12/15/2013

Game of the year

Hello everyone! The year's slowly ending. Everyone around me is slowly summing up their successes and failures. Half a month from now we will all have new year resolutions that will mostly last less than a week. Ahhh, the end of the year atmosphere was alrady surrounding me so snugly, when I got a spam e-mail from Gamespot.

Gamespot was announcing their game of the year nominees. Click on the link, don't be shy. I personally loved it. Why? It just represented so much good in the gaming community. Professional studio and a reveal formula that brought to mind sport studios in the half-time breaks during football games (to the american readers: deal with it - in football, you use feet, not hands to move the ball around - foot + ball - can't get any clearer than that ^^). Five guys sitting at a table. Each of them knowing at least a bit about the games they were discussing. Each of them cleverly stimulating the conversation to be as interesting as possible. Each of them showing a lot of wit, creativity and self-aware hypocrisy. Each of them talking about games. Not sports. And none of them coming across ass awkward nerds with social skills of a retarded stone. And on top of that, a very cute girl that was in charge of tweet management that was bringing more wit and humor to the table instead of boobs.


This video showed a level of maturity mixed with joy I would love to see more in the community. Sadly, as soon as Mary started reading the tweets from watchers, the level of maturity dropped on its face into a sea of emotional preferences. Shows how much work there's still ahead of us before we can really show games are not just for kids, but hey - at least we're slowly getting there. Good job, Gamespot guys!

Games Making Noob's GOTY
All of this made me want to make one of my own, too! And since it is my own, I can also apply any rules I want. So here it comes. Games eligible for the GMN GOTY award are games that I have played in 2013 for the first time. So even though I spent dozens of hours replaying old Final Fantasy titles on my PSP, these games don't count, I have played them earlier. I don't care if the games were released in 2013 or 1983. If I just discovered them, they are new to me and my experience with them came from last year. You, as a reader, can of course vote for any of the nominees in the rarely used comment box below. Obviously, your voice won't count in the verdict, because it's my GOTY not yours, but it will sure be fun to see what you guys think of the games I'll pick. Maybe I'll make a "GMN readers pick" award?

What's the award? Eternal glory on the virtual pages of my blog. Oh, and I'll send a congratulations card to the studio that released the game. And I'll probably write a lot more about the game in the post that reveals the winner. And... That's it. What more recognition could the winners want? Lol.

Games eligible for the title are 

on PC:
Dear Esther, Evoland, Portal 1 and 2, Recettear, The Walking Dead, Thomas was Alone.

on Android:
Plants vs. Zombies 2, Tower Defense, World of Goo.

on PS3:
Alien Rage, Catherine, Demon's Souls, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Dragon's Dogma, Far Cry 3, flOw, Flower, Guacamelee!, ICO, Journey, Little Big Planet Karting, Lollipop Chainsaw, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Remember Me, The Last of US, Tomb Raider, Uncharted 3, XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

Games that just missed the time window by a month or two include Shadow of the Colossus, Bioshock 1 and 2 and Dark Souls, which is paradoxically fortunate - those would make the choice of the one best game so much harder!

And here come the ten nominees!

Catherine

Even though I didn't completely love the story and the immature, bipolar approach to a complicated adult topic, I still can't deny that Catherine's gameplay is extremely fun and well-designed. Not to mention an impressive difficulty level that's design-based, not just achieved with modifiers to parameters. 


Demon's Souls
Another demanding game I have spent well over 100 hours with before I finally got the platinum trophy (mostly because I have erased my save data halfway through the second playthrough). Why did I platinum it? Out of respect for the team who made it. It's a game that my girl hated so much she bought me awesome headphones just not to hear the game anymore :)


ICO
Another game I have already written about. Beautiful story told with minimum words. Intelligent, rewarding puzzles, the feeling of responsibility as you hold Yorda's hand to get her to safety. One of these experiences that simply enriches our lives. 


Journey
Another beautiful story. This time told with no words whatsoever. One of the pearls of video game writing combined with a bold, consistent art direction. By far the best online co-op experience I've ever had. Just an hour and a half long, linear game that touches your heart every single time you play it.


Little Big Planet Karting
One of extremely few games that I could actually play together with my girl on PS3. Delightfully fun and random. After a few races you even stop caring whether you are winning or loosing. All that really counts is getting new clothes, new carts and whacking the opponents with whatever you find on the track.


Lollipop Chainsaw
Another game that exists purely for fun. Sets your expectations really low just to prove how much more it is. The game is fun from start to the end, with great pacing and variety of gameplay mechanics that don't overwhelm, but are just enough to keep you experiencing a new thing every half an hour. A game you buy for boobs and you end up with a whole lovely package. 


Portal
I know Portal 2 is probably better in every possible aspect, having more assets, more variety, more characters, more clever dialogues, better pacing and in general much higher production values... But there's just something cute about a game that has been built from Half-Life leftovers, crude and simplistic, but not really lacking anything. And the ending - definitely the best ending credits I have ever seen. 


The Last of Us
Speaking of production values, they do not get any higher than in this game. Right at the end of PS3's life cycle, Naughty Dog shows everyone, how much could developers actually squeeze out of a 6-years old console, but never actually did. Interesting and coherent world, believable characters, well-crafted story. Even though I didn't like the gameplay one bit, I still can't deny this production a very high score.


Thomas was alone
I was having hard time deciding which of the PC games to nominate and I decided to just go with the ones with best storytelling and... Yeah, Thomas was alone (in my opinion) wins with The Walking Dead and Dear Esther in this category. The world of this game just couldn't get any more simple, yet still Mike Bithell managed to deliver a very deep gameplay and narrative through it. 


XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Nostalgic journey back to the days of my youth that not even the crappy localization could keep me from playing. I would call it a very good port to the modern gaming standards that still manages to keep the game challenging (or even crazy hard if you choose ironman mode). So what the assets mostly look like crap. Games are meant to be played, not looked at :)



Make sure to vote on the games of your choice. The official winner of GMN GOTY award will be announced in a few days. Or in a week. Or whenever the hell I decide which game deserves it most. 


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7 comments:

  1. The song from Portal 2 credits is just as amusing as in the first one.
    Oh yeah, the cake is a lie.

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    Replies
    1. Haven't seen the Portal 2 song yet - still in 8th chapter I think (beauty of playing 10 games at once). So still... Portal has the best ending I've ever seen ^^

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  2. make sure to play Gone Home next year.

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    Replies
    1. I've probably spioiled it for myself by watching under 2 minutes speedrun of the game. Is it really that good experience?

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    2. I will make sure to add that to my list. Thanks!

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    3. If you're willing to pay $10 for it, it's on sale in Humble Store today. :)
      https://www.humblebundle.com/store/p/gonehome_storefront

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