2019 Community Game of the Year

Hi, this is my first post here after lurking for a while. I hope it's ok my first post is on something this important, haha.

I could not bring myself to include a game released prior to 2019 because I am stubborn about rules, otherwise Beat Saber would have made the cut. That said, this is my top 10:

1. Baba is You: I am a huge puzzle game fan and BiY redefined puzzle games for me.
2. Disco Elysium: I have never played a tabletop RPG in my life and luckily it did not matter. Photo finish for the number 1 spot
3. The Outer Worlds: This game and Disco Elysium really set a new standard for what you can accomplish with great NPCs.
4. Steamworld Quest Hand of Gilgamech: I was suprised by how much I enjoyed this game. I found it very approachable in a genre that I do not know well.
5. F1 2019: It has the best opponent AI I've seen in a racing game and that made so much more fun to play.
6. Tiny Islands: Another fantastic puzzle game. You can play it in your browser, it's on Itch.io.
7. Katana Zero: Just good old fun.
8. Apex Legends: The only battle royale I could bring myself to play and I loved it.
9. Tetris 99: Well, technically this is another battle royale... it's amazing we are all still playing Tetris in 2019.
10. Lonely Mountains Downhill: I'm biased because I backed this game, but I have really enjoyed it so far.

Happy new year for everyone!

Well, the rules do state "new to you", not "new in 2019". Welcome to the forums Pink Stripes!

I think I've got the order of my top 10. Had to whittle the list down from 19 contenders. Will start on the writeup hopefully today. I doubt anything in the next few days will change my list, except maybe seeing more of my current #2.

I hope everyone is having a very happy holiday!!! Thanks to LastSurprise, chooka1 and Pink Stripes for your lists!! As AUs_TBirD has pointed out to you, Pink Stripes, our rules are a little different here, we go with games that were new to us in 2019. That's how you have people putting Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines on their GOTY list, even though it was released in 2004: they just played it for the first time this year. If you want to change your list, that's fine, of course, you can post a new one below (just don't edit, for the love of gaming).
I myself am working on my write up, and hope to have it up by tomorrow.

Pink Stripes wrote:

1. Baba is You: I am a huge puzzle game fan and BiY redefined puzzle games for me.
2. Disco Elysium: I have never played a tabletop RPG in my life and luckily it did not matter. Photo finish for the number 1 spot

One of us! I hope my list will look like yours when I grow up.
I just need to, uhm, start and finish Disco Elysium before Eleimas harsh deadline. No problem.

Thanks, Eleima for putting this together! It's my favorite thread every year!

I really tried not to add to my pile too much this year so I bought and played fewer games and tried to finish one before I got another... This made me discard games when I just didn't enjoy playing them anymore which seems to have left me with a much harsher opinion on some games.

Thus I'm having a hard time filling a list of 10 games. Even surprised I made it to a list of 5.

1. Control

While I didn't like the ending this is the only game that really kept me hooked from start to finish. Setting and atmosphere just gripped me and the combat was fun enough to keep it interesting. Overall it doesn't beat Alan Wake for me but it had a ton of memorable moments and deserves to be my game of the year.

2. Magic Arena

2018 was the year I finally dropped Hearthstone which I had played non-stop since 2014. Arena scratches the same itch. It's a game I can just load up in the evening, make the daily, crack a pack and repeat the next day. I didn't like their plans for historic and Eldraine had too many broken cards so I came close to dropping the game after it launched officially but they fixed most of the issues I had with historic and the meta so I'm back to playing almost daily, so this ends up in second place.

3. Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

The only other single player game I really enjoy enough to play through (I think, currently estimate to be half way through, so maybe I'm giving it too much credit). I couldn't care less for the parts they took from the Souls games but they really nailed the light sabre combat and the jedi fantasy. The story is at least told well enough to keep up with the last two movies (which isn't hard) so overall it's a fine game and memorable enought to secure third place for me.

4. Minion Masters

I played this daily until I got hooked on Magic Arena. It's a great competitive real-time game that a forty year old can play without having the disadvantage of slower reflexes when playing against someone half the age. I lost interest when an expansion introduced a new op champion and all games turned into mirror matches. They might have fixed that but I never came back, so it only makes fourth place.

5. Pinball FX3: Williams Pinball Vol. 1 inkl. Medieval Madness

I love pinball and Pinball FX3 did a great job adopting one of my favorite tables of all time: Medieval Madness. Beyond that it's nothing to write home about but it's one of the games I come back to every couple of weeks to play a few rounds.

I also played a couple of games that are good/great but just didn't hook me enough to make it through so they didn't make my list. I'll leave them here as honorable mentions like other did.


I started playing Warframe towards the end of 2018 and went deep into the rabbit hole. After finishing the storyline I had to realize it had little less to offer beyond an endless grind. Looking back it feels like a lot of vasted time and I wished I had just played it for the storyline and then dropped it right away without sinking any time in the repetitive grindy parts that I never really enjoyed.


I got this on Origin Access and I really loved the flying around and shooting part. It basically nails the Iron Man fantasy. Since it's meant to be played with other people I tried to convince my friends to play but they declined so I never really stuck with it. It's on the list of games I still intend to play so I'm happy some have mentoined it in their lists.

Destiny 2

This is what I ended up playing with my friends instead of Anthem. It was fun playing through the storyline but nothing special and the add-ons where too repetitive to keep us hooked for long. Looting more stuff to raise a number just doesn't do it for me anymore.

Baba is You

This game was on my radar ever since winning the IGF Excellence in Design in 2018. However I didn't really enjoy playing it for long. The puzzles rather felt like I was retracing steps than make me feel clever or develop a deeper understanding of the logic. But that might say more about me than about the game itself. It just wasn't for me so I dropped it.

The Sinking City

I was really looking forward to this but got bored rather quickly. Overall I enjoyed last year's Call of Cthulhu more even though CoC also was a rather mediocre game. I probably enjoy linear games more the older I become and less time I have to play.

Final Fantasy XIV

Another game I played with a friend of mine. Basically he suggested WOW Classic but I really didn't want to go back down that hole. This made it over ESO as you can play for free up to level 35 so it didn't require an initial investment. At 35 we ended up liking it enough to buy the collection. Overall it's a nice game to play while hanging out in discord. We made it through the main game and then got bored playing through the patches leading up to the first expansion. It's a little too much reading text boxes and fast travel and far too little questing that profits from playing together. We both cancelled our subs before christmas so I'm not sure if we'll bother picking it back up in 2020 right now. Overall it doesn't feel like GOTY material to me. I'm hearing the expansions are better though so I might return to check them out.

Modern Warfare

Was looking forward to this. I loved the single player campaings of the first two Modern Warfare games and the Black Ops games. Weirdly enough this didn't hook me at all and there were too many other games demanding my attention towards the end of the year so I never finished it. I left the shortcut on my desktop as a reminder to play this before I play another single player shooter.

Disco Elysium

This just sounded too good to be true: Planescape Torment in a setting dealing with mature themes like politics. Unfortunately for me it quickly slowed down to the point where I stumbled through the same area over and over again re-talking to everyone unsure what to do next just to find another NPC sitting in a corner that I didn't find on my first passing through the area. I dropped it about 15 hours in. I might have given it another shot if there was a comprehensive walthrough online but even the wiki they had on IGN was too confusing to navigate for me. It's maybe not the game to play when you come home tired for work. Ditched it when Death Stranding came out and didn't bother to return.

Death Stranding

Another game I wanted to love but ended up just not enjoying enough to stick with it. I hated the encounters too much to keep playing beyond the first couple of hours. I also fell at sleep twice during cutscenes and woke up with no idea what had happened, where I was and what to do next... Will watch a "Death Stranding The Movie" video on youtube someday to make sense of it all but probably won't return to play it myself.

Several Switch Games including A Link to the Past

I'm sorry to say it but... I don't like the Switch even though I love the concept. Playing in handheld mode my hands start hurting after a couple of minutes. I tried to take the pro controller with me but setting up the switch on a table on the train won't allow you to charge it at the same time so I ended up out of battery too many times. At home I rather play on my PC. I gues it's just not for me. I'd probably buy a better handheld version of it that was made for grown up hands in an instand but the Lite version wasn't that.

On my list to start playing in 2020 (all stuff from the game pass)

The Outer Wilds
Outer Worlds

And maybe I'll give Anthem another shot playing solo
Also might go back to Disco Elysium with a little more patience

Also might go shopping for a 100 EUR worth of games during the christmas sales on Epic and Steam so thanks to everyone discussing their picks. I might add them to my pile

So only five then, MEATER? Alright then. I'm totally not going to add anything that might be construed as me trying to edge the results one way or another.

Shadout wrote:

I just need to, uhm, start and finish Disco Elysium before Eleimas harsh deadline. No problem.

I will not budge on this. By the time we ring in the new year, or else. No sense in trying to bribe me by putting Mass Effect games on your lists.
Also, if you folks keep posting your lists to break a tie or two I've got going on, that'd be awesome, kthxbye.

Oh well, I'll take Mass Effect off again then.

Shadout wrote:

Oh well, I'll take Mass Effect off again then.

Now if you put it on your game of the decade list.... *cough* Forget I said anything.

2019 wasn't a great year in gaming (or really anything else for that matter) for me but I did come up with ten games that I played this year:

1. Kingdom Hearts III: It was nice to get back into the familiar rhythm of a Kingdom Hearts game. I have played the remasters with my children but the crazy story and tweaked mechanics made this a top game for me this year. The new worlds were great, the expanded gummi ship sections are actually fun and the story continues to be nonsensical--just what I wanted from a KH game.

2. Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince: After Trine 3's less than stellar sales, I was worried that we wouldn't get another game. Fortunately, they went back to their 2D roots and made another fun puzzle game. I enjoy revisiting the three heroes and their witty banter. Just the right amount of challenge and doesn't overstay its welcome.

3. Trails of Cold Steel: The JRPG club nudged me into finally starting this game and I am glad that I did. Heavy on story (sometimes a little too heavy), this JRPG had some unique mechanics and they had just the right amount of silly side missions surrounding the school before getting back to action sequences (compared to Persona 4, which I thought had too many school/bonding events before anything happened). The story ends on a cliffhanger and I am interested in playing the sequel.

4. Onrush: After taking some time to figure out how this game worked, I was pleasantly surprised by Onrush. It was one of the best racing games that I have played recently and the multiplayer system is great where my PSN friends can help me with my single player progress.

5. Dragon Quest Builders: This game gets a higher ranking than it deserves because my children really liked it. I found some of the ideas interesting but the execution was flawed. However, other than Minecraft, this game got the most play in my house last year so it got a bump up.

6. A Hat in Time: This is the only game on my list that I haven't finished yet but I am enjoying the charm and varied level design in A Hat in Time. I am only a few hours in but enjoying my time in Mafia Town already.

7. Unravel: Another puzzle game on my list--very creative story telling mechanic.

8. Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2: It's Lego with super heroes again. My kids enjoyed it and some of the missions were pretty funny. It does seem like they are packing these games with too many side quests and collectibles now. The maps show so many things to do that it is hard not to get distracted.

9. Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time: In an effort to clear some of the pile (and needing a fairly mindless game), I played and finished A Crack in Time. It's a Ratchet and Clank game with crazy add-ons and weapons (Mr. Zurkon is still my favorite)--what else is there to say?

10. Shadow of the Tomb Raider: This game was fun but felt like it was phoned in. Each of the Uncharted games feels like starts with the same base game but you can see and feel that each game is unique from the others. The first Tomb Raider game was good, the second one improved on the formula and the third one...just copied number two with some new environments. It should be good--more of the better second game but it almost feels like a letdown. I still enjoyed my time with the game though, especially some of the optional tombs.

Honorable mention to Hollow Knight--this game is pretty but I set it down for a little bit when Kingdom Hearts 3 came out and couldn't get back into it as I forgot where I was going and didn't want to restart from the beginning. I did enjoy the few hours that I played.

Merry Christmas and thanks again to Eleima for organizing this!

I won't argue that 2019 wasn't great, but I will argue that it was still a great year for gaming. Regardless, walterqchocobo, your list has been taken into account, I thank you!

MEATER wrote:

The Outer Wilds
Outer Worlds


Eleima wrote:
Shadout wrote:

Oh well, I'll take Mass Effect off again then.

Now if you put it on your game of the decade list.... *cough* Forget I said anything. ;)

Is that some French interference entering the sacrosanct institution of the GWJ Game of the Decade vote? *quelle horreur!*

I was holding off on doing a list because there were a couple of short games that I was playing to get in the Steam sale. I'm glad I waited since one of them ended up on the top of my list (the other won't be played until next year).

10 - Trials Rising - Vroom, vroom, kaboom. For some reason, I like the video game equivalent pounding my head against a wall. Now that I think about it, this is just a Dark Souls game but with motorcycles instead of swords.
9 - The Outer Worlds - The dialogue is great and a couple of planets are really cool environments but everything else just falls flat.
8 - Mario Maker 2 - Pretty much the only reason I bought a Switch. Are a bulk of the levels really bad? Yes, yes they are. But, some times you get a really great level and it's almost worth it.
7 - Link's Awakening Remaster - Kind of cheating since it's a remaster of a game that I've beaten probably half a dozen times before. Still my favorite Zelda game and now I don't have to play it on a tiny Game Boy.
6 - Disco Elysium - I haven't gotten very far because I definitely need to be in the mood to play this. I mean, I spent an hour talking to a very swear-y child. I have to be in just the right headspace for something this slow paced. If I had finished it, I'm sure it would be higher. I'm kind of in awe of everything about this game. In the first hour, I game over-ed by depressing myself to death talking to someone on the phone.
5 - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order - Everything about this game is great except the combat which was a good idea but not execute very well. Luckily, they have a story mode difficulty where combat doesn't matter.
4 - Luigi's Mansion 3 - What can I say, bustin' makes me feel good. Only reason it's not higher is the inner tube boss.
3 - Ori and the Blind Forest - The second best platformer I played this year (see #1). Absolutely beautiful visuals, incredible music, great storytelling. I wish the controls were a little less floaty which were only really a problem is the tree escape sequence (though, to be fair, I was playing that at 2 am after playing all night).
2 - What Remains of Edith Finch - I love walking simulators. I also love wacky houses with secret passages. I was never going to not like this game. The story telling device of turning memories into mini-games was fantastic. I want fewer audio diaries and more fishery assembly line vignettes.
1 - Gris - Pretty much didn't pick my jaw up off the floor for the entire run time. Stunningly beautiful visuals and music. Like Ori, the character movement is pretty floaty but Gris isn't asking for precision jumps so it's actually enjoyable and kind of calming. I'm pretty sure this is my third GotY with a runtime of three hours or less after Gone Home and Thomas Was Alone.

Thanks for your list, iaintgotnopants! Point of clarification though, you are talking about the first Luigi's Mansion, not the third that was just released this year, is that correct? Like I said, I'm checkin' it twice!

staygold wrote:
Eleima wrote:
Shadout wrote:

Oh well, I'll take Mass Effect off again then.

Now if you put it on your game of the decade list.... *cough* Forget I said anything. ;)

Is that some French interference entering the sacrosanct institution of the GWJ Game of the Decade vote? *quelle horreur!*

I would NEVER!!! Because let's face it. Objectively speaking, a Mass Effect game belongs on the GOTD top ten. And I will fight you all on this.

I am making a list of whom I need to block that says Disco is a bad game.

...is blocking a feature yet? Someone call Certis.

Eleima wrote:

Point of clarification though, you are talking about the first Luigi's Mansion, not the third that was just released this year, is that correct? Like I said, I'm checkin' it twice! ;)

No, the new one. I edited the post. Also edited to un-correct some important grammar.

They really should have just called it Luigi's Hotel.

Vrikk wrote:

I am making a list of whom I need to block that says Disco is a bad game.

...is blocking a feature yet? Someone call Certis.

You cannot silence me!*

*In no way do I think it’s a bad game

Vrikk wrote:

I am making a list of whom I need to block that says Disco is a bad game.

...is blocking a feature yet? Someone call Certis.

Do they have phones at the monestary?

Shadout wrote:
Pink Stripes wrote:

1. Baba is You: I am a huge puzzle game fan and BiY redefined puzzle games for me.
2. Disco Elysium: I have never played a tabletop RPG in my life and luckily it did not matter. Photo finish for the number 1 spot

One of us! I hope my list will look like yours when I grow up.
I just need to, uhm, start and finish Disco Elysium before Eleimas harsh deadline. No problem.

So, I started Disco Elysium. And within 5 minutes my character died from a heart attack. Pretty sure that counts as finished.

Vector wrote:
MEATER wrote:

The Outer Wilds
Outer Worlds


Sorry about that. At least I still haven't played either of them, hope that counts as excuse

I only played 11 games for the fist time this year, so I went ahead and ranked them all!

List + Comments:


1. Death End Re;Quest (2019 - PS4 & PC)
Best described as a fusion between a horror visual novel and a standard Compile Heart RPG. The story covers a pair of game developers, one trapped in a buggy, unreleased game, and the other on the outside discovering a strange conspiracy as he tries to set the former free. Many of the Death Ends (the story-based game overs) are horrible, a couple of which I found disturbing, and one oddball that was just silly. The game play side is the usual CH free movement RPG, bringing back the knockback and fever features of Mugen Souls and adding traps on the battle maps which can be cleared by stepping on them (for both good and bad effects) or knocking enemies over them. I still find CH's standard game play and characters as enjoyable as ever, and with the darker, intriguing story, this was easily my favorite of the year.

2. Dead Cells (2018 - PS4, PC, Switch, XBox, mobile)
Aside from JRPGs, two of my favorite genres are rouguelike and metroidvania. A game that combines them is a natural fit for me. Deadcells offers addictive action, multiple paths, fluid pixel art, plenty to discover, and ever increasing challenge. The combination of all this kept me playing the game for months, pushing deeper into the game until the challenge finally outpaced my ability. Even though I was unable to complete the game to the final stage, I know I will easily recommend it to many.

3. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (2019 - PS4, PC, Switch, XBox)
A metroidvania from the former director of the Castlevania series was an easy sale for me. It just oozes the Castlevania vibe, feeling like a hybrid of Symphony of the Night and Order of Ecclesia, with many weapons, enemies, and story beats feeling cloned straight out of those games. It is worth checking out for nay metroidvania fans. The planned DLC will only make it more appealing, with the usual bonus modes and characters, but also with a planned rouguelike mode to hopefully give the game a second life.

4. Borderlands 3 (2019 - PS4, PC, Switch, XBox)
Gearbox continues to improve the game play and guns of the Borderlands franchise, but didn't quite nail the story or humor as strongly as the first two BL games. The story is, in many ways, understandable; there would have been nearly impossible to match the creation of Handsome Jack, who, in my opinion, stands along the ranks of the most iconic and memorable villains of all time, although I still feel the story and characters they created for BL3 didn't reach their full potential. The humor feels mostly reference based, even more so than past games, and often falls flat, with only a few jokes pulling a laugh from me. Still the game is fun to play, the new playable characters are more full personality than ever before, and, if you get caught in the quest to find the best equipment, it can keep you playing for many months.

5. Last Labyrinth (2019 - PSVR & Oculus)
I'm a big fan of escape room VR games, throw in horror elements of gruesome deaths, and I'll certainly give it a look. Last Labyrinth sees you strapped to a wheelchair faced with a variety of puzzles, everything from moving elements around in a room to "Cut the Rope" style-puzzles, Simon, and dobutsu shogi, with only a young girl your you to guide through the puzzles as your hands in the dungeon. Fail to correctly solve the puzzle and you will watch the girl die horribly, being crushed, beheaded, poisoned, hanged, electrocuted, and more, before befalling the same fate yourself. It is disturbing and shocking and definitely won't be fore everyone. My only complaints about the game is that some of the puzzles have to be repeated several times to get all of the games endings, even after you know the solutions, and one puzzle that, while not being extremely challenging, just was too hard to figure out without taking the headset off and writing everything down.

6. Fate/EXTELLA LINK (2019 - PS4, PC, Switch)
The second Fate/Exella game improves the game mechanics, while re-balancing the game by removing Extella Maneuvers and moving many of the more powerful combos into their place. Released as part of the Fate/Stay Night's 15th anniversary, it included a host of new character pulled from every major Fate franchise. While I found the game fun, I do feel that the story was shorted to get the game out on F/SN's 15th anniversary, with the game even failing to continue the story hooks from the end of the first Fate/EXTELLA game. Hopefully the franchise will see another entry that continues the direction the first game was headed.

7. Super Neptunia RPG (2019 - PS4, PC, Switch)
A 2D, hand drawn Neptunia RPG sounds fantastic! And make no mistake, the game is beautiful, even if it does result in some performance problems! And while the characters are as delightful as ever, and the story is on par with other Neptunia games, its unique game play didn't quite strike the right cords with me. It didn't help that it felt like the first couple hours you only had one party member, giving you exactly one ability to use in fights (plus items) or that the DLC characters easily broke the challenge of game's rock-paper-sissor balancing. Regardless, it is worth checking out for any fans of the franchise.

8. Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls (2016 - PSVita & PC)
The last Neptunia spin-off for the Vita. I was surprised to find that, unlike the other spin-offs, which all featured unique game-play, this one played like a main Neptunia game, with its only a few variations. Featuring the Neptunia characters representing the Sega consoles and Sega's own official personifications of their consoles, the game is full of delightful characters. The story is told in a fairly non-linear way, letting you choose which story-lines to follow first, which, unfortunately, means that most of these characters are simply absent from the story outside of their respective stories, making the inclusion of so many fun characters feel like a wasted opportunity.

9. Lapis x Labyrinth (2019 - PS4 & Switch)
An extremely cute and hyper action game! Unless you've played it or watched videos of it, I doubt you are imagining something cute or hyper enough! It was fun and delightful, always bring a smile to my face. Its a game best played a bit at a time, here and there, likely making it ideal for the Switch, but with so many other games competing for my attention, it unfortunately ended up falling by the wayside due to its repetitiveness.

10. MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies (2016 - PSVita & PC)
The second Neptunia action game. A notable improvement over Hyperdimension Neptunia U but still a far cry from Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online, it is a game only worth checking out for people who love the franchise's cast, as the story is extremely silly, even for a Neptunia game. This isn't surprising, given that the protagonist of the game was determined by a popularity poll that concluded less than a year before the game's release.

11. Trillion: God of Destruction (2016 - PSVita & PC)
If I had to make a list based on only the first couple hours of the game, this one would be near the top! This game sees you as the ruler of Hell, with seven demon girls representing the seven deadly sins. Hell is attacked by a demon named Trillion (who has one trillion HP) and you are forced to send the girls, one at a time, to their deaths in an attempt to stop Trillion. At first it seems devastating, choosing of of the girls to send off on a suicide mission. But then you stop choosing as the story become very linear. And repetitive. Very repetitive! The seven demons, each representing a difference sin, with vastly different personalities and designs, all have exactly the same abilities and stats! Trillion himself only has three forms! You end up finding the character build that works and only have to change it slightly for each of Trillion's forms. A game that has such a impactful and strong start simply became a drag to play... such a shame, I loved the idea of the game and the characters.

Just the list:


1. Death End Re;Quest (2019 - PS4 & PC)
2. Dead Cells (2018 - PS4, PC, Switch, XBox, mobile)
3. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (2019 - PS4, PC, Switch, XBox)
4. Borderlands 3 (2019 - PS4, PC, Switch, XBox)
5. Last Labyrinth (2019 - PSVR & Oculus)
6. Fate/Exella Link (2019 - PS4, PC, Switch)
7. Super Neptunia RPG (2019 - PS4, PC, Switch)
8. Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls (2016 - PSVita & PC)
9. Lapis x Labyrinth (2019 - PS4 & Switch)
10. MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies (2016 - PSVita & PC)
11. Trillion: God of Destruction (2016 - PSVita & PC)

1. Sekiro
The sandwich is a Sloppy Joe. The messy simplicity of the sandwich will pair well with Sekiro's messy complexity. Additionally, it is hard to eat cleanly. For a cocktail pairing, it is tempting to go with saki as a base, as the game specifically utilizes it, but I'd go with an Old Fashion variant that swaps in Hibiki whiskey. Making an old fashion well requires perfectly balancing all of the ingredients. Japanese liquors tend to be just a bit sweeter, which adds a whole layer of complexity and challenge to balancing the cocktail and also nods at Sekiro's setting.

2. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
The sandwich here is a bahn mi. A classic that has been around forever that people are only just now starting to grant the popularity it is due. The cocktail is a Mezcal Sunrise. Mezcal is tequila's more mysterious cousin. It is to tequila what scotch is to whiskey. Given how the game treats night and day, a sunrise cocktail makes perfect sense.

3. Star Traders: Frontiers
Broken vessels limping around space. Half drunk pirates and engineers. Court intrigues. And systems upon systems upon systems. There's a lot going on, so the sandwich needs too many ingredients that all work well together. Bacon, avocado, grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, home made Russian dressing, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper on a baguette. Cocktail is a boilermaker that utilizes a fancy whiskey and a cheap beer of choice.

4. The Outer Worlds
The game screams for comfort food. Peanut butter and jelly with a few slices of banana added. The banana makes it seem like it might be healthier than it is, which fits the potency of political commentary in the game. It is fun and easy to eat. Cocktail wise you need something that can nod to the setting, like a mint julep. That's a cocktail that's refreshing and retro, and it'll go nicely with the sammy.

5. VtM - Bloodlines
Anything with vampires demands rare as possible roast beef. I'd add onion, cheddar, and mayo in light quantities but mostly this should be a towering stack of meat. For the cocktail I'd get a smooth, fancy vodka, add champagne, black raspberry liquor, and rim the glass with red dyed sugar.

Bottom five to come later!

The Short List and Preamble

Here’s the short version of my list for tabulation purposes:


1. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
3. Control
4. Outer Wilds
5. Destiny 2: Shadowkeep
6. Death Stranding
7. Valve Index
8. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
9. The Outer Worlds
10. Keep Talking and No One Explodes

Here’s my full screenshots album for this year’s list, including good number I didn’t use in the post here. Beware, though, there are spoilers aplenty within.


I’m not really sure how to feel about this year in games. Even though nearly everything I played was something that was really enjoyable thanks to it being some combination of exceptionally well made and/or well suited to my tastes, I didn’t really come away from anything feeling like I needed to scream about it from the rooftops more than the rest. You could probably reshuffle most of my top five at random, and I would say “yeah, I can totally justify that ordering.”

I suppose if I had to nail down at least one solid reason for this 2 of a strong feeling it would be that there was maybe a lack of both the novelty and the sheer, audacious, overwhelming grandeur that usually typify the games that come along and demand a spot at the top of my lists. Everything I played this year was remarkably good and fun and well made within the bounds of what the creators were shooting for, but most didn’t aim to either be the first or the best of its kind. Well, except maybe Death Stranding, but we’ll come to that.

So, anyway, here’s a list! It has an order that I’m happy with, but not deeply invested in. Also, don’t be shocked if few (or any) of these make a “Game of the Decade” list for me either — after all, there were multiple Mass Effects, Elite: Dangerous, The Witcher 3, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Destiny 2, both Red Dead games, and more than half a dozen Forza games all released this decade, and that’s more than a full list right there already.

My 2019 Game of the Year

1. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Interestingly enough, the top two games on my list this year are entries in series (or pseudo series) that I’ve never played before despite them being super in my wheelhouse.

Look, I know I SHOULD have played the various Souls games before. There’s so much about what they do that is totally my jam. Technically, I suppose I did play about an hour of Dark Souls 1 once, and it definitely had my attention the way I expected for that time. But, there has always been two problems.


First, while I can get behind the idea of game design that is aggressively unforgiving and demands player engagement and mastery, you’ve just got to be in the right mood for that sort of thing, you know? And for me, more and more these days, that mood is somewhat rare.

But more importantly, there’s always been a matter of aesthetics. It’s not that I refuse to play a game that’s ugly or has a visual style that doesn’t appeal to me, but I’m not going to pretend it’s not a factor, and boy howdy do I ever NOT find the visual style of Souls games appealing (even Bloodborne, albeit to a lesser degree). Sekiro, however, was enough of a departure from that expected style that thankfully I did not have that as a stumbling block here.


And guess what? All that sh*t that Souls fans talk about the brilliance of these games is totally right. I’m trying to keep my write-ups a bit shorter this year so I won’t bore you by going into the gory details, but this game is a masterclass in design in so many ways, but especially in the art of showing the player that they can be so much better than they think they can, and at rewarding them with a feeling of accomplishment when they actually do it. I don’t know that I’ve ever played another game that was so successful at making me feel like a goddamn ninja — and not (just) because what I was doing looked flashy and impossibly cool, but because I really did it myself through my own skillful execution.


One last note related to having this be my first Souls game:

From the various bits of discourse I’ve read and listened to about the game, my understanding is that many Souls fans were either disappointed or frustrated by Sekiro because it provides a more limited, focused path of character development, and because it did not have multiplayer features that they expected from other Souls games. Such players often felt like both of those things combined to make it harder for them to engage with the game in the way they enjoyed playing previously, and that it removed options that they appreciated for dealing with the difficult challenges these games provide.


And every time I heard a conversation like that I found myself thinking, yeah, that sounds like a totally valid compliant and an undeniable bummer, but at the same time that baggage is keeping such people from engaging with the laser focused craftsmanship that this game is offering in exchange for those features. I’m so glad I’m got to see it all with fresh eyes so I could get at the joyful, perfect thing at the heart of this game without worrying about what might have been different. Because make no mistake: even if this game is more prescriptive about how to play it than previous Souls game have been, playing it as designed is a spectacular and singular thing worth experiencing with open eyes and an open heart.


The Runners Up

2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

So yeah, strangely, I’ve also never played a Fire Emblem game before this one. I’ve always enjoyed both JRPGs and tactics games (admittedly, though, they were a much bigger part of my gaming diet in my younger days), but somehow I always passed on this series. This is mostly because they’ve primarily been portable games, I suppose, and I’m just not that into playing games in small format and/or in mobile contexts.


Well, this one I played, and unsurprisingly, I loved it. In fact, it inspired me to do something I rarely ever do, which is to replay it, and I’ll actually probably replay it at least once more this spring when the final DLC is available. In large part my predictably deep engagement with this game feels like it’s due to something I’m told is actually somewhat novel about this entry in the series, which is that it fully committed to a Persona style merging of visual novel and mundane life simulator mechanics with more traditional JRPG narrative and gameplay structures. While I understand the series has been flirting with some of that stuff for a few iterations now, I’m super happy that they went this hard on it with what was my first engagement with the games, since that stuff really, really works for me.


Actually, that successful marriage of concepts is nicely emblematic of what really makes this game stand out on a grander scale — whether it was intentional or happy accident, it’s just one of those games where the parts add together to be a much greater whole. Evaluated individually, you might rate each component as being closer to “good” than “great” — the tactics game is fun and crunchy, but maybe not as deep as some would prefer, and hampered a bit by uneven peaks and valleys in difficulty, the life simulation elements add a nice layer of variety to how you think about the strategic meta game, but they are simultaneously a bit too simplistic and a bit too grindy, and while the cast of characters is delightful and charming and the story told about them is an engaging and impactful, but it’s also a bit of a predictable trope salad with some spotty pacing and (at least on some paths) significant third act issues.


But the way they put it all together resulted in a special kind of magic for me.

Like, the grindy nature of the life sim had a side effect of giving me enough time with the endearing cast of characters that I began to grow attached in unexpected ways to even the characters that I initially found the most boring, distasteful, or otherwise uninteresting (except maybe Lorenz, other than the fact that pursuing his story gives you the best gear for the extremely lovable Lysithea ). And then as I started to grow attached to and invested in more and more of the characters, I found my priorities shifting in how I approached both the macro and the micro strategy of the game — after all, if these two people don’t spend time building a relationship fighting side by side in battle, I won’t be able to see how their rivalry resolves, and if I don’t build up this other character’s self confidence they might not choose to join with me, and then I might have to see them get killed in battle by my team later in the story. And oh, looks like I got overconfident because the last three battles have been too easy and this one also should have been a cake walk as well, and I screwed up logistics in a way that’s put my favorite character in dire jeopardy and now this is going to be the hardest fight in the entire game as I throw my entire battle plan out the window and redeploy all my resources in desperate effort to save their life.

Anyway, it’s that sort of thing the entire way through dozens if not hundreds of hours of gameplay, and then you decide to do it all over again because there’s two other sets of characters and three other ways the back half of the game could go.

Incidentally, I now realize that I mostly only took screenshots in the back half of the game, so most of them are pretty spoilery. But, you know, if you’ve played the game or don’t care about that sort of thing, some of them are kind of neat and tell a big story even if you know just a tiny bit about the narrative of the game.


Hm, wait, has this all powerful authoritarian religious institution been keeping important secrets from the denizens of the world? I’m shocked! Never would have guessed it from that moment early on where the charismatic, etherial leader sent me and my students out to murder a group of oppressed dissidents, and then congratulated us on our victory by saying, “Let this be a lesson to the children about what happens when you point your sword at the heavens.” Yuuupp, nothing questionable or fishy there!


Even more shockingly, she then turned out to not just be the pope of the church, but also the thousand-plus year old god-saint she’s been leading everyone to worship all this time. But, it’s cool, we got to stage a regional theater rendition the game’s opening cinematic, only with a slightly different outcome.


Meanwhile across the battlefield this dude was busy killing his childhood friend and rival. He would have been fighting beside him, except that I spent a long time convincing him that I made way better fish dinners.


No spoilers here, just Ingrid being a badass like she do, but I didn’t want to have THAT many screenshots in the main post.


Did I mention that god-saint lady was a dragon? Apparently the baddies in this series are often invincible secret dragons. Don’t sweat it though, because me and my corrupt-social-order disrupting Empress girlfriend tots got this sh*t covered.

3. Control

You know, this game actually somewhat follows that same pattern, assuming you count the collected works of Remedy as a pseudo series. Their games have always been things that sounded like something that I should have been into, but never really got inspired to play (other than about the first hour or so of Alan Wake).


Anyway, I’m not going to sweat it too much — the important thing is that I’m enjoying the hell out of this one. The concept, the setting, the visuals, the sound (the sound!), the gameplay, its all just spectacular and top notch and just like Fire Emblem, it all works together to produce a cohesive whole that’s even more impressive than its already impressive components. This is actually one of two games on this list that I’ve not actually finished yet (Death Stranding being the other), but I’ve played enough to know that I love it and I’m excited to see the rest of what it has to offer.


Oh, and about that realtime raytracing thing. There might be a few other showpieces that are equally good, but this game really is a sneak peak at the future. You know how you sometimes find yourself looking at a modern game and thinking something like, “yeah, this looks good, but we really haven’t come THAT far from the Xbox 360 and PS3 days, or hell, even the Xbox and PS2.” And then you look at video of games from a generation or two ago and realize just how silly that thought is? Well, if you’ve got a good enough graphics card, you can have that experience right now just by toggling raytracing on and off in this game.


Seriously, you can pause this game in nearly any scene in the game, toggle raytracing on and off, and instantly see what will possibly be a much bigger generational jump in visual fidelity than we’ve seen over the past two generational shifts. Like, seriously, even the most mundane sh*t looks night and day better.


I mean, look at this f*cking chair, right?! When was the last time you were that amazed by a chair?! Forget about the reflective glass in the background, just check out all those subtle places where the every surface in the chair picks up details of color from light bouncing around the environment. I mean, yeah, through the fakery of screen space reflections we’ve been able to do great things with more obvious reflective surfaces for years, but there’s a whole other level of subtle realism in the basic rendering of everything that’s going to be the unexpected special sauce that will blow people away once they get tired of the more whiz bang flashy stuff with god rays and shadows and whatnot.



4. Outer Wilds (Last minute addition.)
This is why I usually wait until the last possible minute to write and post my lists. Over the last weekend of the year I finally had time to play Outer Wilds, and while I have a long way to go still, I’m still pretty sure it belongs on this list around this spot. It’s everything it’s been sold as — it’s a stunningly complex and grandiose clockwork puzzle box, presented with the most beautiful and charming simplicity. Actually, my main concern at this point is that given what I’ve read elsewhere, I’m worried I might wish I had placed it even higher than this by the time I’m done playing.

5. Destiny 2: Shadowkeep


By the way, Destiny 2 still exists! Also, I still play it a lot.

I know there are a great many “forever” games out there, but at least for now this one is still my forever game.


This year’s expansion was a bit more limited in scope as Bungie adjusts to life as a self published independent developer. They continue to pump out best in class sandbox design and provide fun new ways in which to engage with their perfect first person shooter gameplay, but at the same time this year’s entry hasn’t quite stoked the fires as powerfully as the previous expansion did. That said, it’s still the game I played the most of this year by at least an order of magnitude, so in the balance sitting here in the fifth slot on my list (three) below where both the original release and last year’s expansion landed) seems about right.


6. Death Stranding


As noted above, I’m still in the middle of playing this one, and if what I’ve heard and read about the game holds true, I might have very different feelings when I’m done. But, as the one thing I played this year that actually tried something that seemed genuinely new and different, I felt like I needed to include it here nonetheless.

Oh, it also has every other game I played this year beat when it comes to both quality and quantity of nude renderings of Norman Reedus, which I think is a notable and worthwhile achievement all on its own.


People spend a lot of time talking about how they wish there were more games where the primary verbs were not violent ones. And while games like that obviously have always existed (visual novels, “walking simulators,” puzzle games, etc), they’re typically smaller scale, independent, niche affairs. Meanwhile, here’s a game with a Hollywood style marketing campaign, complete with ads in movie theaters, appearances on talk shows, and all other sorts of nonsense, where at least initially the primary activities are inventory management and bizarre but compelling terrain navigation and balance mini-game mechanics.


Yes, there are combat mechanics too, and yes, I’m aware that later in the game the focus might shift toward them. Yes, Kojima is regularly given way too much rope, and from what I’ve seen so far he’s probably used to to hang himself when it comes to narrative (at the very least he certainly has when it comes to naming characters). But, you know, I kind of don’t care. Even if his circumstances are truly unique and may never be replicated with a creator that could maybe do more with the resources he has access to, I’m still thrilled that such a strange, quixotic person gets to make such bizarre pieces of interactive entertainment, and I love that I got to play around in the latest of his strange worlds.


7. Valve Index


I know this doesn’t really count for anything in the tabulation of votes, but I just kind of wanted to acknowledge how much fun I had this year just playing around with the wide variety of experiences available in VR these days on this wonderful piece of hardware. The Valve Index feels like the culmination of the the first generation of modern VR, the best compromise of all the various approaches to doing VR hardware currently available on the market, and a wonderful way to get the best version of what generally feels like an early alpha prototype of one possible future for interactive entertainment. Maybe that sounds like damning with faint praise, but I’m a person who is fascinated and entertained with the process and promise of technology, so it means a lot to me.

The funny thing is, part of why I have space on the list to talk about the hardware is that many of the software experiences I put time into were weird little tech demos and development stuff that kept popping up and seeming like more interesting toys to play with than the library full of fully qualified VR games recommended by others over the past few years that I bought during last summer’s Steam sale. I’ve got a hard drive full of games I’ve already bought that quite possibly could be on this list, but most of the time I find myself in a VR mood it’s because I’m feeling curious or creative, and this hardware enables me to do things with that energy in fun new ways. Oh, and the actual fully qualified games that I did play enough of to be part of this list are all things that are disqualified for not being new other than the VR component.

For example, would you believe me if I said that Elite: Dangerous is amazing in VR?

Oh, and Rez. Hell, I had even played Rez on my PSVR last year, but let me tell you, if you’ve played it there and you now find yourself with a PC VR setup, play it again. Having actually functional positional tracking makes that experience a LOT better, and it was already great.

So, with the exception of one item below, this is my VR entry for the year. Maybe next year I’ll actually crack open that backlog, eh?

8. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey


Another year, another round of sneaky sneaky, climby climby, stabby stabby, but this time in Greece!

Nevermind that that just one game ago we established that the origins of the Brotherhood of Assassins was several hundred years later in Egypt, don’t you want to sail your own trireme and stab Spartans in the neck? Damn right you do!


All kidding aside, if you liked the changes to the franchise made in Origins and you aren’t too tired of neck stabbing, Odyssey is well worth your time. It’s another delightful setting, and they did a good job of ironing out most of the more annoying wrinkles with the big design shifts made in Origins. It still has the problem of being one more step towards the Ubisoft Open World Singularity, but they keep making games like this at least partly because they’re a lot of fun, you know?

Oh, and while it’s not threatening to take the crown from Norman Reedus’ digital butt, it does have large statues with large balls — life size Kassandra present for scale.


9. The Outer Worlds

It’s Fallout in space.

I suppose it’s a bit reductive, but that’s basically all you need to know to decide if this one’s worth your time. If you enjoyed the modern Fallout games (especially New Vegas), you’ll like this. It’s good!


If you’re curious beyond that, I’m not sure I have anything interesting to add beyond what you’ve probably heard discussed elsewhere. The game has a more limited scope (likely due to a mixture of budget constraints and intentional design choices), but I feel like that’s more of a benefit that a drawback. Sure, having a budget that could have produced the quantity of art assets and other content players are used to from Bethesda’s games could have added a bit more to the charm of the world, but being forced to be economical and concise helped keep the story moving in a way that Bethesda’s games generally fail at.

10. Keep Talking And No One Explodes

And here’s that one VR experience that was genuinely new to me this year that I played enough of to qualify for the list, and the best part is it’s one that defies the expectation that a VR game is going to be a solitary thing where the player is isolated from the people around them.

The premise is simple but excellent:

The person with the headset is in a room with a bomb.

Everyone else has access to a bomb disposal manual, either printed on paper or as a PDF on an iPad or phone or whatever, and you have to communicate with each other to work out how to disable the explosive device before everyone dies.

The execution is equally simple and straightforward, but it does exactly what it needs to do to create a VR experience that is fun and engaging for an entire room full of people, regardless of who is wearing the headset.

Mentions, Honorable and Otherwise

Gears 5
My wife loves Gears, and it’s one of the few games that can get her interested in picking up a controller these days, so while it’s maybe not my favorite franchise ever, I still have a lot of fun playing coop with her every time one of these comes out.

Worthy of note, I did enjoy this one a lot more than Gears 4 on its own merits outside of “it’s a game my wife is interested in playing.” I liked their tentative steps towards adding an ability system and progression layer to the formula without abandoning the core focus on visceral, in the moment shooting, and the environments and set pieces were a lot more interesting both visually and mechanically than in the previous game.


Also, I continue to be super impressed and happy with Microsoft with sticking to their guns about making all their first party games cross platform compatible. This experience simply would not have happened without it, since the days of us owning two Xboxes are long since past.

Untitled Goose Game
Super charming and fun. Maybe I had my expectations a bit too high given the effusive praise the game got all over the place, but it was definitely a good time (and would probably be in the spot held by Gears 5 if that one hadn’t been such a pleasure to play with my wife).

It was fine.

Actually, in some ways it was great! It looked spectacular, and the moment to moment gameplay was a blast, and a fun evolution of the spectacular Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer combat system. (Although I ME3 or Andromeda multiplayer was probably still better.)

Also, the story was fine, and there were some interesting characters to meet, although on both counts it was definitely on the extremely weak end of what you would have expected (in the past, I suppose) from a Bioware game.

But, the progression mechanics were terrible, and the broader structure of the game as a service loops of play were just the wrong choice. There is a world where Bioware could have made a game of that sort which was amazing. This is not that world, and I wish they had stuck to what they are (or used to be) good at.

This Year’s Pile

And, here’s all the games I would have played (or played more of) with more time, that I expect I would have very much enjoyed from what I’ve seen and heard. As ever, it’s a big list this year -- hope I’ll have time for at least a few of them before I find myself writing another one of these posts.


Outer Wilds
Sounds neat! Probably the next thing I’ll play after I finish Control and Death Stranding.

Disco Elysium
Chances are good this is totally on my sh*t — also high on the list fir this winter.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
I love a good Metroidvania, and it’s been a while since I’ve dug into one. Haven’t found the right mood since this came out though.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order
I’m not NOT interested, but I think I’d be more enthused if I heard reports that they had achieved the same level of precise control and design Sekiro. Sekiro but you’re a jedi could be VERY fun. Sounds like it’s still a great time, but missing a bit of the crisp perfection (and brutal difficulty) than really makes Sekiro shine, which dampens my excitement a bit

Previous Years’ Pile

And, mostly for my own record keeping, here’s the games that remain on my radar from before this year.


I was waiting to play this until I got a VR setup. This year I finally got a VR setup, but never found the time. Soon, though!

I don’t play tactical/strategy games often, but when I do they often involve giant robots, so this seems like I should give it a try. Also, can I please have another Front Mission game? Thanks!

Valkyria Chronicles 4
Really enjoyed the original game, completely skipped the second and third. I think they were on portable systems or something? Anyway, I think it may be time for a bit more of this, especially after how much I enjoyed Fire Emblem this year.

Return of the Obra Dinn
Started playing this with my wife because she really likes puzzle type things, but we sort of failed to keep finding time to play it, so it fell by the wayside. It seemed cool though, and I’d love to eventually play more than just that first hour or two.

Previous Lists


Lumines Live, Final Fantasy 12, Shadow of the Colossus, Okami, Zelda: Twilight Princess, Oblivion, Gears of War, Chromehounds, Viva Pinata, Dead Rising, Saint’s Row

Mass Effect, Rock Band, Halo 3, Bioshock, Persona 3, Portal, Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Forza 2, Super Mario Galaxy, Crackdown

Missing link!
WoW: Wrath of the Lich King, Rock Band 2, Fallout 3, The Witcher Enhanced Edition, Far Cry 2, Burnout Paradise, Fable 2, Left for Dead, Gears of War 2, Saints Row 2, Persona 4, GTA4

Missing link!
Borderlands, Assassin’s Creed 2, Dragon Age, Forza 3, Shadow Complex, Batman Arkham Asylum, Uncharted 2, Flower, Red Faction Guerrilla, Left for Dead 2

Mass Effect 2, Assassin's Creed 2 Brotherhood, Red Dead Redemption, WoW: Cataclysm, Halo Reach, Just Cause 2, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Fallout New Vegas, Dragon Quest 9, Heavy Rain

Skyrim, Forza 4, Xenoblade Chronicles, Portal 2, Witcher 2, Dead Space 2, Batman Arkham City, Bastion, Dragon Age 2, Saints Row 3

Missing link!
Mass Effect 3, Forza Horizon, Journey, Dishonored, Borderlands 2, Dragon’s Dogma, Xcom, Guild Wars 2, FTL, Mark of the Ninja, 1000000

Forza 5, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Assassin's Creed 4, Mass Effect 3 DLC, Bioshock Infinite, Rogue Legacy, Gone Home, Tomb Raider, GTA5, Forza Horizon Rally Expansion

Dragon Age Inquisition, Forza Horizon 2, Elite Dangerous, Transistor, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Link Between Worlds, South Park Stick of Truth, Shadow of Mordor, Threes, A Story About My Uncle

Elite Dangerous, Witcher 3, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Fallout 4, Metal Gear Solid 5, Forza 6, The Beginner’s Guide, Halo 5, You Must Build A Boat, Ori and the Blind Forest

Elite Dangerous, Forza Horizon 3, Witcher 3 DLC, Abzu, Final Fantasy XV, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Firewatch, The Witness, Inside, No Man’s Sky

Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Destiny 2, Nier: Automata, Mass Effect Andromeda, Persona 5, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Mario Odyssey, Forza 7, Dishonored 2

Red Dead Redemption 2, Destiny 2: Forsaken, Tetris Effect, God of War, Forza Horizon 4, Into the Breach, Assassin’s Creed, Pyre, Gravity Rush Remastered and Gravity Rush 2, Rez Infinite

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Control, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, Death Stranding, Valve Index, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, The Outer Worlds, Keep Talking and No One Explodes, Gears 5

Thank you Mantid and zeroKFE for your lists! Your votes have been tallied!! Loving the write ups with the screenshots and everything. I'm nearly done with my write up but kinda gave up last night when I looked up and it was 1am. Will wrap it up tomorrow, for sure.

Might as well get off my ass and try my hand at this. Mine are based on an arbitrary scale of quality, enjoyment, and time played regardless of when it came out:

1. The Outer Worlds - I just needed 6 hours with this today to put it at the top. I wonder if Bethesda's devs played this and thought to themselves, "Welp, we gotta rethink Starfield now."

2. Phantom Doctrine - "XCOM but it's 1980s Cold War espionage." The ability to disguise your agents to infiltrate a map made me unable to ever go back to XCOM 2.

3. Surviving Mars - A game that's a couple years old but it ended up sucking up the most time of all the games I bought during Steam's Apollo 11 50th Anniversary sale. I haven't played a city builder since Sim City 4 and I think what kept me going for as long as I did was the hook of the mystery plotlines that you experience during each playthrough.

4. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order - One thing that I don't recall seeing much of during the time it was talked to death was how new it felt. Sure, it borrowed heavily from Clone Wars and Rebels, but almost all the locations you visit are entirely new, even if the planet was seen before. The same can be said for the soundtrack expect for two very spoilerly instances. Fifteen or twenty years ago, a game like this would have beaten you over the head with locations from the movies or with the original John Williams soundtrack, so this was a very refreshing change.

5. Crusader Kings II - It's old, yes, but I've been letting this run in the background on my PC for the past three weeks because I finally after all this time finally I've been able to keep a playthrough going without derailing the dynasty within the first century. One thing I did notice and can probably be credited to my success is that it was extremely easy to change succession laws so that the eldest child inherits regardless of gender. The bulk of my characters have been female and the bulk of rulers in other kingdoms during the 400+ years I've been playing have also been women.

6. DCS World's F-14 Tomcat - An early access third party module for the ginormous realistic flight combat simulator, I bought it solely because I was a child of the 80s. Took me a while to get a hang of it, though be warned it's not an inexpensive venture.

7. Objects in Space - A wonderful little indie space sim from a team of devs consisting of just two siblings, it turned the space sim model on its head by making the gameplay similar to a modern nuclear sub sim instead of a fighter sim.

8. Star Traders: Frontiers - An interesting little space game with interesting plots, tons of replayability, and almost weekly content updates even after its release a few years ago.

9. No Man's Sky - Every year I dip back in for a couple of nights and wish I could dig in more.

10. Backbone Prologue - A free demo of an upcoming side-scrolling pixel art adventure game who's game world can best be described as if HBO did its own version of Zootopia. Trust me, it's as WTFy as that description.

Welcome Pink Stripes!

Pink Stripes wrote:

10. Lonely Mountains Downhill: I'm biased because I backed this game, but I have really enjoyed it so far.

I keep looking at this in my Game Pass library and telling myself I should play more, but go for other things.
Mostly games with stories I'm working on. It's quite the good game, and I love that it gives you a set path, but since you are on a mountain bike, it's expected you will find your own path. Funny that another mountain bike game (Descenders) came out this year, too. Lonely Mountain executes way better in my view.

Pink Stripes wrote:

Hi, this is my first post here after lurking for a while. I hope it's ok my first post is on something this important, haha.

I could not bring myself to include a game released prior to 2019 because I am stubborn about rules, otherwise Beat Saber would have made the cut. That said, this is my top 10:

1. Baba is You: I am a huge puzzle game fan and BiY redefined puzzle games for me.

I have to say, after spending more time with it over the holidays, Baba is You is rising steadily in my estimation. Maybe a contender for my 2020 list Also, welcome!

mrtomaytohead wrote:

Welcome Pink Stripes!

I keep looking at this in my Game Pass library and telling myself I should play more, but go for other things.
Mostly games with stories I'm working on. It's quite the good game, and I love that it gives you a set path, but since you are on a mountain bike, it's expected you will find your own path. Funny that another mountain bike game (Descenders) came out this year, too. Lonely Mountain executes way better in my view.

Thanks! I haven't tried Descenders yet but I'm interested in how it compares to LMD. One detail about LMD that I loved is that if you load up the first map and just drive in a straight line, you'll actually take a shortcut. It's a very SuperMarioBros-esque way of showing you how to play the game.

ComfortZone wrote:

I have to say, after spending more time with it over the holidays, Baba is You is rising steadily in my estimation. Maybe a contender for my 2020 list Also, welcome!

Thank you! I fully support playing more Baba in 2020. The dev is adding a level editor so I will probably go back to it sometime.

Rat Boy wrote:

1. The Outer Worlds - I just needed 6 hours with this today to put it at the top. I wonder if Bethesda's devs played this and thought to themselves, "Welp, we gotta rethink Starfield now."

In all likelihood, they looked at each other, and laughed at the complete lack of lootboxes and pay to win mechanisms

1. Slay the Spire
If it was in mobile, I'd be playing it right now.

2. Subnautica
Poached this from last year's list (I think?) Amazingly fun experience, exploration, discovery, invention, swimming all things I thoroughly love and well presented in this game. A+

3. Disco Elysium
Greatest soundtrack of the year, great writing and awesome setting and mood. Brilliant.

4. Fez

5. A Short Hike

6. Paperbark

7. Untitled Goose Game

8. Jackbox 4 & 5? (Disregard if not allowed, can't remember)

Outer Worlds was thoroughly average, dishonorable mention.