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Love Everything: Our Honorable Mentions Of 2012


Just because we have been that much more effusive in our love for 24 particular games of 2012 does not mean we don't also love many more games. 2012's been one of the best years for games in living memory, and if you say otherwise you're not living and you have a broken memory. It saddens the hivemind's emotion generator 3000 that the below games could not be included in our calendar of calendars, but let us now salute them for their fine, brilliant and most varied work.

In no particular order whatsoever:

  • Iron Brigade - Public Service Announcement: a trio of really great Double Fine games came out on PC over the last year or so, please do stop ignoring them, you great galahs. - Alec
  • Unmanned - I haven't played anywhere near as many short-form indie games as I should have done this year, but this quietly powerful tale of duty, war and parenthood was one I was so glad I did - Alec
  • Natural Selection 2 - The most brilliant multiplayer shooter no one's talking about. Natural Selection 2's mix of FPS and RTS gets all the little things oh-so-right - whether it's skittering along the ceiling with a mouthful of saliva-soaked teeth or orchestrating the chaos of battle from RTS view. Between Day Z, PlanetSide 2, Tribes Ascend, and heaps more, 2012 was a brilliant year for multiplayer. Natural Selection 2, though, deserves just as much credit. - Nathan
  • Drawception - This is about you lot as much as it's about Drawception. For one glorious week after we wrote about it, the top drawings were PC gaming references and Horace even managed to sneak into the top ten for a while. Marvellous - Adam
  • Chivalry - I don't play many multiplayer games but Chivalry kept me up late into the night, smiting and stabbing - Adam
  • Drox Operative - My favourite ARPG since Soldak last released one. Things happen in Drox Operative - Adam

  • Super Hexagon - it's technical perfection, isn't it? Pure design, a terrifyingly complete creation. I actually don't know how to write about it sensibly or usefully, which is why there's not been a WIT yet. - Alec
    I watched someone playing this on its hardest difficulty setting in a noisy pub and absolutely nailing every motion. A beautiful machine-tune with a human input. That would have converted me, but I'd already been converted by playing and failing myself. I'm with Alec. I could write a thousand sentences about it but they'd all stand alone - Adam
  • Sleeping Dogs - I'm a bit bemused by how fond some folk are of this, but it's certainly an accomplished and vibrant open world game in year where sandboxes have increasingly turned into icon-strewn maps - Alec
  • Analogue: A Hate Story - jeez, was this 2012? Smart, moving, heavily-researched and attitude-challenging interactive fiction with bells on. - Alec
  • Scribblenauts Unlimited - I confirmed for myself how much I love this game when I saw Eurogamer's 5/10 review and wanted to punch someone - John
  • Stealth Bastard Deluxe - Somewhere in the shadows between Portal, Super Meat Boy and Mark of the Ninja is Stealth Bastard Deluxe. Superb, tightly designed and with more user-generated content than you'll need in a lifetime - Adam
  • Miasmata - Damn the Christmas (c)rush, for I think if Adam and or Jim had had an opportunity to play this too it would have wound up on the calendar proper. Awkward and brilliant survival/botany gaming that deserves a wider audience. - Alec
  • Little Inferno - game, toy, screensaver, what? I can absolutely see why many adore this and why many are bemused by it in equal measure, but personally I dug both its catharsis and its satire. - Alec
    Baby, it's cold outside but Little Inferno will keep you warm. I loved this but I also simultaneously wish there was more to it and that it only took a couple of hours to make its point. Which might mean it failed to make its point. Hmmm. - Adam
  • Black Mesa - it wasn't Duke Nukem Forever. What higher compliment is there? Can't wait to see what these guys do with Xen. - Alec

  • Spec Ops: The Line - It's an important and powerful game with far more to say than accidental and infinitely more smug peer Far Cry 3, but that it's such an uninteresting, straightforward shooter outside its narrative did make it that much more problematic a game to praise despite its other accomplishments. I hope everyone plays it, I really do, but I don't know if I can necessarily recommend that they do. - Alec
    I was shocked by a particularly gruesome sequence when I played the game in an early hands-on preview session and perhaps more shocked still that so many people didn't seem to realise that The Line would fascinate so many people. In the end I didn't find it as compelling or questioning as I'd hoped, but I'm glad I played it and I adore the graffiti and overall art design - Adam
  • Endless Space - Would I have argued that this masterful space strategy game should have had a place on the calendar if I'd found more time to play it after release? My enjoyment of the hours I did put in suggests as much. One of the best strategy games of the year - Adam
  • 1000 Amps - It drives me crazy that I can't force everyone to sit down and play one of the best puzzle games of the year - John
  • Max Payne 3 - for sheer presentation values alone (both graphics and voicework) Max was one 2013's classiest acts. There just wasn't quite enough else going on with it, I felt. - Alec
    Splendid animations as an alcoholic shoots men in the knees and hurls himself down stairs and into walls - Adam
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane - they don't make 'em like they used to, etc. Except they do. Like this. Solid and absorbing fantasy-strategising. - Alec
    A game that I enjoyed, even though it felt oddly snack-sized. Patches have been helpful as well, particularly the addition of multiplayer - Adam
  • Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP - such a Johnny Come Lately on PC, but still such a wondrous and - ugh - magical fusion of light, sound, nostalgia, mystery and self-awareness. Occasionally it's too blatantly wearing big black spectacles and a Scandi-pattern sweater while ordering a vegan Latte, but I can forgive it that because it delights my senses so. - Alec
  • Botanicula - I honestly thought this was in the 24! Man, I'm stupid. A real highlight from 2012 - John.
    Proper lovely. I even bought the soundtrack. Turquoise vinyl! - Alec

  • Snapshot - Kyle Pulver (and chums) is quietly and confidently turning out games that would have been making magazine covers the world over back in the mid-90s, but with modern twists and values that spare them from rank nostalgia. It just seems so effortless. - Alec
  • Rayman Origins - Wheeeee! - Alec
    Wooooohooooo! - Adam
  • Cart Life - Gut-punch social commentary in all of four colours. (Someone will appear below to tell me how many colours it actually uses, won't they?) Important. - Alec
    It came out in 2011 but I only became aware of it in 2012. I'd have put it on the 2011 calendar if I'd played it in time and managed to convince the men of RPS that it wasn't just an exercise in misery. It's sort of Spec Ops: The Line for The Sims, instead of third-person shooters, although it's much more than that as well - Adam
  • Frog Fractions - This is the greatest game of all time. Play it. Laugh. Cry. Install a targeting computer in a frog's brain. Protip: go down. Just do it. - Nathan
  • The 4th Wall - In a year where survival-horror was dominated largely by Slender and its increasingly obnoxious army of elongated clones, The 4th Wall stood out as my personal favorite creepy/unsettling thing. It was just so abstract and bizarre and nauseating. More importantly, though, it didn't draw on familiar horror tropes. It took me to a new place and then made me want to leave immediately. But when I finally did... well, that ending. That's all I'll say. Give it a go and see for yourself. - Nathan
  • Seedling - I haven't found much magic in a modern Zelda adventure for quite some time, but Seedling managed to transport me back to the good old days like a magical, incredibly obscure wind instrument. It was "retro" not simply in aesthetic, but in spirit. Put simply, they don't make games like this anymore. But maybe they should. - Nathan
  • Lego Lord of the Rings - Middle Earth meets Lego and it's as splendid as that combination sounds. Unless you hate Middle Earth and Lego and reckon that sounds like a cocktail of razors and poo, in which case probably don't play it - Adam

Thank you, videogames of 2012. You are all as beautiful as our readers' mothers.

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