Best New Game - Undertale
1st Runner Up - Xenogears
2nd Runner Up - The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Yeah, the game that swept everyone's Best of 2015 list makes mine, too. Undertale is equal parts hilarious and gut-punchingly powerful, and it says something about the game's writing that killing a bunch of 1s and 0s can be so hard (particularly the 1s and 0s that comprise a certain skeleton).
Xenogears is... odd. It defines what happens when ambition escapes reality, and it might have stayed within budget if they'd cut some of the bullshit, but I'm happy that I played it. And Binding of Isaac ate up almost an entire month for me, that's gotta count for something.
By the way, I have not bought the Afterbirth DLC for Isaac Rebirth. It's too expensive and I hear it adds little more than bullshit and multiplayer babies nobody asked for.
Worst Game - Yoshi's New Island
1st Runner Up - Dark Matter
2nd Runner Up - Unearthed: The Trail of Ibn Battuta
I was hesitant to give an award to Unearthed because while Yoshi's New Island and Dark Matter were both painful to play and slaps in the face of its predecessor and players expecting a proper ending respectively, Unearthed is so short and forgettable it's hardly worth getting worked up over. But I swear that waste of 90 minutes launched at $20, but even the current $5 is too expensive. And even if I'm mistaken, it took up 8 gigs of my hard drive, so fuck it.
Best Replay - Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
1st Runner Up - Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
2nd Runner Up - Soul Blazer
This year I learned how to replace cart batteries by desoldering out the entire clip, and was so giddy over this I replaced batteries in games left and right. This also meant lots of my favorites losing their saves and needing to be built back up, and I actually thought I was going to get more replays in.
Prettiest Game - Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
1st Runner Up - Ori and the Blind Forest
2nd Runner Up - Xenogears
Yup, these games are pretty eye candy. What else do you want me to say about them?
Best Soundtrack - Xenogears
1st Runner Up - Undertale
2nd Runner Up - The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Oh man, this was a hard one to decide. I finally went with Xenogears because the soundtrack has proper loops which I know sounds petty, but dammit, I had to come up with something to break the tie.
While I still prefer the original Danny Baranowsky soundtrack, Isaac Rebirth's soundtrack has grown on me more as I listened to it.
Most Obnoxious - Yoshi's New Island
1st Runner Up - Grow Home
2nd Runner Up - Jazzpunk
Jazzpunk's graphics gave me a headache. Grow Home's camera and controls gave me a headache. Yoshi's New Island's graphics, controls, sound, and very existence gave me a headache.
Most Pleasant Surprise (Games) - The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Yeah, I know it seems like Undertale should win because of how impressed by it I was. But I went into Undertale with neutral expectations, while the original Binding of Isaac had me less than optimistic for Rebirth. So when Rebirth actually turned out good, it was much more of a surprise.
Biggest Disappointment (Games) - Guacamalee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
Why the hell does this even exist? Did DrinkBox need some quick cash to help with the development of Severed? Guacamelee was a damn fine game; I gave it my pick of 2014 after all. But if Guacamalee was a beautiful teddy bear, Guacamalee STCE was the producers gluing some balloons to the bear in an attempt to get people to buy it twice.
Most Depressing - Mass Effect 3
I wasn't sure what to call this award, but I wanted to give some kind of acknowledgement to the wimper the Mass Effect trilogy went out on. Mass Effect 3 isn't getting this award because of the lackluster ending (although as I said in my quickie, I wasn't that angry over it). Mass Effect 3 is depressing because it emodies what happens when corporate suits who are only interested in money seize creative control of a work.
Another problem with the way this game handles DLC is it obscures what the base experience is supposed to be. DLC is supposed to be optional content for people who loved the game and want a little more of it, but after completing Mass Effect 3, I read the DLC with the Vanguard character was crucial to the story. Back when I reviewed Jamestown, I said a game telling you "Hard" is the true experience just raises the question of why that isn't the default setting, and is like a music album telling you to up the bass to get the true experience instead of playing the music bass-heavy to begin with. Likewise, when I'm told "optional" content is "crucial"... what does the game want me to do? Alter the game from the get-go? Play the game twice? Well, of course EA wants people to give them an extra ten bucks, because EA doesn't give a shit.
Most Satisfying to Finally Finish After Tormenting Me For Years - Pokemon Silver
1st Runner Up - Pokemon Blue without cheats
2nd Runner Up - Pokemon White
... well, this was... unintentional...
Most Hilarious - Undertale
1st Runner Up - Mass Effect 2/3
2nd Runner Up - Xenogears
Okay, Xenogears is on here as a joke, but I didn't feel like splitting this up between intentionally and unintentionally hilarious games. The second disc is one of the most surreal things I've ever seen, and I couldn't help but laugh hysterically at it. And I know Mass Effect 2 and 3 aren't comedy games, but they did make me legitimately laugh and "seven zettabytes of explicit images" was one of the greatest things I saw in a game this year.
Game That I Put A Decent Amount of Effort Into, But Never Got Around to Finishing of the Year - Scribblenauts Unmasked
I intentionally abandoned both this and the following game, but this was the less torturous of the two. After Scribblenauts Unlimited surprised me last year, Unmasked goes back to the "Guess what I'm thinking" mentality of the first Scribblenauts, taken to new levels because some of the puzzles require more knowledge of the DC Universe than I have.
Some puzzles seem broken; one time I had a guy who wanted a superhero cape, but he wouldn't accept a cape, a towel, a blanket, or anything I could think of. Another time I had a guy trapped in an electrified tractor, and had no bloody idea how to get him out. After solving a Beat the Bad Guy puzzle by adding an "Unconscious" or "Burning" or "Dead" adjective to them for the billionth time, I finally gave up.
Game That I Put A Decent Amount of Effort Into, But Decided Could Go Fuck Itself of the Year - Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Yeah, if you've played Sticker Star, you probably know what the problem was. I'm not exactly a huge fan of the previous Paper Mario games (I guess I liked Thousand Year Door until it started petering out at the "I Love You" guy), but at least those games had some life to them. Sticker Star has all the energy of a dead squid and I could only play it for ten minutes before crying out in frustration and boredon.
The biggest problem with Sticker Star is the random battles are literally a waste of time. Instead of having the standard selection of RPG commands, you use consumable stickers to make Mario act. And then you don't earn EXP from battles, only money... which can only be spent replenishing the attacks you used in battles. Because Nintendo doesn't know what the fuck it's doing anymore.
No Movie Awards, Sorry
If you look through my quickies, it looks like I only watched three movies that weren't RiffTrax or MST3K features (Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor 2, and Hotel Transylvania). I actually watched quite a few movies this year, it's just that they were all shitty Pokemon movies I want to save for a full article.
Best Book - Feet of Clay
1st Runner Up - Unidentified Funny Objects
2nd Runner Up - Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded
All comedy books? I guess I really do need to broaden my horizons...
Worst Book - Spider-Man: One More Day
1st Runner Up - What Savage Beast
2nd Runner Up - The Familiars: Secrets of the Crown
Yeah, One More Day isn't actually a book-book, but screw you, it was hands-down the most offensive thing I witnessed this year and deserves to be kicked in the shins.
Best RiffTrax - The Star Wars Holiday Special
1st Runner Up - Cyborg Cop 2
2nd Runner Up - To Catch a Yeti
Like One More Day, the Star Wars Holiday Special was something I'd read about constantly on the Internet but didn't get to witness firsthand until this year, but at least RiffTrax allowed me to experience this Internet sensation without suffering too much.
Most Pleasant Surprise (Everything Else) - Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded
I haven't read any of John Scalzi's fiction books, but this has me looking forward to one.
Biggest Disappointment (Everything Else) - What Savage Beast
Want to know what else sucks about this book? I had a thing going with the Quickies selection page where the Hulk showed up every year since 2012, and What Savage Beast's lackluster...ness screwed it up.
School meant this wasn't the most productive year for the site. And I know everyone's sick of people banging on about Undertale, but it really is one of the most joyful game I've played in years, although that's diminished somewhat by the knowledge that there's so much fanart of Sans and Papyrus shagging floating around (seriously, Internet, stop doing that).
In Loving Memory of Arlene
1999 - 2015