My year in gaming: 2013

I thought of doing a “best game of 2013” list, but realized that the list of games I’ve played that were actually released in 2013 is quite small. Instead, I’ll just hit the high points, of games I thoroughly enjoyed this year, in no particular.

Skyrim — One of the hidden benefits of playing Steam games in offline mode is that it doesn’t always record your playing hours. I’m fairly certain that, if it did, I would find it extremely embarrassing. I’ve written about it quite a bit, so that’s all I say here. I’m semi retired with Skyrim; I want to see how good it is with my desktop, so I won’t play again until summer, if something else hasn’t taken up my time by then.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Enemy Within — The latter is the expansion pack. Squad based turn based strategy games are a funny thing for me: they’re in my wheelhouse of games, yet I never manage to play them for some reason. I have played precisely two that I remember clearly: XCOM and SWAT 2. (If I were going to revive Forgotten Classics, SWAT 2 would be first on my list.) I’m surprised I haven’t written about XCOM yet. A tremendous tactical game that’s occasionally very frustrating, but for the right reasons. I don’t have the guts to play on Ironman mode (a single save), but it’s addictive in the way many of the best games are. Highly recommended.

A whole slew of Paradox games — Including beta testing for EUIV and Victoria II’s last expansion. I probably write about these too much, but I will say that Victoria II remains my favorite game for lots of reasons.

OOTP 14 — Duh.

The Thief series — The first games in my backlog I cleared up in St. Petersburg. Looking forward to the new one coming out this year.

FTL — A recent pickup, and the first truly indie game I’ve played in a long time. The premise is simple: you have a spaceship. You need to get to Federation HQ to deliver information. Between HQ and you are lots of other spaceships that want you to die. You have to make them die first. You will die — A LOT — in this game, but the game doesn’t cheat. It reminds me a bit of XCOM in that regard (which occasionally does cheat — I’m sorry, but if I have a sniper rifle in your face, I’m pretty sure I won’t miss). Every death is a learning experience. Thoroughly enjoyable, and it cost me around $5.

Magic: The Gathering (2012 and 2013 edition) — I LOVED Magic in high school. I still do. There’s no deck editor, but for all that the AI plays a pretty reasonable game of Magic, and you can play with friends too. Another cheap game I spent a lot of time on.

Angry Birds (Star Wars and Star Wars II) — One of my pre-Russia purchases was a nook HD+ tablet; given how much I enjoyed Angry Birds for my Droid when I had it, I quickly bought these for the tablet. Highly addictive, yet highly simple.

Fallout 3 — I have barely touched this, but it’s already more fun than the first two games, in my opinion. To this day, I don’t remember if I ever beat Fallout 2. Every time I play it, I get about 75% of the way through and convince myself I’ve already beaten it. It’s not like Baldur’s Gate (which I eventually did beat) or Baldur’s Gate II (which I didn’t, because I lost the first CD); I genuinely don’t remember, and I don’t like it enough to find out. Fallout 3 looks like a winner, though, and it’s next on my list, after I finish with XCOM: Enemy Within.

Bioshock: Infinite — Another game I’ve written about. My favorite PS3 game in 2013, with surprisingly little competition.

Tomorrow I’ll post about what I’m looking forward to in 2014.

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