Backlog: Live and Die on this Day Edition

Well, here we are again. Every year we all gather 'round the proverbial fireplace as peers, comrades, and friends to participate in a sacred ritual: to determine the best and most significant games from the past year.

It's a taxing and exhausting process, but it's a necessary one. As arbiters of change and progress in the games industry — and, frankly, as people who have each dumped a hell of a lot of time into playing a lot of games in a single year — we owe it to ourselves and to our readers (which, again, please holler if you're out there because it looks pretty damn quiet these days) to reach a consensus. It's a little self-indulgent, but we wouldn't keep doing it if we didn't think we were capable of producing something meaningful for our audience. And for the last four years, I'd say we've succeeded. Feel free to look back on our previous years' features:

But something about this year is different. Things are more contentious than ever, and no clear victors seem ready to emerge.

So, in honor of this year's debate having the potential to be the last good fight I'll ever know, I'm watching The Grey to steel myself for what's to come tomorrow.

In the meantime, Doug and Aaron have some more thoughts to share about games in this week's Backlog. Check it out after the break!  — Nick Cummings

Aaron

Some people would rather watch the world burn than vote for Zelda as GOTY

Some people would rather watch the world burn than vote for Zelda as GOTY

All I have to write this week is how I played a lot of games to steel myself for tomorrow’s argument discussion. Yes, our staff’s Game of the Year debate occurs within 24 hours from now.

Which reminds me: I should finalize my will.

In the effort of preserving my energy for the upcoming battle royale, here’s my lazily pasted-in and tentative, totally not final list of 2013’s best games:

*SPOILERZ*

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds 2. Gone Home 3. The Stanley Parable 4. The Last of Us 5. Pokemon X/Y 6. Super Mario 3D World 7. BioShock Infinite 8. Bear Stearns Bravo 9. Papers, Please 10. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

If you don’t like my choices, then please fight me IRL. (Please don’t. I have children. [I don’t.])

Or if you really desire to call me an idiot for my personal top 10 list, please leave a bitter, sarcastic comment on this article. I’ll totally respond!

Doug

The 15th Anniversary pack includes a number of high-performance cars, including this Audi R18 which, in a better world, would actually be racing at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January.
The 15th Anniversary pack includes a number of high-performance cars, including this Audi R18 which, in a better world, would actually be racing at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January.

Life in Japan gets busy in the winter at times like now. Just like in the west, the end of the year is a time for holidays, and work holiday parties. Nothing like dropping everything in the middle of the week and going to the annual work holiday party, which translates from the Japanese to literally mean “forget the year” party. Oh, yes, Japan knows how to loosen up from time to time.

I guess that’s a long way to say I haven’t had much time to play games this week. Which is annoying, since I had a few more games I wanted to get to before Game of the Year descends upon us. I did get to start and put an hour or two into Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and I got through the prologue of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, but I wanted to finish Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and get further into The Last of Us (yes, I know, it’s pretty shameful) and a couple more on the PC.

But what did I get and immediately spend a weekend playing? Gran Turismo 6. If you haven’t yet please go read my Love Story in Six Parts, a history of my relationship with this crazy and influential series. I really love that the issues I’d had with Gran Turismo 4 and 5 have been taken care of; it’s now so easy to jump in and enjoy the crazy world that Kazunori Yamauchi created, and track your progress by the stars you earn that I’m never feeling as frustrated as I got in the past. Plus, since I picked up the Japanese 15th Anniversary edition, I got a swathe of free cars that are of various categories, ages, and speeds. Oh, I need a Japanese SuperGT racing car? Luckily a Honda HSV-010 is included in the pack! Need an older European sports car? There's a Lancia Stratos. Need an electric car? They've even included a Tesla Model S! It's like a big starter pack -- and there's reason to go buy one of your own as well, since the 15th Anniversary cars can't be visually modified. And if you're a car guy like me, you're trying to give everything a set of Ray's TE37s. Safe to say it's going to get a late Game of the Year push from me.