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
#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?
#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.
WAY back in 2005, I wrote about a D&D campaign I was running. The campaign is still there, in the bottom-most strata of the archives.
Project Button Masher
I teach myself music composition by imitating the style of various videogame soundtracks. How did it turn out? Listen for yourself.
Steam Summer Blues
This mess of dross, confusion, and terrible UI design is the storefront the big publishers couldn't beat? Amazing.
The story of me. If you're looking for a picture of what it was like growing up in the seventies, then this is for you.
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.