The video game industry has been one of the fastest-evolving entertainment mediums that we’ve ever seen. Consider how much the industry–and games themselves–has changed since the 1980s when the original Nintendo Entertainment System brought gaming into consumers’ homes. Now, we have virtual reality, gaming at 4k resolutions, and online connectivity that allows us to play with anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time. However, the booming nature of the industry has made it hard for great games to stand out. In the following article, we’ll introduce you to several of the most interesting games in the world. Going into 2017, you owe it to yourself to check out these titles.
We’re not going to be limited by platform or process–we’ll look at games on various different systems, all of them modern. We’ll also back up our choices with some rock-solid reasoning because “interesting” can be such a subjective term.
What this won’t be is a trip down memory lane. You don’t have to look particularly hard to find lists of classic games, that have been well-regarded by both history and nostalgia. Instead, we’re going to look at the recent titles that deserve to have your attention. 2016 has been a fantastic year for gaming, and in quite a few ways, the stage is set for 2017 to be even better!
The Most Interesting Games in the World
Obviously, we’ve seen hundreds of new games hit the market in 2016, and we’ll see even more in the coming year. You might even have considerations of your own that don’t show up on this list, and that’s okay! If a particular game or trend rocked your world, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Meanwhile, take a peek at some of the games that have piqued worldwide interest; those that have shaped the industry and given us a peek into what we can expect, going forward.
The first game that we need to talk about is Pokemon Go, primarily because it took over the world when it was released in the middle of 2016. It was the first Pokemon title to make the leap to smartphones. Android and iOS users were enraptured by the experience presented in this game, which was at once new, and also extremely familiar to people who have enjoyed the Pokemon franchise for years.
Pokemon Go doesn’t require a video game system. It doesn’t even cost you anything unless you’d like to drop a few dollars on in-app purchases. All that you need is your smartphone and some means of locomotion to go move about the world. As you walk around with your mobile device, you’ll occasionally encounter Pokemon in the Pokemon Go app. Using the game, you can capture them. Certain Pokemon are only found in certain regions of the world, which makes it all but the perfect game to travel with.
When it was first released, record numbers of people weren’t just playing the game; they were out and about, running around their neighborhoods and cities in pursuit of fantasy monsters in Pokemon Go. And it wasn’t just traditionalists who were doing it; people who had never touched a Pokemon game in their life were getting in on the fun.
Some of the excitement might have waned since its original release, but the game itself is still running strong into 2017.
Super Mario Run
Similar to Pokemon Go, the was the first occasion in which Nintendo has developed a game that isn’t for Nintendo consoles. Instead, it’s for smartphones! It features the titular star of the Nintendo brand, but it doesn’t control or play exactly like a traditional Mario game.
In Super Mario Run, Mario…well…he runs. The game puts the character in constant motion, and you’ll tap on the screen to make him jump, thereby helping him to navigate the very Mario-esque stages of the game. You’ll collect coins, extra lives, mushrooms, and eventually end up fighting Bowser. It combines the traditional elements of a classic Nintendo platformer with the pick-up-and-play style associated with mobile games. What’s more important than anything else, however, is just how fun this game manages to be!
It was Nintendo’s first, large step into being brave enough to venture off its own platforms. Super Mario Run has been a runaway success (pun intended) and we should expect to see the game updated frequently through 2017. Not only that, we should expect to see more Nintendo games making the leap to smartphones.
To say that The Last Guardian suffered from “development hell” would be something of an understatement. It was developed by the much-lauded Team Ico, who were previously responsible for Shadow of the Colossus–one of the very best games available on the PlayStation 2.
In spite of the hype surrounding this game, it virtually disappeared from everyone’s radars for several years, and nothing was said about its development. Most assumed the project to be dead in the water…until it was featured as a surprise announcement earlier in 2016. Not only that, it was revealed that the game would be releasing in December of 2016, exclusively on the PlayStation 4.
And what a game it was. In it, you play a young boy who has to navigate through a series of complex puzzles tucked away into crumbling ruins. He’s not alone, however; he’s accompanied by a gigantic, mythical beast that will help him along the way. The thing about The Last Guardian that makes it such an amazing title is the intelligence of the beast itself. It’s expressive, emotional, reactive, and by the end of the game, you’ll be hard-pressed to convince yourself that it isn’t a real thing.
Emotional connections have always been a hard thing to manage in video games. All that it takes is a slight glitch in the artificial intelligence or gameplay, and gamers are drawn out of that immersive, emotional experience. The Last Guardian manages to be more immersive than almost any game before it, in this regard. It’s one that everyone should be playing.
Granted, “virtual reality” isn’t the title of one single game. It’s a platform through which hundreds of games can be played, but the experience is more worthy of mention than any single title. The sum of its parts make virtual reality one of the most impacting gaming trends in 2016, and we can expect it to outright explode once we move into 2017.
It’s still prohibitively expensive–a full VR setup will cost $500, and that isn’t even including the horsepower that will be required of your computer. But we finally have it in our hands. The virtual reality experience that lies behind Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR is finally available at the consumer level and it is blowing people away.
Yes, there are horror stories about nausea, broken games, and thrown controllers, but by and large, those who have tried VR express that they’ve never seen or felt anything like it, before. Whether it remains the pinnacle of immersive video gaming or is simply a gateway into something even more profound, VR has definitely helped to shape the gaming industry in 2016. We can only expect that it will do the same in 2017.
Speaking of development hell, how can we not give mention to a game that survived 10 years under the knife? The Final Fantasy series–originating in Japan–is one of the world’s most lauded RPG franchises. Knowing this, it’s hard to understand why this game was stuck in development for so very long.
Mostly, this is because it was conceived as the sequel to a prior game in the franchise, rather than as its own entity. However, the finished product is an exquisitely crafted masterpiece that perfectly embraces the glory of JRPGs (Japanese Role-playing Games) while combining it with Western trends in game design. The characters are endearing, and we should expect them to be the focus of gaming industry discussion for several years, going forward. But the open-world stage that you’re allowed to explore is vibrant, expansive, and rich with lively details.
If you’ve been looking for one of the better stories told through video games this year. Final Fantasy XV is probably the one that you want.
Okay, we’re leaving this one until the end for one very specific reason–it won’t even be released until March 2017. So, why does it still get to qualify for our “most interesting” list, going into the coming year?
Primarily, because of everything that it means for gaming in 2017. Nintendo consoles have traditionally occupied two different spaces–the home console and the portable system. The Super Nintendo was different from the Game Boy. The Gamecube was different from the Nintendo DS. While some games have crossed over and appeared on both types of consoles at the same time, they’ve largely been different, catering to different audiences.
That’s ending with the Switch, which marks the combining of Nintendo’s portable and home console divisions into a unified whole. It’s primarily portable, but can be docked at home, so that gameplay can be broadcast in high-definition to a TV. Fans of Nintendo games should have their eyes on the Switch until the moment it’s released. This is, quite possibly, the most significant move that Nintendo has made in decades, which is why it must be included in our list.
Well, what do you think? In our opinion, these are some of the most interesting games and gaming trends that hit us in 2016, and they’ll continue to have ripple effects in the gaming industry throughout 2017.
Hit us up in the comments with your thoughts and suggestions! As always, thank you for reading!