2018 Game of the Year

Whether you like exploring story-rich environments as prisoners on the lam, immersing yourself in a role-playing game developed in-part by a powerhouse Japanese animation studio, or singing sea shanties with your friends on the hunt for buried treasure, 2018 truly offered something for everyone. 2018’s varied slate of games stood out to me as the most diverse field in recent memory, and yet, I can’t remember a year where the Game of the Year winner was so clear-cut.

2017 Game of the Year: Cuphead

Two brothers founded Studio MDHR, the independent Canadian game studio behind Cuphead. Cuphead, the studio’s first game follows two brothers (Cuphead and Mugman) who gamble their souls away in a casino owned by the Devil. To win their souls back, the two brothers must collect the souls of others who lost it all in the Devil’s casino. Players are tasked with shooting, jumping, and dodging their way through a litany of unrelenting boss battles to capture the souls of the Devil’s debtors.

2016 Game of the Year: INSIDE

In a meta-commentary about video games and our own free will, INSIDE developer Playdead’s second game (also its second masterpiece after Limbo) forces players to question the nature of control. The story tasks players with guiding a nameless boy through a series of puzzles and platforming levels in a gloomy, harsh world. The resulting journey leads players to escape from armed guards and infected animals, use mind-control helmets, and genetically modify the boy’s body to complete puzzles.