Hello! My name is Owen and today I am going to tell you about some of the most enjoyable new games I played in the Earth year 2012. This is quite difficult for me because I don't usually buy games until they've had at least a year to come down in price, and since we're apparently doing this weird thing of writing individual lists without repeating other people's choices I can't talk about stuff like Hotline Miami or New Star Soccer. Also I'm not going to insult your intelligence by ranking them. VIDEOGAAAAAAAAAAMES!
My friend Anna released this short game about undertaking hormone therapy at the start of the year. I really enjoyed it! I have no personal experience of what she was going through, but I feel like this collection of Wario Ware-inspired microgames have given me some idea. The game is free, and takes only a few minutes to play, and can be found on Newgrounds. Full disclosure: Midnight Resistance's own kale processing unit Liz Ryerson composed the soundtrack.
Rhythm Tengoku Wii
Beat The Beat: Rhythm Paradise (as it is known in Europe) is a rhythm game in which you tap buttons in time with a beat to make cool stuff happen on your TV. It looks good, sounds great, and feels amazing to play! It also brings a multiplayer mode to the series, and includes a level where you play as a wrestler recording a promo interview. That's a Midnight Resistance brown star of approval right there.
The Basement Collection
A sort of downloadable sequel to Edmund McMillen's This Is A Cry For Help compilation, The Basement Collection brings together a load of his earlier games and adds some photos, concept art and unusued material on the side. If you listened to the old DarkZero Team Meat special and wanted to know what the fuck those games were that we talked about that weren't Super Meat Boy, here are your answers. Basically this is an autobiographical study of one man's experience of indie game development, told through the games he made. It is interesting!
Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 3 is an okay sci-fi shoot-em-up (with talky bits) which wraps up all the plotlines of the series in a fairly unsatisfying way, and then has a short ending sequence that upset a lot of nerds who were expecting all the cosmic secrets of the universe to be revealed via cutscene. There's also an alright Horde-style multiplayer mode featuring lots of optional micropayments - a monetisation model which I am certain will be expanded upon in the next game. I can't say that Mass Effect 3 really impressed me as much as the previous games - I feel like all the weird and interesting hooks and rough patches that I enjoyed in the original Mass Effect have been systematically sandpapered off by Bioware and EA over the course of the series - but its relationship to those games makes it personally significant enough for me to justify its inclusion in this list.
Tokyo Jungle is a game in which you play as a Pomeranian dog (or rather, successive generations of a family of Pomeranian dogs) and wander the streets of post-apocalyptic Tokyo in search of food and water and mating partners. You could call it this year's Katamari Damacy or Deadly Premonition - this year's Weird Little Japanese Game That Western Games Journalists Took Notice Of. If playing as a Pomeranian somehow doesn't appeal to you, rest assured that dozens of alternative species are available within the game with yet more available as DLC. Only available on PSN; cheap.
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is the best fighting game ever made. Beautiful to look at, with exquisite controls and a roster of unique characters that have been carefully balanced over the last nineteen years, it's available on Xbox Live and PSN for under a tenner and I would absolutely urge anyone to at least try it. A huge range of customisable costume options are available in DLC packs, and I would say they form a convenient way to top-up your total expenditure on this criminally underpriced game. PRODUCT OF THE YEAR!
Hidden In Plain Sight
Hidden In Plain Sight is an torturous collection of minigames about psychology and anonymity. Best played with four players (local multiplayer only), all the games are variations on the theme of 'moving around in a crowd of NPCs and assassinating the other players'. Serious sessions are intense. Players must study the movements of the crowd, figure out who their opponents are and kill them, without giving away their own identity in the process. It costs 80 Microsoft Points - which is basically nothing - and sits snugly next to your Chu Chu Rockets and Bombermans as far as four-player sofa-sharing games go.
Come back next year, when I'll be raving about Pokémon and Monster Hunter.