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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2012-12-28 07:25:52
Direman Press Game of the Year
Mobile gaming has cannibalized the Nintendo DS market, and rendered the technically marvelous PlayStation Vita stillborn in the womb. While big name studios keep churning out sequel retreads, the indie market scene developed into a vital spawning ground for fundamental innovation. Without the budgets to deliver splashy visuals and effects, they've concentrated solely on the most important aspect of a game: effective and creative design. For the first time, these games have taken the marquee spots in our annual GotY awards.
Journey is my 2012 Game of the Year. I'm figuring on taking some heat for the selection, but it is extraordinary. It is this year's Exhibit A for the argument that video games are INARGUABLY art.
The Walking Dead earns runner up. It made the point-and-click adventure genre relevant for the first time since the 20th century, and out-BioWared Mass Effect 3 at presenting that sensation of player narrative agency. (Episode 1 for the Xbox is free, or the whole shebang for $12.49 on Steam at the moment. The retail disc version for the Xbox is apparently having catastrophic issues.)
Dishonored is dishonored no longer, with one of our Honorable Mentions. It's the sole disc based console title I'm recognizing this year, for its cool mechanics and atmosphere. For those of you want a rough gauge of its quality, it's distinctly not as good as BioShock, but I'm compelled to draw a comparison. That's still high praise.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown takes home the other Honorable Mention for the PC platform. If it wasn't a remake, I would've been torn between this and Journey. I lust for quality tactical games, and this is the best in a good long time.
[EDIT: It doesn't change my four award winners, but MAN I FORGET TO MENTION FEZ in the comic.]