It was a funny (first adjective that sprang to mind, there are better ones) year for games and I. As I focused on my impending return to the UK, and changes in my life I found my relationship, my hobby became increasingly affected by my life outside. Oscillating wildly between an escape and a chore I found myself increasingly playing in binges. Sporadic, intense, time would be spent with a controller in my hand followed by either intense periods of writing or going out drinking. Often I played games out of necessity for an article, unwilling (or unable) to really enjoy them, where other times they worked like and emotional aesthetic, numbing my feelings of loneliness and pain. Neither was a good reason to indulge, and the backlash was (for a while) a resentment of gaming and writing (hence this sites inactivity, hell even this post is nearly a month late).
Settled back in the UK (with half a foot and heart in Japan thanks to recent events there) I find myself once again enjoying games, time fillers that they are in my bored unemployed existence. But the last nine months was not a fun time in gaming for me so when asked about my games of 2010, for one of the sites I contribute too, I struggled. I had played a good number of the years most talked about titles, both big and small, but the mood I played them in coloured thinking. Looking back I was able to judge which games were good technically and, to an extent, emotionally gauge them by the fact that maybe they lightened my disposition (at least for a moment) but the passion was lacking.
Already 2011 has yielded experiences I found more enjoyable than all of last year’s offerings, simply through the mood I played in. Games I have revisited, Assassins Creed 2, Kane and Lynch 2 (and even a few games that weren’t sequels) have seen my opinion of them soar as my mood colours my play time.
My point is, I couldn’t with good conscious write an honest game of the year lists this year because nothing captured my imagination, or perhaps more accurately my mind was unable to be captured in the last twelve months. If you look at my ‘top five’ that was posted on Play Devil you will see the games I listed, Metroid Other M, Valkyria Chronicles 2, Mass Effect 2, Alan Wake and Enslaved, and if you read the blurb my opinions are far more clinical than my usual prose. It was not that I didn’t like these games, but my life coloured them. They became forgettable diversions rather than the escape into other worlds they had been in previous, easier, times.
Now I do feel I should sum up my opinion of some of 2010 best games here on DoFuss, albeit three months late. It is (supposedly) a gaming blog after all, and if I can’t even muster an opinion on something as broad as ‘game of the year’ then I should probably be thinking about changing the sites direction. But rather than reiterating the dry sentiments expressed about the five games in the Play Devil article I thought I would just write a few paragraphs, placed in context of my of my year, about some of the other games and gaming experiences that did something to lighten the load when I needed it most.
Through out the rest of March and some of April I will be posting a number of short articles about these things that just made my life easier or affected me in some way beyond their quality as a game. Be they simply so fun they lifted me at a time I needed it or they gave me new focus and goals, these reflections are all about the games that really impacted me emotionally this last year and that I am thankful for, in no particular order.