Many fantastic games were released in 2013, and I didn’t really play most of them. Angry at my sheer laziness, Mike began spending inordinate amounts of money on Steam [$10] to force me to play all of the games he deemed worthy of the title of “Game of the Year.” I didn’t really give a shit, but hey, free stuff! After playing all of the gifts that Mike has showered upon me, I retreated into my mountain cave to deliberate which of these games was the “Best Game Of The Year.” After consulting the spirits of gaming, their divine whispers etching the names of the best games into the flesh under my neckbeard, I have descended from my mountain lair to bring to you…
THE BEST GAME’S OF THE YEAR.
10. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Brothers was quite the entertaining and charming experience that tugged at the heart strings in all the right places. The art and sound design of the game was absolutely phenomenal, though the controls could get a little tricky at times. While it doesn’t quite stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Ico or Journey, it is still a well-crafted and exceptionally emotional experience.
9. Gone Home
Gone Home is a bit of a weird one, coming from the recently emerging “exploration” genre of video games that challenge the definition of what a video game is. Gone Home accomplishes the unique task of creating and building several characters through player interaction with the world. While Sam, the player character’s sister, has her story told through explicit narration, the stories of the other members of the family are left for the player to deduce through the placement of objects in the environment and through hand-written notes. Entire character arcs are told through careful placement of items in the house, hidden in plain sight for the player to discover through their own actions. The unraveling of multiple mysteries through my own actions is what made Gone Home stand out in my mind, and that’s why I have it on this list.
Remember how I said that Gone Home was a bit of a weird one? Antichamber is downright bizarre. Antichamber can best be described as Portal meets MC Escher with a bit of LSD Dream Emulator thrown in for good measure. The game has the player navigating physically impossible structures that can accurately be described as being “absolutely fucking bananas.” It takes the game design principal of “impossible space,” normally only used for getting around tough bits of level design, and goes all-out with it in every conceivable way. Antichamber stands out as a shining example of games doing what is impossible for any other kind of medium. It’s one thing to see a picture of “an impossible staircase” or some other optical illusion, but it is another thing entirely to actually walk up and down said staircase and to attempt to navigate it by shifting the way that you’re looking at it. Antichamber is bananas and deserves to be played by everyone.
7. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Let’s not beat around the bush here: this game is stupid as hell. This is a game where a zombie cyborg soldier from the distant year of 2007 fights evil cyborg commandos that want to use dragon blood to super-charge nukes and cause World War 4 to take place. Or something. This game is a love letter to every stupid thing that my mom hates me for loving. Garish color combinations, bass-heavy synth music, wonton-destruction, and unironic bicep close-ups. I love this game and everything about it, and so should you.
6. Steamworld Dig
There’s something weirdly engrossing about games that involve a lot of menial labor. Steamworld Dig is a game about a steam-powered mining robot that travels to the Old Western town of Tumbleton in order to inherit his robot uncle’s mine. Steamworld Dig combines the destructible 2D environments of Spelunky with the exploration and upgrade progession of the 2D Metroid games. The more you dig, the more upgrades you can discover. The more upgrades you discover, the deeper you can dig. It’s a very addicting cycle that makes for the perfect on-the-go game. You can quote me on that, too. “Steamworld Dig is… the perfect on-the-go game.” – Steven Epps, Video Game Choo Choo.
5. Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed
Where the fuck is Miku, Sega? Where is she? We had that big poll nearly a year ago where everyone voted for Miku, and you still haven’t given her to us! Sure, you localized the Project Diva F games and that’s awesome, but you friggin’ forgot to add Miku! You make a kart racer that is arguably more fun than any Mario Kart game, you dangle the promise of me being able to play as my waifu in it, and then you snatch it away from me? You sicken me, Sega. I love this game, and I love Miku, you tell me I’ll have Miku in this game, and you give me Simon from the Yogscast. Absolutely deplorable. 10/10 game, I highly recommend it.
I wouldn’t be surprised if John put this game in his #1 spot, because he’s “that way,” but if I’d be lying if I said it didn’t deserve it. Divekick is a lot of fun as a party game, something to pass the time with a bunch of friends with absolutely zero gaming know-how to play. Got some people over? Break out Divekick. Get yelled at for using The Baz. Get called a casual by the guy who mains Nightmare in Soul Calibur. Get drunk and attack that guy AFTER HE ATTACKED ME FIRST. Spend the night in jail while my lawyer advises me to not blog about the incident. Blog about the incident anyway. Get off on a technicality. Point is, Divekick is a really fun game and you should play it.
3. The Stanley Parable
This game is absolutely hilarious, and it could not have come at a more appropriate time. With games like Gone Home and Dear Esther having certain people who I am being told not to call “fedora neckbeards” decrying for “not being games,” The Stanley Parable steps forward to make light of every party involved by asking the player what they truly believe a game to be. I’d go in to greater detail than that, but that’s really no fun and it spoils the experience. So go play Stanley Parable. It’s piss funny and costs five dollars less than Gone Home.
2. A Link Between Worlds
I love the Legend of Zelda series, and loving the Legend of Zelda series has been pretty hard lately. With the abomination that was Skyward Sword fresh in our minds, preceded by the aggressive mediocrity that was Twilight Princess, it seemed that Nintendo had been really struggling to make a good Zelda game. Lots of fans were worried when Link Between Worlds was announced, citing Aonuma stating in interviews that he saw no problems with Skyward Sword and footage of the game with a nigh-identical overworld to Link to the Past. Good thing, then, that Link Between Worlds is absolutely goddamned amazing and is probably the best entry in the series to date.
It stands as a shining example that Nintendo is actually listening to player feedback and is willing to make the necessary changes in order to please the fans. If you own a 3DS, you owe it to yourself to stop playing Animal Crossing and to pick up this game. It’s much better than Animal Crossing anyway. Like seriously, how are you still playing that game every single day when pretty much all you can do is collect fruit and lose all of your favorite villagers and have them replaced with awful villagers like Jambette? Play Link Between Worlds. You will never face the heartbreak of Lily moving out and being replaced with Jambette ever again.
1. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
This game is awesome. Platinum Games is awesome. That’s really all you need to know, but I guess I’ll keep on going anyway. This game takes all of the loopy nonsense that Metal Gear is known for and turns it all the way up to eleven, and combines it with the baffling craziness that made Bayonetta so wonderful. I’d like to tell you a story. Can I tell you a story? I’m gonna tell you a story. A couple of weeks ago, I showed this game to a friend of mine, telling him absolutely nothing about it. As far a he knew, this was a game about Solid Snake and by his own admission he was ready for “one of those weird dumb games that [I] like.” Ten minutes later, he was screaming “OH MY GOD THIS IS BAYONETTA” at the top of his lungs in utter glee as he was slicing through a giant robot while running down a clocktower. That’s how awesome this game is. Buy it.