Happy New Year everyone! I thought I’d start out the year by telling you my favorite games I played last year. Most of them were released last year. I’d first like to start by listing some games I omitted from the list due to not playing or not playing enough of to fairly judge.
Games I Didn’t Play Enough Of or Should’ve Played, but Couldn’t for a Bunch of Reasons (Laziness, Money, Etc.)
Last of Us, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Deponia 2 & 3, Ironclad Tactics, Disgaea D2, EVE Online, Any Sports Game, Out of the Park Baseball ’14, That Game Ellen Page was Naked In, Mario World 3D, Zelda, Wonderful 101, Pikmin 3. I am sure there are others, but I can’t quite remember them all.
Top 10 Games of 2013
10. GTA V
I caved. I don’t know about this one. I loved it initially and then came to become so amazingly bored with it. I initially began the game and thought “What an incredible thing!?” That quickly turned into an amazement with how little there was to do in that world. I could golf, but why the hell would I golf in GTA? Oh well, it makes the list because it had some of the highest highs of the year. Unfortunately, the lulls stick out in my mind nearly as much. This could’ve been a lot higher on my list, if the dropoff hadn’t been so very steep.
Hey! The only Alpha game on the list! I never got into the sandbox genre. I gave Minecraft, Terraria, and Darkout the old college try and they couldn’t draw me in. Gnomoria was different. I think it was the God perspective, rather than a single player perspective. There’s much to do in Gnomoria and much to learn. The learning curve is steep but it’s totally worth it. This is a game you can lose many hours playing. I can’t wait to see it in its final form.
Antichamber was a great step forward for puzzle games. It’s unlike anything else available and Alexander Bruce should be considered brilliant for concocting this crazy thing. I could never conceive something such as this and it must be played to be believed.
I played and reviewed this one for Indie Game Mag. I thought this didn’t receive enough credence in the game of the year lists I read. I don’t think it revolutionized much. It just did what “beat em’ ups” do better than most “beat em’ ups” do. There was some beautiful art direction here, as well as fluid and rewarding combat. I played through it in a few days and it was definitely the first “Metroidvania” game to grasp my attention in a long while.
Proteus is pretty magical for a 40 minute experience. It reminds me of low-fi music. It doesn’t have the clarity or production value of the mainstream stuff, but it finds its voice in a way you never realized possible. Proteus is so condensed and offbeat in its beauty, but remains so appealing. It’s a voiceless short story and an excellent one.
5. Bit.Trip Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
I own a Wii U and this is the only game I’ve ever really played on it. Not that it’s all too relevant to this list, but I think it states how poorly my Wii U experience has been. Luckily this gem was perfect for playing in bed on my gamepad while watching Netflix. Runner 2 drove me to completionism, which only stands alongside Saints Row as a game capable of convincing me to spend hours chasing seemingly meaningless goals. I loved every minute. It was such an improvement on Bit.Trip Runner and such a great runner.
4. The Stanley Parable
I never had a chance to play the source mod, so I had no expectations of what the Stanley Parable should or would be. It turns out it appealed to my sensibility in a way I wouldn’t expect out of most narrative experiences. Discussions will be had about whether or not this is even a game. I say shove it. It’s awesome. Who cares what it is?
This was a tough one, but ended up being a logical decision for me. Bioshock had the best environment and setting of any game this year. It also had one of the more intriguing stories of the entire year. I agree the story was full of potholes and the shooting quickly became old, but the rest of the experience was fantastic enough that I do not look back on Bioshock negatively. I think Bioshock was the best story driven game of the year, without question.
2. Saints Row IV
There’s so much to enjoy about Saints Row IV: collectibles, superpowers, callbacks, self-reference, video gameness. It’s a game for gamers. It never takes itself seriously and it always allows you the freedom to enjoy yourself however you see fit. Definitely the most fun I’ve had with a single-player game this year and the expansions just add to the greatness. I can’t say enough about what Saints Row means to me. If it wasn’t for DOTA, this would have by far and away been my favorite game this year.
1. DOTA 2
This is probably a shocker to nobody who has listened to the podcast. DOTA is a monster. A beast of a game. It sucks out the little social life you have and replaces it with a horrible community, a lot of wasted time, and some of the best experiences you could ever have with other people. I enjoy DOTA so much it makes me nervous. I tend to delve deep into my hobbies and this is the deepest rabbit hole I’ve found since Magic: The Gathering deeply consumed my soul. The difference between this and Magic is that it’s 100% free and equally as deep and addictive. I’ll be playing DOTA for a long time before I decide I’ve had enough. It’s what I played most this year and what I had the most memorable moments with by far. I’ll remember it fondly after I have to give it up because I’m spending more attention to it then I am my own children.