2016’s All-Star GOTY Spectacular

What was your favorite video game of 2016? We asked 23 of the smartest people we know–game designers, podcasters, YouTubers, journalists, a screenwriter, a playwright–and got 19 answers.

Counting Chris and JJ, that’s 25 people and 20 games in our second annual GOTY Podcast Spectacular.  Plus, intense disagreement about the merits of “The Last Guardian.”

STARRING, in order of appearance:

Jason Concepcion & Ben Lindbergh, hosts of Achievement Oriented;

Chris Remo, Idle Thumbs host and Campo Santo developer;

Austin Walker, Waypoint editor-in-chief;

Carolyn Petit, Feminist Frequency writer;

Nina Freeman, “Cibele” designer and Fullbright level designer;

Theresa Duringer, founder of Temple Gates Games;

Adrian Chen, staff writer for The New Yorker;

Jon Lovett, a Keepin’ It 1600 host, screenwriter, and former speechwriter for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton;

Stephen Totilo, editor-in-chief of Kotaku;

Susan O’Connor, writer for games like “BioShock,” “Gears of War,” “Far Cry 2,” and “Tomb Raider”;

Virginia Heffernan, author of “Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art”;

Clive Thompson, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, a columnist for Wired, and the author of “Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better”;

Anita Sarkeesian, founder of Feminist Frequency;

Lucy Prebble, playwright of “The Effect”;

Meg Jayanth, writer of “80 Days”;

Helen Lewis, deputy editor of the New Statesman;

John Davison, Glixel general manager;

Gabriel Winslow-Yost, assistant editor of The New York Review of Books;

Jason Killingsworth, writer for Riot Games and co-author of “You Died: The ‘Dark Souls’ Companion”;

Brett Douville, lead programmer for “Skyrim” and “Fallout 4” and Dev Game Club host;

Simon Parkin, contributing writer for NewYorker.com and author of “Death By Video Game”;

Laura Hudson, writer for FiveThirtyEight, Wired and Slate

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:

Ernest Cline, author of ‘Armada’ and ‘Ready Player One’

JJ interviews the novelist Ernest Cline about growing up with video games, and why he mined the geek culture of his youth for “Ready Player One” and “Armada.” Then, JJ talks to Laura Hudson of Offworld and Wired about her review of “Armada” in Slate.