My 10 Favorite Games of 2019

Here it is, the list of my favorite games of 2019!

Some clever people might notice that not all the games on this list came out this year - that's because I don't think I played 10 games that released in 2019. Instead, I want to use this list to showcase the games that ended up meaning the most to me during the course of this year.

List items

  • I'll be totally honest, this one is in the list because I couldn't think of anything else I had played this year. It's not a bad game, but it's not really my kind of thing. Still fun to jump in once in a while.

  • I know Warframe has been out for a while, but this is the year I started playing it. It's good! I don't have much to say about it, which is part of why it's so low on the list. It's fun, it's good, but it had little to no impact on me overall. Solid game.

  • I love the style of this game. It brings me back to the early days of the internet, where I would spend my time looking at fan sites for various cartoons I watched at the time. Sometimes I'm sad most of those websites are long gone... then I remember my Yu-Gi-Oh fanfiction and think maybe it's good that they're lost forever.

  • I was very excited for this game. And for the couple of hours I put into it on GamePass, it was fun! I liked having a good Fallout-like to play. But I found I didn't care one bit about the story or characters. I ended up honestly kind of disappointed in it, but I'm so glad it exists.

    I'm still glad I got to play it - all thanks to winning 14 free days of Game Pass Ultimate from McDonald's Monopoly contest.

  • It's always a joy to play a Super Mario game, and this was no exception. Making Mario levels is always fun, and being able to do it on my Switch is one of the best things. I just wish I had more ideas for levels!

  • Bloodstained is the Metroidvania we all needed this year. A throwback to the -vanias of yore, Bloodstained is a monster killing, shard eating, recipe crafting good time.

    This game is just plain old fun. I don't have much of a critical eye for this game, and I didn't finish it so I can't speak to later areas of the game, but I just really enjoyed what I played of it.

  • Forager took over my Switch for like a month. It was the only thing I played for ages. It was such an enjoyable thing to just turn on, play for 15 minutes, and turn off. (Or turn on, intend to play 15 minutes, play 4 hours, and curse your terrible decision making as you try to get 2 hours of sleep before you have to wake up to take an exam...)

    Forager was also an excellent little stress reliever that made me think about a simpler life, one without all the modern stressors and complications. One without exams, without traffic, or digital rights issues... It was almost Stardew Valley like in its ability to transport me to a simpler world.

    I also loved the increase in power by the end of the game. At the start you are struggling just to survive - by the end of the game, your biggest threat is not having enough inventory slots and just being bothered by enemies you can slaughter without blinking. You become nothing short of a god in that game, and it feels *wonderful*.

  • This year has been an adventure for me. Back near the start of the year, I found myself in the hospital. I was told by a doctor later on that, when I had been admitted, there was about a 30% chance of me surviving that night. (I made it, just in case you weren't sure if I was ghost writing this or not.)

    Of course, this event lead to a lot of thinking about my life. About where I am in life, where I've been, where I'm going. Things I still want to do, things I wanted to do, things I regret. And, in the light of these thoughts, I decided this year I would actually take control of my body and lose the weight that has plagued me my entire life.

    I've made a lot of changes - going to the gym, watching what I eat, dealing with issues that lead to me eating more than I should. And Ring Fit Adventure has been a great part of that. Having something fun to do as a workout has been lots of fun and great for helping me work out even on days where I can't get to the gym.

    My only real problem with this game is that I live in an apartment, so I use the "Quiet Mode", which means I move forward by squatting repeatedly rather than running in place. This is an absolute *killer* and makes these workouts way harder, in my opinion, than they would be otherwise.

  • Death Stranding is an incredible game. I don't know what to say about it - I've been absolutely loving my time with it.

    It's a chill delivery simulator, filling a similar role as Elite Dangerous or Euro Truck Simulator for me, but with an added layer of Kojima weirdness and so many systems interacting with one another that it genuinely surprises me.

    Finally, in a year where I have felt extremely isolated, the concepts of the Strand and connection resonated with me more than they might have for most people. I also really dig the way players are connected to one another through gameplay - it's a really interesting system that I am so pleased to have had the chance to explore.

  • Final Fantasy 9. Hoo boy. This game was not released this year, but I finally played through it this year on my Switch.

    First of all: Of the Final Fantasy games that I've finished (1, 2, 7, 9, 10, 15), FF9 is easily the best of the lot. The classic turn-based battles, the amazing characters, and a world that brought "Fantasy" back to "Final Fantasy", all worked together to make one of the best JRPGs I've ever played.

    Speaking of the characters... I think the subplot of the romance between Garnet/Dagger and Zidane was one of the most emotionally resonant romances I've ever experienced in a game. It felt far more nuanced than many games I've played.

    The bulk of my time playing FF9 also struck during a period when I was feeling particularly lonely and isolated. I think that led to my connection with Zidane and Vivi's stories, and their quests for meaning and purpose in life. Additionally, the romance may have just hit during a particularly lonely period and affected me more than other people.

    Lastly, the ending made me cry. I'm not going to lie, that happens some times when I've spent hundreds of hours playing games with a cast of characters that I'm not going to be seeing again after. I cried at the end of Persona 5, I cried at the ending of Final Fantasy 7, and 10, and I cried at the ending of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. This time though, I had some kind of epiphany on why: I spend more time with these fictional characters that don't exist than actual, real people in my life.

    I don't know exactly why this game in particular stood out as the emotional gut punch of the year to me, but it got me thinking a lot about my own life and how I interact with the people around me. It exemplified a lot of the things I'd been struggling with all year, while also being a great game that also had a little hit of nostalgia tied to it as well.

    For those reasons, Final Fantasy 9 is my favorite game of 2019.