Hey everybody!

My very first Game of the Year is here so let me explain how this works. Unlike a typical GOTY, I’m choosing to include any game that I played for the first time in 2016. That means that anything can qualify from mobile to VR. I’m going to do a few sub categories, my top 10 list, and some honorable mentions. Let’s get into it.

Best Portable Game

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  1. Pokemon Moon
  2. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows
  3. Hearthstone

By far one of my favorite Pokemon games so far and therefore one of the best portable games I played this year. Shovel Knight DLC was great to say the least and I’m really looking forward to the next one but Pokemon did so much to improve upon itself, bringing it to the front of the pack. They revolutionized the series in small and big ways which leaves me really looking forward to the next one whereas X and Y felt like more of the same ole thang.

Best Couch Co-op / Competitive

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  1. Overcooked
  2. Duck Game
  3. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

I thought I played more of these but Overcooked would have taken the cake either way. What an incredibly cute, simple, stress filled game to play with friends. The DLC left a little to be desired but overall led to some just hilarious moments. Review is coming soon from a good friend of mine that I played through Overcooked alongside. Duck game was really great too but I didn’t play quite enough of it and I couldn’t wait to finish Overcooked once I had started.

Best Rookie Game

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  1. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
  2. Yoshi’s Wooly World
  3. Paper Mario

This category is inspired by my wife. Which of the games that we attempted to play together was the easiest but most engaging for her to pick up and play. Yoshi’s was not far behind Brothers because it introduced so many core mechanics of video games to her and is absolutely adorable. In the end she was clamoring to get her hands on the controller to play more Brothers and really the introduction of triumph after failure was far more important than general mechanics.

Best VR Experience

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  1. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
  2. That one sound game I played at Orlando IX
  3. Adventure Time VR

Man I wish I could remember the name of the sound game so I could plug it. I played this incredible sound garden game on a Vive at Orlando IX and you played instruments in a polygonal forest that looked so cool. But since I can’t remember, I have to give the award to Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. That game is an absolute blast and although VR isn’t necessary for the experience, it really adds something unique where you feel as if you’re alone and are listening to a radio give you instructions. Low barrier to entry but a high skill ceiling.

Best Guided Narrative

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  1. Inside
  2. Journey
  3. Firewatch

All I mean by guided narrative is that it is meant to be mostly a story, told through the medium of a video game. That said, Inside perfected what Limbo started. This was a really tough decision because all of these games were so incredible though. I had an amazing experience with Journey and even got to play with only one other player. The climax is a seriously stunning and beautiful moment. The climax of Inside is the opposite but when I finished, I immediately did research to learn more because I was so intrigued with the ending. Journey: Beautiful and simple. Inside: Crazy and learns from mistakes.

Game of the Year! (Top 10)

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  1. Overwatch
  2. Ratchet and Clank
  3. Pokemon Moon
  4. Overcooked
  5. Dark Souls 3
  6. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows
  7. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
  8. Inside
  9. Journey
  10. Firewatch

In the end, there’s no question. I’ve poured more hours into Overwatch than many of these titles combined and it always has me coming back for more. Every time I want to quit, they throw another bunch of skins my way. Every time I’m playing something else and a friend says they are getting on, I drop the other game. Although it is repetitive, Overwatch’s balance of characters and skill ceiling means that no game is ever quite the same and it is so satisfying when your team does well or you play an intensely close match. I’m sure I’ll be playing it far into 2017 but for now it’s my favorite (and sometimes least favorite) game of 2016.

Honorable Mention: Ratchet and Clank

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What an amazing reboot to a series that needed it so badly. Now I wouldn’t tell you to go see the movie but the game is the revival we’ve been waiting for. It is so hard to go back and play the original R&C even with the remaster but this game really switches things up and merges some of the old story elements with the modern evolution of the series’ mechanics in a harmonious union. It has loveable characters, beautiful and variable environments, and fun gameplay.

Honorable Mention: Dark Souls 3

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Not the best Souls game, not the worst Souls game. I had a ton of fun with it and it stays true to the difficulty and skill that the series is famous for. I will always be down to play Souls and I’m happy it was released this year. I didn’t play the DLC but maybe it’ll be in the best DLC category for next year!

Thanks for the read! Let me know your thoughts and I hope your year in gaming was just as fun as mine.

*********

For reference, all the games I was pulling from are listed below:

Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon

Clash Royale

Super Stickman Golf 2

Shovel Knight Plague of Shadows

Hearthstone

Box Boy

Spirit Tracks

Pokemon Moon

Super Mario Run

Broforce

Overcooked

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Duck Game

Hammerwatch

Journey

Yoshi’s Wooly World

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Dark Souls 3

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Firewatch

Adventure Time VR

Ratchet and Clank

Overwatch

Inside

Oxenfree

Paper Mario

Until Dawn (also really fun with friends)

Stardew Valley

Starbound

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