Alas, another great year of gaming has come and gone. But as we close out 2013, I wonder whether we'll see another head-to-head console launch like this year's again. Are the days of heated console wars and rampant fanboyism behind us?
Well, I don't think fanboyism is going anywhere, but consoles as we know them might. The spirit of competition is at the very heart of our industry--and I doubt that will ever change--but this industry also evolves at breakneck speed. Our seventh-generation consoles witnessed so much change in their short lives that it's hard to imagine things won't be completely different in another seven or eight years.
I remember when your place in the gaming landscape was decided by which console you supported. Nintendo. Sega Genesis. PlayStation. Xbox. Your box of choice said something about you because each had a distinct character determined by the games it supported. But I think that mindset is waning as we become able to access our games on more devices and the consoles themselves expand into areas outside of gaming. More and more, the big question we'll have to ask ourselves is not which plastic box we want in our living room, but who we want to be the gatekeepers of our games. Who do we want deciding how we play our games?
The expectation of having complete and total ownership over a game--and to do with that game as we please--has been slowly altered, particularly in the realm of digital ownership. Some companies, such as Valve, have found success in this digital landscape, while others, such as Microsoft, have stumbled. Whether this change is a good or bad thing is moot. It is inevitable. The years to come will be extremely important for this industry as we, the gaming community, set the precedent for how much control we're willing to give up to the gatekeepers.
But enough about all that; let's talk about this list real quick. As always, there is an important distinction to make here between the best games of 2013 and my favorite games of 2013. This list represents my personal favorites of the year--the games that come to mind when I ask myself, "What will I remember about 2013?" Each one does something special that will stay in my mind for years to come. If you're curious about what makes these games special to me, you'll (eventually) find the explanations over on my profile page. Have a safe New Year's Eve, and I'll see you all in 2014!