It is, ladies and gentlemen, the very last question of the Christmassy Q&A put together by Kim at Later Levels. Although it might now be a bit late to get involved, you can see the list of questions, as well as some links to collaborators, here!
Our question for today is…
‘You wake up the following morning, hungover but happy – you have an entire day of gaming ahead of you. You start thinking back over the video games you played during 2017; what was your game of the year?’
Sadly, I almost never get to play games in the year of their release. Can’t afford it! I think the one and only game I’ve played that actually released in 2017 would be Horizon: Zero Dawn, which is a very excellent game, but I’m not sure I should hand it my GOTY just because it doesn’t have any competition!
So what else came out this year? Well, there was Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda: Breath of the Wild, both of which I’ve seen playthroughs of and they look pretty awesome. NieR: Automata was, I think, also 2017, as was Persona 5, and what I’ve seen of those two games also looks excellent. Plus indie titles also had a decent year, with retro-styled things like Cuphead – and even the technically-indie but decidedly good-looking Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – doing pretty well for themselves.
I haven’t played any of them, though.
Tell you what: I did play something this year that may not have actually released in 2017, but heck, it was late-ass 2016 and I would seriously rate it as one of the best games I’ve played in a while.
Yup, The Last Guardian is my game of 2017 because… well, I played it in 2017 and thought it was an excellent example of how games can create emotional experiences. Sure, it was annoying at times, but Trico might be the most real companion I’ve ever had in a game. He doesn’t do what I want him to do, he refuses to listen to me, sometimes he even just decides to go back on himself for no good reason, but then when he does pull through, you feel like it’s because he trusts you. I have pets, and they annoy me all the time and do stuff I don’t want them to do, but then they also give me affection and… er… help me traverse obstacles… and it’s all the more valuable because of how dumb they were about getting there.
Maybe games need to be less concerned with giving us instant fun, explosions, satisfaction, gratification, all that stuff, and think more about how they can create cohesive experiences that build up to a payoff that feels earned. It’s a lesson that people in general might be able to learn from, actually: procrastinating on the important, valuable stuff in favour of doing things that are fun and easy doesn’t always give you the most full, real or complete experience.
So there ya have it! My game of the year didn’t come out this year, but why should that mean it can’t still be my favourite thing over the period? I’ll be really interested to see what games everyone else gives as their answer to this question, and maybe I’ll even pick a couple of them up if there’s a sale on!
One last note of thanks to Kim at Later Levels for putting this event on – it’s been fun and I’m sort of sad to see the end of it, but I’m sure there’ll be more awesome collaboration soon!