Marcus’s Favorite Games That Didn’t Actually Launch in 2013

With video games being my number one past-time, I’m almost always playing one. Often, they’re for review, but sometimes they’re just for fun. Shocking, right? Of course, this year also saw an exciting new friendship with GOG which has allowed me to begin chipping away at their excellent catalog. So really, even though we just passed through 2013 there were many great experiences I had with games from years back. This post will honor some of the favorite games I played this year that came out prior to 2013. They deserve as much attention as 2013-specific releases!

The 11th Hour Screenshot

The 11th Hour (1995)

Okay, I’ll admit, The 11th Hour is much more of a media showcase from the early 90s than a quantifiably good game. But I love it all the same. Why? It’s simple – the story is completely ridiculous and acted like a B movie. In fact, it practically is a film with some 45 minutes of FMV. Poking at tough puzzles is annoying, as are the repeated ones from The 7th Guest, but wow the acting is goofy enough to make it all worth it. Definitely play through to the three endings. All of them are awful, but at least two are out of this world.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Screenshot 1

Cook, Serve, Delicious! (2012)

Games that have to do with food always manage to attract me. I’m not a gourmand by any stretch of the imagination, but something about them is totally appealing! Cook, Serve, Delicious! is exactly the kind of food game I love. You assume the role of a chef, cooking a wide variety of meals in a frenzied kitchen. But the game even goes further than that, allowing you to choose the menu, stock your kitchen, and more.

Escape Goat Featured

Escape Goat (2011)

Puzzle platformers are extremely hit or miss. With such a massive amount of them cluttering up gaming libraries everywhere, it can be hard to hone in on the “good” ones. Escape Goat isn’t just good, it’s phenomenal. Playing as an oddly colored goat, you must platform through increasingly difficult rooms. How can you make it? That’s where the puzzles come in, as you often must use the aid of a mouse to make it out alive. It’s tons of fun that has even warranted an upcoming sequel!

Long Live the Queen Featured

Long Live the Queen (2012)

Have you ever wanted the title of Queen (or King)? Well, sorry to say, but it’s not all it seems cracked up to be in Long Live the Queen. Here, you play as a princess preparing to assume the throne. Prepare her by studying various topics, ranging from court manners to naval war strategies. The fun/frustration comes in when events occur which test her fortitude. If you’ve skewed her in the wrong topics, then oops, the princess is dead! This is one title that takes a lot of work to beat but is very much worth playing because of the fun you’ll have working toward victory.

Nancy Drew: Secret of the Scarlet Hand Screenshot

Nancy Drew: Secret of the Scarlet Hand (2002)

Here’s a series that most gamers have completely ignored over the years. Heck, so did I! Granted, I never had any deep love for the Nancy Drew books (or mysteries at all) but it was with great luck that I played Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill on a whim. It led me to realize this was an excellent point and click adventure series! In Nancy Drew: Secret of the Scarlet Hand, you visit a museum at the time that everything goes completely wrong. Learning about Mayan culture, taking real notes for clues, and seeing how the mystery unfolds is entertaining. If you ever see any Nancy Drew games in a bargain bin, do yourself a favor and pick them up!

Spelunky Screenshot

Spelunky (2009)

I am someone who tends to find video games from a great variety of genres difficult. In fact, my only area of expertise is rhythm/music games. Spelunky is hard – not just for me – but for everyone who plays. As a cute little spelunker, you must traverse caves, forests, and more. Survival is dependent on careful management of resources and skillful killing of enemies. Oh, and sometimes luck. This platformer is incredibly tough, but a ton of fun to spend hours with.

Theme Park Featured

Theme Park (1994)

When I was younger, my friends all talked about Roller Coaster Tycoon as the perfect game. I never had it. Instead, I enjoyed Sim Theme Park. Little did I know however that it was a sequel to Theme Park. Visiting it for the first time after all these years proved a tough, but highly entertaining experience. The park plot is simply enormous and there are tons of things to research and build. With adorable graphics that really sell the kitsch theme park vibe (burger stands being giant burgers, hello!), it’s hard to dislike this one.

VVVVVV Screenshot

VVVVVV (2010)

In the last generation, we saw a trend toward increasingly cruel and difficult platformers. Super Meat Boy is perhaps the most well known of this subgenre and deservedly so. However, VVVVVV is another worthwhile (and frankly more accessible) version of these game types. The player bounds around through stages to find their friends scattered throughout stages. Along the way, the platforming gets quite creative – and frustrating! Still, I was able to beat it which proves this is not one of those “impossible” games.

Wing Commander II Featured

Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi (1991)

Oh my goodness. Who knew a space-focused action game over twenty years old would still be so compelling? Wing Commander II is an exciting sci-fi tale about a disgraced pilot and an alien race bent on galactic domination. It might not win any awards for creativity, but darn if it isn’t an incredibly fun (if tough) trip. The game beefed up storyline and character personalities over the original but retained that super cool cockpit view for action sequences. Blasting away at the enemy is as stressful as it is exciting, even with “retro” graphics.

Wizorb Screenshot

Wizorb (2011)

Arcade games are loved because they were mostly bringing very simple concepts with so-called “addictive” gameplay to players. The block-breaking game Arkanoid (and its may copies) are some of my favorites out there. Wizorb takes the concept of block-breaking but does even more with it. Now, the world is a retro-styled RPG where you can buy items and power-ups for your ball/paddle. Suddenly, there are enemies mulling about the game screen, tweaking the classic formula. Everything also happens to have a gorgeous pixel art style about it. These simple twists add a new layer of fun to what was already a good concept and I adore Wizorb for it!

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