become heavily invested in a world which isn't present as a particularly realistic one. There is a risk of this award overlapping with the existing Most Style award, but I think an engaging world isn't necessarily 'stylish' and a stylish game doesn't necessarily have a focus on presenting a world and characters so I think it would be fine even if the same game ends up taking both awards once in a while.
I think it's important to keep in mind that this is a list created by polling readers from 2006. As much as Japan does seem to like its awkward teenage romance plots, Final Fantasy X placing so high likely has a lot to do with it being the newest non-MMORPG main Final Fantasy entry at the time (XII released in 2006 in Japan so it was way too new or possibly not even out at the time).
I'd say the list reflects on the average age of Famitsu's readerbase more than anything else. There are a few older games on there (almost entirely NES and SNES RPG's), but it's at least a reasonable assumption to make that most of the voters at the time were teenagers and the list reflects this as, in addition to a bunch of games which would still have been considered relatively 'new' at the time, a massive chunk of that list consists of games from the mid-to-late 90's. In other words, it fits that games from the latter half of the 90's would make up a majority of the list because those would be the games teenagers in 2006 had grown up with and would have fond memories of.
All that being said, I'm pretty surprised that Chrono Cross didn't even make the list. I personally only think it's somewhere around 'ok', but I would have expected it to be more popular.
- Environmental Station Alpha
- TableTop Simulator
- Super Mario Maker
- Below Kryll (on Steam, but not actually in the GB wiki)
- Odallus: The Dark Call
- Isbarah (same deal as with Below Kryll)
- Axiom Verge
- Her Story
- Circa Infinity
Undertale would have almost certainly been rather high on this list, but I just haven't gotten around to actually playing it yet. Otherwise, this hasn't been a big year for AAA games for me at all other than Super Mario Maker (lots of open world stuff and I just can't get into those types of games) and a decent number of games I've been playing weren't released in 2015.
It feels weird to put Environmental Station Alpha on the top of this list since not many people at all have been talking about it, especially when Axiom Verge is a much more well-known metroidvania and is a fair ways down, but I just really enjoyed everything about it and hunting for secrets felt rewarding and like solving actual puzzles while I gave up on trying to 100% Axiom Verge because it just felt tedious after a while (no minimap markers to indicate the presence of items and the lack of a decent warp system really wore me out since it started to feel like a guess-and-test slog).
In addition to the degree of expectation-raising hyperbole from fans and general pestering, I feel like there are two related issues with rabid fanbases.
First, fans often have a habit of becoming so hyperbolic that they go beyond raising expectations and outright misrepresent a game. The Souls games in particular fall prey to this with many fans screaming about how they are 'the hardest games ever'. The issue here is that makes the games sound like they are similar to something like I Wanna Be The Guy or Syobon Action where they are hard for the sake of being hard and are all about 'gotcha, now go redo everything' moments when they are actually, for the most part, very balanced around being difficult-but-fair and put an emphasis on patience, observation, and learning enemy behaviors. In a similar, sadder, fashion, the Touhou games are utterly devoid of any of the creepy stuff which is rather painfully common in a 'bullet hell shmup from Japan with a more-or-less all-female cast', but you would probably think the exact opposite after so much as a glance at a good chunk of the fanbase, which has likely stopped more than one person from giving them a try.
Games cost money and/or time and if a game or series is frequently portrayed by its fanbase as something very different from what it actually is than a person is going to be less likely to bother to make either of those investments (or make those investments based on the false impression left by fans and become disappointed).
The other issue is, in addition to general pestering, fans have a habit of spoiling things, which can ruin anything from a major plot twist to a really cool boss fight or location. There is nothing which can kill one's enthusiasm for playing a game so much as having an overly-excited fan innocently say something along the lines of "You have to keep playing it, you're going to love it when so-and-so happens". Even if a fan doesn't directly spoil something for you, the fear of it happening or of stumbling upon an article/comment/video/screenshot which indirectly spoils something for you exists and can create pressure to finish a game at a faster pace than you actually enjoy.
I know from personal experience how frustrating (and frustratingly common) it is when someone casually mentions the ending or an otherwise major part of something I am in the middle of with excuses such as "it was dumb/bad/ruined things anyway" as though that makes it acceptable; the fact that everyone at Giant Bomb has thousands of fans they need to interact with, often live, just makes things that much worse for them because at any moment any one of them could unexpectedly blurt out something which lessens the impact of one of the best parts of a game.