Overall, 2012 wasn't exactly a banner year for video games. There were a handful of standouts in the mix, lots of sequels that did an adequate job of pushing their respective series along, and even a few new IPs that managed to turn some heads. But it's been quite a few years since I had such an easy time selecting the handful of titles that would be considered for my “best of” list.

I guess that's to be expected at this point in a console generation's life cycle. Fewer big games are coming out for the current hardware while developers ramp up production on the launch titles for the next batch of gaming machines. We've had a couple of new handheld consoles get rolling this year and Nintendo even launched its newest proper system, the Wii U. But the Wii's successor, the 3DS and the Vita are all still in their infancy. Developers are still feeling them out, meaning that few truly spectacular games have started popping up on this latest batch of consoles.

But none of that should take away from the more humble list of truly epic games we all got to play this year. Some of these titles will stand the test of time, spurring on discussion and being warmly remembered for years to come.

While 2012 may not have been overstuffed with gaming greatness, there are at least a few titles that managed to grab me by the throat and command my full and undivided attention. These games would be considered great no matter what year they came out, and so now it's time to give them a little recognition.

#5: The Pinball Arcade
I don't expect many gamers to know what The Pinball Arcade even is, which is a real shame. Coming from FarSight Games, this meticulously crafted love letter to classic pinball machines is the best, and pretty much only, source for exquisitely detailed versions of pinball games you can find in the real world. Actually, the simple fact of the matter is that the physical versions of these machines are becoming harder and harder to come by, making The Pinball Arcade that much more important. With a steady stream of DLC tables being added to the mix, The Pinball Arcade kept me coming back for more throughout 2012. And perhaps most importantly, playing these virtual tables inspired me to seek out their real life counterparts, kick-starting a love affair with a bygone era of gaming I may have never had the opportunity to enjoy had The Pinball Arcade never been made available on my home console.

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