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Christian Nutt was kind enough to inquire about my GOTY list for 2013. It's probably not what you'd expect from an indie developer but here it is!

Jeremy Alessi, Blogger

December 31, 2013

5 Min Read

My studio is named after midnight launches. Back in the day I would wait at every midnight opening and just soak up all that excitement. I've always been fascinated by people waiting up in a line with strangers late at night in order to get in on the next great entertainment experience (movie, book, music, or game). The funny thing is that none of the titles on my list this year were launched at midnight. Go figure!

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Nintendo

Initially, I was put off by this title because it appeared too similar to A Link to the Past. The old SNES game started out as one of my favorite titles. It's Mode 7 triforce title screen and intro flight to Hyrule Castle had me going bonkers the first time I booted it up. Unfortunately, after some time it became too tedius for my taste as a kid.  I found the same when I returned to A Link to the Past years later on the Game Boy Advance.

Fortunately, A Link Between Worlds solves all the problems of it's predecessor by streamlining many of the tedius elements. Initially, a bow that recharges instead of using ammo seems crazy but it's really a tedium remover. I haven't completed A Link Between Worlds yet but so far my holiday season has been brightened by its existance.

Super Mario 3D World, Nintendo

I got this gem for my birthday and the whole family was able to join in on the fun. My favorite games are multiplayer titles that I can enjoy with my friends and family. As we rode on the back of a Loch Ness Monster down a speeding river, my sister-in-law kept screaming "BELLY FLOP, BELLY FLOP" while repeatedly tapping the jump button. The rest of our crew worked tirelessly to overcome her hijinx and in the end we succeeded. That was the most fun I've had in a while with a game and this is the sequel to my favorite Mario game of all time. By the time I finish Super Mario 3D World, who knows... it could end up superscededing its little brother. If only I wasn't such a sucker for the 3DS' stereoscopic visuals!

Infinity Blade III, ChAIR

This little mobile expedition launched up against GTA V, and you know what? I never bought GTA V. It's not necessarily because Infinity Blade III was better but quite honestly, it was a lot more convenient. I'm a really busy guy developing proprietary tech, entertainment games, serious games, coaching (literally a high school coding team), and being a dad. I don't have the time I once had to play games. Infinity Blade III fit nicely into my schedule for a couple of weeks. It's a sublime mobile experience with wonderous graphics, engaging mechanics, and sublte depth. I'm also a huge fan of ChAIR in general. Thanks for another amazing experience!

Curiosity, 22Cans

Curiosity isn't on my list because it was an amazing game. I spent a total of perhaps 15 minutes with it. The reason it's on my list is because it so elegantly captures the power of games. This time waster and its outspoken creator garnered so much attention for something so stupid and yet simultaneously intriguing. What was in the cube? As a player my curiosity was piqued. I knew I had better things to do than find out BUT I love this game just because it demonstrates the power of the medium. I often compare modern game developers to magicians, we're always trying to one up the competition. I think Peter Molyneux pulled off a heck of a trick with this one.

SimCity, Maxis

As my list comes to a close, it's easy to see that I'm a pretty nostagic gamer. Three of the titles on this list are sequels to games I loved as a kid. SimCity like Mario and Zelda is just a more polished version of what I played growing up. Some might argue about it being more polished (perhaps the mechanics got out of whack as complexity increased). I went through the trouble of installing Windows on my Mac Retina just to play this. I couldn't wait for the Mac release and I loved every minute I spent in the game. It was beautiful to look at and rewarding to see my city grow. Just like Mario and Zelda, SimCity has grown up and removed much of tedium that plagued ealier titles. The gameplay was still challenging but not tedius.

Conclusion

The most important thing I can emphasize from my perspective as a 30-something is that I don't have time for extreaneous challenges in my life. I want games to be entertaining and just challenging enough to get the gears turning. If it's too challenging, I'll label it tedius (Halo 4 last year springs to mind). I simply don't have time to replay segments of the game. I still beat Halo 4 but I cursed the game everytime I died. I want games that I can play through without replaying segments. So far, Zelda has been nothing but rewarding. It keeps the gears turning but never becomes tedious. It's the biggest surprise of the year for me because although the reviews were good, I simply wasn't that excited about it. Even an hour in, I wasn't all that excited. Now I'm clamoring for more and I must go...

Honorable Mentions

Republique, Camouflaj (I haven't actually played it yet because I just can't bring myself to update my iPad to iOS 7 but I'm close to cracking because this Kickstarter darling just appears amazing in all aspects)

Call of Duty: Ghosts, Activision (It was difficult to find in stores and I thought Activision skipped the Wii U this year, I was so happy they didn't because I love the dual screen multiplayer)

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Nintendo (I'm a sucker for the 3DS and this title pulled me in like a ghost to Luigi's vacuum)

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Jeremy Alessi

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Jeremy Alessi has over 15 years of experience developing video games. He began his career as an indie developing several titles including Aerial Antics, which was published by Garage Games, Scholastic, and Reflexive Entertainment. Aerial Antics was listed as a top 5 physics download in Computer Gaming World, nominated for Sim Game of the Year by Game Tunnel, and featured on the G4 series Cinematech. After developing PC and Mac based indie games Jeremy moved into the mobile space and created several hit titles for the iPhone including Crash for Cash and Skyline Blade, which have been played by millions. This experience was passed on in the book iPhone 3D Game Programming All in One in which Jeremy walks new developers through the entire process of developing an iPhone game from conception to completion. Next, Jeremy entered the world of serious games and delivered complete training projects to both the Marine Corps and the Department of Transportation. Jeremy is particularly proud of Virtual Bridge Inspection, which is valuable tool in infrastructure maintenance. The tool trains bridge inspectors how to identify and quantify defects as small as 6 hundredths of an inch on a span of nearly a 1/4 mile. Jeremy presented the VBI project at Unite 2011. In addition Jeremy is a regular freelance contributor for Gamasutra having created the Games Demystified series of articles amongst other things. Currently, Jeremy is running Friendly Dots, a mobile studio dedicated to making fun games for busy buddies using the latest asynchronous technologies. The studio's flagship title, friendly.fire, allows players to build, share, and destroy physics enabled fortresses housing the friendly dots characters. You can follow him on Twitter @jeremyalessi.

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