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2018 was a big year for big games. It saw the release of the most technically-advanced, beautifully-rendered work in the medium to date, as well as a lot of inventive lower-budget titles. Some were surprisingly good. Others were disappointingly bad. Gaming culture itself remained expectedly bad. But the medium continues to grow and expand in weird and wonderful directions. My favourite games of the year follow. Disclaimer: I did not get a chance to play several of the year’s biggest games, most notably God of War and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey . These things happen. Life gets in the way, and in my case that included writing game scripts for the first time, so I feel that’s a solid excuse. Counting those games out, here we go: 10. Donut County Donut County was a favourite at Fantastic Arcade a couple years ago, and launched this year on nearly every current platform. The game mechanics start Katamari-like, with the player swallowing up increasingly large objects with a moving hole in the ground, then add complexity as the game goes on to use elements like water, explosives, and a catapult to solve puzzles. Its levels create little tableaus about their inhabitants and offer the satisfaction of dropping things into a sinkhole, but it’s the story that ultimately endeared it to me. In a game that could have existed without a story, it tells of a town under siege by evil raccoons using donut shops as cover – and tells it via wonderfully amusing dialogue. Player character BK is a total dickhead and one of my favourite characters of the year. 9. Life Is Strange 2 It’s no surprise that Life Is Strange 2 is solid, coming from the team behind the incredibly strong original, but this sequel took me aback with the particular story it’s telling. Much like the original, it’s about teenagers dealing with personal issues along supernatural ones amid faintly Lynchian Pacific-Northwest Americana, but this sequel bolsters that appealing formula with cultural currency I never expected. Being about a pair of Latino brothers around the time of the 2016 presidential election gives it a soaring sense of urgency and immediacy, as its characters face racism and uncertainty in a variety of guises. Even in the single episode thus far released, it’s emotional and endearing, and I’m absolutely hooked to find out what happens next. 8. Alphabear 2 I put the first Alphabear on my best-of list back when it came out, and if anything, Alphabear 2 improves upon the formula. Its Scrabble -like word-making gameplay is as compulsive as ever. The letter boards are more varied, with a wider range of mechanics and abilities to change up gameplay, and you can now look up the weird unknown words you cobbled together. The cute bears can be customised now. There’s even a story campaign, of sorts, which adds to the existing daily and levelling modes to make up a pretty generous amount of play. And even though it goes fairly heavy […]