If you had told me at the start of this year that three of my favorites for 2013 would be 3DS games, I would have straight up called you a liar right to your lying face. And if you did do that, and I did call you a liar, then I would be coming back to you now, meek as a chastised puppy, asking for forgiveness. For 3DS games make up a third of my overall top 10 games list for 2013, and no one is more surprised than me.
Maybe it's because I didn't expect Pokemon X/Y to so effortlessly reignite my nascent pokemon obsession. Or maybe I thought the high expectations around The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds would surely be too much weight to carry for the follow-up to A Link to the Past. And I certainly didn't figure that in this, The Year of Luigi, my favorite Luigi game would end up being Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. It's lucky that I managed to stay away from Animal Crossing or Fire Emblem, or my list could conceivably have been 50 percent 3DS.
What wasn't surprising to me was how deep my love for Ni no Kuni (my personal number one for 2013) ended up being. Ever since I found out about its existence some years ago, I had been looking forward to its meld of Japanese RPG goodness with the charm and melancholy of Studio Ghibli. And when I finally played it this year, I wasn't disappointed. I was moved by Oliver's quest, swept up in the game's colorful world, charmed by the hundreds of creatures you could find within, and challenged by its surprisingly deep combat. Ni no Kuni is a wonderful, wistful game that enveloped me in the warmth and power of childhood innocence, and is one game I'll remember for years to come.
As a father of young children, I'm sometimes impatient, wanting the years to fly by so I can fully start to share my enjoyment and love of video games with my son and daughter. Ni no Kuni is a game that makes that wait even harder.