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GAF Games of the Year 2012 - Voting Thread, now closed. Thanks for all the fish.


Apr 5, 2006
1. Kid Icarus Uprising ; Just an absolute blast to play through. There is so much to like about this game, from the incredible characters and dialogue, the astounding soundtrack, and the scope of the game overall. Easily one of my favorite games ever now, it was just too fun. There's so much stuff to do in this game, and you can tell there was so much love poured into this. I never liked the original Kid Icarus game, because it just felt too "old" for me, I guess. I don't believe it held up as well as other games from the era, and was really problematic for me. Of course, I saw this when 3DS was first shown at E3 2011, and I just knew that I'd love it. I could feel the personality from the characters in the trailer, and the gameplay looked phenomenal. I love shooters like Sin & Punishment, so this was a great draw from me. I had skepticism for the ground segments, but in the end, I actually ended up liking it more. The controls were never a problem for me, so that certainly helps. It's a shame it just didn't click with everybody the same way it did with me, because it is just marvelous. Also, multiplayer is a lot of fun as well, and I hope to get back in there soon.

2. Pokemon Black Version 2 ; Definitely the best Pokemon game I've played. The distribution of Pokemon is excellent, in addition to updating the greatest original Pokemon lineup yet. It also helps that it got a supplement in the form of Pokemon Dream Radar, which while not amazing on its own, did make me enjoy this game more too.

3. Persona 4 Arena ; Such a great, stylish fighter. I've always loved ArcSys games since Guilty Gear XX Accent Core, and while it's certainly more simplistic, there's still a lot of fun to be had. It looks great, sounds great, and plays great. Although Guilty Gear XX Accent Core+ is my favorite fighter this year, while it's not eligible for this list, this is still a great title on its own merits.

4. Code of Princess ; A lot of the same things that prop up Kid Icarus Uprising bring this up for me too. Lots of fun characters and dialogue, great music, and really fun to play. It is shorter than other games here, which is why it' not my number 3. Character customization feels great in this though, and makes multiplayer really fun.

5. Professor Layton And The Miracle Mask ; If you love Professor Layton games, expect more of the same for the most part, which is definitely not a bad thing for this franchise. However, since this is the transition into a new platform, we also see puzzles that we haven't really seen in previous entries. I was afraid that models wouldn't be a good fit, but it definitely adds a lot of personality that the hand drawn portraits weren't really able to exhibit. While it lacks the London Life of The Last Specter, I feel the individual minigames are much stronger here as well.

6. New Super Mario Bros 2 ; I really like the direction of this game. The score attack nature really makes me approach things differently. The level design is top notch as well, and I might like it as much as New Super Mario Bros Wii. The DLC certainly helped.

7. Zero Escape Virtue's Last Reward ; Just got into the Zero Escape franchise this year, and playing this after Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors was a blast. I really enjoyed this more than the initial game, because I feel that the puzzles were significantly improved, and the progression system was much better as well.

8. Growlanser IV Wayfarer Of Time ; My introduction to the Growlanser franchise, and it's definitely a great start. The game feels very much like a traditional Playstation RPG, which was my favorite time for the genre. The characters aren't amazing or anything, which is a common theme of the games on my top 10 this year, but everything about this title is solid. It's also pretty big, but you can go through it piece by piece at a good pace.

9. Harvest Moon 3D A New Beginning ; Got into Harvest Moon last year with A Tale Of Two Towns, and it's just a nice relaxing game. Although it's like the poster child for grinding in a game (since that's the entire point), it's just nice to kick back and do some small activities every now and then. Really cute too.

10. Pokemon Conquest ; This was a good year for Pokemon, with the best main entry in the franchise, as well as the best spinoff, among other small things (Dream Radar and Pokedex 3D Pro). It helps that I love strategy RPGs, but I like the way this goes about it. It seems simplistic at first, but really, there's definitely a lot going on with it. Sometimes feels repetitive (especially the post game), but it's not a bad formula at all.

x. Crimson Shroud ; Just got through this game earlier today, and it was definitely fun. There are a lot of interesting ideas, with some great art. It did feel a bit too big for its scope though, as I felt I would like to do a lot more than what I went through. I also would've liked to see some animation, though I do see how this helps establish its "tabletop" status. Overall, a fun game.

x. Xenoblade Chronicles ; This was definitely a good game, and I can see why so many people love. While I had a lot of fun with it, and it was a great experience, it might just be too big for me. It's a pleasure to look at and listen to (though I'm not as big a fan of the voice track), but there's just so much to do at one time, which is a little overwhelming for me. These are not necessarily faults with the game though, and more on myself, but still, I definitely enjoyed the 60 hours I put in so far.

2011. The Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword ; It was my Game Of The Year in last year's voting, and it still holds up for me. While people felt it was empty for the most part, I felt that it had some of the best dungeons in the franchise. Certainly the overworld could use some more life, but Skyloft was great fun, and the characters overall were really great. It had my 2nd favorite Link, 2nd favorite Zelda, and overall favorite side cast. It looked great, it sounded great, and it played great.


Aug 28, 2009
albuquerque, nm
1. Kid Icarus: Uprising; The most fun I've had with a videogame in many years. I put over 125 hours into it initially across both the main game and multiplayer and have just kicked off another new game today and am still blown away.
This game deserves Goty in my opinion and much much more.


Apr 21, 2007
2012 is a bit of an odd year for me because I have several games I haven't even opened yet and I spent so much of the year plowing through various Steam and PS3 backlogs I feel incredibly unversed in this year's games. With that said I'll post a few entries.

1. Borderlands 2
Borderlands 2 is without a doubt the most addicting thing I touched this year. I love the characters, the large and diverse environments, the new tweaks to gun types and the seamless transition between singleplayer and multiplayer sessions.

2. Xenoblade Chronicles
Xenoblade is so full of content and it has such large expanses and things to explore, so many missions available and so many options within the game systems that it gave my gamer OCD tendencies free reign to run wild and I ended up playing for waaaaaay longer than I intended. The characters and plot are rather shonen-anime/JRPG generic, but everything else is so good I didn't care.

3. Persona 4 Arena
My personal favorite 2D fighting game developer of the past decade and my favorite RPG series of the past decade combine and I was very happy with the result.

4. The Last Story
Not as good as Xenoblade but well worth the effort Operation Rainfall and Xseed put into bringing this title to us in the USA. Definitely a major step up from Mistwalker's previous output like Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon.

5. Final Fantasy XIII-2
The XIII series may not be the most popular thing around, for valid reasons, but XIII-2 was really fun. The combat system was quick and easy to grasp and the time travel mechanic was a welcome change of pace from the overbearing linearity of FFXIII. This is the game FFXIII original should have been.

6. Journey
Some of these "artsy" indie games work well for me while others seem to operate in the head up their ass state of pretense. For me Journey is one of the really good ones, and my only real complaint is how short it ended up being.

7. Lollipop Chainsaw
It's silly, bordering on retarded at times, and the combat isn't terribly challenging, but somehow I was compelled to play this game enough that I ended up unlocking everything and never once suffered from boredom.

So, that about does it for what I can speak on. I still haven't fired up my copies of some of the other big games of the year such as Mass Effect 3, and I feel like I've missed quite a bit when I see all these mentions of things like FTL, Walking Dead, Dishonored and Sleeping Dogs and I have no experience with any of them. Oh well, I suppose later on down the road I'll remember this and wish I had played some of the other games sooner to get them on the list, but I now live in a state of perpetual backlogs.
Mar 10, 2005
For those disinclined to read, here is my list in video form with non-abridged comments.

1. The Walking Dead ; At the end of the day, the things I feel about The Walking Dead are simply beyond what I feel about other games this year. If we want to make the argument that video games can be art, it is not about being obtuse and pretentious and demand that a TV screen with Braid play on a loop sitting on a wall in the Museum of Modern Art. It is about looking at games like The Walking Dead and seeing that the experience of a video game can be every bit as valid as other forms of art. I chose The Walking Dead as my game of the year because it is an experience that other titles, simply being video games, could not match. To put it another way, The Walking Dead is game of the year by being everything that title has never meant.

2. Kid Icarus ; In the absence of another Sin & Punishment game for me to laud all my praise on, Kid Icarus is probably the best Nintendo game in years in my book. It’s exciting and fun and wears its heart on its sleeve. This game left me begging for a sequel and playing it over again, anyway. While it didn’t do everything perfect, I don’t care, my ride through Kid Icarus was fun as hell and I’m glad this game existed.

3. Borderlands 2 ; But co-op Borderlands 2? Amazing. I don’t say this just because I played with the right group, though I can’t discount that aspect of it. The game is actively balanced toward having a co-op party. Doing things alone makes it a different and less fun game overall. But when you’re with a group, everything clicks. Battles are strategic or chaotic or both and still fun. Jokes are funnier when there are other people to laugh at them with you. To the extent that games can be a communal experience, Borderlands 2 taps in to them as well as any game before it.

4. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ; Overall, Virtue’s Last Reward told a story that rocketed it to my top five, even if it’s not as great as 999’s. That statement is relative, however, and VLR is still an amazing game that I spent forty hours playing, desperate to find out just a little more..

5. Persona 4 Arena ; Overall, Persona 4 Arena may be a victory of fanservice more than one of substance, it certainly does not lack in the latter. I’ve put dozens of hours in to the game and will probably put dozens more. Kind of hard to ask for more than that. For fans of Persona 4, this game is a treat. For people who aren’t yet, it’s still a solid title.

6. Asura's Wrath ; It is difficult to explain what makes Asura’s Wrath so amazing. The best comparison I have been able to come up with is that it reminds me of the days I would watch He-Man as a kid and feel excitement from seeing him defeat the bad guys. Asura’s Wrath captures that feeling as an adult, giving me a grim fairy tale to unfold with my participation.

7. Journey ; I think this might be the year of interactive fiction, for me, at least. While other entries on my list were either well written or had fun stories, the way Journey employed the interactive fiction label was to tell a story of a world without ever saying a word. It’s not just story, it’s not just atmosphere, Journey envelops the player in the pilgrimage and you feel the same fear and catharsis as if you were in danger (and out of it) as well.

8. Dragon's Dogma ; From climbing griffins to stabbing a cyclops in the eye to blind them to shooting down harpies, you feel like you are actually a small human in a world of barbarians, a feeling that really only Pikmin compares to. The world is scary and that’s why it’s fun, because each journey is one of trepidation. All in all, Dragon’s Dogma takes more from the distressing feeling of Fallout than Skyrim but it did it in its own unique way.

9. Binary Domain ; It would be difficult for me to argue that Binary Domain is the best game this year objectively, but it’s charming and actually somewhat haunting in its own way. I can’t tell if the game is stupid and amazing or brilliant and amazing or somewhere between the two, but I finished the game knowing it had to be on my Game of the Year list.

10. Tales of Graces f ; It is a testament to just how fast-paced and exciting the battle system is that I am willing to put up with Asbel’s whining or the really long and annoying dungeons just to keep going. It’s possible Tales of Graces f is just one of those right time, right place games, where I played it in the context of needing something like it to play. Who knows. At the end of the day, it’s one of my favorite games of the year, even if it won’t do anything to convert someone who does not already tolerate Tales games.


Neo Member
Oct 14, 2009
East Coast, U.S
1. Tales of Graces F ; Strongest tales game released stateside. Gameplay is FANTASTIC. Story is OK but characters are all interesting. Lots of funny scenes and fully voiced skits. Lots of content.

2. Journey ; Quite an experience. Nuff said.

3. Sleeping dogs ; surprise of the year

4. Personal 4 Arena ; Single player is quite robust (but not without flaws). P3 char stories are very interesting (however the P4 ones are repetitive). Game mechanics easier learn comparing to other ArcSys titles but just as deep as others.

5. Dark Souls : Prepare to Die Edition ; Dark souls remains my most played game of the year, despite being more than one year old. The DLC added quite some content for the game and provided PC player an opportunity to play one of the best game of the generation.
Mar 16, 2010

1. Journey; The most engaging, most intense, and simply overall best gaming experience I've ever had - period. To me, this game (and on a different tangent, DayZ) is the first major and impactful step towards the psychology of player interaction becoming something more than just the need to attack or kill anyone you meet, which is incredibly exciting. To really understand the effect this has had on players, you need only visit any forum talking about the game and read the experiences people have shared. I can think of no other game which has ever had a thread dedicated to sincerely apologizing, for whatever reason, to other players you met. The co-op is this game. The overwhelming atmosphere, music and sound, art design, innovative seamless co-op - everything about it is beautiful and seems to fit exactly where it should. This is the only PS3 game I've ever 100%'d. I knew in March what the best game of the year was.

2. Persona 4 Golden; As soon as this was announced, I knew that I would be purchasing a Vita at some point. Every little tweak Atlus made was just what was needed. Put almost 200 hours into this on PS2, and happily adding to that. The Playstation 2 original was generally regarded as a 9/10, and so this redux should be the textbook definition of a 10/10 game.

3. Katawa Shoujo; The Year of the Feel rolls on with an anime-styled visual novel from... the Internet! 4chan denizens themselves have produced some fantastic character interaction and story arcs. If you're interested but shying away because of the sex scenes: get over it, and check this shit out. Just imagine it to be like Persona 3 or 4 sans gameplay - you know, a visual novel. Played through every path, eyes threatening to leak at every turn. Bush/Cheney '04!

4: Dishonored; (PC) As someone who greatly enjoyed Deus Ex 1 and HR, Dishonored feels like a Deus Ex game done better - with a little Half Life 2 sprinkled liberally throughout. I particularly enjoyed the stealth, and the controls in general - both things some others took issue with. Best Stealth Game this year. YEP.

5. Hotline Miami; You really get into a rhythm with this game. This game forces you into an uncomfortably greasy and gross rhythm of answering machines, murder, free vhs tapes, and neon lights. I've never done so much white-knuckle, head-bobbin', 'R'-tappin' gaming in my life.

6. Spec Ops: The Line; (PC) Yager's greatest achievement was getting me to play - and ENJOY - a military shooter again. I know that's the reason I was not at all interested in it, from initial announcement to release, until I started hearing that there was much more to it; the Fez of shooters. What they did here with player expectation as it pertains to the genre is nothing short of face-melting. The character development of Walker and the slow burn of his psychological deterioration (from the player's perspective, at least) was very affecting. The reveal itself was great, if a bit obvious, but the flashbacks of Walker's actions the way they actually went down was what left my jaw on the floor. Not to mention the epilogue. Damn.

7. Lumines: Electronic Symphony; As with P4G, I knew I'd be getting a Vita for this. After 57 hours with the PC version, I feel like E.S. is a little bit better and just a little bit tougher. Still the best puzzle game series ever.

8. Gravity Rush; Great style, solid-yet-innovative gameplay, amazing soundtrack, lovable protagonist. Why didn't this game sell more Vitas? (I know, I know - price).

9. X-Com: Enemy Unknown; (PC) I didn't play the original much, but this remake hooked me good. Despite a fair number of glitches and bugs I still had an amazing time with one of the best turn-based strategy experiences around.

10. Thirty Flights of Loving; I really wanted this to make my top 10, so here it is. I love Brendan Chung's other games (Flotilla, Gravity Bone, Atom Zombie Smasher, etc.) and the fact that in each of them he always tries something fresh, different, or just weird. I loved the heavy inference of story, despite only Peanuts' adults-style dialogue - you got a pretty good sense of what was going on, with enough left to the imagination to make it fun to guess. Can't wait for Quadrilateral Cowboy! :D

Honorable Mentions:

x. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition; This would be my number one, but I played/voted for the PS3 version last year. Those 111 hours in a month just flew by. If the Artorias DLC is any indication, Dark Souls II is going to destroy. (AKA 'Durante: What A Fucking Hero Edition'.)

x. To The Moon; Not a 2012 game, but man was this good. My frothing demand for the next Freebird game increases...

x. The Walking Dead; (PC) The character arcs were fantastic, the episodic nature was refreshing (and necessary for mental well-being), and every decision was very engaging. The overall story didn't really catch me though, and the writing in general left something to be desired. A great gaming achievement all things considered, and congrats to Jake and Sean and the dudes at TTG for pulling it off.

x. Tribes: Ascend; High-speed disc flinging at its finest, they really nailed the Tribes feel while at the same time making it feel modern. Played so much in beta that burnout set in shortly after release, and I just haven't had the urge to go back since.

x. Binary Domain; (PC) Well-made TPS, interesting story, and likeable characters. All-around good game. Sah-weeeeeeeeeet!

x. Mark of the Ninja; (PC) Extremely well-made, with tight mechanics and pretty much all of the information you could need for a stealthy playthrough to feel good. Very much a one-trick pony, however - even if that trick is pretty boss.

x. Fez; Played it, liked it, couldn't force myself to sit down and figure everything out. Looked up the secrets. Very impressive in this day and age to go to such lengths and depths.

x. Legend of Grimrock;

x. Sound Shapes;

x. FTL;

2011. Skyrim; (PC) Only just recently killed the first (narrative) dragon, and I'm at 81 hours. The fuck was I even doing?

I thought that coming up with 10 awesome games from this past year was going to be difficult. The difficult part turned out to be cutting it down to 10, which is only a good thing for gaming. In fact... Games I wish I had been able to get to: Virtue's Last Reward (still playing through 999, and loving it), Sleeping Dogs, Asura's Wrath.


Mar 3, 2007
This has been the hardest year for me to come up with a list of top game. There was a real lack of games that appealed to me this year (mainly due to Wii releases drying up) and I really find the vast majority of AAA console games to be too similar to each other these days. I spent a lot of the year either travelling for work or moving house, so there is a strong portable emphasis here.

Still, my attempt at a ballot follows:

1. WipEout 2048 ; The final entry in the greatest racing series ever. Pitch perfect racing, incredible visuals and absurd value for money with the HD Fury add-ons. It feels closer to a cross between Fusion and Pulse - the former being the black sheep of the series and the latter being one of the best ever. Vale, Psygnosis. You went out at the top of your game and the racing genre.
2. Touch My Katamari ; Still as absurd and addictive as ever. I love the King.
3. Tokyo Jungle ; Metal Deer Solid according to Eurogamer. So bafflingly unique (and hard to start with) but it deserves major credit for even existing.
4. Velocity ; Reminds me of playing Menace back on the Amiga.
5. Fallblox ; Evil and addicting, just like the first one.
6. Little Big Planet Vita ; Much more fun than the first one, and the reason I got a Vita .
7. Lumines Electronic Symphony ; It's Lumines! Only downside is no Shining, but still such a relaxing game to play as hours disappear.
8. New Super Mario Bros. 2 ; It's not very new, but it still has incredibly good platforming in general. More of a default inclusion that will keep me entertained for a long while yet.
9. Mario Tennis Open ; Scraping the bottom of the barrel but I really didnt play many games this year that came out in 2012. Its kind of like Rockstar Table Tennis I guess.
10. Shinobido 2 ; It feels like Tenchu, only in much smaller chunks. It's kind of disappointing to see no long, involved missions, but at least the core of the game is there. Plus, you can fight bears with exploding salmon.

x. Liberation Maiden ; 2D Zone of the Enders. Serviceable gameplay, but too short. At least its cheap.
x. Sine Mora ; A great demo, but still tossing up whether to get the Vita version or PS3. Reminds me of Gradius V.

2011. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D ; First time I have ever played and completed the game in any version, and it really is as good as its reputation. I love how vibrant the world looks in 3D, and the climax to the game is special with an excellent final boss/escape run. Only thing I don't like is some pretty obtuse clues about where to go/what to do next.


Apr 27, 2008
1. Journey ; In an age of extreme reliance on over-abundance of features in games, Journey’s design- and narrative minimalism show how digital games can convey information and emotion through simple, yet extremely impressive metaphors. Not only is the aesthetics of Journey incredibly pleasing, but thatgamecompany’s take on reciprocal multiplayer social interactions in a contemporary environment often associated with detachment and instrumentalist behavior, emphasize how we as human agents act and communicate with each other and how the estranged people we encounter even in real life has an impact or significance in our everyday life. Journey is one of the most condensed games that will be remembered for decades to come.

2. Hotline Miami ; In some regards Hotline: Miami is Journey’s sibling. They both share minimalistic game mechanics that are easily conveyed to and picked up by newcomers, but where Journey is heavily restricted by its audiovisual metaphors, the minimalism of Hotline Miami entails a massive amount of player creativity within the gameworld. It is a smart game that treats its players as different sorts of people and attempts to highlight the usual trope of player agency vs. design authority we’ve come to see in many games this generation.

3. FTL: Faster Than Light ; Usually I do not like games that do not provide some sort of meaningful advancement or consequences. If my actions in a game do not entail progress, I just find it a waste of time. Yet, in FTL, I constantly found myself engaged by the strategies, micro-management, and striving for “just one more game”. It is a fun and self-aware game that compartmentalizes interesting tactics and procedurally created, but meaningful experiences.

4. Dark Souls ; Prepare to Die Edition: Inexperience. Discovery. Punishment. Seemingly futile attempts at overcoming impossible odds. More Punishment. Finally emotional payoff. Rinse and repeat. Dark Souls is simply like picking up your first sport and being mercilessly beaten, then learning from mistakes, and finally excelling at the trained skill. This process co-exists with a subtle presentation in accordance with the “show don’t tell” principle in terms of the game’s lore and world, in addition to its interconnected labyrinths with recognizable landmarks. The dark fantasy art style is utterly impressive and helps set the fantastic dark audiovisual tone that the world is dripped in. The game thus treats the player like an intelligent and capable being through nuanced presentation.

5. Walking Dead ; Possibly some of the best character-writing we have seen in digital games. A Black main character who’s a professor without the narrative making a big deal out of it? A complex and nuanced redneck? A respectable and reasonable child character? Strong, independent female characters? Although TWD isn’t free of narrative flaws and minor shallow characters, the main cast (especially the bond between the two main characters) is incredibly powerful and well-delivered. The game suffers from technical issues, shoddy animation work in a game heavily reliant on narrative presentation, too many smokes and mirrors when it comes to choices and consequences, but the delivery of the main cast of characters is simply remarkable and forms the backbone of the game, which makes the game transcends its flaws.

6. Spec Ops: The Line ; I still cannot believe it took such a long time before a military shooter reflected on its content. It is a much needed refreshment in a sea of primitive and shallow shooters, and although Spec Ops share many similarities with Bioshock in terms of the aforementioned player agency vs. design authority, the former does a remarkable job in treating the player as a moral agent by letting the player interpret and act upon difficult moral dilemmas in different ways. Its Achilles Heels are the derivative mechanics and heavy-handed allusions to its source material (Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now), but I suppose that some of the design decisions were deliberate in doing a criticism on military shooters.

7. Sleeping Dogs ; This is a flawed game, but sometimes one can feel the amount of heart that the creators put into a work. Sleeping Dogs was such an experience for me, as I felt that United Front wanted to do something meaningful, despite its high-budget deficiencies. Important characters were not treated carelessly and Wei Shen came across as empathetic and reflective on his actions and role within the game’s narrative. Couple this nice aspect of Sleeping Dogs with the unique setting and you got yourself a decent open-world game with a lot of heart.

8. X-COM: Enemy Unknown ; I must admit that the linearity of the game irritated me in comparison to its original predecessor. Nevertheless, it was refreshing to play a relatively high-budget turn-based game in 2012.

9. Mark of the Ninja ; A great new take on how to do stealth-games. Its design unfortunately involves repeatable successful tactics, but its use of lighting in a 2D level design was remarkably well-done.

10. Stacking ; I had completely forgot that this game was released in 2012. Simply thanks to the Babushka-style alone, this game deserves a mention for its fresh take on puzzles and stealth mechanics.

x. Botanicula ; The game did not impress me that much as its point-n-click mechanics in a Flash game still are a retread of Samorost’s, but Amanita is such a great developer when it comes to visual storytelling and conveyance of information.
x. Dikembe Mutombo’s 4½ weeks to save the world ; Hilarious writing.
x. Papo & Yo ; An adult and complex subject being treated in a digital game is always a plus. Papo & Yo is quite heavy-handed and direct in its metaphors, but I respect the game for trying something different and quite personal.

2011. Saint’s Row the Third.


Mar 30, 2012
1. Journey ;What a remarkable game. The most intense multiplayer experience in my entire gaming life. Never has a game made you feel more attached to a complete stranger. A true masterpiece and the closes I have felt to a game beeing art.
2. X-Com: Enemy Unknown ;The perfect way to breath new life in this old franchise. Firaxis are still the best of the best when it comes to turnbased strategy.
3. Torchlight II ;I thought I was sick and tired of Hack n Slash, well Torchlight II proved me wrong.
4. Kingdoms of Amalur ;This was probably the best combat in a open world rpg yet. Also the skill system was very interesting and on top of that if was a truly beautifull game. If the story had been better this would have been even higher on the list.
5. Guild Wars 2 ;Arenanet managed to reinvent the MMORPG genre by removing the crutches that have held the genre back for years. If only the dungeon design and general pve content had been better this could have been my GOTY.
6. Mass Effect 3 ;I was lucky enough to hold off on this game until the ending was redone. This might possible be the reason for me to have it on this list. Its not the best Mass Effect game but it is still a great game and the multiplayer was horde mode finally done right.
7. Endless Space ;Fantastic 4x game in space. This game probably has the best UI ever in any 4x game. And the OST was amazing. I still hear that while at work on my Iphone.
8. The Last Story ;Sakaguchi....enough said really
9. Botanicula ;The goofy humour and interesting ways to solve puzzles makes this an endearing little game. Its no way nearly as good as Machinarium but still pretty amazing.
10. Pokemon Black / White 2 ;Finally this series feels new while still beeing true to what makes it fun.

Honorable mention:
Guardians of Middle earth ;Great Moba games and proves that MOBA can work on consoles. To bad the matchmaking and disconects are not fixed yet.


Mar 30, 2007
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1. Kid Icarus ; While exciting as being one of the first original AAA efforts on the 3DS was, Kid Icarus wasn't anticipated. I like exploration and little to no handholding or storylines in my games, so initial impressions and footage left me wary.
After playing through the adventure and sinking many hours into online play, I was and am amazed this game exists. Sakurai proved that a linear game can be surprisingly replayable, and deliver above and beyond expectations, while making you feel like you are in control the whole time. Truly the kind of game that only comes around once or twice a generation. Modern game developers owe it to themselves to deconstruct it and study it to see how games should be crafted.

2. Ketzal’s Corridors ; I never played ThruSpace, but fell in love with this game. Fundamentally, it's challenging. The extra Nintendo polish makes it absolutely unforgettable in all the right ways.

3. Pokemon Conquest ; The best Pokemon spinoff game. I hope TecmoKoei see it as a gateway for people to play more of their historical simulations. The endgame was better than the main game.

4. Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword ; Feels like a fleshed out tech demo for early Zelda concepts, but it is so much fun. You really get into the rhythm of dodging and attacking, and the design aesthetic is a real pleasure.

5. Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 3DS ; Awesome full featured soccer game on the 3DS. Online matchups and everything. They hit it out of the park with this game, and noone took any notice. Criminal.

6. Paper Mario Sticker Star ; It's the best Zelda game since A Link to the Past. Really loved the no-handholding and fun exploration. The music was exceptional.

7. The Denpa Men: They Came by Wave ; Really awesome way of using the 3DS and also has a fun dragon quest style RPG in it as well. Stellar music by basiscape.

8. Resident Evil Revelations ; Blew my mind what capcom was able to do with this game on the 3DS. It was good to return to Resident Evil after staying away for so long.

9. New Super Mario Bros. 2 ; I recoiled in horror at the game's unveiling. More of the same? Is there no imagination left to make new content for sidescrolling mario games? 3D mario gets all the love from the creative team. Then I played the game. Yes, the aesthetics are ugly and tired, but it's fun, familiar platforming and I keep playing it and enjoying it.

10. Crimson Shroud ; I have a crush on this game, but the problems with it are too large to include in the top five. It feels like cliff's notes to a larger, richer game concept that I hope we get to play one day. The best fusion of D&D aesthetics into a video game I've ever seen. I hope SquareEnix and other RPG companies see how many it's sold so they can start bringing over their localizations to a hungry audience. Also, Matsuno needs to flesh this out. I want more.

x. Frog Fractions; more inventive and inspiring than many many many high budget 200+ person team mainstream games, and many many many small team indie games. Magical.

x. Aero Porter ; This game is amazingly well crafted but frustrates me to the point that I'm afraid to play it because of what may happen to my 3DS in my moments of rage.

2011. Super Mario 3D Land ; Most fun I've had with mario in 3D, ever. Also has the Kid Icarus type blessing of the game that keeps on giving.
May 2, 2008
I wonder how Journey and Walking Dead will be considered in a few years from now.

They seem to be highly praised because of what they do as stories (how they affect you emotionally) rather than what they do as games.

I enjoyed both but at the same time find both lacking as games.

They'll be considered exactly the same, it's not like games in general are progressively offering more content, probably the opposite what with rising development costs.
It's not about the amount of 'game' that people appreciate, it's the quality of what is offered.
Take ICO for example, it can be completed in about 4/5 hours and yet it is still very highly praised.

Pie and Beans

Look for me on the local news, I'll be the guy arrested for trying to burn down a Nintendo exec's house.
Apr 23, 2010

1. Journey ; After consulting the Elder Statue I would see a little figure in the archway of light beyond it before they briefly disappeared. In the next area I would then be primed to desire company and make, what would appear to me, a friend for the duration of my travels. Crossing the giant dunes rescuing trapped cloth-beasts, surfing the golden sands at sunset, and hiding from giant dragonsnake sentinels in the catacombs. Masterful game design would have thin canyons in the snowy tundra force me and this other player together at the same time and discover that huddling gave us warmth and thus more speed in trudging onwards. A euphoric soaring finale seals the deal before the ending credits soundtrack cements its place as GOTY and its shockingly revealed to me my travelling partner was 5 different people seamlessly swapped in and out.

2. Dragon's Dogma ; A wonky quest system sends me, my warrior pawn, and two recent mage hires out on a bodyguard mission for an old guy heading plenty far out of my comfort zone quite early on. I travel the lands despatching goblins and lizard-people aplenty for what feels an age. Night inevitably falls and I reach a vast and sprawling forest named Devilfire Grove. I think nothing of it until from the darkness leaps a ferocious Drake. We battle the beast until daybreak before it tires of out toothpick attack and annhilates my entire party. I will return later in the game to lay this bitter grudge to rest by grabbing its neck and as it foolishly escapes to the sky with me still attached, proceed to plunge my fire enchanted blade deep into its exposed glowing heartflesh over and over again.

3. Gravity Rush ; After completing the game's main story, countless quests, and the many races to be found throughout Heksville, Kat's abilities were upgraded to their maximum. I set out on what I dubbed the Post-Game World Gem Collecting Tour. With my gravity metre at full I could fly from one giant metropolis to the next, swooping down to collect lines of purple gems that were infact worthless currency to me at this point. Not since Spider-Man 2 had simple world traversal been this addictive. After spending an hour speeding across various technicolour skies, inevitable gravity sickness" kicks in when I have no solid perception of whats up and down anymore and have to put the Vita down for a moment or two. Powerful stuff.

4. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron ;
After ducking and diving through the innards of city-sized Autobot, when the cutscene of Metroplex's awakening plays out I expect to be fastforwarded to the next level and some new dire situation. Except I instead proceeded to regain control of the current battlefield with my new gargantuan sized pal joining my forces sudden second wind against the Decepticon scum. His giant skyscraper-sized cannons could even be used by painting targets over tanks and other more amoured adversaries across the war torn Cybertronian city. It is only Level 3 in the game, and already I wondered how it could possibly top this rush for the finale. It can and does.

5. The Unfinished Swan ;
After an age of existing in a white nothingness with black splotched outlines as my only world definition, the 2nd chapters introduction of shadows and defined buildings come into view. I check my eyes as the IQ is astoundingly crisp and clear and the landscape of a giant labyrinth simple yet utterly breathtaking. Not firing ink blobs now, I use water to direct vines up and across walls allowing me to climb them and ascend higher in my pursuit of that honking swan. Hunting balloons tickles my gamer OCD, and watering a hedge in the King's garden creates a leafy whale that shoots water out of its newly create spout to hit a balloon way out of reach. I say "Corrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" out loud to myself with a big smile.

6. Uncharted Golden Abyss ; Despite not being native resolution, this full Uncharted experience had already wowed me with vast and glorious vistas early on and by being more fun to play than Naughty Dog's own most recent franchise entry. As the game dug further and further in however, the quality of its graphics seemed only to improve as if the developers were learning all new tricks to utilise the hardware in sync with my adventure. When returning later in the game to the area used as the cold open, it somehow feels more impressive that before as I take notice of the realtime lighting and how my belt torch illuminates the amazingly textured caverns I soon head into.

7. Wipeout 2048 ; Sol 2 was my personal breathtaking favourite tricky track from Wipeout HD. It came as no surprise to me then when its canon predecessor, Sol, was 2048's own most gobsmacking segment as you shoot into the sky and then down amongst a wide view of the city below's skyscrapers. Through an act of seemingly misplaced charity, Studio Liverpool then gave me access to both Sol and Sol 2 on the Vita through free DLC due to my previous franchise purchases, creating a cart of content I could now never part with on principal.

8. Asura's Wrath ; It is just like my favourite animes. Down to the eyecatch advert outros, attacks ripped out of all this decades favourite manga shounen, and even taking cues from their anime soundtracked classical music choice accompliments. The gameplay isn't particularly amazing and the outrage I experienced when discovering the final quarter of the game was locked off DLC matched Asura's own fury. Somehow though, the entire experience is superior to the sum of its parts and I can't help but remember that part of 2012 when I was punching a planet-sized adversary in the face with a big grin.

9. SoundShapes ; Superbrother's 'album' was worth the price of entry alone. Their trademarked gangly sprites and superb palette choices worked totally in rhythm with what I felt was the game's best interactive soundtrack. Purgatory was the real star as its drawn out synths had me sticking around in areas just to listen to a few cycles rather than progress to the exit. When I did, a strangely shy little golden flute samurai repeats the main melody.

10. Rayman Jungle Run ; When I even have to say "smartphone games" aloud, the 's's involved are often long drawn out hisses. I am certainly no fan of the world without buttons, but I cannot argue with how much unconscionable time I have put into the repurposing of last years Rayman Origin's stunning 2d animation to something even more totally pick-up and play. The HD art pops, and the wallrun segments shame any losuy attempt Sega will make at shunting Sonic up and into app stores.

x. Binary Domain ; Close but no cigar. A perfectly adept third person shooter, with a few too many frustrating boss encounters (that damn airship!) to make my top choices. The story was oddly agreeable, and chipping away at soldier robots never got old.

x. One Piece: Pirate Warriors ; Great if slightly disconnected game due to its 'recounting memories' structure. The non-canon final boss encounter will bring amazing catharsis to any One Piece fan though, a real genuine surprise.

2011. Where is My Heart? ; What a great little game. Downloaded onto Vita, the spritework and colours pop, and the game's puzzle structure is a great breath of fresh 2d platforming air. Wish I'd played it last year to make my list, but here we are.


Jun 27, 2011
1. Persona 4 Golden; It was the best game in 2008 for me and it is again now. Perfect dungeon crawler, perfect fusion system and perfect dating sim.

2. Kid Icarus: Uprising; A rare game actually is worth of its cost. Sakurai has done it again, gameplay and difficulty curve are perfect. Couldn't stop playing this for months.

3. Telltale's The Walking Dead; Not Telltale's best series, (that would be Sam & Max S2) but has an amazing story, most emotional game I've ever played.

4. Sleeping Dogs; Well, soapbox gaming has gained another level. You better step yours up, GTA.

5. Dragon's Dogma; Nor good as Dark Souls but one of the best games Capcom has made recently.

6. Gravity Rush; Despite the unconfortable controls, this game had the best artstyle and soundtrack this year.

7. Pokémon Conquest; Best Pokémon Spinoff ever. Should be series, and next game must be harder, longer and deeper.

8. Tokyo Jungle; Only game that lets me play as a goddamn Smilodon. Enough said.

9. Tales of Graces f; It's a Tales game, alright. And it's pretty good one.

10. Far Cry 3; I'm actually tires of endless exact same FPS games. This game made me play itself. Also best graphics of the year.

XX. ZombiU; Now this is the "survival horror we've all been longing for.

XX: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy; Good song implementation, but very easy game. Even in the hardest mode game played itself.

2011: Rayman Origins
Feb 23, 2011
I've finished Far Cry 3 and Halo 4 at last, so let's do this.

1. The Walking Dead ; The new benchmark for storytelling in gaming, with superb writing and fantastic characters. Manly tears were shed.

2. Dishonored ; This feels like the closest thing to the classic Thief games since, well, Thief 2. The story may be relatively simplistic, but the fantastic lore and atmosphere more than make up for it. Top marks for the art style and level design too.

3. Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai ; Creative Assembly knocked this 19th Century-set TW expansion out of the park, with arguably more content than the original game. Naval battles are now more enjoyable and more important, while the campaign hits the right balance between complexity and manageability, as the map in Empire/Napoleon could be a bit of an information overload. Where else can you watch valiant charging samurai be cut down by rifles and Gatling Guns?

4. Max Payne 3 ; I don't think I've seen a more divisive game in my time at NeoGAF, with some truly believing it to be the spawn of Satan. I'm firmly in the "love it" camp. The cutscenes are a bit much, but it's hard to go back to other TPS games, with their canned animations and ragdoll physics. Having the soundtrack of the year also helps.

5. Far Cry 3 ; It doesn't do anything massively original, but it feels like Ubisoft put together all the ingredients of a great open-world shooter and mixed them well. It rewards both stealthy play and blowing the shit out of everything, and it looks gorgeous too.

6. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; Having not played much of the original, I didn't have the expectations that some had. It's a fantastic, frustrating, but ultimately more-ish game, and if you can nail down that "one-more-turn" feeling, you've got a great strategy game.

7. Mass Effect 3 ; I'd imagine the ending alone has dropped this off of many GOTY lists, which I'd argue is pretty unfair. The main questline is perhaps the strongest in the series, which partially makes up for the relative lack of good sidequests. I'd even say that the ending is good right up until after
Anderson dies
, and I'm not harsh enough to let 10 or so minutes ruin an otherwise great game. Bonus points for the multiplayer, which was a real surprise.

8. Hitman: Absolution ; Despite some very questionable game design choices (Those one enemy-type A to B levels just shouldn't exist), and too much focus on the story at the detriment of the the game itself, it's still a Hitman game, make no mistake. What other games allow you to set up an accident and then calmly walk away as everyone starts freaking out... while dressed as a chipmunk mascot? Hopefully the new studio working on the sequel figures out needs to be improved or dropped, while keeping what worked in this game.

9. Halo 4 ; I'll admit that while I've enjoyed Halo, it's never been a series I've truly loved, although system-linked Halo 2 with my mates basically defined my last year at school (along with drinking cheap cider). However, 343 delivered a great Halo game, with perhaps the best campaign in the entire series. Excellent multiplayer goes without saying, really.

10. Assassin's Creed III ; It's not a bad game at all, it's actually very good. But I had stupidly high expectations, and I just felt like there was something missing. It actually feels less focused than the last-two non-numbered entries (excluding that tower defense bit). A great technical achievement, though, and hopefully the non-numbered entry using the same engine and mechanics can tighten up the focus and deliver us a great game, like Brotherhood.

x. Sleeping Dogs ; A bit of a surprise really, this wasn't on my radar until I played it. GTA + Batman: AA combat + Hong Kong = fun, as it turns out.

x. Black Mesa ; The news of it's release alone is worth a mention, but thankfully it was also a polished single-player HL experience. It'll be interesting to see how the team handles the Xen segment of the game.

2011. Mount and Blade: Warband: Napoleonic Wars DLC ; So I picked this up for literally pennies during a steam sale, and the next thing I know I've put almost 150 hours into it...

Boss Riovane

Apr 15, 2012
1. Binary Domain; Simply put, an amazing cover based shooter from the minds behind Yakuza. The game overflowed with both memorable moments and very memorable characters.
2. Sine Mora; A shooter with a cool dynamic. Beautiful game through and through with a charm all its own.
3. Journey; What can I say that hasnt been already said. Its an experience hands down.
4. X-Com: Enemy Unknown; As a huge fan of strategy games, I felt that this was the perfect way to get people into the genre. I personally felt even with its flaws it was a labor of love.
5. Far Cry 3; Personally I felt it was a return to form after the lackluster Far Cry 2. Fantastic atmosphere and loads of character and charm.
6. Tokyo Jungle; If you would have asked me on announcement of this game if I would have put hours into it I would have laughed. Its just downright fun.

2011. Saints Row: The Third; A sandbox game done correctly and it pulls no punches.


Jun 29, 2009
Most of the year i was playing catch up on 2011. So i'm only going to name one game.
The other 2012 game i played was Mass Effect 3, and that was so disapointing it's not coming on the list.

1. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (360) ; Enjoyable combat, great story and a lesson to others how choice in an RPG should be handled. The fact that Act 2 and 3 is so different depending on your choice is amazing.

2011 Dark Souls; Might even be my favourite game this generation, digital crack, been a while since gaming was so awesome


Nov 21, 2006
United Kingdom, East Anglia
1. Journey ; One of the best gaming experiences I've ever had, wonderful to look at and it really resonated with me emotionally which is something most games don't do for me as time has passed. It also has an exceptional soundtrack.

2. Planetside 2 ; Awesome massively online FPS with what seems like literally thousands of people on the same map, yes it's a bit of a grind to level up without spending real money, but not much beats flying around with my jetpack on such a massive, both vertically and laterally, battlefield. The fact it is free doesn't hurt either.

3. World of Warcraft: Mists Of Pandaria ; More of the same, but I still can't totally pull myself away from the game, a change of class from mage to druid and I'm hooked again and Pandaria is a lovely continent to explore.

4. Darksiders II ; Yeah it's a bit of a chore at times and it's hardly mind blowing visually, but the soundtrack is immense, some of the visual styling is very nice and in general the combat is highly enjoyable.

5. Sleeping Dogs ; Normally I'm not a huge fan of open world games but I really quite enjoyed Sleeping Dogs and it wasn't on my radar whatsoever. One of the few open world games where I can actually drive without it feeling totally off and the combat was well handled imo.

Honourable Mentions

x. Dishonoured ; Started off nicely and I was really looking forward to it after the Drunken Whaler trailer but it kind of stuttered a bit for me a few hours in. Still quite enjoyable though.

x. Soul Calibur V ; Played a lot of this online on release, unfortunately not many of my friends are into the series so it didn't get as much playtime as it should have. So far I'm preferring it to Tekken Tag 2. Nice looking game in general as well. Wish the story had been a bit more fleshed out because I really quite like the Soul Blade/Calibur lore.

2011. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception ; Still awesome, I recently played through Drake's Fortune, Among Thieves and Drake's Deception with a mate and I really think Deception has the highest highs even if it's not quite as consistent as Thieves.


Jul 26, 2005
1. Fez ; Ι was pretty hyped for this but it clearly exceeded my expectations, beautiful visuals, amazing music and lots of notes to keep up with the game's mysteries...the best experience I had this year.
2. I Am Alive ; This was such a memorable experience that as the time passes by I respect more and more, the atmosphere was excellent, the stamina twist in the platforming sections was pure genius and the game was the definition of survival - thank God for downloadable services because there's no way in hell this concept would've been released as a retail version.
3. Hotline Miami ; Addicting, brutal and disturbing at the same time...also one of the best OST's ever, such a fuckin' amazing game.
4. Mark of the Ninja ; A game that plays flawlessly good, Klei pretty much perfectly married the stealth genre and the two dimensions. Best stealth game I've played since Chaos Theory.
5. Sleeping Dogs ; Definitely the surprise of the year, a beautiful game that played great with an interesting story and likeable characters that I could not put down, one of the most fun games I've played this gen.
6. Dust: An Elysian Tail ; A title made by a gamer for gamers, this one oozes love and care in every damn aspect..a 20hrs adventure that puts to shame a lot of the AAA multimillion turds we've seen this gen.
7. Resident Evil 6 ; One of the most hated games in here that I apparently love, a really fun 30hrs game with some unfortunate decisions here and there that also happens to have the best mechanics in a third person shooter after Vanquish which becomes apparent in the simply amazing Mercs mode. Already spent ~100hrs in the game and I don't plan to stop playing anytime soon.
8. Trials Evolution ; The definition of a sequel..gameplay is top notch, content is doubled and the level editor was an amazing idea...this is a game that simply never ends.
9. Binary Domain ; A cover based TPS in a futuristic Japan? I'm in! the shooting aspect of the game felt awesome, there were some big ass great boss battles and a simple but interesting story/characters on top of that.
10. Spec Ops: The Line ; A 4-5 hours game with average mechanics that tells an unusual story for a videogame and made me feel shock and guilt, this alone is the reason why this game deserves to be on my list.
x. Walking Dead ; A well written story with great writing & interesting characters that you actually care about...definitely a pleasant surprise.
x. Halo 4 ; A decent first effort by 343i, Campaign was great with some memorable encounters but MP and Spartan Ops need work. Still a good package overall.

2011. Dark Souls ; Got the game at launch since I loved Demon's but I started played this game at April and sadly this masterpiece missed my no.1 spot last year...well after 280hrs in I'm 100% sure that this is the game of the generation and one of the best games I've ever played. Miyazaki is a genius and his next project will be a system seller for me, where his games go I'll go, simple as that.


Dec 5, 2008
They'll be considered exactly the same, it's not like games in general are progressively offering more content, probably the opposite what with rising development costs.
It's not about the amount of 'game' that people appreciate, it's the quality of what is offered.
Take ICO for example, it can be completed in about 4/5 hours and yet it is still very highly praised.

Maybe I am in a very small minority then (out of all gamers, not just GAF) because both those games didn't make it on to my list due to the lack of "game" in them.

Mechanically there wasn't much to Journey and it was quite repetitive and Walking Dead had straight up crappy mechanics at times.

I must not have been clear in what I said either, when I said amount of "game" I meant range of mechanics and variety of gameplay, not length. I often have short iOS games for example in my top ten so although I take length into account I agree with what you said about quality vs length.

All that being said I don't agree with your first sentence. I feel like in a few years when people go back that some of the shine may have worn off these two games as the emotions they provoke will be lessened on a second or third (or whatever) play through for most people.


Dec 17, 2010
Orbiting Earth
Please read the OP people, so many lists here not using the semi colon - you're at risk of your vote not being counted. Correct format is simply:

1. Name of Game ; Comment


Oct 31, 2011
I grew up with stealth games, so my tastes will be quite obvious.

1. Mark of the Ninja ; This is a ninja simulator, this is 2D Tenchu. Not only is this the best stealth game of this generation and also the most accessible since loads of my friends who hate stealth have loved it, but it's also a gorgeous game with Klei's trademark cartoon style. Near flawless design where it can cater to players new to stealth with the visual information readable in the game rather than stuck to HUD bars but also cater to hardcore stealth users who want to ghost. Yes, that's right. "Ghosting" (not touching a single enemy), a principle usually reserved for crazy stealth fanatics, in this game is actually fun with the path of silence outfit or the mark of serendipity, which is rare for many stealth games. Thanks to New Game + and the different outfits, there is loads of replayability.

2. Spec Ops: The Line ; A real game-changer for the modern military experience and for violent games in examining player agency, the hero complex, PTSD, and many other themes. A military shooter with an actual art direction! This is the strongest case for in-game storytelling yet where everything down to even the loading screens and melee executions change, instead of just dumping cutscenes as intros and outros to levels. Did you notice in nearly every level, you're always going down? There are reasons why it's still being talked about months later and made someone write a book about it. I've come back to this game so many times to discover all the clues and interpretations. It avoids the narrative dissonance and shows you what would happen to a typical videogame protagonist who kills hundreds of enemies in the course of such a game, and what figurative hell he ends up in. It's the first time I've seen a protagonist go to become the antagonist in a game. Nolan North gives his best performance ever.

Thanks to the "adaptive dialogue" innovation, Captain Walker's demeanor changes from clean melee beatdowns to brutal drawn out executions, and his voice goes from robotic military jargon like "kill confirmed" to a growling animalistic "kill FUCKING confirmed!". There's also the progressive damage system that you've seen in Batman games or Wolverine, but here it has the most meaning when tied to the character's physical and mental states. You haven't lived until you've heard Nolan North scream "RELOADING!" and give you chills to the bones.

It's also the most quotable videogame I've come across, as you'll notice in any Youtube video for it.

3. The Walking Dead ; Even with the limited gameplay options of a typical adventure game, it overcomes all that with some of the best developed cast of characters and emotional resonance I've experienced in a game. You are tied to making life-changing decisions in timed dialogue choices that made me sweat as much as any twitch action game. This is why it's connected with not just the core gaming audience but also the casual people who I've made suffer. Sorry, mom.

The game's format is actually my dream adaptation of the comics where it relied on character interactions more than the played out format of shooting loads of zombies. It deals with all the things you'd have to go through in a post-apocalyptic world. The ending had me legitimately crying and I can't wait for Season 2.

4. Far Cry 3 ; You can punch sharks. While the story was incredibly disappointing, this is the most fun I've had in an open world since GTA Vice City. I actually don't want to fast travel here thanks to the wingsuit or reckless driving or random moments that'll happen. The emergent animals and enemies bring the most random and endearing moments where I've let tigers take down whole outposts or witness civilians suicide themselves to crocodiles. The animals are used more effectively here than in RDR where there's incentive to hunt them, and they're a breath of fresh air to an open world game. Hearing a Komodo dragon's hiss or getting ambushed on a boat by a croc is some of the scariest moments you'll find in a non-horror game. There's a reason I've made so many gifs of them, like the infamous shark punching one above.

As someone who loves the minutia of FPS like full body awareness and movement options of Mirror's Edge or cover systems of Chronicles of Riddick, I reveled in the stealth playthrough. Chaining melee takedowns and death from above takedowns (one of my favorite things since Tenchu) are so satisfying, that I never really used any automatic weapons. Best use of a bow in a game.

5. Journey ; I shy away from co-op or multiplayer usually, but with all communication pared down to a tone, this is the best use of co-op in a while. Surfing through the desert sands for the first time is a magical moment, as is surfing with the sun shining, flying up and up with nothing stopping you, and when you finally traverse the snowy end-goal mountain with your buddy to the inevitable tear-rendering conclusion. It also gets props by doing the hero's journey with no dialogue, and reversing "The Return" where you become the mentor with your longer scarf to a future buddy in subsequent playthroughs. It goes to show the power of video games have when they go for minimalism and what no other medium could ever achieve.

6. Darkness 2; This is a love story coupled with darkness powers, Mike Patton, and demon tentacles. Just like The Walking Dead, I haven't connected to a cast of characters as much this year. Fat Tony spits some mad truth on pizza, Enzo is the most subtle and funniest gay character in a video game so far, Adolf who thinks he's Hitler, and many more where you'll just stand around for minutes hearing them babble about nothing and everything. These are probably the most colorful and fun mafia goons under your leadership you'll find, and my connection was tested when I had to make a choice of who to sacrifice for the greater good, which is commented upon later. You get to meet them in two different worlds as different personalities. This is as equally powerful as the first game's saddest moment where here you get to visit Jackie's love again and like an actual relationship, pulled my heartstrings when there was even more development of their relationship.

Oh and the quad wielding gameplay of shooting through car doors as shields and then throwing them to decapitate enemies while pulling the spine out of another unfortunate soul is fun too.

7. Dishonored ; While it's just one year after Deus Ex: Human Revolution, this game is able to fulfill that promise of the stealth route being as viable as the action route. Being able to get into locations in five to six ways, and with all the weapons or magic powers makes for a lot of replayability and experimentation. This all combined with a striking Victorian almost steampunk look with Victor Antonov's architecture makes Dunwall a fascinating world to explore, and now that it's a franchise, I want more of it.

8. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare ; First Person Swordfighting done justice. Not since Jedi Knights have I felt so much depth and visceral pleasure from decapitating or dismembering another fellow online player.

9. Alan Wake American Nightmare ; I TOLD YOU I AM A PSYCHO! I just wanted more Alan Wake, and was surprised with the desert setting and pulp grindhouse feel. Mr Scratch is one of the most lovable videogame villains thanks to the live-action actor, Ikka Villi, totally selling him. The Groundhog Day setup was also quite cool, getting to meet the same female characters again for a bit of burgeoning relationship in this dream world of a Night Springs episode is kinda what Wake needed after being stuck here for so long. The combat and enemy variety has improved down to even including animals like spiders were appreciated. But I'm still waiting for Taken Bears!

10. Closure ; A devious puzzle game with a unique art style, where the innovation is totally mindblowing. You move light and shadow around to create/destroy platforms. I've had to rework all my thinking on platformers. It also has a great industrial soundtrack.

X. Dear Esther ; The breathtaking walking simulator that got the first time developer thechineseroom, thanks to this game's success, to make the next Amnesia game. I was moved and perplexed by this Edgar Allen Poe ghost story where you have to figure out why you're on this island, what happened in your past, and who exactly are you. Random narrative elements bring some replayability and the environments by Robert Briscoe (who did the environments for Mirror's Edge) are stunning especially the caves.

If I'm walking at a snail's pace, I might as well enjoy a gorgeous view. Beautiful and haunting soundtrack too by Jessica Curry that is right up there with Journey in soothing and award-worthy music. In fact, this a great accompaniment with Journey. If you play one, play the other too.

X. Dust: An Elysian Tail ; Where the kitchen-sink approach of throwing down your favorite game influences actually works. I've never played a game where someone mixed the blocking/parrying of Ninja Gaiden with the juggling/insane combo counts of Devil May Cry as one cohesive combat style. There's even the Izuna Drop (X,Y,X,X,X,Y) as an actual move in the game! Great story too, which is not something I expect from a 2D metroidvania type game that's so focused on mechanics. This has to be the best use of cameos in a game ever, where the effort is worth it to witness a house party of indie favorites. Thank you Noogy :)


Feb 1, 2007
It looks like a non-game could win goty. At least in previous years in which I disagreed with GAF's #1 pick, the thing that won was a game.
Mar 3, 2010
1- Tokyo Jungle; The only game i bought that released this year. It´s surprisingly fun and quite enjoyable.


Batman Arkham City; I liked Arkham Asylum better, but this game is still very good.
Jun 9, 2011
It looks like a non-game could win goty. At least in previous years in which I disagreed with GAF's #1 pick, the thing that won was a game.

I'm so sick of this No True Scotsman crap. Everything in the OP's list are interactive media released on some gaming platform with the pretense of being games. You may think they are garbage, have no player agency, are completely reprehensible, but that doesn't make them stop being games.

Next up, anyone who plays non-games are non-gamers.


erotic butter maelstrom
Dec 15, 2008
I'm so sick of this No True Scotsman crap. Everything in the OP's list are interactive media released on some gaming platform with the pretense of being games. You may think they are garbage, have no player agency, are completely reprehensible, but that doesn't make them stop being games.

Next up, anyone who plays non-games are non-gamers.

Good boy.

I for one embrace diversity in gaming. It's a very flexible medium, and I wouldn't want it any other way.


Oct 1, 2006

1. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition ; This game took everything I loved about Demon's Souls and made it better. Even more inventive use of online functionality, a seamlessly traversable world without compromising level design and (thanks to PC) greatly improved performance and graphics.

2. Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland ; While I slightly prefer Totori overall, Meruru still managed to keep all the good things about the Atelier series (nonlinear design, unusual gameplay systems and great characters and humour) while adding an interesting development mechanic on top of that, and further improving the UI polish of the series.

3. Virtue's Last Reward ; While some may argue that the story is a bit too convoluted for its own good, this is still the most gripping game I played this year in terms of story. The great localization (with dual audio) and pristine IQ on Vita also help.

4. Dishonored ; For me, this title lived up to its promise of reintroducing the gameplay style and sensibilities of games such as Deus Ex and Thief. Given that, I can overlook other deficiencies.

5. Guild Wars 2 ; It didn't quite reinvent MMOs, but it mixed the formula up enough so that I could enjoy playing one again. That's quite the achievement. The most important part is how everything is designed around the idea of playing together, which is the most important part of MMOs that some releases seem to have missed.

6. Legend of Grimrock ;

7. Tokyo Jungle ;

8. Alan Wake (PC) ;

9. Gravity Rush ;

10. The Walking Dead ; My primary reason for putting this here (instead of any of the honorable mentions) is to annoy the "non-game" people.
Not really

x. They Bleed Pixels ;
x. FTL ;
x. Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams ;
x. Wipeout 2048 ;

- Mass Effect 3
- Diablo 3

Not yet played, might have made the list:
- Borderlands 2
- X-Com: Enemy Unknown


Feb 1, 2007
I'm so sick of this No True Scotsman crap. Everything in the OP's list are interactive media released on some gaming platform with the pretense of being games. You may think they are garbage, have no player agency, are completely reprehensible, but that doesn't make them stop being games.

Next up, anyone who plays non-games are non-gamers.

Come on- you're saying piece of software anybody releases for a 'gaming platform' that they call a game is automatically a game? That's absurd.


Sep 21, 2010
This conversation is best had elsewhere (and it has been had plenty).

In any case, you should really stop caring what the cumulative NeoGAF GotY is in the first place. Do you really value everyone's opinion equally? That would be crazy, and you shouldn't because it would be impossible to properly engage each of the hundred of opinions in order to understand their value (all the ways someone can have a poorly conceived opinion is pretty much endless). At best by looking at the end result you are watering down the good ones. If you are in my boat you believe there are only a few, about no more than a handful or two, worthwhile lists in this thread to begin with (so they've been watered down to be utterly invisible in the end result). So if you think people have voted in something that isn't a game, all the better to start ignoring the end result.

EDIT: Maybe it is just because it is early or maybe it is my imagination, but aside from a few exceptions, I find these lists to be lacking in effort or have most effort put on visuals alone. I don't think the comment requirement is inspiring much expression, though it is certainly better than nothing (then again, who knows how many "this game made me cry" comments I can handle). Last year I picked out 11 lists to link into my own as I think ones that were worth reading(granted some of them were weighted favorably because of their tastes, but some were picked solely for effort)... it wouldn't be good look if fewer were picked.

With that in mind, I'm curious if these threads get more or less voters every year.


Dec 6, 2010
Looking through the eligible list it looks like I actually only played 10 games released this year. All of them but 2 were great and IMO definitely GotY contenders.

1. Kid Icarus: Uprising ; For the first time since playing the original Metroid Prime back in 2002, I had a smile on my face throughout this entire game. The fast-paced action and relentlessly witty dialogue hooked me from the start and not even once came close to getting old. And on top of that you've got one of the best casts in a game I've ever seen as well as nearly endless weapon possibilities; it's really something special. Even returning months later for some more playtime the game still manages to feel fresh and unlike anything I've seen in years. Simply put, Uprising reminded me why I started playing games in the first place.

2. Xenoblade Chronicles ; GAF got me hyped up on this and for once, I was not disappointed. Normally I get worn out by massive JRPG's but I could not for the life of me put this one down. I believe I spent around ~112 hours on my first playthrough alone. Some of the coolest environments in a game I've played and an absolutely incredible OST puts this one right near the top.

3. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy ; This one really surprised me which is probably why I'm placing it so high. I have never gotten too into rhythm games OR Final Fantasy games so I honestly don't know what compelled me to pick it up. It just looked so charming that I couldn't resist and ended up playing it non-stop for an entire week. Absolutely MASSIVE amount of content and replayability in here; it's quite impressive, really.

4. Fez

5. Harvest Moon: A New Beginning

6. Mass Effect 3

7. Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP

8. Dustforce

The other two I played that I didn't think were GotY material were NSMB2 and Binding of Isaac: WotL. Everything about NSMB2 just screamed average to me and as for BoI; I never played the original release but I'd have a hard time nominating an expansion as GotY material.

I also still have Pokemon B/W 2 to play so I if I do that before voting is up and remember to edit it in here then maybe it'll make it's way on my list.


Feb 1, 2007
play it like a game

This doesn't really mean anything.

This conversation is best had elsewhere (and it has been had plenty).

In any case, you should really stop caring what the cumulative NeoGAF GotY is in the first place. Do you really value everyone's opinion equally? That would be crazy, and you shouldn't because it would be impossible to properly engage each of the hundred of opinions in order to understand their value (all the ways someone can have a poorly conceived opinion is pretty much endless). At best by looking at the end result you are watering down the good ones. If you are in my boat you only believe there are only a few, about no more than a handful or two, worthwhile lists in this thread to begin with (so they've been watered down to be utterly invisible in the end result). So if you think people have voted in something that isn't a game, all the better to start ignoring the end result.

I know I shouldn't care! I guess I have the hope GAF is a better community than what else is out there- a small place with some sanity (for the most part this is true) where I can be around some like-minded people. Because I have this hope, when something baffling ends up being the sort of GAF consensus (though truly, there is no such thing), it's hard not be disappointed.

I wasn't really happy either with how the 'there's a lot of non-games winning goty' thread sort of fizzled out, without people defending things like TWD really addressing the accusations being leveled at them and such.
Few Japanese imports in here. Per rules, I'm from the UK and imported.

1. Yakuza 5 ; Bigger, badder, more badass. Ridiculous amount of content, even for this series.
2. Journey ; A magical, breathtaking and emotional experience.
3. Tokyo Jungle ; Came for the madness, stayed for the addictive, solid gameplay.
4. EX Troopers ; So much more than just anime Lost Planet.
5. Yakuza Black Panther 2 ; Better than some of the mainline games in this series.
6. Asura's Wrath ; BURST! Epic redifined.
7. Lollipop Chainsaw ; Suda + sex + great humour + solid mechanics = great game.
8. Anarchy Reigns ; A simple idea executed with the usual Platinum brilliance. A blast in MP too.
9. Sleeping Dogs ; Got to this a little late and wish I had done so a lot earlier.
10. ZombiU ; Not perfect, but a great idea pulled off very well.


Jul 23, 2011
1. Sleeping Dogs ; I'm a sucker for GTA-style open world games and even though this one seemed lack luster in the beginning the story really got me hooked. If this game had just got a little more polish I could see myself replaying it many many times.

2. Mass Effect 3 ; The game that everyone loves to hate. I've played through the previous two entries more times than I'd care to count and contrary to most people I really liked the third game too. More of the same characters, world, combat and everything else I've come to expect. Sure the ending wasn't all that great, but I think it's quite all right. It's not like many games have actual good endings anyway.

3. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; I'm typically a huge fan of SRPG's like FFT or Fire Emblem and this game really got to me even though I'm typically not a big fan of sci-fi. Loved the combat system primarily.

4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 ; No, this game wasn't perfect. Especially the lag in online matches ruin the experince. However I feel it deserves a spot on this list simply for the fact that it's my most played game of the year. I'm currently at 8th prestige and closing in on 9th. It should be noted that I intend to never touch CoD as a series ever again after reaching max, I just feel like maxing one of these one last time.

5. Diablo 3 ; Another game that disappointed me quite gravely. It was undoubtedly my most highly anticipated game and failed in most respects to live up to any of my expectations for it. However, it was quite fun playing through the game just the once. I just can't see myself playing it all the time like I used to do with Diablo 2.

6. Final Fantasy XIII-2 ; This game was actually a really nice surprise. I detested FF13 (took me over 2 years to actually beat it) but since I'm a sucker for the FF-brand I had to give this a shot. It was a far better game than 13 in most respects, particularly when it came to basic game features such as more open areas, towns etc.

All in all quite a bad year in gaming for me.

Felix Lighter

Oct 2, 2007

1. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition ; One of the few single player games released recently that actually makes the player feel like they're accomplishing something as they progress. Dark Souls combines an artfully crafted and varied open world, that weaves and winds around itself with the best melee combat I've ever experience in an action RPG and a constantly oppressive tone that makes you feel appropriately uneasy the entire time you play. The game requires constant focus, patience and caution. Each attack is a commitment that has to be well timed and placed. Rushing leads to mistakes and mistakes are punished, sometimes brutally. Dark Souls also includes a massive amount of unique armor pieces and weapons which allow for vastly different gameplay styles, each beautifully rendered and each feels like it has a place in the world, from the realistically practical designs to the outlandishly over the top. This game is just a joy to play.

I must also thank Durante personally for salvaging the disappointingly barebones PC port. Otherwise, I wouldn't have touched it.

2. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare ; Like quite a few games on my list, Chivalry was a surprise. It is probably the most pure fun that I've had with a game in years. It has excellent melee combat mechanics that are easy to pick up but there is also significant depth to uncover. Chivalry gives the player excellent feedback with satisfying hit reactions, which is a key melee combat element that so many other games get wrong. The games combat shines the brightest when engaged in 1 on 1 duels. Each attack can be devastating when landed but they are also easily parried if thrown predictably and misses leave you open for counter attacks. So the key is to play mind games with your opponents with feints, hesitations and intentional misses to throw them off their guard. When playing with a team, the trick is to never over extend and find yourself fighting 3 and 4 opponents at once. Pick off enemies separated from the group or engage groups cooperatively with teammates. It also has some incredible use of voice acting. The screams and taunts and death gargles make for a hilarious experience every match, even if you're having an off game. If you are even a little interested, I say give it a try. A heads up post, pointing out that there were beta keys available, convinced me to give it a try, even though I was disappointed in the fact that it was multiplayer only. I am so glad that I did. I didn't expect it to hook me and now it's my second favorite game of this year.

3. Sleeping Dogs ; It is apparent that Sleeping Dogs took inspiration from other games but United Front assembled the parts with care and attention. Structurally, it's a standard modern day crime open world game with story mission providing NPCs and a variety of collectables, vehicles and side activities. What makes it standout amongst other similar games in the genre is the beautiful put together Hong Kong that is both convincingly lively and fun to traverse and its focus on high quality, fast paced melee combat. The developers obviously took inspiration from the Batman Arkham series' counter heavy melee combat system. The player will find themselves fighting large groups of enemies of different types. Each enemy type must be approached slightly differently, from the heavy hitting brawlers that block almost all standard attacks but can be easily grabbed, to weapon wielding enemies that must be countered or disarmed. It may be a little simplified compared to the Batman series with fewer tools to work with but I appreciate the slightly less over the top acrobatics and more realistic movement and attacks that Sleeping Dogs brings. Played well, the combat looks like a perfectly choreographed kung fu movie, which can be very rewarding. It also has an interesting, if a little predictable, police/crime story with well voiced set of characters, especially the protagonist, Wei Shen, who will grow on you as you play. I suggest checking out the Giant Bomb Quick Looks with Vinny Caravella playing this game.

4. Alan Wake (PC) ; I played a bit of Alan Wake on the Xbox 360 closer to the games launch but I was distracted with other things at the time and never gave the game the time it apparently deserved. I feel like I'm one of the few people who really appreciates the combat. The flashlight mechanic adds a nice twist to standard third person shooting but what I like the most is the struggle to keep all enemies, which are constantly trying to flank you, in front so you can keep your eye on incoming attacks and dodge them as they come in. Done well, you can take on large groups without taking a hit, done poorly and you'll be hit from all angles without ever seeing half of the enemies. The story gets a little out there, which I imagine is what Remedy was going for with obvious Twin Peaks influences and the atmosphere, especially in the woods at night, is unmatched. It's a beautiful game with exceptional lighting and, in my opinion, very compelling combat gameplay. It's a high quality PC port that performs and plays great. I highly recommend it.

5. FTL: Faster Than Light ; FTL, yet another surprise, is overflowing with charm. Oddly enough, with its simple 2D visuals and text messages, it does a better job conveying that sense of captaining a starship than any other game I've played. Allocating your ships valuable power resources on the fly while sending crew members to repair and man critical systems. Making life and death decisions for your crew and the friendly and hostile space travelers that you come across along your journey. Even after getting a good sense of the systems and combat the game has a way of catching you off guard forcing you to think on your feet. 1 victory snatched from the jaws of defeat makes up for 10 disastrous failures.

6. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; I'm not sure if this is a strategy game for non-strategy players or if strategy is a genre I've been just been missing out on but the game grab me. I never expected a turn-based game to get my heart pounding the way XCom did. Basebuilding, reseaching, squad building and the actual missions all meshed well to keep things interesting and intense. It's a real shame it was so buggy.

7. The Walking Dead ; I was skeptical that I would enjoy The Walking Dead and, even after the first episode, I wasn't really captivated. The second episode was more interesting in a shocking horror trope type of way. It wasn't until the 3rd episode that I realized how deeply they sunk their claws into me. At that point, I knew the game was something special and I couldn't wait to play out my story. Most of the game mechanics are weak and some are just bad, the games presentation wasn't particularly impressive and technically, it was buggy and performed poorly even on highend PCs. So for it to be so highly regarded by so many, shows just how compelling the story and characters in this game are. Now that they have this hit under their belt, Telltale better get their technical shit in order because I and likely many others will not be so forgiving in the future.

8. Binary Domain ; A lot of people seemed to love Big Bo, and don't get me wrong, I got a kick out of Big Bo but what I enjoyed most about Binary Domain was the dismantle enemy mechanic. I was always a fan of interesting hit reactions, especially when it's location based and Binary Domain makes hit reactions a major component for tactically approaching combat. Destroying specific body parts incapacitates the enemy in different ways. Shoot the head and the enemy fights for you, shoot the leg and you limit the enemies movement. It's very satisfying and adds a much needed twist to the standard cover based third person shooter combat. It also tells an interesting story and the characters that seem like nothing more than stereotypes at first become compelling as the game plays out.

9. Borderlands 2 ; Borderlands 2 fixes many of the issues from the original Borderlands. It improves on interface issues, though I'd say it still needs some work. It adds an actual trade interface and balances the perks and loot in a way that keeps combat challenging over a longer portion of the game. It also gives the player more cosmetic customization options and adds greater variety of gun types, with a new elemental effect added and more projectile based weapons. Humorwise, I think I preferred the original. Some of the repeated dialog grated on me more through Borderlands 2 and I don't remember so many internet meme based jokes in the first game, which age quickly and not well. I'm not the type of gamer to grind bosses over and over again to get the perfect drops and I didn't feel a draw to go through NG+ in Borderlands 2 but I did enjoy my time through my first playthrough. There is still a ton of room for improvement in this series. In particular, I would really like to see actual armor drops that effect character stats and appearance, in future games.

10. Alan Wake's American Nightmare ; I like this game for mostly the same reasons that I like Alan Wake, quality combat and great atmosphere. American Nightmare actually improves the combat scenarios with some new enemies and new weapons and more action packed pacing. I preferred the environments and atmosphere of the original Alan Wake and American Nightmare becomes a bit repetitive due to repeated environments, which were obviously reused due to the smaller scope of this side project but they do a convincing job of working it into the narrative.

Honourable Mentions:

x. Spec Ops: The Line ; Gameplaywise, it is as straightforward a third person cover-based corridor shooter as you will ever play but still a game worth playing to witness the evolution of the characters and the different take on the military badass we typically play in these games.

x. Torchlight 2 ; After playing Torchlight 2 and Diablo 3, I realized that these games aren't exactly my cup of tea. I enjoy the character building and the loot progression but there is just too much focus on the grind for better loot. This is why I preferred Torchlight 2 over Diablo 3. First of all, Diablo 3 requires a playthrough on a difficulty setting that is painfully easy before you even get any sense of challenge, which just feels like a waste of time. Torchlight 2 allows you to set the challenge difficulty independently from which playthrough you are on. I find that to be a much better solution because I'm not likely to play through the same content 3 or 4 times. Torchlight 2 also isn't nearly as stingy with its drops. I didn't feel the need to grind and grind and grind to get actual usable loot. I played straight through and felt like I was being rewarded enough without wasting time pounding on the same enemies.

2011. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition (PC) ; After more time passes, I'm becoming more comfortable calling this my favorite game of all time. The world is so well realized, the characters are all convincingly human with their own agendas, biases and realistic personalities (no perfect good vs. ultimate evil) and the story and dialog are delivered in a way that is natural and not aimed directly at the player. The developers were not afraid to add real impactful consequences to player decisions to the point that an entire Chapter of the game takes place in different locations and many characters are left a complete mystery based on player choice. The combat feels fluid and fast and satisfying yet it does have some balance flaws and loses much of its challenge by the end. The games production values are unparalleled. Everything was lovingly crafted and receives continued support from the most consumer friendly RPG developer out there. I can't recommend this game enough.

Games that I'm interested in but have not yet played:
Mark of the Ninja
Hotline Miami
Far Cry 3

Game that I intentionally snubbed at the last minute after further consideration:
Mass Effect 3


Sep 21, 2010
I know I shouldn't care! I guess I have the hope GAF is a better community than what else is out there- a small place with some sanity (for the most part this is true) where I can be around some like-minded people. Because I have this hope, when something baffling ends up being the sort of GAF consensus (though truly, there is no such thing), it's hard not be disappointed.

I wasn't really happy either with how the 'there's a lot of non-games winning goty' thread sort of fizzled out, without people defending things like TWD really addressing the accusations being leveled at them and such.

That was a foolish thing to hope for given GAF's size and scope. It covers most videogames, almost all of them have their fans and haters which the forum is designed to be tolerant to.

You should look for sanity within parts of it, ideally small niches. Perhaps more than that, you should isolate the opinions of individuals based on topics. Like I might think "Oh, this guy can talk about fighting games", but after finding out Journey or something terrible on that level is his Game of the Year, I might just pay him little mind outside the realm of fighting games. That's how you find sanity on GAF.
Jun 9, 2011
Come on- you're saying piece of software anybody releases for a 'gaming platform' that they call a game is automatically a game? That's absurd.

If something is intended to be a game by its creators, is released as a game, and part of it's nature is to necessitate being played, then yeah, it's a game. That says nothing of its quality, or if it completely abandons the tenets of its medium, or if it's a game trying to be a movie, or what have you. No one is in here claiming that a bus ride they had back in February was the best game they played this year.

Saying that something that is a game isn't a "real" game just because, presumably, you found it empty and loathsome is a logical fallacy. This is the wrong way to go about trying to have a semantics argument. You clearly have an opinion about a game worth fleshing out here, one that I suspect I will probably not completely disagree with if you'd care to share it.

Edit: Well, maybe Riposte is right and it's better to discuss worst games of the year elsewhere.


Aug 31, 2011
1) Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 weeks to save the world: Need I say more? This was awesome, and even though it wasn't intended for release as a serious game, it blew away everything else this year. Yes, there are other games i consider to be better overall, but the impact this game caused all of a sudden makes it be at the top of the list. If you haven't played it, you did yourself a disservice.

2) Crashmo: Leave it to Intelligent Systems and Nintendo to make creative puzzle games. Not only does this game have the charm of the first one, it builds up and expands the concept tremendously.

3) Quantum Conundrum: Maybe it's just me liking puzzle games, but if something's the best next thing to Portal, i've gotta play it!

4) Hotline Miami
5) Kid Icarus: Uprising
6) New Super Mario Bros. U
7) X-COM: Enemy Unknown
8) Rayman Origins
9) Dillon's Rolling Western

10) Gravity Rush: I don't actually own a Vita, but i had a chance to play it and through everything I've seen, it deserves a spot!


Feb 1, 2007
That was a foolish thing to hope for given GAF's size and scope. It covers most videogames, almost all of them have their fans and haters which the forum is designed to be tolerant to.

You should look for sanity within parts of it, ideally small niches. Perhaps more than that, you should isolate the opinions of individuals based on topics. Like I might think "Oh, this guy can talk about fighting games", but after finding out Journey or something terrible on that level is his Game of the Year, I might just pay him little mind outside the realm of fighting games. That's how you find sanity on GAF.

You're right, and that's what I generally do (mostly fighting game-related stuff), which is why I think coming out of that niche into GAF at large is really jarring sometimes.

If something is intended to be a game by its creators, is released as a game, and part of it's nature is to necessitate being played, then yeah, it's a game. That says nothing of its quality, or if it completely abandons the tenets of its medium, or if it's a game trying to be a movie, or what have you. No one is in here claiming that a bus ride they had back in February was the best game they played this year.

Saying that something that is a game isn't a "real" game just because, presumably, you found it empty and loathsome is a logical fallacy. This is the wrong way to go about trying to have a semantics argument. You clearly have an opinion about a game worth fleshing out here, one that I suspect I will probably not completely disagree with if you'd care to share it.

Edit: Well, maybe Riposte is right and it's better to discuss worst games of the year elsewhere.

I know there is a difference between bad games and non-games. I enjoyed messing around in Electroplankton on the DS, but that thing is factually not a game. An action figure a kid is playing with is not a game on it's own, it's a toy, just like Electroplankton is a sound toy. If the kid starts inventing rules on how his action figure interacts with his friend's, then it's moving toward being a game.


Feb 5, 2008
1. Journey ; This was an unforgettable experience. There were moments where I was in serious awe, which very few games have done to me.
2. Persona 4 Golden ; This is my frist Persona game and it quickly became one of my favourite RPGs of all time. It's incredible how the dialogue of teenagers seems more real/interesting than the dull, empty shells of some of the bigger rpg heavyweights. The game is addicting.
3. Wipeout 2048 ; I have always been a Wipeout fan, and the vita game delivered. Zones was more fun than ever, and I was actually able to complete the campaign, unlike HD/Fury haha.
4. Sound Shapes
5. Gravity Rush
6. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
7. Pokemon Black & White 2
8. Uncharted: Golden Abyss
9. SSX
10. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale


May 30, 2012
1. Dishonored ; The best new world in which i want lots of games to happen in.
2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; Absolutely the best turn-based strat game I've played in a long time.
3. FTL: Faster Than Light ; Once I "got" it, I was hooked. How rarely I like "rogue-likes" proves this is special
4. Persona 4 Golden ; This is the definitive version, and a system-seller for me.
5. Gravity Rush ; I wasn't expecting much but this one sucked me in. Finally Sony has a character I care about.
6. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP ; I love the style. I'm a sucker for this kind of music/culture/fantasy mashup
7. Sound Shapes ; Another game with extraordinary style. Awesome level editor and amazing use of Beck's music.
8. Hotline Miami ; More great style from an indie team. Glad to see Cactus stretching out a little more
9. Journey ; I played through it in one sitting and will never forget it
10. Fez; While I didn't get super into all of the obscure puzzle stuff, I love my time with it.
Jun 9, 2011
I know there is a difference between bad games and non-games. I enjoyed messing around in Electroplankton on the DS, but that thing is factually not a game. An action figure a kid is playing with is not a game on it's own, it's a toy, just like Electroplankton is a sound toy. If the kid starts inventing rules on how his action figure interacts with his friend's, then it's moving toward being a game.

Well, we're definitely going to be arguing semantics here, and I think all I can do is agree to disagree with you. Worst case scenario, we'll both end up moving goalposts, and I'll probably end up talking out of my ass because I have no experience with Electroplankton :p I'm just gonna say that I've always considered Mario Paint a game, and not just because of Coffee Break, so there you go. Maybe that's on me for not really thinking about it too much.

Anyways, as far as my list for this year, I guess I should preface this just to say that there were so many games I simply didn't have the time for. This was a tough year to put together a list for me, but I managed to cobble together a kind of odd assortment.

1. Tokyo Jungle ; Repetitious? Maybe, but this has that originality and wacky but pseudo-serious flavor (and soundtrack) that makes this feel to me like a lost Dreamcast classic. Lots of variety in critters to pick, co-op is hilarious, and the two different playstyles (carnivore and herbivore) added up to a package that stayed fresh for me.

2. Dragon's Dogma ; There are diamonds scattered all over in the rough of this game. This is the only thing that's kept Capcom from complete shame this year in my book (no I don't mean RE6, I didn't even play that). An absurd amount of backtracking and the difficulty wearing out the farther in you get are the only things keeping this from the top of my list.

3. Sleeping Dogs ; The complaints about the depth of content may be warranted, but Saint's Row 3 was my GOTY in 2011, and I don't think there's much denying this is the superior flawed gem. Perhaps I enjoyed the game more because it came out of nowhere for me, something I'd not followed at all suddenly jumping onto my radar from impressions. I'm a sucker for sandboxes as long as they're a hoot I guess, and what this game had to offer - charm, style, a unique environment, tons of exploration - I couldn't get enough of.

4. Frog Fractions ; I'm not gonna lie, this seems ridiculous to me too, but this and Journey both convinced me this year that minimalist gaming experiments can certainly work under the right circumstances. This is one of the few wacky web games I've ever not found cheap and annoying, and that's simply because of the variety, quality, and originality of the whole package. It may be gimmicky, but it surprised me and made me laugh in a way that no other game this year did. Also, possibly the most fun less-than-an-hour-long, non-puzzle game I've ever played.

5. Torchlight 2 ; The other thing I'm a sucker for are hack and slash loot 'n' scoot games. I skipped TL1, and I feel bad that I did now. This is basic, addictive fun. Everything Diablo 3 wasn't for me.

6. Toejam and Earl PSN ; Yeah, I know this one won't count, but I couldn't refrain from including something I've enjoyed so much this year. I didn't own a Genesis as a kid, so I never got to see what Ninten...didn't. I'm not a randomly generated content fan usually, but this game is so insanely hilarious in co-op that I feel ashamed to have missed it all these years.

7. Code of Princess ; Somehow manages to have enormous variety and terrible repetition all at once, but I enjoyed the heck out of my time with the game. Fun character design, fun abilities, fun music, and something that finally got me playing the 3DS again. If nothing else, it had me checking out Guardian Heroes for the first time.

8. Atelier Meruru ; I'd never played the other games, gave this a try almost as a lark, but quickly got sucked into the whole item crafting/farming gameplay. It's odd how I find that sort of thing tiring in many other games, but somehow a game that's built all around it made more sense to me and kept me involved.

9. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings ; First time playing this game and this franchise was this year for the 360 port. I went into this pretty much blind, minimal research into the characters, gameplay, or the novels. This was a slow burn title that I felt kinda petered out for a while after a great intro, but slowly caught my interest again as I found it's treatment of non-humans in what at first seemed a typical fantasy setting engaging. To be frank, I was not a fan of the controls or the combat, which is why this isn't higher on my list.

10. Journey ; The closest a game with no possibility of failing will ever get to a GOTY for me. The secret? The game manages to lead without holding your hand. The online is a bit of a double edged sword, on the one hand an inspired bit of multiplayer integration as non-verbal strangers join you for the ride, but on the other hand some have complained of feeling hand-held through the game by returning players. Ultimately, it's a beautiful showpiece experiment with a beautiful soundtrack, and for what it tries to be I think it succeeds. This is actually sort of how I imagined "Art Games" of the future would be like back in the SNES days.

Stuff I've been interested in, but didn't get to play enough of this year to really judge:

Binary Domain (I just can't seem to find time to wrap it up. Feeling shame for not completing it this year is Not Up for Nagoshiation)
Guild Wars 2 (played enough to be disappointed, but I may give it another chance)
Binding of Isaac (I have no excuse for why I did not buy this game for $2 off Steam)
Mass Effect 3 (I let GAF anti-hype get to me and stopped playing less than halfway through. One amongst the mighty backlog for now)
Planetside 2
Lollipop Chainsaw
Persona 4
Far Cry 3
Alan Wake stuff
Dark Souls PC
Hotline Miami
Any of the things I was excited for on Vita


Feb 1, 2007
Well, we're definitely going to be arguing semantics here, and I think all I can do is agree to disagree with you. Worst case scenario, we'll both end up moving goalposts, and I'll probably end up talking out of my ass because I have no experience with Electroplankton :p I'm just gonna say that I've always considered Mario Paint a game, and not just because of Coffee Break, so there you go. Maybe that's on me for not really thinking about it too much.

Coffee break was the fly swatting game, right? I enjoyed Mario paint as a kid, but I think you're right that this will ultimately boil down to semantics. If you go by wikipedia for what key components of games are (for what it's worth), the four things that are mentioned are: goals, rules, challenge, and interaction. I think you can be pretty loose with how you define these things- for example goals don't necessarily have to be supplied by the game. For instance, in Sim City, if you're not playing a specific scenario, there's no explocitly stated goal, but once you decide in the back of your mind, "I'm going to try to have the lowest crime rate possible," the goal is there as far as I'm concerned. You have to cut it off at some point though- I mean Microsoft Paint isn't generally considered a game, right?


NeoGAF: my new HOME
Mar 26, 2007
1. Super Monday Night Combat ; Outside of DayZ this is the game I sunk the most time into this year. It breaks my heart it's practically dead now, but while it was busy it was vibrant, fun, constantly evolving, competitive, co-operative... it was just fucking wonderful. I wish Uber had the budget to market it so it could survive against other MOBA's, if only for a while.

2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; A thoroughly modern Xcom game and... none the worse for it? What witchcraft be this?!

3. Spec Ops: the Line ; I said wow. I went in with low expectations regarding gameplay and high expectations of story and still came away pleasantly surprised by both and that's before you even regard the considerable amount of subtext that can be examined. An experience that will likely stay with me for some time.

4. Far Cry 3 ; Best open world game since... Saints Row the Third, I guess. Tons of fun but the bumbled story (subtext included) is kind of a tragedy.

5. Fez ; For a whole week the entire internet was all about cracking the Fez code and for that week it was just fucking glorious. The attention to detail alone is worth incredible praise but to do this kind of game that brings swathes of people together to try and crack a nut in the year 2012... mindblowing. Good job, Phil Fish, you did pretty good even if may be a bit crazy.

6. Journey ; I HAVE NEVER PUSHED UP ON A STICK SO HARD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. You can do it, little buddy! You can do it!

7. The Walking Dead ; Yeah, this was really good, and yeah its a game. Stop whining, whiners.

8. Catherine ; Awesome story about a very interesting subject matter (for videogames). The game part I could totally have lived without but the entire package was just something really quite special.

9. Hotline Miami ; Do I like to hurt people? If they're made of pixels and exist soley inside my computer for me to murder, sure, why not? Unless Tron is real, in which case, I take it all back.

10. Persona 4: Arena ; Despite not seeing release in my continent, we imported. We played. It was great!

X. Mark of the Ninja ; Stylish stealth. Would love a high budget sequel.

X. WWE 13 ; My first wrestling game since... PS1 days... lots of fun, probably not a great game but it really caught me for a while there with its play on nostalgia and me making the cast of Final Fight.


Jun 9, 2004
1. Persona 4 Golden; I was really torn between this and number 2, but I went with persona for two reasons: a. It probably won't get so many votes and b. It made me believe in JRPGs again, once my favourite genre.

2. Farcry 3; I would've never expected it, but I'm loving this game. I got it for cheap in the psn Christmas Sale and maybe the fact that I'm on holiday has something to do with it, but I can't stop playing it!

3. Dragon's Dogma; A jrpg masquerading as a wrpg, with plenty of faults, but a nice try nonetheless. The real surprise for me was after beating the 'last' boss and having a whole new post game open up

4. Little Big planet vita; Actually the best lbp of them all. This type of platforming was made for the small screen.

5. Need for Speed: Most Wanted; Yay, and burnout paradise with a new coat of paint!

6. Final Fantasy football X-2; Maybe SE actually listened to the backlash from ffxiii and made a game that was a bit better, and with towns in it too!

7. Journey; Very striking game, even though I still don't really know what was going on

8. Uncharted Golden Abyss; Stunning graphics for a handheld, and the game really picks up towards the end

9. Assassin's Creed 3; 9th and 10th place go to the disappointing third entries in two of the best new IPs of the generation. I quite liked the AC3, but the ending was a bit stupid. However, not as stupid as...

10. Mass Effect 3; Can you say 'series ruined'? A good game ruined by the end, where every single promise regarding the influence of your choices seemed to be thrown out of the windows. A shame really.