I know, already: My writing on here has been sporadic.

Being a freelancer, it is either a period of “Feast or Famine”, and I’ve feasted well since October with work-related writing. When I do have free time to write, you can probably imagine that the last thing I want to do is more writing. Even if it is a subject I enjoy writing about.

But free time has come to me, and now I actually can write about the things I enjoy. I also got a Wii U for Christmas, so I’ve had time to set up some sessions where I can actually, you know, play. Not to mention transfer all my downloaded Wii games over. My NNID is “GuyCC75″, if you want to add me.

Regardless, I did have a chance to play some great games for 2013, so I’ll touch on a few of them here as my “Must Plays” for the year.

1.) Super Mario 3D World (Wii U) – Already out of the box, the latest Mario highlights some of the most iconic moments of several previous titles, making it a “Best Of” version. I loved the 3DS version, and sticking Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Peach together Super Mario Bros. 2 style was just a highlight of the holiday season.

2.) Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds (3DS) – Forget all the Link to the Past references. The art style touches upon the first NES entry, and that alone puts a grin on my face. Not to mention that the ideas, story, use of 3D and clever use of the “Merge” feature made Zelda feel “fresh” again to me for the first time in ages.

3.) Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS) – Nintendo can go multiple decades without releasing a sequel (hello, Kid Icarus), but they are usually worth the wait when they do hit. Luigi is back again in ghostbusting form, and it’s a clever, well-detailed little adventure into a series of haunted mansions. There’s a lot of great ideas here that expand on the original game, and again, the use of 3D and built in gyro controls are a useful and welcome feature.

4.) Bioshock Infinite (Xbox 360) – The story and ending made my brain melt. Elizabeth was a genuine delight as far as NPC controlled AI goes, and some clever uses of alternate reality that touches even into the “real” world. Bioshock has been a favorite series of mine, and it’s nice to see the third installment has held up so well.

5.) State of Decay (Xbox 360) – While there are a few AI issues about the game, I greatly enjoyed the overall experience. The concept was ambitious, the take on the oversaturated zombie genre was refreshingly different, and there were some genuinely tense and stressful moments in the game. I would like to see this game expanded on in the future, perhaps including multi-player to such a sizable and open world.

6.) Arcadecraft (Xbox 360) – One of the oft-buried “indie games”, Arcadecraft is an awesome “arcade owner” sim that touches upon the glory days of operating and running an arcade. There’s several reverent nods to classic cabinets of the time, and the game keeps a nice sense of action in its gameplay in moving around cabinets, updating games, emptying coin boxes, and kicking out unruly gamers. Low-priced and accessible, this is truly a
“hidden gem” of XBIG.

7.) DuckTales: Remastered (multi) – The classic NES game remastered in HD and voiced by the original cast was enough for me. Expanding upon the near non-existent plot of the original, enhancing the music, and adding a few more levels made this a nostalgia dream come true. I can only hope that Capcom and Disney continue to explore the other NES/SNES Disney games of the era.

8.) Disney Infinity (multi) – I never thought I’d get drawn into “collectible toy” gaming (which is an expensive and time-consuming venture), but Disney Infinity does a lot of things right that I do agree with. While the first run was far too Pixar heavy for its own good, there were some great playable characters from Lone Ranger, Frozen, and Wreck-It Ralph that added to the game’s appeal. When they start adding characters from Star Wars and Marvel Comics, this game really will be in my console for infinity.

9.) Lego Marvel Super Heroes (multi) – The game captures of the spirit of the characters and their world almost perfectly. From the films, to the comics, to the goofier side of Marvel, someone just had fun with the character roster and ran with it, giving a ton of unique characters the ability to play in the Marvel version of New York.

10.) Injustice: Gods Among Us (multi) – The Mortal Kombat guys being able to break away from Midway was the best thing to ever happen to them. A fighting game about a grief and power mad Superman made for a fantastic fighting game where DC heroes and villains beat the ever loving crap out of each other. And it looks awesome. This is coupled with great voice acting, a solid story, and some great additions to the cast that don’t often get used in video gaming media. Injustice brought justice to DC based fighting games, and is going to be hard to top.

I wanted to see what games like Grand Theft Auto V were like, but due to my schedule, I never got around to picking it up (hence the omission). I barely have time to play (or finish) games as it is right now. Same goes for Wii U. I’ve liked other games such as Star Wars Pinball, NES Remix, Scribblenauts Unmasked, Gunman Clive, Steamworld Dig, and a few others, but really, my gaming schedule has been shot. I do plan to review a few more titles in the next few days, but those were my favorites of the year.

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