GOTY 2012

2012 was certainly a weird-ass year. The console generation's almost certainly overstayed its welcome (thanks in part to a global financial meltdown), and devs who would perhaps rather be breaking new ground have been forced to retread the old. In spite of that, and my list will certainly run this joke into the ground, I can't think of a year in recent memory that I stayed up well past midnight (and I work early) more times than this year. But the year was not without charm nor delights! I think I can wrangle up at least 10 excellent games that I'd call...GAMES OF THE YEAR!

List items

  • There's really nothing left to say, is there? One of the greatest videogame experiences of all time on any system and proof positive that videogames truly earned that protection under the 1st Amendment.

  • I liked the ending even before the extended cut (and even more after it) but that's not the point. The point was/is the journey and this game had one of the most emotionally resonant ones since...well Mass Effects 1 & 2.

  • "There's no MARKET for a turn-based, hardcore, sci-fi, top-down shooter!" someone said, not accounting for the fact that Firaxis knows a thing or two about a thing or two about "Just...one...more...mission...oh hey, when did the sun come up?"

  • SSSSSSSSSSLEEPY DAWGS!! There, now I got that out of my system and can say that this game is one of the most satisfying open world experiences of all time. Particularly because it bridges the whole "what else can I do in this world besides story missions and random rampages" perfectly with actual character development.

    That and having an actual awesome melee combat system was something I didn't even know was missing from open-world sandbox games until this one showed me the error of my narrow thinking.

  • We're going to follow our deep, strategic RPG with a fighting game that continues both the story and the character arcs. STOP LAUGHING, IT'LL WORK!! And it did...AND it had a deep, nuanced fighting game system. I may not return to it, because I don't have time to dedicate in order to become truly proficient, but the single-player was worth it.

  • What if, instead of trivializing the horrors of war, we actually showed the psychological impact that it had? This game began the trend of disempowerment fantasies that have seemingly swept videogames recently AND made player choice really, REALLY matter in a very granular way. And if you hear what the head writer has to say about the deeper levels of the plot, it gets EVEN better.

  • Okay, this time I'm going to...have a Mantis on my ship, but also have this guy in the engine room, this guy in the life support, this guy on guns and GODDAMNIT, they just blew up my life support!! VENT THE AIRLOCKS INTO SPACE! PUT OUT THE FIRE BEFORE THE SHIP BURNS UP-well the ship burnt up...I'll try it one more time...it's 3AM...

  • "Sorry babe, I know it's 2AM , but the roommates and I are just...we just need to defeat this guy, then I'll come to bed...yeah, it'll only be another 10 minutes..."

  • This one just BARELY snuck in after a couple of marathon sessions, but it was more than worth it for a great, character-deep story along with a no-frills, incredibly satisfying and sleek combo system. Large enough to make exploring feel fantastic, but not big enough to become tedious.

  • Hilarious writing coupled with addictive gameplay. It's either endemic of videogames' attitude toward women or a brutal, hilarious satire of it.