Title says it all. We have a GOTY thread, a "best/worst surprises" thread, and a "best purchases/worst non-purchases" thread for games that came out this year, but what about the games you pulled off your backlog? These are my standouts: Armageddon Empires (PC indie strategy game, 2007): A brilliant board game/turn-based strategy hybrid -- think a post-apocalyptic Civilization -- featuring humans, mutants and two different alien armies. Notable for solving the strategy genre's biggest problems (micromanagement and the boring late game), and wrapping it up in an emergent narrative about triumphant generals, dastardly assassins, and the genius scientist who managed to whip up an H-bomb a few turns before a rampaging giant mech would have crashed through the front door of your HQ. If you're a TBS fan, you have to at least try the demo. Digital: A Love Story (PC indie visual novel, 2010): A text-based game in which you play a teenager exploring the brave new BBS world of 1988. I described this in the "surprises" thread as "a light-hearted, fun, funny tribute to the Internet, and to communities like these" -- well-written, emotionally affecting, and adept at bringing its world to life, right down to its retro chiptune music. I'm really looking forward to its creator's next project! Persona 4 (PS2 RPG, 2008/09): Take a game with a brilliant concept (one part social life simulator, one part dungeon crawling RPG), stir in memorable characters and great audio (voice acting/music), and serve. That was Persona 3. Now take that same concept but improve the execution in every way - more interesting decisions in the social simulator, more variety in the dungeon crawler - and that gives us Persona 4. More of the same? Yes please! (We actually have a whole thread about this game in Kawaii, but it's a spoiler thread and I haven't looked inside -- I'm "only" 30 hours in! It's gonna take me a while to finish...) Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (the 2006 PSP port of a 1999/2000 PSX RPG): I originally finished VP many years ago, and I've just started a replay. Man, this is as good as I remember. Instead of pouting emo teens, we get a dark fantasy tale - or, really, collection of vignettes - about a Valkyrie and the fallen heroes she enlists on the eve of Ragnarok. The 2D sprite graphics hold up really well, the pseudo-platformer dungeon exploration makes for a nice change, and the combat system is frantic button-mashing fun. (Also, Motoi Sakuraba was composing music for the Valkyrie Profile games long before you cool kids heard his work in Dark Souls. Rawr!). What about you guys?