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4:00 PM on 12.21.2014

Kyle MacGregor's sexy picks for Game of the Year 2014

And, suddenly, another year passed us by. It seems like 2014 had only just arrived, and already it's being hauled away, kicking and screaming, never to be seen or heard from ever again. It's important that we take this time t...

Kyle MacGregor


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Darren Nakamura's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014 photo
Darren Nakamura's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014
by Darren Nakamura

This has been an unusual year for me. In previous years, coming up with my favorite games has amounted to listing the ten games I played and then ranking them. In 2014 I took on many more reviews than I have in the past, so now I have some actual trimming to do. For the first time, there are games I enjoyed that did not make the cut.

A more striking aspect I noticed after building my list is that my preferred platform has shifted. Where my favorite games in previous years mostly released on major consoles, this year it is almost all PC and 3DS. Heck, I moved across the country in September, and while my PC was the first thing I set up in the new place, I still have not hooked my Xbox 360 up.

Here are my favorite games of 2014.

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Brett Makedonski's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014 photo
Brett Makedonski's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014
by Brett Makedonski

2014 was the most hectic twelve months of my life. Up until late September, I'm fairly certain I spent more of the year on the road than at home. I did so much travelling that I honestly considered eschewing a top five games of the year list in favor of the top five conventions.

While I definitely love the jet-set life, it unfortunately meant that I played fewer games than ever before. I previewed way more titles than I ever saw the final build of. That's why you only get five games from me, because I didn't get a chance to play all that many in 2014. Still, I believe each of the titles on this list is incredibly important in its own right.

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Jonathan's personal GOTY for best butt goes to... photo
Jonathan's personal GOTY for best butt goes to...
by Jonathan Holmes

The Captain Falcon amiibo is apparently pretty hard of get a hold of right now. Through a strange series of events, I ended up with one last night. Without getting into all the details, I'll let you know that I ended up standing beside a local Pokémon champion at nearby Target store. He influenced the clerks behind the counter to look in their backroom for Captain Falcon amiibos. The clerks were sure they didn't have any in stock. The Pokémon champion was sure that they did. Somehow, he was sure.  

Guess who was right?

To be clear, I don't entirely approve of the amiibo craze. Seeing so many people spend their time and money on all these ornamental plastic statues while they ignore great Wii U games like Stealth Inc 2, Lone Survivor, 1001 Spikes, and Thomas Was Alone makes me a little blue. That said, the Captain Falcon amiibo is a charmer worth squawking about, which is why it won my personal butt of the year award.

Thanks again to the Beastie Boys. 

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Chris Carter's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014 photo
Chris Carter's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014
by Chris Carter

Despite what people may say, I thought 2014 was an excellent year. Heck, nearly every year is great for gaming. I played over 300 titles across all platforms, a little more than last year -- but mostly that's because of my promotion to Reviews Director at Destructoid.

It took me weeks to narrow down my top selections, a process I started in earnest in November. There was so much to play this year, with offerings all across the spectrum of gaming.

Here are my top 10 picks in no particular order.

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Nominees for Destructoid's Best World Design of 2014 photo
Nominees for Destructoid's Best World Design of 2014
by Steven Hansen

[Image credit: Mike Lambert]

If we are the world, then technically this award is for all of us. Pat yourselves on the back. Only 12 games are being nominated, though, and only 1 will be winning the award. But it's an honor just to be nominated. 

Creating worlds, interactive digital spaces for us to dive into, is one of the strength of games, tying back to that good old feeling, "immersion." These nominees created coherent or otherwise arresting virtual realities. Alien tension. Sweeping scope. Hot Topic's vision of punk rock. Southern Gothic magical realism. 

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Nominees for Destructoid's Best Game Mechanics of 2014 photo
Nominees for Destructoid's Best Game Mechanics of 2014
by Brittany Vincent

[Image credit: Mike Lambert]

You can have the greatest narrative in the world and sprinkle memorable characters and scenes throughout a game, but all of it's for naught if your mechanics can't shine through. As the great Irving Mills once wrote, "it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing."

These nominees spotlight the best of games that transcend the simple title of "functional" and instead go for the gold when it comes to making things feel absolutely solid. Pulling off combos is akin to wrapping yourself up in a silk robe. You never have to fight these games in order to complete objectives. They're all titles you'd be playing over and over even if the other aspects were lacking. They simply feel right. We all know I'm talking about Bayonetta 2, but here's a list of other games, I guess. 

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GOTY 2014: Best interpretive representation of Jeff Goldblum photo
GOTY 2014: Best interpretive representation of Jeff Goldblum
by Steven Hansen

Someone once told me I talk like Jeff Goldblum. This is not true. I also don't look like Charlie Day, Peter Frampton, Bret McKenzie, Michael Sheen, or Dikembe Mutombo. But at least I appreciated the former (tip: don't tell people who they look like; it is confusing and uncanny at best, offensive at worst). If I could channel a fraction of Goldblum's swarthy, gangly, aloof sex appeal or ability to vomit stomach acid onto his food while his shedding, greasy hair starts to look like a perm, my life would definitely be better. Especially if I had the vomit thing. 

And so it is that the third Steven Hansen's Destructoid's GOTY 2014 award is for the Best interpretive representation of Jeff Goldblum. If you missed them, here are the awards for illiteracy (Best willful misspelling in a title) and Best musical.  

Because I am being sneaky/horny and using a shirtless Goldblum to adorn this post rather than art from the winner, now it feels like I have the element of surprise on my side and I'm pussyfooting around giving the award. Juking left, juking right. Will there be a world-shattering upset? I can feel you tittering with suspense as if you were hanging on Jeff Goldblum's every word and "Look," hand gestures. 

Without further stalling, I hereby award Transistor the Steven Hansen's Destructoid's GOTY 2014 award for Best interpretive representation of Jeff Goldblum! Supergiant's sophomore effort is almost cool to a fault. It is aloof, but with a sumptuous, angular aesthetic that mirror's Goldblum's icy-hot mystery. 

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Predicting the next Telltale Games series photo
Predicting the next Telltale Games series
by Kyle MacGregor

The people at Telltale Games are wizards. There's no other explanation. They have an uncanny ability to coax money men into handing over the keys to some of the most valuable properties in the entertainment business. Then they seemingly have carte blanche to toy with things people hold dear, churning out officially sanctioned fan fiction right and left like there's no tomorrow.

They did it to Back to the Future. And Law & OrderNow they're doing it to MinecraftMinecraft!

Sometimes it turns out great. Other times Jurassic Park happens. It's wonderful. It's awful. It's everything that's right and wrong in the world. And it's going to happen again. And again...

I'm curious, though. What will they do next? Let's explore the possibilities. Let's find out.

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Nominees for Destructoid's Best Narrative Design of 2014 photo
Nominees for Destructoid's Best Narrative Design of 2014
by Brett Makedonski

[Image credit: Mike Lambert]

It's impossible to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes for great narrative design. It's just something you know when you see. It's more than an outstanding story (although, that's certainly a requisite). It's the melding of game mechanics with narrative to create an experience that's elevated beyond those two parts individually.

But, the thing is, there's no formula to ensure it'll work in perfect harmony. All too often, games that excel at telling a story fall somewhat flat with gameplay, or vice versa. It takes a special title to work hand-in-hand with itself to create that seamless whole.

When that happens, it's a wondrous feeling. We're left with the games that can keep us on the edge of our seat in delight, or slouched as deep in the couch as possible, gutted with despair. We're left with the games that we can't stop playing, or that we can't stop thinking about when we're not playing. We're left with the titles that cement the idea that videogames are a transcendent medium.

These are Destructoid's nominees for Best Narrative Design of 2014.

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GOTY 2014: Best musical photo
GOTY 2014: Best musical
by Steven Hansen

What a dismal showing this year. Last year had Frozen, which tailed into this year, world without end, amen, with a long icy tail like Halley's comet. When are we going to have the "Let it Go" of videogames? We'll never have made it as an artform until games can produce a number with such virality and ubiquity that I start to wonder, "Wouldn't my life be better without a son," and "Remember the end of Ichi the Killer, with the sewing needles? That movie had some good ideas." 

Here are some of the so-called "big musicals" of 2014 that failed to register a single musical number: Alien: Isolation. Dragon Age: Inquisition. The trailer for the new Star Wars film. Bayonetta 2. Dark Souls II. Embarrassing. 

While no one put their bach into it to interrupt all sense of tone and pacing with a barrage of gaudy sung intermissions, I hereby award Kentucky Route Zero Steven Hansen's Destructoid's GOTY 2014 for Best musical, namely for its one stirring musical number in Act 3. This is quality over quantity folks. Kentucky Route Zero's first two parts are enough to make it one of the best games of last year, and the lone Act 3 enough to make it one of this year's best--and the best musical. 

First, the number pop ups organically, at a place you might expect song singing to happen, rather than in a prison or a dementia care home or the post office or just generally a place where you might not expect synchronized singing of thoughts and emotions by patrons. Oh, also a hair enhancement clinic. That's another one where a musical number feels out of place. Anyways, the sensibility of the time and place clashes beautifully with the levels of mediation inherent to the genre and toyed with in the mechanics. Just play the damn thing, the whole of it. 

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Nominees for Destructoid's Best Multiplayer Design of 2014 photo
Nominees for Destructoid's Best Multiplayer Design of 2014
by Chris Carter

[Image credit: Mike Lambert]

Friends can make any game worth playing. Growing up, couch play was a staple in my household. I would often have videogame themed birthday parties, inviting all of my buddies over to have fighting game tournaments and, one time, a Tenchu II level editor challenge.

While a great single-player game can always elicit strong emotional reactions within oneself, a great multiplayer game lets you share those emotions with your loved ones. These are the games that made us feel special this year. The ones that had an impact on our lives as we gamed into the late night hours with the best of company.

These nominees have mechanics specifically designed to facilitate engaging interactions with others, which inherently differs from the design choices found in solo experiences.

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GOTY 2014: Best willful misspelling in a title  photo
GOTY 2014: Best willful misspelling in a title
by Steven Hansen

Might be your taste makers on this webpage made a Huge™ boner and left Samurai Gunn out of its 2014 game of the year plans. Because of its mid-December 2013 release, it was left out last year, too, and should have had 2014 eligibility. And there certainly isn't a multiplayer game I've had more fun with over the course of the year than the only game trying to carry Bushido Blade's torch. 

And there ain't a game that makes better use of a superfluous double consonant neither, so I am hereby awarding Samurai Gunn the Steven Hansen's Destructoid's 2014 GOTY award for Best willful misspelling in a title.  

Like a real gun or a decorative katana beneath your anime tits wall scroll, the second 'n' just makes you look cooler. This is how you name a game folks (incidentally, this is how you don't name a game, for the love of my Rouroni Kenshin reverse blade replica katana).

Do you see a lazy, '90s raditude 'z' slapped on the end there? Oh hell no. You may get three bullets per life, but there ain't no god damn, highfalutin pluralization nonsense happening here on the part of developer Teknopants. No. They doubled downn. That shows grit. Character. "You pronounce every god damnn letter," it screams. And you have to, or else you're pronouncing it wrong, like when you pronounce anno (year) as ano (anus). This isn't Samurai Ass. It's Samurai Gunn. Though I wouldn't mind seeing the former. Hit me up. 

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MechWarrior Online's Community Warfare has taught me what it feels like to be the frustrated parent photo
MechWarrior Online's Community Warfare has taught me what it feels like to be the frustrated parent
by Nic Rowen

In the land of MechWarrior Online, Christmas came early last week. Or severely, massively late depending on your perspective. Much like my relationship status with MWO in general: it's complicated.

Community Warfare, the long-, long-awaited “core pillar” of the game finally debuted (in beta form at least) last Thursday. A week ahead of the scheduled patch that was intended to usher in a new golden age of stompy robot combat, and roughly three years behind schedule otherwise. It's finally arrived, the holy guts of the game; the real MechWarrior starts here.

The idea behind Community Warfare has always been to have players recreate and rewrite the history of the Battletech franchise. To combine the qualities of a largely player-run MMO like EVE with a mech combat simulator. The chance to pick a side and become either a noble Inner Sphere pilot fighting to defend your home, or a member of the crusading Clans, deep-space warlords who left the known solar system centuries ago and have returned as almost alien invaders; humanity's past sins come back to haunt them.

You narrow that allegiance down further, pledge yourself to a particular Great House or tribal Clan, seize home-worlds from the others, foster relations you will inevitably betray, engage in a deadly dance of political and steel warfare. Like Game of Thrones in space, but with giant mechs and laser cannons instead of a bunch of creepy dudes on horseback.

If you're already guessing that what's been released has failed to live up to the hype, give yourself a gold star.

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5:15 PM on 12.15.2014

Holiday clearance! All Dtoid shirts now $12.95!

All t-shirts on the Destructoid store have been dropped down to $12.95! All the shirts are on clearance, meaning once they're out of print you won't be able to get these shirts again! We're making way for something new, ...

Hamza CTZ Aziz



How did Destructoid's most anticipated games of 2014 come out? photo
How did Destructoid's most anticipated games of 2014 come out?
by Steven Hansen

Want to feel old? January 2014 was just about one year ago. That's one whole season of a TV show or a complete Earth's orbit around the sun. Way back then--I can hardly remember it in the shadow of the god awful year--the Destructoid staff did a list of our most anticipated games of 2014

And what suckers we were! Most of the damned things didn't even come out. Chris was right to go with sure-thing Dark Souls II. It would've been hard to mess up (or not release). And a few folks who picked things way back in the first Year of Luigi (AL) didn't follow up for various reasons, but be assured that Patrick Hancock was definitely happy with Super Smash Bros

It was a weird year of games, though, rife with big-name delays, big-name flops, and lovely games that came out of nowhere to end up being the most fun (like Invisible Inc.) Maybe 2015 will do right by us (or us by it). For now, let's look back. 

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