Sunday, 3 January 2016

2015: A Horribly Biased Game Awards

Same house rules as usual! It's not an award for games that came out this year, it's an awards for games Allie and Tobi felt like PLAYING this year. You might notice a few new categories and the culling of the weaker ones from previous years. Because we believe in refining a good formula and not just CHURNING THE SAME THING OUT OVER AND OVER.

*subtle wink*

Best Character

Sans and Papyrus (Undertale)

Sans knows about your tumblr habits.

Well you can’t have one without the other, can you? Undertale is already one of the most hilarious and charming games I’ve ever played, with a whole host of unforgettable and hilarious characters. But for myself and many, a certain duo of humerus skelebros really stole the show. These two goofballs begin as team rocket style bumbling antagonists early in the game, trolling you and each other more than posing any actual threat. Papyrus is a massive tryhard, desperate to capture you to prove himself to the royal guard, and become a hero. Sans is a diminutive prankster and certified ‘lazybones’, who immediately announces his intentions to keep you out of danger. But that’s just the beginning. What I think makes Undertale’s characters truly special is that they’re not just these zany NPCs adding flavour to the puzzles. The more you learn about them, the more you learn about the characters complex relationships with each other and how they cope in their world!

You may even be surprised what happens when you decide to push the limits of what you think is the intended narrative...

If there’s one thing Undertale is good at, it’s characterisation. Like Allie said, the game kind of sneaks these characters up on you, making them seem like one-note goofballs and punchlines. Before you know it however, you’ll be invested. Papyrus and Sans are two of the characters that pretty much stick with you the entire game. Sans for some reason sustains many jobs at various checkpoints, and Papyrus is your buddy on the phone. They are pretty much the stability in your journey, provided you don’t breach their trust.

Full disclosure: I may have gone on a date with one of the skellies, so our pick may have been biased.

Hey T, you’ve actually dated both, you just may not have realised.

Runners up: Rosch (Radiant Historia), Sigma (Virtue's Last Reward)

Worst Character

Boston Low (The Dig)

Kind of a Low blow, I know. Fo sho.

This George W Bush sounding jerk pretty much embodies your typical entitled video game protagonist. Straight white American jock that loves telling people what to do, even if he’s the least qualified person on the planet to make a decision. He’ll lie to get his way, and if lying doesn't work, he’ll use threats and physical violence to get what he wants. Half the time he doesn't have a good reason for any of it, but he won’t let a simple thing as justification stop him. The game calls him out on it several times, and it genuinely made me feel bad. Nothing as shitty as hearing a character tell you ‘I’m going to do what you say, but you’re going to lie and cheat anyway’, only to for the game to force you to do exactly that. That’s pretty much all personality Boston has too.

I’ve never been stuck on an alien planet with a more obnoxious, abrasive, useless bunch of cretins! I swear! Instead of cooperating to figure out the alien technology, this group of jerkholes immediately elect to split up and, yknow, get lost in the labyrinth. Yep, it’s Prometheus all over again! Low’s the worst, of course. As the team leader you’d think it was like his job to look out for his team? Nah. I actually found myself really enjoying getting constantly dissed by Maggie and ESPECIALLY the pragmatic but standoffish Brink. I guess it can’t be said I didn’t get a twisted kick out of this game.

Runners Up: Eddie (Brutal Legend), Marco (Radiant Historia)

Best Soundtrack


Oh boy, let me warn you, you’re going to be hearing about this game a lot today. Sorry. (Not sorry at all.) Unsurprisingly, this game, being made by developer previously best known for his musical accomplishments would have a TITE SOUNDTRACK. It does. The games notoriety seemed to be spreading the fastest among videogame remixers and gimmick cover musicians on youtube.

Melodic, catchy, old and new at the same time, and dabbling in some genres you just don’t hear a lot in video games. Undertale’s music is a large part of the experience, and does a great job at communicating its story through sound. There have been a few times when a soundtrack was able to bring me to tears, but I've never seen a same soundtrack also make me laugh and tense up as well. Excellent range, and it’s been a regular in our playlists since September.

Runners Up: D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die, Radiant Historia

Best Art Direction

Fantasy Life

Our brave heroes, the Env Artists, making fishing minigames tolerable.

Perhaps a surprising pick, if I look at all the other games we had played this year. It’s not the most eye-catching style of the lot, and I'm not even a big fan of a decent chunk of the designs. What does it have then? Fantasy Life has a very cohesive and dense look. Its colour palette is immaculate, its world feels populated, and it’s just high quality for a 3DS game.

I honestly think Fantasy Life is the best looking 3DS game i’ve seen in my life. And I’m a professional handheld 3D environment artist. It’s very much along the lines of Zelda, Animal Crossing and Dragon Quest (other top gorgeous handheld series), so it’s all bright green grass and blue skies, it's just got a wonderful balance of softness, colourfulness, cohesiveness, richness, and clarity. I’m always fond of character customisers that use cartoonish stylisation while still giving you an amazing range of possibilities without having you spend ages with sliders for every body part on every axis. Level 5 are pretty well known for good art, but this one’s probably my fave.

Runners Up: Yoshi's Woolly World, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Best Story

Virtue's Last Reward

Smartass dialogue: A fate worse than permadeath!

You’d have to be pretty good to knock the aforementioned brilliantly charming and subversive Undertale off top spot for this… But crikey, if we didn’t play some cracking story-driven games this year. Virtue’s Last Reward is the sequel to 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, a previous winner in this category from a couple years back. Typically, the less you know about the game, the better, but I’ll get ya started. You play as Sigma, who has just woken up in an elevator with girl who seems to know you, but she won’t explain why. Then a screen lights up, and you’re introduced to a sassy CGI rabbit who looks like the fuckin’ puppet from jigsaw. Yep, you’re in another Nonary Game, a series of puzzles rooms with the looming threat of horrible death. But this time the rules are different. Based on the concept of the Prisoner’s Dilemma (google that shiz), players are paired off and can choose to either trust or betray each other for points which they need to survive. Ramped up from the previous game, this one has like 12 endings, and you want to get them all (don’t worry, there’s shortcuts) to figure out just what the heck is really going on. Pretty much every ending had some kind of twist that put me in a stunned silence. Hell, every CHAPTER. The game’s unique story-flow mechanic turns the whole narrative into its own meta-puzzle in the most ambitious way I think i’ve encountered thus far.

VLR is one of those sneaky stories that really uses its medium well. Much like its predecessor, it is able to play with its structure and narrative from a bunch of different angles, and plays with your preconceived notions of what is going on and how it works. It’s hard to discuss a story that hinges on twists, but Allie outlined the basic set-up just fine. It’s definitely a bit on the convoluted side, it had me hooked all the way through, and eager to play its final chapter in the upcoming sequel.

Runners Up: Undertale, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Best Original Game Concept


This definitely works 100% of the time if you are a 7ft goat monster.

It’s going to be a little bit spoilerific, but it can’t be avoided. First thing you’ll notice on the store page is that it’s ‘an RPG where you don’t have to kill anyone’. It’s a mere suggestion, and one that both the writing and I encourage. What’s the meat of the game then, if you strip away that part of the game? Well for starters if you choose to play as a pacifist, you are given a list of actions that are tailored to your aggressor. This ranges from respecting one’s personal space, to giving a hug, to asking to wash your hands. The opponents then in turn strike back with personalised “bullet hell” patterns which you have to dodge. If you can connect with them, you can mutually spare each other, effectively ending the battle.

There’s very few games out there where rhetoric about violence doesn’t feel.. well, hypocritical. The mechanics usually limit you to a certain amount of violent solutions, or you’re not much rewarded for playing it all stealth/pacifist, OR alternatively, the decision to be ‘the good guy’ is made too easy and clear. Undertale sets you up in a world where the characters have good reasons to engage you, and being merciful or merciless both feel quite rebellious and challenging in their own way. Undertale is also one of three(!) games we played this year where multiple endings become some kind of meta-mechanic. The game has some sneaky tricks up its sleeve. Some sneaky… sneaks.

Runners Up: Crypt of the Necrodancer, Comix Zone

Funniest Dialogue


One you're going to become very familiar with during the final boss.
This game is the most goddamn quotable game since Portal 2. I can’t stop. It’s super infectious. From the bizarre ambient dialogue describing the tsundere-ness of cacti and the various cheese-related encounters that fill you with determination, to the rambling phone calls with your besties who will DEFINITELY help you solve puzzles and not just suggest that you be tall and handsome enough to do the jimpity jumpety joodle over them, this game is filled with top bants and sick japes. And a skeleTON of puns. I’m sorry. I’ll go to the garbage now. (It’s my element.)

This is one sassy game, and I don’t mean that in the classic snarky back and forth banter way (though it does a bit of that too) that a lot of games and movies and TV shows like to do. A lot of comedy in games is either based on mean-spirited jabs, sarcastic quips, or awkward references to pop culture and dank may-mays. Surprisingly enough Undertale keeps throwing a ton of clean and inclusive jokes at you, many of which will probably even slip past you. It expertly plays with expectations, conventions and even weaves it into some of its mechanics. Its humour and innocence also serves a practical use, which is to disarm you and leave you more vulnerable to what lies ahead.

Runners Up: For the Frog the Bell Tolls, Virtue's Last Reward

Biggest Surprise

Radiant Historia

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Allie and I got this while knowing next to nothing about it. We knew it had amazing music, and the few people that played it seemed to like it, but that’s about it. What initially started for me as a side-game ended up being my primary one quite quickly. The characters and story were well-realised and felt convincing. A lot of games claim to be “mature”, but secretly mean a teenager’s concept of maturity. Maturity ends up being equated to cynicism, overt sexualisation, dismemberment and other sorts of juvenile content . Radiant Historia on the other hand puts up an air of consequences, patience, sacrifice and learning how to move on. That sounds bleak, but it doesn’t necessarily portray it as that. It’s a weird dynamic it has, and I didn’t expect it at all from it, but I welcomed it.

Figured we’d spare you from more paragraphs about Undertale (Tobi was p hype for it anyway!) Radiant Historia was an ageing cult game that I’d heard a few mumblings about being an underrated gem on the Nintendo DS so I guess we decided to check it out, while DS games were going cheap. Turns out it’s a time travel themed game (weird fact: this is always a good sign for games! See: Majora’s Mask, Chrono Trigger) in which you’re encouraged to explore both potential results of a decision you’re given to make by looping back, and using information to change the future possibilities. Radiant Historia had a really, really charming cast of characters who would discuss dilemmas in depth and really get you rooting for them. The combat throws in some neat ideas to not make it too generic, but as I say, the story is really the strong point here.

Runners Up: Undertale, Fantasy Life, Steamworld Dig

Biggest Disappointment

Alien Isolation

Don't look at me like that, you know what you did.
To be honest, we didn’t play a whole lot of bad games this year, and the ones that weren’t great… we kinda saw it coming. Alien Isolation wasn’t a super terrible game, but this award is for the greatest contrast (towards the negative) between what we expected and the reality. So as we talked about in our full Halloween review, I was told by many people that Alien Isolation was PROPER scary. Like, Amnesia scary. When I think of a scary game, I think of something that not only dark corners and adrenaline rushes, but something that leaves a lasting impression. Something that haunts your imagination when you’re not playing. When I wasn’t playing Amnesia, I started to hear the iconic monster groans in my mind after I shut the game down. I’ll never forget the trippy as heck encounters with those gross baby monsters in Clock Tower and Parasite Eve, hilarious though they were, they’re still filed in my precious stack of ‘what the actual fuck’. Alien had the same xenomorphs I’ve seen a thousand times doing everything they do in the films. There were no WTF moments, heck, I was barely caught off guard any time an alien popped out of a vent over my head or the useless NPCs i was returning to turned up *gaspe* dead! But honestly? Maybe that’s just the experience of certain people with a different set of phobias, and these things aren’t universal.

I’m a little bit biased because this game was really difficult for me to play due to medical reasons. Still I heard a ton of praise, and I can see where it came from. I just didn’t really feel it. Most of the things it does really well are being held back by the virtue of it being a well known licensed franchise. Alien’s a franchise whose mechanics and tricks are known to every single person who has even a passing interest in the game. Its influence isn’t limited to video games, but video games is where its influence can be felt the hardest. When you have its DNA entrenched in games this deeply, it’s kind of hard to stand out any more. The location is one like countless others you’ve played already, and the alien has no mystique about it. You know what it looks like, and you know its strengths and weaknesses. Kind of makes me feel that chasing a movie-esque Alien experience is just never going to recapture that original magic any more, and is thus a bit of a wasted effort.

Runners Up: Resident Evil 6, Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition

Usual Suspects Award for Most Time Wasted

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Shiggedy-Shagaru Magalalalalalala
Yeah yeah. I know what you’re thinking, and no, we didn’t copy pasta this from other years. This is a new game, and these are new impressions. I don’t think Allie or me had any doubt it would get listed here. It was one of our most anticipated games coming into 2015, and it lived up to its expectations. Tons of monsters, new weapons to learn, new mechanics, expanded single player, and a constant stream of free DLC.

This was very much anticipated as this year’s primary time sink. Though I played a lot of RPGs and time wasting puzzle games, the playtime stats don’t lie! (Unless they do, I’ll actually never know. But let’s assume they don’t?) Monster Hunter 4U is the closest thing I play these days to a traditional MMO game. But also, it’s really really super good. They made some improvements on 3U, I took up a different weapon class… the new monsters are elaborate and wacky… And as always, it’s amazing value in its content. Tigrex can do one, though.

Runners Up: Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, Fantasy Life

GAME OF THE YEAR (released in 2015)


OH NO! THIS GAME’S MEETING ALL OF MY STANDARDS!!! (Sorry I can’t stop.) So Tobi had been bigging up this game while it was in development for a while. He’d played the demo, backed it on kickstarter, claimed it was very reminiscent of the Earthbound series and generally seemed like his(/our) jam. When I picked it up, it became clear pretty soon that it was charming, unpredictable and totally heart-wrenching enough to be a worthy spiritual successor to Earthbound/Mother 3. By the end, I’d say it even tops them. This game… it’s the antithesis of everything that bothers me about the press X to awesome & open world fantasy fulfillment sandbox design philosophy. Instead of being the hero, you’re introduced as a character who feels incredibly vulnerable, a lost child in an unwelcome place. Instead of being in control of your world, you’re dragged along by the heart as your encounters assert control over your situation, able to halt you, sneak up and trick you, and even change your controls and mechanics on a whim! You’re forced to roll with the punches as the game always seems one step ahead. You’re judged on your choices and actions. The only way to win is to be determined enough. And just when you think ‘Well, it’s just a game though! I can load my save if I do anything I’m not proud of!’

I couldn’t stop thinking about the game for months afterwards. I mean, that’s not really a first (not even this year) but it might be a record in its duration/intensity. I fell in love with the characters and the world so hard that I was genuinely afraid for how much I might miss them now that I’ve fully beaten the game and won’t go back to it. Because it asked me not to. I even watched Let's Plays for any cool secrets I missed! It made me re-think the way I see my own relationships in my life. Like if my fictional friends make me so happy, do I examine my real ones enough to appreciate them the same way? Do I rise to the challenge of helping strangers the way I would in a game? Can I be a cool skeleton? I really, REALLY want to be a cool skeleton.

It’s been my most anticipated game for two years, so it’s great to see my expectations getting matched and exceeded. It goes a lot of different places for such a relatively short game, but it does it shockingly well. Much like Allie said, I played it and just had it occupying my brain for the next month or so. It gives you a lot to digest on the surface, and does an excellent job at making you invest in these characters. When you keep on reading about all the stuff going on in the lore or you’ve missed, you’ll continue down a deep hole of secrets and theories. It’s one of those games I wanted to share with others. It definitely earned itself a spot on my short list of all-time favourites.

Runners Up: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Yoshi’s Woolly World, Shovel Knight Plague Of Shadows

DINOSAUR OF THE YEAR (released before 2005)

Final Fantasy VI

Pay no attention to him, it only encourages him.
I’m glad to see one of my all-time favourite games was able to get this spot, as it means it held up as well as I remembered, and that Allie enjoyed it too. We played quite a few great “dinosaurs” this year, but this was the only one that actually had dinosaurs in it. We posted some more detailed impressions earlier in the year, so if you’re interested, feel free to check that post out.

Yeah! I was sorta hoping I’d like FF6 as much as many people seem to… turns out it wasn’t hard to like at all! It had great atmosphere, gameplay and characters. The world was so bleak and emotional… the danger so great and overwhelming, the game design, though linear, stayed interesting and satisfying. I can easily see why it’s got so many fans. And now I’m one too! Yay!

Runners Up: For the Frog the Bell Tolls, Illusion of Gaia, The Dig

Craziest Amateur Game

Sonic Dreams Collection

Face it, you've always w-um... okay. okay. hmm. okay.
Okay, so… This game is like… a fake unfinished dreamcast title containing a series of Sonic the Hedgehog minigames. Like some sorta blair witch project style urban legend bait but a game. I guess it’s sort of a parody of the sonic fandom? I managed to make some kind of ‘progress’ in the game and uh, it was weird. Like, real weird. Congrats on being weird, game.

It’s a game that was made for this category. You get a bunch of weird Sonic minigames that look and feel like they fit as bonus content in one of the Sonic Adventure games. They are weird, stupid, and have a little bit of creepiness to them, so they’d fit in just fine.The more you play however, the more you realise the game is “off”. “Off” in the same way as all those weird Deviantart drawings of Sonic are, where Sonic is pregnant and nailed on a cross and getting his feet tickled by Shrek. That type of weird. Even if spite of it being an obvious parody, I bet if actual fans would have been into this if it was actually part of Sonic Adventure.

Runners Up: Undertale, Funky Barn


Clover (Virtue's Last Reward)

Don't worry guys she only looks, dresses, acts and maybe is actually a 13 year old?
It was a pretty decent year for us in terms of bad outfits, but even a decent year can have some stains. Sweet little Clover was a character we had met before in this series’ previous installment, and while she’s all grown up now, she seemed to have picked her outfit for this game back when she was still a kid. Everything about it looks like a child’s idea of what a cool adult dresses like. The garish colours, the pointless accessories and unbelievably tacky patterns are just not a good look. Do you want to have a guess what that thing on her hair is?

Clover somehow manages to out-tacky a her associate, a cleopatra cosplayer with nothing but a chunky gold chain between your eyes and her exquisite bobs. (To be fair, she kind of rocks it. Has sort of a Nicki Minaj thing going on.) Clover on the other hand looks like a Flintstones fan character on her way to a 00’s rave. The worst part? She’s like an undercover agent or something.

Runners Up: Gogo (Final Fantasy VI), Avant Garde Dude (D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die)

Worst Trend of the Year

‘Here's a game we might make if you fund it on Kickstarter!’

Dude don't put your logo on it! It's a ransom note! They'll track you down!
Ironically, this also marks the first year I actually bothered chipping some money into a crowdfunded project (Indivisible). Still, it’s been long discussed whether the cultural shift from private funding from investors who have some kind of power or say in what a developer does to putting it in the hands of anonymous masses with the promise of some bonus T-shirts is an overall good idea. It just seems… yknow, exploitable. We’ve already seen examples of successfully backed up game projects that just straight up failed to materialise due to naive developers. Now it seems we’re entering a phase where more cynical developers are just using crowdfunding as a way to gauge interest without even having the ILLUSION of commitment. For example, the Shenmue kickstarter carefully hid the fact that instead of crowdfunding an entire game, they were just seeing how much money people might throw at it before they announce a REAL target figure and secure additional funding from major publishers. Many others have followed suit, parading a selection of cult franchises with a couple of vague concept arts or a teaser trailer. Maybe that’s just what it SEEMS like, I don’t know. Proof of concept for a fully realised game DESIGN please, not just pictures of a thing I like.

I’ve backed a few crowdfunded projects before, and I haven’t been burnt too hard yet. Heck, one of the big winners of this year was one I backed a while ago. It’s a useful tool to help some projects off the ground, or help them go independent from the potentially compromising claws of a publisher. I was pretty much on board with the concept ...until this year. We’ve seen big publishers dip their toes into the crowdfunding pool. They’re basically using the platform to shift the publishing risk from them onto the consumer. This the ultimate pre-order without a ceiling on the amount people can spend. Shenmue 3’s desperate and manipulative campaign was a bad precedent, and I can only imagine what its consequences will be in the long term. People have seemed to have accepted it, so we’re bound to see more projects like this in the future. I also have concerns about what kind of calls a publisher will make if a project may need to be delayed to polish it up. If they already have the majority of their money from their backers, then they can just eat the bad reception and blame the consumers for not having donated enough initially. Ah, what a bright future we have ahead of ourselves.

Runners Up: Please get and stay excited for stuff that won’t come out for several years.”, “Open woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooorld!”

Dumbest Premise

Drinking whatever an already established evil witch puts in front of you, causing all sorts of hijinks that prevent you from saving the princess. (For the Frog the Bell Tolls)

Cackling laugh. Black hood. Enormous pet vulture. Table candles. Floor..skulls?
I love you, Froggy Bells, but your entire plot could have been dealt with if people just communicated with each other. Spoilers and plot twists aside, would anyone drink random potion bottles from a witch? The prince of Sablé would. Multiple times. Princess is missing, evil reptile-men are roaming the land and it couldn’t be a worse time to be delicious frog, as the aforementioned reptile-folk love munching froggies. I wouldn’t drink anything with frogs on the label, but that’s just me.

Yeah this game was super cute and silly. Prince of Sable is already set up to be a kind-hearted but hotheaded dipshit, but drinking a potion handed to you by a cackling witch? C’mon, son. You might as well just go ahead and take advice from a CGI bunny rabbit or a talking flower.

Runners Up: A passing comet’s influence is nurturing the slave trade (Illusion of Gaia), A hypnotic drum has stolen all the bananas, you travel through a jungle seemingly littered with infinite bananas in order to exact violent revenge. (Donkey Kong Country Returns)

Most Awkward Moment

Low and Brink are just awful to each other. (The Dig)

No vultures, cloaks or table candles either. How could I trust you?
Oh man, so, we’ve already talked a bit about how terrible these two are. I’m gonna go ahead and spoil a bit of the game for you but it’s like 20 years old so w/e. Brink gets hooked on magical life pills and decides to do his own thing and instead of trying to reach an understanding, they just trick and steal from each other until things start to get a little bit more attempted murder-y. Brinks obviously been giving you the silent treatment over the phone for a while now, until you receive a mysterious distress call from him, sounding like he’s in mortal danger. The following scene is the absolute highlight of my experience playing this game: Brink’s arm is stuck in a boulder. He got his arm stuck. In a crack. In a rock. Fighting back tears of laughter, I search my inventory for anything that could help. The team conclude that the only way to free him, I shit you not, is to saw his arm off with a jagged looking alien jawbone. I shake my head in disbelief as the game actually has me saw Brink’s hand off with an alien jawbone. He doesn’t look so well afterwards.

I guess as some of you may have deduced, I’m not the biggest fan of our main protagonist, and I am on the side of what is essentially the villain of this story. Poor Brink wants to enjoy his JO crystals that grant him immortality. As someone who’s been dead before, Brink probably knows better than anyone else how much being dead can suck. Sure, he’s a little abrasive and aggressive at times, but considering what happens to him and how he’s treated, I don’t entirely blame him. Boston can step on a landmine for all I care.

Runners Up: Getting swept up by the most anti-social rhetoric. (Metal Gear Rising), Gregor marries Nowi (Fire Emblem: Awakening)

Most Terrifying Moment

Hamlet!!! (Illusion of Gaia)

This happened. THIS HAPPENED.
Hamlet is your cute little piggy friend, whose name is a slightly off-colour pun that references its mortality. It tagged along on your adventures, and one day you reached a near-uninhabitable village with human remains scattered all over the place. The scorching sun punished the lands, leaving it without water and very little food. Before you know it, you are ambushed by the starving natives. Since you’re unable to communicate with these people, they take you prisoner, and because they can barely feed their own, your prospects are looking really grim. Hamlet then rushes onto the scene and runs head first into the fire in the center of town, burning itself alive.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK OH MY GOD WHAT!? HAMLET NOOOOOOOO!!! WHAT? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT!?!??!! And then he’s all like EAT ME PLS because everyone is starving and oh my god what ;o; are you serious game? The pig genuinely chose to sacrifice itself in the most horrifying way possible to be your food! YOU EAT YOUR BEST FRIEND. THIS GAME IS NOT FOR KIDS THIS IS NOT A KIDS GAME FOR YOUR KIDS. (This is also not a blog for kids)

If there’s one thing Illusion of Gaia does well, it’s making it painfully clear that the world they live in is not one of idealism and perfection. The world is harsh, struggling, and may take sacrifices to better.

Runners Up: The Jackal getting burned alive (Illusion of Gaia), Nightmare Flowey (Undertale), My Roommate Sonic (Sonic Dreams Collection)

Most Tears Shed

Pacifist Ending (Undertale)

You're smiling and you hate it.
I like still can’t listen to the Undertale theme without getting tooted at by the feels train. Whichever way you play, you’re probably going to feel like someone's just punched you in the heart. But naturally, the super happy good person ending just... hhnnnggh. It just grabs you by emotions and just squeezes the tears out of you with its slimy monster hands. Remember to stay hydrated, kids! (I know you’re still reading this anyway)

I’m easily emotionally manipulated, and I usually have a few games each year that I can list. This year was no exception, and Undertale’s Pacifist ending was definitely the top contender. Considering how we’re trying to keep this spoiler-free, it’s going to be impossible to explain properly, so you’ll just have to take our word for it. Undertale does a great job at making you smile, making you care, and then using that against you. Brilliant use of writing, musical motifs, mechanics, and pacing culminate into the apotheosis of interactive storytelling. 10/10 emotions.

Runners Up: Luna’s ending (Virtue’s Last Reward), Gau meeting his papa (Final Fantasy VI), Rosch loses everything (Radiant Historia)

Bognor Award for Exemplary Fucking-Shit-Up-itude

Bad times with Sans (Undertale)

Heheh, no really.
This might seem like an unconventional choice for the Bognor Award, huh? Usually we’d pick someone who’s suplexed a few more meteors, who picks fights with wild abandon, or at least… eh… I mean.. a little more than, heh, 1HP?

Sans warns you that attempting to take him on makes for a bad time and… he’s not lying. I can assure you that much. Sans’ entire shtick in this game is to be a lazy troll, and that was all cute and amusing up until this point. One of the big downsides of being a hipster who likes stuff before it was cool was that I got to do this stuff before it got documented on Youtube. While Allie got to watch through her posh opera glasses from her air conditioned gallery, I had to do the dirty work myself. Compromise myself to see things through to the end. The naughty run may seem like a quirky gimmick, but it ended up weighing on me quite heavily. Sans’s unfair nonsense was the cherry on top of the ‘bad feels’ cake.

Even if you go on a bit of a killing spree in the underground, Sans will do about everything to avoid engaging you. But if you really go for it, if you REALLY want to get that naughty kid ending. Oh, you will. The thing that makes this guy such a spectacular terror isn’t his strength, it’s his desperation. He’s not interested in fighting fair like the other monsters. He’s only interested in doing everything he can to stop you. And it turns out he has quite some capacity for that. He’ll fuck your shit up enough in a conventional sense, but the shit he really fucks up is right here *points to emotions*. If he can’t stop you from winning, he’ll stop you from even wanting to try.

That’s fucked up.


Runners Up: Sabin suplexes a train (Final Fantasy VI), Death Bringer is some bullshit (Golden Axe), Undyne’s Cooking Class (Undertale)


Well, the awards this year seemed to all be uh... a little samey here and there, eh? A little bit like someone came in and goddamn cleaned house with our imaginary e-trophies? Well that's TOO BAD because it's the truth. Step up your game, other video games.

Now, you may be wondering 'Grrl please I KNOW you're playing Xenoblade, where the heck is Xenoblade? Does it have zero outstanding qualities?' Well the truth is, we only just got the game in like mid december and barely got a chance to play it, so we're officially declaring Xenoblade Chronicles X to be ELIGIBLE FOR NEXT YEAR'S AWARDS.

In conclusion, this year was a bad year for nothing I care about but a good year for MARRYING A SKELETON WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo bye

No comments:

Post a Comment