In a year where I played more video games than ever, I played 7 games that came out this year. Seven. That’s it. That’s the fewest new releases I’ve played since… well, actually, probably ever. I was going to say my childhood where I relied on birthdays and Christmas for games, but, even then, renting was a pretty regular occurrence at our house growing up.
Part of it was a direct result of my economic situation this year, which was the worst I’ve been in, but not nearly as bad as so many out there (I found a job during a global recession for pete’s sake). But, with that, the pandemic meaning I couldn’t play anything in person (like fighting games or party games), the library being closed for majority of the year (my go-to source of new games), and my house’s last vehicle kicking the bucket, I spent most of my time this year basically stuck in a bunker. The past twelve months I’ve either been playing live games (Apex Legends, Final Fantasy XIV, and Hearthstone, mainly) or diving deep into the backlog (which honestly was much needed. Furi… Dragon Quest Builders 2… Disgaea 4… Picross 3d… the Yakuza series… Celeste… Yoku’s Island Express… Shiren 5… so many games that I’m so happy I had time to go back to).
So, for majority of the year, the only three new games I had played were Helltaker, a free game that was more charming than actually a fantastic game; Granblue Vs, one of my favourite fighting games this generation, but one that launched just before the pandemic hit and had disappointing online; and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a literal desert island game that unfortunately wasn’t exactly what I needed during that time in my life.
And while Spelunky 2, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, DOOM: Eternal, and Hades are looking to be fantastic games that could be great frontrunners, I still feel I’ve only scratched each of their surfaces and I’m not comfortable with crowning any of them.
So what do I crown Game of the Year 2020? Nothing. At least, not yet. Maybe one day I will, once this year has disappeared from view.
But for now? There is no Game of the Year 2020.
2020 doesn’t deserve a game of the year.