Our Sports Game of the Year for 2013 is a game that was calved from a storied gaming franchise — but had never managed to live up to the name it had inherited. Until now.
Posts Categorised: Features
I can’t find the comment now but a non-football fan, after reading our review of Kerry Batts’s Pro Strategy Football 2013, remarked that the game described sounded like a wargame to him. I’d never thought about it like that but he was absolutely right: American football is a wargame.
A field divided up into tiny pre-measured increments; turn-based action, a Rainman-worthy sheaf of stats generated by every single play. Viewed through that lens, it’s a wonder that the only turn-based football strategy sim you can get on mobile is PSF 2013.
If awards were doled out based on play time alone, then our Word/Puzzle Game of the Year would rank among the best games ever made. But really, it’s not that good. But if I had at my disposal all the time that the PT staff has collectively spent playing it, I could probably be writing this post in French.
Putting things into neat categories is a problem that befalls zoologists, librarians, protagonists of Nick Hornby novels, and people who attempt to make year-end awards lists.
There’s a big difference between the zoologist’s job and mine, though: the acquiescence of the subjects to be categorised. Trying to decide if a platypus is a bird or a fish or a mammal is a decidedly one-sided affair — the platypus doesn’t have an opinion on the matter, it just wants you to feed it a crawfish.
Device 6 on the other hand, has lots of ideas about what it is. If you’re playing it with an eye towards putting it in a neat category, you’ll find that Device 6 resists that effort. In the course of unspooling its story, Device 6 ponders what the definition of a game even is, like a platypus that looks up at the zoologist and asks if perhaps she shouldn’t have majored in economics instead. And Device 6 won’t settle for a crawdad.
“[T]he fact that gaming tips are now reduced to financial advice is disappointing,” Wired‘s Nate Lanxon said in his review of our Disappointment of the Year, and that neatly sums up my feeling on the game and what it represents.
“Star Command takes you across the galaxy to discover alien life, engage in epic battles and discover the mysteries of deep space,” crowed Warballoon’s Kickstarter pitch back in the late summer of 2011. “Players can discover strange planets, conduct away missions, explore derelict ships and conduct diplomacy with strange civilisations.”
It sounded like an amazing “why-hasn’t-somebody-done-this-before” idea, and over a thousand of us flocked to Kickstarter to back the two brothers who’d never made a commercial game before, making Star Command one of the first important gaming stories to come out of the then-new crowdfunding platform.
Two years later, Star Command finally arrived, and it remains an important Kickstarter story — albeit for a very different reason.
According to astromancers huddled in the Pocket Tactics Stellar Observatory and Discount Ski Rental high atop Mount Hexmap, the year 2013 is very nearly at an end. But do not despair! The astromancers tell us a new year will come, if (and only if) we invoke the protection of the gods by performing our Year-End Awards ritual. I, your obedient servant, intend to do just that.
Starting today, and continuing every weekday until 20 December, we’ll be doling out an award (and a runner-up) for 12 different categories, plus the Readers’ Choice Game of the Year. We’ve mixed things up since last year’s awards, but just a bit. The awards categories await you below.
I’m the last one left here at PT HQ. I’ve been going around clicking off lights, cleaning off desks, and throwing out this Chia Pet that Phil’s been trying to grow into a topiary of Bootsy Collins.
One last thing to do before we take off for Thanksgiving: the games of the month for November. Even in this, probably the year’s most competitive month, one of the picks is a blast from the (recent) past that might surprise you.