Video games, to be specific. Seems like nary a year goes by without seeing a release or two that are rather quite good.
I had originally made this post to talk about my game of the year. It’s always a fun to think about and, hey, everyone is doing it.
So I began scrolling through the releases this year and compared it to the games I played. It only then that it hit me:
I didn’t play any good games released in 2016.
I played No Man’s Sky – bad game. Paper Jam – terrible. The Witness – pretentious garbage. Infinite Warfare – fine, but not GotY.
Clearly I know that a ton of good games came out this year. I just…never…actually got to any of them?
That doesn’t even seem possible. Surely I played at least one of them, if only by accident. Like, maybe I fell onto a controller and began to play Dark Souls 3…?
Turns out that the games I played – the good games, GotY contenders, anyway – were largely from last year. Or the year before that. Or like 20 years ago.
Well, this is going to be awkward, huh?
WARP DOGS’ GAME OF THE YEAR,
(ASSUMING IN THIS CONTEXT “OF THE YEAR” REFERS TO WHEN I PLAYED IT,
NOT NECESSARILY WHEN IT WAS RELEASED),
The Witcher 3
If you sat me down in front of some very smart, very capable game designers and asked me to describe my perfect game, the end result would have probably still been less enjoyable than the Witcher 3.
It nails the humor and tone I want to see in video games. It absolutely crushes it with the world and the efforts it goes to build it up into something real. The story is fantastic. The combat is fantastic. Geralt – fantastic. All the characters – fantastic.
Graphics – gorgeous. Voice acting? Wonderful. Music? Oh my god.
Quests? Otherworldly. They’re all so good. Every single one of them – in the way they subvert your expectations, in how they play with your emotions, the themes they explore, the callbacks to the most obscure lore and myth.
And so on, and so on, and so on.
It’s also gigantic, but always in the right amount. It’s open world without quite rubbing your nose in it – no towers or minigame icons and checklists.
Don’t get me wrong, I still wanted to complete everything, explore everything and, indeed, check all the boxes. The difference is that it was always on my terms.
I did it because this world, these characters, deserve help. I cared. I did it to see the next thing – it was like Civilization’s “one more turn” syndrome, only it was the entire game.
What more can even be said about this game that hasn’t been addressed by countless others much smarter than I?
All I know is that as a game designer I am at once in awe and jealous of this world. There’s so much to be inspired by in the Witcher – not just 3, but the entire Witchering series generally – and I am overjoyed that they exist and are successful.
There are few games out there that can be said to have improved the entire industry by just existing. The Witcher 3 is absolutely, without a doubt, one of them.
Anyway. The Witcher 3: didn’t release this year, but gosh darnit it is easily my Game of the Year 2016