Hereby, we present Vlambeer’s list of best things of 2012, optionally set to some of our most played music of 2012 by clicking the play button below.
Vlambeer’s Favorite Game of 2012: Hotline Miami. Besides having the soundtrack of the year, Hotline Miami is brutal, vicious and deviously clever. Rami dedicated an entire blogpost to the significance of the game and then argued over it for a week on Twitter. Jan Willem only managed to mumble ‘Fucking hell, mask on, kill things’.
Jan Willem’s Favorite Game of 2012: Fez. FEZ was the first game I've ever played together with my super cool girlfriend and we enjoyed it from start to end. It presents a beautiful, charming world with sweet 3d twisting mechanics and later on a huge “holy shit I didn't know that earlier” sense of exploration & discovery. FEZ really delivers on every aspect, but also manages to create some completely new experiences. Amazing soundtrack, proper scribbling on bits of paper, insanely solid reasoning behind everything & most of all a great time in the only non-conflict oriented game I've ever enjoyed that much.
Rami’s Favorite Game of 2012: Journey.Journey completely refocused games as a medium for ‘fun’ to a medium that can in fact, do anything. Amongst other favorites of ours, like Johann Sebastian Joust, Proteus and Dys4ia – games are slowly starting to achieve a wider range of emotions, goals and purposes – something that might echo onwards to the mainstream audience.
Vlambeer's Favorite Mobile Game of 2012: Super Hexagon.The thing Super Hexagon does best is evolve your brain to be capable of doing things that you never knew you could. The sense of improvement that the game offers is unequalled – in so far that levels that you’ve mastered become so painfully slow that you wonder how you could’ve had any trouble with them in the first place.
Vlambeer's Best pre-2013 Year of Space space game: FTL. I spent a lot of time in Faster Than Light watching dead crew surrounded by alien corpses and a brave crewmember whose name I don't quite remember. What I used to call my ship had detoriated to a (somehow) burning vacuum. When I pressed the space bar all that was left was watch him run to repair the oxygen-generator before suffocating in the hallways. I almost cried but it was really cool.
Rami’s Game That Made Me Care About Rectangles: Thomas Was Alone. I’m still not quite sure how or what Thomas Was Alone was lifted from accessible, simple gimmicky platformer to something quite special. It’s probably the way it made me care about rectangles running around levels. Maybe it was the amazing writing, narration or music. Maybe it was the subtle use of the camera. All I know is that Thomas Was Alone kept me playing relentlessly until I knew the fate of every little shape.
Vlambeer's Best Local Multiplayer Game: Samurai Gunn Beau Blyth is the coolest kid around. Not only that, but he also made the game we had the most fun with this year. That convinced us to put it on this list, even though it has only been playable at events around the world in 2012. Samurai Gunn is an extremely stylish game about deflecting scarce bullets into your friends.
Jan Willem’s Best Game Ruined By The Ending: XCOM Enemy UnknownXCOM was really good, like super intense, deep good. When I had all the tech and my best sniper killed the final boss in one turn, it ruined my memory of the game. You should probably play it on the hardest mode so you'll never have to fight the boss.
Rami’s Best Game Ruined By The Ending: Mass Effect 3 Although XCOM’s ending definitely ruined my memory of the game, it was not the only game that did just that. For me, 2012 in AAA is the year of trilogies that handle their last five minutes so terribly that the entire series is somewhat tainted by it: Mass Effect and Assassins Creed both did terrible, but Mass Effect had always been a favorite of mine and thus takes the dubious honor of being an amazing game with a terrible ending.
Jan Willem’s Only Game That Has Ever Had A Shortcut On Jan Willem’s Desktop For Longer Than Three Days: Vesper.5 Click here and start playing Vesper.5, it's worth it. Players get to move one tile every day, which for me is usually right when the clock hits midnight.
Rami’s Best Use Of Games As A Medium To Do Something Important: Dys4ia. Dys4ia is the simplest little Flash game, but it did something really strange to me: it made me feel as if on an internal level, instead of a theoretical level, I somewhat understand the struggles of people that are completely different from myself. Games can do this – the connection between the medium and the player that is inherent to the interaction of games makes it the platform of choice for things like these – Dys4ia just did it in a way that had me trying to re-find my footing for days.
Vlambeer's Best Game That Probably Was Created By Accident: McPixel. If you had 1000 monkeys type away on 1000 typewriters the first page they'd produce would somehow not be a page but Sos Sosowski. We have no clue how that happens and somehow it feels like Sos just types code and weird, beautiful & super funny games jump out. McPixel is the only thing about kicking crotches we've ever laughed about.
Jan Willem’s Best Game Design: Spelunky. We gave up on getting the key from Area 1 to the tunnel man in Area 3 but damn, Spelunky is a fine example of game design. I remember the day I stole a golden idol and a boulder came chasing me, smashing an altar for Kali, spawning loads of spiders that killed the shopkeeper, allowing me to access all his goodies. His brother killed me thirty seconds later. That type of memories combined with unique presentation & a great soundtrack leads to one of the best platformers ever created.
Rami's Best Arguably Not A Game Game: Proteus.Proteus is about walking around an island. It is also poignant, beautiful and relaxing. I still play Proteus every now and then to just climb the mountains and stare over the distant seas as the rainclouds roll in and the music changes accordingly.
Vlambeer's Sexiest Game: Fingle. This photo of half of Game Oven Studios' Adriaan de Jongh is the best explanation of Fingle you'll ever find, anywhere.
Rami’s Favorite Cast Of Characters In Terrible Situations: The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead is amazing. I’ve yet to see a game pull off the ‘everyday people in terrible situations’ as amazingly well as Walking Dead does – but I can’t help but hope this is the first of many games without the stereotypical characters we’ve all agreed to try and avoid in the future.
Other games that were really cool this year, with apologies to those we forgot: Lone Survivor, Endless Space, Pixel Fireplace, Punch Quest (iOS), Clairvoyance, Sound Shapes (Vita), Gravity Rush (Vita), Zaga-33 (iOS), Dust: An Elysian Tail (360), ZiGGURAT (iOS), Dear Esther, Halo 4 (360), Dishonored, LittleBigPlanet Vita (Vita) and Spaceteam (iOS).
Jan Willem's Best Movie of 2012: Wrong Cops. I don't watch a lot of new movies but I did watch Wrong Cops one and it shows Mr. Oizo's strategy for creative work works & is worth pursuing.
Rami's Best Movie of 2012: Indie Game: The Movie. A movie that explains to people some of the nuances and struggles of my daily life, but most of all allowed people a tiny sneak peek into the vibrant indie game scene. What's not to love about Indie Game: The Movie?
Vlambeer's Worst waste of time: Prometheus. The day JW watched Prometheus, he sent Rami an e-mail: "Prometheus was one of the most terrible/disappointing things I've ever encountered in every aspect". It was one of the few times we completely agreed without argument.
Music we played a lot at the office: Phlogiston - Construction Yard ( KOZILEK Remix ), Youth Lagoon - Afternoon, Grimes - Oblivion, James Blake - A milli refix, Twin Sister - Kimmi in a ricefield, Juicy J - Who Da Neighbours, Hot Chip - Flutes, Lockah - This Is True Muscle Suicide, Sweet Valley - One Baauer - Harlem Shake, Kuedo - Visioning Shared Tomorrows, Young Magic - You With Air.