Jay’s Recommended Games of 2016

Two panels from the "Reflections comic." The first depicts a red haired woman opening a gift. It contains a blue patterned scarf. "It's perfect!" she exclaims. Next panel she and Tracer kiss.

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 screenshot. A character with a green bow stands in a field next to a tower.

Stardew Valley

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.

Unravel screenshot. A little red being made of yarn is standing near a tree. The light is bright and a bit glowy.
Unravel

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?

A house on a beach. Outside the house are numerous people and Pokemon smiling and laughing.

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.

 

A screenshot of the game Oxenfree. The blue haired protagonist of the game, Alex, is in a cave using he radio. Above her a small yellow triangle has appeared, and nine streaks of bright color radiate from it. On the right side of the cave, etched or painted onto the stone, there's a sentence that reads "SAW THE MAN BUT NOT THE DOG."

Oxenfree

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.

Two panels from the "Reflections comic." The first depicts a red haired woman opening a gift. It contains a blue patterned scarf. "It's perfect!" she exclaims. Next panel she and Tracer kiss.

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.

 

No Man's Sky screenshot. A bright green field filled with curious looking creatures. They look peaceful.

 

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!

Jay
About Jay 18 Articles
Writer, gamer, human, though not necessarily in that order. Both happiest and at my most critical with a controller in my hand. You can email me at jayplaysthings@gmail.com.
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