The year is winding down, and now’s the time to reflect on our favorite games of 2017. And later this week, we’ll see how our choices stack up against the Game Awards on December 7!

Shaun: It was another absolutely insane year for games. I’ve started some amazing ones that I haven’t gotten close to finishing – like Horizon Zero Dawn, Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Assassin’s Creed Origins. All wonderful, brilliantly made game of the year experiences for sure. But I think I have to tip my hat to Super Mario Odyssey. It really brought me back to sitting down with my SNES and getting lost in Super Mario World, all those years ago. It’s such a wonderful experience – we joked that the whole time we played it was like we were being embraced by a big, warm hug the entire time. Runners up for me would be: Clash Royale – not released this year, but a game I’ve played almost daily since it launched;  Shadow of War, a really great sequel to Shadow of Mordor that easily rose above all of the ‘controversy’ surrounding its loot boxes; the re-release of Mario Kart 8, and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, where I lost dozens of hours and had the best multiplayer experience with a group of friends I’ve had in years.

Val: This was the year I caught up on amazing games I hadn’t played yet, so I played Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us Remastered. I give them both honorable mentions since neither came out this year, but they’ve both really stuck with me and stood out. Of those games that released this year, my GOTY is, in this moment, Super Mario Odyssey. I’ve been sitting here for five minutes trying to decide, but when I think about how simply happy that game makes me, it’s hard not to choose it. And this might only be because I haven’t played enough of Zelda: Breath of the Wild yet to make it a true contender.

Clara: I played so many games this year (mostly indie), it’s hard to pick. But the ones that really stick out in my mind are: Cuphead – fantastic hand-drawn art style, massive big band soundtrack, and addictive co-op challenge; Hollow Knight – one of the best metroidvanias I’ve ever played; What Remains of Edith Finch – a storytelling masterpiece; A Hat in Time – one of the best 3D platformers I’ve ever played; Night in the Woods – a relatable story about the melancholy of growing up; and Stories Untold – a clever collection of short spooky tales. I gotta give it to Hollow Knight, though – one of the few games I’ve ever streamed all the way through, loving every moment of it. It’s got the gameplay, challenge, lore, and aesthetics down pat.

Tony: This year has been pretty intense with the Nintendo Switch hitting the gaming scene like a stick of dynamite – awesome and fun dynamite. Even though most of the best games I played this year were on switch – Zelda : Breath of the wild, Mario Odyssey, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Xenoblade Chronicles 2. My number one videogame of the year has to be Divinity: Original Sin 2 – in fact it is probably one of the best games I’ve ever played.

Bobz: Must be a toss up between Clash Royale and Super Mario Odyssey. But I would say the Nintendo Switch gives Mario the edge. It’s been a great revelation this year to be able to see games like Zelda and Mario shine on a platform that is great in the living room, as well as on the road. And the most amazing thing about it all is that it’s been a great intro for kids to get exposed to some video game classics. Starting with Super Mario Run, and continuing further with Mario Odyssey, my kids have gotten a great feel for one of gaming’s most iconic characters. For that I am thankful.

Josh: My number one has to be Breath of the Wild. Not since The Sims 2 has a game been such a black hole of time for me. And I mean that as a compliment of the highest order. It’s a game that I’d sit down to play at 9 PM and get so sucked in that when I took a break to check my phone I’d realize it’s suddenly 2 in the morning. But how?! Breath of the Wild is the epitome of having endless possibilities laid out in front of you. I’d set out to crush a couple of shrines that I had marked off on my Sheikah Slate/iPad and would get sidetracked so quickly it was borderline comical. The cycle of climbing, exploring, and hand-gliding compliments the world’s physics perfectly, making it one of the most fun sandboxes I’ve ever played in. It’s my clear number one; however, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few other standouts in quicker, less formal fashion.

  • Cuphead: The best music and artwork out of anything I played all year. Also one of the hardest games I’ve ever played.
  • What Remains of Edith Finch: Phenomenal storytelling.
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: Yeah, this came out 2014, but I hadn’t played it until it came out on Switch this year. My list, my rules.
  • Super Mario Odyssey & Wolfenstein II: I haven’t had the chance to pick up either of these yet, but I’m sure I’ll love them when I do.

Corey: I won’t pick a game of the year, I will pick a genre of the year: Battle Royale. H1Z1, PUBG, and Fortnite are all awesome games taking a different approach to this newly red-hot style of play, and I think this genre will continue to mutate in even more interesting ways. Not only does Battle Royale offer a different kind of tension than other multiplayer games, it’s perhaps the best type of game for spectating. Everyone understands the Hunger Games concept; this genre is going to the stratosphere in 2018.