8-Bit Island writers Games of the Year 2020

This crappy year is done, but thankfully some exceptional game were released.

Rather than coming to a consensus, this year we have let each writer say what their favourite game was and why… though the consensus appears to be Hades.

Brian

Hades

Look, I don’t care what kind of games you usually play. Roguelikes? You’ll love Hades. Dating sims? Hades. Dark Souls? Yeah, I’m still gonna recommend Hades.

Yes it’s difficult, but that only makes the eventual victory all the sweeter. You’ve got an engaging and ultimately heartwarming story, some truly loveable characters, music to die for, and not only can you pat the dog, but the dog has three goddam heads. Triple pup!

I reviewed Hades months ago, and haven’t stopped playing. It’s my game of the year; there’s no reason it shouldn’t be yours too.

Bronwyn

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

We all know that 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year, but the great thing about being a gamer is that you’re used to entertaining yourself at home. 2020 is also the year that I realised that I do in fact want to buy a house someday, but that’s not happening anytime soon, so I’ll just live that fantasy in my personal game of the year, ‘Raccoon Mortgage Simulator 2020’. I mean, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Because if I can’t own a house or go on an island getaway, then at least I can pretend.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a pretty simple game. You have an island, and you need to develop it into a thriving community. It is as complicated as you want it to be, which means if you want to build a monolith to your favourite villager (it’s Molly, and I will hear no arguments), or, I don’t know, create a fire cult, you can. You can also just jump in every few days, dig up a few fossils, catch a few fish, and pay off the capitalist raccoon. There’s nothing complicated behind why I picked Animal Crossing as my GOTY, either. It’s nice to have a game you can just come back to and have some chill fun, especially during the stressful times.

Even if my civic planning leaves much to be desired.

Animal Crossing is the only game I’m still playing, even ten months later, and with the constant seasonal updates, I’ll probably be playing in another ten months. Plus, you know, most of the villagers are cute, so that’s a bonus. And only slightly adds to my guilt when I don’t visit for a week.

Hannah

Hades / Ghost of Tsushima

I’ve gotta be honest, Hades is also my 2020 Game of the Year.

I’ve been a Supergiant Games fan since Bastion and they outdo my expectations every single game. Hades is no exception. It scratches the same itch – great music, seemingly endless reactive dialogue, beautiful story-telling and a unique art style.

And what beautiful character art we have been gifted. I mean, hot damn Megaera, you can kick my butt any day looking like that. Ahem.

As it goes with most roguelikes, it can be a difficult time-suck of a game. Hades turns this into a positive by offering little extra content-snacks each time you fail, such as extra dialogue, upgrades, and decorations. Sort of like the small chocolates my partner has to feed me on long hikes. They’re essential for getting me through the long-haul. 

I am honestly so pleased that this game has received the mainstream recognition that it deserves. I cannot wait to see what Supergiant Games gifts us with next, but in the meantime, long may the Zagreus fan art continue to fill my Twitter feed.

Special mention goes to Ghost of Tsushima. Ghost of Tsushima delivered a heady combination of features that defined the last console generation of open-world adventure games, succeeding where others have stumbled. A masterclass of PS4 gaming. Shout-out to the most satisfying “standoff” mechanic I’ve had the pleasure of playing.

Blair

Immortals Fenyx Rising

Until early December The Last of Us Part II was for all money going to be my Game of the Year. The excellent story that had me loving then hating one of my favourite game characters, and turned someone I hated into someone I empathised with was nothing short of extraordinary.

Then Immortals Fenyx Rising came out which is simply babies First Assassins Creed.

It takes the excellent gameplay mechanics of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the climb everything until your stamina runs out of BoTW, and the art style of an awesome animated movie.

With the framing of Prometheus telling the story of Fenix to Zeus and them both being silly characters of their ruthless selves I was laughing more than I expected. What the game provides is a silly fun game that is in some ways as advanced as Assassins Creed and in other simplified to make sure you can relax and just enjoy what the game has to offer.

After the year of 2020, I am glad to finish it with a game that is as funny as it is fun.

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