Realistically, 2012 is probably the one of the last (if not the last) year that distinguishing between retail and digital games makes sense. Even on consoles, large-publisher games are becoming available for download on release day. Additionally, as I hope my list shows, the days when there was an appreciable difference in quality between blockbusters and digital-only releases are behind us. There's not much else to say about the games other than "You should play them."
Instead, I'll indulge in a little gross consumerism and cloying sentimentalism: it's a bit of a bummer that giving the gift of video games now means sending them a download code via email. It's probably just the last vestiges of the holiday season evaporating from my mind, but I can't help but feel that giving someone a mystery present is more fun than sending them a code. It's a pretty trite sentiment that many have expressed, but I don't think that makes it any less true.
In any case, I encourage you to take a look at the list and to jump into the comments with your own downloadable favorites. It's was an embarrassment of riches in 2012 and I wouldn't want to miss any gems