Games

Making Our Game of the Year List in Real-Time: Part One

Naturally, there's no better place to start than by talking about 'Kingdom Hearts III.'

by Patrick Klepek
Dec 25 2019, 3:00pm

Image courtesy of Square Enix

Through the rest of December and into early January, we're going into hibernation. But every day, we'll have a new podcast for you to listen to, and sometimes, an article to read. You can keep track of everything we're talking about to look back on the past year (and decade) right here.

One of the podcast ideas we had for the end of the year was “game of the year,” but since Waypoint had approached the concept differently each year, there’s always room to improvise. When I walked into the office a few hours before we were due to start podcasting, Cado asked me what the plan was, and I stared forward with a blank look. “Um, make it up?”

I was serious, too. The idea was simple: get into a room as a group and talk through our game of the year lists, our individual top 10 lists, in real-time. We didn’t have to come to a conclusion the list in the moment because these podcasts are being recorded weeks before our actual lists need to be published, but it felt like a good way to come up with a rough draft.

So that’s what we did!

Every year, I keep a note on my phone featuring every game I spent meaningful time with, listed in chronological order. That gave us a good foundation on how to start talking through the year that was 2019, with the rest of the group throwing out other suggestions along the way.

One of the early games we talked about was, of course, Kingdom Hearts III. Besides being the foundation for one of the best things we did all year, Lore Reasons, Kingdom Hearts III is a game we have so many opinions about. What does it mean to call it one of your favorites, even if you didn’t enjoy playing it? Can you put it on a list if you watched only the cutscenes?

Austin: What else did a lot of us play this year?

Patrick: Kingdom Hearts III.

Cado: [cackles]

Austin: It’s on my list but not high for me because I didn’t play it, but it was important.

Patrick: If it ends up on my list, it will be because not because I enjoyed the game. I think the game was mostly trash. But what I enjoyed—

Cado: What difficulty did you play on???

Patrick: It was trash regardless. It would end up on there because of Lore Reasons. Because the journey of—I think we admitted during that podcast, who has not taken a potshot at the Kingdom Hearts community in the same way you take potshots at anime fans because they get overly protective of it and then get mad and that's funny. That's shitty! And I still think it's worth doing now, now that I understand Kingdom Hearts. You don't have to be so sensitive about it.

Rob: Patrick to Kingdom Hearts community: Why are you so sensitive? [laughs] I’m just poking fun!

Patrick: It’s fun to understand why people love a thing. I don’t like Kingdom Hearts but I understand why people love it, and that’s fucking cool, because you don’t necessarily [always] get a chance to get into something so dense. Now, I can look back and I one-hundred percent get why people are—

Austin: I get why people lost their fucking shit when Aqua showed up with yellow eyes in that trailer.

Patrick: Yes, one-hundred percent. It’s cool to know that. I’ve forgotten ninety-nine percent of the details at this point, but I know enough of the broad strokes.

Austin: I couldn’t name any of the…

Patrick: The, uh…

Austin: What are they even called? The evil…?

Patrick: The dark...brotherhood.

Cado: Excuse me? Organization XIII?

Rob: Nobody passed their mark of mastery exam.

Austin: Except Natalie—shoutouts to Natalie. Anyway, Cado, you are the Kingdom Hearts fan here.

Cado: Eh, well.

Rob: WhoooaaaaoaoAOAOAoaoaoaOAoaoaoao.

Cado: Here’s the thing. I enjoyed like the first two of those games when I was smaller. And then I dropped off.

Patrick: The Pokemon stan says: “Kingdom Hearts is for children.”

Rob: Cado has put away childish things.

Cado: LOOK, LOOK, LOOK!!! Because they like went to other handhelds and [I] never picked back up until we started doing Lore Reasons, and then I started to go back through all the old stuff. I was like “oh, wow, I remember enjoying these games,” but I don't put myself in the same category as the people who freaked out when they saw that happen with the yellow eyes. I didn't have that same history with it.

Austin: That shit doesn’t even happen in one or two, right?

Cado: No, so that's the thing, right? One and two—the story hasn't started yet. It's quick starts halfway through two.

Patrick: They’re pretty straightforward stories, all told. The convoluted lore is on the margins.

Cado: They're straightforward in what you're doing, but there's a lot of shit. The reason the Lore gets so complicated is because none of it actually made that much sense. Why? Whomst? And then they started filling all that shit in all the other games and that's why you get the fucking web.

Patrick: Nomura’s like, “I should probably start figuring out what all this does.”

Cado: So, like…I… [long pause]

Austin: Is it on your list?

Cado: I don’t know! I have to count.

Rob: Then I think we know.


This excerpt was edited for clarity and length.

Discussed: Resident Evil 2 5:06, Outer Wilds 16:47, Kingdom Hearts III 33:06, Anthem 36:58, Greedfall 45:40, The Waypoint Tech Corner 51:42, Sekirio: Shadows Die Twice 1:01:25, Metro Exodus 1:19:, Ace Combat 7 1:23:09, Apex Legends 1:24:00, Slay the Spire 1:27:47, Eliza 1:28:56, Telling Lies 1:45:29

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