Jess O'Brien's Top Ten Games of 2021

3 months 3 weeks ago
Art by @konebomb
Art by @konebomb

Before Jess got hired at Giant Bomb as a video producer a few months ago, she was a SomethingAwful Let's Play forums alum, making a bunch of LPs for Silent Hill games like a big dumb idiot. This cool job is her first foray into using her "IRL" name online, so everything else she's ever done has been under the name VoidBurger. Follow her on Youtube, some other Youtube, a third Youtube, and also Twitter, and Twitch and all other fine hustle hellscapes.

Wow! My first GOTY list at Giant Bomb!! If you had told me a half a year ago that I’d be writing this, I’d’ve called you a silly bean, or worse. It’s been really cool and I’ve gotten to play more recent games than my usual fare, as someone who was previously a cheapskate streamer who leaned on Steam sales and gifts a lot. Also, shout out to Gamepass for making this stuff a lot easier to catch up on. As much as I’m into physical media, I’m also into the idea of having a huge library of games to noncommittally try out, which allowed me to bounce off Artful Escape, and hate-play It Takes Two (I’ll talk about it some other time, I don’t wanna sully this article with negativity! If you liked it: hell yeah).

I wanna start with a weird side category:

Best Community Collaboration Indie Horror Dev Project Production Thingy That Everyone Should Check Out Cause I Said It's Cool

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Dread XP and Haunted PS1

As you may have noticed from the bizarre (and sometimes uncapturable/unstreamable) games I often bring to Unprofessional Fridays, I like charming indie efforts to do a cool thing. Haunted PS1 and Dread XP are two such bastions of my bullshit. Little treasure troves of experimental horror fun that shows off the genre from all possible angles: from the seriously scary, to the somber and sad, to the strangest and goofiest stuff you can imagine.

You just can’t get this quality from AAA games.
You just can’t get this quality from AAA games.

Like this little dude that says “boner” when you press B.

These are excellent (and free!) venue to check out upcoming games, and for devs to build hype for their projects. I look forward to these two groups’ trailer shows (EEK3 and Spooky Showcase) with the same amount of hype as E3… except maybe it’s a little more because these things actually show off stuff I like.

My Steam wishlist is loaded da heck UP with games from these showcases, which hopefully adds some fuel to the creative fire these indies gotta have to make these great things.

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It also seems like these two curation entities have fostered a really welcoming community as well, which is just heartwarming as heck. The whole situation is really neat and I want more people to know about it! So yeah, check em out, play some demos, have a spooky good time!

DA ACTUAL GOTY LIST

#10: New Pokemon Snap

God, that was this year? And it wasn’t even January, it was April?? Bwuh???
God, that was this year? And it wasn’t even January, it was April?? Bwuh???

This pick is extremely tainted by my nostalgia for the original but hey, screw it. New Pokemon Snap is just bigger and better and cuter than the original and I don’t have much to complain about.

I’ve felt a little distanced from the Pokemon Gens since like, the second one? I haven’t really felt that familiar connection with the little critters past Togepi, an egg who is a baby and also your friend.

*Werner Herzog voice* I would like to see the baby.
*Werner Herzog voice* I would like to see the baby.

And as someone who tends to find turn-based menu-navigating games pretty tedious (even an easy one like Pokemon), it was really my connection with the original 151 (plus like 30 others) through the anime that kept me playing Pokemon Red and Yellow when I was in 3rd grade or whatever.

Who the fuck is this guy
Who the fuck is this guy

Then they introduced all these new guys and Fairy types and I no longer knew the type advantages and it was all downhill from there cuz I wasn’t watching the show anymore.

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Jess O'Brien

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