At the end of each year, I like to host my own little video game awards ceremony in my head and highlight some of the best games I’ve played. Here are the winners of The Batty Awards since 2011. Note that this list is updated periodically.
If you are looking for more recommendations, click here.
2017 | The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild makes true on its promise to change the way the industry thinks about open-world games. There is just something so magical about Hyrule, how the game’s many intricate systems work together in surprising ways, how the unprecedented amount of agency the game give the player makes traversing the massive game world feel unlike anything since Super Mario 64. Breath of the Wild is a landmark game in Nintendo’s creative repertoire.
2016 | Pony Island
Pony Island is difficult to explain, both because it defies conventional categorization and because it is a game that is best understood whence being played. It does, by all accounts, demand your attention, and I wholeheartedly recommend this game to anyone who wants a change of pace and play something completely different from what they are used to. Simultaneously thrilling and mysterious, Pony Island excels at telling a story only possible through an interactive medium.
2015 | Undertale
Undertale could have settled for typical and still would have been a fine game. Instead, it opted to stand out amongst the indie RPG crowd, with a unique battle system that actually works, an amalgam of charming characters in an ironically thriving game world, and head-bashing humor to boot. It is the little things that make Undertale so different and the culmination of these intricate details that make it a must-play for any gamer, young or old, novice or experienced.
2014 | Fantasy Life
Overall, I spent about 40 hours on Fantasy Life, and not once did I feel tired of it. There is simply so much to do, and every new area I enter is packed with surprises. The world of Reveria feels alive, and it keeps you busy with its numerous side-quests and challenges. And the best part is, no matter which life you end up choosing—just one, or all of them—the game is still a wholly enjoyable experience, with hundreds of quests, challenges, areas to explore, and people to meet.
2013 | Antichamber
After pushing through the initial hour, Antichamber becomes less of a frustrating chore and more of an eye-opening experience. As you discover new pieces to the puzzle, things begin to grow more clear and a lot more fun. At the end of the day, Antichamber is one of the best puzzle games I have ever played.
2012 | Xenoblade Chronicles
But to me, the pros greatly outweigh the cons because of its well-written story and innovative battle system. Yes, it retains some of the problems that have plagued the JRPG genre for ages. Yes, you’ll find yourself dying a lot. But you’ll also play one of the best RPG’s of this generation. It’s worth the struggle, and for those who push through, you’ll understand why.
2011 | Portal 2
Portal 2 successfully expands on the concepts of its predecessor in every way with more puzzles to solve and a more comprehensive story. Though those only looking to complete the game’s main story may not find their money’s worth, the addition of co-op and user content make Portal 2 a great investment.