Needing quarters to take the bus to work, my dad would take me along with him to Thompson’s Arcade to use the change machine. Located on Minnehaha and Lake, it was a dim, small, rectangular room owned by Christians. My dad would slide his dollar bills into the change machine, collect the majority of coins for his bus rides, then hand me two to four quarters to spend on games. Once in a while, some stranger would ask me my ethnicity, then hand me an educational comic in the Vietnamese language about Jesus and sins and what have you. I would politely accept the pamphlet, then go back to shooting demons or jumping over throwing stars.
Fast forward maybe three decades, and we’re here at my grumpy Vietnamese guy’s favorite video games of 2013. This is of course highly subjective, so please — don’t give me any “why isn’t Bioshock Infinite on your list?” (For the record, I played it, and I didn’t like it all that much). I’m a father with a full time job and an arts career to manage, so my play time is sporadic and short. I don’t play online multiplayer at all. My main rubrics were: how many times did I play through? How immersed was I in the game world? How much fun did I have? How did I feel about the characters? How is the overall design of the game and the experience?
And I’m not justifying problematic elements found in these games — I play to get immersed in different worlds, and I usually play one game at a time obsessively until I get bored or frustrated — which means playing games tend to be long slogs for me. I don’t remember 100% everything that happened in each one. And there are slight spoilers found herein.
These are in no particular order.
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