GOTY 2016: The Top 10 Games of the Year - #10

We're excited to announce the Silicon Sasquatch Top 10 Games of the Year! After months of discussion and a marathon five-hour meeting, we've finally narrowed down the ten games that we feel best represent the best and most important that 2016 had to offer.

We'll be counting down through our Top 10 list all week, so stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don't miss a thing!

#10 | Pokémon Go

Niantic, Inc. | July 6th, 2016 | iOS, Android

Creating a top ten list is an inexact science at the best of times, and it only gets tougher when you're weighing the opinions of five people to reach a consensus. But maybe the toughest hurdle to clear is when you can't agree what any one item on that list represents.

To many game enthusiasts, Pokémon Go is hardly a game. There's no lure to reach the endgame (and in fact, none exists), and the multiplayer options that the series is known for — trading, cooperating, and competing in digital monster battles — are conspicuously missing from Go. To longtime fans of Japanese RPGs and the Pokémon series, it almost seems like there's hardly anything Pokémon about this game.

I've said it before: when it comes to the raw mechanics of playing the game — hunting monsters, grinding for XP and items, conquering gyms — there's nothing that Pokémon Go does particularly well. But there's something real — something deep — that this game tapped into, and in a tiny way, it changed the world.

Within mere months, 500 million people — nearly a tenth of the population of the planet — had downloaded Pokémon Go. Statistically speaking, many (if not most) of these people had never played a Pokémon game in their life. But there's something potent in the game's recipe of simple mechanics, geolocation-based exploration and endearing monsters that turned what could've been seen as a ho-hum cash grab into a true phenomenon.

I've seen dozens of families out on walks through their neighborhoods with phones out, taking detours in order to catch that rare monster they've been looking for at the nearby Pokéstop. This summer, the parks in my neighborhood were consistently swarming with people, ranging from young children to the elderly, all brought together with a common purpose: to catch fake monsters while enjoying the real world.

There's a real lesson in here for game designers and critics alike: you don't have to make a good game by traditional standards in order to accomplish something truly great.  — Nick Cummings