Time to reflect on the past year and which games kept my attention for more than a couple minutes. I’m old now and with so many games, new systems, and platforms, it is difficult to keep me engaged. But the following games were hard to put down or kept me coming back for more.

I don’t hide my love for Naughty Dog. Everything they do, 99% I’ll probably love it and The Last of Us didn’t change that. It is amazing. The balance between a finely tuned story and entertaining gameplay made The Last of Us very difficult to put down until I beat it. I have to say that the ending is one of the best I have played in recent memory, not because of what it tells you, but what it doesn’t. It take huge balls to end a game in such a way and I congratulate my friends at Naughty Dog.

TowerFall is crack! No seriously, it is probably the best local multiplayer game to come out this year. It is easy to pickup, but one of those games that always has you tweaking your tactics. There is nothing more rewarding then having no arrows, catching one, then killing to win the match with that same arrow! With TowerFall being on Ouya, it was one of those games that not a lot of people got a chance to play, but hopefully that will change when it comes to PC and PS4 in early 2014.

Tomb Raider has been around in countless forms, some good and some bad, but the 2013 reboot by Crystal Dynamics brings Tomb Raider back to prior glory, placing it as one of the best action adventure games of the year. First it is pretty, especially if you are playing it on the PC. Second it doesn’t hold back, at all. This isn’t a happy stuck on an island adventure. This a holy shit I’m going to die adventure! Which is why I enjoyed it so much.

Tearaway is a platform masterpiece. I love platformers and what the guys & girls did at Media Molecule with Tearaway was create a modern Super Mario 64. That is a bold statement, but the amount of sheer enjoyment one has with Tearaway is on that same level. I can’t think of a game that came out this year as charming as Tearaway, as everything puts a smile on your face. If you have a Vita, you are doing yourself a diservice by not owning it. So go out and buy it now!

If it isn’t broke, why change it? HammerWatch does that by taking the Gauntlet formula and multiply it by 1000 in terms of insanity, loot, speed, traps, and monsters. Play with up to 4 friends make this another great couch game if you have the setup for it. For the price, HammerWatch is easily one of the best values of the year!

I love Metroid. I love Castlevania. I love Metroid-vania games. Guacamelee! takes everything great about those games and adds an amazingly charming art style and a difficulty curve that might have broken a controller or two into one of my favorite releases of the year. With any game that falls into the Metroid-vania genre, you got to have great powers, excellent level design, and tight controls, which Guacamelee! has. I am very excited to see what developer Drinkbox does next. One could dream that Nintendo just gives them Metroid. Yeah, they should!

Great games come on all platforms, and great games keep you coming back for more, and Ridiculous Fishing is just that. I picked this up when it first came out back in March, and I still play it from time to time. Either on the bus, waiting for a meeting, or that other place where everyone plays their games on their phone. Ridiculous Fishing is the perfect balance of easy, challenge, and reward. When I do great, I feel great! When I miss a fish I’m upset, only to be rewarded quickly. Quick and addictive.

Call of Juarez history is a mixed bag, but that all goes away with Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. It does what it attempted to do just right and isn’t trying to be something it isn’t. It is just a fun, silly, shoot everything first person shooter. With games having to turn everything to 11 to get attention, it is great to see a game like Call of Juarez: Gunslinger give me something small, polished, and enjoyable.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is the love letter to every over 30 year old boy who was raised on video games, WWF, Schwarzenegger Action Movies, and hyper-color. The game hits every chord when in its attempt to bring to live an insane ‘80′s action movie. Taking the solid foundation of Far Cry 3, and just adding a new coat of paint, it did everything right and provided a fun action packed bite sized first person shooter. Needs to be more games like this.

Reminding yourself of your childhood favorites can sometimes get you into trouble. There are countless games, television, and movies that you look back with fond memories, only to try them again and you are reminded that the world has changed so much, aka they suck now. Certain games last the test of time, including The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Easily one of my favorite games of all time. About as close to perfect you can get and a timeless classic. When a game comes along that not only brings back those memories, but creates new ones you have something special, and that is what The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds does. Takes the timeless formula of your classic 2D Zelda, and breaks through with new mechanics that not only give a classic new life, but perfectly blend into the established history of The Legend of Zelda. I can see myself playing A Link Between Worlds in five years and having just as great of a time as I am today.