Games I enjoyed in 2016
It has become popular to list your favorite games of the year as the last days of the year are numbered. I wanted to give it a go as well even though I didn’t get to play as many games as I wanted this year due to the release of Laser Disco Defenders. However, as a game designer and a sight impaired gamer I thought I have an interesting perspective I can add to this discussion as the year draws to a close. Here my picks are in no particular order.
Is it a game? Well if Rock Paper Shotgun can put it on their list so can I! This VR painting program does certainly have a playfulness to it, I haven’t found in other painting apps for my Vive. A huge reason for that is Tilt Brush is very polished. Each brush produces its own sound when drawn, which makes it feel a lot more tactile to put digital paint strokes in the open air than would seem possible. Tilt Brush is also on the list because I think it heralds how VR will be an important medium for creating games in the future.
The most interesting game with a premade narrative I played this year. I found it refreshing that you got to roleplay a more average guy and how he dealt with his wife suffering from dementia. Initially I didn’t like the ending, since I expected the Chekhov’s gun it set up to pay off, but thematically and tonally it worked really well. Some solid voice acting and very pretty visuals also helped make this game feel special.
Much praise has already been bestowed on Blizzard’s new shooter. It was by far the game I spent the most time playing this year thanks to its great game feel, and the lure of playing the multiplayer with friends. As a gamer with a sight impairment, it is also one of the few shooters out there where strong silhouettes, clear UI and color choices make the action easy to read. On top of that the diverse cast makes this one of the most inclusive games I have ever seen.
I played a lot of WipeOut Fusion on my old PlayStation 2 so I was very hooked when this popped up on my radar. I wasn’t disappointed. The game feels super fast, and using the second analog stick to control the orientation of the ship to avoid scraping against the track when it curved up or down feels great. It adds a new dimension to the zero G racing genre. The ingame UI could be a bit larger so it would be easier to read, but the track layout is clear and easy to figure out.
I have always found Dwarf Fortress fascinating, but impenetrable in terms of all the complexity you have to understand before you can start playing it. When I heard of Rimworld that takes inspiration from the former, but focuses on making it more approachable with clearer graphics, better UI and a built in tutorial I had to give it a go. I choose to start with the shipwrecked starting condition, and made the fatal mistake of naming the crew after friends. I was therefore super keen on getting my small bundles of random stats and hand picked names to escape the planet they had marooned on. This of course ended in horribly death to everyone caused by marauding manslaughtering elephants. If you like player generated narrative this one is for you.
Also I want to give out some honourable mentions to Event, Doom, Super Hot, INSIDE, and Steamworld: Heist which I really enjoyed this year as well