A rollercoaster of a year is coming to a close, and among everything else it was a really great year for games. I didn’t realise until I made this list, but there was certainly a trend among my favourites of beautiful outdoor settings, which I’m sure contributed to just how many screenshots I took this year. It’s a lot.
Regardless, here are some of my favourite games of the year that I certainly recommend checking out!
Stardew Valley absorbed much of the early months of 2016 for me and was the most intensely charming and calming little space I could have asked for. Plus, I met my beautiful wife Leah.
Yarny for best protagonist of 2016. Unravel was adorable and gorgeous in turns, with an incredibly detailed and beautiful setting and a story all about love. How could I not recommend it?
Pokémon (Go/Sun and Moon)
This year we were given the glory of Pokémon Go, and despite its rocky start it became pure joy – to quote my sister on the first day we played together with our mum, “It really does make everyday life just a little bit better.”
And of course I would be remiss not to give a shoutout to my adorable buddies in Alola. Sun and Moon are a great next installment in the mainline Pokémon franchise, and Lillie is one of my favourite characters in recent memory. Hau is adorable too. Actually, just about everyone is. I want to live in Alola really very badly.
I have So. Many. Oxenfree. Screenshots. I’m not usually one for scary games but Oxenfree made up for it with gorgeous art and excellent storytelling and characterisation.
Overwatch/No Man’s Sky
Here’s something a little different; whilst I love both of these games for what they are, they encapsulate 2016 in a different way, namely through the critique that has surrounded them. Both have been fascinating case studies with many brilliant articles written about them. In particular, watching the blossoming fandom springing up around Overwatch’s representation (both imagined and real) has been one of my favourite parts of the year. What have we learned from both these games about hype, community, and cultural criticism? Time will tell.
These are not the only games that I’ve loved this year, but they are all emblematic of 2016 in games for me; vibrant and varied and never predictable. Onwards to 2017!