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The Essential Video Games of 2012

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#20 Hotline Miami

#19 Hotline Miami

So you want to join the conversation about violence in video games?  Ok, but before you do, you should definitely play Hotline Miami, because these guys are going to eff your head up and you’re going to have a good time in the process.

The game looks and plays like something straight out of the 80’s, but tells a story that is on point following the recent tragedy in Connecticut.  Why are different animal masks calling on you to slaughter countless faceless henchmen, you’ll have to play it to find out as its much better experienced first hand than reading about it.

Hotline Miami is available on Steam.

#18 Mark of the Ninja

#18 Mark of the Ninja

2012 was a great year for stealth games, but a side-scrolling stealth game?  Who’s ever heard of such a thing.  Mark of the Ninja is from Klei Entertainment and mixes the fast action of a side scrolling title with delicate and deliberate pacing traditionally found in stealth games.

You are the glass cannon in Mark of the Ninja.  Play efficiently and you’ll waltz through levels with no one becoming the wiser.  Mess up and you’ll meet a quick demise.

Mark of the Ninja was available as a downloadable title on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as well as a release on Steam.

#17 Super Hexagon

#17 Super Hexagon

Simply put, Super Hexagon is the hardest game of 2012.  It’s also one of the most simple, with your objective being only to avoid incoming lines and stay ahead of walls while not being hypnotized by the game’s rotating background.

Don’t be ashamed if you can only last 10 seconds.  You can get better, and that’s Super Hexagon’s whole hook.  That grind to increase your time by a second, or five is at the heart of the Super Hexagon experience.  Throw in the fact that you can challenge friend times on iOS and it can be a downright addicting experience.

You’ll need to savor the little victories in Super Hexagon to avoid becoming infuriated and you may become cross-eyed if you play too long.

Super Hexagon is available on iOS for the iPhone and iPad, and is currently being ported to Android devices.

#16 Halo4

#16 Halo4

When Bungie left the Halo franchise behind to work on their next title, many had their doubts about the future of the Halo franchise.  With Halo 4, new developer 343 Industries has not only taken over the franchise, but has proven that it is in good hands.

Quite possibly the best multiplayer shooter of 2012, Halo 4 did not disappoint Halo fans.  By offering a nice balance of familiar gameplay that Bungie introduced and fine tuned over the years, with enough new additions to make the game feel fresh, 343 Industries struck the right balance.

Microsoft’s far from done with the Halo franchise.  Halo 4 kicked off a whole new trilogy for the franchise, with Halo 4 being the first of three.

#15 Persona 4 Arena

#15 Persona 4 Arena

During Golden Week, a new rumor begins spreading through town about a mysterious TV program, the P-1 Grand Prix. Visible if you look into a turned-off TV on a rainy night, this fighting tournament broadcasts high school friends fighting one another to the bitter end.

When Yu Narukami and the others test this rumor, they see their friend Teddie announcing the beginning of the show: May the manliest of all men come on down. With that, the participants are shown, one by one… The Investigation Team is horrified to see their own faces introduced with twisted nicknames. The members of the Investigation Team decide to dive into the TV once again to solve the case! What is behind the mysterious TV show?

#14 Lone Survivor

#14 Lone Survivor

In this psychological survival adventure, the masked protagonist must escape from a city ravaged by disease, by any means necessary. Starving and exhausted, he has begun to question how much of what he sees is even real.

A new kind of adventure where the choice of how to survive is up to you. Sneak through without firing a single shot, or kill everything in your path. Eat and sleep well, or resort to drugs to keep going. Search for survivors, or try to escape the city alone. Look after your mental health, or descend into madness.

Lone Survivor is a game where your choices genuinely matter.

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