Because all the other lists are wrong.
2015 was a special year for me. I started writing for Nintendo World Report and went back to school after a decade of working out the finances. I found a huge local Nintendo group. I got to know 2015’s Nintendo Retail Rep of the Year winner. (Congrats Pepper!) Even though I was super busy, I found the time to play some amazing games in 2015 that will help define this year in my life. Instead of focusing on why these games are well-made, I’m looking at what makes these games so special to me.
?. Xenoblade Chronicles X
I preordered the original Xenoblade Chronicles when it was still called Monado. I spent years telling friends and family that I couldn’t spent time with them because I needed to go home and “unlock the secrets of the Monado.” Xenoblade Chronicles X even coming out in North America without a fight makes me damn happy. I preordered the special edition as soon as possible, but it came out so close to Christmas.
I told anyone that would listen that the only thing I wanted for Christmas was for someone to go to the mall by my house on December 4th and pick it up for me. I had the money. I could’ve picked it up, but I waited. Weeks later, I even ran into another special edition in the wild, but I left it alone. On Christmas, I ended up getting my copy of the game, meaning that someone loves me enough to follow a bizarre and specific series of instructions in order to get me a Christmas gift. I don’t know what to do with this power, but I must try to use it for good.
I’m only fifteen hours into the game, and I have no idea what’s going on. I do know Xenoblade Chronicles X belongs somewhere on this list, though, so I gave it a question mark.
9. Pokémon Rumble World
I’m not exactly thrilled that Pokémon is coming out with so many free-to-play games, but I am thrilled that the Pokémon Rumble mechanics are still being revisited. The 3DS’s Rumble Blast is my favorite, but Rumble World got everyone to try one of my favorite game series. I’ve spent a good chunk of my life in the world of toy Pokémon collecting and battling the cute little things, so I’m glad that a free-to-play entry was able to throw the series into the public discussion for a while.
8. Affordable Space Adventures
I played Affordable Space Adventures with my younger sister, a filthy casual, and we had a blast. She was in charge of steering, and I was in charge of all the knobs. I also broke the game out at a birthday party for a filthy hardcore gamer. Even though the game maxes out at three controllers, it’s all about communication, so I was able to play as a fourth player just by yelling at my friends. Some of the later puzzles got too hard and time consuming as we got tired, but this game gave me memories that I will forever cherish.
7. Yoshi’s Woolly World
Yoshi has a similar story to ASA above. I was able to play and replay these levels with a huge range of players. Instead of immediately replaying each level to look for collectibles, I’d wait until a different friend came over and make them search with fresh eyes. The game is fun, even if it isn’t amazing, but I’ll remember all the time I spent with it. It also sold me on three expensive “cat toy amiibo.”
6. LBX: Little Battlers eXperience
The Mega Man Battle Network games were about friendship, computers, and netbattling! I absolutely ate those games up as a kid. While the DS successors captured some of that feeling, the new premise was boring and the story was too predictable. Now, LBX has come to bring me back to my childhood. LBX nails the story of a kid and his toy saving the world, knowing when to be campy and when to be serious. The actual combat mechanics are deep enough to satisfy me, especially after I convinced a buddy of mine to pick up the game. I haven’t been this excited for an inevitable sequel since playing Mega Man Battle Network 3.
I was not excited for Splatoon when it was announced. I thought it looked like something designed by a Japanese focus group for American teens. Its focus on online and competitive spirit were not my style. Still, like a good Nintendo fan, I picked it up at launch anyway. I don’t know how I got so addicted. Before long, I was splatting fools left and right, covering the world in my colored ink. I ended up buying three copies of the game for my bros. A fourth joined us shortly afterward. The online scene got a lot better a lot faster than us, and my squad kind of fell apart. Still, I’ll always remember the late nights we had together.
4. Super Mario Maker
How did this get on this list? This game taught me that YOU’RE ALL MONSTERS and I hate you. How could you make such a difficult Mario level? Did I do something wrong? I thought my levels were fun and innocent, and you respond with this Mario-themed death trap? I spent TWO HOURS trying to beat your damn maze of Hammer Bros. There wasn’t even a mushroom in the level. At least I had a reason to use my amiibo.
Octodad taught me a ton about my own dad. I realized that we all just sort of fake adulthood for a while until it seems normal. I don’t know why anyone lets me write for them or be on their podcast or drive a car or own pets, but I pretend that these are things that I should totally be allowed to do. Octodad taught me that we all do that. Octodad doesn’t know how to be a person or a dad, but it’s okay because he’s doing a great job anyway. Nobody suspects a thing.
2. Majora’s Mask 3D
In November of 2000, I got the Majora’s Mask strategy guide. I didn’t end up getting the game itself until Christmas. Still, I read the entire guide cover to cover more than once. When I finally got the game, I lived in that world. The Clock Town theme is stuck forever in my head. I know the game’s residents better than I know myself. I remind myself that it always rains on the second day whenever I plan three days of anything. However, I was young, and I never beat the Stone Temple. With this remake, I was able to power through it. The portable version was my constant companion through my first semester as a returning college student. I got every mask and heart piece and was even able to beat my childhood enemy, the Stone Temple. I decided to face Majora for my first time with just my regular transformation masks, leaving the Fierce Deity mask I had worked so hard to obtain unequipped. I cried. Finally watching that end cutscene after more than a decade of growing up broke something inside of me. I faced my childhood and defeated it. Maybe I really am an adult now.
1. Amiibo Hunting
I’m kidding, I’m totally not an adult! I spent a lot of this year writing, working, making videos, and doing homework, but I would drop anything if I heard rumors about an Amiibo. I had decided against buying Amiibo, telling myself that if I left my good job that I hated to go back to school, I wasn’t allowed to buy any. Then, my beautiful family somehow tracked down ten of the rarest Amiibo for Christmas. It. Was. On.
I spent nights outside of Toys ‘R’ Us based on rumored restocks. I called far away GameStops and pretended to work at other locations to have rare Amiibo shipped in. I wrote my first college paper about Amiibo scalpers and got an A. I was on Amazon when Esteban told me to be, skipping class to follow the word of r/amiibo’s false prophet. It all came crumbling down when Greninja went up on Toys ‘R’ Us’s website.
The toy was rumored to go up at 7 AM Eastern. Not wanting to miss it, I decided to stay up all night. I passed the time by making an awful music video to a song off the Pokemon 2BA Master album. A friend texted me.
“Dude, Greninja’s up.”
Greninja went up at 12 AM Pacific instead. I rushed to the site, but I had missed it. He was gone. The second half of the music video is just me crying in front of my computer in the middle of the night. I cursed Nintendo, and was ready to throw everything I had away. It wasn’t fun anymore. I looked at all my games and crap I’d bought over the years and realized that I hated it all. Nintendo botched the Amiibo supply, and I took it personally. There was still hope, though.
A rumor surfaced that on April 27th, Toys ‘R’ Us would have a limited number of preorders available. I showed up before close on April 26th. I talked my best friend into joining me a few hours later, and we waited. My much smarter friend only has three Amiibo, so I’m not sure how I got him to come, but I’m glad he did. Almost seven hours after I arrived, a little red car pulled up. He asked if we were waiting for Amiibo. This guy’s name is Cale, and he’s one of my best friends now. I made two more friends, Matt and Kelsey, about a month later outside of Target. These aren’t just Facebook or Twitter friends, these are people I spend holidays with. I wore a shirt with Cale’s face on it to Cale’s ugly sweater party. Kelsey and Matt had me over for a mini-Christmas where she let me ride her Mega Yarn Yoshi Amiibo.
Even though Amiibo Hunting isn’t a video game, the thrill and excitement of camping out, making new friends, and feeling like you’re part of a community will stay with me forever. I have new people in my life that I never would have met otherwise, and I have like sixty little figures!