…that I happened to play this year, even though they may have come out in various other years.
Look, I tried for a spell to be one of those Video Game Reviewers at a sparkling $5 a pop (or negative $55 + 60 man hours, depending on how you analyze costs/benefits), and it just didn’t take. I play video games slowly, exploring dark corners and alternate storylines until I’m the very best at everything. I also only play single-player games so no one can CONTEND with me that I’m the very best at everything. Also, sadly, no one will ever look upon my sweet gear and weep with jealousy. Tear.
I would say I let my games breathe like a fine wine, but I chug my wine, so terrible analogy there. I let them breathe like a fine spider. For several months and statistically less than 6 feet away from me at any given time.
IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, here are the games I enjoyed most in the past year!
The one by Telltale. Not the other one. Okay, so I haven’t technically finished this one so NO SPOILERS, but I’m at the very beginning of the last chapter, and I really can’t stop thinking about it. Told in the Walking Dead universe, we come across some familiar faces, but the story centers around new characters, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of a good “how they dealt with the onset of the apocalypse” tale. I love how the game touches on how people must retain their humanity, with tough decisions on battling the undead mixed in with trying to be a good role-model to the young girl you’ve taken under your wing. They don’t give out the Game Of The Year Award to chumps, and this game won it in 2012. I must have Video Game Stockholm Syndrome, because as much as I am torn apart by decisions that might have repercussions later on, I sure do love them!
A few posts ago, you may recall I lamented giving up a few video games for no reason, and there they sat, collecting dust on my shelf. I also was in a bit of a financial pinch in 2013 and in the “no buying anything, no going out ever” edict that ruled my life, I suddenly had a lot more time to look on dusty shelves for things to do, like dusting, selling all my possessions, and playing dusty possessions I didn’t want to sell. I am embarrassed to admit that I think it was all the reading of random pieces of paper you found along your quest that burned me out the first time, but once I realized you didn’t have to read any of them and could just go around flirting with everyone and killing things, I was sold. I really enjoyed this game, and I’m surprised I didn’t hear more about it when it came out.
The Last of Us
Okay, this game DID come out in 2013! Even though I mentioned the opposite above, I really enjoyed that it was story-driven, not a role-playing game. You don’t choose if your gritty Joel has a Heart of Gold, you take the journey with him, forced to see the world through his eyes. Now, I am not great at games like this because I miss out on brilliant level design and puzzle solving by running into hordes of Mushroom Zombies screaming and whacking them blindly with my shiv when you were actually supposed to use something awesome in the environment to achieve the same effect. No matter. I also did not actually BEAT the game because of a FATAL BUG that froze the screen right before the denouement. But I enjoyed watching the end on YouTube… Though, if I’m this mad and the game STILL made my list, then it must be pretty good.
Okay, this is getting to be a theme here, but I SERIOUSLY almost didn’t finish this game because I was too darn scared! If you haven’t heard of it, Alan Wake is a game about a writer who goes to a quaint New England town to escape his writer’s block, has a view blackouts, and wakes up to find a manuscript that he can’t remember having written suddenly becoming true. As he searches for pages of the manuscript, horrible things come after him in the dark — where he ends up a lot — and you can’t kill them until you’ve shone your flashlight on them for several seconds. If you think knowing and understanding this game mechanic stops me from shooting my gun pointlessly at terrifying ghosts, YOU ARE WRONG. I guess it just goes to show how a compelling story can make me complete a game that is completely out of my comfort zone. Tyler could hear me screaming from upstairs.
I said this was in no particular order, but since this game is currently contending Final Fantasy 7 for my favorite game of all time, I think it’s safe to say this was my favorite game of the year. Booker Dewitt is charged with rescuing Elizabeth Comstock to pay off a debt he owes in a mysterious floating town that seceded from America. Yes, a few of the messages were heavy-handed, the bad guy a bit cartoonishly nefarious at times, but the colors were so pretty, the gameplay was so smooth, and the STORY! I read ESSAYS on the story when I finished playing the game. I don’t traditionally love shooters, but somehow I was good at this one, and I looked forward to enemy fights like never before. I think I’ll play this game again. I’m getting excited just remembering it.
Looking forward to continuing to game it up in 2014. I got “Beyond: Two Souls” and “Gone Home” for Christmas, and I’m really excited to get into them. Anything I should be on the lookout for?