2016 Year In Review: Video Games, Technology & Other Things Geeks Think About

(Hey, better late than never!)

It’s almost April and we’re still going with our insane geek awards, the Unicorn Poopies.  Doing the series has allowed us to look back at 2016 and identify some interesting trends.  As we approach 2017 Q2, we wonder if our favorite industries and companies are moving forward or just regurgitating what they’ve always done.  These thoughts apply to everything we geeks indulge in: technology, tabletop games, video games, digital media, television, movies, books, music, etc.

What I’ve enjoyed most about doing the Unicorn Poopies is that it has been a great catalyst for round table discussions and the exploration of future topics.  Now that Obi is focusing on Topover Star eSports, we’ve been able to use our award show as a way to introduce our new hosts: Beard_And_Hat, WarChildMKIV, and Tukah44.  We’ve rarely agreed on our picks, which has made it all the more interesting too!  Of course, with a ridiculous name like “Unicorn Poopies”, we’re clearly just trying to have fun and we hope you will join us on the fun!

Official 2016 Unicorn Poopies Geek Awards logo!

Official 2016 Unicorn Poopies Geek Awards logo – thanks, Beard_And_Hat – w00t!

The 2016 Unicorn Poopies have covered all aspects of geek culture but we have TONS of categories for video games.  We also have awards for film, TV, happenings, tech, anime, and more!  Starting around Episode 172 of HorsePLAY! LIVE (Thursday, March 30th 4am GMT / 11pm ET / 8pm PT), we’ll start wrapping up the series with non-gaming awards..  That is, if we can restrain ourselves from going off on long tangents (probably not happening).

Aren’t there enough video game and geeky awards already?

Sure, everyone seems to have their own awards platform but I promise no one has done it in a podcast format and stretched it over several months like we are doing.  Video game awards usually fall short because they consolidate categories with too much variety.  As a result, the winners are always the same: the big names or the artsy-fartsy stuff that’s thrown in for credibility, creating the illusion of fairness.

We’ve taken feedback from our community, collaborators, and favorite content to round things out.  I hope that, when you finish the series, you feel that we have presented the most diverse, entertaining award show.  It’s a series for the people, by the people.  It’s also a nice opportunity to show more love to things many have missed like some of our favorite and lesser-known indie games, Dungeon of the Endless, Enter the Gungeon, and Risk of Rain.

Dungeon Of The Endless - Greatest Of All Time?

An indie experience that blends our favorite genres and is exciting each and every time you play.  Easily one of the best values in gaming right now.

In this new award show format, the focus is more about deliberating on our picks.  For the most part, each category was a close race, though there were some clear winners.  You’ll note that, to qualify as a nominee, it had to be a thing that we enjoyed in 2016, but not necessarily a 2016 release.  This made things A LOT more interesting as many of us are still playing catch-up anyway.

This is going to be one doozy of an article so, if you just want to see the nominees and categories, skip to the end.  The stuff in between will highlight some of our favorite moments so far!

Overwatch character splash


Overwatch Is A MOBA And A Class-Based Shooter

Overwatch is indeed a MOBA or at least it competes in that space.  Whenever I say this, I get bombarded with arguments against my logic..  But this is my opinion so I’m entitled to it.  That said, I will explain further because I feel you deserve that much and I love you.

Originally, I was going to make this into a full-on article but we have a lot on our plates so I’m going to explain my logic here.  First, when I play Overwatch and the Hi-Rez clone, Paladins, I look at it as an alternative to Smite, Heroes Of The Storm, Gigantic, and the like.  As such, it feels very much like a MOBA even if it’s not classified as such.  For me, Overwatch scratches the same itch as a traditional MOBA.  Here are my counterpoints to every argument that I’ve gotten since I made this comment.

  • Developers and reviewers classify it as a first-person shooter.  Classification of things is more a marketing strategy than a true indicator of the core experience.  It’s a matter of positioning the product against the right competition and targeting the best market segment.  Before digital took over, music stores have always classified albums under different genres, mainly to see where they more units.  Would you consider Coolio gangster rap?  Probably not, yet that’s where he would fall under at times.  By the way, Riot Games calls League Of Legends an ARTS (Action Real Time Strategy) game yet we all know it’s a MOBA. #justsaiyan
  • There are no creeps.  I can safely say that most people who use this argument have not played many MOBAs and they’re likely using LoL as their benchmark.  Creeps are only a requirement in the MOBA variants referred to as line wars or footies, where pushing and hoard-style defense are the core mechanics.  While creeps and laning are associated with traditional MOBAs, not all MOBAs are line wars/footies nor do they require creeps.  In footies style of MOBAs, there are more RTS elements with the use of armies to help you push and control points but the core experience still revolves around hero combat.  In fact, in it’s simplest form, MOBAs simply strip away the minutia that make RTS games hard to play casually.
  • It’s more like Team Fortress 2 than anything else.  This is probably the most fair argument because, certainly, Team Fortress 2 is not a MOBA.  I’ve played a ton of TF2 and TFC.  With regards to art direction, the similarities are undeniable, but the gameplay doesn’t feel the same to me.  I feel that Team Fortress has always been more about the gun play.  There’s far less variety in TF2 as well.  Overwatch may attract the same kinds of gamers but I would not call it a clone, though the influences are certainly there.
  • Objective play is standard in shooters.  Now for a little history and background: MOBA stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena.  It evolved from RTS games as a way to focus on micro rather than macro.  Most will say Aeon Of Strife (1999) was the original but I would also consider games like Herzog Zwei and Total Annihilation as precursors.  The key is in hero battle with varying degrees of resource management and customization.  It is team-focused and objective-driven.  The objective play is evolving beyond the standard lane pushing stuff: domination, CTF, deathmatch, escort, and other modes are appearing in many MOBAs.  As such, using the objective play argument doesn’t work anymore as the types of objectives and modes no longer differentiate the genres.  Also, since MOBAs evolved from another genre, it makes sense that they will borrow from other genres as they evolve and come into their own.

Aeon Of Strife (1999) vs. DotA (2003), both of which were custom games within Blizzard engines.

  • Call Of Duty has abilities too.  Sure, you have superpowers and killstreaks in Call of Duty but is that the core experience?  No, it still comes down to the gunplay.  In Overwatch, effective use of your abilities is equally or more important than your shooting skills.  Also, MOBAs have a way of making you feel god-like when you use your superpowers and I don’t feel that CoD abilities are as epic, though they are certainly game changers.  From a game mechanics perspective, the core mechanics in CoD encourage you to camp and play selfishly to max streaks whereas Overwatch is more about fluid team dynamics, complimentary abilities/roles, and objective aggression.
  • The control scheme is more like a shooter.  Actually, this argument supports my opinion further.  If you look at most MOBAs, you typically have four to five abilities, including a super/ultimate.  The way Overwatch controls are laid out, it feels like Smite, Gigantic, League Of Legends, DotA 2, and just about any MOBA that is relevant.  In a pure shooter, whether it is first or third-person, the majority of controls are dedicated to the gunplay: ADS, reload, secondary fire, firing mode toggle, etc.  That is not the case in Overwatch.
  • Nope, it’s a shooter.  Last I checked, shooters are about ranged combat almost exclusively.  How, then, do you explain melee-based characters like Genji and Reinhardt?  This is where the arguments really fall apart.  Both MOBAs and shooters revolve around precision but Overwatch is about ability precision.  Headshots help but it’s more about positioning and using abilities the right way and time.

Ultimately, Overwatch attracts a different core audience than Call Of Duty, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, and other more tactical or action shooters.  I would say it is first a MOBA, and then a class-based team shooter.  Heck, I’d even call it an arena shooter, which puts it up against DOOM, Unreal Tournament, and Halo.  That said, it’s more than just an FPS and calling it a shooter sells it short.  Furthermore, the pacing is very different.  Typical shooters are forgiving if you are a lone wolf but, in Overwatch, you absolutely need to synergize with your team.

Think about it this way: right now, the MOBA and card game genres are on the rise.  There are tons of options: Gwent, Hearthstone, Shadow Era, Solforge, DotA 2, Awesomenauts, Battleborn, Strife, Paragon, Gigantic, Paladins, Smite, League Of Legends..  The list goes on, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.  I see this trend continuing for at least 5 more years because the demand is there and the offerings are highly profitable.  Oh yeah, Gwent..  The closed beta is live.  Check your spam folders and stuff – it’s AWESOME!

Gwent closed beta is now live - HURRAY 2017!

More Gwent beta invites are going out so check your spam folders and messages!

While MOBA and card games are on the rise, the shooter space is crowded and getting stale.  Would it be a smart business decision to position a product in a high-risk space or one that is showing consistent growth year after year?  From a marketing and gameplay experience, I stand by my statement: Overwatch is a new type of MOBA.  Trying to compete in a crowded space is not logical, unless perhaps you have brand power and a USP to push your offering.  It’d be like releasing an MMO today – you better have something very special if you’re going to do that!

Mind you, I am a game designer and developer with experience working on video games of different sizes.  My biggest passions revolve around game mechanics, design specs, UX, and the marketing of the end product.  I think about this stuff A LOT, even when working on non-gaming contracts.  I’m not saying that makes me right but, certainly, I have a different perspective than your average gamer or gaming journalist.  At the end of the day, opinions are subjective.  I think Nickelback makes some catchy music and doesn’t deserve all the ridicule.  I can objectively outline why I like their music, as much as it is bubblegum pop music, but it’s still an opinion, not fact.  On a more current note, I also think Iron Fist and Mass Effect: Andromeda are a lot better than people give them credit for.  People can disagree all they want and say I’m wrong but it’s effectively the same as saying, “No, blue is objectively a better color than green.”  There’s no right or wrong.



Is Steam Direct A Good Deal For The Indie Developers?

We’ve known for a while that Steam Greenlight was on it’s way out, but what Valve has put in it’s place seems like a raw deal for the real indie devs and small game studios out there.  Surely, Greenlight was being gamed but, without it, little-known games like Armada Online and Broforce (which hit #2 on Greenlight with 82000 votes at one point) may not have been discovered.  Since 2012, Steam Greenlight has been an excellent catalyst for game developers looking to get as many eyes as possible on their ideas.  The beauty of the system is that it forces businesses to do the things they normally cut corners on: community building, promotions/marketing, and customer service, for example.

Steam Greenlight is now Steam Direct.  Is this good for indie developers?

Steam Direct comes with the promise that it will create tighter quality standards and a greater barrier to entry.  I believe having community moderation is more effective than imposing a pay wall.  With crowdfunding options becoming more pervasive with things like GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, and VenMo, questionable businesses will still release low-quality games and rip-offs.  So, who really benefits here?  The simple answer: Valve.


Technology & Business Analysis: Amazon, Apple, Snapchat, Google, and More!

There’s been lots going on in the world of business, particularly in tech.  Let’s run through some of the headlines.  First, SnapChat shares are dropping rapidly after the IPO.  As a marketer and tech enthusiast, I am not surprised.  I feel it’s value has always been exaggerated.   Our fellows chime in that SnapChat has the same problems as Twitter and, really, it’s only useful for sexting.  Will it grow or die?

Word on the street is that Apple has 20B in cash laying around.  We make some predictions for what we feel they will do with that cash.  What are growth sectors they could tap into?  Perhaps, they’ll reinvent a seemingly dead industry?

  • Autonomous Cars – Integrating iTunes, Siri, and other proprietary technologies into their own brand of self-driving cars could make sense.  We saw in 2009 how the automobile industry is highly volatile but, if anyone is going to break in and make a splash, it’s Apple.  They can charge a premium because their brand loyalists will pay it.
  • Netflix Alternatives – I’d hate to say this but if Apple bought the rights to Firefly and created some exclusive content, they would give Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video a real run for their money.  They’ve done the hardware and platforms with Apple TV and iTunes.  All that is missing is the content and they can pay a premium for quality content.
  • Premium Appliances – The iPoop upscale toilet may be a joke but it’s not unthinkable that Apple will put out smart devices that replace just about every appliance in your home.  Apple fridges, coffee tables, toilets, microwaves, storage systems…  There’s opportunity there and they have the capital to make it happen.
  • Robotic Assistants – As soon as 2025, I believe we may see robotic assistants that will take over the roles of smartphones and lifestyle devices like Amazon Echo.  This makes sense since we saw the jump from PDAs to smartphones/tablets and there have been all sorts of advancements with learning machines and lifestyle devices.  Personal robots can tie together all of Apple’s technologies and offer concierge services at a premium.  They’d start off small, simple, and elegant to make it super profitable.  The money maker will likely be software and hardware upgrades.  Interchangeable parts and modular systems..  Apple only parts.  It’s gonna happen.

The last consideration is interesting because we see a trend in emerging technologies in the areas of smart technology and homes.  Simple things like lighting and sound systems are already moving in this direction.  Apple can easily jump in and gain market share.  Even if their market share is small, they’ll make a killing per unit sold.  Apple has become adept at SCM and maximizing profit margins, after all.  The danger here is that consumers are becoming too dependent on technology and Apple is adept at trapping people in their ecosystem.

Robots will one day do everything for us..  But do we really want or need that?

[ SOURCE: wnyc.org ]

Apple is not the only juggernaut making big moves.  IBM seems to be developing UStream (now IBM Cloud Video) further to compete with the ever-popular video streaming platforms.  Taking the cloud approach means they can support third-parties looking to tap into strong niches.  It’s a smart approach and will keep them relevant.

The other megacorporation that’s not Apple or Google is Amazon.  Amazon is finally showing their hand as they integrate direct sales channels on Twitch.  Amazon is following Apple’s lead by becoming self-sufficient and diversifying their offerings as much as possible.  That said, they’re more on the content and logistics side of things.  For Amazon, it’s about providing the highest quality at the lowest cost.  Apple is more about creating amazing stories and selling dreams.  Both companies seem to be bordering on oligarchy, which is a scary notion.

Amazon’s market dominance brings us back to the net neutrality debate.  Amazon controls distribution and content, which is alarming.  If they ever acquire their own network infrastructure like Comcast, they’d be unstoppable.  Where should the line be drawn?  Will Amazon be the company that leads us towards the inevitable robot apocalypse?

Amazon has robots up the wazoo.  It's great for customers but should we be worried?


Career Advice: Growth Industries, Handling Salary Questions.. And Boredom

We’ve been getting into a lot more IRL facets of geek culture recently, including even taboo topics revolving around politics, which we try to avoid to circumvent any butthurt.  With the US economy still in recovery mode, we’re exploring ways for all our friends and collaborators in the GANG to stay marketable, develop new skills, and find more fulfillment.  We tackle these questions and more:

  • What are growth industries and economy-proof sectors right now?
  • How do you handle salary questions?
  • Do you get bored easily?

The last one is particularly interesting because hiring managers and clients are looking for culture and personality fit above all.  They want to know you can align yourself with the company values or their personal principles.  Why?  So you can work well together.

Demotivational poster: boredom is the fear of lack of constant electronic stimulation.

This is funny and also very, very sad.. Most people today would implode without their electronics and digital media.

Do you get bored easily?  Beard_And_Hat admits that it’s a loaded question and likely a trap because, like most interview questions, it’s meant to make you sweat a little…  And maybe slip up.  We broke this question down into the following underlying themes:

  • Are you a self-starter or do you need to be supervised/micromanaged heavily?
  • What gives you a sense of purpose?
  • What drives you and keeps you motivated?
  • Do you take frequent breaks or focus on tasks at hand?
  • Do you have urgency and are you efficient?

This also leads us to another debate: should you oversell yourself?  I believe in “undersell and overdeliver” but it is important to wow potential clients and employers with every first impression opportunity you have.  If you’re considering a career shift or you need help finding your true calling, our insights on episodes 168 and onward may help.  You may also be interested in our networking, coaching, and writing services (rates are flexible) – we work with freelancers, content creators, and consultants all the time.  While we are by no means perfect, I can tell you that having outside help makes a big difference, especially for avoiding burnout factor.


The Ongoing Debate: What Makes Games Fun And Sticky?

One topic we keep coming back to is the ongoing debate about the inner workings of games.  There are several questions that all point ultimately to the same root issues:

  • What makes a game a game?
  • What makes a game good?
  • What drives fun and stickiness?
  • Do games need a good story to be good?

Naturally, these questions are well beyond the scope of what we can cover in this article but you should listen in and join the conversation.  These are certainly issues we wish to explore further, especially from the perspective of game theory, design, core mechanics, and gamification.

My simple answer is that games have to be fun.  Fun is a composite of things that are interesting, rewarding, and challenging.  The experience needs to be balanced so there is a flow; that is, the rewards scale with the challenge and time invested.

Gabe Zichermann, Gamification Co’s CEO and the world’s foremost authority on gamification, shares the same insights I do with regards to the heart of game design.  Namely, he has proven time and again that theme is separate from stickiness.  While theme may provide a strong hook and is part of the experience, it’s not what keeps us invested.  Just think about all the failed zombie survival games and how they’d either died or pivoted to stay competitive.  There needs to be something more than lore, looks, and lullabies.

I find these discussions fascinating and we’ve been in pre-production with a podcast that will tackle the questions few others get into.  Unfortunately, that’s on the backburner because we have tons of topics and guests lined up…  But finding reliable, passionate hosts is no short order.  For now, we’ll discuss on our existing podcasts, articles, and maybe future eBooks!

Everyone is a gamer because gamers are all around us!

[ SOURCE: greenbookblog.org ]

The 2016 Unicorn Poopie Nominees: Games, Movies, TV, Comics & More

Without further ado, below are our categories with the picks from our community and podcast hosts.  There’s no clear definitive winner so we’ll feature the one with the most consensus, more or less.  In each round, each host and guest picks their favorite.  You’ll see those picks in bold face.  For the sake of brevity, we’ve left out some of the nominees.

  • Best Team Shooter
    • Rainbow Six Siege, The Division, Overwatch, BF1
  • Best Action/Arena Shooter
    • DOOM, Call Of Duty, Halo 5, Titanfall 2, Gears 4, H1Z1 King Of The Kill
  • Best Overall Shooter
    • Rainbow Six Siege, The Division, DOOM, Overwatch, Titanfall 2, Gears 4, Battlefield 1
  • Best Cooperative/PvE Game
    • The Division, Dead Rising 4, Dead By Daylight, Don’t Starve Together, Terraria / Starbound, Ark, Dungeon Of The Endless
  • Best MOBA / ARTS
    • League Of Legends, Smite, Heroes Of The Storm, DotA 2, Battleborn, Paragon, Paladins, Strife, Overwatch
  • Best Art Direction / Most Creative
    • Overwatch, Star Wars Battlefront, Battlefield 1, Gears 4, The Division, Salt And Sanctuary, FFXV, Inside, Total War: Warhammer
  • Best Massive Game
    • Elder Scrolls Online, Neverwinter, Battlefield 1, World Of Tanks, The Division, Destiny, Warframe, Trove, World Of Warcraft, Defiance, Wildstar, Blade & Soul dont worry about that one. Not better than these
  • Best Dungeon Crawler
    • Dungeon Of The Endless, Grim Dawn, The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing, Dungeon Land, Torchlight II, Enter The Gungeon, Binding Of Isaac Rebirth
  • Best Sports / Racing Game
    • Rocket League, Forza Horizon III, NBA 2K17, WWE 2K17, Madden 17, NHL 17, The Crew
  • Best Horror Game
    • Dead By Daylight, Outlast, Layers Of Fear, Five Nights At Freddy 4, Dead Rising 4, Alien Isolation, Resident Evil Demo, No Man’s Sky
  • Best Fighting Game
    • Street Fighter V, Killer Instinct, Brawlhalla, Jetpack Fighter, Guilty Gear Revelator, Dead Or Alive Final Round, Mortal Kombat Komplete/XL, Lethal League, Dive Kick
  • Best Singleplayer Experience Of 2016
    • Final Fantasy XV, Dead Rising 4, Titanfall 2, Gears Of War 4, Ratchet & Clank, Dark Souls III, DOOM
  • Best Multiplayer Experience Of 2016
    • Siege, Titanfall 2, Smite, Overwatch, Dead Rising 4, Mario Maker
  • Most Surprising Or Shocking Game
    • Titanfall 2, Overwatch, Gears Of War 4, ReCore, Life Is Strange, Hitman, That Dragon Cancer, Battlefield 1, Rust, The Last Guardian
  • Most Shit Your Pants Game
    • DOOM***, Siege, Outlast, Layers Of Fear, Amnesia/Soma, Dead By Daylight, 7 Days To Die, Don’t Starve, Gears 4
  • Most Immersive Game
    • Skyrim Special Edition, The Elder Scrolls Online, The Division, Trove, GTA V, Siege, Watch Dogs 2, Astroneer, Stardew Valley, Farming Simulator, Starbound
  • Most Therapeutic Game
    • Farming Simulator, Pinball FX2, Stardew Valley, Starbound, Minecraft, Astroneer, Gems Of War, Justice Monsters V, Marvel PuzzleQuest, Shadow Era, Crypt Of The Necrodancer
  • Best In-Game Events Or Holiday Themed Game
    • Smite, League Of Legends, Fantasica, Overwatch, Hearthstone**, Heroes Of The Storm, World Of Tanks, DotA 2, Dead Rising 4, Rocket League
  • Best Sub-Game Or Game Mode
    • Siege Terrorist Hunt, Starcraft Arcade, Smite Arena, The Division Survival/Underground, Call Of Duty Zombies, Gears Of War 4 Horde, Dead Rising 4 Multiplayer, Sunset Overdrive Chaos Squad, DOOM Turbo Turkey Puncher
  • Best Arcade Experience At Home
    • Guardian Heroes (X360), Pinball FX2, FFXV Pinball (Justice Monsters Five)
  • Best UGC / Mod Community In Non-Sandbox Game
    • Starcraft II/Warcraft III, Speedrunners, World Of Warcraft, Skyrim, Happy Wheels, DOOM, Farming Simulator
  • Most Disappointing Game (a.k.a. Wasted Potential)
    • Destiny, Infinite Warfare, That Dragon Cancer, Mighty No 9, ReCore, The Final Station, No Man’s Sky, The Division, Ark
  • Most Tempting Game (Already Released)
    • Final Fantasy XV, Dead Rising 4, X-Com 2, Dishonored 2, Watch Dogs 2, Halo 5, Grim Dawn, Golf With Your Friends, DOOM
  • Most Exciting, Unique And/Or Fun Concept
    • No Man’s Sky, ReCore, Rocket League, Ark Survival, Astroneer, Dead By Daylight, 7 Days To Die, The Division, Gang Beasts, WWE 2K17
  • Best Promo Or “Limited Freebie” Game (i.e. Games With Gold)
    • Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing, Just Cause 2, Earthlock, The Crew, Dungeon Keeper, Unraveled, Rocket League, Guacamelee, Rogue Legacy, X-Com
  • Best Compilation Or Serialized/Episodic Game
    • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, Hitman, Life Is Strange, The Orange Box, Megaman Collection/Legacy, Mass Effect Trilogy, Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis/Megadrive Collection, Medal Of Honor
  • Game With The Most Potential (Still)
    • Rust, Trove, Ark, The Division, 20XX, War For The Overworld, Scalebound (sad trombone), Panzer Dragoon Saga, Pamela, Astroneer, Destiny
  • Game We Might Really Miss.. One Day
    • Mighty Quest For Epic Loot, Fable Legends, Defiance, Dawngate, Starcraft [3], Tribes Ascend, Scalebound, Mag, Battleborn, Def Jam, Terraria / Starbound
  • Most Anticipated Game
    • Scalebound, Ghost Recon Wildlands, Mass Effect Andromeda, Kingdom Hearts 3, Final Fantasy VII, Halo Wars 2, Red Dead Redemption 2, Breath Of The Wild, Persona 5, Horizon: Zero Dawn, For Honor, Crackdown 3, Sea Of Thieves
  • Most Underrated Game
    • Titanfall 2, Rainbow Six: Siege, Battleborn, Scalebound, ReCore, Elder Scrolls Online, Halo 5, Owlboy, Watch Dogs 2
  • Most Overrated Game
    • Infinite Warfare, Life Is Strange, Firewatch, Minecraft, Telltale Anything
  • Most Controversial Game
    • Overwatch***, Hatred, Shower With Your Dad Simulator, No Man’s Sky, Hunie Pop, Edgy Teenager, Smite, DOOM Hentai Mod, Pokemon Go
  • Most Weird Game
    • Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015**, The Jack Box Vol 1/2/3, Ben’s Sausage Roll, Adventure Capitalist, My Singing Monsters, No Rules D&D, Sims 4
  • Most Engaging Story
    • Titanfall 2, Gears Of War 4, ReCore, Final Fantasy XV, Firewatch, The Beginner’s Guide
  • Most Impactful Game
    • Titanfall 2, Gears Of War 4, That Dragon Cancer, Overwatch**, Firewatch, No Man’s Sky, DOOM
  • Best Community & Fanfare
    • The Division, Smite/HRX, Overwatch, Destiny, League Of Legends, CoD Zombies
  • Best Sequel Or Remake (NOT Remastered)
    • DOOM**, Titanfall 2, Dead Rising 4, Halo 5, Watch Dogs 2, Dishonored 2, Dark Souls III, Final Fantasy XV
  • Best Sandbox Game
    • Astroneer, GTA V, Ark, Garry’s Mod, Minecraft, Stardew Valley, Starbound, Rust, Arma III, Farming Simulator
  • Best Survival Game
    • Dead By Daylight, Ark, Astroneer, 7 Days To Die, Rust, The Division, H1Z1, Day-Z, Don’t Starve Together
  • Best Recycled Crap (Remastered)
    • Sleeping Dogs Definitive, Skyrim Special Edition, Borderlands Handsome Collection, kingdom hearts II.8
  • Best Free-To-Play Game
    • Smite, Lies Of Astaroth, Warframe, Hearthstone, Magic Origins, SolForge, Neverwinter, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, World Of Tanks, World Of Warships
  • Best Early Access/Beta/Alpha Game
    • Smite, Halo Wars 2, For Honor, Astroneer, Smite Tactics, Elder Scrolls Legends, Ark, Gigantic
  • Best Budget Game
    • ReCore, The Witness, Firewatch, Axiom Verge, Rocket League, Mighty No. 9, YuGiOh! Legacy of the Duelist, enter the gungeon**, hyper light drifter, NBA 2K16
  • Best Virtual Economy
    • Rainbow Six Siege, Smite, GTA V**, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes Of The Storm, Marvel Puzzlequest, Gems Of War, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links
  • Best Time Killer
    • Stardew Valley, Minecraft, Astroneer, Lies Of Astaroth, Fantasica, Clicker Heroes, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, Farming Simulator
  • The “Critical Darling” Everyone Missed
    • ReCore, DOOM, Titanfall 2, Dishonored 2, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Quantum Break, X-Com 2
  • Best Mobile Game: New-ish Release
    • Lies Of Astaroth, Super Mario Run, Fallout Shelter, Pokemon Go**, Mii Tomo, Gems Of War, King Of Thieves, Sonic Dash 2, Jetpack Fighter, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links
  • Best Mobile Game: Companion App
    • Battlefront Companion, Smite, Club Ubisoft, XBox Smartglass, Destiny Companion, Discord**
  • Best Mobile Game: Overall
    • Critica The White Knights, Downwell, Fantasica, Gems Of War, King Of Thieves, Sonic Dash 2, Shadow Era, Hearthstone, Jetpack Fighter, Marvel Puzzle Quest, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links  fuck you yogi 00===D,
      Delta (emulator for ios) , Two Dots
  • Best TCG/CCG
    • Hearthstone***, Magic Origins, Shadow Era, Bad Blood,  Solforge, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links
  • Best Console Port
    • Axiom Verge, Lies Of Astaroth, Rocket League, Speedrunners, Gems Of War, Magic Origins, Ark
  • Best Rogue-Like/Rogue Lite
    • Dungeon Of The Endless, Risk Of Rain, Rogue Legacy, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Enter The Gungeon
  • Best Palette Cleanser (Games That Play Fast And/Or Save)
    • Speedrunners, Crypt Of The Necrodancer, Dungeon Of The Endless, Coin Crypt, Card City Nights, Spelunky, Starbound, Astroneer, Downwell, Bloodbourne
  • Best GaaP (Game As A Platform)
    • Overwatch, Smite, Rainbow Six Siege, Destiny, Killer Instinct, Garry’s Mod, Starcraft II, GTA V/Online, World Of Tanks, The Division
  • Best Social Game (Tabletop/Digital)
    • Munchkin, Imaginif, What’s Yours Like, The Jack Box, Cards Against Humanity
  • Best Overall Tabletop Game
    • Fluxx, Are You The Werewolf?, Castle Panic, Zombie Dice, Pandemic, DOOM, Dark Souls, Catan, Zombies
  • Best New-ish Family Game (Digital Or Tabletop)
    • Zombie Dice, Catan Junior, Get Bit, Pokemon [GO]
  • Best Classic Family Game
    • Monopoly, Yahtzee, Dominoes, Guess Who?, Battleship, Uno, Stratego, Bingo
  • Best Expansion Or DLC
    • The Division: Survival, Operation Red Crow (Siege), Operation Skull Rain (Siege), Operation Dust Line, Killer Instinct Season 3, Dungeon Of The Endless Deep Freeze, Witcher III Blood & Wine, Dark Souls III, TESO Wrothgar, Destiny: Rise Of Iron
  • Best Female Lead, Community Fave And/Or Mascot
    • Vick Chu (DR4), Tracer (OW), Widowmaker (OW)**, Neith (Smite), Aphrodite (Smite), Max (LiS), Chloe (LiS), Kait (GoW4), Ash (Siege), Nova (HotS), Lara Croft (RotTR)
  • Best Male Lead, Community Fave And/Or Mascot
    • Winston (OW), Junkrat (OW), Marcus Fenix (GoW4), Frank West (DR4), Zeus (Smite), Thor (Smite), Thermite (Siege), Raynor (HotS / Starcraft II)
  • Best Non-Human Or Undead Character
    • BT (TF2), Winston (OW), Fenrir (Smite), Izanami (Smite), Zagara (HotS), Diablo (HotS), Alexis, Siri, Cortana , Gray Rat (Dark Souls III)
  • Best LOL Moments In Gaming
    • Dead Rising 4, Titanfall 2**, Gears Of War 4, The Jack Box, MGS5, Dark Souls III
  • Oldie But Goodie
    • Streets Of Rage Series, DOOM Series, X-Com, Dark Souls, Risk Of Rain, FTL: Faster Than Light, Guardian Heroes, Terraria, Shadowrun Returns, War For The Overworld, Gunstar Heroes, World Of Goo
  • Most Evolved / Improved Game
    • Siege**, Overwatch, Smite, The Division, Destiny, Evolve, League Of Legends, GTA V, ESO, Battlefield 4
  • Best RTS / Tactics / Strategy Game
    • Satellite Reign, Civ, X-Com 2, Banner Saga 2, Blood Bowl, Smite Tactics, Battlefront Companion, Duelyst, Faeria, Starcraft, War For The Overworld, Skulls Of The Shogun, Gems Of War
  • THE One Game That Actually Need To Be Revisited
    • Panzer Dragoon Saga, Culdcept Saga, Power Stone, Guardian Heroes, Guardians Of Middle Earth, Lost Kingdoms, Illbleed, Secret Of Lodoss War, Dawngate, Siphon Filter: Omega Strain, Final Fantasy Tactics, Dragon Force, Jade Cocoon, Legend Of Dragoon
  • Best Big Developer/Publisher Of 2016
    • EA, Ubisoft, Activision/Blizzard, Microsoft Studios, Square-Enix, Capcom, Epic Games (Lawbreakers / Unreal Engine)
  • Best Mid-Tier Game Studio
    • Riot Games (LoL), Hi-Rez Studios (Smite), Playdead (Inside), Armature + Comcept (ReCore), Giant Software (Farming Simulator / Giant Engine)**, War Gaming
  • Best Indie Game Developer
    • Chucklefish (Stardew Valley), Cellar Door Games (Rogue Legacy), Amplitude Studios (Dungeon Of The Endless), Redhook (Darkest Dungeon), Ronimo Games (Awesomenauts), Brace Yourself Games (Crypt Of The Necrodancer), Thomas Happ Games (Axiom Verge), Thelka / Jonathon Blow (The Witness / Braid), Zeboyd Games (CSH), Motiga (Gigantic), Psyonix (Rocket League), Devolver Digital (Enter The Gungeon / Bro Force), Tiny Build (Speedrunners), Tribute Games (Mercenary Kings)
  • Best Indie Game
    • Brawlhalla, Overcooked, Downwell, Speedrunners, Hyper Light Drifter [ http://www.heart-machine.com/ ], Axiom Verge, Dungeon Of The Endless, Risk Of Rain, Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes, Inside, The Witness, Cosmic Star Heroine?, Cobalt?, Gigantic, Lovers In Dangerous Spacetime, Awesomenauts, Layers Of Fear, Enter The Gungeon**
  • Best Indie Adventure Game
    • Valdis Story: Abyssal City, Dust: An Elysian Tale, Hammerwatch, Inside, Elliot’s Quest, 8-Bit Doom, Terraria, Castle Crashers
  • Best Retro-Style/Nostalgic Game
    • Wanderlust: Rebirth, Risk Of Rain, Monaco, Hammerwatch, 20XX, Minecraft, Valdis Story: Abyssal City, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Terraria, 8-Bit Doom
  • Most Overlooked Indie Game
    • Faeria, Heavy Bullets, La Mulana, War For The Overworld, Duelyst, Wanderlust: Rebirth, FTL, Risk Of Rain, Dungeonland, Valdis Story: Abyssal City**, Hammerwatch, 8-Bit Doom
  • Hands-Down Overall GOTY (Game Of The Year 2016)
    • Rainbow Six Siege, The Division, DOOM, Overwatch, X-Com 2, FFXV**, The Last Guardian, Pokemon Sun/Moon, Titanfall 2, Enter the Gungeon, Stardew Valley, Salt and Sanctuary
  • Best Music Anywhere
    • Rush Coil “8 Bit Christmas”, Battlefront, Doom, Dead Rising 4
  • Best Sci-Fi Show
    • The Killjoys, Dark Matter, Timeless, Expanse, Agents Of SHIELD, 12 Monkeys, The Librarians, ZNation, Black Mirror
  • Best Fantasy Show
    • Lost Girl, Supernatural, The Librarians, The Flash, Arrow, Agents Of SHIELD, Lucifer, Van Helsing, The Magicians
  • Best Comic Show
    • The Flash, Arrow, Agents Of SHIELD, Legends Of Tomorrow, Supergirl
  • Best Long-Running Series (Current)
    • One Piece, Naruto, The Simpsons, Supernatural
  • Best Returning Series (Limited Run Or Not)
    • 24, Futurama, Liquid TV, Arrested Development
  • Best Animated Series (Current)
    • Rick & Morty, Harmonquest, Archer, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Adventure Time
  • Best Anime For Newbs
    • Death Note, Tokyo Ghoul, Soul Eater, Blue Exorcist, Tiger & Bunny, Fate/Zero
  • Most Awesome Anime
    • Campione!, High School DXD, Beezelbub, Re:Zero, World Trigger, Seven Deadly Sins, 11 Eyes, Persona
  • Most Ridiculous Anime
    • Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Beelzebub, High School DXD, School Rumble, Persona
  • Most Emotional Anime
    • Fate Series, Death Note, Re:Zero, Tiger & Bunny, Neon  Genesis Evangelion, Tokyo Ghoul
  • Most Anticipated Anime
    • World Trigger, Sword Art Online, Attack On Titan, Berserk, Soul Eater, Seven Deadly Sins
  • Best Classic Anime
    • Neon Evangelion, Princess Mononoke, Gundam, Akira, Ninja Scroll, Fist Of The North Star
  • Best Anime OVA/Movie (Recent-ish)
    • High School DXD, Petra Inverted, Neon Evangelion
  • Best Long-Running Anime Series
    • Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, JoJo, Queen’s Blade, Berserk
  • Best Comedy
    • Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, New Girl, Superstore, ZNation
  • Biggest Guilty Pleasure
    • 2 Broke Girls, New Girl, Fresh Off The Boat, Black’s, High School DXD
  • Show/Series We Wish Would Come Back
  • World Trigger, Firefly, Campione!
  • Best Drama
    • Designated Survivor, This American Life, Serial, We’re Alive, Halt & Catch Fire, Mr. Robot, Unfortunate Events
  • Techie’s Wet Dream
    • Mr. Robot, Halt & Catch Fire, Ex Machina, Agents Of SHIELD, Arrow, The Flash, Watch Dogs 2, Technomancer, Shadowrun Returns
  • Most Surprising/Shocking Show
    • Mr. Robot, The Walking Dead, Designated Survivor, Agents Of SHIELD, Arrow, The Flash
  • Best Radio Drama
    • We’re Alive: Lockdown, NoSleep Podcast, Ron’s Amazing Stories, Serial, This American Life
  • Best Gaming Podcast
    • The B-Team Podcast, CAGcast, Gaming History 101
  • Best GeekyAntics Show
    • GamingDeath, Ghostman & Demon Hunter, NSFWrestling, WRS
  • Best Informative Podcast
    • Gaming Careers, Ludology, The Dice Tower, This American Life
  • Best Non-Mainstream Podcast
  • The B-Team Podcast, Gaming History 101, 42 Level 1, Dead Pixel Live PR, Cat & Fox, pointless podcast
  • Best New(ish) Movie
    • Suicide Squad, Batman V Superman, Sinister 2, The Accountant, Ex Machina
  • Best Internet Meme
    • Who Wore It Better, Chuck E Cheese Challenge, Mannequin Challenge, Dank Memes
  • Best Mostly Unnecessary Gadget
    • Nintendo 3DS, Samsung Gear, Apple Watch, Amazon Dot, Amazon Tap, Galaxy Tab, Nvidia Shield, Nest
  • Most Annoying Internet Trend
    • Black Lives Matter, GamerGate, Bad Grammar, “It Is What It Is”, Dank Everything, Alt-Right, Trump in general, SJWs
  • Most Annoying Gaming Trend
    • Mic Abuse (i.e. Breathing/Singing Into Their Mics), No Mic, Contrarian Trolling, HD Remastered Games, Virtual Reality
  • Cutest Couple In The GANG
    • Dutch & MsDutch, HeadshotPro & HeadshotGoddess, WarChild & WifeChild, Tukah & MsTukah, Chris & Dawn
  • The GOAT
    • Panzer Dragoon Saga, Shenmue, Guardian Heroes, Lost Kingdoms, X-Com, Mass Effect 2

If we missed anything, leave a voicemail or text at 646-801-2149, tweet @GeekyAntics, or e-mail us!


Hello, my name is Yomar but friends call me Yogi!I am the founder of GANG.My goal is to help the little geeks create a voice for themselves and grow their audience without the usual exclusivity and snobbery found in the world, both offline and online.My background is in IT, marketing, writing, and game design.I'm excited to put my diverse skill sets to some good use and help others!

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About Yogizilla

Hello, my name is Yomar but friends call me Yogi! I am the founder of GANG. My goal is to help the little geeks create a voice for themselves and grow their audience without the usual exclusivity and snobbery found in the world, both offline and online. My background is in IT, marketing, writing, and game design. I'm excited to put my diverse skill sets to some good use and help others!


  1. Just heard about the Batgirl movie and guess who is on the project? Joss Whedon! If you don’t know who that is, well, he’s been involved in geek favorites such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV), Firefly (sad face), and a bunch of Marvel stuff since then. He’s had some less-strong stuff like Dollhouse and Angel but, overall, I trust in his creative direction.. And I’m also big on Batgirl so bring it!

    What do you guys think? =oD

    P.S. We ended up doing EP172 of HorsePLAY! LIVE on Friday, March 31st. It’s now up on TuneIn Radio, PlayerFM, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, and more. Give it a listen and please review?


  2. The thing about MOBA games mentioned above (LoL, DoTA 2, Overwatch, etc.) is the toxicity of those games and it can’t be avoided.

    • That’s true but I think some are worse than others.

      I’ve found that Heroes of the Storm is the least toxic because it focuses on teamwork… Overwatch, if you consider it a MOBA, is also pretty chillax because it’s more fast-paced and voice chat isn’t really used (though it’s hidden in there).

      League of Legends is the worst because the gameplay has become so stringent that anyone who deviates from the meta and accepted style of play gets slammed. Players on LoL tend to all think they are better than they really are so they pass the buck. It’s a really bad system and a lot of it is by design.

      Smite on console is refreshingly chill but you get trolls every now and then that will PM you. On PC, it’s arguably more toxic because of how strong elitism is in the PC gaming scene. I suppose it’s all relative but there’s no doubt that LoL is one of the worst.

      Perhaps the simple truth is that competitive games bring out the worst in people because most players are sore losers. No one complains when they win but, when they lose, it’s everyone’s fault but their own (in their minds, at least). I think Blizzard is one of the few companies that has really looked at the mechanics that feed this sort of behavior and addressed the things that make for a more team-focused experience.

      What do you think?

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