My Standout Games of 2016

Games I enjoyed in 2016 in no particular order

2016 has been a good year for video games. It turns out I played more than I thought this year. I spent time in No Man’s Sky, but it didn’t make the list. It’s a pretty diverse list but here are my favorites of the year:

Super Mario Run (iOS)

We live in a different reality now, where Donald Trump is the president-elect and Nintendo is making games for non-Nintendo hardware. Super Mario Run is a great game and puts other mobile games to shame with the amount of polish this game has. (I wrote more about this in detail a bit ago.)

Videoball (PS4)

Videoball is a game I had followed for a while. It’s a single screen multiplayer game where players shoot balls into goals with triangles. It’s easy to pickup and start a game with newcomers even if they aren’t hardcore gamers. Shoot balls with triangles from your bigger triangle. It’s one of those easy to learn but hard to master games. “That sure was Videoball.”

Pokémon Go (iOS)

Pokémon Go has certainly been an experience, but is it really a game? It’s like a digital scavenger hunt everyone is playing. My fondest memory was playing it on vacation with four other grown adults. Our vacation spot was a veritable Galapagos Islands of Pokémon diversity. I am not super invested on Pokémon Go as some of my friends are/were, but I still open up the app from time to time.

DOOM (PS4)

I was pumped for a new DOOM1 since the first preview last year. When I booted up the game I found a first person shooter that threw all the “realism” (reloading, hiding behind cover, gritty story, etc.) right out the door. It is a throwback to older FPS games, but with modern sensibilities and level design. It also allows you to play the game how you want to play it. If you want story, there is one. If you want to explore, you can. Every encounter in this game is crafted and fun. If you stop moving, you’re dead. It makes for a frantic, ridiculous game that always gets my adrenaline pumping.

Overwatch (PS4)

Overwatch is probably my favorite game this year. Another FPS, but one that is so polished and fun. It doesn’t matter if you want to play this game casually or competitively, it caters to all. As of writing this there are 24 distinct characters, both in play style and personality. The game promotes teamwork through almost every design choice. Matches end with everyone’s contributions, and it completely negates kill death ratios2 in lieu of how each player contributed to the match. Every interaction with players is a positive one. It is very much like Splatoon in that aspect. Since this is a Blizzard game, there is a whole universe built around this game. Surprisingly all the information about that universe is found outside of the game through short movies and comics. The minor detail of having characters speak things to each other before a match referencing their personal histories is such a small thing that has a huge impact on the world Blizzard has built. Even if you don’t play the game, watch the short below and see the amazing world Blizzard has built.

Jackbox Party Pack 3 & Drawful 2 (PS4)

Jackbox Games continues their realization of making interactive party games that are so much fun to play. The great thing about these games is that experience of other video games is not necessary to enjoy them, which makes them very approachable for everyone. Just use your mobile device as a controller. These games always produce such laughter and are much deeper than something like Cards Against Humanity.

Forza Horizon 3 (XBone)

I love these games. It is so expansive. Driving into a sunset , or off a cliff, or racing a train, it’s got something for everyone.

Honorable Mentions

The Witness (PS4)
A fun puzzle exploration game that I’ve played with my wife. It almost feels like a modern Myst but better in almost every way. I need to finish this.

Oxenfree (XBone)
An adventure game focused on choices. It follows the story of five people on a trip to an island and then some spooky things happen. The best thing is how well the dialogue and dialogue trees flow into the game. It’s more about the journey than the destination.

Gone Home (PS4)
Another adventure game that tells an intimate story while you explore a spooky large house during a storm. There is more than meets the eye. I would recommend this to people who don’t play games often.


  1. It has to be in all CAPS, or else. 
  2. “What’s your KDR man? Headshots, boom!” 

Getting Things Done

I’ve been working hard on being productive. It ultimately comes down to just doing things. But organization and keeping track of things is incredibly important. Here are some things I do to help. I’ll also add while I’m not super productive (I can procrastinate like no other) I still feel good when I get things done.

Remember The Future

Often I think of something that I should do and immediately forget it. For example, I should text my friend to let them know I’m thinking about them, or I need to replace the air filter in the furnace. But after I have that thought it will immediately leave me as I move on to the next thing. Then ultimately I’ll remember again, then forget, and the cycle continues. It’s for this reason that I’m in love with Evernote. It’s perfect for short bursts of thought unloading. And now that Evernote has a reminder feature it’s almost priceless in the utility it brings.

I’ve heard that some have a difficult time using Evernote effectively. I think people confuse it with a service like Google Drive where you can store things and write things keep them in sync. They are similar in that aspect, but the difference lies in the amount of time you should spend in each. Evernote is for quick reference and quick jotting down ideas or tasks. I equate Google Drive for writing longer passages and more of a collaboration tool.

Nag Yourself Bro!

Another service that I use is called Remember The Milk. It’s a tasklist service that’s been around for a while. It can remind you when a task is due through mail, text, push notification, and even your calendar. Remember The Milk is good for tasks that need to be done with some sort of recurrence. It’s also good for keeping a more in-depth set of priority. RTM also ties in to almost every service imaginable like GMail, Evernote, Google Calendar, and more. The latest integration with Evernote allows me to set a reminder on Evernote and automatically show up in RTM as a task. You can do the same with GMail messages. I’ve been using RTM less lately, but I still find it useful for tasks I need to complete on a schedule.

Put It On The Calendar

Setting a date is important for me. As much as I say I’m spontaneous, I’m also forgetful. Dates can set a target to aim for, and when I meet those goals it can help me feel accomplished. When a friend suggests that we should do something together, I will almost immediately say “put it on the calendar”. Sometimes my life can go lazy to busy in moments, and before you know it I’ll forget about hanging out with friends, doing regular maintenance on the car, or other things that are just as important as big projects. When I block out time for a task or just casual time with a friend it will help other things fall together.

Go Easy On Yourself

The first thing I think a lot of people do when making a list is to write down all the big things they want to accomplish, then they take another look at it and get overwhelmed and exclaim, “NOPE!” The key is to break down big tasks into smaller ones, and to put things on list that are necessarily tasks such as watching a movie.

I’m also a big fan of the To-Done list. Occasionally I’ll complete something that wasn’t on my list at all, but I’ll write it down so it doesn’t seem as if I’m doing nothing. It can help me realize I’m being productive even though I haven’t felt like it.

 

All of these things help me get things done even if it’s something as simple as taking the trash out, but overall it also makes me feel better than a lazy slug.