When I’ve sat down to write these year-end lists in the past, I’ve usually done so with a sense of urgency that belies my intentions for them. Inspired by the industry-wide personal best of lists Giant Bomb publishes to celebrate the year that was, I envisioned mine having the same panache. In reality, my procrastination leaves me with little time to revisit my previous sentiments, and the best I can muster is maybe a cursory thought and a link to any applicable reviews (SEO!). The last couple of years, I’ve kept a thorough log of what I played, simultaneously maintaining a top ten list all the while. As such, compiling my favorite games come December isn’t hard; I just don’t leave myself enough time. But this year I’ve got a secret weapon – I’m starting early.
As always, it’s worth clarifying that these are my favorite games that I played this year, regardless of their release. If it wasn’t apparent from my intermittent posting, I don’t have a career in games media and like anyone reading this, I have limited resources available to me, chief amongst them time. As such, the games I do sit down to play are already pretty curated. Now, that doesn’t mean the games themselves are universally regarded, or that I even come to like them, but I’m usually pulling from a list of only about fifty titles. And I try not to include repeat entries, because otherwise Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Go would ALWAYS be present. With those caveats out of the way, let’s get to it!
The tradition continues. Another year in the books, and another list of the favorite games I played in said year, in alphabetical order. This list omits Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Go, both of which I’ve poured a ludicrous amount of time into this year.
Last year was the first time I really dedicated myself to playing the games in my backlog I always wanted to play. I didn’t receive a terminal diagnosis or have a loved one die, but I realized my time is limited, so I needed to make my game time count. This year ended with another respectable batch of games crossed off the to-do list, many of which are mentioned below. On the other hand, the last quarter of the year was dedicated almost exclusively to a pair of new releases, and well worth it!
At the beginning of 2018, I made a conscious effort to work through my backlog and play those games I’d always wanted to, but never did for this reason or that. Happily, I actually worked through a not insignificant portion before the summer. Then, the home buying process, and Octopath Traveler, took up any free time I had. When the dust settled, I was bombarded by new releases that occupied my time for the last half of the year.
It’s been a little more than a year since my last post, wherein I ostensibly reached the end of my “Grand Ambition.” Shortly after, I completed the National PokeDex in OmegaRuby, registering all 721 known Pokemon at that point. Upon hitting that milestone, my interest cooled. I continued popping into Sun to claim each new distribution, but nothing more.
Well, a few weeks ago I started playing OmegaRuby again, finally setting out to obtain some shiny Pokemon. My first target was Charmander.
As a reward for completing the National Dex in OmegaRuby, I received the Shiny Charm, an item which increased the likelihood of encountering shiny Pokemon. The standard rate in this particular generation is 1/4096. That is, each encounter, in the wild or by hatching an egg, has a 1/4096 chance of a shiny Pokemon appearing. Pretty dire odds… The Shiny Charm increases this rate to 3/4096, or roughly 1/1365. There are ways to further increase the odds though, such as breeding Pokemon from different regions – the Masuda Method. In doing so, and if in possession of the Shiny Charm, the odds the breeding Pokemon produce shiny offspring is increased to 8/4096, or 1/512. Regardless, they’re still very rare.
Unfortunately, I didn’t keep track of my progress, but I got my shiny Charmander after 150-200 eggs! I’d say that was maybe ten hours of playtime, spread out over a dozen or so sessions.
Wanting to “properly” train him, even though I don’t intend on playing competitively, I went down the rabbit hole of individual values and effort values… which is an overwhelming topic for another day.
2017 will go down as one of best years for game releases, I’m sure of it. Unfortunately for me, there’s still many games from this year that I have yet to play. I did get the opportunity to play some great games though, and coupled with the games of yesteryear, I’m quite content with this year’s list. Per usual, this list is in alphabetical order.
Basically, it was a year to the date from the time I stopped playing Pokemon Go last year to picking it up again around a month ago. In that time, a few changes had been implemented and I’ve found myself enjoying it. We’ll see how long that continues… After all, it still is a “bad” game in so many regards. There are a lot of awesome features to it, too. Anyways, I recorded this a few nights ago after activating a Lucky Egg and evolving as many Pokemon as I could. I was able to generate enough experience to jump to the next level and added a few new entries to my Pokedex. Forgive (or enjoy) the static noise (fan) and My Brother, My Brother and Me in the background.
Damn, what a year! In a lot of ways, it seemed to be one long downer, a year devoid of hope for many. I’m very fortunate in many ways and as this year winds down I’m going to look forward to 2017 and aim to devote more of my time to outlets that benefit others. As it stands now, much of my spare time in 2016 was devoted to video games and related interests. As I’ve done yearly, I’ll compile the ten favorite games I played this year, in alphabetical order. Per routine, this list is not limited to brand new releases but instead is based off what I actually played. When applicable, I’ll link to any articles I wrote during the year.