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Jinx? The Worst and Best of 2013

The number 13. Long considered a harbinger of bad luck for athletes, astronauts, hotel occupants, and especially sexually-charged teens camping near lakes, its wingspan of terror definitely seams formidable. But could 13's cold touch also affect the release of video games?

At the end of every year since 2010, I have posted my annual best games of the year awards (along with a few dubious accolades). But this time around, I struggled to find that spark, that excitement that's usually there for me during "awards season." Last year, to me, was overall a very disappointing year in the history of video games. Maybe it was just bad luck to release a game in a year ending in 13; perhaps it had more to do marketing "over hype" of key titles; or in the end, it could also be chalked up to console fatigue. Regardless of the reasons, there were games I thought I was going to love - especially Aliens: Colonial Marines - that turned out to be not even playable. Others I was excited to try and wholly expected to be great - namely Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us - had stories that were so surprisingly and painfully slow that it took them half their length to get even somewhat interesting. And I have yet to return to finish them. Finally, though it inevitably happens every year, the delays and cancellations of 2013 were among the most disappointing of recent memory. Prey 2, of special note, was my 2nd most anticipated game of the year (1st in 2012), and then the bomb was dropped towards the end of the year that the publisher needed to start over with a new developer, and the release date floated away into the who know's region of space and time!

Luckily, there were a few bright spots that were able to poke through the shroud of gloom. So here is my ultra trimmed and pruned list of the best, and worst games of 2013. (Note: Awards are based only on played console titles (my PC needs upgrading). Additionally, I didn't pick up a next gen system till February of this year. So out of fairness, I have not included next gen games here).

Dubious Honors

1. Worst Box Art - Bioshock Infinite.

While there were certainly other covers that were more poorly designed technically speaking, Infinite still easily wins this award as its box art blatantly catered to the gaming masses and severely lacked distinctive Bioshock-esque or even Infinite-based (uh, hello...where's Elizabeth?) themes.

2. Most Over hyped - Aliens: Colonial Marines

3. Most Frustrating - Beyond: Two Souls

4. Most Epic Fail - Aliens: Colonial Marines

Special Achievements

1. Best Graphics - Technical - Remember Me / Artistic - Bioshock Infinite

2. Best Sound Design - Dead Space 3

3. Best Music - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

4. Best Voice Acting - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

5. Best Gameplay - Dead Space 3

6. Best New IP - Remember Me

7. Most Overlooked - Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel

8. Best Box Art - Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

9. Best Achievement Art Style - Bioshock Infinite

10. Most Memorable Moment - The amazing and perfect ending of Dead Space 3


1. Game of the Year - Dead Space 3

Runners-up (in order of preference): Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Metro: Last Light, and Saints Row IV

2. Main Game I Wish I had Played - Lost Planet 3

Top 10 Most Wanted Games of 2014

After recently finishing my annual best and worst games of the previous year post, it's time to declare my personal most wanted games of the current year. Yes 2014 is a few months in, but with a lot of next gen titles being delayed, and some (big) games slated for this year only recently getting an announcement, I felt it necessary to wait a little before locking in my selections. But the outlook is clearer now, so here's my top 10 list for 2014:

1. Alien: Isolation

2. Watch Dogs

3. Murdered: Soul Suspect

4. Thief

5. The Crew

6. Infamous: Second Son

7. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

8. Super T.I.M.E. Force

9. Dragon Age: Inquisition

10. Far Cry 4

What are your most wanted games this year? Has your list changed with any recent announcements (Batman: Arkham Knight)? Comments welcome.

Best of 2012 - Genre Awards and GOTY

Best Action/Adventure

1.Sleeping Dogs 2.Deadlight3.Dishonored4.Hitman: Absolution

Winner -Dishonored

Best Shooter

1. Syndicate2.Max Payne 33.Spec Ops: The Line4.Halo 45.Far Cry 3

Winner -Far Cry 3

Best RPG

1. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning 2. Mass Effect 3 3.Dragon's Dogma 4.Darksiders 2 5.Borderlands 2

Winner -Borderlands 2

Game of the Year

1.Mass Effect 3 2.Spec Ops: The Line 3.Borderlands 2 4.Dishonored 5.Far Cry 3

Winner -Dishonored

Main Game I Wish I Had Played/More of

1.Trials: Evolution 2.The Walking Dead 3.Dragon's Dogma 4.Sleeping Dogs 5.Mark of the Ninja

Winner -Dragon's Dogma

Best of 2012 - Dubious Honors

Lamest Box Art

1.BinaryDomain2. Blades of Time3.One Million Taps4.Winehead5.Avatar Fart!!

Winner -Winehead

Most Loathable Character

1.The Ilusive Man - Mass Effect 32.Handsome Jack - Borderlands 23.Lord Regent - Dishonored4.Dexter - Hitman: Absolution 5.Wade - Hitman: Absolution

Winner -Wade

Most Frustrating

1.Max Payne 3 2. Darksiders 23.Resident Evil 64.Assassin's Creed III5.Hitman: Absolution

Winner -Assassin's Creed III

Most Disappointing (epic fail)

1.The Darkness 22.Resident Evil: ORC3.Assassin's Creed III

Winner -Assassin's Creed III

Special Achievements (Part 2)

Most Improved Sequel

1. Mass Effect 32. Borderlands 2 3. Halo 4 4. Far Cry 3

Winner - Far Cry 3

Most Overlooked

1. Neverdead 2. The Darkness II 3. Syndicate 4. Spec Ops: The Line 5. Deadlight

Winner - Neverdead

Best Original Game Mechanic

1. Self-dismemberment combat - Neverdead 2.2D-3D environment switching - Fez 3. Pawns - Dragon's Dogma 4. Blink - Dishonored 5. Contracts - Hitman: Absolution

Winner - Dragon's Dogma

Best Co-op

1.Syndicate 2.Borderlands 2 3. Resident Evil 6 4.Halo 4

Winner -Borderlands 2

Best Competitive Multiplayer

1.Twisted Metal2.Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City3.Max Payne 3 4.Spec Ops: The Line

Winner -Max Payne 3

Best Arsenal

1. Darksiders 22.Borderlands 2 3.Dishonored 4.Hitman: Absolution 5.Far Cry 3

Winner -Dishonored

Best Trailer/Commercial (for 2012 releases)

1. Resident Evil: ORC 2.Darsiders 2 3.Borderlands 2 4.Assassin's Creed III 5.Hitman: Absolution

Winner-Borderlands 2

Best Box Art

1. The Darkness 22.Sleeping Dogs3.Darksiders 24.Assassin's Creed III5.Far Cry 3

Winner -Assassin's Creed III

Best Achievement Art Style

1.Syndicate2.Deadlight 3.Borderlands 24.Dishonored5.Hitman: Absolution

Winner -Hitman: Absolution

Funniest Game

1.Neverdead2.Twisted Metal 3.Borderlands 24.Hitman: Absolution5.Far Cry 3

Winner -Borderlands 2

Most Memorable Moment

1.Leaving Admiral Anderson & young boy behind - beginning of Mass Effect 3 2.The Ending - Spec Ops: The Line 3.2nd Betrayal - Dishonored4.Character Easter eggs - Hitman: Absolution5.Opening set piece - Far Cry 3

Winner -Spec Ops: The Line

Best of 2012 - Intro and Special Achievements

2012. A year in gaming that was characterized by fan empowerment but also an increase in federal and public involvement. With the watershed moment that was fans bringing about the change in Mass Effect 3's ending and crowd-sourcing really taking off, it was clear throughout the year that the development rule book had changed. But with the controversy that was the collapse of 38 Studios/Big Huge Games and the political fallout of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the door for curtailing freedoms within game development and game playing also widened. As far as the games themselves, well, it was definitely no 2011. Still, this last year saw some great releases highlighted by a solid showing of new IPs, both big and small, and a rebirth of the the elusive stealth genre. Concerning my nominations and awards, please bare in mind they are only based on the games I was able to play. Here are my personal picks for the best video games of 2012. Enjoy.

Special Achievements

Best Graphics - Technical

1. Mass Effect 3 2. Max Payne 3 3. Deadlight 4. Resident Evil 6 5. Hitman: Absolution

Winner - Hitman: Absolution

Best Graphics - Artistic

1. The Darkness 2 2. Darksiders 2 3. Dishonored 4. Hitman: Absolution 5. Black Knight Sword

Winner - Hitman: Absolution

Best Level Design

1. Max Payne 3 2. Dishonored 3. Halo 4 4.Hitman: Absolution 5. Far Cry 3

Winner - Hitman: Absolution

Best Atmosphere

1.Fez 2. Max Payne 3 3.Deadlight 4. Dishonored 5. Far Cry 3

Winner - Max Payne 3

Best Sound Design

1. Mass Effect 3 2.Sniper Elite 2 3.Darksiders 2 4.Dishonored 5. Hitman: Absolution

Winner - Dishonored

Best Music

1. Mass Effect 3 2. Fez 3. Deadlight 4. Hitman: Absolution 5. Black Knight Sword

Winner - Black Knight Sword

Best Voice Acting

1. Mass Effect 3 2.Max Payne 3 3. Spec Ops: The Line 4. Borderlands 2 5. Hitman: Absolution

Winner - Spec Ops: The Line

Best Writing/Dialogue

1. Mass Effect 3 2. Max Payne 3 3. Spec Ops: The Line 4. Borderlands 2 5. Hitman: Absolution

Winner - Borderlands 2

Best Story

1. Max Payne 3 2.Spec Ops: The Line 3. Resident Evil 6 4. Hitman: Absolution 5. Far Cry 3

Winner - Spec Ops: The Line

Best New Character

1. Capt. Martin Walker - Spec Ops: The Line 2. Handsome Jack - Borderlands 2 3. Jake Muller - Resident Evil 6 4.Dexter - Hitman: Absolution 5. Vaas - Far Cry 3

Winner - Vaas

Best New IP

1. Fez 2. Dragon's Dogma 3. Deadlight 4.Mark of the Ninja 5. Dishonored

Winner - Dishonored

Best of 2011 - Genre Awards and GOTY

Best Action/Adventure

1. L.A. Noire 2. Shadows of the Damned 3. Batman: Arkham City 4. Uncharted 3 5. Saints Row 3

Winner - Uncharted 3

Best Shooter

1. Dead Space II 2. Killzone 3 3. F.E.A.R. 3 4. Rage 5. Battlefield 3

Winner - Battlefield 3

Best Racing

1. Test Drive Unlimited 2 2. Dirt 3 3. Need 4 Speed: The Run

Winner - Test Drive Unlimited 2

Best RPG

1. Deus Ex: HR 2. Dead Island 3. Skyrim

Winner - Skyrim

Best XBox 360 Game

1. F.E.A.R 3 2. Deus Ex: HR 3. Dead Island 4. Rage 5. Skyrim

Winner - Skyrim

Best PS3 Game

1. Dead Space II 2. Killzone 3 3. Portal 2 4. L.A. Noire 5. Uncharted 3

Winner - Uncharted 3

Game of the Year

1. Killzone 3 2. F.E.A.R. 3 3. Dead Island 4. Battlefield 3 5. Skyrim

Winner - Skyrim

Main Game I Wish I Had Played

1. Motorstorm: Apocalypse 2. Fallout: New Vegas - Old World Blues 3. Resistance 3 4. Lord of the Rings: War in the North 5. Assassin's Creed: Revelations

Winner - Motorstorm: Apocalypse

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