My Games of 2011

Here is a list of my games of the year (in no particular order). The only one that I’ve completed is Portal 2 but I’ve played enough of the others to make a judgement. I normally complete more games and although I’ve been very busy this year it isn’t the main reason for not being able to finish games that I’ve bought. I think we have been spoiled with the quality of games releases (and re-releases) and it has become impossible to keep up with playing all these new games if you are as obsessive with trying everything as I am! I think I am also becoming a bit jaded. Taking this into account I have to say that Skyrim is my game of the year (based on my play time, it’s immersive world, and great game design) closely followed by DeusEx. However, I feel I should also say that Bastion is my favourite “indie” style game – I just love everything about it – and Terraria has stolen a lot of my time this Christmas.

  • Dark Souls
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Terraria
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • Portal 2
  • Bastion
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • Scribblenauts (iPhone)
  • Jetpack Joyride (iPhone)
  • Skylanders
  • El Shaddai
  • Beyond Good & Evil HD
  • Inside a Star Filled Sky (PC)
  • Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)
  • ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Collection

Its been a year for classic games to be re-released on a new platform and many have been a delight to play. Playing Ocarina of Time on the 3DS has been more enjoyable for me than it has been on other platforms, and Mario Kart and Super Mario are also perfect advocates for 3D gaming (though the means for viewing 3D graphics needs improved!). Scribblenauts has found a perfect home on IOS and I’m glad that ICO got an HD release for PS3 to enable a new audience to appreciate one of the games of all time. Beyond Good and Evil didn’t get enough sales on its first release due to the crazily competitive christmas season and it has found a perfect home on Xbox Live Arcade. Surprisingly for me I have spent more time playing phone games and I’ve actually bought DLC for Jetpack Joyride, which is a really elegantly designed game. It has also been a good year for smaller developers who are trying to innovate. Minecraft should be very influential in the development of future dynamic (openworld) games, though I enjoyed Terraria more. I have a soft spot for these types of game and Inside a Star Filled Sky was a really interesting game to play with an unusual gameplay dynamic (moving inside and outside yourself!). Both Star Filled Sky and Bastion have been influential in my game-inspired learning research – Bastion because of its literal reconstruction of a world (imagine educational constructivist ideas). Bastion of course is also a lot of fun and has a nice way of narrating a player story. Skylanders is worthy of a mention due to its innovative blended reality approach to play, and also because the game suits its targeted age group. However, Skylanders could be improved vastly, especially for young girls, if it had open world areas for freeplay rather than the narrow linear challenge based structure (when are developers for children ‘s games ever going to learn?).

El Shaddai is amazing, especially for its visual style and game design based on a missing book of the bible! However, it’s not quite as good as last year’s Bayonetta for me. Dark Souls, Skyrim, Zelda Skyward, and Deus Ex are getting most of the attention in the game of the year awards/blogs. I’ve played Deus Ex and Skyrim a lot and I love them – they have both significanlty improved the basic gameplay in their respective sub-RPG genres, though they are lacking game design innovation. I die a lot in Dark Souls so it is too early for me to fully rate it and I’ve only started the new Zelda – I guess that Zelda would be my game of the year if I had played it much more.

Other games that I have enjoyed playing include: Gears of War 3, Rage, Minecraft, From Dust, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Rayman Origins, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, MonsterUp (Windows Phone), Contre Jour (iPhone), Child of Eden, Outland (Xbox Live Arcade), and Rift (PC).

Games that I should have played by now include: Batman Arkham City, Battle Field 3, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Super Mario 3D Land (3DS), Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, Mario Kart 7 (3DS), and L.A. Noire. All of these could be candidates for game of the year based on reviews that I’ve read.