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Eric's Top 10 Games of 2012

Halo 4 Screenshot

2011 (not a typo) was an odd year. Its general theme seemed to be games that I considered good (such as Portal 2, L.A. Noire, and Batman: Arkham City) getting incredible amounts of praise, to the point that I would end up being the voice of dissent on games I actually liked. Hell, at one point somebody gave Batman: Arkham City a 6 stars out of 5. Now, people liking games more than I do is perfectly fine and not all that uncommon, but this happened constantly throughout 2011 for almost every AAA game, and it left me wondering what had happened to critical discussion.

You can't always CYOA

Fallout 3 Screenshot

Something interesting I noticed this year was a trend of push-back against "choice" games in which the player did not get to control every outcome. The two biggest examples which spring to mind are, of course, The Walking Dead and Mass Effect 3.

Brad's Top 10 of 2012

Persona 4: Arena Screenshot

Another year, another breakdown of the year's best games…according to me. Before writing this list, I went back to my archive and looked over what I'd said in years past. The funny thing is that while plenty of folk were saying that the "big" games disappointed in 2012, I also found that to be true in 2011 and 2010. Perhaps the trend is becoming more noticeable now, but in hindsight, it definitely seems to be a trend that's been happening for a while.

Consoleation: The grass isn't greener

Super Mario World Screenshot

When I think back to my 20-something self, during the 16-bit era, I remember how starved for video game information I was. We had monthly magazines to keep us in the loop back then, and information was relatively limited. "Oh, this game looks cool!" I would think to myself, but after reading a few paragraphs and seeing a couple of images, that was it.

Consoleation: Difficult decision

Rodin's The Thinker Image

As we turn the calendar to 2013, I'm faced with a rather significant decision to think on over the next couple of weeks.

2012: The Year of the Games

Journey (PSN) Screenshot

2012 has been an amazing year for games. I had meant to put together a post extolling the virtues of the top candidates for game of the year, but the list kept getting longer and longer, with more and more games that would have been obvious choices for a top-five list in any other year. The task was clearly beyond me. So, I enlisted the talents of Michael Abbott, Brandon Bales, Mattie Brice, Kate Cox, Denis Farr, Brad Gallaway, Brendan Keogh, Justin Keverne, Cameron Kunzelman, Kris Ligman, Eric Swain, and Dan Weissenberger. With my superteam thus assembled, let's look at some of the year's super games.

Consoleation: VGA observations

BioShock Infinite Screenshot

Here are some things that I took away from what I saw of the VGAs...

Consoleation: Signposts—The Nintendo 64

F-Zero X Screenshot

I don't think I gave the Nintendo 64 enough credit as a video game platform. I got the Nintendo 64 on launch day back in 1996. I was visiting a Lechmere store in Springfield, MA and saw that there was one unit left. I bought it—along with Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64—and brought it home. I'd played the import version of Super Mario 64 at Fantasy Realms, a local independent video game store, and wasn't particularly impressed… but it was a Nintendo system and I knew that I wanted to own it.

Consoleation: When enthusiasm became exasperation

New Super Mario Bros. U Screenshot

If you knew me back in 2005, I was a lot different. I was genuinely excited about console gaming, as I had been for decades before. I was still a big Sony guy, as I had been since the original PlayStation launched and won me over. I was also getting into the original Xbox, though late. A new generation of consoles was coming, and I was looking forward to it while also enjoying what was currently available. I was alternating my time between the Internet and reading video game magazines to stay as current as I could.

Your choices don't matter

The Walking Dead: Episode Five—No Time Left Screenshot

World War Z and The Walking Dead take a similar conceptual approach to the zombie apocalypse, but have fundamentally different views on human society. The basically optimistic World War Z suggests that social problems are a surface malady that the zombie apocalypse would strip away, letting the moral strength of mankind ultimately show through triumphantly. The Walking Dead, on the other hand, sees social order and altruism as artifice, a contortion of natural human behavior that falls apart once the zombies consume the social mass that held it in place.

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