4) Old Man’s Journey (Broken Rules Games)
Old Man’s Journey is breathtaking experience that stills, and words cannot properly capture. In a genre defined by fidelity to a certain aesthetic, Broken Rules lives up to its name by choosing a distinctly Western style for a unique view of the Mediterranean coast. Each backdrop could be hung in a museum and has rightfully been used by Apple to market the visual fidelity of their tablets. Only a handful of artists in gaming have managed this level of artistic creativity and depth and it says something that most of them operate in this genre.
However, art on its own isn’t enough for a place on this list. In one of the most effective marriages of narrative and presentation I have seen to date, Old Man’s Journey uses all its tools to craft a sweeping tale of one man’s trip back to his family. There is not one line of dialogue spoken or written in this game and there doesn’t have to be. The audience understands every heartbreaking moment as they journey with the main character: sharing his emotional baggage and his hope that its not too late to make things right. The ending can be considered somewhat cliché, but it isn’t unearned and I cannot imagine it closing out any other way.
And that is, seriously, all you’re getting out of me on this one. Go and play the game: you’ll be thankful you did.