2013 Fun Games of the Year

If you’ve read this site for any period of time, you know that we’ve always shied away from naming a “Game of the Year.” The reasons are many, but mostly come down to the fact that we don’t have time to play everything and saying something is the “Best” of “the Year” reduces games to some arbitrary set of factors that qualify it as the best. I don’t have the time nor authority to make such proclamations.

We, in the end, play games for fun. To be entertained, to be challenged, but ultimately to have fun. So that’s what we’ve done every year — reflect on which games we had the most fun with this year.

First, a quick list of games I picked up in the last couple of weeks (or planning on buying) that seem to be on everyone’s year end list that I haven’t got to yet: Super Mario 3D World, Brothers, Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Fire Emblem: Awakening. They all look tremendously fun (although Fire Emblem’s Permadeath is hardly ever fun) but they didn’t make the cut.

To be honest, 2013 wasn’t the greatest year for me and playing new games. Time and resources were in short supply. And there wasn’t anything the jumped out and grabbed me as a must have until the end of the year, anyway.

The Fun Game of the Year that didn’t come out in 2013 was: Super Meat Boy. I’m really bummed I didn’t jump on the Super Meat Boy train earlier. This game is tremendous. This game falls into that same realm of accomplishment that Portal and Portal 2 did — whereas solving a level in Portal 2 bestowed the feeling of superior intellect, getting through a Super Meat Boy level (and grading out an A+, of course) makes you feel like you are Billy freaking Mitchell, the greatest video game player that ever played in the history of gaming.

Super Meat Boy is pixel-perfect platforming, challenging, unrelenting, brutal, disgustingly tricky and ultimately fair and balanced.

The game is over three years old. You’ve probably read it all before — the music is great, the controls are perfect and the game is just fun. Straight-up video game fun. I wish I would have played it sooner. This definitely would have been on 2010’s list.

(Runner up: Mark of the Ninja)

And the Buttonmasher’s Fun Game of the Year is: State of Decay!

Wow! State of Decay? Another zombie game?

Sure, why not? When I started writing a review for State of Decay, I described it as, “one part GTA’s open world, two parts Dead Rising’s zombie brawler (minus the good fighting mechanics), sprinkle in some Animal Crossing and a dash of Fire Emblem and you’ve got State of Decay for the Xbox 360.” (Fire Emblem? Permadeath.)

State of Decay is the first zombie game that deals with the topic covered by the show “The Walking Dead” — how do you survive? There isn’t a helicopter on its way in 48 hours to rescue you from the mall. You’re stuck here, so what are you going to do about it? And who are you going to trust?

State of Decay has its issues, the wonky fighting mechanics being the most egregious one. But overlooking the little nits and concentrating on what the game tried to do and what it was successful doing puts this game in the top tier of my favorite Xbox 360 games and it’s my 2013 Fun Game of the Year

(FGotY runner up: Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Runners up runner up: Bioshock Infinite and Halo 4)

As you can see, I didn’t really play a lot of new games this year. I hope to remedy that in 2014 with a new console and new approach to how I play games.

What was your Fun Game of the Year?

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