I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in PopMatter’s game of the year list. Their second one to date. I was also invited onto the Moving Pixels podcast to talk even more about the best games of the year.
I don’t have any long diatribe about the nature of the list this year. Though I understand the time constraints, it is a little disheartening to see a year like 2011 (one of the weakest on record) get a top 20 and 2012 (probably going to hailed as one of the strongest) only get a top 10. Personally only 2 games in my own top 10 (I submitted a 20 game list) made it into the PopMatters list. And of course some games I wouldn’t put near the best of the year made it in. Such is the case with collaborative lists, especially when they are done by simple vote with no discussion before hand.
As a consequence I got to do the blurbs for Journey – a game I have difficulty accurately describing even using conventional superlatives – and Mark of the Ninja – a game I hadn’t finished at time of voting. I spent far too long on two 200 word blurbs and still wasn’t happy with them in the end. It’s the difference between trying to write why a game is on the best in broad terms to affect a team and my game of the year list description which was purely personal. In hindsight, what I wrote here might have worked in PopMatter’s list as well.
The podcast was likewise fun. So much more enjoyable when you know you aren’t the one who has to edit and upload it. I get to relax and simply be part of the conversation without worrying about all those umms. (Still couldn’t help but notice all of them.)
We discussed ahead of time how we should do it. Would we list our personal top 5s, review the PopMatters list or something else. My suggestion won out: we would gamify it. We would all list our top games of the year, but we couldn’t name a game already listed. This brought up a lot of unconventional picks and some surprising revelations. Like the fact I was the only one who had played Journey in the recording session.