5. The Wolf Among Us 
by Jake Doolin

As I said in my review of the finale, The Wolf Among Us’ greatest strength is in its world. The world of Fabletown is filled to the brim with wonderfully sad characters. Everyone is attempting to escape the fates laid out before them in their own Fables, and struggling to build a town that allows that.

In a lot of ways, I equated the journey of the Fabletown citizens attempts to make something of their city to the start of BYTE. At the beginning of our own journey it was just a few people wanting to make something for themselves and others to enjoy. But in another way, we were just trying to create something that didn’t exist, a place to make our own paths

By the end of the season Fabletown has come together with the help of its citizens to make a difference, and so has BYTE. With in the influx of new writers and content to the site, we have become what we always wanted, a community.

4. Dark Souls II
by Chase Streetman

Dark Souls 2 is like a good teacher. It tells you that failure is simply another way to receive a lesson. It constantly places challenges in front of you so that you can better yourself, knowing that you can succeed. It respects you enough to know that you can figure obstacles out yourself, but it doesn’t mind if you ask for help.

Despite a myriad of problems, from some unfair aspects of enemies to how most areas of the world feel wholly disconnected from each other, Dark Souls 2 is one of the best games that came out this year.

The trademark Souls combat that emphasizes patience and a level head are not matched by any other game on the market, and exploring a dying world gasping out its last breaths is haunting and beautiful.

In a year filled with uninspired or just plain mediocre games, it’s a breath of fresh air to play something that hasn’t been done to death. The only way to play a game like Dark Souls is to play Dark Souls, and that really says a lot.

3. Shovel Knight 

by Nick Dowell

Shovel Knight is an awesome game for too many reasons, the main one being it perfectly incorporated modern game design ideas while still letting the game feel like something from the SNES. There are almost no new games that make me feel nostalgic for a generation I barely interacted with, but Shovel Knight did that perfectly.

As a game, Shovel Knight’s got a lot going on with it. The game is challenging in all the right ways, especially with a New Game + available. The story is top notch, relying heavily on a good narrative that makes you feel for the cast that it has (even the villains, at times). The music is just fantastic and makes each world feel like its own, unique place.

Above all, the game is just unique. Who would have expected a game about a guy whose main weapon is a shovel to be one of the best games of 2014? Not many, but that doesn’t mean we’re complaining.

2. Super Smash Bros

Throughout its many iterations Smash Bros. has been the anchor for couch gaming. Many games that used to have splitscreen modes have now moved to only online multiplayer, which has slowly been killing the living room.

Smash is important because it brings people together in one place to enjoy a game together while also keeping up with modern trends and having online multiplayer. Smash not only encourages the up-to-4-player formula, but has now increased the number of people that can play together to 8 people.

With an 8 player match it’s hard to see people being forced to sit out because of controller limitations. The 8 player smash mode not only allows more people to be in the game, but it also changes the way that Smash is played because of all the chaos happening on screen.

While bringing friends together, Smash manages to add new ways to play to the mix which can satisfy both gamers and Nintendo’s family-friendly fun mission. Smash has a nostalgic place in many hearts and keeps couch gaming fun and relevant.

1. Mario Kart 8

by Joseph Knoop

Given the way games are headed, you’d imagine the eighth iteration in a mega-franchise like Mario Kart might be grinding its gears. To play the latest game is to know a classic sense of bliss, now in stunning HD.

Much like it’s Mario brethren Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8 is the epitome of a party game, setting the standard for easy to learn, nearly impossible to master gameplay that fuels the flames of a thousand friendly screaming matches.

The inclusion of anti-gravity mechanics turns tracks into a playground of epic proportions, adding one more layer into the refined series’ new and staple tracks. Vehicle customization allows for fine tuning that more fits an individual player’s style.

Whether you’re a drifting fiend or just in it for the speed, there’s likely a tire and car, bike, or ATV to fit your needs. The BYTE family itself is guilty of enjoying this game far too much, and if it can bring together a bunch of ridiculously busy nerds, it’ll work wonders for you.


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