Top 10 Games of 2012

So I've decided I want to list my favorite things from this year. Games, movies, and music. (Maybe books if I don't burn out.) Now, these may not be the best things ever to happen in their respective mediums, but they're all going to be something that entertained me, made me think, or really stood out among the crowded field of entertainment options we're increasingly exposed to. Anyway, it's fun to think back on the previous year, right? Alright, I'm starting things off with:

Remember, these aren't necessarily the best games of the year. I don't play 'em all or anything. These were just my personal favorite.

10) Dust: An Elysian Tale
This game kinda came out of nowhere for me. It was apparently made almost entirely by one dude, but it doesn't show. It's a deep, fun, Metroidvania-style game with really impressive animation. Look past the furry fan art, and play the thing.

9) Spec-Ops: The Line
I'm pretty sick of "modern warfare" shooter games, and the guys at Yager Development seem to realize that. They crafted a game that contains all of the conventions of those cliche-ridden alpha-male shooters, but uses them to make a pretty subversive point about games, war, duty, and violence.

8) Nintendo Land
A late entry: the pack-in party game for the WiiU. I haven't had this much video-game fun with a group of people in a long time. Games I can play with not only a group of guys, but also my wife, 7-year-old niece, or mom, don't come along that often.

7) Mark of the Ninja
Want to play a game that makes you feel like a real ninja? Of course you do. This is that game. BONUS: The animation work here is fan-freaking-tastic.

6) Guild Wars 2
The MMO for people who don't like MMOs. No quests, no grind, and most importantly: no monthly charge!

5) Spelunky
The most difficult game of the year. It will frustrate you until you want to throw your controller against a wall. But you won't because if you do, you won't be able to replay the level again and again and again until you beat it.

4) XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Strategy gaming at its sleekest. Firaxis managed to make a slow, complex, methodical genre feel not only accessible  but downright intense!

3) The Witcher 2
Yeah, so, this game technically came out in 2011, but it wasn't released on consoles till this year. It's a more mature fantasy game for anyone who's sick of the usual dwarves, elves, and dragon stuff. It feels like a dirty, lived-in world of real peoples and cultures. Think Game of Thrones with more monsters, less incest, and a sense of humor.

2) The Walking Dead
I've never played anything like it. It's a game of conversations and arguments, compassion and survival. There's very little action, but that doesn't mean it isn't tense. Having to decide whether or not to lie to a child to spare her feelings isn't the kind of thing I'm usually asked to do in a game. Damn if it isn't compelling, though.

1) Fez
You're a few hours into this game before you realize exactly what you've gotten yourself into. It starts off as a relatively simple platformer with an interesting mechanic, but soon ascends into the realm of cryptology, archaeology, and philosophy. The world that game creator Phil Fish designed feels genuinely mysterious and ancient. I couldn't help but feel like an 11-year old again, exploring the woods behind my house and expecting to find something... important. Plus, the chiptune soundtrack by Disasterpeace is the absolute best of the decade.

Alright, that's it! Next time I'll be listing my favorite movies of the year (I'll wait until I see The Hobbit to complete the list.) So what were your favorite games of 2012?


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