Best Stuff in Videogames of 2008

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Dec 31, 2008

Filed under: Video Games 86 comments

End-of-year lists. The annual throwaway post for reviewers and pundits. Just gather up an N-numbered list of otherwise unrelated stuff, put the name of the year over them, and then hurry off to start the New Year celebrations early. We shall observe this ridiculous tradition, together, beginning now:

#10 Most Funny Game – Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People

The competition was fierce in this category this year, but in the end Strong Bad just barely edged out the hilarious Travis Grady of Silent Hill Origins to be this year’s leading funnyman.

#9 Best RTS – Starcraft

Yeah, yeah. You guys won again. It’s not as impressive as it was the last nine times. Don’t be so smug.

#8 Most Lamentable – Spore

How sad is it that the DRM controversy overshadowed the buzz surrounding this game, which was that it wasn’t very good because it had been “streamlined” for a broader audience? They threw Will Wright’s magnum opus onto the casual games bandwagon, without really understanding what was driving the trend or what all these new players were looking for. Like I mentioned in Reset Button, making games accessible to newcomers means making games that will teach you how to play, not reducing complex ideas into something on par with Peggle.

Putting a big, fat DRM padlock over the thing didn’t help matters either.

#7 Worst MMO Launch – Hellgate: London

Take a great concept. (Fast-paced first-person MMO) Add in a great team. (The Blizzard exiles who made Diablo II.) Add in an interesting premise. (A modern-day demonic invasion.) What do you get? A buggy, shallow, poorly-engineered soup of half-finished ideas and agonizingly bad writing.

Flagship Studios has closed its doors for good. Hellgate is shutting down on January 31. I can envision better ways for this to have turned out.

#6 Best MMO – World of WarCraft

Oh look. Another category where Blizzard just wins over and over again without even trying.


#5 Best FPS – [This Space Reserved for Half-Life 2, Episode 3]

Hurry up guys! This one is yours if you can release before midnight!

#4 Most Adhesive – World of Goo

Delightful, fun, and engaging. (But short.)

#3 Most Bifurcated – Fallout 3

At last, an open world sandbox game that really looks like a giant box filled with sand. Should I love the game for the fun gameplay and setting, or hate it for the inept writing and hilariously bad dialog?

Can’t I do both?

#2 Best Game for everyone else and Worst Game for Me: The Witcher

A widely beloved and celebrated game that I actually found repelling. You can’t please everyone, I guess. You can’t enjoy an RPG if you can’t embrace the main character, and Geralt is someone I don’t want to touch, let alone embrace.

Just goes to show that you should never rely on just one reviewer.

#1 Hey. Why am I numbering these? They aren’t even related.

Crap. I forgot to put Prince of Persia in this list someplace. Ah well.

My question for you: What was your favorite game this year? (It doesn’t have to be FROM this year, just the one you discovered in 2008. We are not the sort to throw away old games at the ringing in of the new year. This is a place for civilized people, after all.)

Thanks for reading. Have a great New Year.


From The Archives:

86 thoughts on “Best Stuff in Videogames of 2008

  1. folo4 says:


    no other words necessary.

    2009 will be quite an interesting year, should Blizzard releases Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3 over the year.

    Oh well, glory to great games, I suppose.

    Also, Auditorium. Will it be the second most adhesive game on your list?

  2. monkeeeeey says:

    The enhanced edition material can be downloaded for the witcher for free. The download basically fixes everything. There aren’t any crashes and the dialogue is acceptable. Admittedly, I don’t really have the original to compare it to, since I was smart enough to buy the game right before the EE stuff was available for download. I’ve recently completed the game and the story is pretty darn good apart from some of the side-quests feeling like uneeded filler, but I suppose that’s unavoidable in these sorts of games. The attention to detail in a lot of the areas is also very worthy of praise.

    I don’t blame you for quitting on a game, though. I stopped playing the original campaign for NWN2 despite the great reviews that MOTB (the expansion) got. The story was terrible and I hate how the NPCs just stand around in the same place day and night, not to mention the innumerable bugs….

  3. Alexis Li says:

    Now you have an XBox you should consider picking up Dead Space.

  4. vbigiani says:

    Best FPS is totally Left4Dead.

    Oh wait, it’s a Valve game suffering from Console-itis. Nevermind me.

  5. Benjamin O says:

    @folo4 (#1)…Starcraft2 is a possibility, but D3? Sorry, as much as I’d love that, it isn’t going to happen. We only have 3 of the 5 character classes even announced, and I’m guessing there are a LOT of other details that need finishing as well. No, look for D3 in 2010 or beyond. Sorry.

  6. Telas says:

    Portal. It was released on Steam in 2007, but I didn’t pick it up until this year, when I saw the actual orange box in stores. The HL2 Episodes were great, but Portal was addictive.

    And I was enjoying the hell out of Fallout 3 until half the internet started picking on it… Thanks, jerks! ;)

  7. Mark says:

    I think you gave Prince of Persia it’s due props by creating a 10 minute video about it being the most innovative game of the year:p

  8. ima420r says:

    I got my 360 just 2 months ago so there are a lot of great game discoveries for me this year, too many to list here. Overall, though, I spent most of my time with Peggle, World of Goo, Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead, and Portal (I actually bought Orange Box on PC AND 360, first time buying a game on multiple platforms).

  9. Griffin says:

    It’s funny. I think of myself as an RPG and strategy game player, but if I just go by the actual amount of time I spent playing (and enjoying) games this year, my two standouts were:

    Perfect Cherry Blossom: “Curtain fire” shoot-em-up. What’s interesting is that the gameplay focuses mainly on your visual perception and ability to quickly understand visual patterns, and not so much on your reflexes.

    Dynasty Warriors 3: Yes, it’s a button-masher. Yes, it’s pretty brainless. Yes, I love it. (It probably helps that I’m a huge Three Kingdoms nut.)

    Now, both of those genres/sub-genres are ones I assumed I would hate until I actually tried them. Probably a lesson in there somewhere for me….

  10. DM T. says:

    My most surprising good game of the year is Dead Space. I simply hate Saving stations, but this game managed to lure me into the story and put aside all my loathing just so I can finish the game, and it was good.

    Fallout 3 is another favorite of mine for this year. I love exploring open game worlds and discover minute details and this game managed to capture so many hours of free time and I am enjoying every minute of it.

    After playing World of Goo’s Demo, I shelled out the $20 for the whole game and had my nephews hooked on it as well. It’s a cool game that definitely deserves a better attention. I hope 2DBoy makes other great DRMless games that people would actually buy this time.

    After Shamous review of Prince of Persia, I guess it’s the next game in line for me. Just loved the YouTube video. Is it available on the PC yet? I’ll find out after posting this :)

  11. Nathan says:

    I’m probably showing my age a bit here, but for me the best game of 2008 was a digital download of Masters of Orion II. Spent the year traveling the world, with nothing other than a laptop (my beloved xBox 360 is packed away) and no money for new games. I rediscovered the joy of the last great 4x space opera and lost hundreds of hours playing it.

  12. Picador says:

    2008 was the year I started modding for Oblivion from Bethesda. So that’s been a sort of “discovery” for me, and has become my default time-waster.

    Other than Oblivion, though, I did find some time to buy and play part of The Witcher (some cool ideas, but not as pliable and therefore less interesting to me) and all of “Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened” (which was an excellent, if slight, adventure game, besides which it cost about $5).

  13. Evlkritter says:

    The following are my favorite games, because I can’t remember when I started them.
    RTS- Warlords Battlecry III
    4X- Dominions III: The Awakening
    FPS- World at War
    MMO- Billy vs Snakeman

    Yay! I made a list!

  14. Smileyfax says:

    I discovered Hearts of Iron 2 this January (released in, oh, 2005?) and have pretty much invested hundreds of hours into it ever since.

    If you have a fondness for grand strategy, World War II, or crazy alternate history scenarios like Poland kicking Germany’s ass (which is the first thing I did with the game), then I hugely recommend it. (The HoI Anthology is recommended, since it includes the Doomsday and Armageddon expansion packs, as well as the first HoI, which I’ve never tried out).

  15. folo4 says:


    Unfortunately, Perfect Cherry Blossom is now five years old, making you a retro gamer.

    Now, go try Subterranean Animism and start cringing.

    @Benjamin O

    Really? Still, Blizzard is going to find its way to the Game of the Year awards of 2009, one way or another.

    And I forgot about my game of the year for 2008…

    If I could recall any memorable experiences from gaming in said year, of course. Unfortunately, I couldn’t.

  16. Gamercow says:

    Game of the Year: Fallout 3 – Yes, its different than Fallout 1 and 2. But I still love it for its own merits.

    Damn You Peter Molyneux of the Year: Fable II. Once again, I was sucked in to the Molyneux hype, and actually believed him when he said that it was going to be different this time, that there would be less black and white choices, that my character would be able to make a difference in the fabric of the world, that the side quests would actually matter. What I got was a good, but not excellent game that was the Sims meets Oblivion, a world where you eat 2 pies, and you’re a fatty fatty fat fat.

    WTF is all the hype about game of the year: World of Goo. I’m an engineer, so this game should have appealed to me. I played the demo, finished it, walked away, and did not regret walking away.

    Enough already of the year: DRM. Yes, its a pain in the ass. But I’ve NEVER run into any problem with it. I’m not much of a PC gamer anymore, but even when I was, DRM was heavy, and while I was annoyed with it, it never broke the gaming experience for me.

    Movie of the year that has to do something with gaming: King of Kong. If you like old school games, see this movie. I already knew that Billy Mitchell was a giant D-bag, but this movie cemented it for me. Yes, the movie came out in 2007, but I saw it for the first time this year.

  17. Alleyoop says:

    World of Goo. Great art, great design, great music, great play, great price. Too short? Only because I’d like to play more of it. Opened my eyes to indie games also. Felt safe buying it for PC since there wasn’t any DRM nonsense; bought for Wii also for big screen fun with the kids.

    Wouldn’t have known of it if I wasn’t the internet trawler I’ve become. Thanks, Internetz! :D

    And happiest of new years to all.

  18. JMcNeely says:

    Best game huh? Does it have to be something I discovered this year? How about a classic that I rediscovered this year? Oh that’s okay? Then I choose Crono Trigger for the DS that I bought my wife for Christmas and have subsequently been stealing whenever I get a chance. There’s just something about it that makes me happy. Like the little touches such as the Enertron in the future: HP and MP Restored. But you’re still hungry…

  19. JT says:


    Oh wait, it's a Valve game suffering from Console-itis.

    How so? Having bought it on Steam a couple days ago and only played two campaigns total so far, I’m certainly not a fanboy, but it feels exactly like I’m playing a Source-engine game like Half-Life 2 (which, of course, I am). I could be in a big bubble and have no idea at all that it was even released for consoles, and it wouldn’t even occur to me to wonder.

    What exactly gives L4D console-itis?

  20. blizzardwolf says:

    The very finest game I discovered this year was without a doubt, Half-Life 2, and it’s ensuing episodes.

    It puts me a little behind the times, but I first stepped into Freeman’s suit a second time around May of this year, and immediately was I hooked. Yes Valve is taking forever, but deep down inside, we all know it will be worth it.

    Unlike some people I could mention, whose release is so far behind they couldn’t make it worth if it cured AIDS. *cough3DREALMS*cough*

  21. Scott says:


    I started playing IF games this year and found this jem from 2000.
    It’s one room, one NPC and the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Shamus, you really should try this out if you can.

  22. MintSkittle says:

    I got a PS3 for Christmas, and have been having a blast with Valkyria Chronicles.

  23. Hal says:

    I started playing WoW back in August, and it’s pretty much the only thing I’ve played since then.

    I wish I could claim something for the Wii, but I haven’t bought anything new for it since Mario Kart’s release. Although in a “year in review” perspective, I spent enough time playing the new Smash Bros. to say that it merits a spot.

  24. Illiterate says:

    Best Genesis Game that I Still Need to Finish

    Warsong (Langrisser Hikari) (seriously, get yourself an emulator and try this if you have any love whatsoever for tactics games)

  25. Zaghadka says:

    Best “not appearing in this year” game of 2008:

    Duke Nukem Forever. There’s always 2009!

  26. Ben N. says:

    Persona 4 is the best game I have ever played. For most people, it’s just a really good game, but I’m a diehard Japanophile.

  27. Haviland says:


    How can you miss out Warhammer Online? I’ve paid my WoW dues, but Warhammer is stunningly right on so many levels.

  28. Nillo says:

    The best freeware game of 2008 has got to be Iji, at least. It blew everything else out of the water. I’ll even go so far as to put it on par with Cave Story in terms of quality and just plain awesomeness.

  29. Brandon says:

    I discovered Baldur’s Gate this year. Yeah, it’s an older game, but I’ve just now truly discovered it. I’m playing it in the BG2 engine via TuTu. The voice acting and writing are spectacular, and the customizations to combat flow make it truly usable.

  30. Justin says:

    If Duke Nukem Forever cured AIDS… The wait would totally be worth it.

  31. Nathanael Phillip Cole says:

    Fallout 3 and Dead Space tie for my best games of 2008. I loved Dead Space so much I wrote a walkthrough for it, and Fallout 3 and I have literally made many, many babies together.

  32. Krellen says:

    Well, if you go by time played, my favourite game of the year is City of Heroes, especially after the base-building changes in the newest issue, which I’ve probably already spent 40 or more hours with.

    If you go by emotional investment, probably Mass Effect; I’ve gotten wrapped into the universe they created and the story they wove so much that, for probably the first time in decades, I’m actively looking forward to a sequel.

    If you go by best surprise, it’s Lego Indiana Jones. It was a game I didn’t even know I wanted until after I already had it, and continues to amuse and entertain. I still look forward to trying to find the rest of the artefact pieces and extras parcels.

    If you go by biggest fulfilment of expectations, it’s Fallout 3. I didn’t expect much out of it, and that’s what I got. Stupid impulse (not to be confused with Impulse) buys.

  33. Joe says:

    I’m tempted to say portal, because it was so much fun…

    But I’m gonna have to go with Lego Star Wars II. I’ve hardly played it, but my son is so incredibly addicted to it that the mere hint of a possibility of letting him play for another half hour will convince him to do just about any chore that needs doing. It’s beautiful. :)

  34. Ben says:

    gamercow: Enough already of the year: DRM. Yes, its a pain in the ass. But I've NEVER run into any problem with it. I'm not much of a PC gamer anymore, but even when I was, DRM was heavy, and while I was annoyed with it, it never broke the gaming experience for me.

    If you haven’t played games using recent DRM, I think you’re uniquely unqualified to comment on recent DRM. Yeah, the concept has been around a long time, but lately it’s gotten worse. For the full details, you should probably read a few of Shamus’s posts on the subject, but basically we’re all sick of buying games which include extra software which installs itself without notification or permission and monitors our activities. Sure, it doesn’t usually cause any problems, but it does occasionally, and it always causes problems for paying customers. It’s funny how that works; the pirates never even notice the DRM, while the paying customers carry the burden. I suppose if the hateful stuff actually worked, it would at least be understandable, but all it does is result in the pirates getting a better product than the paying customers.

  35. Chris says:

    I’ve grown to be so sick of these lists. As can be seen on GameTrailers, game journalists are just creating more and more categories to try and have more games have the spotlight, yet at the same time the same games keep winning multiple categories.

    I mean, Rock Band 2 as best multiplayer of 2008? Really? Despite the fact that it hasn’t changed since the first last year? And is just taking the Guitar Hero multiplayer and adding drums and a microphone? “The game actually has yoou interact with real people!” Ok, fine, but the N64 and GameCube had done that, and the Wii has built its empire off that concept. Shouldn’t we reward a game that’s being innovative instead of same old same old?

    Personally, I’d rather just make a list of the notable games of 2008. That way you not only mention everyone’s favorites, but the lesser quality titles that still had some good ideas. Turok may be a pretty meh game, but it is the first FPS in like a decade to make the knife useful again (assuming the knife was ever useful), and making the co-op campaign completely separate from the main game allowed for broader opportunities and added gameplay.

    But despite having some really good ideas, you’ll never see Turok on any of these lists because it just wasn’t as good as Gears 2, Fallout 3, MGS4, or God forbid a game other than Grand Theft Auto, a consistently buggy and flawed franchise, win anything.

    Note that I’m not criticizing your list, Shamus, I just feel more bloggers and smaller sites should try and do things a bit differently than the “big boys”.

  36. Best game for me in 2008? I’d have to go with World of Warcraft. I don’t usually stick with games, especially MMOs, for long stretches of time. WoW, on the other hand, keeps tightening its iron grip on me.

    For that, I’d like to take this time and say thanks a lot, Shamus. The only reason I started playing it was because of you and your stinking write-ups about it. :p

  37. locusts says:

    For me the best game for 2008 was Disciples II Gold Edition. Picked it up on a whim for $10 at Target and have had a great time with it. Turn based strategy and Final Fantasy like combat just make me chuckle. The “first” storyline for all the races was a bit too similar for my liking, but the second ones were really fun. Playing on easy I have just about beat the game with three out of the five playable races, but I have been playing since May. Well worth the price.

  38. Felblood says:

    Best game I discovered this year?

    This is going to sound incredibly silly, but give it a try. It requires nerves of steel, and split-second decision making, to survive.

    Winning takes teamwork, planning, and communication.

    SWAT:Aftermath v1.9 from

    It’s a game made inside a Warcraft 3 map, but it’s got so little in common with regular Warcraft, that it’s hard to think of them as the same game.

    I heartily recommend finding a group of tactically minded friends and LAN partying until the cows come home. I’ve never taken it online, and I plan to never find out what sort of internet community has attached itself to this great game. I’m always deeply disappointed when I do that.

    You’ll need WC3:Frozen Throne to run it, but it’s worth hunting around for someone who has a copy they don’t want anymore, since the mod itself is free.

  39. Adamantyr says:

    Not sure if it was late 2007 or early 2008 that I discovered this, but I’m putting it down anyway…

    Dwarf Fortress

  40. JKjoker says:

    best game this year for me was Persona 4 with savestates (using the emulator) and the close second was Psychonauts that i discovered after watching the earlier zero punctuation “eps” (go figure)

    i tried almost every AAA game this year (avoided gta tho, ugh) and they were just meh:
    pop meh
    dead space meh
    crysis double meh
    mercenaries 2 was pretty good actually if it could avoid all the crashing and gamebreaking bugs
    STALKER CS i loved the first one but this one wont run in my box with other than ultra low graphics which kills the atmosphere
    red alert 3 triple meh
    the c&c 3 expansion kane’s wrath quadruple meh (jeez, i finished it the day i got it)
    mass effect was a meh, but i might have liked it more if i had avoided the side quests completely
    devil may cry 4 triple meh (yeah, blame piracy, the ultra short crappy game has nothing to do with those numbers)

  41. Sam says:

    Best game I loved for about a month or two before forgetting it existed: Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It was a fanservice delight until I stopped playing it. It’s a shame, really, because it was really awesome and I enjoyed it thoroughly for the time I played it.

    Ballsiest move that payed off big time: Capcom doing Megaman 9 in the best way possible: good ol’ 2D sprites a la the NES games of yore. The game was entertaining, but hellishly difficult. I still haven’t beaten it yet. Damned Jewel Man stage gave me nightmares because of that stupid miniboss…

    Best game of the year: World of WarCrack. I picked it up again a few weeks ago after many months away and managed to take a character I’d barely played as from level 26 to level 50 (as of yesterday). I feel very accomplished, and I’m quite sure I’ll be sticking with him until I get him to level 80 (if I have the time and skills to do so).

    Yep, that’s all I’ve got.

  42. Inquisitor says:

    Starcraft isn’t that great, really. Dawn of War, Company of Heroes, or World in Conflict would have been a better fit.

  43. Bryan says:

    Best game I discovered in 2008? It’s a flash game, so it doesn’t really count (at least not according to most of the comments here ;-) ), but:


  44. RibbitRibbit says:

    2007 — Jade Empire (on XBOX)

    2008 — Planescape:Torment and Fallout on PC and Gauntlet:Seven Sorrows on XBOX (team play ROCKS!)

  45. Illiterate says:

    Bryan, — most definitely counts. trying it now.

  46. Eldiran says:

    @Sam: Gotta agree with you about Brawl, except I’m pretty much always hooked on it. Though it does help when you live in a dorm with a bunch of people who also enjoy it… either way, if you’re interested in a way to revitalize your interest, and you happen to have a SD card and Twilight Princess for the Wii, it might be worth your while to check out the Homebrew Channel:

    Disabling tripping, allowing extra colors, unrestricted cameras… it’s beautiful, if you can get through the effort to get it set up.

    *ahem* anyway, that’s enough rambling from me for now.

    P.S. Brawl is awesome. Favorite game ever.

  47. Patrick J McGraw says:

    Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Okay, so I’m a 17-year GW fanboy with hundreds of tiny elves in my collection, but this game is still just about everything I wanted from an MMORPG. Extra points for making me view PVP as part of the fun rather than an aggravation.

  48. Derek K. says:

    “Best FPS is totally Left4Dead.

    Oh wait, it's a Valve game suffering from Console-itis. Nevermind me.”


    Can we make 2009 the year we stop caring whether a game is on console, PC, or both?

    Because I hate to tell you, but L4D is a spectacular game. And there are a whole heck of a lot of people who seem to agree with me.

    It has a poor matchmaking system, which is there because it was going to be on consoles.

    But how about we say “L4D is a great game, except that the matchmaking system sucks”?

    Also, if you only play with friends, like I do, it’s pretty much irrelevant.

    @locusts: Disciples II is spectacular. But it’s not quite 2008. But yeah, that and Gal Civ II convinced me that any time I spent in the Target computer games section will be in the $10 games, not the new games. Heck, I had everything but Rise of the Elves, and I still bought the Gold pack for $10, just for that.

  49. kamagurka says:

    World of Goo! World of Goo! Also, Guitar Hero.

  50. Galen says:

    Best game(s) of the year? They’ve all been said in the comments already, but here you go anyway.

    (The only one actually released this year) – World of Goo!
    One day I’ll get around to buying this thing for my wii.

    (An older game I actually got working this year) – Portal
    Just, wow. This game is great and to quote yatzhee “Portal is a great game and if you don’t like it then you must be stupid!”.

    (No comment here) – World of Warcraft
    Yeah I started playing this year and I already quit. The game was addictive though and I’ll be getting back on soon.

  51. Leon says:

    @Adamantyr: Aspies unite! Seriously though, that and Dungeon Crawl – Stone Soup are the leaders on my “it’s news to me” list.

  52. Bogan they Mighty says:

    The best game I’ve played this year is either Warhammer Online or maybe Valkyria Chronicles.

  53. K says:

    Lich King (wow at it’s finest. I am really impressed)
    Super Smash Brothers Brawl (not as glorious as melee, but solid)
    Mario Galaxy (short and fun)
    Team Fortress 2 (good multiplayer for pros)

    In no particular order.

  54. Evangel says:

    Game of the Year for me: Evil Genius.

    /me tortures everyone on the giant laser in his laboratory.

  55. Eric C says:

    Rock Band. The ultimate party game, able to lure in hardcore gamer and wide-eyed spectator alike. People who won’t touch a Dual Shock are all too eager to flail away at the drums. It may lose a point or two for subjecting us to the horribly off-key, tone-deaf singing of our buddies, though.

  56. Namfoodle says:

    I got Fallout 1 & 2 from GOG. I think Fallout 1 is probably my favorite this year.

  57. Sharpie says:

    BEst game “discovered” this year, for me, is Lord of the Rings, Battle for Middle Earth 2. I get bored of games quick, and I have been on this one for months now.

  58. The Werebear says:

    Left 4 Dead all the way. I haven’t been able to stop playing yet. It still manages to spook me from time to time.

    I love it.

  59. DKellis says:

    Best game overall: still City of Heroes (and City of Villains). Four years and counting.

    For single-player games, Mass Effect thoroughly drew me in with its Loads Of Text, which gave me a great sense of nostalgia, from memories of “playing” Mechwarrior 2 by standing in the lobby reading through the entire history of the Inner Sphere and the Clans. It was awesome.

    For single-player games wholly released in 2008, Fallout 3. Enjoyed it considerably more than Fallout 2 and Oblivion.

  60. xbolt says:

    For me, it would probably be Team Fortress 2.

    I bought the Orange Box last year, but I never played TF2 until this August, as I had dial-up internet before that.

    I have sunk more hours into that game than any other in recent history. It’s an absolute blast. (Literally.)

  61. Krellen says:

    I have to say, having quit it three years ago and having just watched level 80 play tonight, I still don’t get why WoW is the most popular MMO. But I’ve been doing MMOs before they had graphics, so I guess I’m a bit jaded.

  62. vbigiani says:

    Regarding L4D and console-itis: the match-making system is not bad, it’s abysimal – many times you wait ten minutes while the lobby leader is searching for a server, and then you join and it turns out you get a ‘red level’ ping time. So you need to quit back to the lobby, re-search, etc.

    The PC-like server browser is even available via console commands, so there’s really no excuse for hiding it. And giving a red/yellow/green rating to your connection, rather than actual ping value, is just plain console-itis (AKA information hiding). Finally, the Voice commands (keys Z and X) are optimized for a gamepad, not a keyboard.

    Those things being said, L4D is very funny, but a bit stale… I hope they add new special infected with the DLC.

  63. Zaxares says:

    I haven’t played many new games in 2008, since I’m still dividing my time between Guild Wars and NWN2 (both of which came out in previous years), so the Witcher will take the title as best game of 2008.

    If the reviews are anything to go by, in 2009 it’ll be Mass Effect.

  64. tussock says:

    Dwarf Fortress.
    And a couple more graphical titles that were rather lacking in depth; though racing games are now well capable of delivering us the green hell and similar classic tracks, which makes up for that somewhat. 10 minute plus hotlaps are fun.

  65. Cthulhu says:

    My favorite game this year: (cries as he realizes the last game he bought that wasn’t a total disappointment was Myst IV) the demo for Spectromancer. I think I’m actually gonna buy it.

  66. Anaphyis says:

    This year? As in games released this year? None.

    My 2008 favorites:

    Galactic Civilizations II (masters of orion 2 in bling graphics), Witcher, Mass Effect (both 2007), Baldurs Gate 1 and 2 with about 100 mods, Freespace 2 (fresh from with fs2open = good times), Heroes of Might and Magic 1-5 (damn you ubisoft for your great collectors edition), Guild Wars …

    Can’t remember a single 2008 game which I liked. Fallout 3 had potential to change that but the storyline sunk that ship to the ocean floor …

    Here’s hoping for 2009.

  67. Left 4 Dead was the only game from this year I got (as a gift), and I enjoyed all 12 hours of playing it with the good friend who gave it to me. I had one good experience playing with random matching online, but I’m just not really a hardcore FPS gamer anymore, and there’s really no option to filter the people you play with, so I didn’t play too many open games.

    If we’re allowing for games found this year (and it looks like we are), Knytt was a cool minimalist platforming diversion with a great soundtrack. I’m currently trying Knytt Stories, which is quite a bit harder.

  68. Ragnos says:

    By far, The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind. Bought it somewhere really cheap expecting a few hours of entertainment and then a very long shelf life. I had no idea what I was getting into. Several months and dozens of downloaded mods later, I’m still not even halfway through with this thing.

  69. utzelgrutzel says:

    My favourite game actually released in 2008 is Mount & Blade. I’m still cursing myself that I never bought it before it came out of beta and into the stores.
    The best games of 2008 for me, regardless of actual release date, were Richard Burns Rally, Civilization 4 and FSX.
    My Witcher EE box is still waiting eagerly to become GOTY’09, no idea why I didn’t come around playing more as I really liked chapter 1 so far…

  70. ClearWater says:

    I quite liked Mystery Case Files – Madame Fate by Big Fish, which — I notice now — can also be downloaded but I bought it on CD in an actual store as my daughter’s Christmas gift.

  71. Luke Maciak says:

    I think if I would actually count the hours spent on video games it would actually turn out that I spent most of them year playing Morrowind.

    Despite it’s flaws it is probably my most favorite Sandbox based RPG. :)

  72. Shawn says:

    I’m pretty sure the only video game I played this year was WoW…

  73. Ariel says:

    another vote for fallout 1 & 2 – i think i enjoyed fallout 2 marginally more.

    i still don’t know WHY i like these games – i hate turn based combat. i hate isometric perspective. the interface is absolutely infuriating. the vast majority of the characters are totally one-dimensional. the plot is virtually non-existent. that said, i greatly and somewhat perplexingly enjoyed my time in the wasteland and would happily return.

  74. Tesh says:

    I finally started Guild Wars just a few weeks ago, and I’m mightily impressed. I’ve also been very happy with Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria. Puzzle Quest is great fun. Katamari Damaci is insane, but incredibly fun. All these were “new” to me in 2008.

    For a true 2008 release, though, I’ll go with Final Fantasy Tactics A2. I got it just a few weeks ago, and between that and GW, I’m very happy, though I wish I had more time.

  75. Aergoth says:

    Super Smash Brawl (aside from the fact that some of the characters are irrefutably broken, epic game.)
    Chocobo’s Dungeon (whatever the new one is. What can I say. FF games are usually rather good.)
    Tetris. Just… Tetris.

    It says short list. I didn’t get much gaming done this year.

  76. DHC says:

    Baldur’s gate 2 modded to the point that I had to move it to it’s own hard drive it was taking up so much space.

  77. Euphemism says:

    Half Life 2, plus its episodes which I haven’t gotten through yet (working on it!). Though shortly before I got it I was all googly eyed over Aquaria, which was an amazing experience. My enjoyment of Aquaria did peak higher than for HL2, I think.

    Well, if I roll back a bit, Fate/Stay Night’s translated UBW route was released in February, and Heaven’s Feel far more recently, and combined that represents somewhere over 48 wonderful hours of entertainment, and peaked at least as high as Aquaria…

  78. Carra says:

    Pretty poor year for new games.

    But I greatly enjoyed Fallout 3. Didn’t really like Oblivion so surprised I liked this game so much. Without doubt my game of the year.

    Followed by World of Goo. First time I enjoyed an indie game so much. Lemmings meets Bridge builder!

    And as for the last two months, playing WoW (Expansion!) again. Another hit for Blizzard.

    Also took the time to play some games I missed because my pc was too slow. A few really good games (call of duty 4, mass effect, bioshock) but none great.

  79. Mephane says:

    What was your favorite game this year?

    That is definitely Portal. I discovered it through this very blog here, finally bought The Orange Box in January 2008.

    Portal is so great, I’d put it on a “10 best games ever” list without hesitation.

  80. Terrible says:

    I was introduced to Starcraft and Diablo II this year. [edit:] Uh, I mean last year.

    They’re both really good, but to be honest I most enjoyed the 1997 game, Magic: The Gathering. I hadn’t played Magic before, and if being introduced to it meant I had to buy a bunch of cards and find some people to play with me… well, that wouldn’t have happened.

  81. TSED says:

    Valkyria Chronicles hits my Game of the Year. I guess.

    Also: WoW IS NOT THE BEST MMO. It’s the most shallow, most annoying, most repetitive, most braindead game I have ever played – MMO or not. I just lost a noticable chunk of respect for you for reading that. ):

  82. Relayer71 says:

    Late to this party but… Game of the year is Persona 4 even though I haven’t played it yet…using Persona 3 as an indicator!

    Aside from that still catching up on PS2 gaming (got one Christmas 2007 after years of supporting the good old Gamecube and spending too much time playing DAOC).

    Picked up Yakuza 2 and very impressed. Some of the best writing and voice acting. Also finished both FFX and FF XII which I think completely crushed fan favorite FF7 (along with 8 & 9). XII in particular was just amazing technically – couldn’t believe it was playing on the PS2.

    Loving Warhammer. With its Scenario gameplay I have been playing at a more casual pace, only for an hour or so each night. Levelling is slow this way but I’m having a blast and no more addiction!!! Also found time for some DS gaming.

    So my faves for 2008:

    Persona 3: FES
    Yakuza 2
    Warhammer Online
    Final Fantasy IV (DS Remake)

    Honorable mentions:

    NWN MotB (Great story/writing and best NWN game yet but I really hate the engine so much!)
    FF X/XII (Older games yes, but new to me!)

  83. For 2008? SBCG4AP. It was literally painful to wait for the next episode. And since they were essentially unrelated episodes, it wasn’t suspense. It was the concepts being brilliant and them having won my trust in terms of creating a world I knew they couldn’t screw up. They did not.

    “Part 8 of our 21 part series on the history of salt.” I couldn’t breathe for 20 minutes. It made me late to class.

  84. Gilf says:

    Well, it -is- the new year of 2010 for now, so I suppose I’ll add it here.

    The game I found this year was Persona 4 (or Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, for you completionists and luddites out there). The game is a wonderful combination of flash-game-based dating sim (don’t ask), dungeon crawling, amazing storytelling and character development, and murder mystery.

    It pulls off both light and dark tones beautifully, which is a lot more than I can say for most webcomics. The combat is refreshingly turn-based, something I think RPGs are really missing these days. Best of all, the Persona-making ‘Fusion’ system is as shallow or deep as you want it to be, where shallow means ‘mix two together and get something better’ and deep means ‘spend hours making and referencing spreadsheets to fully master this monstrous blob’.

    Great find, and I’m glad Extra Credits pointed me to it. As far as I’m consider, this game, despite it’s flaws, goes on my All-Time Favorites list.

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