I'd say that this was an exceptionally great year for PC games, but I feel as if it would be more accurate to state that 2013 simply kept the exceptional trend going. As it gets easier and easier to release a game on the PC platform, we are consistently being surprised by developers who feel safe enough to take risks thanks to the nature of the platform.
You could combine the developers of all these games and still have fewer members than a single branch of a so called "AAA" game development studio. Yet year after year this category proves that the number of team members doesn't mean anything.
I came away from The Swapper with nothing but amazement. From the first time you see the literally hand-crafted visuals until the final moment in the game, which is sure to give you pause for thought, you will be in complete awe. Brilliant puzzles with even more brilliant solutions compliment the philosophical plotline, leaving an unforgettable experience unlike any other.
Read the full review of The Swapper.
The beauty of Papers, Please comes from its ability to intertwine theme into gameplay. It takes the moral gray area that other games do their best to explore with emotionless gameplay, and perfects it. How long until you cave into the endearing old man who just wants to see his wife? When will you decide that the monotony is just too much and start straying from the thin, narrow guidelines? Papers, Please asks these questions and forces you, the player, to answer them.
Shadow Warrior is a great game, and, like Rise of the Triad before it, proves that the '90s era of first-person shooters can still make it in today's world. The weapons pack a punch, the graphics are great, and the personality is top-notch. Hell, there are even a few dick jokes here and there! I know you've missed those.
I haven't had this much unadulterated fun chopping and dropping enemies since the late '90s, and I, for one, am eagerly salivating for a bit more of Flying Wild Hog's Wang.
Read the full review of Shadow Warrior.
I'm not sure how many surgeons yell "he shoots.....HE SCORES!" while performing surgery, but I'm going to assume it's something around 88%. Assuming my assumption is correct, Surgeon Simulator is one of the most accurate representations of what its like to be a surgeon. If my assumption is wrong, Surgeon Simulator is still a satisfying and hilarious experience.
Antichamber is a perfect example of how a player learns to play videogames. There’s no gameplay tutorial, no loading screen tips (or loading screens, for that matter), just good ole' fashioned learn-as-you-play information aided by the in-game advice. There’s never a reference of mouse or keyboard, outside of the main lobby area.
Read the full review of Antichamber.
It's just a wonderfully crafted, well-paced story about a family. And that's really it. There's not much else out there like it. It may not sound like much on paper, but Gone Home had such an impact on me that I'll be thinking about this game for years to come.
Read the full review of Gone Home.
Kentucky Route Zero
Kentucky Route Zero evokes the feeling of old ghost stories told around a campfire. There's the familiarity of friends and family around a warm, man-made fire, but with it comes the unnerving tale of the strange and unusual. Kentucky Route Zero is beautifully bizarre and perfectly poignant, and most of all, deserves your attention.
Read the full reviews of Kentucky Route Zero: Episode 1 and Episode 2.
If you've got a lazy afternoon coming up, do yourself a favor and fill it with Gunpoint. Leaping over buildings, smashing through windows, uncovering police corruption, and rewiring security systems is likely to be a lot more worthwhile than whatever else you were planning on doing.
Read the full review of Gunpoint.
As a standalone experience, Dead Man's Switch is a delight: a clever but short whirlwind tour of the oft depressing world of the shadowrunner. It is not, however, the entirety of Shadowrun Returns. Instead, it merely serves as an example of what can be crafted with the complex editor tool that all players have access to.
The huge, flexible editor holds within it the promise of limitless adventures, both set in theShadowrun universe and outside it. I am reminded of the many amazing community creations worked on using Neverwinter Nights' Aurora Toolset, and how years after the main campaign was forgotten, dedicated modders diligently gave life to countless worlds and stories that completely overshadowed BioWare's creation. So what we have here isn't just a great game, but the potential for even greater ones.
Read the full review of Shadowrun Returns.
The Stanley Parable HD
Congrats to all the nominees! We'll be announcing the official winner on Monday, December 24.