Kenny’s Games of the Year 2014

Kenny 2014

I don’t like being a Debbie Downer, but 2014 was pretty underwhelming, right? The big hits didn’t quite hit like I was hoping they would (Destiny and Watch Dogs, I’m looking at you!) and most games that did hit weren’t all that surprising or innovative.

In spite of it being the year I started writing for Horrible Night, 2014 was also a year I didn’t play a ton of games. Maybe the new releases this year weren’t as gripping as usual, or maybe I’m becoming a more well-rounded person with productive and diverse hobbies, but I didn’t find myself salivating over each week’s new release.

That said, there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t had the chance to devote myself to – Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, Bayonetta 2, and many, many indie titles – so there’s a lot to experience throughout 2015. Future Backlog Commandos fodder, basically.

Joust Kenny

I’m gonna smack you.

The Excuse for Hitting Other People Game

Johan Sebastian Joust

My love for Johan Sebastian Joust has been made known. It is easily filled with my favorite gaming moments of the year; moments that, years down the road, will probably make me reminisce and say, “Remember when…”

(Side note: In this case most statements of, “Remember when…” can be finished with, “…I smacked that Move controller out of your hand really hard and it was awesome?”)

The “Fart Jokes Are Still Funny” Game

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Remember how I said nothing really surprised me this year? Here’s the exception: South Park: The Stick of Truth. It had a surprisingly entertaining RPG system, sharp humor that could rival the best South Park episode, and a really explicit sex scene with gnomes.

You stay classy, 2014.

Sunset Overdrive

Bounce. Boom. Bounce. Repeat.

The Specifically Made for Adolescent Kenny Game

Sunset Overdrive

If I had a time machine and had to show 15 year-old me one game that would blow my mind, it’d probably be Sunset Overdrive. With its pop-punk aesthetics, irreverent humor, and fun world traversal, 15-year old me would be ruined knowing that such a thing would one day exist. It’d probably break the whole space-time continuum and we’d all be dead.

It has rough edges, sure, but it’s the one open-world game that really held my attention this year. Truth bomb: Yeah, even more than Shadows of Mordor.

The Gimme Dat Loot Game

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

Grinding levels and picking up loot are core to my being, and now that I’m able to do it from the comfort of my couch? My God. Why am I not playing right now?

The 2013 Game of 2014

A Link Between Worlds

My love for A Link Between Worlds has also been made known. I’m extremely glad the Backlog Commandos podcast pushed me to complete it.

Kenny Hearthstone

Don’t go to sleep on these murlocs!

My Game of the Year

Hearthstone

I usually play a lot of games over the course of a year. I like to sample a bit of everything as opposed to getting super deep with one game.

Hearthstone completely changed that for me.

I knew the hooks were in me once I finished the tutorial. With deceptively simple mechanics and a rewarding gameplay loop, it’s a game I can play for 10 to 15 minutes and it’s a game I can play for hours on end. It’s a game that allows for creativity; whenever I play a deck made by someone much better than me and everything clicks, I’m always impressed with the creativity required to make such a deck in a closed off, mechanically strict system.

Hearthstone is also cementing the fact that the older I get, the more I enjoy slower, more methodical games: games that require thoughtful strategy and planning as opposed to blowing shit up. I mean, I still like blowing shit up, but using thoughtful strategy and creative card interactions is immensely satisfying.

It’s an amazingly well-crafted game, and it’s one I know I’ll be playing in 2015 and beyond.

Games of the Year from the Horrible Night staff and friends

The 2014 Grimmys Award Show is Live this Saturday at Noon EST