Features, GOTY 2011Rom

Hiram's Top 5 Games of 2011

Features, GOTY 2011Rom
Hiram's Top 5 Games of 2011

My  game of the year picks always tend to be a little off-kilter. It's not that I have a separate "cooler than you" mentality that keeps me from enjoying the big hits- certainly, I do. You'd have to be crazy to not get a huge thrill from punching sharks in Batman or having skydiving firefights in Saints Row. The problem is that I haven't actually played those moments because I haven't played those games. Again, it's not my fault. I can't afford all the huge games that come out this year, so I make due with a lot of indie or smaller projects which, thankfully, are fantastic. Do I complain? No, because the games I choose are still awesome. They just might not be the usual ones you'd think of.

5. Binding of Isaac

It's kind of weird how far this game has gone, since I'm pretty sure it was developed in about 4 months as a stopgap game for Ed McMillen to help finance his next, REAL project. Perhaps it's not a surprise, though, coming from half of Team Meat, that this game is incredibly good. I'd never played a Rouge-like before, but this is a good introduction to such a hardcore genre. It even does a good job of rewarding you, and has pretty hefty re-playability through all the secrets you find going through. Plus, the music and art are just really, REALLY top notch.

4. Rock of Ages

Some games feel like you're just watching someone's fever dreams play out on film. Of course, those are some of my favorites, simply because they're always ridiculously fun looks into someone else's desires and vision of the world. Finally, I can act out my dreams of rolling a giant rock over a cutout of Napoleon! Though it doesn't always work perfectly (giant boulders have weird physics and can be unwieldy, it turns out!), it's so gleeful about what's going on and how much it cribs from popular art and classical music that it always puts a smile on my face (along with some AMAZING fart jokes). Plus, my review for it is what landed me this staff position, so even more reason to love it!

3. NBA Jam: On Fire Edition

Last year's NBA Jam was a great game. So the fact that they made it better this year is crazy, but hey, I can't complain. I spent so much time wanting to play this in between my play sessions it was ridiculous, and it just injects itself right into the pleasure center of my brain. Plus, going toe-to-toe against robots as the team from SSX is just too much ridiculousness to pass up; on top of tight controls and a fantastic announcer, I could play it all day (and have).

2. Pokemon Black/White

When you create a series with characters as iconic as Pokemon, it's pretty ridiculous to release an entry in the series where you can't play as any of those established characters your first time through. However, doing that in Black and White gave me something I'd been missing from Pokemon for a while: experimentation. Catching Pokemon and having no idea if they were good or not, what they'd learn, or even when they'd evolve was great, and brought me back to the reason I loved the games way back in 1998. Then, opening up to have the longest endgame since Gold/Silver means that the 200 hours I've spent on the game weren't just idle playing- it was the most fresh Pokemon experience in a long time, even if I did really miss using my Pokewalker.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

5 years of development time from a company who's known for high quality, extremely polished games means no one should be surprised that Skyward Sword is just an amazing game. The surprisingly lengthy main game yields nothing but great gameplay, and more importantly, it shows how awesome motion controls can be in the right hands. As a new Zelda entry, it succeeds in telling an interesting origin story for some of the characters. As a showcase of motion controls, I can't think of anything better than having 1:1 control over the sword and items. And as a final showcase of the Wii, I can't think of anything more fitting.

Honorable Mention: Back to the Future: The Game