Video games are back, ladies and gentlemen. 2013 was rad. New consoles and old promises are finally here. VR is finally here. Something else about something else finally being here. Sure took them long enough.
So I guess Mike asked me to tell you about my favorite games of the year? That crazy bastard won’t stop sniffing me. Gidoutta here Mike.
10: Gone Home
Before anyone points any fingers – yes, Gone Home is definitely a video game.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I made the purchase – in fact the first three minutes of the game put off an eerie vibe that made me rethink what I just spent cold hard cash on. What came after those three minutes made me rethink my decision to rethink. Gone Home tells an excellent story through exploration and interaction with an empty home – and I believe you should play it, regardless of where you stand on the “is it a video game or not” debate.
I’ll have to admit I didn’t buy Gunpoint until only recently. From the very start I knew this was going to be an interesting ride. Gunpoint is a brilliant showcase of what happens when clever writing that slaps you in the face with wit meets rock-solid and interesting gameplay mechanics that don’t get boring or tedious. Something new is thrown at you in almost every level, requiring you to think hard about every move you make. Even the sidequests are entertaining and charming, with unforgettable dialogue and crazy hijinks. Please go play this game. Mike Cosimano is not crazy.
8: XCOM: Enemy Within
Do expansions count in this list?
If not, XCOM: Enemy Within is the lone exception. In the age of paid DLC and micro transactions, Enemy Within manages to capture exactly what goes into a real expansion. The new mechanics are subtle and blend seamlessly with the rest of the game (which was my 2012 game of the year), but the impact on the gameplay is huge. It encourages rushing forward and playing fast where previously one would take their time and hide behind cover. It feels like an entirely different game – and it’s so good.
7: Super Mario 3D World
They did it again. I’m pretty sure some genius Nintendo swiped the contents of the “Cut Ideas From Previous Mario Games” bucket, put ’em in a blender and pressed that into a Wii U disc. Seriously, this is definitely a main console Mario game, in fact it feels more like Galaxy than 3D Land. There’s tons of little secrets and bonus surprises after finishing the main game, you’ll be entertained for long after it’s over. Multiplayer enhances the replayability by like six thousand times, if you’ve got friends. The Wii U finally has a “must have” game.
Ever had a dream where you were walking down a hall, and then you turned back to see it wasn’t the same hallway? That’s what Antichamber is. This game will mess with your mind as you solve block puzzles and learn the rules of this weird monochrome world. Non-euclidean geometry, weird-ass block guns, eyeball walls, disappearing floors, impossible spaces and more await you in the best first person puzzle game this year.
5: Fire Emblem: Awakening
I have a thing for strategy games.
My 3DS was feeling unloved as hell up until Fire Emblem: Awakening released. I completely fell in love with it. 160 hours and three playthroughs later, I think I can finally say that this is a must-have game on 3DS. I really don’t even know what else to say, just go play it.
4: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
I personally dislike modern Zelda games. My sister loaned me a copy of the recent 3DS release, and I was pleasantly surprised by a well-put-together game that is as delightful as it is clever. It might be the same world as its predecessor on the SNES, but enough has changed to make it meaningful and fresh. This 60FPS adventure is fantastic from start to finish. Nintendo has finally hit their stride with the 3DS.
3: Metal Gear Solid: Legacy Collection
Shut up, rereleases also count. [No they don’t. -ed] If you think you need to know why the Metal Gear series is great, you seriously need to sit down and play these games. Get yourself educated. *drops the mic*
2: The Stanley Parable
Once there was a man named Myles. He had a very simple task: write down his favorite games of 2013. Day in and day out he would play these video games, and think about the order in which he’d place them on his top ten. Number two was a peculiar game, called The Stanley Parable. He thought it was an amazing look into video game storytelling cliches and tropes, one that often shattered the fourth wall (Maybe even the fifth wall? Maybe there aren’t even walls at all, maybe we’re just standing on top of a platform looking up into space (There’s a part in the game that may or may not be similar to that).). To talk more about the game is a spoiler in itself, so hoverboard on over to your brand-spanking new Steam Machine in 2014 and spend some Bitcoin to purchase this game.
Divekick is stupid. It is a stupid, stupid game. That’s why it’s my favorite release of the entire year, it doesn’t take itself (or the genre it parodies) seriously. Matches are fast-paced and super dumb and insane and I can’t get enough of it. At PAX, I spent upwards of 60% of my time at the Divekick booth – passerby would often exclaim, “Wow! I could get into that game, there are only two buttons!” The control scheme is what makes it so delightful, since there’s only two buttons I’ve been able to convince a staggering number of people to play, and they get good at it within fifteen minutes. No combos to memorize, no exploits, no shielding, it’s a fighting game distilled into its simplest form and thus a perfect party game.