The Tired Old Hack Alternative Game Of The Year Awards 2017

Well, 2017 is finally coming to an end, and you know what that means: it’s time for every video game site to give its end-of-year awards.

I mean, it would be if most of them hadn’t already posted their awards in early December so they could all enjoy well-deserved Christmas breaks.

Not yer man Scullion. I’ve waited until the very last minute to give you my picks for the year, because I’m fashionably late like that.

Let’s face it, by now you’ve probably seen a million articles with awards for ‘Best Racing Game’, ‘Best PlayStation Game’ and the like being given out. Me adding my own to the mix would be about as effective as flicking a box of matches into an active volcano.

So here, then, are the Tired Old Hack Alternative Game Of The Year Awards 2017, many of which are slightly less conventional than you may be used to. Enjoy.

Retro Compilation Of The Year

Mega Man Legacy Collection 2

Not counting the SNES Mini – which as a standalone retro product is its own beast – the second Mega Man Legacy Collection was the best software-only retro compilation of 2017.

Consisting of Mega Man 7, 8, 9 and 10, it covered Mega Man games from the SNES, PlayStation and Wii eras.

The emulation is spot on, and it’s packed with goodies too including full soundtracks for each game, a new Challenges option and the ability to unlock the Mega Man 9 and 10 DLC with a cheat code.

It also uses its obligatory art gallery in a clever way: on any page that shows artwork of a boss character, you can press a button to have a practice fight against them.

Runner-up: The Disney Afternoon Collection

Capcom knocked it out of the park this year with old-school offerings.

As well as Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 it also gave us this NES compilation featuring DuckTales, DuckTales 2, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, Chip ‘n Dale 2, TaleSpin and Darkwing Duck.

Most Adorable Music Of The Year

Pic-A-Pix Color

Most game music does the job these days, but very few tracks put a big cheesy smile on my face every single time I hear it.

I can safely say this is the case, however, with the solitary theme tune that constantly plays throughout Pic-A-Pix Color on Wii U and 3DS.

Don’t just take my word for it, listen to how bloody cheery this is:

This week the game’s ported to the Switch as Pic-A-Pix Deluxe, and I’m happy to report that the music has carried over to that too.


Runner-up: Mom Hid My Game

Kemco and Hap Inc’s bizarre touch-screen puzzler on Switch also has a delightfully daft tune that plays on an endless loop.

You can hear it in the trailer for the game.

Dodged Bullet Of The Year


If you pay even the slightest bit of attention to gaming news you’ll have almost certainly seen the furore surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II and its loot box shenanigans.

Yes, it was an extremely greedy move by EA to lock away some of the game’s most popular characters until players earned enough in-game credits to unlock them… or spend real money to get them earlier, of course.

But while Star Wars got plenty of press coverage almost immediately – even before it was out of beta – FIFA 18 launched without even so much as a sniff of outrage.

Maybe it’s because it’s a more ‘mainstream’ game than Battlefront II that it didn’t get the daily coverage EA’s Star Wars scandal did, but EA Sports has been pulling this shit in FIFA games for half a decade now, and this year’s version is the most blatant yet.

With even stricter ‘Squad Based Challenges’ than last year, many of which require you to find very rare players and add them to a squad within a short time limit, FIFA 18 more than ever pressurises players into chucking real money at them to buy ‘Ultimate Team Packs’ (i.e. loot crates) in the hope they’ll find a star.

If you think putting 10 hours in to unlock Darth Vader is bad, try buying Lionel Messi from FIFA 18’s in-game transfer market for 729,000 coins, when you get about 400 coins for a win.

Runner-up: WWE 2K18 on Switch

Another one that got coverage for a single day before everyone quickly moved on, the long-anticipated return of WWE to a Nintendo system launched as a hideously broken mess.

With entrances that ran in slow motion, fights that ran even worse and some bizarre bugs (select Big Boss Man and Buddy Roberts comes out instead), the Switch version of WWE 2K18 was blatantly under-tested before launch.

A recent patch has smoothed gameplay slightly in one-on-one matches, but the majority of the game is still sluggish (and that Big Boss Man glitch is still there), meaning fans who bought it at launch day are still frustrated nearly a month later.

“I Never Thought I’d Ever End Up Playing That” Of The Year

Star Fox 2

Yes, a prototype ROM of Star Fox 2 has been doing the rounds for years, meaning anyone intrigued about it would have already played it to some extent before this year.

But to have Nintendo actually releasing it in a ‘complete’ form – a whole 21 years after it was originally supposed to launch – was just a beautiful thing.

Even better, it recruited a designer from the original Star Fox to create brand new illustrations for the game, and created a website for the game’s manual, newly written in an old-school 16-bit instruction manual style.

Runner-up: Sonic Mania

For years long-time Sonic fans have answered every single 3D Sonic game with “yes, but it isn’t as good as the old Mega Drive ones.”

And now, finally, 23 years after Sonic & Knuckles, we have a brand new 2D Sonic platformer clearly inspired by the Mega Drive entries (though obviously more technically impressive). For a while, all was well in the world.

Then, three months later, Sonic Forces came out and they started moaning again.

Gaming Moment Of The Year

The Festival – Super Mario Odyssey

With so many people getting their Switch at Christmas, and others who already had a Switch but had saved Super Mario Odyssey until Chrimbo, it would be downright irresponsible to describe this in any detail.

But anyone who’s already played the game knows exactly what I’m talking about, and why describing it isn’t even necessary.

It’s one of the most joyous moments I’ve ever seen in a game and it genuinely had me giggling away like an idiot.

Runner-up: taking the Switch out of its dock

After months of speculation from forum ‘experts’ trying to decide whether Nintendo’s marketing for the Switch’s undocking gimmick was maybe a little exaggerated, this all changed when it started making its way into people’s hands.

The ‘switch’ from TV to handheld didn’t just work, it worked within seconds and was enormously satisfying.

Farming Simulator Of The Year

Farming Simulator: Nintendo Switch Edition

You may think that developing a farming game is like milking a cow – any jerk can do it – but that isn’t actually the case.

In the hotly contested ‘farming simulator’ category, I was able to milk the most enjoyment out of the Switch version of Farming Simulator.

While you may have ‘herd’ of other farming games, this one is really out standing in its field.

I wasn’t really expecting the Switch version to look as good as it does, but it truly is a turnip for the books.

You may think that’s hogwash, but before you accuse me of fowl play you should ask someone who’s actually tractor copy down and played it. You’ll probably feel a bit sheepish after that.

Runner-up: Pure Farming 2018

This PC farming game still offers a ‘stable’ farming experience.

However, when compared to Farming Simulator, there’s neigh competition.

Marketing Success Of The Year

Devolver Digital’s E3 ‘Conference’

When you’ve been covering E3 conferences for more than a decade, you start to get bored of the same old marketing speak every single year.

I’m tired of hearing how companies build games “from the ground up” after “taking community feedback into account” and “offering an entirely next-gen experience”.

Indie publisher Devolver Digital had seemingly decided to jump on the bandwagon this year by announcing it would be presenting its own E3 conference for the first time. With respect to them, it’s fair to say expectations were low.

The resulting ‘conference’ was actually a pre-taped parody conference filled with brilliantly offensive jokes and constant mockery of the triple-A games industry.

Nobody actually remembers which games were shown during the conference (Ruiner and Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour, if you’re wondering) and very few people watched it live.

However, the subsequent reporting of the ‘conference’ convinced countless people to watch the replay on Twitch and YouTube, meaning Devolver managed to pull a much larger audience than if it had played it straight.

Brilliant stuff.

Runner-up: Super Mario Odyssey music video

The Jump Up, Super Star! theme song for Super Mario Odyssey is already catchier than impetigo. If you know it you’re probably humming it right now.

Nintendo decided it wasn’t brilliant enough, though, so it created a fantastic extended commercial / music video to go with it.

Port Of The Year

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

When it comes to ports, it’s fair to say the Switch had more than its fair share in 2017.

It makes sense: most systems get a lot of ports during their first year, as publishers try to get games on the shelves early while developers get used to the hardware.

While there were countless Switch ports this year, then – including LA Noire, Doom, Rocket League, FIFA, Resident Evil Revelations, Pokkén Tournament and Yooka Laylee to name a tiny percentage – the best so far is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Taking the already fantastic Wii U game and improving its native resolution so it renders at full 1080p when docked, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe properly comes into its own when you switch to handheld mode and it remains locked at 60fps.

Add to that both massive DLC packs from the Wii U game (combining to make 48 tracks in all), a bunch of new characters (bringing the total to 42) and a new battle mode, and you’ve got the biggest and best Mario Kart ever made.

Runner-up: Skyrim on Switch

There’s a reason why Nintendo’s original Switch promo video showed a guy playing Skyrim.

Having Bethesda’s epic running at 30fps on a handheld was the stuff of fantasy a few years ago (the PS3 couldn’t even hit a solid 30fps on a console), so to have that – and for it to be based on the 2016 special edition, not the 2011 original – is a great achievement.

Amiibo Of The Year


Poochy is a massively underrated character.

Considering he made his debut in 1995’s Yoshi’s Island, the fact that he’s a dog and has even managed to live 22 years is something that has to be applauded.

It also helps that he’s bloody adorable, and nowhere is this more obvious than in Yoshi’s Woolly World, where he occasionally appears to help out Yoshi.

When Woolly World was ported to the 3DS, Nintendo decided to create a Poochy amiibo which – like the Yarn Yoshi amiibo before it – is made of wool.

It’s absolutely glorious, and takes pride of place in my amiibo collection.

Runner-up: Metroid

Nintendo wasn’t pissing around with its gimmicky amiibo this year.

Not only did we have the woolly Poochy, we also had a Breath Of The Wild Guardian figure with wiry poseable arms and even a Mario breakfast cereal with a box that doubled as an amiibo.

Most notable, though, was the Metroid amiibo released to coincide with Metroid: Samus Returns, complete with a hypnotically squishy exterior.

Franchise Resurrection Of The Year

Metroid: Samus Returns

Speaking of Samus Returns, no other game this year brought a slumbering series back in such a fantastic fashion.

I was always sure this remake of Metroid II was going to at least be decent because it was being developed by MercurySteam, the Spanish developer who previously kicked Castlevania up the arse with the Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow games.

However, I didn’t expect it to be one of the best Metroid games I’ve ever played, giving just the right mix of classic 2D Samus gameplay and modern gimmicks like analogue shooting and new abilities.

I’m praying for a Switch port: I would happily play through it all over again.

Runner-up: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

When it was revealed that the first ‘main’ Resident Evil game in half a decade was going to be presented in a first-person perspective, I (and many others) became concerned.

Was this a knee-jerk reaction to the PT / Silent Hills demo? Was this just to shoehorn in a VR mode? Was a first-person Resi game going to be a bag of dicks?

Turns out the answers were “dunno,”, “probably” and “not in the slightest” respectively.

Rutger Hauer Game Performance Of The Year


The votes are in, and Observer is the best Rutger Hauer performance in a video game this year.

Granted, it’s his only performance in a video game at all, but I can’t believe you’d have the audacity to mention that. He’s a good man, get off his back.

What’s great about Observer is that in it Hauer – perhaps best known as the bad guy in Blade Runner – plays the heroic protagonist in a game that looks like it may as well have come straight out of the Blade Runner universe.

Since Rutters was one of the best things about that movie, this is a positive thing indeed.

Runner-up: that one time I played my Switch while Hobo With A Shotgun was on the telly

I often play my Switch in handheld mode while something else is on the TV.

One day I was indulging in a spot of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe while Hobo With A Shotgun, Mr Hauer’s 2011 B-movie, was on.

It was good.

Artistic Accomplishment Of The Year

What Remains Of Edith Finch

My third favourite game of 2017, What Remains Of Edith Finch is a beautiful yet heartbreaking story of an unorthodox family and the numerous tragedies that befell them.

The majority of the game involves exploring the incredible Finch family home – one of the most brilliantly designed environments in gaming – and discovering how each of its family members passed away.

What makes it amazing is the way in which each of these death flashbacks is shown in a completely different artistic style. One minute you’re a rubber duck in a bath, the next you’re a hawk flying through the sky, then you’re fantasising about a medieval tale while working at a fish factory.

That may all sound bizarre but I’m being deliberately obtuse to avoid spoiling things. This is really a game you have to experience for yourself: it’s gorgeous and brilliantly inventive.

Runner-up: The Flame In The Flood

I’m not a fan of survival games in the slightest but The Flame In The Flood is a rare exception.

Playing as a young girl named Scout and accompanied by a dog called Aesop, it’s just the two of you, a raft, a bunch of small islands and the huge river that separates them.

Although it’s a game full of dangers, and although death is always nearby, there’s still something warm and reassuring about you and your dog getting in your raft and just going where the water takes you.

Stretchy Arm Based Fighting Game Of The Year

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers

Look, I’m an old-school fighting game fan at heart, and for my money there’s still no better fighting game than Super Street Fighter II.

Because of this, I love the HD remaster on Switch, even though it’s technically based on 2008’s Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix yet costs a shit-ton more.

To this day no other fighting game (Smash Bros aside, obviously) has a more iconic selection of characters, from noble warrior Ryu to, yes, stretchy-limbed Yoga master Dhalsim.

Runner-up: Arms

Someone at Nintendo really must have a Dhalsim fetish because this year we also got Arms, a fighting game in which every character has telescopic arms.

With brilliant fast-paced combat and a fun two-armed fighting system, Arms feels more like a shooting game at times with you ‘firing’ your fists at opponents before pulling them back.

Its steady stream of free updates has also kept fans interested, though I must admit Street Fighter remains my go-to Switch fighting game when I’m on the move.

Pleasant Surprise Of The Year

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

A source showed me the Mario + Rabbids concept art many months before it was officially announced, so I knew it was coming for a long time and as such spent longer than most people wondering whether it was actually a good idea to mix Mario characters with Rabbids.

Then the game was officially revealed at E3 2017, and it quickly became clear that not only was it a good idea, the X-COM style tactical gameplay meant it could actually be a great one.

As it turned out, Mario + Rabbids ended up being an excellent tactical RPG, and one that could be surprisingly difficult at times too.

Part of me feels bad for the eight-year-old kids who got this for their Christmas (because their parents thought it was a platformer) and presumably had no fucking clue what to do.

But hey, not my problem. They’ve got to learn eventually.

Runner-up: Golf Story

Originally planned as a Wii U game but moved to Switch after Nintendo put a bullet through the Wii U’s head, Golf Story was worth the wait.

Back when Mario Golf was released on the Game Boy Color, players loved its RPG story mode, but subsequent Mario Golf games have never really delivered on that side of things.

Golf Story is that spiritual sequel we’ve been waiting for, even though the actual mechanics play more like Sensible Golf (which is no bad thing).

Night Trap Of The Year

Night Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition (PS4)

The category of Night Trap Of The Year hasn’t really been too hotly contested since, well, the mid-90s.

However, that changed this year with the launch of Night Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition, a fantastic remaster with massively improved video quality and a whole host of documentaries.

It’s no secret that I love Night Trap, and I’m so happy this version does it justice.

This is truly the ultimate way to play one of the best worst games ever.

Runner-up: replaying the old Mega CD version

It’s taken 25 year but the king has finally been toppled from its throne.

Still, that’s not to say it isn’t still fun booting up the Mega CD original and enjoying it in all its lo-def glory.

DLC Of The Year

Forza Horizon 3 – Hot Wheels

The base Forza Horizon 3 is already a fantastic playground (developed, fittingly, by Playground Games) in which deliberately ploughing through fences, carving your way through crops and zig-zagging between trees isn’t just possible, it’s actively encouraged.

The game’s first DLC expansion, Blizzard Mountain, added snow to proceedings as well as a vastly different type of environment including plenty of huge hills to climb.

This was eclipsed by the second expansion, though, which adds an official Hot Wheels licence and turns your cars into full-sized toys, letting you drive them through those trademark bright orange Hot Wheels loops and tracks.

It completely transforms the game – far more than a snowy theme can – and it’s an absolute blast to take these realistic cars and swing them round a plastic orange and blue track while dodging a massive T-Rex.

Runner-up: The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild – Champions’ Ballad

The second Breath Of The Wild DLC pack doesn’t add anything massively revolutionary, except possibly for Link’s motorbike.

What it does do, however, is offer a bunch of new quests, side-quests, shrines and items.

It’s more of the same, but when you’re talking one of the best games ever made, that’s no bad thing.

Embarrassingly Fictional Gaming Community Shite Of The Year

Cuphead “proves games journalists can’t be trusted”

In August, VentureBeat writer Dean Takahashi attended Gamescom in Germany and went hands-on with famously difficult game Cuphead.

While playing the tutorial, Takahasi missed the instruction telling him to dash jump and spent a painfully long time failing to make a jump as a result.

As someone who’s attended countless games events over the past 11 years, I could relate to this: often you have a PR or other promo person talking to you about the game while you’re trying to play it, and it’s extremely easy to miss on-screen instructions because you’re too busy trying to politely engage with the person giving you the sales spiel.

Takahashi posted the full video on the site and joked about how he sucked at Cuphead, but this was picked up by a ‘shitlord’ so-called games journalist (who will remain nameless), who tried to use it as evidence that all games journalists are frauds who don’t know a thing about gaming and should never be trusted.

This led to the usual wankers clawing themselves out of the dirt like in Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, eager to try to fit this isolated incident into their agenda about the gaming press.

Ultimately, when the game was released, Takahashi recorded another video showing him completing the tutorial – in a less distracting environment – with no problems whatsoever.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the aforementioned shitlord wasn’t so quick with an apology.

Runner-up: “Switch has no games except Zelda”

Anti-Nintendo sentiment is nothing new (and neither is anti-Sony or anti-Microsoft sentiment), but it’s been both amusing and depressing watching PlayStation and Xbox fanboys trying to deny the existence of Nintendo’s return to form.

Even just a couple of months ago – shortly before Mario Odyssey was released – I was still seeing people adamant that the Switch only had one good game, and even then it was on Wii U too.

As someone whose Switch library currently consists of no fewer than 163 games, take it from me that this is categorically incorrect.

Now, let’s move onto something more positive.

Rhythm Game Of The Year

Superbeat: Xonic

Yer man Scullion has always been a sucker for a good rhythm game, and over the past decade my favourite franchise has been DJMax, a (mostly) PSP rhythm series by Korean studio Pentavision (now known as Neowiz).

Superbeat: Xonic is developed by Nurijoy – a studio consisting of former Pentavision members – and is considered a spiritual successor to DJMax.

This means more frantic button-tapping goodness over a wide variety of musical genres and and even wider range of skill levels, from an easy four-button difficulty level with a lower number of notes to the near-impossible six-button hard mode which throws notes at you like confetti.

The music is great, it’s a treat to play on Switch’s handheld mode (since there’s no worry of input lag like you get on modern TVs) and while the analogue stick sections are a bit fiddly, everything else is brilliant.

Runner-up: Voez

Another Switch rhythm game, Voez was a launch title that was ignored by most because its £18.99 price made it more expensive than most other eShop-only games.

For that money, though, you get a hefty 116 tracks in three difficulty levels, many of which will take an age to master.

It’s touch-screen only, but it uses the screen in a clever way, as you can see in my video here.

Soft Drink Of The Year

Irn Bru Xtra

As anyone who watches my First Play videos on YouTube knows, yer man Scullion needs to keep fuelled during play sessions and, since I’m tee-total, Irn Bru is my nectar of choice.

Irn Bru Xtra is the company’s first new ‘core’ product (i.e. not limited edition) in 35 years and is essentially Irn Bru’s equivalent of Pepsi Max or Coke Zero.

This means it tastes a lot more like the full sugar Irn Bru than the Sugar Free (Diet) version does, but with only 3 calories per can.

For my money, it’s the drink to finally surpass the joy that is normal Irn Bru, because it tastes like a less syrupy version of the real deal.

Runner-up: Irn Bru

The ‘full fat’ version of Irn Bru is still one of the finest concoctions ever known to man.

At 138 calories per can, I’ve been taking it a little easier with the normal stuff since Xtra came out, but hey: you’ve got to treat yourself every now and then.

Disclaimer: this article is NOT sponsored by Irn Bru, but it’s not for lack of trying.

Nintendo Mobile Game Of The Year

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

Is Pocket Camp the mobile version of Animal Crossing everyone had in their mind? Nope.

Got to say, I never expected to see Nintendo promoting alcoholism

Why? Because of course it isn’t: why would Nintendo cannibalise sales of the inevitable Switch version when it eventually comes out?

What Pocket Camp is, though, is a fun time and resource management game in which most of your time is spent gathering bugs, fruit, fish and shells, and giving them to your animal guests in return for materials.

These materials can then be used to craft furniture to design your own camp and caravan.

There’s something oddly addictive about it, and for a free-to-play game it’s extremely generous with its Leaf Tokens (the game’s premium currency). The only money I’ve spent on it was a £0.99 launch deal, and that was just to chuck some cash Nintendo’s way.

I’m now at level 45 with all the limited edition Christmas items, almost all the big amenities and most of the New Year items, and my total expenditure still sits at £0.99.

Runner-up: Super Mario Run (Android)

Mario’s mobile adventure finally came to Android in March, and offered much the same as the iOS version released in 2016.

It’s a ‘free-to-start’ game in which the first world is available at no cost, but then you have to pay a flat $10 to unlock the rest of the game with no limitations or further microtransactions.

It’s a decision that had many complaining that it was too much – as if a Mario platformer was ever going to be given away for peanuts – but those who forked over the cash found an entertaining, if easy, game.

The best feature, however, is Toad Rally mode, which has you competing against other players’ ghosts and eventually becomes properly tense and difficult as your rank increases.

Picross Game Of The Year

Pic-A-Pix Deluxe

In a year in which an actual Picross game was released, it may be considered sacrilegious to deem another nonogram game the best of the bunch.

However, Pic-A-Pix Deluxe on Switch (and its less ‘deluxe’ version Pic-A-Pix Color on Wii U and 3DS) manages to outdo this year’s Picross effort.

By taking the standard Picross concept and adding multiple colours, it creates a new set of rules that makes even hardcore Picross fans – who can solve most standard puzzles without even thinking – suddenly stop and go “oh, hang on”.

Add to that the magnificent music, as mentioned earlier in this article, and you’ve got a game that has managed to topple the champ.

Granted, that’s partly because the champ put in an underwhelming performance this year, but hey: you can only beat what’s put in front of you.

Runner-up: Picross S

The first ‘proper’ Picross game on Switch will be remembered more for what it doesn’t feature than what it does.

Gone is the option of touchscreen controls, and gone is the popular Micross mode where you make a massive picture out of smaller Picross puzzles.

At its core it’s still the Picross fans know and love, but it’s a very no-frills version (presumably the ‘S’ stands not for ‘Switch’ but for ‘Standard’), and the inevitable Picross S2 will no doubt build on that like the Picross e series on the 3DS eShop did.

Disappointment Of The Year

PaRappa The Rapper Remastered

As previously mentioned, I’m a huge rhythm action fan, and one of the games that first caused me to fall in love with the genre was one of its earlier examples, PaRappa The Rapper.

As such, I was hugely looking forward to this PS4 remaster, promising 4K graphics on the PS4 Pro and… well, that’s it. Isn’t that enough, etc?

In reality, it was actually a port of the PSP version of PaRappa with literally nothing added to it except the aforementioned upscale to 4K resolution.

This meant PSP-quality cutscenes and even the PSP version’s credits when you beat the game: the team that worked on the PSP version is listed but there’s no mention of the PS4 remaster.

Worst of all, there’s no calibration setting for input lag (because the PSP didn’t have any), which means on modern TVs it’s a nightmare to get your timing right.

“PaRappa will always have a place in my heart,” I wrote in my review for Official PlayStation Magazine UK, “but if the original game was Snoop Dogg, this disappointing upscale is Lil’ Bow Wow.”

He’s a rapping dog, you see.

Runner-up: 1-2-Switch

I know hopes weren’t exactly high for 1-2-Switch before it launched, mainly because the trailer made it look like the sort of thing third-party developers used to make for the Wii.

That said, after I tried it out at the UK Switch premiere event shortly after the system was announced, I was feeling a bit more positive. The marble-counting game made brilliant use of HD rumble, and I was confident that – as long as there was more to it than just these 60-second mini-games – it had potential.

Then it turned out it was just a bunch of 60-second mini-games, and I thought “ah, fuck it then”.

Completely Ignored Gem Of The Year


FreeStyleGames was the studio behind DJ Hero and DJ Hero 2, two of the finest rhythm games ever made. In 2016, though, Activision made loads of FSG’s staff redundant and sold the studio off to Ubisoft.

Two former senior members left to form new studio Mad Fellows, and Aaero is their first offering. And it’s fucking glorious.

It’s essentially part on-rails shooter, part… um, tracing game. Think of it as Rez meets Tempest, and if that still doesn’t make sense watch this gameplay montage I recorded. I guarantee that by the end of it (as long as you have the sound on) you’ll be up for trying it out.

Other than some good write-ups when it launched, Aaero has pretty much come and gone without too much fanfare, but it really deserves some.

Give it a go, then, if you haven’t already. And turn the bloody speakers up when you do.

Runner-up: Splasher

I’ve played a lot of Switch games this year, and since I started my First Play video series you’ve been able to see me experiencing them for the first time.

Splasher was one that properly took me by surprise, and as I continued to play it beyond the First Play video I fell more and more in love with it.

It looks like a simplistic platformer, but its ink mechanic is brilliant and the whole thing is just so tightly put together.

Game Of The Year

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

And so we come to the final (and most obvious) award. In my eyes – and many others, by the looks of it – there are only really two contenders for Game Of The Year, and the only mystery is which gets gold and which gets silver.

As a die-hard Mario fan, before the Switch launch I fully expected Breath Of The Wild to be a game I would merely enjoy, but one that would just tide me over until the main event that was Super Mario Odyssey finally came out.

Instead I ended up experiencing what I personally believe is the finest crafted game ever made.

Everything about Breath Of The Wild is epic in every definition of the word. Its game world is enormous, the secrets tucked into every nook and cranny are overwhelming and the sheer number of things you can see and do is ridiculous.

To take a franchise as globally loved as Zelda and turn the formula entirely on its head requires guts. To not only manage this, but create something even better as a result?

That’s just mastery.

Runner-up: Super Mario Odyssey

As the spiritual successor to the Super Mario Galaxy games, Mario’s Switch debut had a hell of a lot to live up to.

It managed it, though, by cramming an obscene amount of joy and charm into the game and constantly bombarding you with it everywhere you went.

While Breath Of The Wild was the more revolutionary game in my opinion, no game has made me smile like Odyssey did with its numerous set-pieces and post-game surprises.

In any other year, this would far and away be my Game Of The Year. It’s just sod’s law that this year Nintendo was denied by… well, itself.

So there you have it, that brings the Tired Old Hack Alternative Game Of The Year Awards 2017 to an end.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the content on Tired Old Hack over the past year. Traffic on the site has increased by 60% and I’m massively grateful for that.

There are even better things coming in 2018, both on the site and off it. Expect to hear more about my Secret Project™ soon: I’m confident that you’ll want to get your hands on it as soon as you find out what it is.

Thanks again, everyone. I hope you all have a fantastic New Year, and I’ll see you back on the site again in 2018.


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  1. Great alternative to the usual ‘Best Games’ but where the Hell is the UK digital Version of Night Trap?
    Don’t they want my money??

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