With so much to organize and help put together, I didn't get a chance to do my own personal Game of the Year list for 2014. It's probably for the best, as picking favorites games is very difficult for me. It's like picking fa...
Confession #1: I don't play a lot of videogames.
Confession #2: The ones I do play, I play drunk.
Huh huh. Number two do do.
Here are the games I liked the best this year, and what I was drinking when I played them.
[Enter the anti-Badger. --Mr Andy Dixon]
Note: The Wombat could be anyone -- a Destructoid community member, a gaemz jurnalizmer, even some random Dutch guy. They could be just one person or Legion. You'll probably never find...
It's that wonderful time of year again where I'm expected to sum up my thoughts on an entire year of videogames in one digestible list of what was objectively best and what I enjoyed subjectively in various categories. It's time to take all the videogames I loved and pit them against one another, forcing them to fight to the death until one one comes out as an award winner.
You know what? Screw that! Everything I loved is getting an award this year, even if it's horribly flawed and objectively worse than something else it would normally be up against. These are my Game of the Year picks, all my weird tastes are getting the awards they deserve. Let's do this, these awards are totes legit.
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 ride 2014 has been, right? There's definitely been a few ups and downs for everyone, including some that wanted to get their last licks before the year closes out. Still, we got to see some pretty exciting titles released, some that delivered and others not so much. Regardless of what your feelings are of the games, you can't deny that we've had plenty to play this year. So with that, I've decided to take a shot at talking about my noteworthy, standout, and otherwise memorable games of this year.
I'm not particularly fond of doing a full ten list, even though I've got plenty to say about the year's offerings -- so I've taken a cue from John Cusack and brought things down to a nice list of five. Though five is an odd number, the shorter length will make it easier for me to focus on what really stood out as my favorites. I've also included some minor categories and other noteworthy picks from the year, as my big hope is that you'll get to see some games you might have missed, or even think of others in a new way.
So with that, here are my standout picks for games released in 2014.
What a magical year this was! It's hard coming up with a GOTY list, especially if you force yourself to pick only 10. That's why I didn't, I picked as many as I needed to! It's thirteen; I picked thirteen games.
There would probably be even more if I had played some of the games I really wanted to. But hey! Splitting time between fun and work is part of life, and it's a part we all strive to perfect. So anyway, here's the only list that matters this year: mine.
[Game developer Adam Tierney took to our Community Blogs to share his short list of 2014 favorites. Want to share your own GOTY stories? Go write something! --Mr Andy Dixon]
Hey Destructoid! I'm Adam Tierney, a videogame desi...
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...
I'm not entirely sure what year it is. Is it 2015? That's what I keep hearing around the internet. I'm pretty sure it's still 2014, at least for a few more days though. Who can be sure in tumultuous times like these?
Anyway, I can barely remember what I did yesterday or what happened on the last episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show I watched before the holiday break. So it's probably superfluous to attempt to recall every single game I played this year and rank how much I enjoyed each one.
So here's an attempt at diving deep into the dozens of games I played this year. I'm pretty sure I enjoyed a lot of them, but Wikipedia is failing me and GoDaddy doesn't save the changes sent to the server when I save my "recent articles" page on my portfolio hosted on WordPress, so I'm not even really sure what all came out this year. But I know which one was my favorite. It's Bayonetta 2, actually, because it's the only game I favored over sleep. And when I'm nearly fetishizing sleep at this point in my life and a game can hold my attention so long that I'll forgo resting in order to strike down just one more boss and get maybe 3.5 hours of sleep for my day job, it's something special.
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?
Growing up, a lot of kids I knew liked to try to sound grown up by saying they played videogames "for the story". Maybe they had adapted the phrase from the adults they saw on TV who said they read Playboy magazine "for the articles". Regardless, the stories in the games they loved were often terrible, and they weren't the only ones. I'm not one to point fingers. There was a time when this was some of my favorite storytelling ever, in gaming or otherwise.
So why are we so enthralled with bad stories? I can only speak for myself when I say that the world crafting in a game can often compensate for failings in narrative. When we watch a good movie or read a good book, effective storytelling can transport us to other worlds. A game doesn't need to rely on storytelling to do that. Instead, we can skip over the storytelling part through methods unique to gaming as a medium, planting us directly into their worlds through techniques that we're still learning to truly understand.
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.