End-of-year lists. The annual throwaway post for reviewers and pundits. Just gather up an N-numbered list of otherwise unrelated stuff, put the name of the year over them, and then hurry off to start the New Year celebrations early. We shall observe this ridiculous tradition, together, beginning now:
#10 Most Funny Game – Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People
#9 Best RTS – Starcraft
Yeah, yeah. You guys won again. It’s not as impressive as it was the last nine times. Don’t be so smug.
#8 Most Lamentable – Spore
How sad is it that the DRM controversy overshadowed the buzz surrounding this game, which was that it wasn’t very good because it had been “streamlined” for a broader audience? They threw Will Wright’s magnum opus onto the casual games bandwagon, without really understanding what was driving the trend or what all these new players were looking for. Like I mentioned in Reset Button, making games accessible to newcomers means making games that will teach you how to play, not reducing complex ideas into something on par with Peggle.
Putting a big, fat DRM padlock over the thing didn’t help matters either.
#7 Worst MMO Launch – Hellgate: London
Take a great concept. (Fast-paced first-person MMO) Add in a great team. (The Blizzard exiles who made Diablo II.) Add in an interesting premise. (A modern-day demonic invasion.) What do you get? A buggy, shallow, poorly-engineered soup of half-finished ideas and agonizingly bad writing.
Flagship Studios has closed its doors for good. Hellgate is shutting down on January 31. I can envision better ways for this to have turned out.
#6 Best MMO – World of WarCraft
Oh look. Another category where Blizzard just wins over and over again without even trying.
#5 Best FPS – [This Space Reserved for Half-Life 2, Episode 3]
Hurry up guys! This one is yours if you can release before midnight!
#4 Most Adhesive – World of Goo
Delightful, fun, and engaging. (But short.)
#3 Most Bifurcated – Fallout 3
At last, an open world sandbox game that really looks like a giant box filled with sand. Should I love the game for the fun gameplay and setting, or hate it for the inept writing and hilariously bad dialog?
#2 Best Game for everyone else and Worst Game for Me: The Witcher
A widely beloved and celebrated game that I actually found repelling. You can’t please everyone, I guess. You can’t enjoy an RPG if you can’t embrace the main character, and Geralt is someone I don’t want to touch, let alone embrace.
Just goes to show that you should never rely on just one reviewer.
#1 Hey. Why am I numbering these? They aren’t even related.
Crap. I forgot to put Prince of Persia in this list someplace. Ah well.
My question for you: What was your favorite game this year? (It doesn’t have to be FROM this year, just the one you discovered in 2008. We are not the sort to throw away old games at the ringing in of the new year. This is a place for civilized people, after all.)
Thanks for reading. Have a great New Year.
Deus Ex and The Treachery of Labels
Deus Ex Mankind Divided was a clumsy, tone-deaf allegory that thought it was clever, and it managed to annoy people of all political stripes.
Artless in Alderaan
People were so worried about the boring gameplay of The Old Republic they overlooked just how boring and amateur the art is.
Batman: Arkham Origins
A breakdown of how this game faltered when the franchise was given to a different studio.
The Best of 2013
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2013.
Silver Sable Sucks
This version of Silver Sable is poorly designed, horribly written, and placed in the game for all the wrong reasons.