The Occasionally Annual List Joffe Makes Where She Spends More Effort on Coming Up With a Title Than the Content of Said List of the Games of 2017

Its time again to bid goodbye to literally the worst year of our age and look forward to an exciting, hopeful, brand new year. One where anything can happen and that is only highly likely to be worse rather than absolutely guaranteed. That, of course, can only mean one thing: End of Year Lists from beloved social media icons and critics. Also I do some kind of nonsense too. As usual, I haven’t been able to play a lot of the expected big releases this year due to moving, changing jobs, being poor, being sad and being poor. However, I did get in more than usual. I even got an actual current console! But even so, rather than try to list my favorite games that came out this year out of the small sample I have, I instead will be quantifying a different game experience. Here is a list of digital animals and creatures I interacted with positively this year.

Seiken Densetsu 3 Bird

Seiken Densetsu 3.001

Like many RPGs, this game had a town that was overrun with evil forces, and naturally my party drove those evil forces away. The oppressive music changed to the sweet tones of Little Sweet Cafe, and children once more roamed the streets with impunity. More importantly, the lack of evil soldiers meant this little bird could return. Perhaps realizing on some subconscious level that I was responsible for its improved environment, the little bird began following me around. No matter where I went in town, the little bird followers. It also made cute “peep peep” noises when I interacted with it. Very nice! However, the game loses points for how my characters were unable to interact further. There was no animation of them perhaps petting the bird on its little head, nor was I able to obtain any bread crumbs, peanuts or french fries which I could feed to it. As such, I must give this bird the lowest possible rating: 10/10



Yoshi’s Island is basically the most perfect platform game ever made, so naturally I played it again this year. Its just that good. Many people who have played it will remember Poochy, the goofy dog-creature with the strange face who Yoshi and Mario can ride across hazards and use to destroy enemies. However, not everyone knows that Poochy is not a mere power-up, but a very good boy. By tossing one of Yoshi’s eggs at Poochy, the player can play fetch. Poochy is not very good at returning the eggs he chases after, but it is still adorable to watch him bat it around. Simple, but effective. 10/10



I picked up the Shovel Knight Treasure Trove a few months ago, and it is a delightful collection of games with great design, character and gameplay. The most recent addition to the Trove, Spectre of Torment, is a prequel that puts you in the role of the undead Spectre Knight as he recruits evil minions for his mistress, the Enchantress. One of the creatures of his home base is a small napping creature that resembles a treasure chest called the Memmec. You can’t interact with it much at first, it just sits there like many of the other monsters. Spectre WILL pet it if you force him too, which is very good. However, there is an even more fun way you can interact with it. If you use your scythe on the pile of crystal balls, you can shake one loose and hit it toward the sleeping creature. Suddenly it springs to life and excitedly chases the ball! What separates this from Poochy above is that the Memmec is better at batting the ball back to you, and can communicate its needs and intentions to you through body language. If its jumping around playfully and pushing the ball to you it wants you to bat the ball away so it will chase it. If it has arched its butt into the air and is wagging its tail, it wants you to hit the ball to it so it can juggle it in its little paws. Extremely good communication and attitude, I definitely played with it long after I obtained the minor monetary reward for doing so the first time. 10/10

Odyssey Shiba


Super Mario Odyssey is a game filled with unbridled enthusiasm and imagination. Mario’s adventure sees him traveling to worlds with styles unlike any he has seen before, and interacts with friends and foes of all kinds. More importantly: there is a dog! A dog you can play with! This shiba inu, likely based on Miyamoto’s own beloved dog, is a very very good pup. For one thing, it can help you find hidden treasure and earn Power Moons and blah blah blah the important thing is how it will run around with you and chase after your hat like a frisbee! Its very good at frisbee! It also wears lots of little hats, and even gets to visit the moon. What a good dog! Sometimes it will show up in your airship and do tricks and make cute noises if you throw your hat at it. 10/10

Mimikyu, Ribombee, Mareanie, and others


Pokemon is a game about making creatures hurt each other for profit, but luckily in Sun & Moon there’s another way you can interact with them called Pokemon Refresh. Not only can you pet them and feed them delicious colorful beans, but you can also groom them and help care for them after battle. You can provide medical care for sick or poisoned creatures, wash off the grit or untangle their hair, fur or leaves. Some of them also have special actions like high-fiving you! I do have to knock off a few points for the fact that they’re only dirty or in pain in the first place because of the player’s actions, but even so 10/10

Several Dolphins and a Narwhal


Endless Ocean 2 is a great underappreciated game about diving and having really tense feelings of dread despite the fact that its a harmless game where the sharks who WANT to bite you aren’t even allowed to and so only slap you with their tail. Still, you FEEL how spooky it is to dive into an empty abyss, even when you know nothing is there. Luckily the game offers distractions from the endless horror of the ocean. Many distractions! Grow a reef, take photographs, find sunken treasure, solve archaeological mysteries and, of course, domesticate some sea mammals. The first two dolphins you get are free, but the others require you to do some detective work. For example, you can’t just convince ANY narwhal to leave the Arctic Ocean for your South Pacific home, only one with a legendary red horn that is maybe the reincarnation of an ancient warrior. That takes some work. The payoff is you can then swim with your cetacean partner. If you’re not up for that, you can also sit back, relax, and instruct them in various tricks. Use the wiimote to toss them fish! Finally the Wii lived up to its potential! Get good enough and you can put on live shows for money but isn’t bonding with such a majestic sea creature its OWN reward? 10/10

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