AI: 2011 Recap – Game of the Year

Time to geek out here for a bit. What are the best games of 2011? Are there any solid skeptical games? Any incredible works of art? Any games that you think are important? Tell us all about them.

What are your nominations for the best games this year? Fill in the following categories for us:
Best game for skeptics
Best example of gaming as an art form
Best Gameplay
Best Visual Art
Best Soundtrack
Best innovation
Game of the year


Ryan is a professional nerd, teaching engineering in the frozen north. Somewhat less professionally, he is a costumer, author, blacksmith, juggler, gamer, serial enthusiast, and supporter of the Oxford comma. He can be found on twitter and instagram @studentofwhim. If you like what I do here, feel free to leave a tip in my tipjar.

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  1. @Bjornar, Zelda requires critical thinking to solve the puzzles. That’s skeptical.

  2. The closest thing to “best game for skeptics” that I can think of that I’ve played is Tower of Heaven and maybe Loved .

    The latter is an example of a sub-genre of games that I seem to see more of lately — games that only take a few minutes to play, and seem to be more about evoking a mood or a feeling than about presenting challenges. (Though the latter is often leveraged to accomplish the former.) A good example would be The End of Us , which might qualify for “Best example of gaming as an art form” … assuming that you’re willing to call it a game to begin with.

  3. I’m just at the end of Skyward Sword. It’s pretty great, but *possible blasphemy* I liked Twilight Princess better. *ducks*

    Best gameplay was Batman: Arkham City. Good story, great game mechanics, even the tedious stuff was a lot of fun. And there are a lot of extras.

    One of the most beautiful games I played was Limbo. It was a download title for PS3. Simple gameplay, black & white, stark, stunning scenery, great sound design. And gory death! You need to watch this trailer for a teeny tiny taste.

    I have no category for this, but: Portal 2. What a fantastic game. So much fun to play. So inventive and easily the funniest game I’ve ever played. So many laugh out loud moments.
    I’m really looking forward to Quantum Conundrum from Kim Swift who was the lead designer of Portal.

    Here’s a clip

  4. Best game for skeptics: SpaceChem
    Best example of gaming as an art form: Bastion
    Best Gameplay: Terraria
    Best Visual Art: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
    Best Soundtrack: Bastion
    Best innovation: Minecraft (LA Noire if you won’t accept it)
    Game of the year: Deus Ex: Human Revolution

  5. Best game for skeptics: Portal – Problem solving and science!
    Best example of gaming as an art form: Bastion. I can’t describe how well this game managed to evoke emotion. Second place, Limbo.
    Best Gameplay: I don’t have a game this year that I go back to just to play.
    Best Visual Art: Deus Ex – Human revolution. Impressively cohesive and carefully constructed visual world.
    Best Soundtrack: Bastion – Play it. Hear it. Love it.
    Best innovation: Rock Band 3 Midi Pro Adapter. I can connect my electronic drums to Rock Band. Best thing ever.
    Game of the year: Skyrim. I haven’t even played it, but the number of my friends that tell me different amazing experiences is unprecedented.

  6. Best game for skeptics – Portal 2. It’s just all out sciency goodness!

    Best example of gaming as an art form – Did not play but, Minecraft seems like logical choice for those looking for an artistic outlet in a game.

    Best Gameplay – Portal 2. The control and mechanics are just unmatched.

    Best Visual Art – Uncharted 3. Really shows off what the PS3 can do visually. This game is beautiful!

    Best Soundtrack – Portal 2. Complements the gameplay and story perfectly.

    Best innovation – Catherine. I did not play this one either but after the reviews and listening to podcasts, this one looks to have unique gameplay and a compelling story.

    Game of the year – I really liked Uncharted 3 and Skyrim but Portal 2 is the one that took over my entire being! So it has to get the nod.

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