Friday, November 30, 2012

2012 Year in Games

Another year has come and gone, so that means it's time for this blog's annual game of the year awards.  True to tradition the categories aren't your standard best by genre or platform.  Rather, I'm continuing to use the same unique list I created here.  You can also see last year's award winners here.  Now on with the proceedings!

Avantgarde Award Winner:
Proof that design and gameplay trump graphics and marketing, this little indie gem represents far more than an evolutionary step of the roguelike genre.  If anything, this title serves as concrete proof that Kickstarter projects can be a valid and economically feasible method of game development.  Light speed ahead to every developer who is following in this games footsteps.

Backlash Award Winner:
Where to begin?  The Retake Mass Effect Movement?  EA being rated worst company in America?  Red, blue and green cupcakes?  Needless to say Bioware has always had a mildly toxic fan base even before tings boiled over.  The final sequence was patched eventually, but it still took a ton of flack for not allowing players to circumvent the Des Ex Machina at the end.    

Brutality Award Winner:
This top down shooter plays like a psychedelically fulled fever dream, complete with sudden explosive acts of violence and mayhem. It only takes a split second to kill or be killed in this game. Personally, I recommend taking a deep breath and enjoying the tunes because your going to need some serious determination to finish this one.

Canvas Award Winner:
While it doesn't quite have the rainbow pallet this award originally supposed to highlight, the use of color to covey moods and emotions goes well beyond the the craft found in most triple-A titles. Kudos to That Game Company for making something in which every second of every image onscreen is worthy of a picture frame.  Truly, if any game could be called a work of art it would be this one.

Ecology Award Winner:
When you consider this first entry in this series was basically Rogue with a major graphics upgrade, it's hard to justify two more sequels with only minor improvements to the fundamental gameplay.  For what it's worth Blizzard polished this one to a fine sheen, but unlike the first category winner, there is little here that doesn't scream "been there, done that."

"Engrish" Award Winner:
This series has had a long history of questionable use of the English language.  However, Capcom has upped their game by going from poorly delivered, cheesy one liners to creative word spelling on their box covers.  Didn't anyone think to use a spell checker before they began printing labels by the thousands?  Also, is it just me or does "Revelaitons" sound like a type of B.O.W.?

Esoteric Award Winner:
This rather bizarre semi-3D side scrolling platformer takes a turn for the mind bending after the first playthrough   Puzzles requiring an understanding of Morse code to solve are just the tip of the iceberg.  The outspoken developer of this low budget title spent nearly five years working on the game.  It is an intense labor of love that virtually no one could hope to unravel without the help of the internet.

Lemon Award Winner:
Konami has been in a long downward slide for awhile now, but they really dropped the ball on this one.  You know their handling of the Silent Hill franchise has reached new lows when they are retroactively screwing up the better games in the series with shoddy bug ridden remakes.  Tangentially, since when does the second and third titles in a series constitute a collection?  If anything it was the PS1 original that need the graphical update.

Testosterone Award Winner:
I think the image alone explains why this game won this particular award category.  But for the sake of consistency I'll say this; Successfully finishing the quick time events from even just the first chapter will make you feel like you just got back from a roid rage induced weight lifting binge at your local gym.  Yes, that includes sweat and sore muscles.   

Underdog Award Winner:
World War 2 themed shooters suffered from such a deluge last console generation that even now many gamers are reluctant to return to the time period.  It's a pity in this case because I believe feelings of over saturation have caused this unique experience to end up largely ignored.  Timing, traps and trick shots are the tools of the trade.  I should also mention that this game requires zen-like patience as well as lightning reflexes.

Well, that's my picks for 2012.  If you don't agree with them no need to get upset.  The true purpose of this ceremony is to touch on games that might have been lost in the shuffle.  Hope you enjoyed reminiscing with me.  Until next year!

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