Anyone that's of the belief that mainstream videogames are often devoid of great writing will need to look somewhere other than the Writers Guild of America for vindication. The organization's nominees for Outstanding Achieve...
Yes, it's now 2015--though I'm still writing 2014 on all my checks!!!--but how can anyone do a definitive Game of the Year award until the year is officially over? Until that big dang ball drops down in The Big Apple, the Big City, New York, New York baby! What if Valve decided to stealth release Half-Life 3 on 12/31 like Beyoncé in 2013 or Run the Jewels 2 this year? It would be everyone else with egg on their face and my face wouldn't be covered in egg at all.
So I hid the prediction too well. Like any good prediction, it would have been forgotten if it hadn't come true at no cost to my reputation, but if it did come true? Man, I'd be direct linking that piece of soothsaying ad nauseum (by the way, sources tell me that Half-Life 3 is going to be released on April 4, 2015).
Unfortunately, this prediction did come true and 2014 was the worst year since 2009 and I don't even get to take credit for calling it. But I won't bore you with My Bad Year. Instead, I want to award Clover Studio's God Hand with the Steven Hansen's Destructoid's Game of the Year 2014 Award for Best Game of the Year from 2006 because 2014 kind of sucked.
We're well into the new year, but not everyone's put 2014 squarely in their rearviewmirror. PlayStation Blog just finished tallying the votes to determine which games Sony fans were most fond of last year. All PlayStation pla...
We're a couple months away from March's Game Developer's Conference, where everyone has to travel to where I live (uh, the city, not my home) and I just get to roll out of a nice non-hotel bed and make my way to appointments....
[Swery is the man behind Deadly Premonition and D4. The latter has kept him busy over the last year, so he hasn't been able to finish every game he loves. But love is not finite, finished, and with an eyebrow game this on point, Swery's offered to tell us all about the games he loves anyways - Steven Hansen]
At first, I'd just like to make one thing clear. I think that all the games on this list are excellent, top-quality games. I haven't completed them due to personal reasons, and this in no way affects my evaluation of them. I love all games from the bottom of my heart.
You thought Steven Hansen's Destructoid's 2014 GOTY awards were done at three, come sambuca con la mosca? That we want health, happiness, and prosperity, rather than four (death)? We're up all night to get unlucky my friends. And to drink a bottle of Chartreuse so that our New Year's Eve vomit looks like Ecto Cooler Hi-C and the Streets of San Francisco run green with ghost spume.
I believe it was communist philosophers Groucho Marx and John Lennon who said, "The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas," and that's, like, so true! A distanced citizenry treated as targets (consumers) versus an engaged citizenry treated as co-conspirators and friendos can lead to anti-consumer practices. That's why the open nature of crowd funding and early access development has been big this year, as invested fans have helped bear titles that did not need mass market appeal. Sometimes you can use a little help from your friendos, because we're all in this together, man.
Invisible Inc. is das kapital example of Early Access success and the winner of the Steven Hansen's Destructoid's 2014 GOTY award for Best evidence that we should go full communism.It is, by a wide margin, the game I have played most this year, and it's not even "finished." And, hey, maybe it sits on the wrong side of its tekno-Cold War-era aesthetic (the English-speaking side), but that angular 2D art and XCOM-like turn-based stealth are fresher than you might think given I just used a 20-year-old game as a reference point. Seriously, though. Turn-based stealth. It's amazing.
What a wild year it's been for us gamers. In spite of all the insanity this industry inevitably attracts, when we look back on everything that has happened over the last 12 months, I think there's one thing we can all agree o...
Why do we love videogames? Some say it's the escapism, or the ability to wrap you up in a story that you get to help tell as it's being told to you. Others say it's the way they can bring friends together, or occupy your mind with interesting mechanics to master and problems to solve.
The truth is though, no one really knows why we love videogames so much. When you truly connect with something, be it a song, a movie, a game, or another person, it's not always easy to put the feeling into words. When asked "How do you know when it's love," legendary rock and roll group Van Halen responded with the unhelpful axiom "I can't tell you but it lasts forever." If Van Halen couldn't explain love, then how the heck are we supposed to?
Any game can use cut scenes to tell a great story. That trick was impressive back when CD-ROMs were cutting-edge technology. Today, the expectation for story-focused games is to work towards interweaving narrative techniques into every aspect of the design. Videogames can do so much more than pure linear storytelling devices like text or film. The best Narrative Design award is Destructoid's way of acknowledging the games that best proved that in 2014.
In what some would call a Christmas miracle, two games got the exact same amount of votes to win, making them Prom King and Queen of this year's best Narrative Design award ceremony. I know a lot of people hate ties, but I love them, so I'm going to embrace it. Sometimes two things are equally successful, standing side by side with their own important roles to fill. It's hard for me to find anything not to like about that. If you don't feel the same, go on and vote in our Reader's GOTY poll and make your tie-hating voice heard. The two winners of today's best narrative design award will be waiting for you below when you get back.
The idea behind the best mechanics category is to highlight games that you'd love to play even if they had stick-figure graphics, no multiplayer, no music, and no story. Some of them may be filled with complex operations. Others may be simple one-button affairs. Regardless, these are games that keep you coming back again and again, hoping to get all the parts to fit together just a little bit better each time.
Another year, another series of GOTY lists fueled by fanboyism and cognitive dissonance. We all know the AAA games get their fair share of nods and stick shakes. That's why I'm here to tell the world what my GOTY games are for 2014.
Not that it matters; we're all living in our own linear perceptions, anyway. Our ideals, biases, telling us right and wrong. All I can give is a taste of what my mind perceives to be true.
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.
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.
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 Transistorthe 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.
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.