What was your favorite game this year?

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A screenshot of Jazzpunk, which I think is a good game.
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What's a good game? — R.M.

Well, R.M. Um. Do you mean, what defines a good game? Or do you want examples of good games? I think Portal is a pretty good game. I think C&C Red Alert is also a good game. Those are unrelated. Look, are we talking about recent games? Recent good games that you might want to play? I've been pretty into Dragon Age: Inquisition lately, and we've reviewed and recommended lots of good games this year.

It's an odd question, R.M., but one that I actually struggle with a lot. You could say, "Well, is it fun?" But what a thoughtless way to describe a game. "Fun" is just a word we use when we can't describe why we like what we're doing. It's generic enjoyment. And why should the goal of a game be to be "fun" anyway? You asked a big one, R.M.

There's lots I look for in games, in varying degrees: a coherent vision, meaningful interactivity, art and design that complement each other, fearlessness. I like newness. I like storytelling that involves me, lets me tell my own stories through systems.

I could go on, but instead, I'll pose the question to the commenters here: what makes a good game, and what was your favorite game this year? I'll save my favorite for later (hint: three words, contains a 'G') as we're approaching the end of the year, and within the next few weeks you'll see our Game of the Year awards and personal picks. And I promise I'll answer a proper question next week.