As a counter to the silly list of laughable writing lauded by the Writer’s Guild, I suppose I should provide my own list of games. I’m not going to limit my list to members of a particular union, but instead I’ll simply look for stuff that’s actually good.
In no particular order:
Not the best work BioWare has ever done, but it was a decent yarn with some fun characters.
Secret of Monkey Island
Hey, a re-release is still a release. Aside: Oh delight and rapture, the re-release was wonderful.
Okay, I worked on this one so I should disqualify it. Still, if you’re into Final Fantasy 4 style jRPG games, this one should do nicely.
Lord of the Rings Online
Not a 2009 release, but as an MMO it’s always under development. I saw it for the first time in 2009, so it’s new as far as I’m concerned.
I could rip the game to bits for all of the crazy compromises it makes to shoehorn MMO gameplay into a setting that was almost completely at odds with such a concept. I still get a little crazy if I think about it too much.
But they were careful to honor the language, the lands, and the tone of the original work. Considering the origin of the books as a linguistics project, this is quite fitting. They were faithful where possible, and made compromises when they had to. In the end they managed to adapt Middle Earth to the often absurd world of MMO gameplay while preserving its dignity. This is a great accomplishment and there are precious few developers who could hope to do as well.
Okay, I’m clearly cheating now. Dear Esther came out in 2008. I played it for the first time a few months ago, and it haunted me for days. It’s a free mod for Valve’s Source Engine.
The game doesn’t fit into any existing genre. I guess I’d call it an exploration narrative.
Whoops. Need to take my inhaler. Just laughed myself into an asthma attack.
While I’m doing that, go ahead and nominate games you thought were well written. The rules:
1) The game must be from 2009
2) Or not.
Deus Ex and The Treachery of Labels
Deus Ex Mankind Divided was a clumsy, tone-deaf allegory that thought it was clever, and it managed to annoy people of all political stripes.
The Death of Half-Life
Valve still hasn't admitted it, but the Half-Life franchise is dead. So what made these games so popular anyway?
Bethesda felt the need to jam a morality system into Fallout 3, and they blew it. Good and evil make no sense and the moral compass points sideways.
Lost Laughs in Leisure Suit Larry
Why was this classic adventure game so funny in the 80's, and why did it stop being funny?
What is Piracy?
It seems like a simple question, but it turns out everyone has a different idea of right and wrong in the digital world.