Game That Made Me Sit Back and Take Notes Like Back When I Was a Kid: Fez
Like many people, I was following the Fez hype / development hell / Phil Fish image macros. From day one I was excited about the aesthetics and the fact that there were no enemies in the game, according to Fish. But when it finally did come out, I assumed that I knew everything about the game already. The setting, the characters, the mechanics- everything was clear. Until I actually started playing the game and quickly found myself having to break out pen and paper to try and make sense of it all. I’m pretty sure I haven’t done that since the NES days.
Game That I Probably Wrecked Your High Score In Because I Am Really Really Good At It: /ESCAPE\ (iOS)
Incredible Ape’s /ESCAPE\ was originally a flash game, and I think it won a Ludum Dare at some point. I played the flash version quite a bit, and I always thought it would make for a great iOS title. And then it became one! And I was right! It came out early this year but it’s still my go to game.
Game That I Wanted To Suck Less Because It Looked So Fresh: Pid
Pid looks awesome. It looks like what Venus Patrol keeps yelling they wished that games looked like. Pid’s aesthetics are soft and whimsical and fit the oddball story perfectly. These are all good things to say about a video game. Sadly, the gameplay is rather forgettable, and above all else the game just makes me angry that it didn’t do more with itself.
Game That Is Quite Pleasant To Get Angry As Hell At: Stealth Bastard Deluxe
Stealth Bastard came out as a free game last year (I think), and it was hella impressive how much love was poured into it. The idea of taking stealth games and addressing the inherent slowness that comes with them was really dang clever. When Stealth Bastard Deluxe came out I was a little worried that it was going to be a soulless money-grab, but as it turns out the game really deserves the Deluxe.
Game(s) That Got It Like Dat: Paul Greasley’s LD Entries
Pixel art is pretty common in indie games, and there’s a lot of great stuff out there. But honestly? There are only 2 people doing something different with it: Superbrothers and Paul Greasley (aka FarmerGnome).
And the man is a hard worker! His output in 2012 includes the aforementioned LD games Soul Jar and Happy Little Murder Friends, as well as playable alphas of RAMBROS, Under The Ocean, and Fistful of Gun. Hats off to you dude.
Game That We Can Finally Replace Portal With As An Example Of Storytelling In Games: Papa Y Yo
Plots: When movies get it right, they’re good. When games get it right, they’re amazing. The story, the setting, and the way the mechanics tie into both make Papa Y Yo a thing of beauty. We desperately need more games like this.
Game That Should Make You Cry: Dys4ia
Anna Antropy knows what she’s doing. Dys4ia takes basic video game rules and utilizes them to great effect to not only tell a real story but also to share real feelings. But despite being rooted firmly in video game aesthetics and metaphors, it still manages to effortlessly touch people who consider themselves non-gamers. Dys4ia is one of the best examples of game design I’ve ever seen.
Alright, that’s it for me! Thanks for reading, thanks for all the support everyone has shown Sets and Settings in 2012, and expect us to shed some light on our upcoming project very soon!
Andrew’s list will show up sometime before the new year.