2018 Community Game of the Year

I've been struggling with my list for a full month. No joke. I do this every year, and this has nothing to do with me running the GOTY list. Because, as you'll soon find out, a lot of my picks have a near zero chance of ending up in the final list. For those of you interested my previous lists can be found on the forums (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012).

This year was a bit different. Where 2017 had been bogged down by Serious Crap®, 2018 was a little lighter on that score, but still required a LOT of comfort gaming. So I replayed Oblivion. And Mass Effect. And Mass Effect 2. And Mass Effect 3. And a LOT of Guild Wars 2. So there are definitely fewer "new" games than there should be. Still, I've played a truckload of really good games, and once again, I struggled to fit them all in the top ten. There's gonna be a lot of honorable mentions. So here we are, without further ado, Eleima's 2018 list.

The top 10!

#10... Assassin's Creed: Syndicate
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I actually went back to check, and I haven't had an Assassin's Creed game in my top ten since Black Flag in 2014 (yes, I know, it was released in 2013, don't @ me). This somewhat surprised me, because I have fond memories of Unity after all, having played it after many of the horrifying, face splitting bugs had been squashed. And I really enjoyed Aveline, both as a character, and as the versatile assassin that the gameplay led me to believe she is (three modes!).
It was a near thing for Syndicate, though, as a lot of my honorable mentions nearly knocked it off the list. At first, I didn't click with Syndicate. But I persisted. Although Jacob annoyed me, although I spent half the game cleaning up his mess, I really enjoyed playing as Evie (and the delightful little side story with Henry Green). I guess climbing on rooftops and stabbing people in the neck never gets old. I think it helps that I usually leave a healthy gap between installments, which means, of course, that I'm now several games behind.

#9... Gorogoa
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A short but beautiful experience. I really enjoyed the puzzles which always felt somewhat challenging, but not overly so. And the art. So gorgeous. Absolutely dazzling. I'm still not exactly sure what the game was trying to tell me, but it got a lot points simply for being pretty and relaxing.

#8... Along the Edge
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This is one of those rare games that got its claws in me, deep, fast and for a while (also see my number one). I bought it on the last day of 2017 and had finished my first playthrough in a matter of days. You play as Daphné, a young teacher who has recently inherited her grandmother's manor. But that's not all she's inherited. A story of magic, science, kindness and selfishness unfolds over the course of several playthroughs. Family secrets long forgotten come back to trouble the present. The art is what initially drew me to the game (call me superficial, I like pretty art), but the story is what kept me invested. Some of the characters aren't really great: there's an abusive boyfriend (it's very insidious, but it's there, the gaslighting, throwing shade, undermining self-esteem), some non consensual drunken kissing. The studio is French, and it shows that English isn't their first language. Some of the phrasing isn't great, and it could do with a little editing (when I translate it back to French, I know *exactly* what figure of speech they were using). If you can get past that, it's worth playing. There are four major outcomes, so it keeps the replayability to a reasonable minimum.

#7... The Darkside Detective
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This was a chance discovery. I'm not even sure how I found it, maybe in a Steam discovery queue? But the pixel art drew my eye, I fired up the trailer and just about died laughing. There's some four wall breaking humor, but it doesn't rely too heavily on it (I'm looking at you, Thimbleweed Park). Ben Prunty (of FTL fan) penned the soundtrack, and the whole affair is just a delight. The game works in "cases", which take about 1-2 hours to complete, making it perfectly bite-sized. And the Christmas special was hilarious. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed this game so much, I backed the Kickstarter for season 2. Here's to follwing Detective Frances McQueen and Detective Dooley on more adventures!

#6... What Remains of Edith Finch
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What Remains of Edith Finch is a fascinating game. It's a hard game to recommend because of some of its content (which I won't spoil here for the sake of brevity), and yet... there's something beautiful about it. It's poignant, and weird, and elegant, all at the same time. You have small tableaux or vignettes for each member of the Finch family. And what lives they led. With only three hours, it's one of those "short but intense" experiences.

#5... SoulSet
IMAGE(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/589860/header.jpg)
Ah yes, the otome genre. With a mystery spin on it! SoulSet makes liberal use of the amnesiac hero trope, and that's okay. Because when you play as Mariko, you arrive in a mansion where sh*t has clearly gone down, and yet, you have no idea what. Bonus points for featuring LGBT characters and relationships. Another game where I just had to complete every route, discover every nugget of information in order to uncover the full story. And what a story it is. With gorgeous art, original music, and great characters (Marco! No, I mean Feathor! Wait, no, Apris! I can't chooooooose!), I highly recommend this one to fans of the genre. And it was so refreshing to have Mariko as a player character, a resilient, cool-headed woman who knows her own mind, she's her own person who makes her own decision (unlike so many ingenue PC's in subpar otome's).

#4... Subsurface Circular
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Who would've thought riding the metro as and with a bunch of robots would be so fascinating?!? From the team behind Thomas Was Alone, Subsurface Circular is a short story about a detective (you) investigating a series of disappearances among the city's robotic working class (yeah, you've guessed it, there's a social commentary or two in there). The soudtrack by Dans le Sac fit beautifully with the game's atmosphere. It's a short experience so if you're jonesing for more (like I was), I recommend playing Quarantine Circular, which is very much in the same spirit, though it tackles different themes (and it features an epidemiologist, woooot!).

#3... Tacoma
IMAGE(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/343860/header.jpg)
I'm sorry, Tacoma. I really am. Fullbright's newest game was at the top of "GOTY candidates" list ever since I played it back in January. And it stayed there for the longest time. Regardless, it's a great game. A really, really great game. I had a really great time exploring every nook and cranny in the beautiful ship, getting to know the crew, how they lived, who they were. The gameplay was fascinating and I truly appreciated what they did with it. Definitely one of the great games I played this year, beyong the shadow of a doubt, despite only snagging bronze.

#2... Pyre
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A late-comer. But with my track record when it comes to Supergiant Games (Bastion of course, but mostly Transistor), Pyre was a shoe in for my top ten. The art is to die for, and Darren Korb once again delivers a dazzling soundtrack. I miss not having Logan Cunningham as the narrator (seriously, he could be reading the phonebook, and I'd be a-ok with that), but . The dialog with the characters are great so far (yes... about that, still haven't finished yet!) and I'm enjoying the gameplay (though I do recommend a controller, the mouse and keyboard layout was not to my liking, and I'm a mouse and keyboard woman, through and through). Shout out to Hedwyn. <3
I'll be looking for to Hades, make no mistake.

#1... Cinderella Phenomenon
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No free visual novel has any right to be this good. The production values for this game are through the roof. The art is absolutely gorgeous, the story is fascinating. This otome (damn straight, it's one of *those* again!) takes fairytales and puts a whole new spin on them: they become curses. You play as cold-hearted Crown Princess Lucette. And are afflicted with the Cinderella curse: so it's a riches to rags kind of thing. To break her curse, she must do three good deeds (not that easy). In the process, she gets help from five young men (and finds love with Karma! I mean Fritz! No, Waltz!). The writing is solid, the pacing is well done, with some genuine cry-out-loud-oh-no-what-just-happened moments. And tears. There were tears. In all likelihood, my favorite game of the genre to this day.

Honorable mentions

The Confines of the Crown
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Yup, another otome (hey, I know what I like, okay!?). In this one, you play a prince's companion: you have one job, to look for said prince, keep him out of trouble. And as the game's tag line says "not to let him walk blindly into a political minefield, not to let him get arrested for a crime he didn't commit, and definitely not to let him fall in love with her..."

Quarantine Circular
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I mentioned this one in the same breath as Subsurface Circular. There's not much more to add without spoiling anything, but I will say... it's really good.

Old Man's Journey
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A gorgeous puzzler which tells a story of loss, hope, and just... well, life. Well worth the asking price. And unsurprisingly, the recipient of several awards.

We Were Here
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This game and its sequel, We Were Here Too, both deserve recommendations. Or perhaps not the game themselves, but Pyxistyx, for being such a great partner in crime. I had a lot of fun playing with her, and when the third installment drops, I'm saving my evening for her. For the game. Well, you know what I mean.

Oxenfree
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The one thing that kept this game off my top ten was probably the jump scares and general creepy vibes. But I recognize that's part of who I am, my anxiety, and those actually contribute to making this such a great game. The colors and vistas on the island were really memorable, and I got super attached to Alex and her half-brother. I'm really glad this ended up being the first game for the GWJ adventure game club.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm
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I liked it well enough, but for some reason, it didn't quite do it for me. Knowing the outcome, watching every step of the way, I just had this little voice "mark my words, it'll all end in tears" in the back of my skull. And if I'm honest, I'm still kinda put off and disappointed by the big baddie of the first season. I just don't need that in my gaming.

Guild Wars 2
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Yes, I know. It's not new to me (actually, maybe the latest expansion Path of Fire should count?), I'm in my seventh year playing it, and I'm past 1.7k hours. But I started playing up again with Higgledy, and it's been such fun. The game is still gorgeous, Jeremy Soule's soundtrack still makes my heart sing like no other. And to this day, I'm still uncovering places I've never been to, things I've never seen, details I'd missed. When I die, spread my ashes in the Grove.

Disappointments

I don't really like doing disappointments. Because I don't like dismissing what others might enjoy on the simple basis that didn't appeal to me. However, there are two games I feel people should really be warned away from. The visual novel CUPID deserves a gigantic trigger warning and doesn't deserve to be labeled as an otome. It left physically ill. Let's Not Stay Friends is a textbook lesson for what NOT to do in an otome.

Games to look forward to in 2019

  • Boyfriend Dungeon
  • We Were Here Together
  • Tropico 6
  • In the Valley of the Gods
  • The Darkside Detective (season two)

All the games from 2018

Finally, here's the full list of games I played in 2018:

Spoiler:
  • AquariaIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Sam & Max: Season 3 - Episode 5: The City That Dares Not SleepIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Along the EdgeIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Return to ZorkIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Heroine's Quest: The Herald of RagnarokIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Zork: Grand InquisitorIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Life is Strange: Before the StormIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Shadowrun ReturnsIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Old Man's JourneyIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Dragon's Dogma: Dark ArisenIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • What Remains of Edith FinchIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • XCOM 2IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Chime SharpIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • TacomaIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Bone - Episode 1: Out From BonevilleIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Bone - Episode 2: The Great Cow RaceIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's CutIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Assassin's Creed: SyndicateIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • These nights in CairoIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • CandleIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Subsurface CircularIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Thimbleweed Park IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating SimulatorIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion GOTY EditionIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • The Confines of the CrownIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • SC2VN - The eSports Visual NovelIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • The Darkside DetectiveIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Mass Effect IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • SoulSetIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Mass Effect 2 IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Beyond EyesIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Monster PromIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Batman: The Enemy Within - The Telltale SeriesIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • An Octave HigherIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • The Awesome Adventure of Captain SpiritIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • State of DecayIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • RimworldIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Mass Effect 3 IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Jade Empire: Special EditionIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Curse of Monkey IslandIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Finding ParadiseIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • GorogoaIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Quarantine CircularIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Purrfect DateIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Assassin's Creed: Chronicles of India IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Jurassic Park: the GameIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Cinderella PhenomenonIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • CupidIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Let's not stay friendsIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Zen Bound 2IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Alan Wake's American NightmareIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Alan WakeIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • We Were HereIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • The Banner Saga 2IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • CrossroadIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • OxenfreeIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Agents of MayhemIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Perceptions of the DeadIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • We Were Here TooIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Moon HuntersIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Seers IsleIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/new.gif)IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/unfinished.gif)
  • PyreIMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/unfinished.gif)

Wow you played way more games than I did! I need to stop chasing completions.

Sorry Oxenfree was a miss for you, Eleima.

I hope to start Pyre this month and have it on next year's list.

SallyNasty wrote:

Wow you played way more games than I did! I need to stop chasing completions.

And yet I played fewer games than sal because Mass Effect and Guild Wars 2. Heh.

Stele wrote:

Sorry Oxenfree was a miss for you, Eleima.

I hope to start Pyre this month and have it on next year's list.

Oh, most definitely not a miss! I played through it entirely, which I don’t typically do if games don’t click. And it’s more that it flared up my anxiety. But still, it has a lot of redeeming qualities, which is why it’s in my honorable mentions. I’d recommend it to others, like my sister for example, she’s into the supernatural and horror games.

Eleima, when is the last time we can change our list? I saw your note about Pillars 1 and finally got a chance to play Battletech. I would be happy to swap out games.

From the OP:

Polls are closing on Saturday, January 5th, 2019, 9am GMT+1 (that's 3am EST, Jan 4th midnight PST).

A bit more than 24 hours to go!

I love that visual novels in GWJ have gone from dirty word to GOTY contenders and voted games. I love the odd dating sim here and there, as well, and I don't mind playing a good otome game from time to time. I hope more of the podcast crew play them and find something to enjoy, or else invite someone with insights into a dating sim game they like on the show.

If you liked Nier's story and could do with one minus the combat, check out some dating sims or visual novels.

Wound up with a top 8, rather than a top 10. Also just realised I've only actually finished 5 of those 8. Hmm.

1) Subnautica
2) Total War: Warhammer II
3) Battletech
4) Return of the Obra Dinn
5) Night in the Woods
6) Donut County
7) Far: Lone Sails
8) Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

I've changed my Top Ten - please see original post but I've swapped Battletech for Pillars of Eternity 1.

Aristophan wrote:

A bit more than 24 hours to go!

I wanna be sedated.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Aristophan wrote:

A bit more than 24 hours to go!

I wanna be sedated.

And now I have that song stuck in my head

1) Destiny 2: Forsaken (xbox one, pc) - It's really all I play and pretty much all I played all year long. I main on xbox with 2 characters at max power level and the third one will probably be there this week. I also play on PC too. 4 characters across 2 platforms is a big time commitment. My kids joke it's my second job but I can't stop playing.

2) God of War (ps4) - I've played every version (including the psp versions) and this one does NOT disappoint.

3) Forza 7 (xbox one, pc) - Got into this a bit since I picked up a civic si and discovered the joys of driving again. Bought it digital so tried it on the pc and dug up my old Logitech MOMO racing wheel and shockingly it still worked after installing some ancient logitech drivers from their website. Good times racing around nurburgring in a civic type r (the car I really wanted but wife said it looked too rediculously boy racer).

4) Shenmue 1 & 2 remaster (xbox one) - So many fond memories of this game back on dreamcast. Not sure how well it holds up today but it was all nostalgia for me.

5) Celeste (switch) - I'm too old for these brutally hard platformers but enjoyed it up until I got stuck.

6) Ghost Recon Wildlands (ps4) - Been playing this weekly with a set group of guys and it's a blast 4 player co-op.

Things I own but don't play because of Destiny 2:
- RDR2 - Beautiful but so many systems and tedious busy work I lost interest somewhere in chapter 2. Loved the first one but the this one I guess it takes longer for the story to get going. Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood but I'll probably get back to it at sometime and just focus on the main story.
- Spiderman: haven't booted it.
- Farcry 5: haven't booted it.
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider: haven't booted it. Loved the first 2.

looking forward to:
- Anthem
- The Division 2: I finished and got into end game on all 3 platforms (xbox one, ps4, pc) for the first one so yeah I'm a big fan.

most disappointed:
- Warframe (switch): barely tried it on all the other platforms in the past but decided to see if this could be the Destiny fix I was looking for in a portable form factor. It is NOT Destiny. I played all the way to opening up the first social area. I hated the movement, shooting, melee combat, level design (every mission was so generic, boring, the same uninspired design it almost looked procedurally generated).

1) Cross Code - Secret of Mana crossed with zelda, only harder and better
2) Hollow Knight - Haven't finished yet, the game isn't always clear on where to go
3) SuperHot VR - not saying the meme thing but you know what this is
4) 20XX - The Megaman X Roguelite I always wanted
5) A Robot Named Fight - The Metroid Roguelite that is much more metroid than dead cells, but doesn't look as nice, but plays more fair
6) A Hat in Time - the fact that I spend enough time to beat this in a week shows that the game is doing something right.
7) Dead Cells - I enjoy the progression, hated the RNG and the final boss, and that the game lies to you, even with that though, it is everyone's favorite castledroid
8) Mr Shifty - Nightcrawler the game, crossed with hotline miami, simple and enjoyable
9) Cultist Simulator - description pending do to wait timer, sanity lost, try again
10) Streets of Fury - Guardian Heroes, crossed with Streets of Rage, but somehow, looking worse but still fun
HM)Shrouded in Sanity (Freebirth) - somehow played a free game for 3+ hours that is supposedly a pared down Bloodborn with pixel graphics, so kinda a demake, felt it deserved a mention

Dishonorable mentions
1) Carnival Games VR - because the game no longer works on any vr headset and the devs don't want to fix it
2) Fallout 76 adjustments and Bethesda - enough said

1. Picross S2
2. Magic Arena
3. Hollow Knight
4. surviv.io
5. Tetris Effect
6. Donut County
7. Overcooked 2
8. West of Loathing
9. Gorogoa
10. Fidel Dungeon Rescue

Cathadan wrote:

1. Picross S2

MY PICROSS SIBLING!

Alright folks! With 141 goodjers for 450 games, and less than twelve hours on the clock, we've got a good thing going here!

Thank you Sonicator, arogan, CatPhoenix, Cathadan for your lists!
Jdzappa, your edit has been taken into account, but:

jdzappa wrote:

I've changed my Top Ten - please see original post but I've swapped Battletech for Pillars of Eternity 1.

Just a friendly reminder for those last minute changes:

Eleima wrote:

What if I change my mind after I posted my list? By all things holy and unholy, for the love of the Goodjerbot, if you do decide to change your mind (it happens!), then pretty please, be sure to put up a new post that lets me know you changed your list. It'll seriously mess with the thread-tracking if you don't.

arogan wrote:

4) Shenmue 1 & 2 remaster (xbox one)

You can't place two games on one spot. As it is, I've only taken Shenmue 1 into account. Let me know if you want to do it differently.

Good night, folks. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning

I've procrastinated so it's just the list

1. Assassin's Creed Odyssey
2. Dead Cells
3. Vampyr
4. Hollow Knight
5. God of War
6. Forza Horizon 4
7. Marvel's Spider-Man
8. Donut County
9. Ashen
10. Monster Hunter: World

Eleima wrote:
arogan wrote:

4) Shenmue 1 & 2 remaster (xbox one)

You can't place two games on one spot. As it is, I've only taken Shenmue 1 into account. Let me know if you want to do it differently.

Good night, folks. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning

I say disqualify the whole list. That'll teach 'em to try to pull a fast one.

It's what the Dread Pirate Roberts would do.

Eleima wrote:

Alright folks! With 141 goodjers for 450 games, and less than twelve hours on the clock, we've got a good thing going here!

I'm a lot more invested it seeing the results than I'd expected to be! Can't wait to see the countdown!

I wish I had time to do one of the well-formatted lists I see above, but alas, alack. Here's a bare-bones version and a few vaguely unnecessary hyphenates.

1. Into the Breach
2. Slay the Spire
3. Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy
4. Battletech
5. The Alchemist Code (Mobile)
6. Deadcells
7. Tower of Time
8. Battlefield V

So it's a list of 8.

Current take aways I need to play when I can fit them in are Obra Dinn, Slay to Spire and Donut County looks like a short bit of fun.

Don't k ow why I've resisted Slay the Spire for so long, I've been hankering for some form of card based adventure for a while...

...jumping in at the last second, even though I realized that I hardly played any new games in 2018. The two games I've played the most (Elite Dangerous and CK2) were not new for me. Another that I was going to include (Subnautica) I actually didn't play for the first time until just after Jan 1, so it had to be removed.

I bought a couple of expansions to both Stellaris and CK2 this year, but I don't think that those count.

Given all that:
1. Star Traders: Frontiers
2. Heat Signature
3. Offworld Trading Company
4. Bioshock 2 (really!)
5. House of the Dying Sun

Thanks schutter31, Localgod54 and Hrdina for sending your lists. You made a difference.

BadKen wrote:
Eleima wrote:

Good night, folks. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning

I say disqualify the whole list. That'll teach 'em to try to pull a fast one.
It's what the Dread Pirate Roberts would do.

IMAGE(https://media1.tenor.com/images/4a7277721f5c580964bdd6610915e580/tenor.gif?itemid=4754675)

I'm totally going to have to take back that thing I said about this community never voting something like Slay the Spire as its GOTY.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

I'm totally going to have to take back that thing I said about this community never voting something like Slay the Spire as its GOTY.

Can I use that quote if it makes the top ten?

Also, I have a tie at number three. Some people please post your lists.

no! no more lists! ties are awesome!

CatPhoenix wrote:

1) Cross Code - Secret of Mana crossed with zelda, only harder and better

OK, I think I've seen Cross Code pop up a few times in this thread, and I vaguely remember it being discussed in the Indie or JRPG thread awhile back. I may have to put it back on my radar.

Boy oh boy did December get away from me. And November. And... well, let's just say I'm grateful for the deadline extension.

Just the list, for the ever-lovely Eleima:

Spoiler:
  1. Celeste
  2. What Remains of Edith Finch
  3. Monster Hunter World
  4. Dead Cells
  5. Slay the Spire
  6. Overcooked 2
  7. Darkest Dungeon
  8. Burly Men at Sea
  9. Graveyard Keeper
  10. A Dark Room

And now, for my opinions:

10. A Dark Room (PC/Browser)
>Light fire
From that simple beginning, this browser game tells an interesting story through the events that happen in your village and what you find when you venture beyond the woods. The app version apparently continues the story, but I haven't given it a shot yet. I felt responsible for the nameless people who have moved into my village. I couldn't afford the medicine. I'm sorry.

9. Graveyard Keeper (PC)
A flawed take on the Stardew Valley genre. I'm not convinced it should be out of Early Access yet, but it has some interesting systems. I still put in a bunch of time improving my graveyard and farming vegetables and wine grapes. Look things up in a wiki, especially alchemy recipes, because one major flaw of the game is that it doesn't respect your time. The addition of a warpstone kept me from getting too discouraged from running back and forth between town, but the difficulty of moving large amounts of material between places got really tiring. Still, it filled a need for that relaxing crafting cycle and easy dopamine hits in a rough part of a long year.

8. Burly Men at Sea (PS4)
A fanciful storybook journey that I plucked from my PS+ freebies one sick day. The music and sound effects, largely vocal, are amusing, and following the bearded brothers through their various adventures is relaxing and entertaining. I think it was designed for touch interfaces, so a few interactions weren't immediately obvious with a PS4 controller, but I'm going to keep dipping back in to discover the various possible storylines.

7. Darkest Dungeon
Brutally difficult, but rewarding to figure out the mechanics. I love the art style and the way attacks are animated, along with the narration that really immerses you in the world (and is fun to quote around the house). The portability of the Switch is an asset for this, though the controls are nonideal and take some real getting used to. The emergent storylines are what really make the game for me, though I may be too attached to all my characters. The stress mechanic is interesting and it definitely contributes to the stress I feel when playing it! I'm probably only halfway through a campaign, but it's one I'll keep coming back to.

6. Overcooked 2 (Switch)
Delightful, frenetic, and absurd. Mr. Dragon and I love cooking together and work well in the kitchen, so it follows that we would also love this digital rendition of it. The game is really at its best when everything is chaotic and we're shouting and the whole kitchen is on fire and we dissolve into laughter as someone hucks an ingredient off the stage. It's still very satisfying to get totally in sync and three star levels. I'm excited to break it out whenever we've got people over to get to four players for pure chaos.

5. Slay the Spire (PC)
This deck-builder won me over as an easy game to pick up and play a few rounds of (and then a few more and a few more and...). I made the mistake of installing it on my work laptop for flights and it's very hard not to start playing it during boring meetings. I don't usually go for CCG type games due to the pressure of learning the meta, but the roguelike mechanics and the fact that it's single player mitigate the need to have an ideal build. The three characters all play differently, and multiple builds are valid for each. I'm excited to get some more time with it since they've added a lot of content.

4. Dead Cells (Switch)
A roguelike action game that actually made my Honorable Mentions last year on the strength of watching Mr. Dragon play it in Early Access. The combat looked so smooth that I had to give it a shot, and it flows really nicely. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed and played the game, even beating the final boss not once but twice. It's grown a lot since Early Access, and I'm excited to try the promised new content drop in the future.

3. Monster Hunter World (PS4)
As with many, this was my first time with the series. A friend had me download the beta, and I was utterly lost but somehow still had fun. Some Polygon videos and forum chatter convinced me to give it a proper go, and Mr. Dragon and I liked it enough to buy a second copy and PS4 so we could play together. We logged many hours playing with friends, and I really dug the prepare - hunt - fight - craft loop. While I don't love going to outside videos for stronger tutorials, I do enjoy the variety of weapons and strategies.

2. What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4)
This is a clever interactive fiction game about family, loss, and memory. I sat down to play a couple chapters, but finished the whole game instead. Poignant, funny, odd, and deeply moving. Changes up mechanics and art styles a few times in really inventive ways - as others have mentioned, the cannery level is an excellent example. This is one I'll be unpacking for a while.

1. Celeste (Switch)
A touching game about depression, anxiety, and completing improbable tasks. I'm not good at technical, challenging platformers. No, that's not right. I didn't have the necessary skills when I started, but I did when I finally saw the summit. Playing Celeste made me better at platformers and maybe even a better person; it really encouraged a growth mindset in approaching each new challenge. I feel like I could write an essay on this game... The soundtrack is also incredible, and I've enjoyed watching Mr. Dragon complete the harder challenges (all the B- and C-sides!).

Honorable Mentions:

Spoiler:

16 Ways to Kill a Vampire at McDonald's (PC/Browser): Interactive fiction game, great characterization for how minimal it is. Neat puzzles to take out the vampire in increasingly convoluted ways. Gotta love a snarky heroine that has to rely on cunning and guile rather than facing her foe head-on.

Stories: Paths of Destinies (PS4): PS+ Freebie. I picked this up when I was home sick, and it was fine for that. An ambitious game with a branching story and several Bastion-like elements, it wound up working too hard for laughs and interspersing the narrator too many times. I like what they did with replaying through the story to unlock key truths, then use those to find the right path through. However, it loses some punch when key elements are entirely out of the player's control.

Divinity: Original Sin (PS4): Playing this co-op, we put several hours in then wandered off to other things. Will probably come back around to it when we feel like diving back in. Or maybe we'll just go play more Monster Hunter.

I started my list making process thinking it'd be tough to find 10 new games I actually liked, but ended up pleasantly surprised and with some hard decisions to make. Half of them even came out in 2018, so not a bad year!

1. The Lord of the Rings Online
2. Six Ages
3. Into the Breach
4. XCOM 2 + War of the Chosen
5. Assassin's Creed Odyssey
6. Aggressors: Ancient Rome
7. Slay the Spire
8. Total War: Warhammer
9. Dominions 5
10. The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth

Honorable Mentions
Armageddon Empires - played for the first time in many years and it's still seriously great!
Everspace
Starsector

Thanks for organizing, Eleima!

lol gunner what?

=) you remain the best, man.