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Meet the destructoid Team >>   Patrick Hancock
Patrick Hancock 's blog
★ destructoid | PC Contributor ★
About

My niece and I

Watching and playing competitive games like Dota and StarCraft take up most of his time. His three favorite non-video game things in the world are space, dinosaurs, and puppets. So if there were ever a space dinosaur puppet, HE WOULD FREAK OUT.

I've graduated college with a degree in History/Education and I'm now a certified Social Studies teacher. I love teaching people things, which may explain my affinity for writing game guides from time to time.

Feel free to hit me up at patrick]at[destructoid.com, or at @therealhancock
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2013 was a year of big life changes for me. I moved into an apartment with my wonderful girlfriend AND got my very first teaching job! Being a teacher has certainly put a damper on the amount of time I can dedicate to videogames, but it’s really just changed the type of games I play instead of playing less games overall. Take the order of this list with a grain of salt since I had a very hard time deciding. 

So here's some games I liked.

Games I haven’t played enough to put on here but would likely end up on here if I played them more: Papers, Please, The Stanley Parable, Rayman Legends, Desktop Dungeons, A Link Between Worlds, State of Decay, Divekick, Gunpoint.

Games that just didn't make it but I still really really like them: Animal Crossing, Monster Hunter, Pokemon X, Ni No Kuni, Rogue Legacy, Antichamber, Wind Waker HD

So without further ado, here are my top 10 games of 2013.


10. Path of Exile

I don't hate Diablo III, but I do think that the game is fundamentally flawed thanks to its auction house, and I feel that many other gameplay decisions were created due to that fundamental flaw. In comes Path of Exile, which feels like the next logical step from the all-time classic Diablo II. Everything about the game feels nostalgic, yet new. The passive skill tree, gem skill system, and map system combine to create a very very different game than Diablo II, but everything about its aesthetic and tone fit right in with the classic ARPG.


9. Eldritch

Eldritch is a game of high highs and low lows. One minute I'll feel like everything is hopeless as I'm scared out of my mind thanks to the amazing audio design, and the next I'm running, sliding, and double jumping my way onto a ledge, only to pull myself up and find a fire mage in my face. The game kind of took me by surprise, as I had no idea what to expect and was (and am) blown away by its quality. One of the many amazing roguelikes to add to the blooming genre.


8. BioShock Infinite

Man, I'm a sucker for BioShock games. I played Infinite on Hard, which was my biggest mistake. The difficulty does not scale well or even feel challenging; just unfair. The game would likely be higher up on this list if I had played it on Normal, but replaying a certain spectral fight a million and a half times towards the end of the game left a sour taste in my mouth. I still enjoy the game's ending and what it means for the Bioshock universe in general.


7. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

An MMO! These things never make this list, but Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn really is something special for Final Fantasy fans. Fan service out the wazoo, and a really solid and lasting experience for MMO fans. Plus, it's freaking B-E-A-UTIFUL. Can't stress that enough.


6. Guacamelee!

Damn I love this game. Platforming goodness that rarely requires pixel-perfect moves but always encourages exploring. Looks beautiful, plays well, and is genuinely funny. I felt that it just the right amount of difficult throughout, which isn't easy to get right apparently, since no one else can do it. I can't wait to see what comes out of Drinkbox Studios next.


5. Kentucky Route Zero Eps 1 + 2

IT'S NOT FINISHED, I KNOW! Even with only 2 of 5 acts released, Kentucky Route Zero has managed to pique my interest more than pretty much any other game this year. It's created such a bizarre and enticing world that I eagerly await the next little droplet of what is to come. Now if only they could create a manageable timetable for future acts...
Oh, and expect this to be on next year's list as well. I HOPE!


4. Monaco

Coop perfection. Once you realize that Monaco is not a stealth game but a heist game, its beauty becomes fully realized. It's okay and even preferable at times, to cause a ruckus. Sitting in the shadows planning and then seeing that plan either beautifully executed or painfully butchered both result in an incredible experience that really is unique to Monaco.


3. The Swapper

MAN I love The Swapper. Infusing the game’s core theme and tone into its single gameplay mechanic is just so great. It deals with some heavy stuff about life and death and cloning, which I honestly didn’t expect going in. The puzzles are tough but not unfair, and the very end of the game still occupies my mind in the best way possible.
Plus, the game’s visuals were made by hand!


2. Super Mario 3D World

What can I say about this game that hasn’t been said already? It’s Nintendo doing what they do best, now in HD! Plus, whatever Toad says when he wins a level is freaking amazing. “POPASQYUAAA!”


1. Dota 2

So, Dota 2 has joined the ranks of the few games that have transcended the “videogame” category into the “hobby” category. Yes, I understand that videogames are hobbies, but certain games became a hobby themselves. Games (for me) like Rock Band 3, which is something I just boot up and play when there’s down time. There’s no “beating” it and I don’t think I’ll truly ever be bored with it. Team Fortress 2 and Spelunky are also in this category. They’re the games that make my GOTY list every year, even if it’s unmentioned.


I am absorbed into everything Dota 2. The gameplay, the economy, the community, the metagame, everything! Every game is so different and you must always be on your toes in order to thrive. I can spend an entire evening simply watching Dota 2 and be perfectly content. In fact, that’s what I prefer to do sometimes! I can’t get enough of Dota 2, and it easily takes this #1 spot on my list.










Do you think this is a joke, Skittles? That amount of Skittles doesn't even fill half the box! I've come to expect this from potato chips, but YOU?!

Et tu, Skittles?








So, I recently moved into a new apartment in north New Jersey with my girlfriend. Though it is totally predictable, I didn't even realize how depressing the mail would be as a new tenant. Some days there's literally nothing! Jeez, at least give me something to throw away, USPS.

Naturally, I send my address to the Destructoid staff in order to spruce things up a bit. Well, Niero and Andy Dixon rose to that challenge and did exactly what I asked for.

Today Niero's package came:



Sweet! Obviously it's a poster container so the possibilities are endless! But it's probably posters. Also, I'm curious if Niero drew that Super Meat Boy or if it was on there when he got it. Niero's a re-packager!!

Opened it up:



That's a GTA Vice city sticker on top, and here is everything finally laid out (note: the items holding the posters down are mine):



That's some sw33t loot! Especially the Dtoid stickers because the one I put on the back of my phone is coming off and I was running out.


THANKS SO MUCH, NIERO!! This was super nice of you!

Now, on to Andy Dick-son's mail, which I received earlier but had to wait for my scanner to arrive to display it in all its glory.

Okay, here we go. Brace yourselves.

Seriously. Brace yourselves.


This is Andy we're talking about, remember.




ta-da!



OMG I love Joseph Gordon Levitt! HOW DID YOU KNOW?! (seriously, I do)

And here is the coup de grâce:



Here they are getting the attention and publicity they deserve:



THANKS FOR THE COCKS ANDY!
Photo Photo Photo








When Hamza sent out the email telling everyone to choose their most anticipated game of 2013, I got really excited. "Hooray!" I thought, "I can let people know about some awesome games coming out this year!" Then I saw that I had to choose only one. ONLY ONE?! Damn, yo. I had a hard time choosing between SpyParty and Monaco, but I eventually went with SpyParty, simply because I had talked about Monaco before.

So now there's this list, 29 more games that I absolutely can't wait for, making it an even 30 with Spyparty. I didn't want to pick games that you are probably already looking forward to, so I went with some indie games that should be on your radar.

So here it goes!


Official Website
Greenlight Page
A game that looks like Wind Waker, plays like Banjo Kazooie, and is coming out for PC? BE STILL MY BEATING HEART! Judging from the game's Greenlight page, it's making way more progress than I thought it would be. It should be interesting to see whether or not this game can live up to its daunting expectations.


Official Website
Greenlight Page
Aw jeez, I've been meaning to make a front page post about Age of Decadence for a while now, but I keep putting it off. The next time they release a beta client though, I promise!

An old-school RPG with a tactics-based combat system is like a dessert that shouldn't exist. Two great tastes that taste great together. The Abbot and Costello of videogames, but probably less funny. You get my drift. Go play the beta and, if you love it, preorder the game. This game is probably in my top 5 for this year, if we're keeping track of such things.


Official Website
When it comes to horror games, I'm a goddamn scaredy-cat. I get frightened playing Minecraft on a pretty regular basis. Amnesia spooked the CRAP out of me, and I have never finished it.

So why am I excited for Among the Sleep? Well, considering you play as a baby, it's got an extra level of meta-narrative considering that, while playing it, I will almost certainly be a baby, scared to turn each and every corner.


Official Website
Thanks to Antichamber, I can finally start using the term "non-Euclidean geometry" on a rather frequent basis. Watching people play this at PAX last year started to hurt my brain, so I can only imagine what theirs felt like. Enter a door, find a dead end, turn around, find an entirely different room.

Eh?

I can't wait!


Official Website
Zombies! While some get tired of the trope, I'm looking forward to games that still manage to strike that certain zombie-survival chord. I can remember reading an RPS interview about Dead State a while ago, and my excitement hasn't really ever left.

Forging relationships, finding shelter, gathering supplies, all enveloped in some turn-based gameplay sweetness? You bet your bippy I'm excited! Zombies or not, this game has serious potential.


Official Website
Greenlight Page
Remember Nitronic Rush? Well, actually, I never played it myself. However, Refract Studios looks to have something right up my alley with Distance. The racing will be, I'm sure, super tight and satisfying, but it's the idea that you're encouraged to explore the track by bouncing and flying around for shortcuts.

It looks really ridiculous and absolutely amazing.


Official Website
Hey! That's code! Here's some of my own code:

if (thisGameDelivers == true){ myFace = :D }

I'm no programmer, but I think this is close enough!

So yeah, else { Heart.break() } has an absolute metric ton of potential. It's planned to have a persistent world that functions even when you're not in it. On top of that, there's puzzle solving with code-writing. If I've learned anything from my computer science days, it's that there are so many ways to approach one simple task, leading me to believe that people will come up with very interesting ideas to solve puzzles in Heart.break().


Official Site
I actually don't know too much about Intruder, but I'm a sucker for any new FPS games with promising ideas. Intruder looks to be pretty unique when it comes to the genre, with a heavy emphasis on gadgets. Security cameras will surround a complex, locks will need to be picked, and people can use mirror cameras all in the context of a competitive FPS game.

Count me in!


Official Website
Greenlight Page
So pretty! Let's run down the checklist of things that make games awesome, shall we?

• Co-op - CHECK
• Permadeath - CHECK!
• Dynamic music and lighting - CHECK!!
• Randomized dungeons - CHECKITY CHECK
• DRM free - CHECK PLEASE!

I'm a big sucker for roguelike-likes, so this game is going to please me greatly. Sounds good, looks good, let's just hope it….plays good.


Official Website
Wah? I missed the Kickstarter for this? Crap! Oh well, I guess I'll just have to WAIT to give them my money. An adventure game in an unknown land in space just sounds so good. Judging from the developer's own words, he seems incredibly passionate about his craft, something that always warms my wittle heart!


Official Website
This is pretty much tied with SpyParty as my #1 most anticipated game of next year. Playing the beta with my girlfriend is so exhilarating. Sitting in vents while I draw out a plan on my monitor with my finger feels freakin' fantastic.

Once you realize that this isn't a game in which you sneak past everyone, things just snap into view. It's okay to be spotted occasionally, in fact sometimes you want to be! Causing distractions for your partner(s) so they can make a move is wonderful! There's even challenge levels that unlock for those of us who love to ramp up the difficulty without some arbitrary slider.


Official Website

"I am going to finish this, after all. It may just take a while."

Oh man. Ohhhh mannnn. oiuhenfdijsdfbnksdjfhsdiuhj


Official Website
Lugaru was a very important game to me. It was one of the first legit indie games I ever played. When I was told it was made by one guy in high school, my mind was all "no way!" Then when I was told he made them bunny people because regular-ass people were hard to model it made me realize that developers know what they're doing. So many things are done on purpose, and not by coincidence or chance.

Overgrowth is the big-boy sequel to Lugaru, and that's sort of all I need to hear. The first game was brutal in its difficulty, ramping up ever so perfectly from its already difficult beginning. It was all about mastering the controls and thinking clearly. From what I've played of Overgrowth, this will be even better.


Official Website
This game! You might remember your parents talking about how much they were looking forward to playing Owlboy once they got home from fighting overseas in the Vietnam War.

Is this game going to come out in 2013? Shit, who knows. But an anticipated list without Owlboy is like an anticipated list without The Last Guardian! Here, just play the demo…

PS - The Last Guardian is not on this list.


Official Website
I am not a fan of Diablo III. I won't get into it, but Blizzard made some really dumb design decisions that turned me away. Torchlight II is great, but it still hasn't compelled me to finish it yet. Path of Exile may very well also fall a bit flat. I'm skeptical of the ARPG genre more than ever, yet Path of Exile still has my interests piqued.

The Final Fantasy-esque systems at play are what really get me. The sphere grid from FFX is the passive skill grid in Path of Exile, allowing you to completely customize your character. There are some great videos out there of people making extremely weird characters that simply manage to work. There's also a FFVII materia system at play with the skills and items, creating even more customization!

I know it's free-to-play, which is more often a bust rather than a boon, but from this closed beta phase, it doesn't look to be a hindrance. Only time will tell though, as so many f2p games have pulled a 180 on their model as soon as the game enters open beta. Please don't disappoint me, Path of Exile.


Official Website
This poor game. So much love, then some dismay, some hate, and now people seem to be just fine with it, though many have probably all but forgotten about it. Another zombie game that seems to be doing what most zombie games forget about: survival. Combined with great aesthetic and diehard developers, this is game I look forward to getting my hands on.


Official Website
Remember all those nice words I said about Heart.break()? Well, double that for Quadrilateral Cowboy. Blendo Games, the developer behind both Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving is also behind this game, which utilizes an in-game laptop for you to code objects in to solve puzzles.

The Hey Ash crew were streaming it at one point, but I can't seem to find it in their archives so just TAKE MY WORD that this game looks awesome. I have a lot of faith in Blendo Games to make this live up to the potential.


Official Website
Another horror game that will scare the butt off me and I'll probably never finish, Routine said the magic words: randomized content and one life.

Oooooh yeah, that's the way I like it.

I'm also a huge fan of outer space, so hopefully this game can capitalize of the absolute fear of the void that I think most of us have.


Official Website
BIT.TRIP.RUNNER was my favorite of the series. Thus, I am looking forward to this game. The art seems like a step backwards, but from what I've played of Runner 2, the gameplay is as great as ever. This one is a no-brainer.


Official Website
I saw this game being played at E3 while I played the equally awesome Moonlighters (more on that later). Basically, you have a gun that can scale things larger or smaller in order to reach certain areas of the map. Like the gun from Portal, this has incredible potential.


Official Website
Playing J.S. Joust was one of the best gaming experience of my life. I'll never forget my first (and only) win. It went a little something like this…

Before the round had even started, I had told my buddy Kenny to just "play along." As the round started, I hid the PS remote behind my back, like many do. However, I backed up into Kenny (who was not playing) and a moment of telepathy came over us as he took the remote and put it behind HIS back. I then proceeded to jump on and around every other player until they were all knocked out.

Retrieving my remote back from Kenny, I held it triumphantly in the air as my combatants applauded.

Oh yeah, and Sportsfriends comes with other games which are just as amazing. Personally, I can't WAIT for BariBariBall.


Official Website
Another game with loads and loads of potential. I've written about it a bit before, and had nothing but praise for it early on. Whether or not they deliver on this insane idea remains to be seen, but I can certainly hope that they do.


Official Website
I played this at PAX last year and it was easily one of the best games there. Insane difficulty and a absolutely amazing concept make Super TIME Force one of my most anticipated titles of the new year.

Once I fully understood how the base mechanics worked, things just naturally clicked. If one of your characters dies, your next character is able to save them by eliminating whatever killed the first character. If you do that, it acts as a checkpoint for when that second character dies.

Wonderful premise, great marketing, and a solid studio make this one of the best. Expect to see this on top 10 lists in December.


Official Website
Some games look good. Some games, on the other hand, look like The Iconoclasts. Everything is just so refined and beautiful. Playing the demo allowed me to see things in motion, proving that rainbows can actually shoot out of your eyeballs if you see something beautiful enough.

This game is probably (hopefully?) already on many radars, so now that I've reminded you, I'll move on.


Official Website
If you haven't played the first Barkley game, you owe it to yourself to go do so ASAP. A great RPG that takes itself incredibly seriously is what makes it an instant classic. Also, it's basically the only way I can play something related to Space Jam.

Though the sequel is taking a different direction, I am very positive that it will deliver on the incredibly high hopes most of us have for it.


Official Website
I actually got to play this at E3, and I was so hungry for more. A great aesthetic and solid gameplay combined with a wonderful plot of out-of-work heist actors trying to perform an actual heist sucked me in real good.


Official Website

Jonathan Blow made Braid. He is now making this. DONE!

Okay, maybe not. Braid was probably the first "indie" game I played that made me go "woah. holy cow!" Everything sort of clicked once the ending hit. Seeing other people react was just as entertaining, and I owe a lot to Mr. Blow and Braid. I can't flipping WAIT for his next game.


Official Website
Greenlight Page
There's just something awesome about going upwards. Maybe it's because we're usually going down, into some dungeon or lair in order to eradicate an evil. TowerClimb, however, has us going the opposite direction, possibly escaping from something? Who knows.

This game is going to be hard, procedurally generated, and best of all, HARD. This ain't no Doodle Jump.


Official Website
Spoiler: I already know this game is wonderful. I've had the beta for a while and have really been enjoying myself. Here's my ten second pitch: A game about resources and survival on a 2D plane with beautiful art. There's a building element and way more to discover as you trek along, either through a predetermined story mode or through a newly added random terrain mode.

The random terrain mode is what I spend most of my time in, since, if you couldn't tell by now, I love me some random elements in games. Definitely keep an eye on Under the Ocean as we move through the year.
Photo Photo Photo








Woah! A top 10 list! This list is actually different than the one I submitted to Hamza a while ago for the official awards, and to be honest, I'm still not sure I'm happy with it. There were a lot of quality titles that came out this year, and thus narrowing it down to 10 is impossibly hard.
All the cool kids are doing it! See?

Hamza
Kyle
Brett
Holmes
Allistair
Chris
Alasdair
Fraser

^Those are some of the coolest kids I know!

Games I haven't played enough so unfortunately I can't put them on this list: Xenoblade Chronicles, Mark of the Ninja, Tokyo Jungle, Sound Shapes, Retro City Rampage, McPixel, Virtue's Last Reward. I'M SORRY TO ALL THESE GAMES

Honorable Mentions: Mario Chase (and I guess the rest of Nintendoland), New Super Mario Bros. U, Dishonored, Rhythm Heaven Fever, Hotline Miami, FTL


BOO THAT ENDING. But yay everything else! While the gameplay wasn't exactly the best in the series, there are moments in Mass Effect 3 that I will never ever forget (for good reasons). There are so many elegiac moments that left such a strong impression on me. Don't pretend like you didn't have likewise experiences! The entire Genophage mission was just…damn. Oh! And the moments with Geth shenanigans. So very delightful.


The Walking Dead was such a powerful and emotional story, but what I found most impressive was its ability to put up smoke and mirrors and make the player think that they had a profound impact on how the events unfolded. Sure, large decisions of character fate are sometimes left to the player directly in black and white decisions, but it's the grey decisions that have little impact that actually matter the most.

Great game, just lackluster gameplay.


Mmmmm. Competition at its finest. A solid blend of RTS and FPS gameplay combined with a great community really make this game stand out from the mundane and trite. I've talked about this game enough though, you should know to go out and play it by now. Feel free to add me on Steam if you want to get some games in!


Half fighter, half visual novel, completely satisfying. Whether you're just into fighting games or just into Persona 4, this game is perfect. However if you, like me, happen to be in that lucky group of people who love fighters AND Persona 4, you'll be in heaven.


DAMN The Real Texas is unique. I've never played anything like it, and I don't see myself coming across another similar game for quite a while. Talking with the various characters, solving the puzzles, and just exploring the world are magical experiences. Naturally, I have to give props to the wonderful soundtrack. Here! Give this track a listen while you read the rest of these words I wrote about other games I liked.


I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with strategy RPGs. The Shining Force series is one of my favorites of all time. I can't begin to describe how wonderful Final Fantasy Tactics is, especially that tasty remake.

XCOM: Enemy Unkown has rekindled that love in a way I didn't think a modern-day game could. Wonderful gameplay with characters I have grown unreasonably attached to makes this cake worth eating over and over again. I one day look forward to playing through the game on Classic difficulty with Ironman mode on. Oh how I look forward to that day.


Oh man, I was not expecting to have such a wonderful time while playing Legend of Grimrock. I didn't grow up on old dungeon crawler games like Dungeon Master, but now I almost wish I had. I thought the combat would grow old, but instead I found myself meticulously clicking on various weapons and summoning spells, creating a sort of ballet-inspired dance with my mouse.

Solving puzzles is what really makes this game shine, however. Playing this game before release was a gigantic blessing: there was no way for me to even try to Google any of the solutions, and I recommend you forgo doing so as well. I felt like a damn genius once I beat this game.


The following three games have changed the way I approach video games from now on. Journey is not only aesthetically pleasing, but the way it works in multiplayer is so gosh darn exciting. The emotional attachment I had with a nameless, voiceless character was astounding. For all I knew, their PSN ID could have been POOPxMANx420, but when I saw them get ate by the large monster after we had been through so much made me stop and mourn for a moment.

Naturally, when I found them again I was ecstatic!

Which then made it so much worse when they decided to quit the game on our last goddamn ascent. WHAT THE HECK, MAN!


Thirty Flights of Loving is a wonderful story, told in all of fifteen minutes. Linear storytelling in videogames has never really been a strong suit, especially as player choice factors more and more into the equation, but moving forward, I hope developers look at Thirty Flights of Loving as an example of how to eliminate the fluff.

Player choice is absolutely wonderful. Games like The Witcher and The Walking Dead have already proven that. Linear games still have their place, however, and they ought to thank Blendo Games for showing them the way to go.


It worries me that people won't play FEZ because they disagree with what Phil Fish has said in the past. It also worries me that people will play through FEZ once and mistake it for a charming platformer with no real depth and an interesting mechanic.

FEZ had enveloped my girlfriend and I for over 20 hours as we tried to get to the bottom of the meticulously detailed world. After pages of pages of notes and hours of wracking our brains, we eventually completed everything. Seeing the Internet at large trying to decode some of FEZ's secrets isn't something that happens often. Hell, I'd reckon this is a once-in-a-lifetime game. When FEZ is ported to PC, do yourself a favor and pick it up. Then do yourself another favor and don't put it down until you can understand EVERYTHING.
Photo Photo Photo









So I'm finally done writing my official game previews for the front page, but there are still a ton of games I played and have SUPER IMPORTANT OPINIONS of. I didn't see any of the big name AAA games because, in my opinion, that's not why you go to PAX. The indie scene is so incredibly strong at PAX that I spent most of my time around the Megabooth. So let's do this.

Runner 2 - I went to the Gaijin Games booth once a day while at PAX. Meeting Alex, Mark and the crew at Gaijin Games was a surreal experience for me. I'm a huge fan of the BIT.TRIP series, with Runner being my favorite. I also really love Beat, but I've played Runner 3 times (Wii, PC, and 3DS) so I think it takes the cake. Runner 2 certainly didn't disappoint. I played much of the first world, including the last two levels. There seems to be a lot more diverging paths per level, with more than one path having collectable gold. There's also a lock-and-key mechanic in which you grab a key and then find the path that's locked, usually leading to an extra collectible.

Mark made sure to point out that it doesn't say BIT.TRIP.RUNNER 2: it says "Bit.Trip Presents…" so if anyone tries to complain that it's not a "real" BIT.TRIP game, they are covered. I think it's a great move to bring the most popular game to more consoles, allowing more people to play it. Personally, I think of it more like an expansion.

Guacamelee - this game looks phenomenal, aesthetically. The combat seems pretty standard, if a bit button-mashy. When I played it with my girlfriend it was a bit hard to coordinate the platforming in time with the dimension-shifting mechanic and I would have liked to see something like Splosion Man's countdown button. Alternatively, you just never stop going. It does at least teleport your partner to you if they don't make it. The game was fun and it had a good sense of humor. Perhaps not super ground-breaking, but it doesn't really have to be.


Theatrhythm Final Fantasy - I wasn't going to wait in line for this, but I had the hankering for some Final Fantasy music. Call me cliché, but I picked One-Winged Angel from FFVII. DEAL WITH IT. There's not too much to say here other than if you liked Elite Beat Agents and you like Final Fantasy games, pick this game up. The art style is turbo-cute and the gameplay is satisfying. It also seems like it'll have a good amount of content.

Super Time Force- YEEEEEES. After Monaco, this was probably my most enjoyable experience of the show. The dead ghost mechanic is really well done and once you fully comprehend what's happening everything flows like butter. I died a lot. So much so that I thought the people behind me were getting peeved that I was sucking. Once I started experimenting with different characters and saving my past lives, I fell in love. This game is easily one of the ones to put at the top of your radar.

Trials Evolution - I played the shit out of Trials HD. My buddies would come over and we would take turns trying to pass specific sections. We played multiplayer even though it wasn't an option! Now that multiplayer is an options, we jumped straight in and let me say: it is such an amazing experience. You're totally focused on what you're doing, but since everyone is always so close, you can always see your friends eating it in your peripherals (and usually hear them go "OOOOOAAAWWWWW SHIT!"). The single player looked like more Trials HD, which is all I ever need. I can't wait until this drops in a week or so.

Mark of the Ninja - I didn't personally play it, but I watched my girlfriend and regular friend play it and WOAH is it good. Ponce has a great write-up of his experience with it and I don't really have too much to add. If you're into ninjas and stealth, this game will totally deliver a great experience for you.


Spirit Camera (3DS) - I just kind of approached this because there was an open 3DS and wasn't quite sure what I was getting into. I'll say this up front: this is not the best portable game, but it looks to be an amazing 3DS game. To elaborate, you won't/can't play this on the bus ride to work or even in the car ride to Disneyland. In order to look around you actually have to rotate the 3DS around you. I was literally turning 180 degrees to look behind me. I'm not sure if you can turn it off, but for the sake of the general public, I'd hope so. The other great part of Spirit Camera is the AR stuff. It comes with a little booklet that works with the game. At times you'll have to find a specific page in the book (by actually turning the pages) and then weird shit happens. The first page I looked at got writing all over it and then had a vortex effect that spiraled out of control. It could potentially grow tiresome, but given the right conditions I think this game could do pretty well!

Wreckateer (Kinect) - I don't have many feelings towards the Kinect. I think it could be a great piece of hardware after a few iterations. I'm more inclined to favor games that will use the controller WITH the Kinect, even if Microsoft is doing their best to prevent that. Anyway, Wreckateer is basically medieval Angry Birds with the Kinect. The demo I played was pretty limited, but I can see it getting real interesting once they throw in more cannonballs. One of them had me holding my arms out like an airplane to steer, which was way more annoying than fun. As a downloadable Kinect title with 60 (!!) levels, you could do way worse. If I had a Kinect I'd likely pick it up.

There's probably more that I'm forgetting, but these are the biggest ones I wanted to share. I didn't really play anything at PAX that I actively disliked, but that probably has to do with my decision to not play the bigger games. I can't stand how boring the Exhibitors are for the non-indie games. Talking to the people who actually made the game is way more satisfying than someone reading you the bullet points. The person behind Trials Evolution was not as pumped as I wanted him to be. Indie devs just seem so….happy to have people playing (and hopefully enjoying) their games.

For now, it's back to playing Skullgirls.
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