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

Not any new games this year (I played yet) which managed to unconditionally steal my heart. Sadly they all had some flaws that took a little away from the experience. Even so, 2012 had a bunch of great games.

1. Mass Effect 3:
The ending sucked. But damn the other 99% of the game was great. I simply love that series.

2. Diablo 3:
The game is fun to play. And I'm still playing sometimes. Which normally would be enough. At the same time it is hard to ignore the flaws and what feels like a lot of unfulfilled potential. Especially for a game made by Blizzard, the supposed supreme masters of the gamingverse.

3. The Walking Dead:
Not much of a game, but great fun anyway. Despite all the hype-talk about the game before I got around to play it, I was still positively surprised.

3. Borderlands 2:
At first it disappointed me, as it was way too similar to BL1. Over time however I accepted that being similar to Borderlands 1 is hardly a bad thing.

4. Civ 5 Gods and Kings Expansion:
Improved on the base game, but more importantly gave me an excuse to dive back down into a game where hours simply can disappear. I hadn't given Civ5 enough time back when I bought the original, even though I really like a lot of the changes from Civ4.

5. Dark Souls PC:
Maybe its a bit unfair to add in on this years list - considering how much I played the game last year. But. It. Is. Just. That. Good!
Still game of the decade for me (shared with Demons Souls). The new content is nice as well - not that it really needed more content.

Had a ton of fun playing Huttball. Best MMO PvP in a long time. Playing through the class quest was kinda fun too. Sadly the quality of the gameplay was seriously uneven.

7. Mists of Pandaria:
WoW can still be fun to play once in a while - which is a quite incredible feat on its own. Mists of Pandaria feels like the most complete expansion experience since TBC.

8. Mark of the Ninja:
Nice surprise. Really well made and fun to play. Not really a fan of stealth games in general, but it sure works when done in a cute platform-ish way.

9. Ico: Delving into the classics, I played this as part of the Ico/SotC HD release. It is a lovely game, although a bit frustrating sometimes. Easy to see how it got cult status.

"Honorable" mentions (mostly because it was the only other games I have played, yet)

Trine 2: Didnt like it as much as Trine 1. Too similar, and didn't have the benefit of being new and interesting. It surely looks great however.

Kingdoms of Amalur: I liked some aspects of the game, but in the end, there was way too much I didn't like; such as a total lack of balance, too many MMOish quests etc.

Arkham Asylum: Finally got around playing this. While it had some great moments, the combat-system really isn't me.

List of "Looking forward to play during Christmas holiday and/or 2013":
Torchlight 2, Crusader Kings 2, XCOM, The Walking Dead. I guess I'm set for at least 3-4 months into next year.

26/12 Edit: Playing the Walking Dead right now. Damn it really is great. Got to add it.
30/12: And Mark of the Ninja. Done! My pile demands more xmas holidays.
30/12: Played some Torchlight II. Meh. Diablo 3 is much better after all. Got to play it some more and see if it improves when you get more abilities etc, but it just doesn't feel right. Although there are a bunch of good ideas in it. Execution is just lacking.

Clockwork, you're going to hate me, but I was listening to ME3's OST again, and I think I'm going to have to change my list again. ME3 just really stayed with me, even after all these months...

Wow, there's a conundrum.
I haven't played many games for the first time ever this year, but in the end, it's a toss up between The Walking Dead, Mass Effect 3 and Guild Wars 2... Now if you really did put a gun to my head, and if I had to put them in a certain order...

  • Mass Effect 3 - I was waiting for the end of this trilogy, and I loved every minute of it. I knew it was the end of the line, and it left me with bittersweet feelings, but I loved it nonetheless. The fact that I didn't get to play it before the Extended Cut came out may have something to do with it, granted.
  • The Walking Dead - Why? Because the storytelling was masterful, I loved discovering little tidbits about Lee and his past as I went, they did a great job with Clementine as well, the relationship between the two was just .... gaaa (makes me unintelligible, as you can see). This game broke my heart over and over, and I loved it.
  • Guild Wars 2 - Finally, a MMO which doesn't put any pressure on me to play every freakin' night (like its predecessor before it). I just love exploring the world, and I won't be putting this one down for a while.
  • Bastion - Gorgeous game, absolutely adored it, it deserved better than the "very honorable mention" I had previously given it. I was late to the party on this one, but I still had a blast. Apparently, it's best played with a pad, my trusty mouse and keyboard served me just as well.
  • Torchlight 2 - Enjoyed it a lot more than the first installment, and put in two playthroughs, which is surprising in and of itself.
  • Botanicula - I absolutely adore this game, loved it to bits. It's small, but charming and doesn't fail to slap a big silly grin on my face. The music and art were just absolutely gorgeous.
  • FTL - A nice surprise. A very frustrating surprise, mind you, but I haven't enjoyed being this frustrated in a long, long time.
  • Saints Row: The Third - Not the type of game I traditionally enjoy, but it was just so full of fun, it's hard to ignore. Never thought I'd play as a toilet. Or run around with a giant purple dildo.
  • Assassin's Creed: Revelations - I didn't expect to be all that good after the letdown that was Brotherhood for me, but it was fun and made Desmond more likable to me. There definitely was an overabundance of gadgets and stuff, though: the bombs, the ziplines, etc... Too much is too much.
  • Batman: Arkham City - It has its flaws, but accomplishes what it sets out to do, and does it well. And you get to play as Batman, that's always fun. Catwoman was a refreshing change of pace, but I would've enjoyed it a lot more of she had not been so overly sexualized and objectified.

Disappointments: Borderlands 2, Binding of Isaac, Terraria and Amnesia: the Dark Descent.

Games I haven't played yet but have high hopes for: X-COM: Enemy Unknown, Mark of the Ninja, Orcs Must Die! 2, Trine 2 and Dishonored. And then there's the rest of my ever growing pile.

I keep coming back and editing this post, thinking "oh wait, I forgot XYZ!"... Think I just might have to start a spreadsheet for next year (yes, I'm a whackadoodle that way).

Kind of a down year for me. Not too much jumped out. But here it goes.

2)Far Cry 3
3) Borderlands 2
4) Dust: An Elysian Tail
5) FTL
6) Trials Evolution
7) Hitman: Absolution
8) Mark of the Ninja
9) Angry Birds Star Wars
10) Secret World

Minarchist wrote:

[*]The Last Story -- phenomenal story centering around the futility of war, and great combat to boot. A perfect swan song for the Wii.

You're #1!

I wrote a stupidly long blog post that explains my top 10, plus talks about honourable mentions, games I couldn't play but might have made the list and disappointments. If you're interested in that stuff, feel free to go read it there but I won't burden the thread with that wall of text. For the community voting, here's just my top 10 list of titles.

10. Spec Ops: The Line
9. Tokyo Jungle
8. Syndicate
7. Sleeping Dogs
6. Dishonored
5. Dust: An Elysian Tail
4. Mark of the Ninja
3. PlanetSide 2
2. The Walking Dead
1. Journey

1. Borderlands 2 - I really enjoyed the first Borderlands, despite its flaws on PC, playing it for over 100 hours. It scratched that lootfest itch in a new and interesting way. Borderlands 2 improved on its predecessor in every way - great characters, great environments, great loot, great antagonist, great humor, etc.

2. FTL - I'm proud to be a kickstarter backer of this wonderful game. I generally don't like roguelikes or pixel art games, but FTL is a gem of a game. The randomness of each game plus the fact that there are plenty of ships to unlock gives FTL nearly infinite replayability. Also, the soundtrack is SO good. I spent the $5 to download it, and I've listened to it several times while working.

3. Botanicula - This delightfully charming game was a pure joy to play. I enjoyed it so much that I played it all the way through in one 8-hour sitting (with a couple short breaks). The art style and sound design is very refreshing. Like FTL, I also bought the soundtrack for Botanicula and listened to it outside of the game.

4. Far Cry 3 - Despite its completely unappealing story missions (which you're forced to do in order to unlock the skill trees, bit by bit) and the annoying HUD elements (which, thankfully, were made togglable in a patch), Far Cry 3 has a spot on my list due to its awesome, open-world playground in which some really cool, memorable moments can happen. My favorite moment (thus far) went down like this: After an ambush of an outpost went bad, there were several pirates shooting at me. Near death, I decided to make a run for the nearby lake and escape their gunfire underwater. I sprinted to the end of the pier and jumped into the water ... right into the open mouth of a crocodile that I had no idea was there.

5. Cook, Serve, Delicious! - I had never heard of this game before seeing Giant Bomb's quick look. I was intrigued, so I bought it directly from the developer's site (it wasn't and still isn't on Steam, but it is on Greenlight). I then proceeded to play it for at least 20 hours over the following week. The reason it gets such a high place on my list is because it's such a unique game to me, with a good challenge and a good sense of progression.

6. Don't Starve - Another game that appears on my list due to being something out of the ordinary in terms of games that I typically play. Some would say it shares a similarity with Minecraft, as it's a survival game in which you collect materials from the environment to craft things. But whereas Minecraft never interested me (the overtly blocky art design was just too off-putting to me), I really like the Tim Burton-esque art style of Don't Starve. Technically the game is still in beta, which is proven by the fact that the devs are regularly releasing conten updates about every 2 weeks, but because it's been widely purchase-able for a few months (Steam and elsewhere), I'm considering it a 2012 game.

7. Mass Effect 3 - Everyone knows about its issues, and putting crucial narrative content in $10 DLC rather than the main game is arguably inexcusable. That said, there are plenty of really powerful and memorable moments in ME3.

8. XCOM: Enemy Unknown - I never played the original, so for what it's worth, I had no expectations going in, other than what I'd seen in gameplay videos. I probably would have played the game more if it had less reliance on the "dice roll" factor and the cover system, but Firaxis made a very good game and deserve a lot of credit for making such a deep strategy game so accessible.

9. Mark of the Ninja - Very good stealth game. Great art style. Great animation. Good sense of progression. A lot of fun to be had for a modest price.

10. The Walking Dead - I like a little more "game" in my games, and it's a shame that so many of the numerous cutscenes were buggy for me (on PC), but TWD gets a spot on my list for its remarkable writing and voice acting.


Honorable mentions:
Pinball Arcade - Farsight has made some great tables. I just wish the Android version wasn't so damn buggy.

Torchlight 2 - If Runic has released this when they said they would (late 2011, then "a month after Diablo 3", then late July), I would've played it more than the handful of hours that I have. But because they decided to release it the same week as Borderlands 2, I wasn't really in the mood for another lootfest game after putting over 80 hours into BL2.

Shoot Many Robots - A fun, side-scrolling action game with lots of interesting, funny upgrades.

Cities XL 2011 - I really like what this game does, but damn, the developer really needs to fix the game's code so that it doesn't always devolve into being almost unplayable after just an hour of playing, due to being limited to only using one CPU core. What's worse is the fact that the follow up, Cities XL 2012, has the same technical issues, which is why I opted for the cheaper 2011 version.

I can't give a top 10, as I don't seem to have started that many new games, and haven't managed to try a lot of the big titles this year. Here then, is a top 8:

1. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (PC)
I put 60+ hours into Amalur, doing both DLCs and having a good time all the way through. The combat was fun and there were plenty of options on how to specialise your character, and there was tons of content (still lots untouched for Playthrough 2, if I ever get around to that ...). Considering how short and impoverished many AAA titles are these days, it's really sad that the developer ended up the way it did after putting out a quality title like this.

2. The Walking Dead (PC)
Not a great *game* per se, but as a piece of interactive, gut-wrenching, storytelling it has no equal. Everyone should play this.

3. Mark of the Ninja (PC)
A stealth game that had the perfect balance of cunning sneakery and fun. I don't have a completionist nature at all, but I'm still working on unlocking everything in this.

4. The World Ends With You (iPad)
I never did own a DS and so my first opportunity to play this was on iOS. Quite original in gameplay and story. I really wish conversions like this happened more often, but this demonstrates that iPad can handle full-size games and not just cheap frills. Now for Persona series ..... Pretty please?

5. Torchlight 2 (PC)
Made an Engineer with comedy ferret support and had a literal blast. I gave up on the first one half way through, but this really sucked me in and I didn't touch another game until I'd finished the story.

6. FTL (PC)
I only just bought this in the Steam Sale, but it's brilliant, and I love that its easy to drop in and out of as time permits. I'm sure this would have ranked higher if I had more hours in.

7. Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon (PC)
So much fun from a game that wasn't especially high profile. The general craziness and the giant robot enemies put a huge smile on my face. I played it through with a friend five or six times.

8. Neuroshima Hex (iOS)
A well-implemented board game conversion. The AI is slightly wonky but still gives some challenge. Does anyone do the multiplayer?

I'm a little embarassed as several of these games I only played in the last couple weeks. But here's my list (I'm doing top 5 vs top 10)

5. SWTOR - Bioware's MMO had plenty of flaws and their horrible Free to Play model has kept me from being a long time player. But the game satisfied my inner Star Wars geek and also kept me interested enough to play through several class stories and put in about 250 hours. That's a huge amount of time in a year for me.

4 Fall of the Samurai The original Shogun 2 enthralled me, and this expansion allowed me to gun down hundreds of spearmen and swordsmen with Gatling guns. What's not to love?

3Borderlands 2Only put in about 6 hours but the level design, game writing and sense of humor are awesome. Really looking forward to playing this game in the near future.

2 Guild Wars 2 One of the best MMOs I've ever played, and one that completely respects my time and money. The single player storyline is hokey but the dungeons and PVP make up for that.

1Xcom Got this game for Christmas and it quickly went to the top of my list. It has all of the tactical alien killing fun of Mass Effect, and all the obsessive strategy I love from games like Civilization. A perfect combo.

I'm actually surprised there is not a lot more Guild Wars 2 Love in this thread.

Budo wrote:

I'm actually surprised there is not a lot more Guild Wars 2 Love in this thread.

I've played a whole bunch, and right now Skyrim has stolen me away, but I can see why not. It's not the messiah of MMOs, and there's a bunch that I think (objectively? subjectively?) that needs to be changed/fixed for it to be really really good.

As much as they always want a high profile for the game and to be selling boxes (not subs! yay!), I think it would be good for them to go low profile for a bit and then do a marketing blitz when it's a good well rounded game.

Another year, another pile o' games. It is a good time to be a gamer.

The Top Ten

  • The Last Story -- phenomenal story centering around the futility of war, and great combat to boot. A perfect swan song for the Wii.
  • Paper Mario: Sticker Star -- Incredibly clever in its writing and actions and pure joy to play. This will probably get replayed sooner than anything else on the list. Nice to see Nintendo's self-referential humor is still available (see: Birdo's entrance). Also does a very good job of mixing up different gameplay elements to stay fresh.
  • Alpha Protocol -- Probably wins for "game I liked that I most expected to dislike" on this list. Obsidian is absolutely the only major western developer that understands actual branching paths and decent dialogue, and they proved it in spades in this game. Played through three endings and barely saw a repeated line of dialogue through the whole thing. Pretty sure I could have repeated that several more times -- there are that many little decisions that affect things. Bioware, take note: Obsidian is doing everything you have been trying to and failing with Mass Effect and Dragon Age. Gameplay is also pretty fun once you realize it's an RPG and not an FPS.
  • Journey -- What can I say about this game that hasn't already been said? It is an experience, for sure. Notably has the best (music) score of any I played this year. Perhaps is a bit lower on this list because I thought it should have ended a bit earlier.
  • 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors -- I know I have been very effusive in my praise of this title, but I really did love it. The puzzles were reasonable and the story was A+++ would read again. Some are put off by the multiple bad endings that are required to get the "true" one, but that's a pretty standard visual novel trope, and I like the gradual reveal of the story. Notable for what I believe to be the best thematic use of the two screens of the DS. Definitely an "ah-ha!" moment once you realize what they're doing.
  • Super Mario 3D Land -- I have no idea how they haven't run out of brilliant level ideas yet, but they haven't. My shiny stars, let me show you them.
  • Rayman Origins -- Platformer B on the list. Beautiful art style and another great score, and a very nice flow for platforming. The treasure chest levels were tons of fun. I'm dinging it a bit because unlike, say, Prince of Persia (2008) this game achieves said "flow" by making every single mistake from that flow result in death, meaning a lot of repetition. Still fun in spite of that.
  • Quantum Conundrum -- Whimsical. Charming. Actually fun. I may have liked this better than Portal 2. (Shh. Don't tell anyone; they'll get upset.)
  • Tales of Graces ƒ -- A great, great overhaul of the traditional Tales battle system. The CC system is a huge improvement over the traditional TP/mana they've used for years. Also has a pretty good story; not as good as others in the series, but it could be worse.
  • Devil Survivor 2 -- A really clever story about political/philosophical factions and the root issues at play in them. The stories and endings all fit together very well, as they should in any Atlus-developed game. Unfortunately, the actual SRPG gameplay is a little unbalanced. Still fun, but not as pure as guys who have been developing that style of game for a long time.

Just Missed the Cut

As usual, the 10th position is the most difficult one for me to choose. So many good games that each have a fatal flaw or two.

  • Pushmo -- super clever puzzler that's almost cloying in its cuteness. Perhaps the toughest game to keep out of the top 10.
  • Radiant Historia -- a lot of really interesting story and cool overlapping for those who are willing to explore all its nooks and crannies...but you do have to be willing to explore all its nooks and crannies to really appreciate the game, I think.
  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood -- A good continual refinement of the core gameplay. Multiplayer is a hoot. Still some frustrating elements, lots of repetition, and some plot holes you could drive a semi through.
  • Botanicula, Phoenix Wright, Mirror's Edge, SMT: Strange Journey, Ys Origin, Hyperdimension Neptunia, Torchlight 2, Tiny Bang Story, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, and still others -- a lot of great games this year, some that didn't even necessarily do anything that bad. They just weren't great. I probably could have done a top 25 this year and been pretty happy.

Wrong thread.

Hookay, now that it's closer to the end of the year, I have my GOTY list a little more fleshed out:

1. Walking Dead -- See my first post in the thread for the explanation.

2. Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition -- I loved Demon Souls when it came out, even if I was horrible at it and never managed to beat more than one boss. I dove a little deeper down the rabbit hole on Dark Souls and found that feeling of discovery once a game clicked I hadn't really felt from a game in a long time. The fact that the feeling came after dying hundreds of times only made it that much more satisfying.

3. Crusader Kings 2 -- It was only after a particularly disastrous campaign to unite Ireland did I realize how invested I could be in a strategy game that didn't involve APMs or waiting x number of turns to take over the world. After relaying my tale over in the catch all, GWJ's own wordsmythe responded with a simple statement that made me realize I wasn't just playing a strategy game. I was also playing a psudo-RPG, where I was taking on the role of a particular leader in a nation's history. When that leader died, the story was most definitely going to change in my game because I wanted to. Granted, there was no cut scene or specific gameplay mechanic aside from a leadership change that was forcing the change. It was simply the narrative that I was creating within the game.

4. Nier -- I know it's an old game, but I didn't actually play this until this year, and I'm actually sad that I waited so long to do so. The combat may be fairly basic, and its side quests frustrating at times, but the main story of this game is very well told, especially when more information is shown through multiple endings. It's also a game that I feel does the New Game+ concept very well. You don't play through the whole game, and even then you play through the game a lot quicker. Plus it has one of the best final (and I mean final) endings I've ever experienced.

5. Journey -- Definitely late to the party getting through this game but that doesn't make Journey any less of an interesting experience. While I did not experience much in the way of co-op (I only encountered one other player), I still was immersed in the world and enjoyed my experience through it.

6. Hotline Miami -- I'm just a sucker for the twitchy puzzle games. Add in a dose of just all around strangeness and I'm basically sold. I didn't really care much for the "message" the game was putting out there, but I can't deny that I had fun burning through every challenge the game threw at me. Plus, that soundtrack was pretty freaking sweet too.

7. FTL -- I don't mind admitting it, but I had no idea what a "rougelike" was until recently. However between Binding of Issac, Dungeons of Dreadmor and Legend of Grimrock, I was educated very quickly. None of them really grabbed me as much as FTL did. Maybe it was the crew management, the steep difficulty curve (I refused to go use easy difficulty for weeks after first playing it), or simply the sci fi theme, but FTL got its hooks into me and didn't let go for awhile. My fondest memory was seeing how far I could keep my one crew member alive in the middle of hostile territory, hoping for some extra help while trying to jump to the next sector. Unfortunately, no help arrived and I to say goodbye to Captain Skippy.

8. Asura's Wrath -- I wasn't expecting to like this as much as I did. The only thing I knew is that the game was based in quick time events. I was not aware of the anime-style presentation, which I loved thoroughly. Being a bit of an anime fan myself, I loved the transitions midway through episodes, and then the summary of what would be happening in the upcoming episodes. It was exactly like playing through a season of Dragonball Z. I've heard that the "true" ending is only available through DLC, but I honestly feel like I had a good enough of an experience with what was provided.

9. Syndicate -- Another game that I didn't finish until recently, but I am very glad that I did. The campaign may have been too short, but I did like the breaching mechanics it added to an otherwise basic first person shooter. There was just something about walking into a room then making a group of enemies' weapons backfire so they could all be easily picked that was extremely satisfying. I also had the opportunity to try a little bit of the co-op with some GWJers and I can see just how much fun the game can be outside of the main campaign.

10. Tokyo Jungle -- I played as a baby chick and I tried to fight a dog (I lost) in post apocalyptic Japan. I'm pretty sure there was a cow in there somewhere too. I think that's all I need to say about that.

CptDomano wrote:

2. Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition --

Glad to see you finally finished it!...


Blind_Evil wrote:
CptDomano wrote:

2. Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition --

Glad to see you finally finished it!...


I'M CLOSE ENOUGH, DAMN IT! I'll beat it tomorrow. I don't need your lip, mister.

Not enough love for Penny Arcade 3 around here...

Some great lists going around here though. After watching Giant Bomb and Polygon make two completely different top ten lists, it'll be awesome to see how our community list shakes out.


I predict XCOM wins.

Blind_Evil wrote:
CptDomano wrote:

2. Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition --

Glad to see you finally finished it!...


CptDomano wrote:

4. Nier -- I know it's an old game, but I didn't actually play this until this year, and I'm actually sad that I waited so long to do so. The combat may be fairly basic, and its side quests frustrating at times, but the main story of this game is very well told, especially when more information is shown through multiple endings. It's also a game that I feel does the New Game+ concept very well. You don't play through the whole game, and even then you play through the game a lot quicker. Plus it has one of the best final (and I mean final) endings I've ever experienced.

I'm glad to see you finally finished it! ...um, I think.

Minarchist wrote:

I'm glad to see you finally finished it! ...um, I think.

Yeah, I did. I mean, I really did. I REALLY REALLY did.

I even signed my name to make sure I did.

1. Guild wars 2 : delivered on the alien concept of playing MMOs with other people.
2. Crusader Kings II
3. X-COM : Enemy Unknown
4. Shogun 2 : Total War
5. Trine 2
6. Rocksmith : finally released in Europe weeee!
7. Rock band 3
8. Batman Arkham City

I suspect Dishonored, Far Cry 3 and the Walking Dead would be up there but I haven't had a chance to play them yet.

1. The Walking Dead
2. Guild Wars 2 - This would be my game #1 if the walking dead didn't emotionally move me so much. I easily spent more hours in this than anything else combined.
3. XCOM : Enemy Unknown
4. Diablo 3 - tough for me. In the end i want to say i liked torchlight 2 better however i spend 100+ hours in D3 before getting bored vs around 20 in T2. Its possible however that all that time spent in D3 burnt me out on the genre before i got to T2
5. Dishonored
6. Sleepy Dogs
7. Far Cry 3 - I think the story is a bucket of crap but the game is soooooo much fun
8. Mass Effect 3 - note, I dont give a poo about the changed ending or any DLC beyond ashes. Once I finished I had zero desire to go back in. This is where i but the base game (plus ashes since i had it at the start) oh yeah, multiplayer was pretty good too.
9. Assasins Creed 3 - while not AC2 or brotherhood level quality I loved the setting emmensly and really enjoyed the game
10. The Secret World - underrated game of the year, hands down

1. Persona 4: Golden - The Persona series never really hooked me during the PS2 era. Minarchist is primary responsible for twisting my arm into trying Persona 3 Portable last year. Between the improvements made to the remake for the PSP and my tastes maturing a bit this game sucked away an ungodly amount of time. Persona 4: Golden is the reason I broke down and picked up a Vita and I have not been disappointed. It's easily my favorite game of the year and my favorite remake of all time.

2. The Walking Dead - I haven't felt any desire to play a zombie game since L4D2, but the hype put this one on my radar. Not only has the game been fantastic, it's also been a game I can enjoy with my non-gamer boyfriend.

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.

4. Journey - Bought it and played through it Christmas afternoon. If you own a PS3, you owe it to yourself to play this. The game is just beautiful and tells a wordless story even better than Flower.

5. Mark of the Ninja - This game is everything I wish Ninja Gaiden could have been on the NES. Finally a game that actually made me feel like a ninja and not some genocidal maniac. Granted, I've thoroughly explored all the methods the game allows to kill people in cruel and unusual ways too, but I'm having more fun puzzling out how to get through the levels now with no kills, no detection. It says a lot that this game was just gifted to me during the Xmas sale and I've already got over 20 hours in.

6. Bastion - I picked this up over the Steam summer sale and got hooked on it. It's frankly a simple game to play and beat. I played through, played through the NG+ mode then proceeded to beat all of the arena style challenge maps with all 10 idols on. I just couldn't bring myself to put the game away when I was so close to finishing out the last achievements.

7. Crusader Kings II - I'm not a strategy gamer. I don't understand the appeal of Civilization or the Paradox games. Chatter on IRC and some incredible AARs here on the site convinced me to take advantage of it going on sale last month. It's deep, but not impenetrable and half the fun is seeing what is going to happen next. My record so far is 3 straight generations (19 offspring) without a male heir. When I finally managed to spawn something with a penis, his older sister assassinated him before he turned 20.

8. Saints Row: The Third - This was a game that I kept on my radar waiting for a sale. I'm not a fan of GTA-style games normally (Bully was the other exception). When it dropped to $5 over the summer sale, I snatched it up and 55 hours of my life disappeared forever. I need to circle back and finish the game at some point...

9. Candy Grapple - If you don't own this for your Android or iOS devices then you're a bad person. (Switchbreak paid me to say that.) Seriously, why do you not own this yet? It's a brilliant swinging/grappling platformer that ramps up difficulty perfectly and developed by a beloved member of this community.

10. Secret of the Magic Crystals - SPARKLEPONIES!!!

I haven't really played a lot this past year it seems. Mostly MMOs, despite my pile.

I did play, and enjoyed, the following ( including some MMOs ).

1. Guild Wars 2
2. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
3. Warlock - Master of the Arcane
4. Magic: The Gathering 2013
5. Diablo III
6. Star Wars: The Old Republic ( before it went free to play )

After trying to come up with a few games, it did dawn on me that I don't play enough of my pile. Definitely going to have to work on that this new year.

Now that I think about it, this is a fantastic thread to go through and make mental notes.

"Okay, so I can get game recommendations from them, them them, probably avoid their recommends, go to them..."

In Under the wire:

1. XCOM - No Question
2. Journey - Saved my sanity one night
3. FTL - Almost number 2
4. Mark of the Ninja - Amazing
5. Dishonored - Almost number 4
6. Torchlight 2
7. Diablo 3 - If I had less time to reflect on this, it would probably have ended up higher.
8. Darksiders - Out of left field
9. Mass Effect 3 - I'm penalizing this for an ending that made me feel bad about the dozens of previous great hours.
10. Demon's Souls - I cannot get into this game, but I've played it enough to see the brilliance, and wish I loved it.

Only three really stand out in my memory:

1. ME3 360
2. Rayman Origins Vita
3. Borderlands 2 360

My pile is tall with games listed by everyone else.

Good on ya, Zaque!

I really thought this was going to be easier this year, but looking at my pile progress document, I played a bunch of good things which makes this really hard to do.

1. Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb (PC) - A really nice add-on to one of my favorites of last year. I'm still not all the way through this one, and the fact I'm eagerly awaiting the remake is a testament to the greatness of this game.

2. New Super Mario Bros U (WiiU) - This is the first Mario game since Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land where I've set out to 100% it. Wonderful co-op experience.

3. Journey (PS3) / 30 Flights of Loving (PC) / Gravity Bone (PC) - Amazing short-form game/experience/story thingies.

4. Chrono Trigger (DS) - I almost feel bad putting this on here since I've played it so much, but this game holds up really really well. New content is forgettable, but the main campaign... superb.

5. Botanicula (PC) - While not a true "Adventure" game, this had a ton of charm and a really fun soundtrack.

6. World of Goo (PC) - While not "OMG THE BEST EVAR" as I was led to believe back in... 2008, this is still a wonderful gem that puts many, more costly, games to shame.

7. Theatryhtm Final Fantasy (3DS) - The only rhythm game to date where I recognized more than 80% of the music. A wonderful nostalgia trip through a series I practically grew up with.

8. 1000000 (iOS) - A little frustrating at times, but the exponential increase in your scoring as your progress in abilities makes for an utterly addictive rush.

9. Shatter (PC) - I've picked away at this off and on for a couple of years and finally finished the story campaign on a whim. Great twist on a classic genre, and a grooving soundtrack to compliment it.

10. Mario Kart 7 (3DS) - The best MK game since Mario Kart DS. Great tracks, solid online play (even though local multiplayer is borked like it was in Wii), and fun customization options. This is the baseline for this year.

Honorable Mentions:

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance (3DS) - Solid entry in the series, but didn't really anything significant to the series. Fun time, but felt it was marred by a few cheap boss battles at the end and the creature raising/ability gaining system was meh.

Super Mario 3D Land (3DS) - Good merging of the mechanics from classic 2D Mario and the 3D series. Unfortunately, the camera angles soured me on this one.

Diablo III (PC) - This was a solid game, but for some reason it didn't stick with me as long as I expected it to.

1. Walking Dead – Somewhere in the middle of Ep. 2 I had a feeling this was GOTY material for me. By the time I finished off Ep. 5, it was a lock. I can say with confidence that I didn’t think of any game more this year when not playing. I want more of this type of game. Setting/material doesn’t matter. I just want to see more mature narratives that an old fart like me can appreciate.

2. Forza Horizon – The Forza franchise is my favorite racing series of all time. When Horizon was announced, I quickly wrote it off as a cash-grab, sullying the name to bolster a weak holiday lineup. Boy was I wrong. Playground Games handled the IP with skill and confidence. Setting the game in an open world allowed me to put the cars through their paces unlike any closed-circuit racer could and gave me a greater appreciation for their nuanced handling models. Bonus props to the soundtrack. First racer in forever where I didn’t turn off the music first thing (I heart Pulse radio!).

3. Minecraft (XBLA) – Us Dirty Console Peasants (tm.) finally got a chance to see what this Minecraft thing was all about and man did it impress. I sunk a disturbing amount of hours into this game and barely even scratched the surface in regards to advanced world building. This is the perfect warm-blanket game. So relaxing and comfortable.

4. XCOM – I’m a fan of TBS, but honestly I’ve never been that good at the genre. XCOM came along and provided a user-friendly experience that didn’t cut on any of the granola-crunch depth. Love the presentation, UI and tactical depth. All polished to a sheen rarely seen in standard TBS fare.

5. 10000000 (iOS) – This game is the perfect definition of the “standing in line” time-waster. Looking over the credits scroll, it says I’ve logged just under 30 hours into the game. That says it all, really.

6. Tropico 4 Gold Edition – The recent Giant Bomb Quick Look of Tropico 4: GE sold me in quick fashion. I immediately ordered it online and proceeded to play the lengthy Xbox Live demo a dozen times while waiting for the disc to arrive. I haven’t done that in forever. Much like XCOM, the game interface and presentation is friendly and inviting. The depth of info/stat data is staggering. And to top it all off, it’s funny as hell to boot. It’s like Sim City with fantastic flair and attitude.

7. Mark of the Ninja – I appreciated what Klei was trying to do with Shank, but the game felt incredibly one-note. With MotN, the studio hit the ground running with a fantastic take on the stealth genre. It’s been said to death, but these guys mastered the art of visual information, letting me know at every moment what my current detection level was in intuitive fashion. It made me feel like a stealth badass. A ninja if you will.

8. Trials Evolution – Fail/reset, Fail/reset, Fail/reset, Fail/reset, Fail/reset, Fail/reset. No other game this year beat me down like Trials. But I happily kept coming back for more. It takes some chops to throw someone against the wall in the gameplay dept. while maintaining that willing, “just one more go” addictiveness level.

9. Skyrim: Dragonborn DLC – Oh Dragonborn, will you be the DLC pack that pushes my Skyrim save file over the 300 hour mark? Yes, you likely will. Kudos to Bethesda for introducing a whole new landscape for the Skyrim world. It feels this close to playing Morrowind and I love it for that. I haven’t finished it yet, but thus far am wicked impressed with the main storyline.

Dishonorable Mention: Screw you Far Cry 3 and your annoying as f HUD screen. How the heck am I supposed to explore freely and at my own pace when a stupid text box pops up literally every minute telling me to “Go visit Dr. Earnhardt.”?!? Christ, I get less nagging from my wife. I’ll revisit the game if and when a no-HUD patch is released for consoles, but as it stands the game is a non-starter for me (which is a shame as Far Cry 2 was in my Top 3 list the year it came out).

My entirely incorrect list.

1 Orcs Must Die 2
2 XCom
3 Mass Effect 3
4 Diablo 3
5 Dishonored
6 WoW: Mists of Pandaria
7 Guild Wars 2
8 Far Cry 3
9 Torchlight 2
10 Borderlands 2