Whilst 2020 was a year that saw so many communities and industries stalled and disrupted, the world of video games saw its stock soar to new heights. Whilst it was already on its way to becoming a behemoth of the entertainment industry in its own right, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns around the world saw millions of people confined to their homes with so much more time on their hands.
The video game industry is now worth more than its film and music counterparts put together and, with the revolving door of technological advancements that are let loose these days, there’s no telling just how successful this exciting sector can go onto become in the coming years.
Here are some of the best games of 2020.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
In a year that isolated and divided people in ways never thought possible, it’s hard to overstate just how important titles such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons was in keeping everyone connected. Released right on the eve of the outbreak in March, it provided the perfect form of escapism only the gaming industry can produce, allowing players to create their very own colourful cartoon world and digitally connect with the people around them in a way they couldn’t in the real world.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Although Valve’s fourth major title in their flagship FPS series was originally released in 2012, 2020 was a year in which Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) reached its highest ever peaks. The game broke past the one million concurrent player mark for the first time in its history in April 2020, before going on to smash that record several times throughout the year.
One of the most richly stacked games in the world of competitive gaming, Counter-Strike has dominated the rise of Esports betting as a popular pursuit for gamers with a plethora of CS:GO betting markets available for every event and tournament, and it remains one of the most hotly followed games on online streaming sites such as Twitch.tv.
Another title that really captured that connected party feel, Among Us might have first been released in June 2018 but it was during 2020 that it really found its heyday. Not only did it take the streaming world by storm, but it managed to break the gaming industry by producing a title that successfully gave players something different with every round they played. The thrills and spills of trying to work out the member of your party working against you proved to be one of the most unique and enthralling formulas the industry had seen in recent times.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man almost single handedly swung the console wars entirely in Sony’s favour as an exclusive title for the PS4, with its vibrant open world, smooth in-game mechanics and surprisingly powerful storyline. Its sequel, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, built on all these good points following its release on the PS4 and as a launch title for the PS5 in November 2020.
The change in protagonist and setting to a snowy New York gave Spider-Man: Miles Morales its very own feel and identity of its own, and the game successfully bridged the continuity of its predecessor beautifully, as well as serving as a perfect starting point for new PS5 owners to get a taste of what the system can do.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
The summer of 2020 was dominated by Among Us and Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. Seemingly the only two games on the planet people were playing at one point, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout was yet another game that captured the lighthearted party feel people needed the most throughout the year.
Revolving around a Total Wipeout-styled gameshow, players take control of their very own little bean and attempt to navigate through a series of ludicrous, yet hilarious, minigames. The game starts with sixty players initially, with each and every minigame eliminating a select amount each time until just one remains. Charming, unique and free to play during its heyday, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout might not have the legs to remain as relevant as it was during 2020, but it will always have a special place in the history of gaming as a form of escapism.