SWERY is a game director best known for his work on games like Deadly Premonition, D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die, and The Missing: J.J. MacField and the Island of Memories. He’s @Swery65 on Twitter.
The most difficult part of my year has come yet again: an extremely difficult choice that requires me to use the utmost care.
After all, I know that every game has developers behind it. Every game has its own backstory.
This year, 8000 games were released. It may be impossible to create a true ‘Top 10’ from a number like that.
But I like sharing my own experiences with people, so I picked some games that I thought were worth writing about.
And just like last year, I wasn’t able to make it to 100 games played.
So instead of doing a Top 10 this year, I’d just like to focus on a few games I really liked.
There are parts of this game that sync up with the fourth and fifth installments of the book series, which were both just recently translated into Japanese. So I ended up enjoying the world itself more than the actual game. I don’t really like card games, but this one pulled me in.
The game I spent the most time on: ARK: Survival Evolved (PS4）
I played this game a lot, just like last year.
They’re still giving it proper updates, and allowing lovable bugs to stay in the game.
The game gives me exactly what I want: Servers that can be customized freely to fit player level, and an infinite amount of time to play around, like a true sandbox/jungle gym.
After playing this game for several years, I finally saw the ending credits this year.
The game that shocked me the most: Shenmue III (PS4）
Unique design, nostalgia, atmosphere, and humanism that cannot be found in any other game.
If you look for flaws, you’ll be able to find as many as you like. There are lots of places where I felt “If you just changed this a little, it’d be way more convenient, or easier to deal with.” But is that really necessary to create something that’s truly fun, or to create a game that truly stands on its own? As I asked myself these questions, I was shocked by what I saw as good and bad about the game. No one can truly imitate this game’s creative spirit, and if they try to, they get burned, badly. In the end, I was overwhelmed by the fear and reverence I felt toward a creator who has taught me a great deal.
Special Award: GNOSIA (PS VITA）
I bought a new PS VITA just for this game!
I heard about the idea for this game from the creator, Kawakatsu, several years ago. Now it’s finally here, and it’s fun!
This game made me realize that there are cool indie creators in Japan, too!
I like Lakio and Shigemichi.
Here’s a list of the games I also played in 2019.
Console games (Xbox/PS4/Switch）
Games I bought but haven’t had time to play yet (stacked up games): As of Dec. 9, 2019
This year, I played comparatively less PC games and ended up spending a lot more time on consoles.
I realized that one big reason for this is because the PS4’s party functionality allows players to “Hand over a controller.”
Obviously, it’s more fun to have someone watch you or play together with someone vs. play a game alone. And with that function, even if I got tired partway through the game, I could let someone else watching me on share play take over for a bit. This ‘ease of play’ led to longer repeated play hours for me.
Once cloud gaming becomes more widespread, I imagine this sort of play style will become more and more normal.
It actually makes me really excited to see what’s in store. We have an amazing future ahead of us.
This list also proves just like last year how easy it is to pick up and play a mobile game, and how many titles are available to play. But I was also surprised by how many games I “retired” from (In other words, I started them up and then instantly stopped playing).
VR still has a lot of work to do in terms of available, satisfying content, but this year I definitely saw more games that are worth playing.
December 9, 2019