The Dread Game of the Year List 2019 – Special Awards
Welcome back, connoisseurs of creepy culture! I’m back with the second half of my 2019 list. Every year, God himself decrees that everyone that wishes to consider themselves worthy of an E3 badge must write a ranked list of their favorite games. This isn’t hard if you’re a writer for something like IGN and can just sort the Steam sales chart by most profitable and call it a day. But if you’re like me, a lot of your favorite games don’t really fall unto any justifiable scale of quality. For example, one of my favorite games of all time is Unreal 2, in large part because the shotgun reload animation was super dope.
With my previous list, I ranked the best games of 2019 month by month. My hope was to get a good spread of the year’s titles, and not just focus on the blockbusters that came out closer to awards season. While compiling that list, I found a number of titles that deserved to be recognized for some extraordinary things they did that might not fall into any rational human’s categorization. These are qualities that matter to me, but I wouldn’t suggest they put it on their resume. To be clear, these are all positive categories. Just categories that only matter to the incredibly nerdy or uniquely deranged.
Once again, the rules are as follows: Every game on this list I played to completion. However, since DreadXP is relatively new and I was previously spending the year fighting heat-related illness for the City of Phoenix, not all of the games have a full review up. If they have a review, you can click the title to read the full review. If they don’t I’ll do my best to fix that in the coming month. Only games that fully released for the first time this year qualify. Also, no remasterings. Remakes are okay, as long as they are sufficiently original to qualify as a new game. If your favorite game is not on this list, it might be on the next list. If it’s not on both, maybe I didn’t play it. Or maybe I just didn’t like it. I’ll let you decide which infuriates you more.
The “Meth-Lite” Award For Replacing One Addiction With Another – Dauntless
I’ve made no effort to hide that I suffer from serious substance abuse issues. It’s a part of who I am, and something I spend a little bit of time every day keeping under control. Like many of my compatriots in recovery, we find ways to transfer out addictive behaviors to new, hopefully less harmful habits. Some drink gallons of coffee. Some vape 2 pods a day. Some bang people fresh out of rehab. For me, my most recent solution is Dauntless. Dauntless is Monster Hunter for the Fortnite crowd. It’s free-to-play, has a heavy focus on cosmetics, and is somehow even grindier than Monster Hunter: World. I haven’t missed this many deadlines since I started playing WoW in college. Luckily, it’s not an addiction I have to shamefully hide from my family. Dauntless is far better than your typical free-to-play offering. The combat is fast, monsters complex, and progression immediately understandable. If you’re a fan of tight combat and an incredibly steep sliding scale of difficulty, then give Dauntless a shot. All you have to lose is your free time.
The “I Spent All My Money On Meth-Lite But I Still Want To Game” Award For Best Free Game – Entity
Historians of the future will judge if my increasing adventures into the library of itch.io are the beginning of something grand or the first symptom of the coming dark times. For every 15-minute micro-game I deem worthy of an article, there are a dozen more that are purged from my hard drive like my browser history when my mom asks if she can Google something. It’s all worth it when I come across something I would truly otherwise never have heard of. In Entity‘s case, it led to an entire series I had never heard of. If you haven’t played Entity... why haven’t you played it? Go play it right now. It’s 20 minutes long and completely free. It’s part of the Scythe Saga Universe, which is more a vague collection of ideas than an actual canon. It spans across both music and games and is definitely worth checking out if you need a new rabbit hole to dive down. It’s not SCP level deep, but what have you got to lose? If not, still check out Entity. It was made in a week and will make you wonder why the fuck you haven’t made that simple game you’ve been meaning to create for ages.
Most Number Of Asterisks Required To Describe While Still Being Undeniably Amazing – Disco Elysium
You’re probably already aware that Disco Elysium is quite good. It got four awards at The Game Awards, and a number of professional internet grumpy people have broken their typical trends to likewise praise it. That being said, I haven’t seen many reviews that can succinctly describe just what the fuck Disco Elysium actually is. At the core, Disco Elysium is an RPG about a cop trying to solve a crime. That being said, RPG comes with a bit ol’ *, since pretty much every RPG convention gets thrown out of a window. Rather than specialize in specific abilities, you level up aspects of your personality. This can range from Reaction Speed to something called Inland Empire. The higher the level of your “skill,” the more likely it is to trigger a success roll in conversation. However, investment in a specific personality also locks you into it. If you succeed in rolling high Half Light, you might be incapable of controlling yourself in social situations. It’s a fascinating way to “play” a “role” in a “game.” And don’t even get me started on the moral* choice* system*. If you’re the kind of person that loves witty writing and tomes full of dialogue, then Disco Elysium is for you.