2017 is finally here, and we can only pray it’s not as terrible as 2016 was. I’m personally expecting the real shit in 2018 or 2019 myself. But life goes on, we got rent to pay and stuff to enjoy between the moments of realization of the very real possibility of the end of the world crashing down on us. Before I move on, though, I’d like to take a step back and look at a few games I played in 2016 that I feel need some more attention that missed my favorites list. Some of these were released recently, and others were older titles I just got around to. A few have HG101 articles coming, but not yet published, and others I simply never got around to talking about. They’re all well worth a look for different reasons, most for being good games, and others for …well, you’ll see. With that in mind, here are the games I played in 2016 that deserve some more attention, with no real order.
It’s that time of year again! With my gaming year wrapping down, with nearly *80* games played, it’s time to check out some of the most notable titles I tried. This is all based around my gaming year, not games released this year, so maybe you’ll learn of a few classics you never knew about. And yes, if you saw my last list, you know what my fave game of the year is, but there was some surprising last minute contenders. Sinking Island could easily sneak into the bottom five, but two games (!) blindsided me and could have taken top five spots if I got to them earlier. Memoria and This Is The Police are both shockingly good games well worth your money, and I will be writing on them down the line. But that’s for later, so let’s stick to the topic at hand.
I have multiple categories, some self explanatory (best looking, best sound design, ect), and others more personal (fave guilty pleasure, biggest surprise, ect). Along with my writing on each category winner, I’ll have a list of honorable mentions below, so please don’t forget to look up those games in your spare time! A lot of fantastic titles didn’t make the cut this year, and only because I played *so fucking many* of them.
I’ve been waiting for Ladykiller in a Bind for a long time now, nearly half a decade. Christine Love’s style has almost always been based around exploring how technology has impacted how we communicate with each other, including building relationships, but Ladykiller removes that aspect and explores relationships and communications from a more overtly sexual lens. Calling it a “sex game” or something of the like isn’t inaccurate, but I don’t think it’s a proper way to describe what the game really is. Ladykiller does something really unexpected and refreshing in how it chooses to engage with sexuality, and that’s using choice mechanics to demonstrate to the player how BDSM relationships work. The game lets you play both dominate and submissive roles with multiple characters, and how you play the game significantly changes based on this.
Today’s article was commissioned by a regular reader. If you’d like to have me write about something of your choosing, consider commissioning me! Details here, willing to discuss subjects not covered on that page. Use the e-mail listed there.
Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme is an absolutely baffling project made by amateur developers and artists that started to grow more into their chosen fields as development continued on, and thanks to the episodic release schedule, we can actually see how things went from horrifying to somewhat competent very clearly. But we also see a game that …okay, I don’t want to say it shouldn’t exist, but I can say that it’s surprising to see it exist at this large a scale. This thing can easily suck up thirty hours if you play every episode, and I played through every single episode. This article took some time to get to.
But instead of ragging on the clearly visible problems that plague the title or give a regular review, I decided to go in a more interesting direction. See, no matter how ridiculous this game is, it does eventually try to tackle some heavy subject matter that comes from its fetish laden set-up, and the strange part is that it doesn’t absolutely fail at it.
2016 is nearly over, and before I do my usual year in review at the end of the year, where I celebrate various games I played via category, I decided it would be fun to do a list before that and get it up in November, because until Sometimes Always Monsters comes out and rocks my world (THEY GOT THE ACTUAL SUNLIGHT WRITER), this list is pretty final. Here are my top twenty favorite games of the year, and only two entries on this list could be considered embarrassing. Finally, I’m getting a taste for games that aren’t anime titty garbage.
Happy Halloween, everyone! If you were expecting spooky articles on Infinite Rainy Day, real life sadly got in the way for pretty much everyone. However, I didn’t want to leave the holiday empty handed, so I decided to try looking at a horror game. But I wasn’t in the mood for survival horror or super tense games, and I didn’t want to go over super popular titles either. I also had trouble finding a good obscure horror game, since so many out these days are obnoxious and derivative.
But then I noticed that Steam was having a sale on a mixed entry in a classic series, so I figured this would be as good as a time as any to finally talk about the incredibly confused DOOM 3. But since I could only get three hours in with my hectic (heh) schedule, I’ll only be focusing on how the game handles its horror elements. Like the rest of the game, it’s handled with great care and an absent mind.
This one’s …not a pun. I’m not making the pun. I have dignity.
It’s time for another Steam Sifter, the series where I comb through the low and mixed rated titles on Steam and divide the cream from the crap. For the past few titles, we’ve mostly seen mechanical focused games. This time, we’ll be looking at a narrative game simply called The Shopkeeper, which is described on its page as “a point-and-click narrative game set in a space between the Twilight Zone, classic Lucasarts adventures, and Antiques Roadshow.” That may be the least accurate description of anything I have ever read.
Atmosphere can mean a lot, I find. The mood a game makes can raise it beyond its shortcomings, you need only look at the world of visual and sound novels to see this in action. They use word choice and visuals to create a mood that sucks you in and engages, despite a lack of mechanical play. These games choose to take advantage of a certain set of techniques to create works you can lose yourself in, while others use it as a flourish or major addition to enhance the experience. Survival Horror games love using atmosphere in one way or another, especially Silent Hill, Siren, and the Nanashi no Game series (look it up). But atmosphere is more than strange or dark. It can be whimsical or childish, like Kirby’s Epic Yarn or Yoshi’s Island, or maybe wacky and erratic, a tone you commonly find in old point and clicks. One I rarely see explored, though, is nostalgia.
Enter Backstreets of the Mind.
Okay, now that I’ve managed to scare any obnoxious nerds who wandered by to the comment section to angry rant about how I am a “marvelcuck” or something related to “cucks,” let’s talk about why the DC cinematic universe is the single worst thing DC has ever done.
Keep in mind that’s a real fucking long list.
With three films now released, there’s a lot of discussion in how DC’s brave experi-excuse me, I mean pathetic rip-off movie series has fared. Money wise, they aren’t doing Marvel gangbusters, but doing damn well by all accounts, or at least surviving despite under-performance. Critically, though…
To say these movies are disliked is like saying Donald Trump has the hands of an ant. There’s a lot to unpack, and a lot has been said, but as a comic fan myself, I’d like to unpack why these films don’t actually seem to engage audiences as well as they could, with exception to a certain terrible, terrible audience no artist should ever want. No matter how much WB tries to get the next few films in a more pleasing state for the masses, there’s some problems they desperately need to address first, or else we’ll have another Suicide Squad chop job on our hands.
Hey, do you want to know what my most played game on Steam is?
Well, it’s not a favorite game, I can tell you that much. In fact, I wish I never bought it. BUT HERE I AM, OVER 100 HOURS LATER
Game Dev Tycoon is going to be a game I play until the end of time, I’m sure. I just keep replaying it over and over, and if I don’t write about it again, I can’t justify this ridiculous attachment to it. So, today’s piece is going to be about how Game Dev Tycoon uses the most simple mechanics imaginable to take your free time behind the shed and put it out of its misery.