The Arbitraries (Create Your Own Year-End Awards) 2018


#1

Forget the “Best” games of the year, that’s old hat. Now is the time of year when we can all gather and create our own awards for our favorite, least favorite, and random games!

(Get it? The criteria are totally arbitrary!)

Since the awards themselves are made up, the criteria tend to be a little more complicated than just “best”, so help us out and give a line or two of explanation about each one.

The only rule is: if you disagree with another poster, share that in the form of an award.


#2

A 200 hour RPG is fine if it’s Portable Award: Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I haven’t put quite that many hours into this yet, but its clear that that’s the direction that I’m heading. It’s not…great. But there’s lots and lots of checklists to fill out, and the characters are charming enough that I don’t mind spending some time with them.

What’s 10 Years Between Friends? Award: Valkyria Chronicles 4. I played the first one at release, and while I’m happy to play a new full-sized console version after a decade, it’s still sitting on my shelf.

Game Music I Listened to the Most this Year Award: Crypt of the Necrodancer. I hadn’t played this until this year, I think, after the music was featured in the first Game Music Thunderdome. But man, this soundtrack is absolutely killer, and is a great crunching drown-out-your-office work playlist. Also, it’s on Spotify. The game is pretty cool, too.

That’s Rad Award (Sponsored by JFC International): Yakuza 0. This game has probably done more to make me make Japanese food at home this year than anything else (well, maybe watching Terrace House).

Most Mystifyingly Popular Franchise Award: Legend of Heroes. I played through Trails of the Sky and found it…fine. And then played most of Trails of Cold Steel and found it…kind of bad? I fully don’t understand the devotion the fans of this series have for it.

Am I On Some Kind of List Now? Award: Kemono Friends Picross. I mean, Picross is just Picross, so it doesn’t really matter what the picture are of, but…this feels a little weird.


#3

All right, finally! The real Qt3 annual awards! Who needs all those rules over in that other thread? Not me sir, not me. OK, so here’s what I have to start off with -

Best 2018 Game That I Haven’t Actually Played Yet: It’s got to be The Return of the Obra Dinn, a game I haven’t put down money for yet because a) it didn’t go on sale during the Steam winter dealie and b) I’m guessing it will be in some kind of bundle in the near future. But oh boy, will I enjoy this one! Someday.

Game That Finally Made Me Wish I Owned a PS4: Spiderman, yeah that looks pretty awesome. Helps that it’s got Insomniac behind it, who pretty much always get things right. Plus my kids are both kind of obsessed with Spiderman so I’m lucky that they’re too young to understand that yes, this is a game and no, we can’t play it.

Best Game I Bought in 2017 and Still Haven’t Played Yet: The Witness, which I know is awesome, but I really wanted to be able to dedicate time to put into it. Doesn’t help that RDR2 came along and sucked up every moment of spare gaming time I’ve had over the last couple months. But soon – yes, soon.

Best Game I Bought in 2017 and DID Finally Play: That would be Picross 3D Round 2 on the 3DS. I love 3D Picross so much more than 2D for whatever reason, and this game enthralled me so much that I played it through 3 times - once on each difficulty. A big big endorsement to check it out if you still play on the 3DS.


#4

Game that Deserves more Love Award:
Prismata

Game that is just fun to look at:
Dragon Quest XI

Game I play every so often award:
Plants vs Zombies/Defense Grid 2 (tied)

Game I am most ashamed that I have never played:
XCOM 2


#5

I probably won’t post in the actual awards thread because my tastes mean only maybe one vote might count toward anything so here goes…

  1. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - Best 8-bit styled game since Shovel Knight. Everything about it evokes a certain era but without any of the slowdown, shimmering, or general jank that could pervade even the greatest of games from that era. Also doesn’t end after you “finish” it, which is great.

  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII - It’s the best iteration of Team Deathmatch available in a modern game. Blackout is fun, and I enjoyed messing with it, but this is all about TDM (or Kill Confirmed) for me. Heist is cool too, though. Shwakt!

  3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - It’s Smash, with everything, and it’s great. You either get it or you don’t.

  4. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition - I played a hell of a lot of this at the beginning of the year. I wish other things hadn’t distracted me because I was getting a lot better when I stayed focused on it. Probably jump in when the new season starts in earnest again in 2019.

  5. SNK 40th Anniversary Collection - It’s one of the very best retro collections I’ve ever played. Filled with facts about development and anecdotes that show just how simple things we take for granted today required serious thought in the early '80s. The games are awesome too, and it expanded half again through free DLC. Digital Eclipse made up for a lot of failed past efforts with this one.

  6. Capcom Beat 'em Up Bundle - Less powerful than the above collection because it skips a lot of the history and doesn’t offer a lot of visual options, but it features some of the best belt scrolling beat 'em ups ever made and they play fantastically. I played as much Final Fight in 2018 as I did the year it released.

  7. Pokémon Let’s Go: Pikachu - Best retelling of the original tale. It’s simple in all the right ways and complex in all the others. Every kid or kid at heart should play it.

  8. Retro - was my real passion in 2018 and among those games, the things that really blew me away that I had not played before were Hagane, Super Aleste, and Return of Double Dragon on SNES, and Castlevania: Belmont’s Revenge and Kirby’s Dream Land on Game Boy. I also rekindled my love affair with Viewpoint on Neo Geo with the RetroTINK2x, a now indispensable device for my retro gaming.

Best game no one wants to talk about anymore from 2018 - Fortnite


#6

The “I waited 7 years for this?” award: Dead Island.

I like some of the zombie games and this one looks pretty good for its age. I’d picked it up in a sale somewhere and it had been sitting in my backlog. But it’s buggy, and after an initial charm turns into a brutal slog, as if tedium was one of the design goals. Yes, I know several Qt3ers like the magically respawning creatures gimmick, well you will love Dead Island. It doesn’t help that weapons last about three zombies before needing repair or replacement. And while there is some nuance to the melee combat (you have to watch the zed and time your attacks rather than just button mash) your character still feels clunky and slow.

Neat concept but I think I like State of Decay better. After playing honestly into Dead Island’s second chapter I could take it no more and have installed the save editor and turned on the boomerang feature for thrown weapons. The game is now playable and the slog seems manageable.


#7

The Gold Star Award for Making Me Feel Smarter Than I Am: Return of the Obra Dinn. Great game, but I can’t shake the feeling that I spent more time watching a clever movie than figuring things out.

Best Intro Music: La-Mulana 2. I haven’t made it more than 20 minutes past the intro music. Fortunately, it’s great intro music.

Bayonetta-Soulslike of the Year: Lucah: Born of a Dream. The controls are pretty much the same. Sure, it’s an isometric emo dark fantasy world rather than a 3D battle between heaven and hell. Still close enough.

Best FTL Game: Into the Breach. I enjoyed FTL, but not as much as the Internet did. I was annoyed by the act of playing. Into the Breach keeps the same great structure and pairs it with better gameplay.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance spoiler from the first 30 minutes

King Foltest Award for Greatest Character that Dies in the Prologue: Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Just like King Foltest in The Witcher 2, I was sad to see that Henry’s dad wouldn’t be around very long to deliver his excellent voice lines.

Best Dodge: Monster Hunter: World. The Longsword’s Foresight Slash is very satisfying due to visual and mechanical payoff. The dodge direction (straight backwards) is unorthodox but works perfectly for these types of enemies. Gotta love Capcom.

Surprise of the Year: The announcement of Devil May Cry 5. Two months away now. I can’t wait!

Stupidest Fun: BattleTech. An alpha strike into the center torso never gets old, no matter how overpowered I am for a mission.

Most Disturbing Trend: Too many retro first person shooters. I don’t actually like these games, but they all look great! For now I’m sticking with Ion Maiden.

The Tiger Woods Fist Pump Award: Celeste. It’s a great feeling to nail some of those tricky jumps or reach the end of a B-side. Runner up: Return of the Obra Dinn.

Crack Cocaine Award for the Series I Can’t Shake: Ninja Gaiden. I’m still playing so damn much of this series. Master Ninja runs on Black and 2, plus a few playthroughs of Sigma 1 and Sigma 2 on RPCS3. It’s hard to enjoy other games for a while until I come down from that high.


#8

The Free Game I still Don’t Want to Play award goes to:

Destiny 2
People paid $60 for this thing a year before it was given to the world for free, but I still can’t muster up the will to play it. They say you get what you pay for, but I’m not sure if players are getting a $0 game or a $60 game out of the deal. I just know that the first game was designed around making things miserable for typical solo players, and it’s kept me from wanting to dive into the second, free or not.


The Longest Load Times I’ve Seen Since 1996:

BATTLETECH
I just built a new PC and BATTLETECH is one of the very first games I picked up for it. Turns out I can’t bring myself to load it up because it just takes too long to get going. Then I find myself playing phone games until it’s fully loaded, and by then by the time it’s ready to go I’m fully invested in a Hearthstone match and then spend the rest of my gaming time just playing that. This looks like it could be a fun game if I would ever make the time to enjoy it.


The Bad Game I Don’t Actually Enjoy All That Much But Keep Playing Anyway:

Fallout 4
I don’t know what they put in the water (okay, it’s rads), but there’s something about this game that keeps me coming back for more. I know it isn’t the story. I certainly know it isn’t any of the annoying characters. And I super-know with all my heart it isn’t that insufferable lead character, who apparently wants to spend the entire post-apocalypse running around whining and crying to anybody he can dupe into listening to his bleating. But whatever the reason, I keep finding myself loading this one back up and whacking away at bloatflies and shiny rubber dogs. I do have a ton of supplies though, so maybe I just enjoy stockpiling.


The First Person Shooter That’s So Good I Keep Comparing Every Other Shooter To It:

DOOM 2016
Thank god there’s a new DOOM due on the horizon this year (DOOM Eternal), because I’m tired of picking up new modern shooters and constantly finding myself disappointed that they aren’t anywhere near as compelling as 2016’s DOOM. Sure, 2016 was only a few years ago, but that’s a long damn time in the gaming world.


The “Free” Xbox Gamepass Games I Probably Would Have Played Much Longer had I Actually Paid For Them award goes to:

Player Underground Battlegrounds
Gears of War 4
Ashen
Below
Sea of Thieves

Not to be confused with my thoughts on Destiny 2, all of these are purported to be fantastic games and significantly add to the value of the Xbox Gamepass. But there’s just something about getting them ‘free’ with Gamepass that devalues them to such a degree that I don’t feel like I’m willing to give them a fair shot. The first time I run up against some quirk or design decision I don’t agree with, I just uninstall and move on. Easy come easy go. I don’t feel like I’m losing out during the process because I don’t feel like I really put all that much into it. All these games, many of which might even qualify as genuine GOTY considerations for some players, ended up seeing me put less playtime into them than it took me to even download the things. But I can’t say I hated any of them enough to completely disregard them had I actually paid retail price for them at some point.


#9

Off-topic:

This was the old Matrix Games reasoning. There’s a lot of truth to it, notwithstanding the other problems with wargame pricing.


#10

Most Unintentionally Funny Scenes of Brutal ViolenceUnavowed
The game is excellent, but the limits of the AGS engine in the animation department makes some of the most dramatic and violent moments hard not to snicker at.

The “Wait, They Made a AAA Game I Want To Play??” AwardSpider-Man
I actually love open-world mechanics, but I don’t love how grim, cynical, and self-serious most of the games are. Thank you, Insomniac for making a game that I felt good about playing.

Best Use of Ralph Waldo EmersonWalden, a game
Okay, actually the Emerson bits weren’t really a highlight, but I liked the sound of this award name. Either way, the game is a wonderful experience that I promise is not edutainment!

No-Brainer Purchase of the YearSuperflight
It was less than a dollar during the sale, but even at $2, you should just buy this baby and enjoy the impeccable physics and simple score-chasing.

Game I’m Most Conflicted About 2018Star Control: Origins
When I think about all the Sturm und Drang around this game, I end up thinking most about the developers who had to work in the shadow of all that public conflict. I want to support the game for their sake. On the other hand, I don’t want to support the way Stardock leadership has behaved. On the other other hand, I’ve heard the writing is really good. On the other other other hand, I’m not sure I’d enjoy an almost-SC2-but-not-quite experience.

SERIOUS SPOILER HERE
The “Holy Fuck There Are Seaweed People Riding Death Crabs Up In Here!” AwardReturn of the Obra Dinn
I did not expect how out-there this game’s story would get.

More Than Just a Pretty Face AwardGris
The game is incredibly beautiful. But I ended up really impressed with the level design as well. It flowed nicely, tested your newly evolved skills for just long enough and in enough different ways, and did some things I didn’t at all expect, like giving you an AI companion for part of the game.

Game That Still Fills In Every Unaccounted-For Second Of My LifeRace for the Galaxy (iOS)
Three years running. I’ve played 3600 two-player games against a Hard AI and won about a quarter of them.


#11

Holy moley. I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of my Android version, but I don’t even think I’ve passed 100 games total. You might just hold a world record or something.


#12

I could drop Ascension into that spot personally. But almost all of my matches are against people.

Same with Race for the Galaxy actually.


#13

Best Unplayable Workout - Beat Saber

This is easily the most fun and energetic VR game but sweating all over my headset is a huge disincentive. I invested in a Nike sweatband to see if that would help but I can still only get through a couple songs. I don’t stop playing because I want to stop playing, I stop playing because I’m perspiring all over my expensive tech. I swear, I’d be in SUCH good shape if someone would only solve this problem.

Finally Gonna Get Through You! - Grand Theft Auto V

Red Dead Redemption 2 got me in a Rockstar mood so I ended up triple-dipping on GTAV, finally getting it for PC after stalling out early on my PS3 and PS4 copies. I never even made it to Trevor until last week! But damn does it look better than ever.

Best Listening to Records While I Play Game - Slay the Spire

I got a new turntable back in May so I was happy to have an ultra-addictive PC game to play that didn’t really need me to pay attention to sound so I could happily spin records while I played.


#14

You should emphasize in your original post how much of a major spoiler this is!

Do you ever play a game against 2 AI or something? That’s a lot of dedication to a single game mode!


#15

I think all that would add are twice the opportunities for me to lose horribly.


#16

The 2p game is a lot more interesting (at least against humans) since everyone gets to play two action cards every round rather than just the one.


#17

Oh that was my submission! It warms my heart that you’ve dug into the full soundtrack and, uh, dug it. Such a good OST. I wasn’t so keen on the game, mostly because I was terrible at it.

Yep, my girlfriend is the same. Not wild about the 2D versions but 3D? She’s crazy addicted.


#18

Agreed and agreed. Destiny 2’s characters and dialogue and plot and all the proper nouns are so stupid and hilarious. In fact…

Lore. What is it good for? - Destiny 2
On the abilities screen there’s a ‘Show Lore’ button and I challenge you to click it and read the text without rolling your eyes. Someone had to write all that.

Biggest Nope. - Subnautica
Bathophobia, thalassophobia, call it what you want, but Subnautica tapped into some primal fear in a way that I haven’t experienced before in a game. VR probably would have killed me.

Most Delicious Weapon - Basingstoke

Best Regular Human Trailer - Regular Human Basketball


#19

The Hallmark Channel Seal of Approval:

Unravel
Take a journey through the underbrush, as the fuzzy red coils of your innards drag through the dirt behind you. Make your way across this earth as you ambulate from one side of this great country to about five minutes further down the road. In Unravel, you play as Yarny, a puzzle-solving cat toy gone on a walkabout. Oh, and there’s faux-nostalgia to boot, assuming you’re nostalgic for funeral music and the sorts of stock photos you’d find tucked into picture frames at a local Hallmark clearance sale. Nana and Gamgam give this one two thumbs way up.


They’re All Out to Get You:

Throne of Lies
Hearing voices at night? Feeling a little paranoid? Well, maybe you should. Some of these people just don’t look right… do they? And those rumors of some secret society infiltrating the government and trying to install a false king can only mean one thing, it’s time for you to take action. How about tonight you just kidnap and interrogate random people on the street until you’re satisfied all the bad guys are accounted for? That’s your prerogative, and if you don’t like what someone have to say, feel free to butcher them before sun-up. In Throne of Lies, listening to the voices and acting out on your delusions might just save your life.


#20

I forgot to post in this thread!

Best Value for Money Award: The gang of BSG forum-game moderators, @CraigM, @Knightsaber, @Lantz, @rho21. The best people!

Best Lantz: @Lantz