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Top Video Games of 2013

It’s the end of the year! That means it’s time for lists! Hooray! I was a big gamer growing up, but once I got to college, I got sick of being harassed for daring to be a woman who plays video games and basically stopped gaming for years. I finally got back into gaming, and so I’m going to share my top video games of 2013 (in no particular order)!

First, though, some questions!

Did all of these games come out in 2013? Not necessarily, but I played them in 2013, and that’s what really counts!

Why are they almost exclusively PC games? Because I played a lot of PC games this year. Two years ago, if you had asked me where I was in the Console vs. PC games war, I would have landed solidly on the Console side. However, I’ve defected to the PC game side because OMG why did I never play PC games before it’s so much easier to do everything!

What does this have to do with skepticism/feminism/anything? Um…hey look, it’s time to write out my favorite games! No more questions okay thanks!

1) Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC/PS3/PS4, online, monthly subscription fee). I’ve been a big fan of Final Fantasy since I was 8 years old and saw one of my cousins playing FFVII. The first one I played was FFVIII, and while many people hate it, it still has sentimental value for me, even though the plot pretty much makes no sense at all. I remember when the first Final Fantasy MMORPG was announced, I was very upset– until I played it. I only got to play it for a couple months before I could no longer afford a subscription, but I was hooked. So when XIV was announced as an online game in 2010, I was stoked! Except…it was awful. So awful, they shut the whole game down after only a year and rebuilt it completely. Now, the remake is easily the best MMORPG on the market now.

Pros: Can change jobs & classes as frequently as you like, atmosphere is generally friendly (meaning I haven’t gotten any dick pics yet).
Cons: Monthly subscription fee, many outfits for female characters are very skimpy (especially low-level ones), so many spammers

2) Civilization V (PC / on & offline). Okay, so technically this game came out in 2010, BUT the Brave New World expansion pack came out this year, so it still counts. In case you missed Rebecca’s tips on how to play it, you need to watch her video so you can learn how to win every time. All I know is making “Misandry” the religion that takes over the world is the coolest thing ever.

Pros: Can play online with friends (or strangers), can adjust settings to whatever kind of game you want to play, tons of replay value.
Cons: Can get laggy when playing on too big of a map, also oh my god how did I log 150 hours of gameplay on this game where did my life go? (By the way, I guessed on the 150 hours number, and my actual number according to Steam is 152 hours. I’m a psychic, obviously, so send me all your money.)

LaraCroft3) Tomb Raider (PC/360/PS3, on & offline). I loved the Tomb Raider series growing up (yes, I even loved the terrible Angelina Jolie movies), so when I heard they were rebooting the franchise, I was stoked. This is the first game in the series where you really get to know Lara and she isn’t just a pair of tits on screen with guns (in my opinion). Also, as far as I recall, every enemy in the game is a dude– so it’s just Lara, running around killing dudes in some kind of murder cult. If shooting dudes in a murder cult with fire arrows isn’t what skepticism & feminism are about, then I don’t even know what we’re doing here.

Pros: Running around killing murder cult dudes, lots of explorable extra content & side quests, investigating a (fictional) matriarchal society, learn some cool tidbits about ancient Japanese culture
Cons: Very triggering sexual assault scene(s), [SPOILER DON’T READ NEXT LINE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED: the secret to the island is magic, when I was hoping Lara would find a scientific explanation for the events on the island]

4) The Stanley Parable (PC, single player, offline). This game originally came out in 2010, but was re-released this year with more content (namely, more endings). It’s more of an interactive story than a traditional video game, but it’s very fun. The game is reminiscent of Stranger Than Fiction, the Will Ferrell movie about his life being narrated. The game revolves around a man named Stanley and the narrator, and…well, I don’t want to give too much away. Download the demo for free, and if you enjoy it, you’ll love the game.

Pros: Actual laugh-out-loud funny, doesn’t require a lot of effort
Cons: Can get repetitive, sometimes very confusing (I’m not sure if you actually can solve the mystery of the game or not?)

5) Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (DS/PS3, single player, offline). This is the game made by Studio Ghibli, creator of beloved animated movies like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. It’s what you’d expect from Studio Ghibli– lots of cute creatures to help you out, kind-hearted child as protagonist, adorable while still being funny. If you’re in Japan, it came out in 2010, but it took three years to release in the US, UK, and Australia.

Pros: Studio Ghibli! Need I say more?
Cons: Beginning is kind of slow, a little too tutorial-y at times
gone home zine
6) Gone Home 
(PC/Mac/Linus, single player, offline). Anna from Queereka wrote a review of this game when it was first released, which should tip you off that there are queer themes in the game. Much like Stanley Parable, it’s better to go into this game without reading too much about it. The game was developed by a team of four people, and after the “Dickwolves” controversy of PAX, they decided not to show their game at PAX, despite potentially losing a lot of free exposure, which I really admire.

Pros: Creative gameplay and story, presents stories of queer people, features riot grrrl music & punk zines
Cons: Some parts of story can cause anxiety, there are a few parts where it’s easy to get stuck

7) Skyrim (PC/PS3/360, single player, offline). “Sarah, didn’t this game come out in 2011?” Okay, yes, maybe it did, but I finally got it for PC during the Steam sale this year (even though I bought it for PS3 when it originally came out), and I forgot how much I love this game. Plus, there were DLCs & re-releases of it this year, so it counts. Beside, I’m the one making the rules here, and I barely know how to use a calendar, so it makes my list.

Pros: Uh, it’s Skyrim. You can be good, you can be evil, you can be a warrior, you can be a mage…there are so many different paths you can take. Not to mention, dragons.
Cons: Some quests can get repetitive (oh, hey, another dungeon with dead guys to fight), NPCs are kind of obnoxious (“Let me guess, someone took your sweet roll?” *two minutes later* “Let me guess, someone took your sweet roll?”)

 8) The Walking Dead (360/PC/Mac/PS3/others, single player, offline). Okay, this is another game that maybe didn’t come out in 2013, but an expansion pack and a sequel did come out this year, so I’m counting it. This game is fun because it’s mainly just making morality choices during the zombie apocalypse. I know, I’m kind of “over” zombies as well (I’ve never even seen the show), but it’s really interesting because the decisions are hard (do you chop off a guy’s leg and risk getting eaten by zombies, or do you leave him to die on his own?), and at the end of every episode, you get to see a statistical breakdown of how many people made each decision. There’s little to no action in the game (as in boss fights and stuff), which can be both a pro and a con, depending on what you’re in the mood for.

Pros: Morality, getting to know what decisions other people made
Cons: Gorey, kind of sad (unless you’re a sociopath)

9) Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS). This is the only game on the list I do not personally own. Why not? Because I only have a regular DS. And I only got the Animal Crossing game from 2005 this year, because I’m really bad at life? Anyway, it’s super cute, and almost every on my twitter talks about Animal Crossing all the time, and I’m very jealous, because I don’t have a 3DS, or I’d plant fruits & share them with all my friends and wear cute hats and stuff. So if you do have a 3DS (or a 2DS), you should get this game and send your friends fruits and wear cute hats.

Pros: Super cute, doesn’t take a lot of effort, fun for all ages
Cons: I don’t own it. That sucks.

10) Shelter (PC/Mac, single player, offline). This is a short game about being a momma badger and leading your babies to safety. There’s no dialogue (as far as I know?), it’s just…leading your babies to safety. And I love badgers (I’m from Wisconsin, that’s our state animal), so this game appeals to me. It’s nice to have a game that transcends language barriers.

Pros: Super cute badgers, easy to figure out, cute badger noises
Cons: Your babies can die or get eaten??????? What kind of monsters made this game?????

Runner Up/ Would Have Made the List Had It Not Been So Disappointing: Amnesia 2: A Machine for Pigs (PC/Mac/Linux). I loved Amnesia: The Dark Descent (which came out in 2010). It was actually too scary for me to play, because I’m a giant baby, but to be fair, lots of people were scared by it. Anyway, The Dark Descent had fun puzzles, really scary monsters, and an interesting/unique system of insanity (you go more insane if you’re in the darkness for too long, but you have a limited supply of tinder & lamp oil, and also using the lamp too much attracts monsters). A Machine for Pigs took away a lot of those mechanics that made the original game so much fun, and made it feel more like a scary maze you had to run through. It wasn’t a bad game per se, but after how phenomenal the first one was, it was a big disappointment to me.

 

Anyway, there you have it! The definitive, complete, totally accurate list of best video games of 2013 (that may or may not have come out in 2013), written by an authoritative source. Enjoy!

 

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Sarah

Sarah is a feminist, atheist vegan with Crohn’s Disease, and she won’t shut up about any of those things. You really need to follow her on Twitter (and probably Google+, just to be safe).

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3 Comments

  1. The Walking Dead, The Stanley Parable, and Gone Home were some of my favorites this year, too.

    I’d add Saint’s Row IV, Kentucky Route Zero, Don’t Starve, Legend of Grimrock (2012), Borderlands 2 (2012), Fallout: New Vegas (2010), and The Last of Us (PS3).

  2. Just an addendum, but the Fulbright Company, while listing the ‘dickwolves’ issue with Penny Arcade as part of their problems, it was those ridiculous anti-trans tweets from Mike Krahulik that ended up being the last straw as I recall.

  3. FF14:ARR is fantastic. I’m loving it to bits. There’s just so much to do! My main class is Scholar: a healer with a spell book, a fairy companion and a nasty sideline in malign poison and debuffing spells, great fun to play.

    Of all the games that came out this year, I have to say I really loved Dishonored. I love stealth action games anyway, and this one was atmospheric, had real choice (both moral and gameplay-related) and told so many more stories than just the protagonist’s. I think it did a great job of portraying a sick sexist society without itself being sexist. The Heart is one of the great characters of the year in my opinion. Finding everything it had to say and piecing everything together was a real (if horrible) treat.

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