Fave Things of 2013 – Video Games

 In the next couple weeks I'll be running down my favourite things of 2013 including, but not limited to, movies, music, video games, and comic books. I'm starting with what'll (probably) be the shortest of the posts: Video Games. My time spent playing video games is fairly minimal, so there's probably a lot this year I missed out on, but here are the ones that really caught my eye in 2013:

Call of Juarez Gunslinger The first game I’ve played that accurately recreates the feeling of a really good trashy Spaghetti Western. Gunfights play like the shootout from the end of Django Unchained: ultraviolent, ridiculous, and over-the-top (only with the added benefit of some just plain ol’ fun bullet-time thrown in).

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon 80s video game art, action films, and direct-to-VHS schlock aesthetics combine in a video game with a tongue so firmly in cheek its exploding out the other side. The same joy and buzz I get from Hobo With A Shotgun, I get from this game. And, it probably has the greatest game trailer I have ever seen.

Gone Home Never have I played a game that so thoroughly moved me upon its completion. It’s short, but like a good novel or film it will most definitely be something I revisit again and again.

 

Unfinished but really digging:

Bioshock InfiniteGrand Theft Auto 5Guacamelee!

The Last of Us The other titles here remain unfinished simply due to the time commitments needed to wrap the games. The Last of Us has been slowly explored for altogether different reasons. This is the first time I have played a game that has created combat gameplay so disturbing, and so deeply tied into the games themes of violence, that I can only play for a short period of time before wanting some time away. Excellently written and genuinely soul-crushing.

Non-Game Video Game Thing: Rev3Games

This video channel has single-handedly renewed my interest in video games.

I came onto Rev3Games in 2012 when it was announced that Adam Sessler would be working there as editor-in-chief, executive producer, and host. Since then Rev3Games has expanded its programming and has become an essential go-to for news and entertainment. The channels game reviews and criticism are especially a large draw, treating video games like any other artistic medium, as a work that is a sum of its parts. A game with problematic undertones or a poorly written story does not get a free pass just because the gameplay is well-built. 

Non-2013 Thing I Discovered and Loved: Hotline Miami

Caught this 2012 PC game once it was finally released on the PSN this year. Like Blood Dragon this game just presents a wonderful, neon, “80s” aesthetic that is a joy to look at. Combine that with great, somewhat surreal, writing and story and gameplay that straddles the line between horrifying and absurd, and you get a game that feels like a combination of David Lynch and Nicolas Winding Refn.

 

Excited for in 2014: Jazzpunk

This game is just a confluence of a ton of my interests all wrapped in a wonderfully bizarre and spectacularly stylized aesthetic. My video gaming habits are sparse, but hot damn this is gonna be a must-play.

 Disagree? Agree? Think I missed something important? Drop me a line below in the comments.