My 10 Favourite Games Of 2016: Tegan Jones

Image: Kotaku

There's been plenty of games this year, and while there's been plenty of similarities in the office Alex, Amanda, Hayley and Mark all had a separate favourite for 2016. Today, it's Tegan's turn to reveal her 10 favourite games of 2016.


Pony Island

Pony Island is WEIRD. But also brilliant.

It’s almost like you get two levels of enjoyment out of it – when you play and when you make others do it.

There isn’t a whole lot I can say without spoiling it, but if you like the idea of an interactive mind fuck that requires you to escape a game and battle with the devil, you should give this a go.

A word of warning though – don’t trust anything you see. Are you sure the game just crashed?


The Division

Image: Supplied

A controversial addition, I know.

It’s certainly not revolutionary or pushing the boundaries in any ways. And the dialogue is pretty awful. But there’s a special place in my heart for The Division.

Perhaps it’s because it’s one of those games that is super fun to play with others. I put it in the same boat as Destiny in that respect. I doubt that I would have liked it as much if I played solo.

Truthfully though? Alex and I solidified our relationship over this game after a long night of feeling the effects of questionable Korean BBQ. By the time it got to 5:30am we knew that sleep wasn’t going to happen, so chose to roll strangers in the DZ instead.


Pokemon GO

It’s difficult to ignore something that had 50 million players and such a significant cultural impact.

Pokemon GO had plenty of problems, but it did something that no other game had done before, not even Ingress. It got people out en masse and changed the conversation surrounding video games on a global scale.

There is also something to be said about the vibe it created. It brought such a sense of unity and formed a connection between you and total strangers.

It also resulted in certain partners promising you a Pokemon picnic day that you’re still waiting on :P


No Man’s Sky

Controversy aside, I enjoyed No Man’s Sky for as long as I could.

This is in no way a negative comment, merely a reflection of the limitations we already know about. You could only go so far when this hoghly anticipated title hit the shelves, and everyone has their limit.

But the time I did spend in game was incredibly special. I fell in love with the languages, discoveries and potential. I loved the idea of feeling so alone and isolated in the universe. Sure, other people may have been out there somewhere, but it certainly didn’t feel like it.

I also admittedly like making fat stacks off stripping planets of their precious Emeril, but hey, a girl’s gotta eat. And buy that huge ship upgrade.


Uncharted 4

Image: Youtube

What a great close to what has, for the most part, been a spectacular series.

Although the convenient missing brother storyline felt a tad contrived, I enjoyed every moment of this game. Yes, even the laughable amount of combat. In a lot of ways it’s an old school tale of adventure, it has to be over the top.

It felt like an interactive movie in a lot of respects, and the pacing is perfect for tag teaming.

You also can’t deny just how visually stunning it is. I often found myself distracted by simply taking photos and getting lost in the scenery.

This is AAA done right.


Oxenfree

Image: Supplied

2016 has been a solid year for indies, and the incredibly underrated Oxenfree is no exception.

The truly stunning world that has been created here is punctuated with rich, complicated characters and a compelling narrative that leaves you constantly craving more.

You feel the weight of every decision and are acutely aware that what you’re doing will change everything. It feels so real and you can’t help but care.

The dialogue system is also unique in its execution. In addition to choice, you have a time limit. If you don’t react in time your character responds with silence, which is still interpreted as an answer. This can be frustrating but it also injects a compelling element of realism.

It may be time for a replay…


Virginia

Image: Variable State/Virginia

Twin Peaks meets Silence of the Lambs and The X-Files in this indie title that feels more like a film than a game.

I can’t quite put my finger on why it captured me to the extent it did. It certainly wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea. The graphics are blocky and clunky, and the extremely rough edits will rip you from a scene and transport you to another before you get a chance to get comfortable. This is purposeful of course , but it takes some getting used to.

Besides the fact that I’m a sucker for anything FBI related, I think it’s the risks that I most admired in this game. The devs tried something unique with their narrative delivery, and I appreciated it. The mystery will also keep you guessing up until the end, and you can clock the entire thing in a few hours.

If you like experimental games, pick this up. It isn’t a huge monetary or time investment, and I think it’s well worth it.


Mafia III

Image: Kotaku

I was so surprised by how much I love this game.

One could argue that it’s a bit of a GTA rip off, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But there’s more to it than that.

In addition to a killer soundtrack that bounces between quintessential songs of the 1970s and Louisiana Jazz, the story is told in a fascinating way.

Rather than present the player with an ordinary linear narrative, Mafia III adopts a documentary style of storytelling, complete with flashbacks, faux news footage and interviews with characters later in life.

This fits perfectly with the story – it really feels like you’re watching something on the crime channel at times.

Firewatch

Firewatch is the pinnacle of what has been a stellar year for incredible short games.

I was beguiled by the beautiful world, fascinating characters and underlying mystery that was injected into what is essentially a walking sim.

It made me feel something, deeply. It’s mere existence has been a call to action in my own life. It achieved more in its 6 hours of game time than any AAA title has in a long time, at least for me.

It also contained some of the best voice acting that I have come across in any game, ever. If you haven’t picked this one up yet I highly recommend it for the Christmas break.

But above all else, my favourite game of 2016 ...


Stardew Valley

Image: Stardew Valley

I’m a Harvest Moon fan from way back, as well as someone who grew up with my own vegetable garden, so it’s unsurprising that Stardew hit the top of my list this year.

As Alex will be able to attest, I have injected close to 150 hours into my little farm, and I feel that Christmas will serve to raise that number. There’s something incredibly relaxing about simply running a farm – from feeding your cute little ducks to fishing. It’s the ultimate escape.

But it isn’t all about the quaint idyllic lifestyle. There’s money to be made and I’m nothing if not a business woman.

I appreciate that Stardew allowed me to start a full blown winery empire – complete with regimented lines of barrels. I’m a booze mogul in my little town and I couldn’t be prouder.

The only disappointment I have had is my choice of partner. I was won over by Sebastian’s sad boy persona. But he’s a garbage husband. He barely helps around the farm – often opting to take long walks riding off on his shit looking motorcycle. Fortunately, you can romance others and one of the more recent updates allows divorce. To quote the great TLC, I don’t want no scrub.


Comments

    Interesting that 3 of the games on your list appeared in the community list of years most disappointing games!

    The Division was top notch. Hands down one of the best games I ever player (400h of gameplay).

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