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Veteran Member - Level 11
Oh, the end of the year. I love the holidays and Christmas,
I really do...but I do not like the end of the year. I feel like I've blogged
about this before, so if you remember reading something from me on the topic,
well this is my latest perspective on the matter. With the end of the year
comes the churn about movie of the year, game of the year and perhaps arguably
the most common award, Time magazine's Person of the Year. Meh, it's almost noxious thinking about it all.
But I'll at least narrow this blog down to focus on video games...and who knows...maybe
I'll be able to hold your interest.
Like many of you, I recently participated in Game Informer's
online poll currently collecting ballots for Game of the Year and the various
other categories. I bet many of you, like me, only played a handful of the
games listed in each of the different categories.
How do I vote against
other games that I've never played; what if they're better?
In some of the instances I don't know that I played any of
the games listed on the poll question, and I resulted to picking ones where I favored
the game's leading character, like Sackboy's LBP Karting - dang he's so
adorable I'd vote for him everytime. Or worse, I used the very technical method
of eeny, meeny, miny, moe... and yes that is how you spell it. I looked it up. The
other element I find baffling is - if only 10% of gamers actually finish a
game, are they really qualified to vote for it to be the Game of the Year? I
suppose the same is often true for people who vote for politicians they know
absolutely nothing about, so in that sense I guess I shouldn't be surprised
over it being done with a video game poll (and yes, I've been guilty of it
Anyway...when I consider the games I've played this year and
which of them deserves the prestigious title of Game of the Year, I have to be
honest...I'm torn between what measure to use to quantify the selection.
Can sales indicate popularity
and should number of units shipped decide the Game of the Year?
One could argue that a game that makes a billion dollars
(yes, billion with a "b") in two weeks time is a popular game. I don't know how
many gamers that translates to, but I'm guessing it's a couple of hundreds of
thousands. My math isn't that good, so I can't say for certain. Do I think
Black Ops II is worthy of Game of the Year? Certainly not, and I've played it
and finished it so I'm at least making an informed decision about that declaration.
Yes, it was a money maker and yes, it's topping the Xbox Live chart as one of
the most played games, but thankfully the Game of the Year isn't just a
popularity contest based on dollar signs and number of units sold. I didn't
vote for Black Ops II for GOTY, and doubt many others did too. Doesn't mean I
don't like it...I just don't think it's a Game of the Year contender.
influence popularity and should being a fanboy decide Game of the Year?
There are two games released this year that I was extremely
excited about, and I'm very disappointed I haven't even played one of them yet
(I played the demo which was enough to know the game was good).
Halo 4 - I am a Halo fanboy in every sense of the word. I've
been following Halo ever since it was being developed for the PC, before it
became an exclusive on the Xbox. I've played every game, read every book and
have the t-shirt. Well, a couple t-shirts actually. I love love love Halo. And
yes, I've written numerous blogs on it, with two of the latest ones being the
one about the midnight release of Halo 4 and one of my personal favorites,
Things We'll Probably Never Hear Cortana Say To Masterchief. I'm satisfied with the
outcome of Halo 4. I thought it was a great game. Maybe not the best I played
this year, but as a fanboy I almost feel obligated to vote for it to be my Game
of the Year for that reason alone. I wouldn't even consider it if the game was
subpar - but it's not. So, should I vote for a game to be Game of the Year that
is easily a contender by most standards because I'm fanboy? Maybe. I don't
know. I guess I would be happy if it got it, but I wouldn't be disappointed if
it didn't (which I'm fairly confident it won't).
X-COM - Another game I am a huge fan of (and according to
this blog - a game I consider myself to be an expert at) is X-COM, the remake
of the classic turn based strategy game that I played heavily in the 90s. I am
ecstatic it is a solid contender with many of the Game Informer staff members
picking it as their Game of the Year. That is very encouraging. I've only
played the demo, but even that was enough to know the game is a gem and worthy
of this recognition. It couples all the elements of the original with current
generation graphics and a few tweaks and upgrades resulting in a spectacular
game. Even though I haven't played the full game, I'm torn between whether I
should pick X-COM as my Game of the Year or something else that I played and
finish. If I were to pick it, obviously since I haven't played it then much of
the reason would be simply because I am a fanboy of the game. Is that a fair way
When I consider picking a game for Game of the Year simply
because I'm a fanboy, I can't help but consider another factor in the equation.
Can hours in a game influence
the choice and should your time investment decide Game of the Year?
I played many of the big games released this year...and
finished nearly all of them (I'm in the process of playing Far Cry 3 and the
Walking Dead). Most of them had relatively short single player campaigns. We're
talking hours of game play. Even Walking Dead, which has already won the nod
from some and scored very well at the VGAs is a fairly short game...five episodes
that take about an hour or two per shot results in 5-10 hours' worth of game
play. Can a game that I play for five or ten or even twenty hours compete with
a game that I've invested hundreds of hours in? Clearly if you devote hundreds
of hours on a game it's safe to say you at least like it a little bit. Was
there a game released this year that you've sunk hundreds of hours into? I know
I have. Two games I've sunk a ton of hours into from the past are Team Fortress
2 and Battlefield 2. Not since then have I devoted so much time to a game,
If Game of the Year was decided on hours spent playing the
game...hands down, not even close...don't even start the race, just hand the trophy
I have online sessions of Minecraft that are nearly as long
as the single player campaigns of some of the fellow games I've played this
year that are also under consideration. Can a game as simple and rudimentary
yet so complex and game changing as Minecraft win Game of the Year?
Some could argue no, that there is no way an indie game with
a budget the fraction of what is spent to produce most of the other contenders
could compete. But we already know that's not true because the Walking Dead
game which released in five short (and cheap) episodes is at the top of many
industry pundits and gamers lists. Could an indie game win Game of the Year? I
think so and this could be the year we see it. Will Minecraft win it? I doubt
it...but if time expended playing the game was a factor in the calculation, I
think we might see very different results. Minecraft, in a single year...probably
ranks third on the most hours I've spent playing a game. And for that fact
alone, I am tempted to pick it for my Game of the Year. But...then I think about
the story and characters - there are none really. And I realize the game will
only appeal to a specific audience - certainly not everybody will "get"
I guess what Game of the Year really comes down to...at least
for me...is the totality of the experience.
Can the enjoyment
factor and overall experience decide Game of the Year?
I say yes.
We can play games and finish them...and forget about them the
next day. Every now and then a game will come along that changes who you are as
a gamer and how you look at video games. They are trend setters and game
changers. They set the bar for others to emulate. They cause you to think about
them long after you've powered down and gone to bed. They invade your thoughts
at the most inopportune time as you consider the events that have transpired
and when the next opportunity you will get to play it. They cause you to feel a
wide gambit of emotion - joy, fear, sadness, pride. The characters feel real;
like you know them...and you care about them and don't want anything bad to
happen to them. You feel a connection to them and your surroundings, as you
make decisions that ultimately affect the outcome, or at least you feel like
they do. You finish the game and you are both satisfied and disappointed -
satisfied it's finished; but disappointed it's over.
Far Cry 3 might be one such game, but it was released so
late in the year I'm not entirely convinced yet, so that's not it. About the
only game left that it can be is...
Mass Effect 3.
My favorite episode in the series, Mass Effect 3 had it all.
I was engrossed in the story, in love with the characters and regardless of how
some criticized the ending, it had a compelling story full of side quests and
missions contributing to the overall feel of the central theme. It continued
with a proven game play mechanic and refined the experience to make it even
more enjoyable. I truly felt like I was the Captain of the Normandy and I took
pride in that ship. Games like Mass Effect 3 are few and far in between. It does
everything right and for that reason I have no problem acknowledging I picked
it for my 2012 Game of the Year.
P.S. A new Staff Herding blog inbound tomorrow!
"One does not simply stop playing Minecraft" lol!
This is wow! Always so much substense and quality in your blogs!
I can say I've ever thought about what means game of the year before. Although I suppose really the intial wow factor counts a lot. I mean Skyrim is glitch heaven (or hell I guess) and it got GOTY. Really I guess GOTY is based on all these factors!
"One does not simply decide GOTY". My personal favorite game of the year was The Walking Dead. It might not have the best gameplay compared to other games like Halo 4 or AC3,but i definitely got the most enjoyment this year out of playing the Walking Dead. It may not have been the longest,or the best looking,or even have the best gameplay,but in my opinion it is GOTY and i'm gonna stand by my opinion. I really think your GOTY depends on how much enjoyment you get from the game. Great blog as always Saint!
I always like seeing your GOTY posts! Cheers to that paragraph you made about enjoyment/overall experience choosing the GOTY. That is usually how I decide the value of games I've played- how I felt playing it, and after I finished it too.
All you say is very true. And honestly, I'd rather vote for MOHW than BO2 for GOTY if those were my two chocies, because of MOH's continued realism and ingenuity in comparison. Great blog, and loved the PS as well. :D
PS All Stars was my GOTY. Not perfect but it was the game i had the most fun with this year!
Great blog, Saint. I actually have pretty similar opinions regarding game of the year. The enjoyment factor is what tips the scale for me. I would choose Persona 4 Golden, but the fact that it's a port makes me hesitate, so I'm giving my personal GotY award to Mass Effect 3.
Your last way to determine game of the year, enjoyment factor and overall experience, is always how I decide the best game of the year. I totally agree with you that the best game of the year is the one that really sticks with you and keeps you engaged both while you're playing it and when you aren't. If I can't stop thinking about how much I enjoyed a game months after I finished it, that game is probably a strong contendor for game of the year.
I haven't played too many games that came out this year, So I don't really feel like I should pick a game of the year. The games I played I liked, but I don't know if I'd like them more than the games that I haven't played yet. Maybe I'll know more after Christmas.
I pick my Game of The Year, simply by which game left the biggest impact on me. When all was said and done, which games stuck with me. For this year, I personally haven't decided between Mass Effect 3, or Assassin's Creed 3. But I'm leaning towards ME3.
A very thoughtful and well-conceived blog, Saint. Let's break it down: Voting on games we've played clearly makes sense, though in categories where I've played none I'll choose based on reputation and personal appeal; sales do not, and should not, factor in considering large publishers have the resources to flood the market with ads (think Miramax for films); being a fanboy/committed relates to personal appeal so sure, that could factor in but runs the risk of blinding one to a game's faults; hours are not a measure in and of themselves but do suggest level of enjoyment (I've spent hours in Skyrim, Dead Island, Saints Row 2, etc. because I love playing them); which leads to enjoyment factor and overall experience, and of course I agree that's the most meaningful measure. To that end, I've most played Borderlands 2, definitely because I've had the most fun playing it. And while Far Cry 2 might steal its thunder, right now that's my pick. Regrettably, I have yet to play ME3 though suspect that would be a contender. And haven't played The Walking Dead either. Plus like you I loved the XCOM demo but haven't played it. I DO have the game (bought it over Black Friday) so am going to play soon. Just not yet. ; )
Like Masterassassin, I pick my GOTY based on which game had the biggest impact on me. However, sometimes I have a hard time explaining my choice of one game over another. For example, this year I'm going with Max Payne 3 over Mass Effect 3. I don't know how to explain it... there's just something about Max Payne 3 that really impressed me & it's something I could play several times over & in fact did play it a few times through when I played it. I don't think replay value is a standard determining factor, but it played a roll in my choice this year. Plus, the music in Max Payne 3 was amazing - one of the best video game soundtracks I've heard.
Picking goty is always a hard decision. For me it usually comes down to what game I can't put down and enjoy playing the most. The two this yr that did it for me was walking dead and ac3 giving wd a slight edge for me. Cod will never win goty but the replay value of that game to me is better then most due to its multiplayer. Since they make so much money they probably don't care about the award anyways.
Stop everything and go play XCOM. The demo doesn't even scratch the surface of the game.
I agree with you 100% with Mass Effect 3. My runner up would be ZombiU. I fell in love with the game and it blew away all expectations I had for it.