AP critics pick the year’s best video games

First Published      Last Updated Dec 27 2013 09:24 am
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6. "The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds" (Nintendo, for the Nintendo 3DS) • A few daring innovations on the long-running "Legend of Zelda" formula resulted in one of the most captivating adventures starring everyone's favorite elfy hero, Link. His ability to pop on and off walls added a new depth to the puzzles and made a serious case for playing in 3D.

7. "Gone Home" (The Fullbright Company, for PC) • There just aren't enough games as emotionally gripping — or as beautifully ordinary — as this voyeuristic coming-of-age story that casts players as a college student who's returned to her family's empty house after traveling abroad. "Gone Home" is more than just a mystery set in the 1990s. It's interactive poetry.

8. "Animal Crossing: New Leaf" (Nintendo, for the Nintendo 3DS) • Realistic. Thoughtful. Edgy. Stressful. Those words do not at all describe "New Leaf," an unabashedly silly town simulator that turned out to be a relaxing, fantastical treat — and a digital reminder of how simple acts like catching up with neighbors and plucking apples from trees can be oh-so-rewarding.

9. "Papers, Please" (3909 LLC, for PC) • It sounds like the worst idea for a game ever: play as a paper-pushing immigration inspector tasked with approving or denying folks entry into an oppressive country. Yet indie designer Lucas Pope crafted a provocative, pixelated tour de force with his "dystopian document thriller" where morality and gameplay collide.

10. "Disney Infinity" (Avalanche Software, for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS) • Taking a cue from "Skylanders" and "Minecraft," Mickey Mouse and his cartoon militia daringly marched onto the toys-meets-games battlefield and triumphed by inspiring the imaginations of young and old with a deft combination of physical and virtual playthings.