It’s that time of the year again—the end of it. This year, I chose 19 games for my year-end ranking list. Why 19? Perhaps the answer is contained within this video.
You might be wondering which game is my pick for game of the year. Before you do that, however, you might want to ask yourself if a game of the year even exists.
If you answer “no” to the second question, the third question is “Why isn’t Control the game of the year?”
It just so happens that I shot this video immediately after finishing my games of the decade video. As with my games of the decade video, I composed this list quickly, from the heart, so as to guarantee maximal sentimental authenticity.
However, having just spent several consecutive working days trapped in reverie about an entire decade put me in a weird frame of mind.
Obviously, more great games come out over the course of a decade than come out in one year. That’s just basic math. My mind knew this, though my heart did not.
What I’m saying is, I’m a bit of a jerk toward video games in this video. Rather than explain why each of these 19 games is on my games of the year list, I focus instead on why each game is not number one.
Years from now, I might accidentally look back at 2019. When that happens, I might—depending upon the conversation at hand—conjure the name of my favorite video game that happened to be released in 2019.
However, right now, today, looking down the barrel of a 2020, I’m feeling standoffish. When we call a game the “Game of the Year,” we’re doing more than saying it’s our favorite game we played this year. We’re saying it is of this year. What games were of this year? I feel like every game that came out this year was “of” some other year. Apex Legends, for example, came out in 2019, though it’s more “of” 2017.
I reached the end of 2019 with no single fist-sized morsel of an idea what this year “was,” either for me or for video games. It was just a year.
Maybe you experienced something grand or revelatory this year. Maybe you had your first kiss. Maybe you started your first job. Maybe you graduated from college, moved abroad, learned an instrument.
In 2019 I was just a 40-year-old guy with a chronic headache. I’ve played literally thousands of video games in my life. I have loved hundreds of them. If I gave it some thought, I might be able to type up a list of 50 games that I’d unequivocally recommend.
Maybe 10 years ago, that hypothetical list would have been 200 games. Today it feels like it’s around 50 games.
I suppose this is part of what people call a mid-life crisis. I lack the money to buy a Porsche 911 Turbo, so I act out my mid-life crisis by declaring that my hypothetical list of “great” video games is only 25% as long as it might have been 10 years ago.
What I’m saying is, as I get older, I’m less concerned with individual years as I am with decades, and I’m less concerned with decades as I am with that ever-elusive, grandiose time period we call “All Time.”
And I know in my heart that if I did write a list of 50 “great” all time video games, probably none of them would have been released in 2019. So, for the person I have grown up to become, I declare that there is no game of the year 2019.
Knowing what I know about internet comments, to say “you might disagree” would be an understatement. If you have a game of the year, I am as happy for you as I am sure there’s something I’m missing, or something I didn’t play.
At any rate, I’d rather say “there is no game of the year” than give game of the year to Death Stranding. I think Hideo Kojima would approve.
Oh, well. Here’s to next year’s video, where we’ll find out whether Cyberpunk 2077 or Final Fantasy VII Remake Chapter One: Part One: Just The First Disc: Like, Just The Part Where You’re In The First City: Midgar is my #1.
And by the way—there’s one more video from me coming before the end of the year. I wonder what it’ll be!
Also! If you personally liked, commented, and / or subscribed to our YouTube channel, that would definitely fuel my habit of making a lot more videos like this. I promise you might love it.