All-Star GOTY Spectacular

What was your favorite game of 2015? We asked 22 of the smartest people we know–designers, critics, academics, political journalists, an actor, a playwright–and got 18 different answers.

Starring, in order of appearance: Ken Levine, Tina Amini, Michael Abbott, Stephen Totilo, Lucy Prebble, Meg Jayanth, Simon Parkin, Helen Lewis, Peter Suderman, Bob Whitaker, Ashly Burch, Carolyn Petit, Anita Sarkeesian, Michael W. Clune, Austin Walker, Tracy Fullerton, Evan Narcisse, Laura Miller, Olivier Knox, Laura Hudson, Brenda Romero, and Jenn Frank.

IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE, THE 2015 ‘SHALL WE PLAY A GAME?’ VIDEO GAMES OF THE YEAR:

“Destiny: The Taken King”

“Xenoblade Chronicles X”

“Box Boy”

“Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture”

“Wheels of Aurelia”

“Sunless Sea”

“Fallout 4”

“Rocket League”

“Life Is Strange”

“Read Only Memories”

“Invisible Inc.”

“Prune”

“Warhammer: Dark Omen”

“Don’t Starve”

“Her Story”

“Contradiction”

‘Destiny: The Taken King’ & ‘Gamelife’ author Michael W. Clune

JJ and Chris review “The Taken King,” the Peter Dinklage-less expansion for Bungie’s “shared-world shooter.” A year ago in The New York Times, Chris wrote that “Destiny” was “beautiful but vacant.” Can “The Taken King” turn skeptics into fans? Then, Chris talks to Michael W. Clune, the author of “Gamelife,” a memoir of his 1980s childhood and the computer games he played during it. Clune, a professor of English at Case Western Reserve, says people are wrong to compare his still-current video game habit to his heroin addiction, the subject of his previous memoir, “White Out.”

SHOW NOTES:

Chris’s review of “Destiny” in The New York Times

Michael W. Clune’s “Gamelife”

Gabriel Winslow-Yost’s review of “Gamelife” in the New York Review of Books