Game of the Year 2011: Best Social Game

by Scott Nichols

Best social game: Dark Souls

I realize “social games” are considered their own genre of freemium Facebook games, but that’s not how I’m using the term here. To me, a social game is one that promotes social interaction, an no game has done that more for me this year than Dark Souls. I can’t even count the number of Dark Souls conversations I had on twitter of “oh crap, I can’t believe that just happened,” and “ try using this item there.” Part of it comes from the game’s challenge, which encouraged me and many others to seek out new strategies from friends, but there is also the sense of wonder when encountering something wholly new, both mechanically or visually in the game, that seemed to demand being shared. And of course, there is the sense of accomplishment when defeating one of the monstrous bosses that prompted every Dark Souls player to broadcast when that first damn Taurus demon was vanquished. It is a type of social interaction with gaming that I haven’t felt since playing Ocarina of Time in 4th grade, where one friend would discover the trick to a dungeon and share with the rest of us only for a different friend to solve a difficult puzzle in the next one. And for the out-of-game real world socialization it produced, Dark Souls is by far the best social game of 2011.