Monday, 12 January 2009

Games Of The Year 2008

Ok. So I was gonna do a big proper run-down from 10 to 1 on this, but I can't be arsed because there are so many games I haven't played, or haven't given enough time to. Besides, as you'll see, my feelings about a game can't always be summed up all that simply. There are ten games here, but this is not my top ten. Rather it's the ten games I felt most like giving awards to. You'll see.

Best Retail Game
The main purpose of this award is to illustrate how my two favourite games of the year are download-only. As such the winner isn't actually that important. Anyway, it's Dead Space.

Best Sequel
Geometry Wars Retro Evolved 2 is possibly a flawless example of how to make a sequel. It's still got the main mode which is better than ever, and it adds five extra modes which all play with the formula in brilliant ways, building tactics that are useful in other modes, and are varied enough to be fun while never being just novelties. Plus it's prettier and has better music. Yeah, it's the perfect sequel. Which means it's Game Of The Year right? Oh unless someone released a really amazing original game. Hmm.

Best Worst Sequel
Super Smash Bros Brawl is basically the same as Super Smash Bros Melee, which in all honesty wasn't that much better than Super Smash Bros No Subtitle. Somehow it still ended up being my most played game last year.

Best Game For The First Hour Or So
God, Boom Blox got really boring after that, didn't it?

Best Game That Was Split Into Five-Second Chunks And Mixed Together With Five-Second Chunks Of The Worst Game Ever
Consistency is not a word Mirror's Edge knows. Playing it, I can't help the feeling that if I could just peel away the moments of perfect clarity, beauty, exhiliration and grace (of which there are many) and make a game out of them, it would be the best game ever. Problem is, the game left over would be so abhorrently evil that it would probably destroy the world and everything in it.

Best Drumming
Admittedly I haven't played Guitar Hero World Tour, so I am completely unqualified to judge this award. However Rock Band contains some very fine drumming indeed. In fact it is the most fun I have had drumming in a game this year.

Best Game I Had Already Played
Banjo-Kazooie was so much better than I thought it would be. I'd barely rose-tinted it at all. See, this kind of thing is the reason I didn't do a top ten. You can't really put retro-re-releases in a top ten can you.

Best Game That I Still Can't Make Any Sense Of
This sort of game is the other reason I didn't do a top ten. No More Heroes could reasonably go in any position on the list. It renders criticism utterly irrelevant. I can't properly articulate why I like it. I can't properly articulate why I hate it, either. The only real flaw I can pin on it is that none of it makes any fucking sense.

Best Place To Stop Playing A Game
I'm told Zack & Wiki becomes really horribly unpleasantly frustrating at some point along the way, but fortunately I'm nowhere near clever enough to get that far. I'm tempted to just leave it where it is and preserve my love for it.

Best Game

Braid, obviously.