Thursday, May 12, 2011

You're The Best.....AROUND. DSiWare Edition

DSiWare isn't something that gets a ton of media attention. Once in a while a game will pop up that you'll see a review on but usually it goes from Nintendo press release to the ether and you'll never know about. But not me, I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff. And that's why I have compiled this list of my favorite DSiWare games in no particular order except where I tell you the specific order.

Soul of Darkness:

Imagine a Castlevania GBA game stripped of any and all references to being a Castlevania game and you have Soul of Darkness. A *shudders* "Metroidvania" game that doesn't so much pay homage to Castlevanias GBA outings as it does just completely rip them off and make them shorter for the app game experience. Everything is there. New weapons, magical attacks, gothic imagery. For five bucks and being from Gameloft, and lot of time and care was actually put into making a really great budget Castlevania clone.

DigiDrive is a DSiWare re-release of GBA Bit Generations game known as Intersect. The series is designed to be simple sit down for a session then go about your day styles of games. DigiDrives release revolves around the idea of you have this disc and a slowly growing meter (I think they call it a piston) on one screen and a four way stop style intersection on the other screen. There are three different "vehicles" of different colors (Black, Red, and White) that are approaching the intersection. Your job is to direct them using the controls to go into one particular section of the intersection in matching color groups. Five in a row makes the lane that color. You're doing this so you can or something. I don't know. All I know is you're trying to stop that piston from smashing into the disc on the other screen and you can just get sucked right into for hours. So much for the quick session gaming.

Mighty Flip Champs:
This is a WayForward Technologies game. A company I have complete faith in when it comes to tackling a retro concept. Think of Lode Runner for minute. You can't jump. You can only climb and walk and shoot bricks. Now, take the shooting out. And add alternate dimensions. You're goal is to get to the fishman in the stage. Hey, sounds easy enough. Except you can't jump, remember? That's where the flipping comes into play. On the bottom screen is an upside down world with a different layout then the one on the top screen you're wandering around in. When you hit a dead end on the top screen, it's because you need to figure out where on the top screen you need to be so when you flip, you're in an ideal non death location. You hit that flip button and the bottom screen flips up and becomes the top screen. As the game progresses, you need to meet up with more characters and have more screens to flip through. You also need to take a breather, because you're gonna get TICKED and feel like a moron.

Photo Dojo:
Photo Dojo executes its one trick with such amazing effectiveness that you wont care that it's a simple, dumbed down fighter. What does it do? Simple. It lets you create your own cast of fighting characters. You snap your profile image, you record the sound effects, you pose yourself in all the silly positions they ask you to pose in and you even choose what you're fireball looks like. It's silly. Silly beyond all comprehension and that's why it is without a doubt one of the must play games of this handheld generation.

Cave Story:
It's Cave Story.
Why aren't you playing it right now? It's on the PC, it's on the Wii, it's coming to the 3DS. Just play it, dammit.

Dark Void Zero
A lot can be said about Dark Void that isn't nice. But there are a few things that the game did right that you can't take away from it. It had a totally rad soundtrack and it gave us Dark Void Zero. The idea of Dark Void Zero is that it's a joke. It's a game that was being worked on for the NES that was never released. That is its back story. And this joke is pulled off with such excellent execution that you could almost believe it. When you boot it up they have you blow into the microphone on the system to make sure the dust is gone. Even the virtual manual completes the illusion with its history complete with pictures. What ends up being surprising is that they didn't waste all their creative juices on the concept and actually made a really good tribute to every 8-Bit action game of the era.

Puzzle games are a bit of a forte of mine. Right up there with racing games. I've played so many variations of the same style of gameplay, whether it be line up three, Bejewelled style, or even the billion different types of Tetris that exist. What Nintendo has done here is taken the classic idea of a falling block puzzler and mixed it up with a match three concept like that of Dr. Mario or Tetris 2. Take your stylus in hand. Unused blocks start clogging up the screen on top of the blocks that you start out with. You can poke blocks and that block goes into your save spot. If you tap in an area not occupied by a block, the next block in your save queue goes into that space. Your goal is to create chains that lead groups of three or more. The colors are there for more than just matching up. Every time you match color, it goes to the top screen and starts filling in an image. Once you fill in all the image of that certain color just means points and clearing the screen. All of this is wrapped up in a DELIGHTFUL 8-Bit package. Those images you're trying to complete? NES game sprites. This game takes the 8-Bit package presented in Tetris DS and does it better. All of the music in the game are really good remixes of classic NES songs. There is even a Jukebox mode so you can plug in your headphones, listen to the remix and even shut the device and still keep listening to the tracks. It is without hyperbole when I tell you this is one of my absolute favorite DS games, DSiWare or otherwise.

As luck would have it, Nintendo announced today (6.2.2011) a list of games that won't be transferable to the 3DS. Everything listed here is good to go. Unfortunately Flipnote Studio and Earthworm Jim didn't make the cut which are two great downloads that I didn't mention here)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NESea Vol. I

Get it? Combine NES and nausea together.

When the time comes around inevitably that sites and magazines talk about the worst games of all time, they are all starting to blend together and look the same. They tend to be a mixture of Pac-Man 2600, E.T. 2600, CD-i Zeldas, Shaq Fu, Big Rig Racing, and of course, Superman 64. All valid examples of horrible awful games.

My area of expertise has always been one of two game systems. The Game Boy or the NES. I've played an sickeningly large amount of NES, and I feel the people responsible for MOST of that consoles library don't get enough shit tossed at them. In fact, I would argue that there are games sitting at the local swapmeet that you've never heard of that are a worse nightmare than E.T. 2600 could even hope to be. These are their stories.

Hey. See that logo up there? LJN? Get used to it. You're going to see it on the packaging of a lot of stuff. And that rainbow? It might as well be coming out of a Mr. Yuk sticker. Because that's what it means. It's poison. That logo means there's an 80% chance that the game belongs under your sink next to the bleach and Windex as opposed to being jammed into your NES hole.

Todays game that shows that they are nothing short of being spawns from hell sent to ruin a kids summer vacation.

I'm starting big. I'm starting what I consider the most vile game I've ever played. Honestly. This is my most hated game of all time. Uncanny X-Men is a disgusting example of "Just make something" that exists for no reason other than the X-Men didn't have a game on the market yet and dammit, kids love games. That may not be entirely true. I don't know if this game came before or after the C64/PC game with the delightful name of Madness In The Murderworld. Regardless, they came out the same year and kids were going to BEG for the X-Men videogame.

(Power Play series. The first of many hints)

Things start out innocent enough. That cover art is pretty rad right? I mean, it looks straight out of a comic from the 80s. And Storm has never looked cooler. How much better would the X-Men films have been if Halle Berry had a giant ass mohawk? Of course the Canucklehead gets front row center. He's got those bitchin' claws. Of course that's who I'm going to pick to play as! Why WOULDN'T I pick Wolverine?

(Yes Wolive! Flee for all your life! The bat creatures took your claws!)

Well. The answer there is simple really. Don't pick fucking Wolverine. Why? Well. He doesn't have any claws. Instead, he hops around. Cyclops? He shoots lasers. Wolverine just punches stuff. He doesn't STAB stuff. He doesn't heal himself, he just punches dudes. Over and over and over and over. And not well either. He's the best at what he does. And what he doesn't isn't very nice indeed. But I guess it doesn't really matter. They all look the same just with pallet swaps. And the game plays like garbage. It's a top down, sort of Ikari Warriors style. And you always play with a partner. Playing solo? Doesn't matter. You get an AI partner. And calling it AI is giving it too much credit. There is no intelligence to be found. More often than not, the character will just get lost in a corner swinging wildly and then he/she dies. At least Iceman does in fact throw snowballs at the bad men. Then you're free from his chains. Oh. And those stats? As far as I can tell, they are made up bullshit.

(If his sense of smell is so acute, when is he wallowing around in shit?)

And when I say you're free from his idiot chains, I mean you're free to see how far you can go punching things until you realize that this game is a complete and total mess. The images flicker uncontrollably. At times, it's like you're just phasing in and out of existence like Marty McFly in the Back to the Future game (ALSO LJN mind you) traveled back in time and started fucking with Professor X. It is almost enough to make you nauseous (Like the title!) and just completely stop playing.

(That black and white blob is apparently Storm)

Hey. Want to beat the game? Want to play the final level? Well, there's a trick to that. You need the secret code. How do you get that code you're probably asking. Well, obviously you beat all the levels and they give it to you. Nope. Well, maybe it's a secret hidden in the manual that you think is in a container you threw into the shed. So you dig that out. Hmm. Nope. Shit. The box for this thing probably hasn't existed for 15 years, it's probably hidden on the back like in Metal Gear Solid. Nope. It's on the cartridge. Not that you would know that. They don't tell you that. But it is. It's there. You gotta put that in after you SOMEHOW beat all the levels. Why did you do that? What the hell is your problem? How did you even figure out that code? You're more lizard than man.

Below, I have a little piece of video footage of me playing. You will see the game is pretty much spot on to the X-Men. Remember the time when Wolverine and Nightcrawler fought skeletons in the sewers? That was awesome. Also remember when Nightcrawler died 2 pages in and Wolverine had to go it alone while flickering in and out of existence? Good times.

Friday, October 01, 2010


That's right. We've got the very first scoop on Nintendo's next gen system, currently in development at Pee-wee's Playhouse in Kyoto, Japan. Earlier today I spoke with our resident ninja, Chef Boyardee-X, who slept with Cammie Dunaway and then snuck into Nintendo of Japan's offices while she was peeing on a pregnancy test thingy and swiped top secret trapper keepers related to the next Nintendo console, codenamed Chopsticks.

First of all, and most importantly, I can confirm that, yes, Chopsticks will use CDs instead of cartridges. That's right, you heard it here first. Chopsticks will be Nintendo's first ever 3D home console. No grasses! Chopsticks will have a new and improved magical pointy fairy wand, which will be made out of genuine licensed Nerf material. Nintendo will be teaming up with Nerf for a joint crossover marketing venture.

Chopsticks will introduce a revolutionary new battery solution for video game controllers. However Nintendo will be sued shortly after launch and existing controllers will be pulled from store shelves and replaced with controllers that use standard AA batteries. Nintendo will then counter sue for back taxes and child support.

Chopsticks will be the most powerful system of the next generation. In fact, Chopsticks games will feature live actors and full motion video, something never before done in gaming ever. This latest NintendovationTM will be copied by Sony and Nintendo will sue. Sony will then counter sue for back taxes and child support.

Nintendo's dream of connectivity with handhelds will become a true reality with Chopsticks. The next iteration of the DS, 3DS (pictured) will be seamlessly integrated with Chopsticks. You will have the ability to play Chopsticks Virtual Console games on your 3DS, and vice versa, although your Chopsticks console and 3DS will be permanently tied to each another. You will only be able to store three games at a time and they will disappear after 30 seconds (approximately) of transferring them. Chopsticks will make history by being the first Nintendo system to offer downloadable episodes of The Golden Girls and Designing Women.

As for backwards compatibility, all GameCube and Wii games will be playable on Chopsticks. However, there will be no GameCube controller ports on Chopsticks. A new line of controllers modeled after the NES, SNES, TurboGrafx-16, Genesis, Nintendo 64, GameCube, etc. will be released, however they will be purchasable only through the Japanese Chopsticks shop. Also you need to have a Japanese Chopsticks to buy them. Chopsticks will be region-locked so you have to buy one Chopsticks console for each region.

Chopsticks will be the first Nintendo system since the Nintendo 64 to launch with Mario: the combo package Super Mario Universe/Duck Hunt: Liberation will come packed in with the system along with a light gun, a headset, and a new version of the Robotic Operating Buddy. Having been developed at NASA over the course of 15 years, R.O.B.2 will have the ability to hover through the air, vacuum your house, and pleasure you sexually.

Screenshot of Nintendo's first ever FMV game, Super Mario Universe

The prototype R.O.B.2, currently in development at NASA

The Chopsticks Zapper

A headset peripheral will come packed in with Chopsticks

Chopsticks will have a card scanner on the system, much like the one pictured here, for scanning credit cards, points cards, Pokemon cards, and the Carl Yastrzemski baseball card from 1973, when he had big sideburns

Anticipation has been confirmed for the Chopsticks Virtual Console

Floor Vision will make its debut on Chopsticks. A video demonstration can be seen here:

TITLES IN DEVELOPMENT (list subject to change):

Super Mario Universe/Duck Hunt: Liberation
Mario Kart Chopsticks
Mario and Mavis Beacon at the Olympic Games
Mario and Mavis Beacon at the Olympic Winter Games
Donkey Kong Junior is Missing!
Sonic and the Catcher in the Rye
Swift Justice with Nancy Grace
Let's Build a Pony!
Let's Build a Pony! Adventures
100 Classic Silent Films
Bananas in Pajamas
Celebrity Autopsy: The Video Game

Monday, September 13, 2010

Super Mario Bros. Is 25 Years Old

It's a weird thought for me. The game that started it all for modern day gaming, Super Mario Bros., was originally released on the Famicom on this day (Sept. 13th 1985) 25 years ago. I personally predate Super Mario Bros. That is something I never really fully comprehended until this date. I knew SMB came out in 1985, but that little factoid always slipped passed my mind. I didn't get my gaming legs wet until a few years later. I was probably way to young to young to be playing video games back then. 1989? Is four too young to be playing games? It probably is. I don't care. Tetris, Mario, and Contra were awesome. I'm sure somewhere in the cosmos there is a Back To The Future like time line written on a chalkboard, and in 1989 there are several branches that shoot out leading to different realities. Perhaps in Earth-684 this blog is about political cartoons and is called "Illustrious Illustrations" and I wear a tam everywhere I go. I should buy a tam.

I was waiting for today. Today was the day I'd "relaunch" this blog. Not a real relaunch, since you can't really relaunch something that was never launched to begin with. I guess refocus would have been a better choice of words. Really, I'm writing this part as I go. It's a nice foray into the insanity of my mind. All the pieces are there, It's just up to me to attempt to assemble them in a manner that looks like I'm not loonier than a toon. I think a better focus for this blog would be more towards the personal interactions I've had with gaming and it's culture as opposed to just trying to be a mock journalist pretending like I know what I'm doing and reviewing things. I'm not that guy. YES, I might still do that once in a while, and I do want to keep writing about random silly gaming things, but THIS. THIS RIGHT HERE is what I want. Personal tales of my history with gaming, my present with gaming, my future with gaming, and my views on the industry and culture as a whole. Plus this is all I really can do. I'm a wordsmith, but I'm not exactly the most professional. My composition needs work, to say the least. Looks at all these commas. Man, I LOVE commas. To the point that I use them incorrectly quite a bit.

The first game I can ever remember consciously playing was Super Mario Bros. It was quite honestly the greatest toy I ever played with. I said toy. I realize that. It's a sort of heresy to think of games these days as anything else other than art or legitimate and standalone form of entertainment. Back then, as far as I was concerned, they weren't anything more than toys. I controlled the little brown and red dude across the screen and tried to get from point-a to point-b without dying. It was the greatest thing ever. I knew right then and there I needed that toy that my grandma had hooked up to her TV. Eventually, I did get that toy. And to this date, Super Mario Bros. and the numerous sessions of 2-player gaming with my dad on Contra remain some of the most treasured memories I have. That's why gaming will never stop being a part of the person I am. They mean more to me than just another way to kill time. They have, for better or most likely worse, shaped me and my personality to what it is today. Video games and The Simpsons.

This is just the start. Slowly but surely I plan on digging through on a more personal level about my history with games. A peek behind the curtain that is me. I have stories tell, memories to recollect, and truths to reveal. We've just spotted to the tip of the iceberg that brought the Titanic down. Join me and go down with the ship and see how deep down this thing really is.

Next week: The schoolyard and the early 90s.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Don't Call It A Comeback...

I never thought myself as an aspiring journalist. I just thought of myself as an asshole that always had something angry to say about gaming. Gaming could almost be described as my passion in life. I'm not college educated. I never hope to be discovered and get a gig writing for Joystiq or feel like could finagle my way into E3 and feel legitimate. I just like to write. Unfortunately I made it so it wasn't fun. I tried too hard to sort of comply with the "rules" of blogging. Nobody gives a shit about lists. Everybody has a top ten list. You can go anywhere on on the net, not just blogging sites, and find a top 10 list about something. They're all the same. So here I am. I ruined my own site for myself. I focused too hard on writing reviews for things, most of which went unpublished, or scathing lists about various topics that everyone always talks about. I'm done with that. I don't know what the hell I was thinking. This is a rebirth of VA. I'm going to make this the way I want it to be. I'm not going to bother with the nonsense that I feel like I'm obligated to write just because I have a blog on the internet dedicated to a particular topic. If I feel passionate enough about a particular game, sure, I'll write something, whether that be positive or negative. And I tend to get bizarre and random gaming gadget and knick-knacks that I never really write about that I probably should. Good times will be had by all. But mostly me. You, I'm not so interested in.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Heavy Rain: A Journal Part I

SPOILERS! SERIOUSLY! This is LITERALLY my play through of Heavy Rain as I progressed through it. I kept a little tiny journal thing. It tracks my thoughts as I progress through it. It's not just spoilers. It's the fucking game. Don't read it if you want to be surprised or give a shit about that kind of stuff.

Awesome. Starting off with a guy in his midways. At least sleep under the blankets!

I personally have enough common courtesy not to stand on the patio in my underpants.

That birds up to some shit, I know.

Awesome. A shower scene. I wonder how many creative ways they will craft to keep his junk out of frame.

I'm feeling uneasy. I know know what this game is about. One of these kids is going to die.


Great. A mall. Might as well take the kids to Pedophile Land.

This kid is a horrible actor and should not be allowed to use the English language.

Trying to find this kid is seriously tense. Fuck you not-my-kid red balloon kid.


Well shit. That's not what I expected to happen.

And now I'm divorced. Awesome.

This is a depressingly accurate bachelor simulator.

SHIT. I didn't really mean to tell him he couldn't have his teddy bear. Stupid QTE.

Beatin' up hooker Johns. All in the days work for an asthmatic private eye.

Jayden's voice actor is irritating.


I'm playing Miles Edgeworth now.

Psych profile now? Is this Silent Hill?

Now I'm in the park. This game has no idea what the fuck it wants to do.

OF COURSE. Black out at the park. GOD DAMNIT. My wife hates me enough as it is. Now I'm gonna be the cause of TWO kids deaths.

Alright. I want those glasses, Jayden.

Now I REALLY want these Space Glasses.

I don't like this character. At least not right now.

What's that shit he's taking SUPPOSED to be? Windex?

SHIT. Why didn't I remember what clothes my kid was wearing?!?!

A convenience store hold up? I actually played this part already at PAX.

Oh sure. I saved your ass now I get your shoebox of broken dreams.

And now the fanservice for the guys.

Now it's turned into a thriller movie. Complete with stereotypical burglar sneaking around the house.

OH SHIT! They got me. I thought for sure I fucked up and got her killed.

FUCK YOU PAPARAZZI! I'm stealthy like a fucking ninja!

What's with this dream state thing? Don't tell me it's turning into one of those fucking games.

It IS hilarious knocking people down though.

Ah yes. The train station locker. A Hollywood staple for over 50 years.

What the hell kind of phone is that? It's like it uses N64 memory cards.

Sideshow time! I hope he shows everyone his trip to Vegas.

That is a lot of fucking crosses.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say this dude isn't the killer since I pretty much just started the game. Unless it's the ultimate swerve.

And I shot him. I'm sorry. I panicked. I didn't know what was going on. I'm CERTAIN they weren't going to kill these two crucial characters off so early in.

What the fuck is this now? A trailer park?

Oh great. A crying baby and no mother. I think we know what the fuck this means.

Not today lady. You have to survive so I can give you the "World's Worst Mother Award"

And now I'm changing a diaper. What the fuck is up with this games priorities.

AND feeding, burping, and rocking the baby to sleep. Awesome.

You know. He really seems to be gathering a lot of clues and proceeding to do JACK SHIT with them. Come on Scott.

FUCK YES. That was what I was talking about. That car chase thing was fucking awesome.

And then they make you play the game upside down. Which is every bit as disorienting as it sounds. Up is down. Left is right. TOTAL CHAOS!

Also. That is one of the most ADVANCED GPS units ever. You can customize it to say whatever the hell you want? Or is the Origami Killer just a complete and total genius?

Friday, January 01, 2010

In Which I Award The Best of The Best At What They Do 2009 Edition

Sony PSP Game Of The Year
It's not easy being Sackboy. You had one of the most anticipated games your home console had seen in it's generation. Granted, you're in a game that gameplay wise is older than Mario himself, but you have a hook. You give the players very comprehensive tools that allows them to upload and share a seemingly limitless supply of levels. Sounds great, right? It is. So you could imagine the level of skepticism I had when I heard that LBP was getting a portable version. Luckily, love and care was put into LPB PSP. While you sacrifice multiplayer, you gain a fantastic never ending game on the go that you likely already love with an ever-expanding community of creators. Bravo team. Bravo.

Nintendo DS Game Of The Year
Mario And Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
(Bowser: The kindest of all murderous aspiring dictators)
Mario has been cutting through worlds with reckless abandon for ages now. Him and his brother have been kicking it turnbased style for several years now as well. Naturally, when something succeeds, Nintendo will make sequels. We never REALLY got a sequel to Mario RPG on the SNES. What we did get was the Mario and Luigi Saga. (I guess Paper Mario would be the first...but don't interrupt this flow) While decent games, with decent writing, none of them ever really grabbed my attention until Bowser's Inside Story. The insane plot is hilariously written, and contains multiple gameplay styles that includes side scrolling platforming and giant oversized battle sequences that require you to hold the DS book style. A must own for any DS gamer.

Handheld Game Of The Year
Mario And Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
(I have chortles!)
I can't say anything else about this game. It was a bad idea to write a really good description of it in the previous category. So. You guys watch Lost? I don't. I know I should, and I see that seasons 1-5 is on Netflix instant streaming these days. Maybe I'll get around to watching them now. Of course, I'm certain Twitter will spoil the ending to the series for me.

Most Improved Franchise Of The Year
Assassin's Creed
(Image censored. Wang free. Thank you Ubisoft)
Hey guys! Remember Assassin's Creed? The one that was obnoxiously repetitive and mostly consisted of you sitting on benches and pick pocketing people for most of the game? Yeah? I bet you can't wait for the sequel! Well guess what! Here it is! They actually fixed everything. Most games are repetitive. We really should realize it. What the original games problem was that it did NOTHING to disguise the fact that we're just doing the same thing over and over and over and you can't so much trip over your own feet without alerting somebody somewhere. NOW. NOW we have the game I wanted when I booted it up the first time. FINALLY.

Parappa The Rapper Presents: Musical Game Of The Year
The Beatles: Rock Band
(I really don't see how all five of you are going to fit in there)
Have you heard of these guys? They're called The Beatles. It's five Brits that write awesome music. I'm PRETTY sure they're all on drugs though. And I think one of them died and they just replaced him with a look-a-like. The tabloids don't lie. But seriously, the Beatles is one of the biggest acts of all time. Getting the license to make a game that scans their entire musical history has to be one of the most painstaking and awkward tasks of all time. You KNOW people are going to be breathing down your neck at ALL times. Harmonix done did us good. A game that comes across as a fitting tribute to one of the biggest bands of all time, with none of the filler or silliness of an Activision title. The Beatles: Rock Band also has one of the best visual styles of the year. The Dreamscapes can be nothing short of epic. You almost just want to turn on no-fail mode and watch it play.

Assassin Creed's "Boy This Should Have Been WAY More Awesome"
Award of Merit
(Not shown. A horrific scene of cookie obscenity)
I like Scribblenauts. It's true. Which is why it pains me to say it's an awful game. I take back some of that. The game itself is sound. The puzzles are great and range from rewarding to mind numbing. There are two types of puzzles. Traditional thinkin' puzzles, and action based puzzles. The dictionary in the game is nothing short of technological feat. Unfortunately it controls like a drunk boat. Which would be great if you were playing a game about a drunken schooner, but you aren't. You're controlling a boy in a rooster hat sticking steaks to babies and imploding the universe with the LHC.

Licensed Game Of The Year
Batman Arkham Asylum
(Batman: Goddamn)
HEY! A licensed game that's good! And not just "Hey, this is great for a licensed game!" good, like Wolverine Origins or Spider-Man 2. This is just good old fashioned great. You are the Worlds Greatest Detective. You use all of your crazy bat powers (and by bat powers I mean limitless amounts of money to buy the greatest toys ever and years of martial arts training) to stop the Jokers newest stupid plot. The Joker is an idiot. This bull crap never works and he knows it. What was his big plan this time? Take over Arkham is cliche Joker. Anyone with a spork and a wetnap could apparently break out of or take control of this stupid island.

Mario Kart Wii's 3 Steps Forward 2 Steps Back Award
Sony presents The PSP Go!
Alright. I'll level with you. I own one. There. I said it. Mock me all you want. I didn't own a PSP and I like new technology and I wanted to own LBP and Gran Turismo. Big whoop. I'll get on to THAT shit later. So here's the lowdown. The PSP is basically a bomb. Not Sega Saturn or CD:i Zelda bombs, but a bomb none the less. Why is it a bomb? There is no one particular answer. The original console using a disc based format probably doesn't help. The dude isn't exactly portable either, since without a case, the delicate screen is ALWAYS exposed. The library isn't the greatest, it's picked up these days, but for the majority of it's life span, it's been weak. And the DS is just a freight train out of control moving millions of units every month. So why not reboot it? And they did. With this. First of all, it's smaller. WAY smaller. Which isn't bad, but it's not good either. It's an awkward shape, and depending on who you are, you can really cramp up playing this thing. Having no disc drive is a great idea, except for the fact that it was at one point (and still is mind you) a disc based system. You can't even transfer games over if you upgraded to this unit. Also, the store isn't exactly greatest. Some companies don't even seem interested in supporting it. Then....there is that fucking screen again. Not recessed into the unit. Just lying there, waiting for you to just slip it into your pocket so the seams of your denim can show it who's boss. Is it wrong to want my portable gaming device to be a clamshell? I can understand if it were a phone, but this? COME ON!

Award For Cinematic Excellence

Uncharted 2
(The voice of a generation. Almost literally)
Let's get one thing straight. Uncharted 2 is better than anything you'll ever do in your life. Myself included. Perhaps the plot itself isn't exactly Oscar caliber, but it's DAMN good. Damn well written with amazing characters and an amazing cast to boot. Granted, it doesn't make much sense why Nate would be against shooting a guard in a museum only to hurl him off of a building into the icy waters below shortly after this discussion with his accomplice, but hey, whatever. All I know is that the cutscenes are beautiful, the acting is fantastic, and I wish it weren't over.

Best Racing Game Of The Year

Forza 3
(Forza 3: Not Pictured Here)
Hey there. This might come as a shock to you guys, but I'm a HUGE racing fan. I love racing games. Sure, Burnouts, Mario Karts, Need For Speeds,...uh....Roadblasters? They're all fun. But given my druthers, I'll take a sim over them any day of the week. I love everything about sim racers. The beautiful graphics, the faithful renderings and schematics of real life cars, the ability to tweak and tune your favorite car in any way you feel fit just gets me going. I LOVE it. And Forza 3 does it excellently. Need For Speed: Shift deserves an honorable mention. It's a VERY good well balanced blend between Sim racing and arcade racing and I hope to see the Shift franchise to keep going and stray away from the street racing theme that NFS has been prone to do lately.

"That's A Last Gen Feature" Blunder Of The Year Award
(Open During Construction)
There is a lot that can be said about PSN. Yes. It's a free service, but that doesn't mean it has to be treated like a free service. PSN does a lot of things well. For one, in their infinite wisdom, they realized that making the store a browser based application was a fucking stupid idea and changed that last year. Unfortunately, they don't quite seem to know what to do with the space. Awesome games on PSN that are original are few and far between. The PSone classics section is a disgrace at times. But this is all little things. My biggest problem with PSN is that they decided to launch a console, the PSP Go, that is depended SOLELY on this service and it's laissez faire attitude towards content. LBP PSP launched practically a WEEK after it was announced with nary a word to be spoken about why. Will this new game that's coming out be on the network at launch? Hell if I know. Sony isn't talking. What about an older game? Like ____? Good luck getting an answer. Hell, some developers even seem against releasing anything digitally anyways. It's bad times over there, and it shouldn't be.

Best Sequel
Uncharted 2
Did you know that before being the best game of 2009, Uncharted was already the best game of PS3? Sure, MGS4 exists, and countless other multiplatform titles, but Uncharted was the best game. Seriously. It was the tipping point in selling me the PS3 and I don't regret it. While Uncharted was a great game, there were a lot of little things they could have fixed. And they did. Uncharted 2 gave everything a better polish, from the gunplay to the visuals. There are little bits of animation in the game that just completely wow you and it comes across as nothing you've ever seen before. It is a masterfully crafted sequel.

I DO HOWEVER need to give props to Assassin's Creed II. They took a franchise that could have been dead. A poorly received first game can be a death sentence. But they did EVERYTHING right this time. I applaud that team for making what was practically an entirely new franchise.

Best New Original IP
DJ Hero
(MC Escher. Get it?)
I was a skeptic. Activision has burned me lately with the "Hero" franchise. III was passable but ridiculous. World Tour was bad and V was nothing short of boring to me. Not to mention the attempts at band games. Aerosmith was alright, as is Metallica, but when you look at something like the Beatles game, you realize that they're nothing more than JUST branding. Enter DJ Hero. The DJing scene isn't exactly something I follow. All I know is that I like Run DMC and this game has Vanilla Ice and The Killers in it. I took a leap of faith and I enjoyed every second of it. It was fresh and unique (even though really, it's just another reused concept) and the soundtrack of mashups is top notch. I tip my hat to the developers of DJ Hero. They created a new rhythm game that I am more than willing to stick with.

Best Xbox 360 Game of 2009
(Only Console Exclusives)
Forza Motorsport 3
Sue me. This was my favorite 360 game of the year. Bite me. I like racing games. This isn't your award show. I have nothing else to say about Forza 3 and I don't have to defend my decision. Let's just change the subject. I own two Teddy Ruxpin's and two Grubby's. Why? Because they're awesome and I want to start an animatronic fuzzy robot army.

Best PS3 Game of 2009
(Only Exclusives)
Uncharted 2
(Hint Hint)
How much more information do you think I can pass on about Uncharted 2?

Best Wii Game of 2009
(Exclusives or games with exclusive features)
Silent Hill Shattered Memories
(Using a cellphone while running from demons is probably a bad idea)
Did you know that the Wii had a ton of stuff released on it this (2009)year? It's true. Although by reading the internet, you'd never really realize it. And holy shit does this one take the cake. Not an exclusive to the Wii, it was also released on the PS2 and PSP, but they pale in comparison to the Wii version. It's a "re-imagining" of the original game. Which basically means that they just stole the names and basic plot and created a different game around it. This game judges you on a psychological level as you play, which is step one in making a creepy game. You control your flashlight with the IR on the remote. THAT'S awesome. You take horrible crackly cell phone calls with the crappy tinny speaker on the remote. And if you want to ACTUALLY hear what is in the call, you have to hold it up to your ear. And then, all hell breaks loose. No combat. When hell LITERALLY freezes over, you have to run your ass off. This game is nothing short of a delight from start to finish.

Gamestop Presents: We Won't Get Any Money From These
Downloadable Game of the Year
Trials HD
(Shown: Not Trials HD)
It's almost like Excitebike, if Excitebike made me hurl my control the floor and storm out of my own bedroom cursing. This game gets unrelenting to the point of it just being downright mean.

Best Packaging Design
Metriod Prime Trilogy
Nintendo doesn't exactly have a track record, especially these days, with particularly compelling artwork. Hell, one glance at the cover for Bowser's Inside Story would lead you to believe they actually forgot to design the cover and just used the placeholder graphic that stores like Gamestop use to entice you to preorder. But what the hell is this? The Metroid Prime Trilogy, all three phenomenal Prime games on one disc, comes in a very nice steelbook case with beautiful graphics wrapped all around. It even has a little fold out artbook inside. I don't know exactly why Nintendo decided to do this, but son of a bitch, I'm glad they did.

John J. Holders Favorite Of Two-Thousand And Nine That Wasn't Anything Completely and Totally Amazing But Deserves To Be Recognized By SOMEBODY.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2010 Wii
(Editors Note: This was actually written before the recent..uh...occurrences)
Golf games are awesome.

That's the first time that line was probably ever written. But I stand by it. I love golf games. I think they're always fun. I used to play Fred Couples golf on the 32x almost daily for an entire year. Sierra made an awesome golf game called Front Page Sports Golf that was probably my favorite golfing game of all time. Key word. WAS. Move over Sierra. There is a new Sheriff in town, and his squeaky clean name is Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods 2010 on the Wii is one of the greatest sports games ever created. That's not hyperbole either. I genuinely think that. The optional package came bundled with Wii Motion Plus, which basically turns the controller into the device you thought you bought. And with this device you get one of the most fluid, fun, and brilliant golf games ever crafted. It even has disc golf. MOTION PLUS disc golf. Online features are in full force, everything the console counterparts have with less visual OOMPH. But it doesn't matter. This game is a game that should be played at least once by everyone with a Wii.

Game of the Year 2009
Uncharted 2
Seriously. I can't talk about Uncharted 2 anymore. If you want to know more, I'm certain IGN has a 23 page review about it written up.

Big Rigs: Over The Road Racing Presents: Shit Pile of the Year

Tony Hawk's Ride
This man should not be allowed to sell video games anymore. Ride is a pile of shit. Go ahead. Stand on it. Play it. And "play" is a term you can really use loosely since I've seen cats get thousands of points of this damn contraption Activision thought they could pawn off on retailers this holiday season. It may look like a cool novelty, but don't fool yourself. You have zero reason to play this game when a game like Skate 2 or Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 exists in this world. Why torture yourself?