Thursday, January 5, 2017

The best games I played in 2016


I wasn’t ever going to make a video like this. On the one hand, I’ve always wanted to. I think top games of the year lists are great. I love hearing what games made an impression on game critics whose work I enjoy. I’m actually amazed that most of them are able to play through all the big name titles and most of the smaller yet popular ones. I don’t have that luxury. I experimented a bit with playing games on release in 2016, but due to time management issues, personal interest, and lack of funds, it hasn’t really been feasible. That’s why the games I cover are so scattershot. I wait till games go on sale, meanwhile I play what’s in my enormous backlog and whatever games friends have gifted me. What I’m getting around to saying is this isn’t going to be a traditional best of 2016 list.

What I’ve decided to do is to make a list of the games I most enjoyed playing in 2016. If I have made a video on a game, that game is eligible (well, except for those 4 favourite game videos. It doesn’t seem right to include a game I’ve played countless times over the years on such a list). Since I started the new direction of this channel in November of 2015, I’ve extended the starting point of this list back a couple of months. So everything from my channel since I started these videos last November is eligible to be on this list. Some games on this list actually were released in 2016. Some were released in 2015, and some earlier than that. The cutoff point is if a video goes up on my channel before December 31st 2016, which is why this video has come out in the new year. Ok, sorry for the lengthy explanation. The following list is in alphabetical order. Enjoy!

Civilization VI (2016)

Civilization VI is on this list for its potential. I have put over a hundred hours into Civ 5, so I was always anticipating the next game in the series. A friend was nice enough to gift it to me, but so far I have only experienced the early game. I really like the changes made, and look forward to gaining an understanding of how it all works. At the moment, it hasn’t grabbed me like its predecessor, but I haven’t been able to dedicate the time to it either. I’m hoping to change that in 2017. Civ and strategy fans alike should enjoy how complete a package Civ 6 is upon release, which will only make the upcoming patches and expansions all the more exciting to see how they change things up.

Doom (2016)

I played both 1993’s and 2016’s Doom in the span of a month. Both are excellent games. The original holds up to this day, and while the new game is much more action packed, it too leaves an indelible mark on the legacy of the series. It’s the glory kills, vertical arenas, and fast movement creating high octane slaughter, rewarding the player for risky in your face action that earns it a place on this list. Anyone looking to play one of the more innovative shooters of 2016 not named Superhot should check the new Doom out.

Glitchhikers (2014)

Have you ever driven along a highway at night just to clear your head or to be with your own thoughts? Glitchhikers is that in game form. Yes you’re picking up passengers, but the passengers might not actually be there. It might be a nocturnal hallucination. Eerie, yet tranquil is the balance that Glitchhikers strives for. It’s a free download at and upon playing through the 20-30 minutes it takes, I easily paid the developer their asking price. Those looking for a short experimental gaming experience should definitely give this a try.

Her Story (2015)

An FMV game where you play detective by searching for keywords and watching short clips of police interviews. After discovering that yes the game is completable (I was unsure when I first played it), I spent an evening playing detective. There’s a narrative revelation that changes all the information you’ve received up to that point, and the joy I got out of piecing together timelines and information is why the game is on this list. Another short, experimental narrative experience, and definitely worth a play for those who love the idea of investigation without the game holding your hand.

Human Resource Machine (2015)

Human Resource Machine is the best game about programming I have played. Yes, I enjoyed it even more than Spacechem. I finished it too. Not completely on my own as those who have watched my video will know, but I gained a great amount of satisfaction from each puzzle solved, and that is why it’s on this list. I think anyone who has an interest in programming or puzzle games for their own sake would enjoy climbing the floors of Tomorrow Corporation’s latest.

Oxenfree (2016)

Am I the only one who when thinking of this game wants to call it “Olly Olly Oxenfree”? The way this tale deals with dialogue, player choice, and its online component creates the desire to play the game again, no matter the outcome. As adventure games are one of my favourite genres, I played a lot of them in 2016, and I’d say Oxenfree was my favourite. That’s why it’s on this list, and it is easily recommendable to fans of adventure and story based games.

Spelunky (2013)

I also played a lot of roguelikes this year through the Humble Monthly service. They seem to be the popular indie genre as of late. I think Spelunky is partly the reason. This game is the best of this genre I’ve played, with an honourable mention to The Binding of Isaac. Most people will have played Spelunky, but to those who haven’t, you should give it a try. Just don’t start with the multiplayer. It can ruin friendships. Despite not being very good, I felt a steady case of progression, and an enjoyment in learning the little quirks about the game. That’s why it’s on this list.

The Beginner's Guide (2015)

This is a sad game. It’s sad because we haven’t heard from Davey Wreden since it came out, and a lot of people who played it think what happens in the game may be based on real events. Regardless, this is a fascinating look at creativity, interpretation, and boundaries. It doesn’t take long to play, and I think everyone will come away from it glad they played it, even if they feel kind of terrible at the end. It’s a story that can only really be told in the medium of videogames, and for all these reasons I felt it deserves a place on this list.

The Talos Principle (2014)

One of the best puzzle games I’ve played in years, probably since The Swapper. The puzzles are clever, and can make you feel both smart and/or stupid once you solve them depending on their solution, but it’s everything else that makes The Talos Principle truly shine. The world, the secrets, the easter eggs, the three different endings, but most of all, why you are solving all these puzzles in the first place. It’s a game rich in symbolism, but not to the point where you need to make any wild leaps of interpretation. It also has given me my puzzle fix until I play through The Witness.

Thumper (2016)

This is how good Thumper is. I could not bring myself to play it for long due to mental health issues. The game is so oppressive and violent and unrelenting that I came close to having a panic attack during my time with it. Despite that, I’m still glad I bought it, and I think it deserves a place on this list. If you like rhythm games, and think you can handle what you’re watching on the screen, definitely give it a play.

Undertale (2015)

What a wonderful game. The way it is constructed, pushing you towards a path of nonviolence, but taking into account all aspects of possible player choice is truly masterful to behold. On top of that, the game is filled with some of the most charming characters alongside delightful music that I have seen. I look forward to revisiting the game sometime in the future and performing a true pacifist playthrough. It’s difficult to think of recommending Undertale to others. I imagine most who would enjoy what it has to offer will have played it. Let me give it a shot. It’s light-hearted but serious, funny, but sombre, is an RPG that encourages you not to engage in RPG mechanics, it’s heavily inspired by the Mother games, but is innovative in its own way. It’s worth a try.


And there you have it. These are the games I enjoyed playing the most in 2016. What games did you enjoy playing the most in 2016? Like my list, they don’t even have to be from 2016. I’d still like to know. Please leave a comment. If you’re interested in my initial thoughts regarding games on this list, I have included links to my videos on them in the description. Thanks for watching, and I look forward to making a new list once 2018 rolls around. I hope you all have a wonderful 2017.

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