2008 in Gaming

Posted on Dec 30, 2008
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2008 was quite an exciting year for me when it came to games. First of all: In March I got my PS3 mostly for Resistance, Uncharted and Super Stardust HD … and after enjoying them pretty much stopped using it while moving back to the Xbox360. Back then I had no HDTV so I could only play PS3 games in SD which was kind of a bummer. My Xbox360 on the other side was hooked up to my 19” LCD-display on my work-desk, so at least there I had some kind of HD-experience which I shamelessly used as an excuse to get Burnout Paradise for Microsoft’s white noisy thingy.

The summer was pretty much dominated by Burnout Paradise and not even GTA4 could keep me away from it for long. In the end downloadable games like Geometry Wars 2 and Pixeljunk Monsters ended up being more important for me than GTA4 altogether (but perhaps next year). But the latest gangster-simulation was not their only victim: I think I haven’t turned on my DS for at least 6 months by now and my PSP only saw a short comeback when I gave the Patapon-demo and echochrome a shot. So perhaps I should replace the “exciting” from up there with “weird” ;-) (More after the break)

Last month I then finally made a decision on what HDTV I should get (a 1080p 42” by Samsung) which brought the PS3 back into my life. A few days later I got Little Big Planet for my birthday which sadly caused some time-conflicts with my master thesis (and LBP pretty much lost that battle). After getting MGS4 for X-mas and finally having some time for gaming again (at least for a week or so), the year ends like it has begun: With me playing some really fun games. But this time: On the PS3 ;-)

On the online-front there was the whole aftermath of the Gerstmann-gate and the birth of Giantbomb.com last summer, by now my #1 site when I’m looking for information about a game. It replaced for me mostly Eurogamer (except for their absolutely great reviews ;-) ) and 1UP.com. Still, it could be faster ;-)

Speaking of 1UP. This year the whole 1UP Network some some heavy shifting with veterans like Dan Hsu and Crispin Boyer (just to name those two) leaving and starting their own blog. With Ziff Davis considering discontinuing the print edition of EGM and GfW having gone online-only last April, not to mention the ongoing story about 1UP maybe being acquired by UGO, I’m just glad that this all hasn’t yet affected their Podcasts 1UP Yours and Retronauts as well as the 1UP Show, all of which are still pretty high on my weekly media-list.

I guess, all I can wish for in this department is that 1UP survives all this, that new players will make the scene even more interesting and that 2009 will see some great games (and that I’ll still be able to afford them) :-) … and if you thought you could get such a post without the usual GotY-pick, sorry to disappoint you:

Game of the Year

Nominees

  • Burnout Paradise: For personally one of the best racing games of all times simply because it manages to combine two great concepts: racing cars faster-than-life and exploring a whole city doing so.

  • Uncharted - Drake’s Fortune: Every time I read some Tomb Raider-article I know that I’ve grown tired of that whole genre quite a while ago. That “going around a stupid jungle avoid traps and shooting tigers”-genre, I mean. But I couldn’t really get around getting Uncharted with my PS3 and was absolutely surprised by it. Zombies, Submarines on islands, presentation like a big-budget-movie, great characters? How could I not love it?!

  • Pixeljunk Monsters: I admit it: I’m a DTD-junkie. That combined with cute characters, great weapons and tons of levels got me stuck with my PS3 for evenings and evening and evenings. And it is definitely also a candidate for the “Best game while listening to podcasts”-category.

  • Geometry Wars 2: Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved with more modes, more achievements and more friends-focus and a great soundtrack. This all combined makes it for me the best dual-stick-shooter on the Xbox360 so far and it competes also in that other category that PJM is in ;-)

  • Little Big Planet: LBP is just one of those games, that does everything right for me (well, perhaps except for the savepoint-system). Cute characters, great music, stunning graphics, open-ended gameplay. Plus: It’s the first game that I really want to experience online.

  • Super Stardust HD: This game was one of the reasons why I got the PS3 in the first place and I still love it. While I don’t love the modes as much compared to Geometry Wars 2, the variety in weapons and levels is just great. Not to mention it having been one of the first games to also have Trophies ;-)

  • Metal Gear Solid 4: I just got it for X-mas but couldn’t stop playing it ever since (except for me 3 days ago I fell back into LBP :-P). For me this is one of the few games out there, that truly offers an HD-experience. I’m just glad that I don’t have to go all sneaky with this one, otherwise I’d probably have the same problems ad with any other MGS (except AC!D) so far :-/

And the winner is …

Sorry … but there is a tie: Burnout Paradise and Little Big Planet are the two games I enjoyed the most this year. With one I spent tons of hours, with the other I’m about to. Let’s hope that 2009 will see also such great games :D