2012 was the year that the downloadable game flashed its brilliance. My most memorable gaming experiences came from downloadable games and not the major releases. Here are my favorite video games from 2012:
10) Fez - True gaming at heart. I felt like a kid again trying to find all the easter eggs hidden in the levels. True genius in level design.
9) Uncharted: Golden Abyss - Uncharted became my favorite gaming franchise this year and to have a legit Uncharted game on a handheld was unbelievable.
8) Assassin's Creed 3 - It has is faults, it's buggy, and the eavesdropping missions can be frustrating. However, one of the best worlds ever realized in a video game and it was a blast experiencing history with George Washington, Sam Adams, Paul Revere, and friends.
7) Little Big Planet Vita - Another game with genius level design. This is the spiritual successor to Mario games. I couldn't stop smiling while playing it.
6) Sound Shapes - Half platformer and Half music game. This is a game you have to experience to get why it is so good. The level creation tool makes this a fantastic value. After playing the included levels, thousands more await. Loved how Deadmau5 and Beck got behind this and made levels.
5) Persona 4 Golden - No game this year had me addicted to playing like this game did. It came out at the end of the year and was a total surprise. I've never been interested in playing a JRPG before but after seeing it being raved about everywhere, I had to try it, and I'm so glad I did.
4) Mass Effect 3 - The end of the epic space saga. I didn't realize how much I cared about the characters until I got to the end and it pulled the heart strings. A groundbreaking series with real choices that many games in the future will try to duplicate.
3) Unfinished Swan - The biggest surprise of the year. This game came out of nowhere and shocked me with it's creative gameplay and heartwarming story about a boy and his mother.
2) Walking Dead - Not only the best story in gaming this year, but one the best stories in any medium all year. I cared about Clementine like she was my own daughter. The choices that have to me made are gutwrenching, however I always felt I had an option to say or do exactly what I would do in real life. That is just great script writing. I've never read or watched the Walking Dead series but after playing this, I think I'll give them a try, however it will be a high bar to meet.
1) Journey - This is not a game, it is an experience. Not a word is said but it tells a beautiful story. You play with other people but you don't talk to each other or know with whom you are playing. Every scene is like a work of art. This is the poster child for why video games are art. An emotional ride that literally gave me chills and tears.
I wanted to also mention, I played a few older games this year to catch up on things I've missed. I played through the entire Uncharted series and it has become my favorite current gaming series. It is the most cinematic game I've ever played and is the Indiana Jones game I've always wanted. A fantastic experience that I'm glad I went back and played.
I also played Heavy Rain which came out a few years ago. It is a interesting take on the merger of film and gaming. An adult story told in an adult way. I can't wait to see what this team does next.
My favorite iOS game of the year was Hero Academy. Deep gameplay that can be played a minute at a time. Words with Friends but with depth. I wish more people would play this game.
It has been a good year for games but not a great year. Most of the big titles didn't live up to expectations. Thankfully, the small, downloadable games filled in the gaps and my heart.
Til next time...