From guest blogger Eric Schucht.
Well it looks like it’s that time of year again when gamers and nerds alike argue, discuss, and compile their lists of the best games of the year. As to not get drowned out by the hundreds of other lists, I’m going to take a different approach with my “best of” list. While many exceptional games came out this year, not all are timeless. Games that are dependent on multiplayer or showcase the latest in graphics and technology will eventually become forgotten when better and superior games come out in the future. Few games are creative or unique enough to warrant a revisit from players several years down the line. It’s difficult to predict whether a game will be a classic, like Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time, or will eventually fade from the spotlight, like any of the yearly editions of sports games or futuristic first-person shooters. While difficult, it’s not impossible to guess which games will endure the passage of time.
Here’s my top 5 timeless future classics that came out this year.
- Hollow Knight
Critics and fans are calling this the Dark Souls of 2D platformers, and they’re right to do so. Hollow Knight is a Kickstarter-funded platformer, like Castlevania or Metroid. The game is set in a dark, underground world, with an art style akin to Studio Ghibli. The characters are cute, but also monstrous and creepy. Players control an unnamed knight who must explore vast caverns and slay deadly enemies. What makes Hollow Knight truly memorable are the over 30 unique bosses to fight and a beautiful art style every gamer will appreciate.
- Sonic Mania
2017 was a year full of great re-imaginations of classic series. Sonic Mania reminded the world what made the blue hedgehog so memorable all those years ago. The game is a love letter to Sonic fans and features both redesigned levels from previous titles in the series and original ones. The game was developed by people who have worked on fan-made Sonic games, and their passion and devotion to the series shows. The fast-paced side scrolling platform has multiple paths in each level, giving this game lots of re-playable value.
Cuphead is an indie run and gun-side scrolling shooter with an art style that took the gaming world by storm. Set in a 1930’s rubber hose era cartoon, every single animation and frame is hand drawn. While the game is difficult to play, it is also fair, and with enough practice and skill, winnable. It makes the player earn every victory and provides a sense of achievement for doing so. Cuphead is easy to learn, hard to master, and hard to put down. People are going to talk about this one for a long time, and its uniqueness makes it something that can never be recreated.
- Super Mario Odyssey
Now this is a game I never thought I’d see–a return to a 3D Mario platformer with an open word that emphasizes exploration. Most Mario games are classics, but Odyssey stands out. With the ability to use several different game play mechanics with the freedom on how to meet your objective, the game is one that is not only fun, but has a tone of replay value. It symbolizes just how much the industry has progressed in gaming since Mario 64, offering something that is bigger and better, but still pays tribute to the games that came before.
- Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
This one is an obvious first choice. It’s Legend of Zelda meets Skyrim, a match made in heaven. It’s bigger than any other Zelda game. Open and seamless worlds where exploration and discovery are huge factors are nothing new; these types of games have soared in popularity since Mario 64. But the scope and scale of these games are increasing. We’re now seeing these vast, interesting worlds, and the huge world offered by Breath of the Wild is just the tip of the iceberg.
2017 was the year of re-imaginings, offering classic games with unique and modern interpretations. It’s nice to see how old franchises and series have evolved and changed over time to become bigger and better. 2017 was a good year for games and I can’t wait to see what future classics 2018 brings us.