2012 Community Game of the Year - And the winner is...

Blind_Evil wrote:

I am never buying Hotline Miami because of this.

Oop. My apologies. I might have gotten carried away with my silliness. Didn't mean to take over this thread with it.

*bows gracefully, backs up, trips on carpet, spills hot drinks*

Strangeblades wrote:
Blind_Evil wrote:

I am never buying Hotline Miami because of this.

Oop. My apologies. I might have gotten carried away with my silliness. Didn't mean to take over this thread with it.

*bows gracefully, backs up, trips on carpet, spills hot drinks*

*bumps into cocktail waitresses, spills platter of drinks on someone else, winds up being taken outside for a "talking to"*

McIrishJihad wrote:
Strangeblades wrote:
Blind_Evil wrote:

I am never buying Hotline Miami because of this.

Oop. My apologies. I might have gotten carried away with my silliness. Didn't mean to take over this thread with it.

*bows gracefully, backs up, trips on carpet, spills hot drinks*

*bumps into cocktail waitresses, spills platter of drinks on someone else, winds up being taken outside for a "talking to"*


"Hey, hey, hey, we're all friends here right guys? What's with the fists? What is this, a pugilist festival?"

Strangeblades wrote:
McIrishJihad wrote:
Strangeblades wrote:
Blind_Evil wrote:

I am never buying Hotline Miami because of this.

Oop. My apologies. I might have gotten carried away with my silliness. Didn't mean to take over this thread with it.

*bows gracefully, backs up, trips on carpet, spills hot drinks*

*bumps into cocktail waitresses, spills platter of drinks on someone else, winds up being taken outside for a "talking to"*


"Hey, hey, hey, we're all friends here right guys? What's with the fists? What is this, a pugilist festival?"

I'm really amazed no one asked where the cocktail waitresses came from.

Stay classy, GWJ

My list:

10. Mass Effect 3(PC)
This is a great game hindered by one of the most colossally botched story resolutions in the history of gaming. The combat mechanics were better than even ME2 and there were some AMAZING moments in the story... some of which were rendered immediately irrelevant or even just straight up contradicted by parts of the ending. The ridiculous outcry asking Bioware to change things was... well it was ridiculous. The ending was lazily written trash but that's how it ended people. Get over it. Listening to Brad Shoemaker talk about the changed version on the Giant Bombcast had me pretty disgusted.

9. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning(PC)
The game world is huge, the combat is fun, and building up your character is actually moderately interesting. This was a surprise game for me. Caught me totally off guard. I don't remember much about the story, either negative or positive. Forgettable, I guess. But the game itself was too fun for me to care all that much about whether the story was well written or not. I felt like the combat kept evolving in just the right ways as my character grew, and the steady flow of new enemy types kept things interesting. The collapse of the development studio after release still makes me sad.

8. Black Ops 2(Xbox360)
Say what you will about Call of Duty, but this is as good as the game has been since Call of Duty 4. They finally managed to make a version of the multiplayer that doesn't feel like a step backward. I didn't play the singleplayer. It's kind of irrelevant to me. And while there are still the frustrating little moments and minor annoyances, overall it doesn't get better than this for a multiplayer FPS on the 360. It's been a good time with the GWJ crew on Xbox Live.

7. Halo 4
Yep. It's more Halo. The mechanics and AI are still better than any other singleplayer shooter on a console. The game universe itself is still one of the more interesting out there, though I admit I found myself largely lost through most of the singleplayer. I didn't really know what was going on very well, though part of that was very likely me just not paying enough attention to dialog and forgetting things moments after they were said. Also, what 343 Studios managed to coax out of the Xbox 360 hardware is super, super impressive. This is the most graphically impressive console game of the year as far as I can tell. It's extremely pretty.

6. Forza Horizon
It's an open world Forza game. The soundtrack is great, the world is beautiful, the car selection is almost perfect, and all in all it's just fun. The handling is a kind of relaxed version of the Forza engine. For me the game slots nicely into the racing genre in the place where Project Gotham used to sit. IMO I slightly preferred PGR3 and PGR4 to this particular format, but all in all I've just been having a great time with Horizon. It's a great time.

5. Diablo 3
As frustrated as I got a few times with some of the decisions made about Diablo 3 I still put over 300 hours into it and had a lot of fun. The story had none of the weight and effect that was there in Diablo 2, and Blizzard took way too long to start fixing the problems with loot drops and endgame character progression. Still though, again, I kept playing it because the core gameplay itself was still fun. It's just that instead of continuing on with my favored characters I just started new ones with classes I hadn't played. I suspect that if I ever get myself to go back I'll find that they've fixed a lot of the things about the game experience that got me to stop playing and the game will completely devour me again, even more like Diablo 2 did.

4. Far Cry 3(PC)
The story starts off interesting in kind of all the right ways and then derails about halfway into the game, and then gets progressively less interesting the longer the game goes. That said, the gameplay itself is just excellent. This is the version of Far Cry 2 I always wanted. The version without the constant annoyance of respawning enemies in guard posts and the incredibly annoying malaria garbage and the kind of steril feeling world. Far Cry 3 is also the best game

3. Max Payne 3(PC)
In my opinion this game got sorely underrated, even by me, when it came out. I largely ignored it simply because it was a Rockstar game and I didn't trust them even a little bit not to screw up Max Payne's mechanics. So I waited for it to get cheap and I picked it up for like twelve bucks on sale. Then I proceeded to have such a good time I marathon'd the game in one day. This is another Max Payne game, but made by people who watched a ton of late era Tony Scott movies and decided they just needed to make a game that looked just like those movies. I didn't really believe people when they said things like that about it but they aren't kidding. That's exactly what it is and it just works. I had a great time with this. Just as solid a Max Payne game as either of the first two. Oh, and it also has a couple of moments where the absolutely perfect piece of the soundtrack kicks in at exactly the right moment. One of them rivals any of those moments from Red Dead Redemption.

2. Dust: An Elysian Tale(Xbox 360)
Criminally ignored by many simply because of its character design, this game is kind of amazing. It's an interesting story, the combat mechanics are excellent, and the character animation and general look of the game are wonderful. All of it is even more impressive if you consider that the game itself is literally a one person project. Other than voice actors and I think a composer for the music, every single piece of this game was made by one guy. Some of the voice acting is actually solid and fun, there are some funny bits here and there, and all in all it's just fun.

1. Mark of the Ninja(Xbox 360)
This is, for me, the closest thing to a perfect game I've played in ages. The art style and the animation and they way those work with character movement and the fluidity of the gameplay, it's just excellent. This is the best stealth game ever created.

Close but no cigar:
Syndicate: I actually had a lot of fun with the singleplayer and a really great time with the co-op, but ultimately there just wasn't enough here to rate this over top of other games on my list.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
This game came really close to knocking either ME3 or Amalur off the list. I got to play through the entire story with a couple of friends in co-op, we played through the co-op DLC together, and I even managed to find some GWJ people and another person or two to run a bit of the competitive multiplayer with. That latter bit, in fact, is sorely underrated from a gameplay perspective. There's a lot of really solid design decisions in the multiplayer that some other more popular games could (but won't) learn from.

XCom: Enemy Unknown
Excellent game. Whoooooooole lotta bugs. If this had actually gotten polished and the camera hadn't frustrated me on a regular basis this probably could have jumped into the middle of my list.

I love that this gives the community a chance to have their voices heard and counted. I love that I have a chance to read critical thoughts and praise from people I know from the site. And I love that this gives me a chance to judge others for their poor decision-making abilities.

1) The Walking Dead- A few notes that speak to the strengths of the game: Firstly, I still think about the characters and I miss spending time with them despite the dread experienced making my way through their world. Secondly, the game made me feel dread; the game caused me to feel. And, thirdly, the games highs were so high that I have to make myself remember the low, fiddly bits were the game misfires. Still, there were some misfires.

2) Borderlands 2 - Not the opposite of The Walking Dead, but no where near the same plane of existence. I love the enemy engagements, this is what defined the game for me. The writing was humorous, if not stronger on premise than story, and Jack was great- but it was all about the engagements.

3) Ascension (iOS) - I don't know if I started playing the game this year or last. I'm going to say it was this year and stop thinking about it. The game has opened up my access to several GWJ peeps who I see on the forums but otherwise don't have an opportunity to game with.

4) Portal 2 (Level Jam) - I'm cheating with this one. I played the game first last year but I played the level editor this year when it came out. The weekly competitions were awesome and will be something I always associate with GWJ (even though no one created more consistently hated levels than I did).

5) Nitronic Rush - Burnout Paradise was the game that convinced me I don't hate racing games. This year I discovered this game (more driving than racing), loved it, and backed the kickstarter for their next title. While the game doesn't reward exploration explicitly, the mechanics of the game + the open spaces were areas I enjoyed just getting lost in.

6) Atom Zombie Smasher- I am terrible at this game. The style of the interspersed graphics, the simplistic representation in-game, and the music are why I enjoyed this game so, so much. I am really terrible at this game.

7) League of Evil (1/2) (iOS) - Really, really enjoyed these two games. I'm counting these as 1 because of the quick succession in which I played them and the fact that both feel even on balance.

8) The Binding of Isaac- I played a few hours of this before Borderlands 2 came out. Then, I fell into a 120 hour Borderlands 2-sized hole. If I had tried this game during a dead time I can easily see that this might have moved much higher on my list.

9) Rayman Origins- I love a really challenging platformer that spurs me to aim, over and over again, for something close to perfection. If I miss a bonus I kill myself to try again- even when this is repeated over and over again.

10) Way - My choice for the game no else has heard of but will be referenced as a footnote in the next couple of years. The team that made this game is now working with two members from Thatgamecompany- possibly to remake this short game. This is not why it made my top 10. It made my top 10 because it did something special with co-operative play that I've never seen before. It took me a while to even realize that I was playing with someone else. Playing my way through the puzzles was a really special kind of play, a unique way of working with someone through a world, that well made up for how short an experience this was (maybe 20 minutes once you know what you're doing).

McIrishJihad wrote:
Strangeblades wrote:
McIrishJihad wrote:
Strangeblades wrote:
Blind_Evil wrote:

I am never buying Hotline Miami because of this.

Oop. My apologies. I might have gotten carried away with my silliness. Didn't mean to take over this thread with it.

*bows gracefully, backs up, trips on carpet, spills hot drinks*

*bumps into cocktail waitresses, spills platter of drinks on someone else, winds up being taken outside for a "talking to"*


"Hey, hey, hey, we're all friends here right guys? What's with the fists? What is this, a pugilist festival?"

I'm really amazed no one asked where the cocktail waitresses came from.

Stay classy, GWJ :)

From the bar. Duh.

For anyone having trouble remembering what came out this year, the lovely nerds over at neogaf have compiled a fairly comprehensive list for their GOTY voting thread.

I've mercifully singled out the one relevant post for your convenience:


♡♡♡♡♡♡ ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡
♡♡♡Team Fortress 2♡♡♡
♡♡♡♡♡♡ ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

1. Walking Dead
2. Borderlands 2
3. FTL
4. Mark of the Ninja
5. Torchlight 2
6. Alan Wake/ AW American Nightmare
7. Quantum Conundrum
8. Shoot Many Robots
9. Trine 2 Goblin Menace DLC
10. Vessel

I realized that I will not have enough time to play any games that I get from the Winter Steam Sale so I will go with what I currently have.

1) Mass Effect 3
It fluctuated from not being in my top-5 to being top-2 and then finally ended up at #1. I had to remember the way I felt when I played the game. If you could play Mass Effect 3 in a vaccuum I think everyone would have a better experience. This is still the only game that ever made me tear up and it did it twice! The improved combat was also fantastic.

2) Risen 2 – Dark Waters
Stevenmack and I are right. We will always be right. Risen 2 is the best pirate RPG and a cute little big game. The skills are great. Combat is hard. Story is a lot of fun. I played it from start to finish in one go. Originally it was lower but then I realized how much time I put in and how it was one of the few games I beat. It rivals Skyrim in terms of exploration.

3) Far Cry 3
Some of the best game mechanics I've ever played. I'm not sure anything is more fun than sneaking through a outpost and figuring out how to kill everyone without being detected. The story, however, is junk. I am always dreading the story sections. They make very little sense and are either illogical (even in this game's world), stupid, or unlikable. I haven't beaten the game yet. I've been playing it almost every day but am at a point where I only have story missions to do. There is another island for me to explore so hopefully I get there before another game catches my eye.

4) Dead Island
Similar explanation as FC3 but less story hatred and more bugs. I think the melee combat system is revolutionary, the RPG system is fun, and weapon creation was great. Story is non-existant and the game's environment get progressively worse.

5) XCOM: Enemy Unknown
I really really liked it but it didn't leave an impact on me and I played for less. I don't have much to say other than I burned out on XCOM faster than most other games on my list.

6) Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
I'm not sure I ever actually had fun playing KoA:R. I enjoyed myself. It has fun parts. But, as a whole, the game felt lifeless. I found the story uninteresting, poorly delivered, and overwritten. What I did like was the level up system and the actual combat was quite good. Speccing in magic made combat interesting as I was always switching up and throughing out new spells. Exploration was almost a non-factor. The world is well built but very compartmentalized. Each section is it's own little area. Kind of a fun for a "clear this and move on" attitude but also fed way too much in to that. The idea of tying monster levels to what level you were with each section (and having a max and a min) also meant I wasn't exploring and was also overleveled for most of the game. Overall, I enjoyed parts but was frustrated with design decisions.

7) Krater
It's actually finished. I can now recommend this game. Has the best aesthetic of any game this year. Feels more like an actual world by any game this year. A goofy little isometric dungeon crawler. I've been playing it off and on all year. There are some design decisions I just don't agree with but was able to get over most of them. I still occasionally grimace about the lack of combat pause. The worst thing about the game is that it's not as addictive as I thought it would be. Once I put it down it doesn't linger in my brain. Occasionally I'll get a hankering for a dungeon crawler and have to remind myself that I own Krater.

8) Torchlight II
Diablo III but more player intereaction and better loot. Ran through the game and then realized that my chest was too small for me to collect all the unique items, which is all I really want to do in these games.

9) Diablo III
In some ways it's brilliant and in other ways it pissed me off. When I played, and this may have changed, it was near impossible to get any good items unless you went to the auction house. I found this deplorable and stopped playing. A shame too, the actual game is great. The way you get new skills and augments every level is outstanding. The combat was great. But it was short lived. Halfway through Nightmare I realized, and it was confirmed, that if I wanted to keep up I had to grind for gold, sell items, and purchase items. I've barely played the game since. Also, the story is trash.

10) Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3
The reason this is here over my honourable mentions is that 1) I finished it and 2) it came out in 2012. Super fun oldschool RPG. Came around right when I needed it. Short enough that I didn't lose interest and involved enough that I was always having fun. Typical PA writing, which was hilarious. Story continued onwards from the previous two games. Was impressed how well it transitioned. I loved those two games and was skeptical of this one. My fears were abated.

Honourable Mentions:
Bulletstorm: I really liked it but still haven't finished it. Enjoyed the silly story and loved the combat. I think the skill shot system is an evolution that other shooter shoot look at.

Costume Quest: I consumed this game. Super cute. Loved it. Not enough meat on it, though.

Saints Row the Third: Can see why others love this game. I really like it. I don't think the mechanics are very tight, a lot of the minigames are not fun, and it didn't grab me. Stupidly fun story though.

Dungeon Siege III: I don't know what it is but I really liked this game. I rolled through it in over the period of a few days. Really enjoyed my time.

Space Pirates and Zombies: The game is too slow of a burn for me. It seems to be taking me a long time to get anywhere or do anything. Really like it and occasionally come back to it for short bursts. Similar to Krater in that way.

A lot of bad stories this year. I can overlook bad stories for excellent mechanics. I also had to really think about how I view games after I finish them.

Blind_Evil wrote:

I am never buying Hotline Miami because of this.

Me too. Honestly, I'm not actually joking.

Vector wrote:
Blind_Evil wrote:

I am never buying Hotline Miami because of this.

Me too. Honestly, I'm not actually joking.

That's a shame.

Botanicula is a close second to my GOTY. That little plant game is super-cute, adorable and wonderful.

My top games:

  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  • Battlefield 3 & Expansions
  • Torchlight 2
  • Borderlands 2

Mass Effect 3
I loved this game from start to finish. No. The ending(s) did not bother me. The improved combat and the improved Engineer class were very welcome additions. The returning cast of characters and a few new faces are some of the most memorable in gaming history. Grunt, Tali, Legion, Javik, Thane, Mordin, the list could go on. The mission to cure the genophage was amazing. The mission to bring peace between the Geth and the Quarians was outstanding. What transpired between Grunt and the Rachni in the tunnels beneath Utukku is unforgettable. It was one hell of an experience. ME3 is my overall Game of the Year, without doubt.

1: Mass Effect 3. For all it's (and it's predecessor's) flaws, no other game has presented one narrative arc over such an IRL timeframe. No other game has done a coherent sci-fi universe so well either. It truly offers something unique.

2: Mark of the Ninja. Such a tour-de-force of design.

3: XCOM: Enemy Unknown. 360 needs moar turn-based strat!

4: Rayman Origins. Best platformer I've played in years. Suck it Mario!

5: Wordament(WP7) - I've probably spent more hours playing this game than any other this year. Yes, it's basically Boggle, but it's done well, and it's compulsive.

6: Skyrim - a little LTTP with this one, but man oh man can Bethesda do open world RPGs...

7: Dust: An Elysian Tale - this one came outta nowhere and grabbed me by the throat.

8: The Walking Dead - the perfect game to play when I don't actually want to play a game. And maybe the first time I've ever felt genuine contrition over in-game actions.

9: Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon - it's big, dumb and explodey.

10: The Witcher 2 - gets the nod for feeling so fresh. RPGs often feel by-the-numbers, and this takes a different tack in many ways. Also, boobs.

Jonman wrote:

7: Dust: An Elysian Tale - this one came outta nowhere and grabbed me by the throat.

I want this to get on PC so bad.

Beware, if you actually read what I write I'm going to say "favorite" a lot. That's because this was an incredible year for games in my opinion. Some of the most enjoyable and unique experiences I've ever had took place this year and I haven't even gotten around to games in my pile like Journey. What a year. The craziest part to me is that there are games on this list that I complained about, but when I gave them a chance I fell in love with them. Well done, designers.

1. Dishonored (360) - One of my favorite games ever. This game is so good that it ruined other games for me. This is the game that made it impossible for me to enjoy Far Cry 3. Now when I'm faced with a situation where the game arbitrarily sets win conditions based on how well hidden I am (or something similarly silly) I go running back to this game. The freedom it gave me to complete my goals was amazing. I'll be replaying this one for quite some time.

2. Persona 4 Golden (Vita) - I don't usually love traditional JRPGs outside of Pokemon. I'm captivated by this game, though.

3. Mass Effect 3 (360) - After all the gnashing of teeth over the ending I played the last 3rd of this game a second time for Leviathan. It's still fun. Really fun. And there's a great story in there. I can't deny the fun I had with this game, even with the issues it has.

4. New Super Mario Brothers 2 (3DS) - In spite of the things I tend to dislike about New Super Mario Brothers as a series I can't help the fact that I've really enjoyed this game. So much so that I bought a digital copy and keep that on my system for picking at whenever the mood strikes. The focus on coins makes it an odd Mario game and that's a good thing. Getting the gold flower and listening to the 1up sound tick off as you turn everything into coins is joyfully strange.

5. New Little King's Story (Vita) - Played this more than most games this year.

6. Sound Shapes (Vita) - Short, but beautiful.

7. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (DS) - Played two chapters when it was released and put it aside shortly thereafter. A fellow GWJer convinced me to actually play it for real and I can't put it down now. My surprise end of the year game. It's with me at all times.

8. Gravity Rush (Vita) - My favorite open world since Crackdown. Mostly because of the sense that I can go anywhere in the world and do amazing things in the process.

9. MLB 12: The Show (Vita) - My favorite baseball game ever. I still play this one.

10. Minecraft (XBox) - My first Minecraft experience and it played fine on the 360.

---- Doesn't count, unfortunately ----

Dark Souls (PS3) - This probably doesn't count since I played it in 2011. But in 2012 I finally really dug into it. I took my 4 hour save to a 25 hour+ save this year and it became one of my favorite games of all time. Would be at the top of the list if that counted.

---- Fell off the list surprisingly ----

The World Ends With You (iOS) - A huge surprise to me. Never played it on the DS, but loved it on iOS. Still playing it as I don't play many games on iOS anymore, but this game is superb.

Spec Ops: The Line (360) - I thought this was a pretty amazing experience, but in the end it wasn't as enjoyable as other games and the narrative "trick" annoyed me at parts. Overall I'm really glad this game was made.

Darn, I forgot about Sound Shapes. For some reason, I didn't add it to my list of 2012 completed games. I played a lot of games this year. I think that would have made my number 10 spot over Borderlands 2 if I had to do it over again. There was so much joy involved playing that game.

1) X-Com

I was always disappointed I couldn't get into the original X-Com because of the frustrating UI, so I was really happy when this came out and I could experience at least some of the feel of the original. Playing it in classic only added to the experience as I'm a serial quickloader. Turn-based strategy at its best - would love to see this expanded.

2) Dishonored

Again, revisiting classic design elements by taking the best aspects of the Thief series while still allowing for combat to be fun. I also think the world-building in Dishonored is fantastic. The Blink mechanic isn't new, but damn if it isn't implemented to perfection here.

3) The Walking Dead

I can't really say anything about this game that hasn't been said before. Bravo to them. More please - just, how about just slightly more involved puzzles and adventure gameplay?

4) FTL

What seems on the surface to be a choose your own adventure turns out to be a surprisingly deep tactical space combat RPG.

[b]5) Summoner Wars iOs/b]

Yes, it's a board game conversion, and no, I don't care. In a year where I've bought and played countless iOs board and strategy games, this is the standout winner by a mile. Good AI, Good pass & play, and fantastic Async with tons of diversity built into the game off the bat with a good selection of factions and deckbuilding options. Anyone with an iPad and an interest in strategy games should play it. Only marred by a lack of undo and a bit of poor implementation for special ability use.

6) Journey

Again, not much new to say here. It's a hug in video-game form.

7) Saints-Row: The Third

This game got a huge push last year, and so I played it early in 2012. It won me over from the opening sequence, and just kept going. Could have been higher on the list if I didn't think it bogged down in a lot of places, where there was just TOO much to do. Bonus points for a fantastic PC port.

8) Game of Thrones RPG

I got this one on sale on a whim, and was actually surprised by it. It actually tells a pretty strong story at times, and the characters themselves are fairly interesting and fit in well in the GoT universe. The tactical combat was also pretty well designed. Unfortunately, dated graphics, really poor level design, some boring mechanics and bad voice acting prevented this from being a really top-notch game. Chalk it up to an iffy studio with a limited budget trying to do a cash-in; I'd actually like to see Bioware take this license on.

9) Crusader Kings II

I wanted to love this game. I loved the concept of this game. I loved the stories people told about this game. I sank hours into the game trying to get it, watching youtube tutorials, etc. And while I had fun playing it, I just couldn't wrap my head around the complexities of inheritance, marriage, rank, control of different land, etc. The UI was also terrible, which didn't help. Give me another version of this game with an extended tutorial, a campaign that ramps up the various aspects of the game, and an overhauled UI, and I'll give you a GOTY.

[b]10) Sound Shapes

Games I wish I had had the chance to play this year, so don't yell at me if they're not on the list:
Dark Souls
Far Cry 3
Mark of the Ninja
Hotline Miami
Max Payne 3
Mass Effect 3

Yup, I forgot about it too. So good - I would kill to get "Cities" as an mp3. It just replaced Diablo III as my number 10.

Dysplastic wrote:

Yup, I forgot about it too. So good - I would kill to get "Cities" as an mp3. It just replaced Diablo III as my number 10.

So, I'm a filthy skimmer, can we go back to our lists and change them?

DSGamer wrote:

Some of the most enjoyable and unique experiences I've ever had took place this year and I haven't even gotten around to games in my pile like Journey. What a year.

Journey is like 2 hours long. It has no place in a pile. Go play it!

tuffalobuffalo wrote:
Dysplastic wrote:

Yup, I forgot about it too. So good - I would kill to get "Cities" as an mp3. It just replaced Diablo III as my number 10.

So, I'm a filthy skimmer, can we go back to our lists and change them? :)

I don't think he tallies anything up until the end, so yes.

Sweet! I was really good about making a list throught the year of completed games, but I just completely forgot about Sound Shapes.

Here are my top 10 games of 2012:

1. Journey
2. Nier
3. Papa & Yo
4. Persona 3 Portable
5. Stacking
6. Botanicula
7. Gravity Rush
8. Uncharted: Golden Abyss
9. Persona 4 Golden
10. Sound Shapes

If we were going by time spent, Borderlands 2 (150 hours) would have been my number 1, followed by P3P (80 hours or so). I'm really ranking them based on the story, characters, and how much the affected me.

Edit: Replaced Borderlands 2 with Sound Shapes. I completely forgot to add that to my list of completed games for 2012.

1. Mass Effect 3 - Combines the best sound and art design in the series with surprisingly good combat and smart tweaks to the inventory system (the weight system in particular might be the most important addition to the game). And unlike in Mass Effect 2, choices from past games actually do have demonstrable effects on the narrative. But the real reason this is my favorite game of the year is that this is a game filled with great moments, both intimate and enormous. It wouldn't be a Mass Effect game without some baffling design decisions (the stupid Reaper chase minigame on the Galaxy Map, the overheard conversations/fetch quests, the quest log that doesn't update), but those aren't the things I will remember about this game or this series. Along with Dark Souls, this series as a whole has been my favorite experience of this console generation.
2. XCOM - I was mostly a console kid growing up (still am), so I never played the originals, but this is scratching the same itch that Dark Souls did last year. This game is wonderfully tense, and the mix of anxiety and anticipation as I kit out my guys and girls before battle with that music throbbing is unlike anything I've experienced in gaming this year. As with ME3, there are a litany of minor problems (the interceptor stuff is so bad), but the alternation between feelings of triumph when you execute flawlessly and all your soldiers make it home alive, to devastation when your highest-ranking Sniper (who has been with you for countless missions) succumbs to a Sectopod barrage is intoxicating.
3. The Walking Dead - The PC games I did actually play growing up were all Sierra and Lucas Arts adventure games, so I do have a nostalgic fondness for TWD's chosen genre, but that is not why this game is so memorable. As an adventure game this is actually quite bad - and it has so many godawful QTE's - but the Lee/Clem stuff is so good that I don't care. Despite not being a parent, there is something about the father/son or father/daughter relationship that, when handled well in fiction, always gets to me. I can't make it through The Road (which this game resembles more closely than any strict zombie fiction I'm familiar with) without breaking down, and TWD accesses that same set of emotions. Also, major props to TellTale for making their protagonist a black history professor.
4. Fez - It's a puzzle/platformer that is neither a great puzzler nor a great platformer, but like Dark Souls it taps into a lot of the old 8- and 16-bit sense of experimentation and discovery. It is also a genuinely singular vision that doesn't use its retro stylings as a crutch, but rather seems to have fully internalized what made the old Nintendo classics so great, while never feeling beholden to them.
5. Dishonored - I was looking at John Walker's remarks about Dishonored on RPS's year-end list earlier today and they seem to echo my own feelings pretty closely. This is one of the games I was most anticipating this year, and while I adore the art style, level design, and sense of first-person movement, it hasn't really stuck with me in the way I anticipated when first playing it. I suspect part of the reason is that the final third of the game following the obligatory plot twist is somewhat underwhelming, and neither the plot nor the characters ever really make much of an impression. It's a very good game, but not quite the classic I was hoping it would be.

I feel like I'm ineligible for putting up a proper list because there's a bunch of games I own but haven't really put enough time into to rank them, but of the ones that have eaten a lot of my time:
1) Saints Row the Third
2) Borderlands 2
3) Mass Effect 3
4) Journey
5) Far Cry 3
6) Fez
7) Glitch

If I had put more time into them, these would probably be higher on the list, but as is, just put em at the bottom in no particular order I guess:
X Com
Walking Dead
Torchlight 2

(the disparity, if anyone's wondering, is largely console = played a lot versus pc = not played a lot, with the Blackwell series and Glitch as the exceptions).

Some runners up:
Blackwell Series
Guild Wars 2
The Unfinished Swan
edit: oh FTL was alright too.
edit2: oh crap, forgot fez. sorry Blackwell series.

I've been reading everything you guys write as I like the quick quips about your experiences. Those of you not writing ANYTHING kinda suck.

ccesarano wrote:

Made some modifications to my post here, mostly in erasing the delirious scribblings of a sleepy man and replacing them with more rational speechiness.

I wanted to throw some props out for editing images for your top 10. Cool beans dude.

1) Super Mario 3D Land - 3D Land is the first 3D Mario game I've played that felt like they really captured what makes 2D Mario great and translated it to 3D. I love previous 3D Mario games but the gameplay is different and they feel like their own genre. 3D Land walks the lines perfectly. The special areas are a really good level of difficulty and the way they use the coins to unlock levels makes the effort of getting them worth it, unlike in a lot of the 2D games.

2) Torchlight 2 - The Diablo genre is my comfort food, I've discovered. Nothing particularly revolutionary here, just a good implementation of a good genre.

3) The Walking Dead - Considering I often don't care about story in games this is kind of surprising. Something about it just works. Being able to play with my wife definitely helped.

4) Journey - Beautiful game. The ending is one of the most intense moments in any game I've played.

5) Catherine - Other people can probably speak to this game's merits better than I, but one aspect I really liked is how the main gameplay aspects are completely abstracted from the story. I think this allowed the story and play to get the proper focus they deserve instead of just letting the story carry the game.

6) Rayman Origins - Beautiful art and solid platforming.

7) Uncharted 3 - Last minute arrival, started it at the beginning of the year and it really didn't grab me. Put it down for a really long time. I came back to it this week and flew through the last 70% or so. I'm not sure if I want to play another Uncharted game after 3 of them, but this one was still great.

8) Dungeons of Dredmor - The first roguelike that really captured me. My go to game when I was "working" from home.

9) Xenoblade Chronicles - Could probably be improved with less MMO influence but it's still a great game.

10) Kingdoms of Amalur : Reckoning - This game has WAY too much lore. Other than that, I found it really enjoyable. It's a shame everything went down the way it did.

Honorable Mention:
Dark Souls - Prepare To Die Edition - The new content is great, perfect addition to my GOTY of 2011.
Persona 3 - Portable - Not on the list as 2012 wasn't the first time I played it, but I put the majority of my time into it this year and finally finished it.
FTL -Was #10 until it got knocked off.

RoughneckGeek wrote:

3. Catherine - I blame Minarchist again. There's a very short list of game I've given a second playthrough. There's only two games on the list that I started playing again immediately upon finishing the credits and this is one of them. There were a few very meta nights while I was playing Catherine that I had dreams I was in or playing the game.

I completely forgot about Catherine! I missed out on the game due to financial restraints at the time, and it slipped off my radar entirely as a result. £16.49 (new) on Amazon. Hmm. It's not a game I see in retail stores very often, not even in the pre-owned section (thus my memory loss that it even existed).