With the end of 2014 upon us, Dorkly and some of our nerdier Collegehumor friends took time to reflect on our favorite games from the year. Some of us have some strong feelings for the games we spent way too much time on, good or bad, and we could probably talk for days about them but we tried to keep it short. Let's face it, no one wants to hear us rant about the under laying messages in "Desert Golf" or how "Flappy Bird" was really an analogy for your depressing existance (even though we probably could).
To say Flappy Bird is the game of the year is frankly an understatement. No other game was as widely played, no other game was as widely discussed, and no other game had the impact on our culture as much as Flappy Bird did. Flappy Bird captivated the nation with its simplistic gameplay, obviously cribbed assets and design, and its origin from a single developer - in other words, it was a pretty stellar throwback to the early days of videogames. It was punishingly difficult, utterly unforgiving, and - best of all - there was no end state. It just went on and on and on, the only "point" was to beat your previous records and have bragging rights amongst other players. The thing that made the game meaningful was that so many people were playing it.
It's not, by the definition of most, a "good" or "well-made" game, but it is an important one. For one brief, fleeting moment, everyone was playing the same thing and having the same experience - from little kids to teenagers to young adults to grandparents, Flappy Bird transcended all barriers. And the only kind of game this COULD happen with - something simple, something free, and something that had a special little something that kept everyone hooked.
2014 was the year of Flappy Bird, and don't let anyone tell you different.
It's difficult to talk about Rusty's Real Deal Baseball to my friends because every time I try, something weird happens...
"It's a baseball game that actually uses the full potential of the 3DS's screen!" I gasp.
"It's a meta-commentary about Nintendo's own obstinate cluelessness of free-to-play gaming!" my face is red now.
"The lead character is a middle-aged dog man whose wife left him in debt with 10 kids to feed!" the words are a gurgling together, someone calls 911.
"If you give the dog a toupee, you get a dollar off coupon towards the next minigame!" the whole room begins to shake.
"The gameplay is solid and addictive." My body begins to glow faintly with a warm light.
"A must-download title for any 3DS owner." I have evolved into a new being.
"10/10." Everyone cheers as I hover gloriously around the room.
I can count the number of truly funny video games I've played on two hands (only one if we don't count old LucasArts games). There's a reason why it's not attempted often: It's almost impossible to execute comic timing in a medium where any asshole could be doing anything at any time. And that's why, even though it came out in January, Jazzpunk is my favorite game of 2014.
It's like playing a video game version of The Naked Gun (or to be more accurate, the underrated Val Kilmer spy comedy Top Secret!). The missions are madcap and nonsensical; the dialogue occupies a space somewhere between an old Talkboy recording of Banjo-Kazooie and the warble of Charlie Brown's teacher; the time put into optional parody minigames and easter eggs is at once impressive and baffling. To explain what actually happens in Jazzpunk would be a crime tantamount to putting all the best jokes in a movie trailer. You should just buy it and thank me later. With money. I accept PayPal.
Desert Golfing is somber, romantic, and profound. It is a never-ending game about putting a ball into a hole. Desert Golfing is deep, endless, and infinite. Desert Golfing is a portrait of the hollow human soul. It is a never-ending game about putting a ball into a hole. Desert Golfing is a transcendent experience, one that casts a holy spotlight upon your insecurities and shows you who you really are. Desert Golfing is meditation. Desert Golfing is peace. It is a never-ending game about putting a ball into a hole. Desert Golfing is a diamond prism that focuses your emotions into a blinding laser beam of Truth. Desert Golfing is the hungry future that comes to consume us all. After four hundred holes I saw a cactus.
South Park: Stick of Truth combines two things I love: medieval RPG music and funny shit. Have you ever heard the saying, "All Who Wander Are Not Lost"? You've probably seen it on that poster in your annoying friend's room. I love Skyrim because it allows me to be a wanderer, and similarly, South Park: Stick of Truth rewards my wanderlust. In Skyrim, I'm the person who avoids the quests to scale mountains and gather blue dartwings. In the South Park neighborhood, though, it's not blue dartwings, its wife beaters. Around every corner (JK, no corners, it's 2D), I encounter treasure. I enter a garage and I find myself giggling like a child as I light a meth head on fire. And just like in Skyrim, I always hold onto my first item. Pubes. There are lots of memories in those pubes. So many memories. Like the memory of murdering that meth head.
Choosing my favorite game of the year was a difficult choice for me. There were a lot of indie game titles that I wanted to write about but couldn't because they're coming out in episodes (Kentucky Route Zero, I'm giving you a hard stare right now) but only one game has consumed every thought and decimated my will to do anything other than play it. While Dragon Age: Inquisition has only been out for about a week or two, it's got me jonesing for more. The game is like you took Skyrim, cut it up, and gave you a party that can never leave you and listens to everything you have to say. It has just about the same ridiculously sized map just presented a little more manageably like bit sized Reeses pieces if they all equated an actual Reeses. The whole game is just a pleasant journey...
...until you make a wrong turn, see something pretty, go towards it and get eaten by more bears that you ever knew existed and a passerby dragon that decides to roast you just because.
Dragon Age: Inquisition takes all of the best parts of the past few years of open world journey games and puts them into one nice, pleasant game. As an added bonus, if you bought it for the 360 or PS3, you get to watch your consoles cry trying to get all of those textures in at once. It's great. Everyone goes from looking like clay blobs to suddenly super shiny, detailed people... creature... things.
If you think of videogames like one big, extended family, then Bravely Default is just Bioshock's dorky, rpg-obsessed younger cousin. It's an experience packed with solid, genre-heightening gameplay, a shocking twist that you'll hit yourself for not seeing sooner, and a third act where everything falls apart in a way that is as spectacular as it is frustrating.
Luckily for me, by the time I entered that stage of the game, I was far too obsessed with unlocking all the job classes and finding every secret summon to even care. In fact, I'm both ashamed and proud to admit that this is the only RPG I've ever played where all my characters were Level 99 by the time I finished. It's a feeling of intense melancholy no other media has ever inflicted on me, and I couldn't recommend it more. Playing this game will transport you back to the time in your life when you had nothing better to do then kill wave after wave of elemental ghouls in the pursuit of unlocking shiny, albeit meaningless, new abilities. It's a simultaneous celebration and a critique of "nostalgia culture," which is very fitting for a game whose plot revolves around getting stuck in an infinite time loop, and also perfectly represents the tricky location in the videogame industry that Square-Enix has currently found themselves in. I'm a big fan of stories that are fully aware of the impression they want to leave upon their viewers, and this game does that to a (de)fault.
Also, the game's soundtrack is UNMATCHABLY BANGIN' and worth the price of entry ALL BY ITSELF. Press play on this video and then do your damnedest to avoid instantly opening your 3DS e-shop.
Why do we play video games? Do we want to explore new worlds? Go on grand adventures? Experience a sense of wonder that reminds us what is like to be a child? Or do we play games so we can beat the living shit out of our friends as characters from different games where you do those other things? Yes, definitely that last one. The new Super Smash Brothers took everything we loved from the first three versions of the game and added even more of that sweet Smash action. More characters, more stages, and most importantly MORE CHARACTERS PER STAGE. Don't try and argue that a game where you can murder 7 Wii Fit trainers isn't the best game of 2014... or ever. Also they got rid of stumbles because WHO EVER THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA???
Disagree with this assessment? My friend code is 4828 - 5904 - 8234. Find me and argue in the only language I understand, SMASH. (You'll probably win, after playing online I've discovered I'm actually pretty bad at this game.)
For me, 2014 was undoubtedly the year of local multiplayer, and no game epitomized that more than Towerfall Ascension. It's incredibly simple, three-button control scheme and old-school 16 bit platforming mechanics lend the game an immediate accessibility that allowed even my non-gaming friends to jump right in and instinctively start racking up the kills.
While the game lures you in with its simplicity, it keeps you hanging around with a surprising amount of depth that reveals itself slowly over time. With each passing round I found myself formulating new strategies, working to master dodge-timing, and growing more proficient with shot angles and distances. The game performs a sort of magic trick, where it makes everyone who plays it to learn and improve on the mechanics of the game without them even realizing they're doing it. Next thing you know, you and your friends have been up until the wee hours of the morning, repeating those magic words that are the truest indicator of a great game: "Okay, just ONE more round."
The official voting period has ended. See the results below.
Total Votes: 229,981
Score = wins / total matches (recalculated every 5 minutes)