Big Robot Man Good – by Microsoft

The All Shooter is the most robust release of the year. The All Shooter is the monument to all of it’s predecessors, the cumulative achievement of every failed and successful design attempt alike to come before it. It is the first step forward to a bright gaming future, one in which The All Shooter is the final word.

The All Shooter has grappling hooks, it’s an open world game- but it has instanced segments and linear corridors. It’s an RPG, but it’s also a strategy game, it’s an immersive simulation describing every finite function of digital mass down to the faux-atomic level, it has fully developed ecosystems that react dynamically to the All Player’s presence, but exclusively for their enjoyment. It is the most difficult game, easy to play but hard to master. It is multiplayer, but it is also single-player, it is anything you want it to be. It has glory kills and executions, it has soft friendly mascots that reassure the anxiety of anyone who plays it. It has expansive levels handcrafted by the best minds the industry has to offer with lovingly detailed renderings of exotic and familiar locales, some of them are stealth missions, some of them are fetch quests, all of them are exactly what you want.

It has a protagonist, coded male but you can choose to play as a female. He is heroic and brave, he can be whatever you want him to be as long as that is a man who is morally justified in his universal mission to bring peace and prosperity to the digital masses. It features a dystopian world that is also utopian, a compellingly moral society free of disease poverty and losers, but suspiciously absent are those who would oppose it or it’s evil leaders who are the most nefarious vindictive and blatantly maleficent figureheads of any regime past or present. The protagonist is always brave, always the under-dog, righteous as he dishes out increasingly brutal reprisals against the enemy’s wicked ways.

Call Of Duty Modern Warfare – by Infinity Ward

Our protagonist is universally relatable, he is charming, he is charismatic, and he is undoubtedly voiced by Nolan North. The champion of our enemy, the core villain of the franchise, is voiced by Troy Baker, but he is also charismatic, tempting us to empathize with his well-reasoned approach for doing horrible things to the digital masses. The All-Shooter has lootboxes and a lovely seasonal holiday outfit for our protagonist and our villain respectively, sexy outfits to boot if for some reason you opted to play as a Woman. There are vehicles, there are flying mechanics, there are experience points and there are upgrades, sidegrades even. Every play style is catered too, but not too much in order to avoid scaring off the goldilocks-zone of gamers, those with simultaneously too much and too little time in order to increase retention. The All Shooter takes up All of your time, and All of your money, it has a season pass, but it is Always Online.

The All Shooter respects your time and investment, your choices have an impact on the world. There is evidence of other player’s decisions, or at least there seems to be from the pre-rendered pile of name(less) corpses that are strewn throughout the environments, you can pray for them or you can praise them, you can leave them a nice message to read when they inevitably try again.

There are romance options, branching story paths and side quests that are so large, filled to the brim with content length that would make even the most obsessive visual novel fan blush. It is the last game you will ever need to play, because you will have no time or energy left for any competing title. There are no gay romance options for the player, but there are plenty of companions that hook up with each other for you to advise and appreciate, to allow the All Player to experience same-sex romance options might alienate the user base after all, and risk The All Profit.

Death Stranding – by Hideo Kojima

It is, of course, a virtual reality game, but it is also available on PC. It has been released on the Xbox Series X, the PS5, and Nintendo Switch. It runs at a silky smooth 60 FPS, but it is always rendering to 4K resolution. It never drains your battery, and it never leaves you a moment’s peace to look at another game. The All Shooter has daily login bonuses, quests, challenges, and achievements that are tailored to The All Player’s capricious whims. The All-Shooter has every cosmetic item you will ever need, and features the comprehensive library of every dance move ever made for taunting your opponents. It has co-operative play, it has split screen, it has cross play and it is even on mobile. It has a veteran development team, it is the first AAAA game. It features developers from The All Player’s favorite games, their careers all starting in a garage with only ten dollars to their name who blossomed into prestigious self-made affairs where they achieved everything on their own.

It is a retro game, but it’s also modern. It has a classic, timeless look but it is cutting edge to wow audiences everywhere. It has your favorite maps from previous releases, remastered for a new generation. It has billions of weapons, most of them re-hashed statistical combinations of things The All Player already knows and loves. There is a Big Fucking Gun, but we renamed it the BFG for ratings purposes.

It has a killer soundtrack, it is Carpenter Brut and nu-metal. It has Fred Durst on vocals, but it also features Adele covers of famous nostalgic hip-hop to evoke the emotions of The All Player during an emotional cut-scene. There is Perma-Death, but you can respawn, there are save points that require you to look around. The All Shooter is brutal and unforgiving, it’s the most addictive game of the year, but by the end of that year you will say it’s too easy.

Bloodborne – by FromSoftware

It has live events, concerts, and film premieres. It has cutting edge AI and fully voiced dialogue, it has a dynamic day and night system. Its plot is so critical and important to the well-being of the universe that it affects real life politics. There is a good and evil morality system, but the only difference is how much you are willing to enact wanton cruelty in the name of righteousness or in the name of malice. It doesn’t matter, because the All Protagonist wasn’t himself, it was all a dream, you are prevented from doing true harm to anyone except the nameless, faceless clone robot cyborg army deployed by The Bad Guy. But the clone robot cyborgs might dream of electric sheep, find out in the DLC remaster episode.

The All Shooter is always satisfying, always crisp with brilliant subtext that is a commentary of our times. It always teaches us something, it tells us stories at night when we are falling asleep, it tucks us into bed, it feeds us, it takes care of our needs, it nurtures us. It takes our dog for a walk, it tells us what’s on our calendar’s agenda, it performs our favorite song for us. It is voice controlled. It provides us endless hours of entertainment in the form of youtube analysis videos, it even generates virtual youtubers for this explicit purpose so they can sign deals to become a fan-servicable call-back moment in the expansion.

It references all our favorite movies, works of fiction, it has cross-over characters and easter eggs. It features all your favorite characters, and puts a dark twist on them. Your friends can visit your island, they can also dress up The Protagonist while you are asleep. There is cute food, and cuddly hometowns which make you all the more resolute in your quest to protect all that is good and wholesome in this world.

It’s like Deus Ex, It’s Dark Soulsian, It’s like Bloodborne, It’s like Mass Effect, It’s like Halo but the good one, not the bad ones. It’s like Elite Dangerous, It’s like Pokemon, It’s like Max Payne, It’s like Call Of Duty, It’s like Darksiders, it’s like Star Wars, it’s like Star Trek, It’s like your favorite indie game, It’s like League Of Legends, It’s like CONTROL, it’s like RUST, It’s like STALKER, It’s like Pathologic, It’s like Monster Hunter, It’s like Animal Crossing, It’s like Metal Gear Solid, It’s like Lo-Fi Chill Beats To Study To, It’s like Fortnite, it’s like Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, It’s like SMITE, It’s like Roblox, It’s like Runescape, It’s like Minecraft, It’s like Half-Life, but it’s also like every other unity game you’ve played. It’s like Discord, It’s like Microsoft Teams, It’s like Final Fantasy, It’s like Secret Of Mana, It’s like Crystal Chronicles, It’s like Resident Evil, but it’s very Silent Hill. It’s like Red Orchestra, but it’s also like Earthbound, It’s like The Last Of Us Parts I Through VIII, it’s like Red Dead Redemption, it’s like Grand Theft Auto, It’s like Super Mario 64, It’s like Sonic The Hedgehog, It’s like Crysis, but we can run it. It’s like Crash Bandicoot, but it’s like Wipeout, it’s like Bloodlines, it’s like Fallout, it’s The Outer Worlds, it’s Condemned, it’s Blood, it’s DOOM.

And every year, we will give it a 9 out of 10.

P.S. We are also considering a gatcha mechanic.

Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for and resides in the pacific northwest. She’s often seen in the local VR arcade and developer community participating in pushing the medium’s horizons. You can find her on twitter @caravanmalice