Tuesday, December 22, 2009

John J. Holder, Esq,'s 47th Annual Awards For Excellence (And Not So Much) In Gaming Nominees

Here we go. One more year in the can. Another year of gaming. Although from a glance in your mind, it wasn't all that interesting up until these last couple of months. But digging proved otherwise. Nothing EVENTFUL until the end here, but plenty of games that deserve to be on your shelve, or bin, or where the hell you keep your games. Games with no nominees means it'll either spoil a surprise, or I already had a winner and didn't need a nominee. Who knows. Maybe there will be even more awards in the final "show" if I can think of some.

Sony PSP Game Of The Year
GTA:Chinatown Wars
Final Fantasy Dissidia
Patapon 2
Rock Band Unplugged

Nintendo DS Game Of The Year
Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box
Mario And Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
Henry Hatsworth Puzzling Adventure

Handheld Game Of The Year
Nominees TBA

Most Improved Franchise Of The Year
Assassin's Creed
Guitar Hero

Parappa The Rapper Presents: Musical Game Of The Year
DJ Hero
Guitar Hero 5
The Beatles: Rock Band
Rock Band Unplugged
Lego Rock Band (DS)

Assassin Creed's "Boy This Should Have Been WAY More Awesome"
Award of Merit
Modern Warfare 2
Tony Hawk: Ride
The Conduit
Brutal Legend

Licensed Game Of The Year
Batman Arkham Asylum
Ghostbusters: The Video Game
X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Mario Kart Wii's 3 Steps Forward 2 Steps Back Award

Award For Cinematic Excellence
(Here's a hint, it's Uncharted 2)

Best Racing Game Of The Year
Forza 3
Need For Speed Shift

"That's A Last Gen Feature" Blunder Of The Year Award

Best Sequel
Uncharted 2
Assassin's Creed 2
Street Fighter 4
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

Best New Original IP
DJ Hero
Half Minute Hero
The Conduit

Best Xbox 360 Game of 2009
(Only Console Exclusives)
Halo 3: ODST
Forza Motorsport 3

Halo Wars
Ninja Blade

Best PS3 Game of 2009
(Only Exclusives)
Uncharted 2

Killzone 2
Demon's Souls
Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack In Time

Best Wii Game of 2009
(Exclusives or games with exclusive features)
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
The Conduit
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles
Wii Sports Resort
Tiger Woods 2010 (Wii Motion Plus)
Metroid Prime Trilogy
Little Kinds Story
Boom Blox Bash Party

Gamestop Presents: We Won't Get Any Money From These
Downloadable Game of the Year
Battlefield 1943
Contra Rebirth
Bit Trip Void
Shadow Complex
Trials HD
'Splosion Man
The Secret Of Monkey Island
The Maw

Best Packaging Design
(No Nominee)

Personal Favorite Of Two-Thousand And Nine
(General Award, no nominees. A game that while wasn't necessarily one of the best games of the year, this is a game that I felt deserves SOME recognition)

Game of the Year 2009
Well, telling you now would ruin some of the categories, wouldn't it?

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

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wayback Machine: Christmas 1996

I'm not exactly sure why. I was sitting here, reading a message board I frequent, and a topic of discussion was the "worst Christmas present" and it made me think of what Christmas was my most memorable. I had one that was memorable when I was really young, probably somewhere in '89 maybe '90. I can't remember exactly. But it was good because I just remember it being huge and getting a BUNCH of stuff. I still have pictures. All sorts of TMNT things, and of course my beloved Gameboy (with Tetris obviously) that I still own to this day. Although my dad loved that thing as much as I did. Well, not so much the Gameboy itself as it was Tetris. He blew up the batteries once. Chances are, if the batteries died in that thing, it was likely his fault.

But honestly, my favorite Christmas was Christmas 1996 because it was probably the prefect cross section of my life. It wasn't as massive as others had been, and it included one of the biggest blunders in gaming history, but god dammit I remember it vividly. Also, it was the last time I got something from "Santa" for obvious reasons. We weren't fooling anybody anymore.

That was smack dab in the middle of America's revitalization with professional wrestling. Which was great for me, sicne it meant I got a shit ton of new WWF merchandise. Including an absolutely gigantic wrestling ring for Diesel and Bret Hart to battle it out in.

Credit for pic: Loose Jakks Database

Of course though, gaming was on the agenda. Why wouldn't it be? 1996 was home to the biggest console launch in ages. Hell, the stupid ass Saturn just came out randomly one day. Not the N64. No no. I would wait in a line at Blockbuster video just to play a few minutes of Super Mario 64. That's what I needed. That's what I craved. Super Mario 64? COME ON! Although....I mean, everybody else wanted an N64 too. Why wouldn't they? Look at this thing.

It's got dang ugly is what it is. Would you look at that controller? It's like somebody broke a table and put buttons on it. Yet I don't care what kind of jokes people say. "HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO USE THAT THING?!?" or whatever they try to say. It was a fine damn controller for 1996. Look at that. It has a joystick on it. Try playing Mario 64 one a d-pad. You can't. It sucks. Go ahead, get Mario 64 DS. Play with the d-pad. It's awful. There's like, nine buttons on that thing, not including the start button. AND LOOK AT THAT! Four controller ports? BUILT IN?! Screw off Sony, they don't need you and your SNES CD Add-On peripheral.

I got three games for my N64. What three games were they you may ask? Well....I suppose I could share. Let's keep in mind that this was 1996 and wasn't even a teenager yet. I still liked playing Sonic Spinball for Christ's sake. Anywho:

Yeah. Super Mario 64. That's boring. If you've somehow stumbled into here and are reading this, first of all, you're likely in a library. I'm just saying, I have a feeling that's my main demographic. Hobos and poor people. The second most popular demo is people in my age group. So yes. You've played Mario. That stupid vulture has stolen your hat. You've caught the gold bunny, and you've tried wallkicking up the side of the castle to try and get to Yoshi without have to get all 120 stars.

Uhh...well. This is a dark spot. Cruis'n (the hell?) USA was an arcade staple. And arcade staple from NINETEEN NINETY FOUR. It's a two year old racing game with basically zero depth. The coolest part about the game was going into first person mode and have flies splat on the windshield. Of course, the best part about THIS version is that if you want to race on other tracks, you have to dredge through career mode, which is basically you racing against AI-less vehicles and crazy physics. And of course, there were hidden cars. It's everyone's dream to race a school bus. Basically, it looked like you were racing in a world made of cardboard. At least they had SOME modesty and put the trophy girls in t-shirts for the N64 version.

And of course, the final new game I got for that Christmas was Shadow's of the Empire. Alright. This is a difficult one to talk about. Mostly because it's a game that didn't hold up very well even DURING the consoles life span. And in terms of Star Wars, there were much better days to come. SotE was based on an Expanded Universe story of the same name. The story was pretty much created to sell as much product as humanly possible. This game is pretty much you being Han Solo without actually having to be Han Solo. The guys ship even looks like the Falcon. Three levels come to mind, and they're all vehicle levels. That should be a clue. The first level out of the gate is Hoth. Which now sounds like the worst thing EVER, but in this case it wasn't. Hop in a speeder and blow up probe droids, AT-STs and learn how to trip up those pesky AT-ATs with your tow cable. Then a bunch of levels that involved running around shooting guys. You even almost kill Boba Fett at one point. But the other two hot points of the game were CLEARLY the swoop bike scene where you race and kill other guys on swoop bikes for some reason. Narrative wise I can't even remember why the hell you had to do it other than it looked awesome. Then there was the final stage. Which is pretty much like fighting the Death Star, except it's a giant space station. There are even Star Destroyers that you can shoot, but their damage never goes down, which is a bummer. You blow up the core of the station thing and win the game. But of course, it ends on a cliff hanger unless you beat the game on a harder difficulty. REPLAYABITLY!

That's Christmas 1996.....well....uh....that's not true. I wasn't going to say anything, but I got something else that year that I had wanted for a few years. By this point they didn't even actually make it anymore. But I got it. Boy did I ever get it.

Alright. Lets crack jokes all we want. Star Wars Arcade was awesome. For a console port of Doom it was totally awesome. It has the only hummingbird based sidescrolling shooter probably ever. And yes, I'm still waiting for Kolibri 2: Still Hummin'. But my main two attractions for the 32x were of course the obvious choices. Virtua Racing was number 1. Which was WAY better than the 100 dollar version you could have got for the Genesis. Oh. And Fred Couples 36 Great Holes. Which is a GOLF GAME you freaking perverts. This isn't a Tiger Woods game. *ba-dum-TISH*

Seriously though. It sucked. The only advantage was that it made some Sega CD FMV games not look like TOTAL garbage for once.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My toy collection

Physical evidence of my dorkiness caught on film! Apologies in advance for the darkness of the video in some spots.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Games That Changed The World Vol. 5


Hello again. Remember last time, I was talking about games that made you angrier than that time God caught Jesus masturbating or the time you read that and got angry at the concept of Jesus playing with himself? Well, this is the opposite. This is about a game that made you want to tie up and keep whoever the hell was playing it you at the time so they could never leave and you could finally beat that snow level? I mention that because while Contra was fun by your self, you aren't going to fucking beat it. You get 3 lives and it's one hit kills. Sure, I'd be hung, drawn, and quartered if I didn't mention the Konami code (which appeared in Gradius first, not this game) and it's ability to pretty much let you walk through the game, but that's not a challenge. That's not any different then watching the Harlem Globetrotters play a basketball game. The outcome is pretty much written, it's just a matter of how you get there.

No. Single player isn't the selling point. The multiplayer is where it's at. Except back in those days, nobody used a stupid term like multiplayer. What are you, a fucking a English teacher? Firefox hates that word. I really should add it to the dictionary, but that's besides the point. No no. We called that shit 2 Player. "Wanna play 2 player Contra?" The answer would always be yes. And if it was no, they immediately stopped being your friend. And you were always Player 1. Why? It's your god damn system that's why. And if it wasn't your system, you couldn't say shit about it. You were the blue guy or you didn't play. Then you played. It was what the kids today call "co-op" gameplay. You worked together, and if you were lucky, you got to put 11 million bullets (and by bullets, I mean red circles, flames, or lasers) into a giant alien heart.

That's right, the final act took place inside of an alien apparently. Although, this was before it was normal to tell people what the hell was going on outside of a blurb in the manual, and maybe an opening cutscene. One minute you're shooting what appears to be dudes, next thing you know, aliens. I guess that makes sense. I mean...well. Whatever. You also could try and beat the other guys score, but by this point in gaming, getting points was pretty much pointless now. Also, the game had a cheat where you could steal a life from your partner. Which as you would imagine, lead to fist fights and hair pulling.

Oh, and the fucking Spread Gun. Really, forget everything I said about the game. Buy it, and everyone of it's sequels (Including Contra 4 for the DS, since you get a brand new Contra, and the 2 original NES games) right now.

Games That Changed The World Vol. 4


Hey, kid. Games are expensive. And we're talking expensive in 1989 dollars. Games are about 60 bucks new these days, which compared to the 70 dollars people paid for Super Mario RPG or even Superman 64, it was really hard to convince people in 1989 to buy more than a couple of games in one sitting for a holiday. But when you did, you better hope you placed your bet on black (you ALWAYS bet on black) and won, because if it sucked, you were fucked for at least another few months and hope maybe you can convince the Easter Bunny to hide a copy of River City Ransom in one of those plastic pastel eggs of his.

Take X-Men for example!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Games That Changed The World Vol. 2


Legend of Zelda is magical. Legend of Zelda took the idea being a child, exploring, and going on adventures in your own backyard and made it a fantasy game. One part childhood innocence and one part Dungeons and Dragons, and no part hints, you are thrust into a world you know nothing about.

Of course, the first thing to grab any child's attention is shiny things. And Nintendo clearly knew this. There is NO reason for a game cartridge to be painted shiny gold. Flat primer paint instead of gray is one thing. But not only do you color it a shiny gold, but you cut a little square out of the packaging itself so you can clearly see what lies within. It's really diabolical if you think about really.

You're dumped off into the middle of nowhere. Basically, you see four paths and a cave entrance. Being adventurous, they know full well you'll enter that cave first. And so help you god, you had better. In there is some dude and he gives you a sword. For what reason he decides to give a child a sword isn't really explained, but there he is. Captain Runwithscissors gives you a sword. And now you're off! Uh...to where really is your choosing. Unless you have a guide handy, you just keep walking until you find something to go into. Sometimes, you'll jump the gun and go into a dungeon you are TOTALLY not prepared for yet. It's an adventure. You want to beat this dungeon? You better have a god damn ladder, raft, flute, and boomerang in those tiny little spandex stockings you have on.

The Zelda games in recent years have sort of traveled away from the childhood innocence and whimsy that made it popular in the first place. Ocarina of Time played that card for the most part, but the game turned dark. And when they brought back the whimsy and adventure in Wind Waker, everyone complained about it. Then we got Twilight Princess, which no one can argue is a great game, but it feels more like a Zelda clone than a full fledged Zelda game. That's not necessarily bad, but it's just not the same. Here's to hoping whatever comes next doesn't consist of hours of traveling by train or boat, and takes itself a little less serious. When all is said and done, the Legend of Zelda for the NES (and whatever subsequent rereleases we've seen of it) is a game that ushered in a different way of thinking in games. It wasn't the first of it's kind, but it was by and large the best example of what games are capable of, and would be capable in the coming decades.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Games That Changed The World Vol. 1

And by "Changed The World" I mean MY world, because that's the only world that matters really. Your world sucks and you know it.

Mario? Check. Duck Hunt? Check. Free? FREE!

These days, a good deal in gaming is if you spend 60 dollars and the developers don't violate your private regions then steal your wallet and run away screaming. Mostly, when you get multipacks of games, you're getting compilations of games that they've long since either given up on or have long since made their money back on. Sure, there's some good deals out there, The Orange Box had one full length game, 2 episodic games, a fantastic and short spin-off title, and a an online only FPS game. It was a phenomenal deal. But for the most part, the pack in games that you get with a console are either tech demos (albeit fun ones) like Wii Sports, or just various game pack ins designed to keep costs up or a vain attempt at boosting sales. It's all good, but Nintendo seems to be one of those companies that when they put their mind to it, they do it right and they do it well.

Case in point. The Wii. A low end piece of hardware. Motion control wands is a good idea, but the hardware of the console itself lacks anything to get anybody excited about. Nintendo basically had to rely on their name and development studios to get them out of a console gutter. They've nailed down the handheld market. Even with serious competition like the PSP, Nintendo still maintained the tried and true fact that Nintendo is king in portable gaming. They need not worry about Japan. They know they'll buy the Wii. Here though. We're living in the Madden generation. The hottest properties are sports titles and FPS games. Not exactly Japans strong suits. Japan got Wii Play packed into their set. We ALL know about Wii Play. CLEARLY, considering it's one of the most bought games this generation. We however, got Wii Sports. A simple looking game, with simple design. Some of the games on the disc are almost broken to an extent. Boxing really has no rhyme or reason to it, and baseball is just, well. I don't know what it is, but it's barely baseball. And tennis plays more like a game of ping pong. Bowling and Golf pretty much made everybody on the planet want to own a Wii.

Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt eventually came packaged with the NES. Originally, it wasn't packaged with the muti cart. It wasn't until a couple years later that it came with Super Mario/Duck Hunt. It was probably one of the slickest pack ins ever. When you look back on it, it's funny. Mario seemed like a massive game, 8 long, peril filled worlds with secrets and awesome music and branching paths and all sorts of good stuff. But being able to fit it onto one cart with it and an equally awesome game, Duck Hunt, you realize how tiny most of these games really were.

On that cart, Duck Hunt was probably my most played. Mario created gamers, but Duck Hunt built onto Mario's foundation. Three games there on the game. 1 duck, 2 ducks, or skeet shooting. Of course it was easy as hell to cheat the system. Hold the Zapper up to a light bulb, or right up to the screen. It didn't matter though how easy it was to cheat. There weren't any unlockables or achievements. All you wanted to do is get as far as you could so you could brag. And the less you saw that dog the better. I could make a joke about shooting the dog or something, but I think we're all getting FAIRLY tired that running gag. Mario Bros./Duck Hunt is a game that needs no more discussion about. It's THE first game. Not in terms of videogames themselves, but as a product that bred a new breed of culture. Games went from being living room niceties, to being living room essentials.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Not Dead....

Trust me. I'm just lazy. I actually have three mostly done things ready to go. I'm just sort of compulsive when it comes to proofreading and getting that last paragraph JUST right. Something will be up in a few days.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy Punch-Out!! Release Week!

In honor of Nintendo's first Punch-Out game in ages, I figured it'd be fun to show you how "awesome" Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! can REALLY be given the right equipment. So be cautious, when you enter the Den Of Perils and Pringles, and watch this wonderful (read: shitty) video.

Friday, January 02, 2009

In Which I Choose The Best Games Of 2008

It's over. The year of 2008 has released a monstrous amount of great titles. And shit too, but the good outweighs the bad in most cases. Here are my picks for the best games released in 2008.


11.) The World Ends With You
While this should be a top 10 list, I'd feel remissed not to mention at least one handheld game, so the official number 11 spot on my Top 10 list belongs to The World Ends With You. A fantastic and creative spin on the JRPG genre. It's almost as if it reinvented the whole genre with one tiny little game on a portable system. If you like RPGS, and own a DS, you must own this title. Now.

10. No More Heroes
While the Wii has been without some notable titles for a while now, we can't ignore that most of the games worth playing were really frontloaded. Released way back in January, No More Heroes was a new Wii exclusive action game created by the insane mind of Suda51. Right now, I'm going to explain his nick name. His first name is Suda. His last name is Goichi. "Go" in Japan means 5, "ichi" means 1. Thusly, he gets a puntastic nickname. No More Heroes is a vile, gory, hilarious send up of action. You're main character uses a lightsaber like blade and when the battery starts to fade you have to shake it in a suggestive manner. It's a violent game with a heart of gold. A must own Wii exclusive title.

9. Boom Blox
Another must own title that came out earlier in the year for the Wii as well. Think of it as Reverse Jenga. Blocks are stacked up high, you must destroy them. In some cases, you actually have to play normal Jenga too. It sounds simple enough, but it's a freaking blast to play, and keeps staying interesting. The Wii motion controls add a whole new element and actually work to it's benefit as opposed to hurting it like a lot of other games out there. It's hard to explain the game without playing it. Really, if you own a Wii, there is no excuse for not owning this game.

8. Burnout Paradise
Burnout has always been a great franchise. I'd go out as far as to say that Burnout 3 is one of the top 10 games of both Xbox and PS2s life cycle. It was a phenomenal game that still stands up today. The games following didn't hold up quite as well, and Burnout Dominator, being the only non Criterion developed title, is the only one you could really say wasn't a great game anyways. HOWEVER, the reason Criterion didn't work on Dominator for the PS2 was because they had moved on to greener pastures. They were working on a whole new game for the new cutting edge consoles. Burnout Paradise left behind the menu system, and instead adopted the open world mentality of todays gaming and it works great. The only downside is that there is no restart option. But that's about to change. They have updated the game numerous times, at one point they made it so you can actually have the time change and add motorcycles. And now, there are even more free updates down the line, and we're even getting a restart option. In terms of racing, this year belongs to Burnout. Hands down.

7. Audiosurf
Here's a little ditty of a title you may not know exists. Audiosurf is an independently developed game that was launched early this year. I purchased through Steam for just 10 dollars. The game is like a combination of F-Zero and puzzler KLAX. You take your song, yes YOUR song, as in anything without DRM on your hard drive, it maps the song, turns it into an audio visualizer you can drive on and you take your little ship and collect different colored pieces, "hot" and "cold" colors, for the best score possible by getting them in groups of three or more. Each ship has it's own special ability, and the game even tracks your high scores via a world wide leader board by song. It even includes the Orange Box soundtrack, so you can play along to Still Alive whenever you feel like it. For 10 dollars, I recommend you buy two copies, it's THAT good.

6. Left 4 Dead
Everything I've read is a lie. The Zombie Survival Guide seemed like it would have prepared me for the zombie apocalypse. What the book didn't prepare me for, however, was the other side of the infestation. Me and three other movie stereotypes are destined to fight an ongoing string of the undead that move at incredible speed, and have varying super powers. They're either 800 pounds and spit on you, some have giant tongues that attempt to lynch you with it, are terrified of flashlights and will rip your face off if you scare them, can climb walls and pounce you like a cougar in heat, or are built like a fire truck. This book has wound up being useless. Instead, all I need is three competent friends and a lot of bullets. L4D is the best multiplayer game this year. You feel like you've accomplished something if you manage to survive your final onslaught. The story is nothing, but it doesn't matter, all that does matter is that you don't get two functionally retarded people that don't quite grasp the concept of teamwork, leaving you and a buddy alone to fight a Tank all by yourself on a helipad.

5. Prince of Persia
A lot can be said about the Prince series. It's a decades(as in two....) old franchise that started out as a marvel, with it's brilliant rotoscoping to make it look like, by 1989 standards, that you were controlling a living, breathing, human being. His movements were fluid and realistic. It felt like he had weight to him and everything. Whether time has been gracious to the Price or not is up to you. Us as legitimate gamers all recognize that, even with flaws, Sands of Time was one of the best little games to come out during it's time frame. Now here we are in a new hardware generation. What do they do? They decide, why the hell give it a realistic look like Assassin's Creed? Sands of Time was their best work and it almost had a Disney quality to it. As the franchise god more brooding with it's sequels, interest waned. So they went with a more beautiful cell shaded quality to it's art. The results are breathtaking. While in terms of visuals, it may be one of the best games to look at. The details in the back ground, to the character models are all great. Some animations are better then others. It's nice to have the option to not even bother with the dialog if you don't even care. A lot can be said about the difficulty. You can't die in the traditional sense. Your partner, Elika, acts as a sort of checkpoint system. If you fall, using magic, she'll save you and bring you back to the last flat ground you were standing on. Sometimes it's not bad, other times it will make you throw a hissy fit if you fall. And you will fall. Calling this game easy because you can't doesn't make this game easy. You will "die." You WILL fall to certain doom, and you will start sequences over. There isn't even a trophy or achievement for "not dying," instead, it's an achievement dying less than ONE HUNDRED TIMES. Also, the combat system is great I feel. It's one-on-one situations. Boss fights are all about stringing together the best combo you can using the best possible option to your disposal. Sometimes the enemy will be resistant to throws, so you have not choice but to attack him with your sword, break his resistance to throws and start your combo from there. At the end of the day. Say what you will about the difficulty and the ending, the game is a god damn blast to play.

4. Far Cry 2
A shocking entry from me. An entry that I didn't think I would even care about. I'm tired of your typical FPS title. This, however, is not your typical FPS title. Remember those complaints I had about GTA IVs sandbox in my biggest disappointments? Probably not, since I'm posting this after that on that same day, and you'll probably read this first. It doesn't matter. What does matter though is that I feel that the in a game like GTA IV, while it's an open world, when it comes to the GAME part of it, it feels like it's holding your hand all the way through. You really don't have much deviation, and in most cases, if you stray from the path it's almost a guaranteed fail. Far Cry 2 is in no way, shape, or form that kind of game. Oh, that's right. Far Cry 2 is an open world FPS. You're stranded in a nondescript, stylized Central Africa. You have malaria, so you have to pop your pills every literal half hour or so in real time or else they'll find you face down in the dry grass being raped by a boar. You basically take on the roll of a mercenary. You're initial intention, and overall objective is to take down a black market arms dealer, The Jackal. That's basically it story wise. You aren't given much hints. You progress through doing your typical go here and do that kind of missions. You can actually take on two missions at once, and it's up to you who's side you're going to align yourself with. Even if the missions themselves are lame, it's the law of the land that makes it exciting. There are guard outposts everywhere, very few cars, and lots and lots of grass. You can charge a outpost guns blazing and clean house, but it's sure to cause you some damage, and at least one health syringe. The best option is to sneak through the back door, crouched with your machete, and ambush. You actually feel as though your almost cheating the game at times. Although the game will also try and cheat you. If you don't buy your weapons, and just take them from the lifeless corpses you're leaving behind, you're in for some issues. They aren't well maintained, and chances are, in the heat of a fire fight, they're going to jam up on you. Oh? That rocket launcher? That rocket was bad. The rocket fell out of the tube, and is spinning wildly on the dry grass, igniting it then blowing up. Fire spreads too. At an alarming and realistic rate. If you get caught ins some dry grass, you're gonna get burned out. It'll also set off ammunition boxes. If you're wounded and are in the danger zone of your health, when you hit the heal button, you are treated to a delightfully gruesome animation of you fishing the bullet out with a pair of pliers or something to the liking of that. And there's a buddy system. If you maintain friendships, when you go down for the count, they'll come to your aid. But that one time. After that, you need to meet up with them again to ready them at a save house. Also, if they get injured, you have to help them. Because if you don't. They die. And not like "He died, but was nursed back to health, to meet him again, go to the bar" kind of die. I mean, you will never see that dude again. Sometimes.....you won't be able to help. So you will have no choice but to take your pistol to his head to put him out of his misery. God damn this game is good. I'm gonna stop typing and go play it right now....

3. Fallout 3
I can't lie to you people. I'm not very far at all into Fallout 3. That doesn't mean it's not awesome. The presentation. The visuals. The RPG elements, the VATS system. Everything about this game is so painstakingly designed, you can't help but appreciate the level of awesomeness this game presents. I can't say much else in terms of what to say about this game. Unlike Far Cry 2, everyone knows this game is awesome. There is nothing else I can say that could possibly sway your opinion on it.

2. LittleBigPlanet
You know what made Super Mario Bros. a fun game? It obviously wasn't the intricate story line. The hours of painstaking attention to detail. It was fun because it was. Plain and simple. The character designs were quirky, and the levels were lovingly designed to be tests. They were designed to beat you. That's what makes LittleBigPlanet my second favorite game of the year. LittleBigPlanet takes a stupid premise of "this is planet where everyones imaginations run wild" and that's why it exists, because as humans, we dream at night, and turns it into a romping great time. There is a story mode, but you don't give two shits. You only play through that to unlock design stuff. The meat and potatoes of LBP is the level creator. You can create basically whatever the hell you want. The developers have given you all of their level design tools. The levels they made, can be made with the tool set presented in game. You don't have to make shit if you don't want to though. You can mooch off of the hard work of others. All you do is go to the community section on the main menu, and choose any god damn level you want. There are generic platformers. Mario clones. Sonic clones. Racing games. Roller coasters. Star Wars. Sword fights. At one point a real working R-Type. Pinball. Pachinko. Puzzle games. Tetris. There is even a god damn real working calculator that will make you question what the hell YOU'RE doing with YOU'RE time if this guy can figure out how to get a calculator up and running with some switches, pieces of wood, and twine.

1. Metal Gear Solid 4
It's fucking Metal Gear Solid. In fact. The fourth one. The last one. The story actually wraps up. I've never had a problem following the story. Although apparently a lot of people do. This game wraps it up. Granted, the cutscenes are 45 minutes, but it wraps it up. And in terms of gameplay, this is the best Metal Gear has ever felt. Everything is fluid and great. Sneaking is as essential as ever, and much more than just "hide in this conveniently placed shadow!" It's great to see old faces, wrap up loose ends, and has one of the most satisfying endings in history with the games "epilogue." Plus, Act 4 is probably one of the most epic and amazing stages ever designed.

Mega Man IX, the game that reminded us that we suck.
Call of Duty World at War, the game that reminded me that war sucks. Especially in the 40s.
Bionic Commando Rearmed, the game that reminded why I hated this game as a kid
Mirrors Edge, proof of concept
Smackdown '09, the little wrestling game that made me believe again
Dead Space, proof that horror games can actually be scary AND good AND American
Saints Row 2, proof that being a criminal doesn't have to be full of moral decisions.
Smash Bros. Brawl, proof that Nintendo CAN make something good if they actually try.
Battlefield Bad Company, proof that you don't have to be Call of Duty
Space Invaders Extreme, proof that retro can still be awesome if you don't fuck with it.
Quantum of Solace, proof that movies games don't have to be masterpieces
Tales of Vesperia, proof that we don't need Square.
Professor Layton, proof that I'm an idiot.