Shacknews - Shack Staff

After the untimely passing of Satoru Iwata, the future of Nintendo seemed uncertain. The company was finally signaling a move towards mobile and was still struggling with the flagging success of its console offerings. A relatively unknown president taking over for a beloved outgoing one made its fortunes that much more unstable.

In many ways Iwata's successor, Tatsumi Kimishima appeared the polar opposite of the late Nintendo president. He often appears stern, and he hasn't put himself front-and-center. His management is more traditional, less playful. To many industry watchers, he was seen as a caretaker president, chosen for his ability to stay on course and not rock the boat.

In truth, Kimishima's quiet, steady hand has been at work for quite a long time. He was promoted to Managing Director of Nintendo in 2013, taking over Iwata's old role. It was at that point that Kimishima began mapping out the future of Nintendo. 

"Three years ago, all of us together — the previous president, Genyo Takeda (technology head) and Shigeru Miyamoto (creative head) — created a plan to revitalize our business, which included smart devices, our new hardware and maximizing our intellectual property," Kimishima told Bloomberg in October. "Quite simply, the biggest issue was not about whether I change this, but how do I execute these projects? Now the critical period is finally here."

Far from a mere caretaker, Kimishima has been instrumental in the plans we're now seeing come to fruition. While we should recognize Iwata's role in overseeing this plan, Kimishima's contributions shouldn't be underestimated either. He helped create the modernization of Nintendo of late, from smart phones to the Switch, and in his new role he's in a position to personally oversee the execution of the plan he helped create.

So far it has been working brilliantly. Pokemon Go was a bona fide phenomenon, breaking records and raising the profile of an already beloved series. Super Mario Run debuted as a top grossing app, and received plenty of mainstream attention from the Apple stage to The Tonight Show. The Nintendo Switch has attracted a striking amount of hype based on one brief sizzle trailer. Nintendo is also currently licensing its properties to appear in theme parks, signifying one possible avenue of Kimishima's third pillar.

For guiding the company with a calm and reserve in the face of overwhelming shifts, Tatsumi Kimishima is Shacknews' Person of the Year.

Shacknews - Jason Faulkner

It’s the end of the year, and it seems like every publication (including us) is putting out their picks for the best games of 2016. Steam did things a little differently, though. Since this is the first official Steam Awards, Valve decided that their categories should contain games the community wanted no matter when they were released.

The votes have been tallied, and the winners of the first Steam Awards have been announced. The categories these titles were competing in are not traditional of typical end-of-the-year game awards, so it’s interesting to see just which games the Steam community voted on.

The winners are:

“Villain Most in Need of a Hug”

Portal 2

This is self-explanatory.

“I Thought This Game Was Cool Before It Won an Award”

Euro Truck Simulator 2

Gamers have taken to the chilled out gameplay of Euro Truck Simulator 2. There’s something incredibly relaxing in driving your big rig across Europe with your only care being following the traffic laws.

“Test of Time”

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim has remained an incredibly enthralling experience even five years after its original release. With a ton of mods to add new facets to the base experience, or even entirely new adventures, Skyrim has enough available to last players for years.

“Just 5 More Minutes”

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s easy to pick up and hard to master gameplay makes it incredibly addictive. It’s not hard to find yourself intending to play one match and ending up quitting hours later.

“Whoooaaaaaaa, dude!”

Grand Theft Auto V

The story, environment, gameplay, and sound all combined to make Grand Theft Auto V a jaw-dropping experience. Following Michael, Trevor, and Franklin in their misadventures through San Andreas was a defining gaming experience for a lot of players.

“Game Within a Game”

Grand Theft Auto V

The plethora of side activities and mini-games in Grand Theft Auto V gave it incredible replay value. Seeking out and playing these side activities made it a no-brainer for the award for best games within a game.

“I’m Not Crying, There’s Something in my Eye”

The Walking Dead

While Telltale has certainly captured some heart-wrenching moments in the adventure games, perhaps the best of these moments have come from the game that put them on the map. The Walking Dead: Season One is filled with moments that constantly remind you that no one is safe in the world of the undead and that trusted friends can be taken from you at any time.

“Best Use of a Farm Animal”

Goat Simulator

Featuring gameplay so buggy it would be infuriating in any other title, Goat Simulator puts you in the role of a… goat. The ridiculous physics, licking mechanics, and general goat gameplay combine to show Goat Simulator’s innovative use of an under appreciated animal demographic.

“Boom Boom”

DOOM (2016)

When it comes to explosions, gore, and gunfire, you’d be hard-pressed to find a title that could outdo our 2016 GOTY, DOOM. The glorious battle to stop the demon hordes is a harmony of destruction, and our old friend Doomguy is in top form here.

“Love/Hate Relationship”

Dark Souls III

For those that enjoy their games to result in blood, sweat, and tears, Dark Souls III is about as good as it gets. The gameplay here is unforgiving but fair and fluid, and those that master it go from hating it to loving it.

“Sit Back and Relax”

Euro Truck Simulator 2

Euro Truck Simulator 2 is the opposite of Dark Souls III. This is a game that rewards low but steady activity. If you want to play a game that captures the feeling of a lazy Sunday drive, but with mission objectives, Euro Truck Simulator 2 is for you.

“Better With Friends”

Left 4 Dead 2

This is another title that’s still going strong many years after release. The AI in Left 4 Dead 2 is adequate, but the game shines when you’re stomping zombies with your friends. The single-player experience can’t hold a candle in comparison.

Do you agree with the Steam community’s picks, or did you vote for another game? Let us know if you agree or disagree with the results of the first-ever Steam Awards.

Shacknews - Greg Burke

This was a tremendous year for video games. We saw Nintendo make a splash on smartphones with Pokemon Go and Super Mario Run. We saw the dawn of virtual reality with the launch of multiple consumer head mounted displays. We also saw one of the finest lineups of games in recent memory. Join us as we look back at our Top 10 Games of the Year 2016.

For more great videos, be sure to subscribe to Shacknews on YouTube. 

If you have a suggestion for a future episode of Shack's Top 10, please let us know in the comments section or tweet @shacknews & @GregBurke85 with #Top10.

2016 Game of the Year Countdown: 

Be sure to check out the Chatty Top 10 Games of the Year 2016

Shacknews - Steve Watts

The Shacknews Game of the Year has been revealed, and the Chattycast is here to ring it in with a special, extra-long edition. Listen to the Shacknews crew talk about our top ten with deep-dive discussions for each entry as we all prepare to ring in the new year.

Be sure to visit for your 30-day trial with a free audiobook download of your choice.

RSS | iTunes | Download this episode

Shacknews - David Craddock

Looking beyond America's tumultuous presidential election and the depressing surfeit of celebrity deaths, 2016 will go down in history as a pivotal year for interactive entertainment. Shigeru Miyamoto appeared on-stage at an Apple event! Sony and Microsoft rolled out half-step consoles! And it turns out Pikachu was as popular over the summer as he ever was in 1996.

What follows are, in no particular order, just some of the gaming stories that caught the industry's collective attention over the course of 2016.

Disney Infinity Became Finite

Mickey's complexion looked fine on May 9. On May 10, Disney dropped a bombshell: Disney Infinity would be discontinued effective immediately. Unfortunately, the House of Mouse's toys-to-life brand took developer Avalanche Studios with it.

Seven months after the fact, many still wonder if Infinity's sudden finiteness marked the beginning of the end for toys to life. Disney had everything going for it—its droves of iconic characters on top of hot properties like Marvel and Star Wars. Activision's forging ahead with Skylanders, and amiibos, while (still) next to useless for in-game functionality, still sell like hotcakes. Positioning them more as collectibles could insulate Nintendo from oversaturation. 

VR Arrived

No longer a cheap sideshow attraction at carnivals, virtual reality made a huge splash all throughout 2016. Oculus was first on the scene, with the release of Rift in March. Just a few weeks later, HTC rolled out its Vive headset. Although Sony crossed the finish line last with the release of PlayStation VR for PS4 in October, it offers the most affordable headset at only $399—half the price of HTC Vive and $200 less than the Oculus Rift.

Make no mistake: VR is here to stay. However, we've yet to see what the technology is capable of. Just recently, Facebook developers hacked together heat-and-cold sensors that could be an integral piece of the next Rift. That sort of innovation appeals to Oculus CTO John Carmack, who spoke frankly about the need for VR developers to quit "coasting on novelty" and deliver meatier experiences unique to the nascent medium.

Id Software's Doom Reboot was (and is) Awesome

After a reboot from a design described by id Software developers as "Call of Doom," Doom 4—simply named Doom—landed on Xbox One, PS4, and PC this May... and it's good. Really, really good.

Setting out to reimagine arguably the single most influential FPS ever made, id Software melded classic and modern conceits to craft a shooter fast enough to satisfy the need for speed of fans who grew up playing id games in the '90s, while also mixing in plenty of exploration and an upgrade system—new-school conventions that mesh perfectly with aforementioned old-school ideas.

"While other first-person shooters have stepped forward to challenge convention in recent years, none carry the clout and cachet of Doom," I concluded in my review. "For id Software to overcome the challenges specific to its history and craft a shooter that flies in the face of convention marks Doom as nothing short of a triumph—and, one hopes, a sign that change is in the air for a genre in desperate need of it."

No Man's Sky Launched

On the flip side of the games-that-finally-came-out coin, you've got No Man's Sky. Following years of opaque marketing and noncommittal answers from developer Hello Games, the exploration-driven title released in August on PS4 and PC.

Reviews were mixed, with most critics agreeing that No Man's Sky was pretty boilerplate as far as open-world, spacefaring games go. Whether you loved No Man's Sky or loathed it—and Internet hype dictates there can be no middle ground—the most important lesson it taught us is that marketing campaigns for any product, let alone overhyped video games, should be taken with a mountain of salt.

Nintendo Made a Super Mario Game for Smartphones...

Legendary designer and Mario maker Shigeru Miyamoto joined Apple CEO Tim Cooke on-stage at Apple Keynote to premiere Super Mario Run for iPhone. And that's a sentence I never thought I'd type.

Super Mario Run was announced this September as an endless runner-type game, and a timed exclusive on iOS—meaning Android owners will get to play it on their platform sooner or later. Although the game was still three months off when Miyamoto announced it, the announcement was worthy of a new App Store trend: a pre-order notification to alert users the moment Super Mario Run became available. Jimmy Fallon of The Tonight Show got his hands on the game a week ahead of its December 15 launch date.

... and Pokemon Go Reignited Pokemania

Developed by Niantic under the auspices of Nintendo and The Pokemon Company, Pokemon Go is a pocket-monster adventure designed for smartphones. It's shallow as far as Pokemon games go: you walk around your neighborhood or public venues, throw a Pokeball at any Pokemon that appear to capture them, and then go on about your day.

But Pokemon Go didn't earn over $600 million in revenue faster than any mobile game—and set a record for most downloads in its first week—in history because of complex mechanics. The hook was how its AR mechanic got people off the couch and out into the world to hunt down Pikachu and his friends together. Anyone could play; all you had to do was watch for Pokemon to appear on your iPhone screen against the backdrop of your real-life house, school, workplace, and other environs. Another positive: businesses lucky enough to be registered as a PokeStop or gym saw a boost in business thanks to passersby who stopped for a drink, snack, or other product before returning to the hunt.

Pokemon Go has cooled since its July debut, but not since the release of the inaugural Pokemon Red/Blue cartridges has a Nintendo property been on the tip of virtually every tongue on the planet.

Lionhead Studios Closed

Co-founded 20 years ago by provocative industry figurehead Peter Molyneux, Lionhead Studios closed its doors this spring. Most famous for "god game" Black & White and the irreverent Fable RPG series, Lionhead's final game was 2014's Fable Anniversary, a remaster of Fable Lost Chapters developed for the original Xbox.

Lionhead put out several Fable games between 2010's Fable 3 and 2014's Fable Anniversary, but all were off-shoots. Perhaps the saddest part of their demise was a report that several buyers were interested in acquiring the studio, but Microsoft refused to sell; doing so would have meant relinquishing the lucrative Fable IP.

Microsoft and Sony Announced Upgrades to Xbox One and PS4

Console upgrades were a thing long before 2016: the N64's RAM expansion pack, the Jenga tower-like assortment of add-ons for the Sega Genesis. Upgraded versions of Xbox One and PS4, however, are different beasts. Whereas Sega CD was an add-on designed to play software the cartridge-based system couldn't run, PS4 Pro and Xbox One are being positioned as bridge systems—not quite PlayStation 5 or Xbox 2, yet flashier than their 2013 incarnations.

Sony released PS4 Pro in November to uneven reviews. Although it sports more RAM and graphical processing power, 4K TVs aren't affordable enough for many consumers to take advantage of the console's upscaling. Meanwhile, Xbox Scorpio is on the horizon for a 2017 launch, and Microsoft promises it will be the "most powerful console ever made."

Valve Cracked Down on Gambling

The "GO" in Counter-Strike: GO stands for Global Offensive, not Gambling Opportunities. Throughout the summer, Steam users exploited a loophole in Steam's in-game trading feature that enabled gambling sites like CSGO Lotto to let their users bid real money on weapon skins for CS: GO. Valve promised legal action against any other such entities, but failed to respond fast enough for the Washington State Gambling Commission's liking (Valve is based in the Evergreen State).

How proceedings will unfold going forward is anyone's guess, but it's clear Valve has a problem on its hands: many gambling sites wrote bot accounts to initiate trades through Steam, and there's no way even a company as powerful as Valve can possibly track down all attempts to break its EULA. The real losers are legitimate players, who have to work around tightened in-game trading rules and guidelines.

Nintendo Revealed Switch, Its Next Console

Following years of speculation and fake controllers, Nintendo pulled back the curtain on Switch, its console/handheld hybrid. Investment reports indicated that the console would be released in March 2017, but those reports came out earlier this year, back when Switch was still known by its "NX" codename.

After all that waiting, Nintendo released a three-minute trailer in October that said, in essence, to wait a little longer: salient info like an exact release date and price won't be disclosed until a streaming event scheduled for January. Likewise, Switch's launch lineup will also remain under wraps until the first month of the new year.

What we do know is that relative to the Wii's motion controls and the Wii U's off-TV-play gimmick, and barring any surprise proclamations next month, the Switch is the most conventional Nintendo console since the GameCube. It's a console, it's a handheld. You can play it at home, you can play it on the train, you can play it here and there and everywhere. And that's a good thing. Maybe "conventional" is what Nintendo needs to retake its crown in the console space.

Shacknews - Bryan Carr

Hello. You may know me as “Doctor Games,” occasional sports game reviewer and co-host of the Shacknews Chattycast. You should probably be listening to that. In fact, you can listen to it while you’re reading this and imagine all of this read in my voice. Anyway, I was asked to provide my Game of the Year list, and so here I have attempted to chronicle what was honestly a pretty good year for games, even if I didn’t get to play everything I wanted (someday, Titanfall 2 and Civilization 6) or if some of the stuff I did play was underwhelming (Mafia 3). What follows is my completely objective, unbiased, and in no way influential to the Shacknews GotY ranking list of the best games of the year. You may disagree with it, and that is welcome and encouraged even if it is foolhardy.

10. XCOM 2

XCOM 2 is both the latest entry in one of my all-time favorite video game series and a painful reminder of the limits of my knowledge and ability. The Red Dawn-inspired story is a natural fit for the series, changing up the dynamics of the gameplay and encouraging in-the- moment strategy and infrastructure development to keep ahead of the alien threat. If its difficulty were a smidgen less sadistic it’d probably be in my top 5, but as-is I spent a lot of time with this game and I intend to spend more with it in the future so I can actually finish it.

9. Doom

Doom was a popular game here at Shacknews, and with good reason–iD Software brought back an all-time classic video game series with gusto, catering to the nostalgic weight of its predecessors while updating it for a market that has changed dramatically since the earliest games in the series. In so many ways – the best ways – Doom feels anachronistic and aggressive. Regenerating health? Takes too long–you could be killing demons. Cover mechanics? Run faster and keep shooting. Reload button? Chainsaw button. Even Doomguy’s seeming lack of interest in the plot unfolding around him mirrors the player’s ultimate desire to get back to ripping monsters in half. Unfortunately, the game wears out its welcome a bit by the end – yet another modern game that would be twice as good if it were half as long–but considering I wasn’t expecting anything from it when 2016 started, Doom is a minor miracle.

8. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

Picture a dumpster. Picture that dumpster on fire. Now picture that dumpster crashing into another dumpster – also on fire – in slow motion through a blurry Instagram filter. That was the Black Ops III campaign. All Infinite Warfare had to do was make a story that was coherent and it’d automatically make this list. And so Infinity Ward did, even if it’s a relatively simplistic tale of square-jawed Capable Men and Women that wouldn’t be out of place in the sci-fi novels I read on the bus in middle school. But it’s a simplistic tale full of memorable, likeable characters who exchange well-written dialogue and even undergo character arcs, wrapped around a campaign design full of thrilling set pieces and meaningful ability progression. The multiplayer is pretty similar to Black Ops III but that was the good part so it’s fine. The bulk of the attention may have gone to its pack-in Modern Warfare Remastered but I know which one I’m going to be playing well into next year.

7. Pokken Tournament

In this game there is a Pikachu dressed as a luchadora. Her name is Pikachu Libre. She uses lightning-assisted German suplexes, shooting star presses, and even the Stone Cold Stunner. She is the greatest video game character of the year, even if she originates from the worst main series Pokémon games. There are probably other characters in this game. Do they matter? Not really. It was this or Street Fighter V and Street Fighter V doesn’t have Pikachu Libre. So there.

6. MLB: The Show 16

In any given year, MLB: The Show is pretty much a guaranteed spot on this list for me, and it would have been the best sports game if not for NBA 2K17. I actually reviewed this one this year and it was pretty great. ( show-16- review-five- tool-player)

5. Pokemon Sun & Moon

It took them 20 years, but Pokemon finally feels like a modern video game. No more keeping track of arcane type matchups in your head, no more separate menus for depositing and withdrawing Pokemon from boxes, and most importantly – no more HMs. All that plus a beautiful, fascinating new region to explore and a likeable cast makes Sun and Moon not only a refreshing change of pace after the dismal nostalgia grab of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire but also the most essential game in the series since the DS era. It’s an experience to be savored and enjoyed, and there’s no better handheld RPG this year.

4. NBA 2K17

After a thrilling NBA Finals, I decided to finally invest in the NBA2K series this year. That decision turned out to be a good one – 2K17 has some of the best production values in the industry, and the gameplay tweaks (specifically the retooled shot meter) make a good game into a great one. Even the campaign is engrossing, eschewing the melodrama of Spike Lee’s 2K16 story for a more straightforward slice-of-rookie-life storyline with characters you genuinely grow to care about. I look forward to spending more time with Denver Nuggets rookie sensation Bo Almond (and maybe taking the Pistons to the Finals) as the season unfolds next year.

3. Marvel Tsum Tsum

On paper this game sounds like capitalism run amok – a puzzle game featuring adorably marketable little versions of Marvel characters promoting a line of adorably marketable toys available for purchase at your local Target which offers you plenty of microtransaction opportunities to randomly get more adorably marketable little Marvel characters – but in practice the game is…exactly that. At the same time, it stands head and shoulders above most free-to- play licensed mobile games by being a legitimately challenging and addictive puzzle game with no small amount of strategic planning, progression, and even boss battles. It’s easily one of the games I’ve spent the most time with this year, and there’s a good chance I’ll still be playing it when I sit down to do this again next year – I still need to get my Doctor Strange Tsum, after all.

2. Final Fantasy XV

Full disclosure: I have not finished this game yet. As of this writing, I’m on Chapter 3. Yet I have a hard time thinking of many other games that are this compelling – Final Fantasy as road movie is such an obvious concept it’s astonishing it took them this long. Driving around Eos with Noctis and his pals is relaxing and even occasionally awe-inspiring, and their personalities and banter are so endearing I’m more invested in their journey than any other Final Fantasy cast since FFX. This feels like a thoroughly modern Final Fantasy in tone, style, and gameplay and a welcome return to form for the series. Plus, any game that makes me spend 20 minutes fishing to feed a stray cat and enjoy every minute of it has to be one of the best of the year.

1. Overwatch

Of course my #1 is Overwatch. It was always going to be Overwatch. There was never any risk of it being anything else. I’ve admitted to blatant Blizzard fanboyishness on the Chattycast before, but put that aside for a second. On a purely ludic level, there is no better game this year. At a foundational level, Overwatch borrows from other games – the class-based gunplay of Team Fortress 2, the unique and distinctive heroes of a MOBA, and arguably even the head-to- head psychology of Street Fighter (success in Overwatch is arguably more about knowing matchups and strategy than it is cracking off headshots).

Yet, Blizzard takes all of these inspirations and creates something completely refreshing and unique, with razor-sharp, deeply satisfying gameplay and post-launch support that is practically unrivaled in the industry, let alone the genre. The game just feels right, and the breadth of characters and roles means even shooter neophytes can help their team. In an age of impenetrable online games, Overwatch actively encourages players new and old to jump in, and the sterling character design and gorgeous art style only makes it easier. Literally the only complaint you can make about Overwatch as a game is that there’s no campaign mode for its deep lore – if the only bad thing you can say about a game is that there should be more of it, you’ve got a keeper.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

The Shacknews Game of the Year has been revealed, and you can see the full line-up with all of our articles and roundtable discussions. One important GOTY tradition remains, and that's the reveal of our Chatty community's Game of the Year. Our community is one of the pillars of Shacknews, and we truly believe it sets us apart. To that end, we count its collective GOTY vote with equal weight as one staff vote. This year, more than any year prior, that had a serious impact on our final results.

Chatty's Game of the Year:

  • #10: Dishonored 2
  • #9: Inside
  • #8: Stardew Valley
  • #7: The Witness
  • #6: Uncharted 4
  • #5: Battlefield 1
  • #4: Dark Souls 3
  • #3: Titanfall 2 
  • #2: Overwatch 
  • #1: Doom

The top two games were blowouts, among both the staff and Chatty community. Doom topped our list with nearly double the points of any other contender. Similarly, the second place finisher, Overwatch, nearly doubled the points of the third-place finisher. On Chatty, the larger pool of votes made the difference even more stark. Doom had almost three times the points of Overwatch, and Overwatch had almost three times the points of Titanfall 2. However the rest of the list shakes out, those two are far and away our favorite games of the year.

This year our official site top 10 had a three-way tie at the #8 spot, and that's Chatty's doing. The staff list without the Chatty vote would have included Pokemon Go and Killing Floor 2 rounding out the bottom of the list, but Chatty pushed Titanfall 2 and Dark Souls 3 to catch up with Forza Horizon 3. Without the influence of Chatty's vote, neither of those games would have made the cut. They're all deserving, and we thank Chatty for letting its voice be heard. 

Check out our full Game of the Year line-up to see the rankings, along with our personal favorites, and more retrospectives.

Shacknews - Shack Staff

This year was a great year for video games. We saw a sequel to Arcane’s spectacular revenge story, Dishonored, and even got to return to the world of Final Fantasy in an entirely new way. Blizzard also released their own take on the hero shooter, and Overwatch has been an absolute joy to play. In 2016, though, one game has stood taller than the rest. Developed by id Software, and published by Bethesda Games, Doom breathed new life into the stagnation of the first-person shooter genre and helped revive the industry’s love for fast-paced, hard-hitting action and gore. Last week, before our break, the staff all sat down together to talk about why Shacknews loves Doom, and what the game means to us as a site.

David Craddock: I don't know about the rest of you, but I went into Doom circa 2016 with... well, not low expectations, but zero expectations. Some fans pinned their hopes and dreams on the poorly received multiplayer beta that preceded the game's launch. I ignored that. Although the original Doom pioneered deathmatch, I didn't play multiplayer; I stuck to the three (later four) single-player episodes and the game's surfeit of mods. 

For those reasons, I pinned my hopes and dreams on the Doom reboot's campaign, and I was not disappointed. id Software took a "little from Column A, some from Column B" approach: the game melded new and old mechanics and tropes so seamlessly that Doom deserves recognition as one of the most original titles of the year--somewhat ironically, I'll grant you, since it's both a reboot and a sequel of a beloved franchise.

What about the rest of you? What did you like about the campaign, and where did you land on Doom's multiplayer and Snapmap modes?

Josh Hawkins: You know, I was the same way, David. Especially after playing the multiplayer in the beta that they had just a bit before release. I was disgusted, completely turned off from the game at all. But, that didn't stop me from giving it a try. 

To be fair, though, I don't have the background with the Doom series that many of you do. Being one of the younger members of the team, I was only four when the original Quake released, so Doom was nowhere on my radar of games that I was 'allowed' to play at the time. I instantly fell in love. The music, the enemies, the giddy feeling when I performed a glory kill... It is by far one of the best FPS games I've ever played in my life.

As I said before, I hated the multiplayer, but since the game's release I've dabbled in it a little bit with friends, and have actually grown quite fond of it. Sure, it isn't the best multiplayer around, but it isn't the worst either.

Steve Watts: Yeah, from the press end, we had every reason to believe Doom was going to turn out pretty bad. I'm sure we all remember the slow dawning realization while playing that it was in fact not bad and was in fact, oh wait a minute, actually really good.

But merely being a pleasant surprise isn't what drove it toward the top of so many of our lists. Doom was really the first salvo in a larger trend this year of reimagining a genre that, let's face it, had started to grow a little stale. Call of Duty made a template for shooters that was enjoyable enough, and there have certainly been some great shooters made in that mold. Still, the language of the FPS had become familiar, and when every example of a genre is running an almost identical control scheme, it's a pretty sure sign of stagnation. 

Doom broke the mold by getting in touch with its fast-paced roots and ripping out anything that didn't belong. It also ingeniously tied the flow of combat to the risk-reward Glory Kill system, which made for a constantly shifting, unpredictable gameplay loop. Doom showed there's more than one way to make a first-person shooter, and that finding a unique hook is a stronger play than trying to out-polish Call of Duty.

David Craddock: You're absolutely right, Steve. And to be clear, I never meant to imply that Doom was (and is) great because, hey, it didn't end up being a garbage fire. All of its moving parts gel together into a cohesive whole. But one of those parts, freshness, was critical to its success.

During the 1990s, I played very little outside of platformers and fighting games on consoles, and first-person shooters on PC. Consider these titles: Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Quake, Unreal, UT, Dark Forces, Half-Life, Kingpin, GoldenEye 007, System Shock, Descent, Starsiege: Tribes, Heretic, Hexen. 

I could go on, but I'll get to my point: while some crossover existed between each of those games (namely, they all revolve around moving and shooting from a first-person perspective), most were dramatically different in tone, arsenal, look, and feel. What's more, they were considered AAA games.

Since Call of Duty 4, AAA games have been baked in its military-shooter mold. Before Doom, I turned to indie shooters to get my feel of old-school, run-and-gun, frenetic action. There's nothing wrong with that, but the AAA space is becoming increasingly marginalized. I mentioned in my review that I hoped Doom would serve as a beacon of creativity that other AAA devs could dare to follow. It's not just that Doom was fresh; it's one of the biggest names in gaming, and with it, id Software dared to break away from Call of Duty's proven model when Bethesda could very well have pushed them further in that direction.

Brittany Vincent: I didn't go into Doom with any pre-conceived notions. Reviews don't really concern me, nor does a lack of code, but moreover I simply knew it would be more of what I always tend to search for within my first-person shooters: gore, and lots of it. I could list all of the shooters I played in my youth that inspired that kind of bloodlust, but they're all the same. Countless nights spent with the original game and spinoffs of its ilk inspired a lifelong love of entrails and blood splattered across pixelated walls, and I knew that's what I would get with this reboot.

I don't care at all to play multiplayer since the thrill of the deathmatch has long since subsided and I just don't have the patience or desire to play online with others anymore. But the single-player is more than suitable for satisfying my thirst for destruction, and the Glory Kills are great for that, too.

David Craddock: I'm glad you brought up glory kills, Brittany. What I loved about them is that they so seamlessly combined form and function: breaking off an Imp's jaw was viscerally satisfying, and so was the uptick in health or ammo that it yielded like a broken pinata.

That ties into Steve's point. The first time I saw a glory kill in one of id's previews, I didn't think it showed very well. They struck me as fatalities from Mortal Kombat: all style, no substance. The fact that they are not only functional but an integral link in the chain of gameplay had me looking to kill enemies specifically to set them up for glory kills so I could get a shot of health without having to break off from the fight and comb corridors for health packs.

Josh Hawkins: I agree completely, David. Glory Kills didn't look very good in the videos that id showed off, but in practice... there's no other way to take down all those demons standing in your way.

I think part of what made Doom so special to me, was that it is a connecting piece to the history of FPS games. I mean, Doom is an old name in the FPS genre, and to see something so great come out of the reboot is reassuring, and leaves me hoping that we'll continue to see expertly crafted reboots of some of our favorite old school games.

Asif Khan: Doom awoke a sleeping beast from within my soul. I, much like Brittany, like to go into games with no prejudice, but I had played the multiplayer alpha and betas before I got to sink my teeth into the consumer version of Doom. I recall being slightly unimpressed by multiplayer but I saw some things in the game even then that had perked my interests. Quad Damage in Doom? Very cool. Being able to play as the Revenant in the multiplayer beta also gave me a glimpse into how goofy and fun the game could be. I mentioned last year on a Chattycast episode that we should not sleep on Doom as it had the potential to be dark horse candidate for game of the year.

Doom doesn't take itself too seriously. It frequently winks at the player from the beginning of the game when you throw away the tutorial tablet, to the flashing "DEMONIC INVASION IN PROGRESS" signs, all the way to posters asking for people to sign up for the Mancubus program. The game wants you to have fun. I had fallen out of love with first person shooters in the last 5 years or so, but Doom merged new gameplay mechanics with the trademark heavy metal style of the good old id Software in a way that captured my attention unlike any FPS in years. 

I love the music in Doom. Mick Gordon reimagined a 21st-century soundtrack that is actually a slower tempo than the original games. It gives the player a type of swagger. To paraphrase Mick, he viewed the Doom Marine as the enemy of the demons and he wanted the player to feel that sense of bad ass power every time they went into battle. The implementation of the soundtrack is right up there with classics like Banjo-Kazooie. Mick successfully set a tone for the development team to bring home with furiously fast gameplay.

No reload button? No problem. Need some ammo? Rip an Imp's head off with a delightfully fun Glory Kill. When all else fails, pull out the Chainsaw or BFG for maximum carnage. The game encourages the player to push forward in combat and take risks. It is a mashup of calculated moves with the fun of an arena-style multiplayer game. There were countless times during my playthrough that I was down to 10 health but the game pushed me to keep fighting instead of running away to find a health pack or regenerate your health like so many modern shooters. It is that sense of constant urgency that creates a deep engagement which made me fall in love with first person shooters again. Doom wants you to have fun the entire time you play the game and it succeeds in that goal between an ideal balance of gameplay, spectacular music, amazing graphics and a story that pokes fun at itself while not disrespecting the player or the franchise's rich history.

Doom's reintroduction of greatness to the first person shooter genre has earned it the most glorious title of our Game of the Year 2016.

Looking to see what other games made our Game of the Year list? Here's our full lineup.

2016 Game of the Year Countdown: 

Shacknews - Jason Faulkner

Yesterday, Alex Pettitt became the first Twitter user to transmit a 360 Periscope video. Periscope is Twitter's platform for live streaming that allows for native embedding right into a Tweet.

The video Pettitt posted is only him walking down a Florida boardwalk, but having 360-degree video streaming capabilities in the hands of the general public is a huge step for the format. This is great news for VR headset aficionados who are craving a more diverse and quality selection of video content to view. Unfortunately, Periscope doesn't yet have support for viewing through any VR headset, but that might change in the future.

If you happen to see a Periscope video marked with "LIVE 360," you can pan the camera on your computer, tablet, or phone in an entire 360 radius. For now, only select Periscope partners can broadcast in 360 during the testing phase. However, the Periscope blog introducing the 360 feature states that they'll be rolling the feature out to a larger number of broadcasters in the coming weeks. There's also a waitlist available for those who want to be informed when they can begin broadcasting in 360.

To broadcast in 360 videos, users will need a unique camera. For now the only compatible one confirmed, via UploadVR, is the Insta360 Nanon 360 Degree Video Camera for iPhone. This camera will set you back $199.00 and is compatible with iPhone 6 and up.

Shacknews - Cassidee Moser

Cassidee Moser: One of the reasons why I love Overwatch so much is the sheer depth it makes available to the player. It's a shooter, but only in the loosest sense. Sure, you can select Solder 76 and run around playing it like it's Call of Duty, but there are so many other options you have to choose from. 

That's also one of the reasons why I think it has taken off as much as it has. In games like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Star Wars Battlefront, etc., a lot of the skill is largely twitch or reaction-based. In Overwatch, you don't have to be the fastest, the strongest, the most accurate; you just have to have a fundamental understanding of your character's job and be able to execute on it. 

Incentivizing multiple strategies and accommodating for multiple play styles is a difficult balance to hit, and they've done so in classic refined Blizzard fashion. 

Steve Watts: Yeah, you really hit the nail on the head. There have been lots of multiplayer shooters, but a few things set Overwatch apart. One of them is definitely its sense of balance, not just between classes and team composition, but with tools built explicitly to reward lots of different play-styles. Shooters are usually pretty focused on K/D ratio, and even some class-based shooters haven't really found ways to emphasize the whole-team dynamic. Overwatch does, and that makes everyone feel like they're contributing regardless of their ability to squeeze off precision shots.

The other part, of course, is its sense of personality. These are characters first and foremost, complete with their own stories and motivations and personalities. There's a reason the animated shorts regularly get views in the millions on YouTube while supplementary material in other games is largely ignored. We can connect with these characters and there's a craving in the fan-base to learn more about them.

Josh Hawkins: I think Overwatch really excels for one vital reason. It has that Blizzard polish. This really expands to cover quite a lot of what you guys mentioned above. The team-based heroes, the abilities that correspond to one another, and just overall the feeling that each match is won based on how your team does as a whole, not just how you do. While I like to joke around and say that Overwatch is a blatant copy of Team Fortress 2 (the ideas are the same), it's really not. There's so much more flesh to Overwatch, and the heroes really work off of each other a lot more. 

I think that one of my favorite things about Overwatch, though, is the fact that you have to know your characters. You can't just choose one guy and constantly go in and wreck shit. That's not how it works. Each hero has their own weaknesses and strengths, and if you really learn to use those strengths and weaknesses, you have the potential to always come out on top. It's a game that rewards people for knowledge about who they are playing, not just knowledge about the maps. For me, that's the number one thing that draws me back to the game when I'm looking for an FPS to dig into.

Steve: You're right, Josh. This is what Blizzard does best. The concept has been done before, but Blizzard consistently finds a way to simplify and distill it into a very approachable and sharp version of something that already works. We saw it with Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, which shook up the MOBA and CCG genres, respectively, for the same reason. Overwatch is already having an impact on multiplayer shooters in the same way.

Speaking of knowing your characters, though, that raises another of Overwatch's particular strengths and, oddly enough, one of its only weaknesses. These are characters more than classes. They all have powers and weapons that are balanced carefully against each other, sure, but they also have personalities that are consistently expressed through their variety of voice lines, victory poses, and so on. It didn't take long for the community to start writing fanfiction and comics, because they have such defined character traits. 

All this plays into the myth-building of the world of Overwatch, which is incredibly intriguing but underserved in the game proper. So far Blizzard seems content to tell its story through supplemental materials like those beautiful digital shorts, but I'm hopeful the long-term plan for the game includes story missions to develop this world. It's such a great premise I want to spend more time in it, experiencing it for myself, instead of only watching it on YouTube.

Joshua: I think that there is definitely a lot of lore and story for Blizzard to work with on Overwatch. I mean, just look at the things that the fans have come up with along the way, and then look at how detailed and beautiful those shorts you mentioned are. There is a lot to the story that we aren't seeing, and I think, to a degree, Blizzard is missing out by not capitalizing on that story. Of course, they could also prefer to let the fans tell the stories, which could explain why they haven't done more shorts than they have. If you haven't noticed, those shorts always give us just enough about the characters to instill more questions within us. This, in turn, pushes some players and fans to create their own stories to help answer those questions, and maybe at this point, Blizzard realizes that by taking that creative control back into their own hands, they'd be essentially killing off one of the greatest fan-fiction communities on the planet.

I think, with a game like Overwatch, with a game that offers such unique characters with so much possibility for back story and everything, that sometimes not telling the whole story can be just as good, if not better, for the community than making sure you answer all their questions. I hope that makes sense. That being said, though, I'd love more Overwatch story. Hell, I'd take a full feature length movie over story missions, if I'm honest. It seems like Blizzard has a solid hold on how to tell a story through video, and if we're honest with ourselves, FPS games can oftentimes struggle to really tell the story the way it's meant to be told.

Cassidee: Overwatch is the one game that came out this year I continue to play regularly. In its very first year, it has only improved through the addition of new characters, new maps, and the various changes and balance tweaks Blizzard has implemented into the gameplay. Add to that the fact that all of the characters have their own distinct identities, the amount of backup and supplementary fiction available, and the possibilities for the game's future, and we have reason to be extremely optimistic about the game Overwatch is and will evolve into. 

For more on team-based shooters and quirky characters, read our official Overwatch review.

2016 Game of the Year Countdown: 


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