I opened my eyes, took a step forward, and felt waves of excitement rush over me. Dueling melodies from various songs filled the air like wayward ghosts, and I could feel joy radiating from everyone around me. What hit me next were the smells. The aroma of all the delicious carnival foods suddenly flooded my nose, activating my taste buds like open faucets. The sky was a perfect shade of azure, and it was all around us, on all sides, like an ocean would be. Various vendors peddled and pushed their wares on the throngs of masses funneling through the gates of Colombia that fine day. A day I will never forget.
In case you could not piece it together, that was my experience in the opening moments of discovering Columbia in BioShock: Infinite. That, my friends, is what a perfect gaming experience should be like. It should lift you off your feet and drag you into its world. It should snatch you up by the senses and refuse to let go until you are so immersed that, for a single, sweeping moment, you forget that your real life exists. For me, that is exactly what the six moments on this list did. They transported me to a different world. Under a different sky, with different rules. It is the closest you can come to literally falling down the rabbit hole and discovering Wonderland for yourself.
Keep in mind, there will be the conspicuous absence of any moments from The Last of Us on this list. That is not because the game isn’t phenomenal — it is — it’s because I have not yet played through the entirety of that glorious game for reasons I have made obvious on many lists before this. Also, these are moments that I found particularly spectacular, but that does not mean you did too. Being an opinion piece means that it is based on my opinion as a gamer, and as the writer of the piece. In that sense, there is no right or wrong. Just one gamer talking to some other gamers about some awesome gaming moments from 2013 that really stood out.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, right?Next
Discovering Columbia in BioShock: Infinite
I did something when I first got to Columbia that I never do when I play games. I wandered around in awe, just taking in the visuals. Whereas in most games I rush to get the initial intros over with so I can get to some gaming, with Bioshock Infinite I just walked around. I wanted to let this amazing world they created overtake me, and that is just what it did.
What you need to understand about the intro paragraph to this list is that it is what really happened to me when I played this game. The longer I walked around the fair they were having, the more it bled into my own world. It may have just been the visuals, at first, but after twenty minutes, I swear I could smell peanuts being roasted. I could hear the birds, literally, overhead. It really took over my senses and transported me to a world unlike any I had been before. Well, I actually liked Rapture a bit more, but still.
Columbia was less amazing than discovering Rapture, but I will tell you that the two feelings are pretty damn close, and work as perfect examples as to why both of these games will prove to be timeless. Say what you want about the combat being shallow in this game, but that first hour or two was a fucking vacation away from real life, and I will never forget it.
Also, just as a side note, I almost put the ending of BioShock Infinte on this list too, but I didn’t want to spoil that for the few of you who may not have experienced it yet.Previous Next
Necrophilia in Outlast
Listen, I love horror. Anything and everything horror. I love horror movies, I love horror fiction, and I really love horror games. It is for that exact reason that it is quite hard to shock me. I feel that up to this point, I have seen it all when it comes to this genre. Cue Outlast to prove to me how wrong I was.
Though the game itself is filled with shit-your-pants moments, there was one in particular that I can safely say was the most uncomfortable a video game had ever left me. I am not necessarily saying that’s bad thing, but I am saying it as a fact. So what was the moment? Well, if you played Outlast, you know exactly what I am talking about.
A big part of the gameplay mechanic for Outlast was the fact that you are powerless, and have nothing but a small camcorder with a night-vision lens to record everything. In the scene that I am talking about, you come around a corner and you see a guy ramming a corpse in the ass. Like, see it clearly. I will never forget his hip thrusts.
The worst part is that he sees you and flips the fuck out, calling you the pervert for filming him doing this, and repeatedly saying that he didn’t invite you to watch. It is a completely jarring moment, the most disturbing thing I have ever played in a game, and a completely unforgettable gaming moment from 2013.Previous Next
Ride the Dragon in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
I feel like all future DLC will be forever measured against Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. It was just so fucking perfect in almost every way. All the badass gameplay from Far Cry 3 was still in tact, but it was given a coat of neo-sci-fi-80′s-glam-cheese paint, and one of the best game soundtracks ever. All in all, it ended up being, quite possibly, my favorite game of 2013 besides GTA V.
While Blood Dragon was full of stand out moments (like the NES era sex scene, done in 8-bit graphics), I would have to say the most epic of all moments comes at the very end of the game, when you get to ride a fucking dragon and murder anyone who stands in your way. Which, when you ride a fucking fire breathing dragon, ends up being everyone.
All the little things this game did right, they did as an homage to over-the-top 80′s action and sci-fi movies, and what is more over-the-top than riding a neon dragon as a weapon of death through a futuristic landscape? Nothing, I tell you. Nothing is.
Another moment from the game that almost beat the dragon ride out was the moment when you get the glaive. Yes, that’s right, kids. In Blood Dragon, you get the fucking weapon from Krull. This is not a single use Easter-egg, this is the weapon you end the game with and using it is exactly as much fun as you would imagine it being. That is why Blood Dragon kicks so many other games in their tiny game-balls.
Oh, and Michael Biehn for the win.
First Heist in Grand Theft Auto V/ Trevor’s Mom
I know, we all probably have a different favorite moment from Grand Theft Auto V. The game was huge, and a uniquely different experience for everyone who played it. I was almost positive that my favorite moment from GTA V was the first heist. Then, something happened after I beat the main story, and it changed the way I looked at the whole game, as well as my favorite character, Trevor. More on that to come. Also, spoiler alert, so bail now, if you must.
So, why did I love the first heist so much?
It was a smash and grab ordeal, and as you grabbed the diamonds and jewels out of the cases, you could see your total going higher and higher with a counter in the corner of the screen. I also really liked how you had to hire help, and the better they were, the more it cost you. I went with the highest ranked people all around, knowing that the simple act of getting away from the cops is worth the money invested. Throughout the entire thing I was just having the time of my life and loving every second of it.
By the way, that Los Santos river is the same waterway used for one of the best missions in GTA: San Adreas. That is a few of the many reasons why I adored the first heist. It also set the tone for the amazing game to come.
So what tied with it?
The other truly unforgettable moment is when after you beat the game keeping all three protagonists alive, you end up meeting Trevor’s Mom. I won’t spoil all the details, but I can tell you that when that mission ended, and Trevor is lying on the floor of his trailer, weeping for his Mommy, you see a vulnerable side to him that you never saw in the game. You see humanity in him.
Also, why do you think he falls in love with that old chick in the game? Makes way more sense now, doesn’t it? That is why Trevor reuniting with his Mom tied with the first heist. They were both high points for what ended up being one of the best games of all time, straight up.
And that is why it takes up two spots on the list. Because it deserves to.Previous Next
The Joy of Using The Bow and Arrow in Tomb Raider
The bow mechanic from Tomb Raider is not on the list as a specific moment, but rather the overall experience throughout the whole game. I honestly went into the new Tomb Raider expecting to hate it, but I ended up loving it. I thought it would just be more of the same. I expected myself to be pushing blocks and getting lost. From the trailers I had seen, I thought I would be participating in quicktime events, pushing blocks, participating in more quicktime events, getting in gun fights, and that would be it. The funny thing is, that was it. But guess what? It was a fuck-load of fun.
Honestly, this game could not have surprised me more, and the best thing about it, in my opinion, was just how awesome the bow and arrow was to use. While many games have had great bow mechanics in the last couple years (Crysis games and Far Cry 3 to name a few), the bow in Tomb Raider may have been my favorite.
I think the main reason is it just felt like it fit the character. The game was more about her survival from not just the “bad guys,” but from the elements and nature itself. Honestly, every thing in this fucking game wanted to kill Lara Croft. Even the trees would try to impale her. But that feeling when you stood across a cliff face from an enemy camp, and just let an exploding arrow fly through the air and cleared them all out in one shot, it was an incredibly gratifying moment.
Also worth nothing were the puzzles. I don’t mean to just gush about this game, but even the puzzles blew me away. For the first time in as long as I can remember in gaming, puzzling felt organic. There was no block pushing, instead, there were puzzles that used elements and puzzles that used weighted objects. The best part? The puzzles were in individual caves, and had nothing to do with the story progression, so if you sucked at puzzling you could skip that section altogether.
That, my friends, is genius game design.
Now it’s your turn, tell us, what were your favorite moments from gaming in 2013? Take to the comments and let us know.Previous