Chasing GOTY 2016: Pokemon Go, XCOM 2, Superhot

Regardless of your preferred platform, genre, or commitment level, you had no shortage of great stuff to keep you busy all year. Even long running franchises seemingly oblivious to change got a shot in the arm. I mean, Mario got a runner game? Call of Duty has starfighters AND an emotional punch? Skylanders lets you mix and match your own characters without buying an army of figures? Uncharted replaced action and adventure with walking around and looking at stuff? Heck, The Last Guardian came out! Quite a year indeed! While RimWorld might have run away with our coveted Golden Giant Fire-Breathing Robot Baby GOTY statue this year, there were a few other titles we just couldn't let go unrecognized.

Let's deal with the hundred-pound Machamp in the room first: Pokemon Go is... not a great game. It is, however, a singularly magical experience. The combination of augmented reality, geocached treasure hunting, and one of the world's most beloved franchises created a perfect storm of childlike delight that kept many glued to their phones for months. Well, glued to their phones even more than usual. On the up side, we were all up, out, walking, and rediscovering our neighborhoods in a whole new light. No matter who you were or what you were doing, you'd have to be one cranky SoB not to crack a smile at the antics of a bunch of strangers laughing together as they ran from one side of your local park to another in search of virtual pocket monsters.


Growing Up Otaku Game of the Year 2016 : RimWorld

It was over. The colony was doomed.

We had survived the shipwreck that stranded us in this frozen forest at the edge of known space. We had survived the constant raids by passing star pirates and local tribal communities. We had (barely) survived that first hellish winter when we were forced to eat the chewed up remnants of our own after a hungry bear broke down the door to our ramshackle fort to devour the starving colonists within. We even survived the great fire that burned our humble abode to the ground and left many of us a missing few frostbitten fingers and toes. We had survived disease, killer robots, and toxic fog. Well... Some of us had survived all that. A lot of us didn't. But the colony, our fledgling civilization build on the bones and blood of our own (and the skins of many a local Muffalo) had survived. Until now.

Mae was one of our best. Well, maybe not our best. She was old and frail with a bad back. She refused to ever haul the crops in from the fields or clean the blood from the medical ward after our warriors were patched up following a skirmish with the locals. Still, Mae was a doctor. Not a great doctor, but a doctor none-the-less. She also had a special gift for negotiations, both with man and beast. It was Mae who trained the local wolves and foxes to haul grain while half the colony was bedridden with the plague. It was Mae who patched up captured raiders after an assault. It was Mae who later brainwashed convinced those prisoners to give up their piratey ways and find a better life at the colony with us. Everyone loved her. She had saved most of our lives, charmed many of us into settling here, and bolstered our workforce with four-legged, furry companions. She couldn't fight, haul, or clean, but she was the secret lifeblood that made sure we endured.

One chilly winter morning, Mae died from a heart attack.

Many of the domesticated forest beasts sharing our home went berserk with rage at the death of their mistress. Gunfire rang out from every corner of the fort as colonists desperately fought back against the furry horde. Some of our own fell to tooth and claw. Still others fell to friendly-fire in the impromptu firefight. Our medical ward overflowed. Many colonists needed to be treated in their own beds. Blood stained every corner of the colony. Still, few of the initial injuries were grave and it seemed we might pull through. Then the despair of Mae's death began to sink in.

Mae had saved many of us. Mae had spent many a day talking with us, eating with us, playing chess with us. She always had time for us (Mostly because she refused to haul, clean, or fight.). For some, Mae was the reason that they joined the colony in the first place. Mae's loss would take a heavy toll on the psyche of the colonists.


One by one, we began to crack. Some stripped naked and ran into the twenty degree below wilderness. Some went mad and started pummeling their fellow colony dwellers. The injury count grew. The blood spread. The despair deepened. Our one remaining doctor was forced to inject Go Juice every day just to keep up with the tending of wounds. Those not bleeding tried to clean as fast as possible to remove the offending blood from the most commonly used rooms. The medical supplies ran out. Infections set in. Emergency amputations amongst those suffering frostbite from wandering outside in the brutal winter weather, lost to reality in a haze of sadness, became common. Our people, even when sane, were becoming slower and less able-bodied with every lost appendage.

This is the way our world would end. Not with the bang of a pirate triple rocket launcher, but with the whimper of a woman dying of natural causes.

But usually you'll be wiped out by giant bugs tunneling into your bedroom a mob of bloodthirsty alpacas.