As the year winds down, we ran our annual round-up of best surprises and biggest disappointments. Disappointments got the better traffic yet again! Both posts were among my favorites of the week, as were these five:

  • From Japan, With Changes: The Endless Debate Over Video Game ‘Censorship’ - “‘Outside of Japan—and especially right now—you have one loud segment of the market saying, “The artistic integrity of the game is more important than the feelings of the people playing it,”’ said localizer Brian Gray, who worked in-house at Square Enix—he was the lead translator on the Kingdom Hearts games—before opening his own studio. ‘And the other segment [is] saying, “Games have no integrity unless they respect the feelings of people playing them.” As a translator, it’s kind of a terrifying debate to be in the middle of, because someone is going to be upset no matter what choice you make.’”
  • Steam’s Latest Hit Is Like A More Realistic Battlefield - “In some ways, though, long waits—whether you’re building up defenses or trying to locate an enemy with Batman-like hide-and-seek capabilities—contribute to Squad’s best moments: when shit finally hits the fan. Suddenly bullets are buzzing like a hail of angry bees, and you’re clutching your helmet behind cover as your vision blurs. Meanwhile, your allies are barking orders and information, and you’re terrified—both because of social pressure and, you know, guns—but at some point you’ve just gotta act.”
  • Smash Bros. Modders Are Already Playing The Unreleased Final Fantasy VII Stage - “Modders are already putting that Wii U information to use. In this video by DemonSlayerX8, we can see a version of the official Midgar stage that’s been ported to SuperSmash Bros. Brawl using the actual information that was data mined from the Wii U version of Smash Bros. This isn’t even live in the actual game it was created for, but people are playing it already!”
  • Undertale Is Tearing GameFAQs Apart - “Undertale hasn’t just been performing well in the GameFAQs polls. It’s demolishing the competition, even when it comes to games that are considered sacred by the hardcore gaming community.”
  • Dad Immortalized In His Favorite Game By Grieving Son - “‘Occasionally I wonder if I’m contributing anything positive to the world through my work or just creating time-wasting entertainment,’ said Bruno. ‘Then once in a while we’ll get a heart-felt message like that one and it helps to put things into perspective. While we’re not curing disease or making any sort of meaningful sacrifice in creating games, it is good to know, at least sometimes, it’s not just time-wasting entertainment and gives people some relief from the daily struggle or the dark times we have to endure in life. It was incredible to learn that our game meant so much to this family and that it was able to provide a bit of joy in a difficult time.’”

Best headline: The Emotional Games Awards Is Now Accepting . . . Sorry, Give Me A Moment

Best GIF (via this post):

Got thoughts about what we published last week or about stories you’d like to see on the site? Let me know.

To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter @stephentotilo. Top image by Tetsyua Nomura, drawn for the launch of Cloud in the new Smash Bros.

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