One true fact about gamers is our obsession with rankings, so expounding on Game of the year rankings excavates some of the greatest diatribe, only rivaling presidential debate chatter on twitter. Current generation consoles are approaching their 8th year and slumping sales are indicative of customers clamoring for something new and fresh. This extended cycle is also affecting development, and some sequels are in their fourth and fifth iteration. (insert call of duty joke here.) There is added pressure to not look at the sequels when picking a game that has left the biggest impression this year. Outlets will praise the Walking Dead for it’s engaging story, and how it changes our perception of point & click games. Others will point at Mark of the Ninja, for taking an older 2-d game conventions and redefining the Stealth Action genre, one that needed a fresh start. But my contender is Madden 13. A game won’t be on many game-of-the year lists.
This is a problem for me every year, because I want to vote for innovation and games that push industry standards forward, but when I sit on my couch after a hard day at work, i’m playing football. So, does the amount of time investesd constitute a Game-of-the-year nod? The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was my most played game in 2011, but all of it’s flaws kept it from taking top honors. Also, For every person that loves Madden, there is about four more that hate it. Madden represents more than a football game. It’s a franchise that has been dominant since most of us were kids, and it’s publisher was voted the worst company in America. So, voting for madden in the eyes of many, is voting for EA.
In self admittion part of the reason i’m writing this, are the thoughts that race through my head every year. Maybe it’s shallow of me to write an article about it, because it’s hard to admit that picking a Game of the year is representative of my own intellect, and in the back of my mind it feels like a disservice to pick a game that releases every year and iterates more than innovates. Over the next two months, there will be a massive influx of game releases due to the holidays, and there will be many contenders releasing in that launch window. The game that i’m finding the most enjoyment from, is one that requires a different set of skills; reading defenses, out smarting the opposing play-caller, running a two minute offense when you are down by 3 points, and blocking a field goal to save your playoff hopes. A game that I pick up when i’m not in the mood to play anything else.