2012 has been a heck of a year for a lot of people, and I’m not much of an exception. When compared to my fellow 148Apps writers I imagine my list is a bit more game-centric but what can I say, it’s a significant part of my life and has been for close to 25 years. With that in mind, on with my personal 2012 favorites in no particular order. Okay, they’re actually in order of what I thought of first.
The Daily Grind
This might sound corny and/or contrived, but I’m being totally honest when I state that simply writing for 148Apps has been one of my favorite aspects of this entire year. Not only has it resulted in my exposure to a bunch of great iOS games, it’s also afforded me lots of fantastic opportunities to interact with the community. I get to talk to iOS developers on a regular basis, I’ve gotten sneak peeks at new projects, and have generally been having an absolute blast doing all the stuff that I probably should be taking for granted but can’t because I enjoy it all so much. Yes, even my awkward podcasts with our own Carter Dotson.
Team ICO’s polarizing title, Shadow of the Colossus will always be one of my absolute favorite games, so naturally I was salivating over the idea of introducing a similar idea into a game that’s equal parts Monster Hunter and even a little Elder Scrolls. It took a couple rounds with the demo for everything to click, but once it did I was smitten. The combat is supremely satisfying even before crawling across the haunches of a griffon in mid-flight, to say nothing of the satisfaction of bringing said griffon down. Not only that, it’s also the one game featuring a customizable avatar that I’m 100% satisfied with and even proud of my results.
My wife and I have lived in New York for just over six years now. Up until recently it was in Brooklyn, in a somewhat unsavory part of town that was certainly better than it had been but still has a ways to go. It was one of those areas that can be a bit scary at certain times of the morning or evening. On top of this, our apartment was pretty small. We’re two people with two cats and it was cramped. Anyway, after a shockingly painless search we managed to find a significantly larger apartment in a much more significantly friendly neighborhood in Queens for only slightly more than our old place. The move itself was terrible - probably because it was sweltering hot, we had no AC, and I was apparently coming down with pneumonia at the time - but it’s been an absolute joy to be here ever since.
Mass Effect 3
Say what you will about that ending (and I agree that it was pretty disappointing), but I love this game. It’s a total refinement of the gameplay mechanics, the best looking entry to date, and features multiplayer that I personally find rather awesome. Plus I was able to bring my particular Commander Shepard’s tale to a close after several years. Sure underneath the hood it’s all a bunch of if/then statements but the results felt completely personal. This wasn’t simply Mass Effect 3, it was MY Mass Effect 3, and I’m not entirely certain any other game will come close to evoking such a feeling anytime soon. For the curious: FemShep (vastly superior), default redhead (finally!), totally got it on with Garrus (2 and 3). And I let him win the marksman contest because he’s cute when he thinks he’s got an edge.
I’ve been on a fairly significant Minecraft kick lately, across all three versions no less. Getting to try out The Blockheads has been something of an epiphany. See, the typical Minecraft experience has never felt quite right to me on my iPhone. Combining all that crafting and building - along with plenty of unique new recipes like clothing - with a god sim-like control over the workers is shockingly fantastic. Imagine combining the Mojang juggernaut with The Sims and you’ll start to get the picture. Tasks ranging form mining to smelting to gardening can all be queued up and the selected blockhead will get to work on their own. Provided they aren’t exhausted and in need of some sleep, of course. It might not technically be out in 2012 (it’s slated for an early 2013 release), but I’ve gotten the chance to play The Blockheads before the changing of the years and that makes it a significant part of this one.