Well, it is that time of the year, and I have decided that I should post a game of the year awards for 2012. This will be our first annual game of the year awards, and these are the opinions of mine alone, as I am the resident gamer of Partyplatypus.com. Enough chit-chat, lets get to the list.
10. Tekkit (Minecraft Mod)
Ok. I know. This is not a game, this is a multiplayer version of a mod pack for a game that was released a year ago. I know. It is number 10, calm down. I chose tekkit to be the caboose of my top 10 of 2012 because it rekindled my love for minecraft. As any Minecraft aficionado would know, the game really has become a bit stale in the past few years. Mojang has done a tremendous job continuing to update the game, but there haven’t been any real changes in the overall Minecraft formula in the past few years. Recently 1.4.2 (The Pretty Scary Update) added a ton of new features and functionality, but the overall game stayed pretty much the same. Tekkit, however, flipped the script entirely. Cherry picking some of the best fan modifications, packaging them in an easy to install and update file, and adding about 1000% more depth to the game is what Tekkit is about. If you haven’t heard of it, check it out, watch some videos on Youtube and salivate on the changes to one of your favorite games. New ores, working industrial machinery, automated crafting, alchemy (like real philosopher stone shit) flying rings, nuclear bombs, intense railway additions, and so much more I couldn’t list it if I wanted to. The first time you start transmuting useless dirt into diamonds through the equivalent exchange pack is priceless and game changing. I look forward to playing in 2013
9. Tribes Ascend
Ever play Tribes or Tribes 2? Those 2 games are probably in my top ten all time /played list. The hours I poured into Tribes and its successor probably number in the high hundreds. When I was 13, I wrote some fanfiction for Tribes 2 (Lucky for me, that notebook is probably lost forever). I was a tribes super-fan. Within moments of starting my first capture the flag skirmish, I knew this game had done something right. Everything felt right. The frenetic speed, the skiing down hills, jetpack dogfighting, and spinfuzor blasts are pitch perfect. Shazbot this is a good game. My only real gripes lie in the free to play mechanics of the game, and the lack of vehicle combat in the game. The vehicles are there, but nobody is using them. The maps are so easily skiied across that loading up a transport or tank with some juggernauts just doesn’t make sense. One of my favorite parts of the old tribes games was the expansiveness of the battlefields, and intermingling of ground and air combat. The game feels scaled down, but it works very well. The shooting feels right, and playing some really well done capture the flag is awesome. Switching classes on the fly depending on the situation, frantically skiing home holding the enemy flag, launching a mortar halway across the map for a kill… it all feels right.
Yes, another non-traditional game, I know… we are low on the list here, calm down. Also, I am pretty sure a case could be made that this year was the first year that non-traditional games stepped into the spotlight. Some of my top games of the year (spoiler) were downloadable games. If you haven’t played 10 million yet, do yourself a favor and download it. If you are a fan of match 3 puzzle games (Bejeweled) you’ll really dig this game. It takes that simple style of puzzle game, but adds a sort of endless dungeon runner on top of it. As you match tiles, you effect the dungeon run going on the top of the screen. Match 3 swords, attack an enemy with a sword, match 3 keys, unlock treasure chests and doors, etc. On top of all of this blend of endless runner and puzzle game is an rpg leveling mechanic. As you play the game you accrue experience and materials that can be used to upgrade your dungeon lair, and your equipment and abilities. I became a match-3 obsessive junkie, and this game became honorary “I’ve got 5 minutes to kill” game of the year. Oh, and I didn’t mention the stellar chiptune (I know, I know) soundtrack.
7. Frog Fractions
Remember, you can swim left, right, up, and down. Play the game… it is free. I can’t say anything more without ruining the game. My favorite soundtrack of 2012.
6. Day Z
Woo boy. As an old school Operation Flashpoint and Arma II fan, it felt nice to have a reason to pick up the game again. I don’t think I have played a game with this much tension in it in a long time. Dropped, stranded and unarmed on an island of zombie and survivor hostility. Again, this is a mod for an older game that was released in 2012 and I am bending the rules a bit by including this in my list. I think it is definitely worthy of a mention in my top 10 games of the year list. Horror is something that is very difficult to get across in games, and Day Z does it well. The loneliness, ambient world noise and overall harshness of the world get on your nerves as you steathily shuffle from house to house frantically looking for food and water. You will die… a lot. One of my favorite things in gaming is emergent player driven storylines, which is the bread and butter of Day Z. There is no story but what you decide for your character to do, and what happens in the world around you. Check out the tumblr blog I created entitled “Tales from Day Z“. Full of awesome player created situations and stories.
Well that wraps up 10-6 of my top ten games of 2012. Part 2 coming next week!