Past years I've done separate "from this year" and "older but new to me" lists. Fuck that. An end of year list is always an "about me" list pretending to be an "about this year" list. I'm gonna talk about the experiences I loved this year.
As usual, these are roughly in increasing order of likelihood of you having heard of them. Also there probably won't be ten because decimal was invented by Big Hand to sell more fingers.
"The Tragedy of GJ237b: A role-playing game for no players." Like it says on the tin, you can't play this game, but reading the manual was one of my favorite game experiences of the year: https://medium.com/@balehman/the-tragedy-of-gj237b-928cfeae460b
Hollow Knight. Loved exploring the weird bug civilization, being lost and coming to know a space -- loved everything about it that's itself. Hated everything about it that's borrowed from video games: the combat, the economy, masocore platforming.
The Last Guardian. I put off playing this game for over a year because of middling reviews. It is incredible and there's nothing out there like it. It turns out that the critical apparatus is only capable of measuring "polish" and speaks nothing to "being worth playing." C.f. the critical reaction to God of War.
Spyro almost made this list, but I've *just* finished it, so it hasn't had enough time to percolate. Also the whiplash of Spyro 2's utterly appalling first 30 minutes left me wondering if I could ever trust my own opinions about anything.
Also some shouts out to a few games that are probably great but I never found time to put more than a couple hours into them: Subnautica, Wandersong, Pig Eat Ball.
@mogwai_poet oh wow! I felt like you did, and now you convinced me! To bad I lost access to a ps4… 😕
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