What Game Defined 2013?

One game to rule them all... for 2013
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I was on twitter the other day when I came across a tweet from @GoodWritingVG; “What single game defines/encapsulates 2013 for you thus far?”  That question got me thinking; maybe a little too hard for me to give a few paragraphs to explain my answer.  I think it’s a good question to ask though. Which game told the story of this years ups and downs in the gaming world?

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The year had a few surprises and letdown’s, companies have reshaped and restructured, even their approach towards its audience changed.  Whether that be warm fuzzies as they announce the $100 price difference and game sharing, like Sony did at E3, or when gamers everywhere witnessed Microsoft perform one of the quickest flip-flops by a major corporation we’ve seen in this modern era. 

I like it to compare the two to my children, who are 2 and 3; they want the same things, but have two completely different ways of going about it.  Tomb Raider is a reboot, a restructuring if you will, of a beloved franchise with an updated and refreshing take on someone/something we already know and love. 

“The surge in indie sales resulted in the humbling of AAA studios and major publishers alike”

Bioshock Infinfite was met with critical praise and controversy about its open-ended conclusion and some plot lines regarding racism.  The remake of a beloved franchise Devil May Cry a hack-n-slash platforming adventure, Dead Space 3’s action oriented attempts with its single player and coop campaign.  We were enamoured with games like Gone Home, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and The Last of Us, which told us stories we will carry with ourselves for years to come.  Games willing to take a risk on story have reared it’s wonderfully beautiful head to humble us as we enter the “Battle of the Consoles” in 2014. 

The Year of the Raider

While the list may go on for this years unexpected hits, none caught me more off guard than Tomb Raider.  And none answer that question better than Lara Croft.  As Lara, the main character of this game starts out, she’s just a normal girl willing to take chances on some lost treasure on a mysterious island.  As you soon find out, she transforms into an independent, daring, risk taker who you wouldn’t expect to take out an entire army of armed fanatics.  As we saw throughout the year numerous titles that had little to no advertising and were instant cult classics; Pay Day 2, Gone Home, and Rogue Legacy to name just a few.

Some of the more climatic points in the campaign resulted in literal landslides or houses burning down.  Much like how the realizations of AAA development became unfortunately apparent.  SquareEnix reported after selling several million copies of Tomb Raider, it was a “failure” financially. 

AAA developers were let go in the masses this year, with more studios closing what seemed every other month.  Those same types of devs then went on to create some of the most surprising hits this year.  Much like how Lara’s transformation to a killing machine, able to move through obstacles seamlessly, and with style. The surge in indie sales resulted in the humbling of AAA studios and major publishers alike.  This ushered in a great year for “indie” gaming as discussed in the “Top 5 Indie Games of This Generation.”


The way Tomb Raider ended left me scratching my head a bit, I wasn’t too sure what happened. The story took such a strange turn, and with such a powerful build up.  During the adventure you learn who your true friends were and you stayed loyal to those people and those beliefs.  Many felt Playstation stayed true to the “core” gamer by never making an issue of how to share your games, and being more affordable. There were supernatural elements injected into this heroic tale that induced a great deal of confusion for me.  It took what seemed potentially a huge climatic masterpiece, and then a sudden 90 degree turn with no warning.  I was expecting something much more than what was in front of me. 

With so many cross-platform games and lack of AAA software for these console launches… it leaves me scratching my noggin here too.  Pre-sale orders for both consoles are looking good, and with the most anticipated games not coming out until early or mid next year… well, lets just hope we’re not all left stranded on a mysterious island wondering how we all got here and how to get off.  In other words, I hope we’re not relying on some magical game to come and save these consoles to justify the purchase.  As that game may not come until much later in 2014.

Your thoughts?

What is the game that defines this year for you?  Do you have any games that sold you on your next-gen console?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to follow @Gameskinny to keep up with the latest in news, gaming, and contests.

– @Coatedpolecat

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I'm a stay at home dad who writes about video games. I enjoy my family, video games, and music.