so it's getting to be that time of year again when the air gets nippy and the turkey hops down the chimney and all the big video gamesmen pull another duty call from their bountiful pouch! but it's not quite that time of year, my friends. geoff keighley hasn't emerged from a smoking crater at the ends of the earth to begin his pilgrimage to the game awards.

all this is a fancy way of saying that it's time to start talking about our favorite games of the year! i feel like 90% of us are gonna pick smash come december so i'm taking non-official action to start this discussion early, get some variety going. so, from a distinctly november-y standpoint, what's your GOTY for 2018?

it came out very recently but i played basically all day for the last two weeks or so and i can pretty confidently say my favorite game released in 2018 is red dead redemption 2. and i haven't even played the first one! (yet,,,) i don't tend to enjoy open-world action games because the space between actual stuff happening feels like dead weight, but this game seriously gripped me, through a combination of beautiful graphics, insane attention to detail, and its emphasis on interacting with other people. yes, it's an action-packed adventure about a tragic gang of outlaws losing their way in the dying days of the wild west, but i care about that gang and the adventure they find themselves on because they're not just helpers and quest givers. i make it a point to make sure our protagonist, arthur morgan, gets a cup of coffee every morning and walks through whatever makeshift hideout he's found himself in this time, checking in on his fellow outlaws. i check his journal of surprisingly great sketches, i head into town and get a meal or play poker, and after a night of crime and battle, i return home, sit around the campfire, and go to bed. the term "role-playing game" has become heavily associated with stats and quests and all sorts of things, but red dead redemption 2 is one of the first games to really make me role-play. the writing is excellent, the movement and gunplay have this really uniquely "heavy" feel that doesn't come off as dull, and overall, i can't recommend this game enough.

runner-up picks for me:

  • marble it up is a very small indie game but as someone who grew up playing ball-rolling platformers, it makes me weirdly emotional seeing the genre return. too content-lite and niche to call GOTY, but something kind of deeply crafted for a very specific type of person that i happen to be?
  • sea of thieves wasn't what everyone was expecting and yeah it was repetitive and yeah i haven't played in months and yeah most crews sucked and yeah most crews that didn't suck always made things awkward with some problematic language but i really got into it for a while i think
  • metal gear solid V: the phantom pain is a very good video game that i enjoyed a lot for its tight, smooth controls, varied missions, and interesting mechanics surrounding your rogue mercenary ocean nation, but it came out in 2015 and it's only because of xbox live gold that i played it this year

so, what games did you enjoy this year? no vote, no community consensus, just spread the good vibes y'all!!