There were 142 video games released in 2017.
There’s a million reasons why 2017 was a colossal shit show for everyone on planet earth but there was at least 142 reasons why it didn’t. No matter how bad things get, video games will always be there to offer an escape. Whether it’s the good, the bad or the ugly (see what I did there? I referenced a film while talking about film. Ed Note: since the original author was too fucking lazy to write a new header, this joke no longer makes sense), video games are an important distraction.
These are the top 5 video games that helped distract me from the garbage fire that was 2017.
Ed Note: those numbers are completely arbitrary. He was too lazy to Google the real numbers, so he made his best guess.
0. Doki Doki Literature Club
This is the only honorable mention to make the list. Doki Doki Literature Club is a visual novel (a game comprised of static images and very little gameplay. There’s about a billion of them and they’re almost all about high school guys trying to score with women. This one is no different) that’s about a high school literature club comprised of nothing but the thirstiest of women. Four women all vying for the attention and affections of the main character. Whatever shall you do?
This game is almost like a secret handshake. For those of you that know what this is, you 100% understand why it’s on this list. For everyone else, play it. You’ll understand and then you’ll be part of the club. The literature club that is.
5. Horizon: Zero Dawn
This was clearly on everyone’s radars but I don’t think anyone expected it to be this good. Developed by Guerrilla Games–the cats behind the Killzone series–this is pound for pound the best crafted game of the year. Mixing elements from The Last Of Us, The Witcher and Shadow of the Colossus, Horizon borrows from giants but never steals. This is no homage or pastiche of any open world game that’s come before it. It’s a wholly unique experience that will stick with you long after the credits roll.
4. Super Mario Odyssey
Holy fuck was Nintendo on fire this year. Not a single delay, a new console that everyone unanimously loves and almost every one of their exclusives was a game of the year contender. It was a great year to be a Nintendo fanboy and an even better year for their two flagship titles.
Although he’s been around for over 30 years and has the record for the most video game appearances, Mario has yet to hit over saturation. A new Mario game is still an event. I don’t think there’s another pop culture icon that has as good of a track record as he does. There’s a reason he’s a plumber and not a garbage man, it’s because he doesn’t deal in trash. Every game in the series feels like the best game in the series and this one trumps them all. This game has such a perfect gameplay mechanic that I honestly can’t imagine where the series can go from here.
3. Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
I don’t like Zelda. It’s the video game equivalent of Star Wars to me. The cult surrounding this series is terribly obnoxious and refuses to objectively critique it. It’s the same goddamn game every time y’all. The same can be said about Mario but at least he has a new gimmick every time. Every new Zelda comes with the same question “well maybe he’ll talk in this one.” Or “hopefully I get to jump in this one.” I just don’t get the praise this series has gotten.
Until Breath of the Wild. Radically changing almost everything about the formula, this is finally the Zelda Miyamoto wanted to make 30 years ago. Zelda talks! Link can jump! You can go wherever and do whatever your little heart desires. It only took em 30 years but they finally did it.
2. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
If this was a movie, this would’ve been my film of the year. Every hour or so, I’d see something so outrageous, so insanely over the top, I couldn’t stop myself from reloading my last save to prove I wasn’t hallucinating. I adore every aspect of this games story and world building. It kept me engaged and flabbergasted throughout and was probably the most fun I’ve had in ages.
There’s a reason I focused on the game’s story and not the game as a whole and that’s because the level design is abysmal. For every minute of enjoyment I got from the story equals about ten minutes of being absolutely infuriated at how poorly designed the game is. I never knew where the fuck to go at any point in time. It’s 2017, we figured this shit out over a decade ago.
But that story though. Oh boy, that story.
1. Night In The Woods
“Story above all else.”
There’s nothing more important to me than story. I don’t care if it’s a billion dollar film or a 10 cent comic, story puts everything on an equal playing field. The things that make up my DNA all involve stories that impacted me on either an emotional or intellectual level. This game was my 2017.
Wolfenstein offered my favorite moments.
Super Mario Odyssey kept me entertained for weeks.
Doki Doki Literature Club did, well, you know what did.
Each of my favorite games this year, offered something unique but none of them touched my emotional center. Night In The Woods impacted me hard. I didn’t want it to ever end and was actually sad when it did. This isn’t just my favorite game of the year, This is my favorite thing of 2017.