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Chris Carter
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My top games of 2012

Hamza did it. Kyle is doing it. Brett, Holmes and Allistair are doing it. Heck, your mom is doing it. Everyone's making a top game list!

So I'll make one.

Of course, the hardest part is narrowing down all of the amazing games. This was kind of hard guys, because I played over 126 games. Yep, at least 126 games that I can recall when chronicling the mega year I had in gaming, and distilling it down to a few scant choices.

As for the year itself, 2012 was a great time to be a gamer. A lot of retro-only fans like to note how each year is increasingly worse for the gaming industry due to the over-saturation of AAA games. I heavily disagree. There are so many portables, consoles, indies, and big budget games each year, there's literally something for everyone.

Whether you're a fan of AAA or niche games, there's probably something anyone can enjoy in my top list of 2012.

The Walking Dead

There's really not much I can say that hasn't been said already. The Walking Dead by Telltale is my personal Game of the Year choice.

Despite some issues with Telltale in the past (the Wallace and Gromit games were alright, and Jurassic Park was pretty horrid), I feel like they've trumped their better previous efforts by far (Sam and Max), and they incorporated elements of all of their past games, and then some into TWD.

Coupled with amazing performances all around, I can hardly believe this game was sold digitally by a non-blockbuster studio/publisher. I even cried a few times, which pretty much never happens to me in a video game.

Great show, Telltale.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

I was a casual fan of X-COM as a young child. Despite its complexity, there was something that really called to me as a strategy game fan.

Thankfully, XCOM not only lives up to the legacy of the old series, but it also incorporates many streamlined elements that newcomers will find extremely welcome.

Who can forget building bases for hours on end, without ever entering a mission? Or the nerve wracking decisions like choosing which countries to save, and which to plunge into peril?

The crux of my enjoyment from XCOM comes from one simple principle: you can't save everything, and nothing is permanent. Strangely, it made for one fun game and one of the best experiences of 2012 by far.

Also, who could forget putting your loved one into the game, only to have them blasted into oblivion a few hours later?

Halo 4

I was hesitant to get Halo 4 at launch. Despite the fact that I had a strong history with Halo as a Halo 1 and 2 tourney goer, I had a really negative experience with 3, and ODST and Reach really didn't do it for me.

I'm glad I listened to my friends and picked up Halo 4 at launch, because it was worth it. Everything feels new, yet classic, and developer 343 Studios really took the series by the horns and improved it.

I really felt like Bungie was getting too content, and continually making the series stale with each entry: 343's hunger bled into my experience with the game, and I loved it.


My wife and I play a lot of games together. But sometimes, developers design games that are too frustrating, or time consuming for her to get involved.

Spelunky, despite being one of the most difficult games of 2012, enamored my wife. There's something about the idea of jumping into a giant, sprawling cave together and forging our own adventures together that completely made her forget about how controller-throwingly hard it was.

We would spend hours cave crawling, figuring out new tactics together, and how to tackle every situation in the game. Weeks later, we were masters. You know what? It was all thanks to the amazing design choices of the developers.

Like Demon's and Dark Souls, Spelunky makes you learn the game, and gives you the tools to do it. It doesn't hold your hand, and I loved it for it.

Gravity Rush

I really didn't know what to expect from Gravity Rush, but I was blown away. Kat, the game's heroine, was one of the most likable characters in all of gaming. Period.

People who want more positive female role models in gaming need to look no further than characters like Kat. I sincerely hope she becomes a staple mascot of the Sony brand going forward, because I loved sharing my adventure with her.

My love for Kat aside, the game was augmented with an amazing soundtrack, a beautiful open world setting, incredible art design, and fun gameplay.

Even if combat was lacking at times (it's like the developers felt like they needed to put in combat in some portions), this was one of my favorite games of 2012, and I still go back to it from time to time.

Xenoblade Chronicles

I used to play at least a few JRPGs a month back in my heyday -- I ate them up like candy. 20, 40, 60 hours? No problem -- bring 'em on.

But as a I grew up, I became disenfranchised with longer games -- especially if they were sloppily put together, and had bad, outdated mechanics.

Xenoblade changed all that. It was a JRPG for western RPG fans. Why no one had really done this as well as Xenoblade had done it before, I have no idea.

Somehow, it perfectly captured that whimsical feeling that I experienced so many times late at night staying up playing JRPGs, and then some. If you have a Wii, this is required reading.

Dust: An Elysian Tale

The often referred to genre of "Metroidvania" really isn't well represented these days. Outside of the occasional release like Shadow Complex, fans of the genre really don't get their fill.

Dust was basically a labor of love by one developer, and it scratches that itch entirely. I loved exploring random nooks and crannies, and engaging in the well made combat system, while challenging myself with the fairly amazing difficulty curve.

I just had to go play Super Metroid afterwards, and I owe it to Dust for letting me return to the golden age of 2D open world games.

Asura's Wrath

If you were ever disappointed by a Dragon Ball Z game and were left wanting more, you need to buy Asura's Wrath. Despite the fact that the game is mostly comprised of QTEs, Asura's Wrath presents an intriguing, and intoxicating narrative that you'll want to play out until the end.

It's like a giant anime episode that you get to play, and at times, if you jack up the difficulty, it can get really challenging (I LOVED the DLC Akuma boss fight on Hard).

Some people feel like Capcom's decision to sell the "real ending" as DLC is sleazy. If I had picked up the game at launch for full price, and had to wait for it, I would probably agree.

But getting the game months down the line for under $20 was a different experience entirely. I really, really liked Asura's Wrath, and it's a game that will stay in my memory for the rest of my life. If you like over the top anime, you need this game -- it'll put a smile on your face, guaranteed.

Sine Mora

What a surprise! Like our own Allistair P., I'm a huge fan of shoot 'em ups, and I can't get enough of them (specifically bullet hell).

Sine Mora delivered and more, as the developers were not only able to create a solid core shmup that plays great, but they also presented a well crafted, intriguing, and sometimes shocking narrative to boot.

Where else can you get a game where you're stopping time to dodge bullets, and dealing with substance and sexual abuse in the next moment?

Rock Band Blitz

What?! A rhythm game in my top ten? Yep, there were a ton of great rhythm games this year, but Rock Band Blitz takes the cake for me. The ability to incorporate your whole library of Rock Band songs is amazing, as is the fact that the game comes with songs that can be imported into Rock Band 3.

The scoring system is practically perfect, and the way Harmonix was able to incorporate social gaming into an asynchronous game was nothing short of brilliant.

I loved being able to compare and contrast my scores with fellow staff members, and Conrad's amazingness at the game left me with many long nights trying to play catch up.

Honorable mentions:

This is going to be lengthy, because I feel like there are a lot of phenomenal 2012 games that deserve credit.

Borderlands 2, Mass Effect 3, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Darksiders II, Sleeping Dogs, Mark of the Ninja, Fez, Crashmo, Rhythm Thief, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Rayman Jungle Run, Hotline Miami, Guild Wars 2, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Retro City Rampage, Rhythm Heaven Fever, New Super Mario Bros. 2, New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land.
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About Chris Carterone of us since 3:56 PM on 01.05.2009

Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff!


Twitter - @DtoidChris

I'm married, and I've been playing games since I was 4. I still remember buying my own NES system at Sears and going home and playing Mario/Duck Hunt. Fast forward to the present, my wife and I now own a PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U.

If I had to choose a system I had the "best times" with, it would be a two way tie between the Sega Dreamcast and Sony Playstation 2. My favorite game series is Mega Man Classic, but I own every Metal Gear, Devil May Cry, Zelda, Kingdom Hearts, Wario, Tony Hawk, main series Final Fantasy, and Resident Evil game ever released in the US (and a lot more), so it's a close call!

There are too many good games out to count now, but I'm always itching to play my backlog of old PS2 action titles. I'll play anything and everything action-adventure, so if you have a game in mind, drop me a line! I have strong opinions regarding the financial decisions of many publishers, but at the end of the day, I'm willing to give anything a chance; especially if it comes recommended by a community member.

Oh; and in 2012 I started contributing to Destructoid.

Currently backed upcoming crowdfunding projects:



Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Shenmue III

I also backed the Tiny Cartridge Patreon in 2014 but no longer back any Patreon campaigns currently


Here is my story, from my humble beginnings as a c-blogger.

Carter's Quests (previously Magnalon's Quest):

2011 - Zelda
2012 - Resident Evil
2012 - Tony Hawk
2012 - Kingdom Hearts
2012 - Wario
2013 - Mega Man Classic
2013 - Devil May Cry
2013 - Mega Man X
2013 - God of War
2013 - Metroid
2014 - Diablo
2015 - Batman: Arkham

Future - Pokemon
Future - Splinter Cell
Future - Mega Man Spinoffs
Future - Elder Scrolls
Future - Mario
Future - Platinum Games
Future - Kirby
Future - Clover
Future - Castlevania
Future - Metal Gear
Future - Tenchu
Future - Ninja Gaiden
Future - Onimusha
Future - Ape Escape
Future - Disgaea
Future - Twisted Metal
Future - Deception


Promoted (before I was staff):

Playing with Others: Phantasy Star Offline

Magnalon's quest to beat every Zelda in 2011

Tips for Securing Your Xbox Live Account


My top 20 games (in no particular order):

Resident Evil 5
Fallout: New Vegas
Dragon Age: Origins
Dark Souls
Demon's Souls
Skies of Arcadia
Lunar 1 and 2
World of Warcraft: All Expansions
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Tenchu 2
Devil May Cry 3
Phantasy Star Online
Ape Escape 1
Rockman & Forte (Mega Man & Bass)
God Hand
Jet Set Radio Future
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
Final Fantasy Tactics


Bayonetta 2
Shovel Knight
D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
Yo-Kai Watch
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Ori and the Blind Forest
Resident Evil: Revelations 2
Dark Souls II
Deception IV: Blood Ties
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Strider (2014)
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy
The Wolf Among Us
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Super Mario 3D World
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Dead Rising 3
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
Pokemon X & Y
Super Mario 3D World
Grand Theft Auto V
Dragon's Crown
Gravity Rush
Dragon's Dogma
Persona 4 Golden
Pokemon Silver
Tomb Raider (2013)
Brave Fencer Musashi
Shenmue II
Dark Cloud
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Asura's Wrath
Mutant Mudds
Far Cry 3
Binding of Isaac
Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning
Zone of the Enders 2
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Batman: Arkham City
Kingdom Hearts II
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Diablo II
Diablo III
Dust: An Elysian Tail
Tomb Raider II
Metal Gear Solid 4
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Zombies At My Neighbors
Super Bomberman 2
Mass Effect
Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 3
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
Tony Hawk's Underground 2
Onimusha 3
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Ninja Gaiden Black (Xbox)
Power Stone 2
No More Heroes 2
Ultima Online
Aladdin SNES
Super Punch-Out!!
Demon's Crest
Secret of Mana
Borderlands 2
Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy X
Super Mario RPG
Super Mario 64
Super Mario World
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario 3D Land
Mega Man 8
The Lost Vikings
Bujingai: The Forsaken City
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Odin Sphere
Donkey Kong Country
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
Call of Duty: World at War
Chrono Trigger
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Half Minute Hero
Kirby Super Star
Super Meat Boy
Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony
L.A. Noire
Outland (XBLA/PSN)
Shantae: Risky's Revenge
Mighty Flip Champs
Child of Eden
Kirby's Dream Course
Shadows of the Damned
Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR)
Rayman: Origins


The following are a few of my favorite fictional characters, compliments of SuitcoatAvenger

-My favorite video game character of all time: Magic Emperor Ghaleon.

-Legato Bluesummers from Trigun: classic villain.

-Although obscure, Zero Beat is among my favorites.

-My original avatar.

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