Game of the Year 2013

Tom Mc Shea's Top 10 Games For 2013

Because dying is the ultimate reward.

by

There are some games whose greatness is so immediate, so undeniable, that you feel that brilliance radiate from the moment you pick up the controller. Spelunky is not one of those games. To uncover the inventive machinations buried amid the ancient ruins requires an uncommon measure of determination. When Spelunky debuted last year, I had only scratched the surface of its breadth after canvassing crypts for dozens of hours. I was still a neophyte, blind to its myriad secrets. That's why Spelunky's arrival on the Vita was so important. Sony's portable system never leaves my side, and as I embarked on my two-hour daily commute, I invested myself fully into this profound adventure.

This is the second year in a row that the best game I had played originally came out the year before, on another platform. And that's not the only similarity between Spelunky and Dark Souls. Both eschewed industry trends that have become a disease. The concept of reward has been so tarnished of late that accomplishments have become meaningless. Punishment has been stripped away so that those who fear consequences won't be deterred, and successes are presented not from exhibiting skill or patience, but by spending hours performing tedious tasks. Stifling linearity, constant grinding, and shameless recycling have diluted much of the joy inherent to games.

Spelunky and Dark Souls rose above such nonsense, and the results were so uplifting, so empowering, that I can only marvel at their prodigious triumphs. Being treated with respect is such a rarity that I often felt frustrated as I frequently met my bloody end in the early hours of both of these games. How dare a developer make me work to succeed! How dare they make progress so difficult! Hints of something special wafted through the air, but I could barely see through eyes tainted by anger. Both Spelunky and Dark Souls bettered me. I was so beaten and downtrodden that I ran to more forgiving offerings, desperate for that slow and steady stream of lukewarm accomplishments that so many games happily pour out.

But when I returned to these digital worlds, I had a renewed purpose. No longer a coward, I discovered what had elevated these games to such prominence. Every snakebite and dragon's breath would make me grip the controller all the harder, and vow to slay whatever had caused such torment. It's a rare game that causes you to view yourself differently. By achieving so much in Spelunky and Dark Souls, I realized how much strength I have and that no setback is strong enough to derail me from my ultimate goal.

Of course, there were more games that I loved in 2013 than just Spelunky, but there's not nearly enough space here to get into what makes them so compelling. Luckily, I wrote an entire blog just for that purpose!

Tom Mc Shea's Top 10

Discussion

68 comments
Taffy872
Taffy872

I didn't know Tom was a NBA 2k fan.

_Judas_
_Judas_

I like how people complain "Why isn't [insert your favorite game of 2013] on this list?" . This list is Tom McShea's TOP 10-list.... not random GameSpot'ers favorite list...

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

finally, beyond two souls… nice to see another rogue legacy choice too.. great list altogether...

diggyphelps
diggyphelps

Tom Mc Shame everyone, lets give him a hand!!!

j_kizi
j_kizi

Dark Souls!!! :D


Zevvion
Zevvion

Well, this puts things into perspective. I really have a different taste of games than Tom. Makes his reviews more understandable. Still, kind of sucks that if he ever reviews a game I'd have to look elsewhere for a review that speaks more to my tastes. But I guess that stuff is inevitable. 

wcwj26
wcwj26

There's two Nintendo games in your top 10 Tom.


Guess they must be typo's :-D

hochstreck
hochstreck

It's nice to see Spelunky in this list, as this game's premisses feel quite progressive(and polished) and should be used in other genres too. 

Rogue Legacy - while of course ambitious in its random classes and random worlds - lacked polish, variety and surprises, in my opinion. 


And while I like TomMcShea's opinions on Video Games, I think his writing appears somewhat "giddy" in its overly dramatic style.





FCT-Steve-O
FCT-Steve-O

NBA 2K14 really? I agree with the most of your list except for the nintendo games (only because I haven't played them) but there are tons of games better than NBA 2K14...what were you pressured into picking a sports game?

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

Wow, NONE of the games on this list are on my personal list of the best games of 2013 as well..... :D

Seems like Tom and I have a very different taste. But at least we both kind of hate Infinite.... :P

Sp8cemanSpiff
Sp8cemanSpiff

The only entry I find a little bit odd is Tomb Raider. The franchise was pretty much built on the very principles you so rightfully praise, but the latest entry abandoned said principles just about entirely for the sake of cheap shock value, hand holdy, idiot proof gameplay, quick time events, a slew of meaningless collectables, lots and lots of piss-easy killing and pointless rpg mechanics. Sorry, but having 4 different execution animations at the very top of an already pathetic character development tree is really just taking the piss.

kachal
kachal

this is a list of games that "seeking fame guys" tend to play or at least tend to show that they play. I do believe that this person doesn't deserve the spot that they gave him in Gamespot. And I'm not even trying to insult him.

moatasim07
moatasim07

GTA, TLOU, Bioshock........you have a different taste........

DaRq_MiNoS
DaRq_MiNoS

what a useless troll.  He reviewed Spelunky himself, gave it 8.5, and now calls it GOTY when he reviewed other games higher.

faizanhd
faizanhd

No Rayman Legends ?!!!? But you...... gave............. it.................... a 9..............

max-hit
max-hit

I still don't understand why Tom likes this new version of Tomb Raider so much. It's exactly like the game he would hate. Rest of the list is good though.

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

My top 10 games of this year are:

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between World

Super Mario 3D World

Ni No Kuni

Fire Emblem: Awakening 

Grand Theft Auto 5

Path of Exile

The Last of Us

Tomb Raider

StarCraf 2: Heart of the Swarm

Pokemon X & Y

Superzone
Superzone

To anyone who might bash Tom for not having The Last of Us on his list, a few of the other editors didn't have it on theirs either.

Personally though, I can't even fathom someone leaving The Last of Us off their top 10 list if they played it.  That game was a breathtaking masterpiece.

BARRICADE_28
BARRICADE_28

Tom you're a liar. In the "Top Comments" of The Last of Us' PS3 Game of the Year page you replied to me and said: "voted for The Last of Us to win and wrote that blurb above".  How could you vote for The Last of Us to win if you put Beyond: Two Souls and Tomb Raider (or even NBA 2K14) on your Top 10 list but left off The Last of Us?

redskins26rocs
redskins26rocs

I think I am the only person that thought Tomb Raider was just okay.

55584623
55584623

loads of indies! Stanley Parable was my favourite, weird is i recall playing spelunky last year! was a new version released?

SloganYams
SloganYams

I'm going to be the devil's advocate here, but his top 10 isn't bad at all. It's varied and includes some great games. Sure, I would toss in The Last of Us and Pikmin 3, but I don't see much reason at all to dislike Tom's top 10.

mehrdad19872010
mehrdad19872010

For those asking why The Last of Us is not Tom's list. It is not featured because a girl dies in the beginning and to the feminist fighters, Tom McShea and Carolyn Petit, is extremely sexist. I guess the only people who looked at the opening and didn't see a kid getting shot but a "girl" getting shot were these guys and others who are so fixated with finding elements of sexism in popular media that they become a kind of sexist without knowing about it.

The_Gaming_Baby
The_Gaming_Baby

I just finished the demo. I pressed the hell out of that 8 button. Easily the best demo I have ever played

Hayasmez
Hayasmez

Brace yourself, "WHY ISNT THE LAST OF US ON THE LIST" is coming.

wgerardi
wgerardi

@freeformrulz He is a strange dude, but definitely in a good way. I have grown to really appreciate his opinions. His tastes can seem inconsistent and even ridiculous at time, but it's never without intelligent reasoning. Will always enjoy his perspective.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@DaRq_MiNoSAs I wrote, it took me a long time (more than a year) to appreciate just how good Spelunky is. I now consider it the second best game of the generation, behind only Dark Souls.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@faizanhd Indeed I did. It's in my Top 15 at least. Great year for games.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@GH05T-666 

You want as many people to know what you like as possible, don't you? I have been seeing the same copy-paste post across more than a few webpages such as this one.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@BARRICADE_28  Well, Beyond wasn't even nominated and Tomb Raider wasn't in the running. But I did advocate for The Last of Us to win, and voted for it over our runner up (GTA V). And I think it's more than deserving of winning. 


I also approach our site winners different than my personal favorites. For instance, Dead Rising 2 was my favorite game of 2010, but I argued against its inclusion in our Top 10 in favor of Heavy Rain, which I thought was more ambitious and interesting. I also pushed hard for Minecraft to at least be nominated in 2011 even though I don't like the game. I feel we should reward important games as a site, but my personal list is my own.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@mehrdad19872010 What a strange post. First of all, the sexist nature of The Last of Us is not that a girl died; it's that Joel's personality is shaped entirely by the women who die around him. It's "girlfriend in a freezer" syndrome.


Second, I never mentioned sexism in my review, but I did mention a slew of other issues. Those are what kept this from cracking my Top 10. The Last of Us still made my Top 20, though.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@Xx_DemonSoul_xX It was hard to cut it down. Awakening, Phoenix Wright, and The Last of Us were right on the edge, and there still plenty of other games (DmC, The Swapper, Castle of Illusion) that were good enough to make the cut if it were any other year.

MrYaotubo
MrYaotubo

@Hayasmez It seems that The Last of Us isn´t on most editor´s lists lol.

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

@TomMcShea@LordCrash88Hey, you still gave it a 4/10. Real disgust would mean a 1/10, or not? :D

Restivus
Restivus

@MrYaotubo Yeah it only made it on 9 out of 18 editor's lists, or 50%. Clearly glass half empty.

HowlPendragon
HowlPendragon

@MrYaotubo This site is riddled with editors who feel their opinions have to be unique to the point of bordering "hipsterness" so as not to have similar tastes to the hipsters who love TLoU just because its so popular.


Did I get that right? lol

ggregd
ggregd

@freeformrulz @TomMcShea @Xx_DemonSoul_xX Being deliberately obtuse, bro, ever heard of it?