It’s about that time when all your favourite gaming websites (and us) have shoved out natty little summaries of the year, rounding up which moving mass of polygons moved its polygons around better than the others. Happily, the year in games has been somewhat smoother sailing than all other areas of life in 2016, which came across as David Lynch pitching film ideas based on words played in a game of Scrabble between two psychopaths.
But is this chart of greatness really representative of the year? Wouldn’t it be better to name the Game of the Year as one from any period of time that really captured the terrifying essence of this annus horribilis rather than pretending everything is fine, like so many fire-dog memes? Of course no, it wouldn’t be better, but I’m doing it anyway so here we are.
Whether 2016 was actually God having a reboot of your favourite celebrities or just a sign of things to come as the people who were in the spotlight when us millennials were growing up are now at ‘that sort of age’ is debateable. But a lot of people you like have probably died; the loss of Prince, George Michael and Bowie (amongst many, many others) made worse by people posting mawkish memes about there being a great variety show happening in heaven now [vomits self inside out]. Still, in order to reproduce this parade of dismay, you’d obviously need a game with a lot of death. Enter controversial, early Rockstar effort Manhunt. Not only does it generate a fair bit of work for the reaper, the grim, overcast look of the whole thing is pretty accurate too. See also: PS1 classic MDK.
- PES 2017 (played by someone who has only heard of football through Chinese whispers)
On a slightly lighter note, the England team crashed out of Euro 2016 at a pace that probably alarmed even them, struggling to a noble defeat against that mighty footballing nation Iceland. This is made all the more confusing by the presence of strong premiere league talent in the side. It’s almost as if treating people who can kick a ball quite well as demi-gods increases their own sense of importance and diminishes their ability to work with others. But either way, to truly get the full 2016 experience from last year’s PES would be to forget how football works first. Sadly, this would be far from the last time we English would embarrass ourselves in Europe this year.
- SAINTS ROW 4
A game where you can design a character as unhinged and bizarre-looking as you like and that character will immediately become president contrary to all logic and reason and… Well, you see where this is going.
No more messing around, this is my actual Game of the Year, although some of that may be because I couldn’t find a way to spin Uncharted 4 into a joke about 2016. Either way, in some ways this is very much the antithesis of 2016; a game everyone thought was doomed to failure but actually turned out to be FPS Zero, stripping away overblown nonsense like reloading and plots as you barrel around listening to dramatic metal and beating demons to death with their own limbs. On the other hand, waking up in a rough approximation of hell in a significant minority and feeling the whole planet is against you is something that will have resonated with a lot of people following June 24th, which is why Doom is the best representation of 2016 in videogame form. Also it’s literally called ‘Doom’.
Happy New Year.