2016 Games of the Year
A bit disingenuous to put this at number one, I am confident this is the “best game” that came out this year even if it didn’t resonate with me as much as some of the others on this list. I am far from hardcore in this game (I still have yet to play ranked), but this game will have the longest legacy of any game that came out this year. I’m excited to play more.
2. The Witness
When I turned off The Witness, it was usually in frustration. When I opened up the Witness again, I was moments from triumph. The line puzzle that seemed impossible 18 hours ago now was evidently clear. This game took hold of my mind and I let the line puzzles in. It’s further, unspoken mysteries add to its charm.
First person shooters aren’t on this level. The story of DOOM--yes, DOOM--is so good, it bears pulling a friend aside and saying, “look, this is unreal. In the new Doom you wake up as the original Doomguy from a damn sarcophagus and you’re like a minor deity?” Besides all of that greatness, the action of fighting demons, while absurd, is satisfying in the way that reminds you damn, games can be so fun sometimes.
Full disclosure, I kickstarted Superhot, which i only mention to say that I’m the coolest and I supported this game into life. Between this and DOOM, I actually had fun doing shooty games!
Oh, Seafall. If I’d played maybe five less times, you would still be my game of the year. You’re too damn complicated, you’re unbalanced, and you take too long, but all the same, Seafall is the most fun game I played this year. For those who don’t know what Seafall is, it’s a board game where you play with the same people again and again and the events from previous games carry over, as well as some other surprises along the way. It’s extremely bold, and I feel lucky to have played it, but damn, if only it was ALL there, it’d be my favorite game of all time.
6. Clash Royale
For anyone who says mobile games are stale, everything is a clone of the same three genres --- Clash Royale is the biggest game of 2016 on mobile ( ok, maybe besides pokemon go) and it completely invented a genre and mechanics wholesale. This is the first game to truly feel like a design masterpiece on mobile.
It’s a story, a setting, and a protagonist I will return to again in years to come. I believe I haven’t yet decided what Firewatch will mean to me, but it will continue to find new ways to mean something to me.
This was an experience.
9. Super Mario Run
Platformers on mobile had a great year, as this leads a pack that includes other great games like Leap Day and Eggggg. I believe the design choice to make the levels relatively easy to beat but very difficult to collect the optional coins was a genius move that changed what this games trajectory would be. Now, I plug away, inching closer to beating all levels on black coin difficulty, enjoying every second.
10. Dark Souls 3
I loved this game when I was playing, like I loved all the other souls games. But this is the first one I didn’t finish. Equal parts life getting in the way and losing that urge to press on. (And, Bloodborne eats this game’s lunch). But hey it’s still a damn souls game.
Star Wars Force Arena - fantastic mobile MOBA that launched on Jan 12 2017, but I played in beta extensively in Nov/Dec of 2016. This is currently my GOTY for 2017 (I know, its early)
Mafia 3 - This is a great game I haven’t played enough of yet, could be my GOTY when I finally finish it but it’s not there yet.