I feel like maybe I missed something important in gaming in 2013. I bought a lot of games but had few memorable gaming experiences, and I think my “play and reasonably enjoy and complete” over “total games bought” ratio was lower than normal. But there were some good ones - here’s what I played and enjoyed in 2013.
The M.C. Escher / non-Euclidean first-person puzzle masterpiece is easily my game of the year.
Frank Cifaldi remarked in a recent Insert Credit that AntiChamber could only be done in a game. You can’t express what that game expresses in any other medium, which is rare and beautiful and special.
Another World (20th Anniversary Edition) is one of those Amiga classics I never played since my knowledge of the Amiga canon is non-existent. The difficulty level doesn’t hold up, but thankfully they’ve included a more modern “not insane” easy mode that I could tolerate. The art, plot, pacing and environment of this game have stood the test of time and it’s incredible. It’s also just nice to see that some games are going to hold up decades later - we do have important pieces in this medium to consider over time.
Papers Please a “dystopian document thriller” is genius.
Miasmata is a game where you are on a deserted island, desperately trying to figure out what’s going on and create a cure for the disease you’re dying from. And also you have to actually use a map and landmarks to triangulate your position. You can and will get lost. This is a game where you can get lost and have to use a compass and triangulation! And then fall down because it got dark! Love it.
One of the most memorable and exciting game experience I had in 2013.
FTL I was way late on this and I hate rogue-likes but it’s hard not to enjoy the crap out of this one. If you’ve waited this long you may just want to wait and get it on iPad where it feels like it ultimately belongs.
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Holy crap this game is way too hard for me and I gave up about midway through then just watched a Let’s Play but it’s good. It’s really good. I respect it. I just don’t have the kind of time and patience to develop the skill it asked of me.
Call of Juarez Gunslinger is just super awesomely stupid fun. The entire game is told via flashback, which makes for some interesting twists in gameplay as levels change as his memory “improves” or the listeners question his story. The RPG-elements lead to abilities (slowing time, dodging bullets, etc) that actually are really fun and add something new to the gameplay as you progress.
If you think that trailer is awesome, you will like Shadow Warrior because that is basically what you will get. If you are like “wow I thought they could only get away with that sort of shit in the 90’s” actually they couldn’t, the original was controversial then too. But you are kind of right and should skip it.
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Meh, Not Recommended, Etc
The Cave - I experienced a game-breaking bug 4 hours in and was so bored and disappointed never went back.
Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 sort of just reminded me that we’ve run out of ideas in semi-on-rails FPS games and need some of kick in the ass (gameplay or technology-wise) to make them fun again maybe. Also, I loved the first Black Ops (which is my favorite COD game that doesn’t have a level where you get no gun and get shot when you run away) so this was sad for me.
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon this weird 80’s pastiche had great ads and media for it but the gameplay was awful, the garish colors got real old in practice, and the performance on my MacBook Pro with Retina Display was unacceptably slow. Also, just not as funny as I thought it would be. Kind of awesome it got made though, I think?
Dust: An Elysian Tale looked really fun but then after about an hour I lost interest and I think maybe I accidentally bought a Metroid for furries game.
And the rest that I’ve decided to not bother writing about because it’s already February and why is this taking me so long to post? Also they weren’t good or memorable or recommended - Book of Unwritten Tales, Strike Suit Zero, Bioshock Infinite, Evoland, To The Moon, Magrunner, Mark of the Ninja, Rise Of The Triad, Signal Ops.