Thursday, December 28, 2006

Crystal ball

Here's my take on what 2007 may bring in the world of games. It's true, I have little confidence in anything I say there.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

2006 honorable mentions

Just wanted to mention a few more games worthy of notice this year.

Most Noble Failure: Dead Rising

"Failure" is too strong a word here. Dead Rising didn't quite make good on its ambitions, in my view, although many disagreed. Capcom is a fantastic publisher and developer (they released my game of the year in both 2006 and 2005), so it's not surprising that even one of their weaker efforts was more interesting than many "better" games. I don't need to devote any more space to the game in this blog, since I covered it extensively earlier this summer. Just wanted to give it one more shout-out.

Critically Acclaimed Game I Just Didn't Get: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

There are lots of contenders for this award, notably Zelda: Twilight Princess, but at least I had some fun with that game. Oblivion really was like Doing Chores: The Game. One of the principles of game design is called telescoping, which is the process by which a primary goal is broken down into smaller goals, each of which may be broken down even further. Oblivion took this to a ludicrous extreme. I have never played a game that strove so aggressively to make me feel like it just wasn't worth it to put in the effort. You can't take a step without being handed another task to do. It's like being at work, except you're not getting paid.

Best Game That Wasn't Really Eligible for a "Best of 2006" List: Burnout Revenge (Xbox 360)

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Burnout Revenge 360 was the most fun I had with any game this year. Since it was a port from a 2005 title, I didn't review it or anything, but god damn this is everything a racing game should be. The leap to high-def graphics actually did improve the gameplay, because you could see much further down the road and therefore make better driving decisions. And I just love smashing stuff up.

If You Had to Own One Console This Year, It Was: PlayStation 2

Let's be honest: no other system had the quantity of good games that the PS2 had. The 360 had its moments, but the PS3 landed with a thud and the Wii had exactly one killer app. The PS2 had several. Maybe it's not surprising that the most popular console in history had the most to choose from, but what else do you want from your game system?

Worst Game: X-Men: The Official Game

Not much of a surprise. Although it was a toss-up between this and Driver: Parallel Lines.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

There it is

It's the ten best games of 2006!

A better name would be "The ten best games I played." Better still would be "Six awesome games and four good ones."

Monday, December 18, 2006

We got links

If I am assassinated any time in the near future, it will likely be because of this Zelda review (never mind that it's a positive review).

There's a link within that story to the list of the best games of the year, but it doesn't seem to be working currently. I'll post it whenever it comes online.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

That didn't take long

I've had my Wii for two weeks, and it looks like I'll be taking Nintendo up on their offer. Whoops.

At least I haven't been injured yet.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sorry for the delay

Looks like has undergone a redesign. You know what else could have used one? Superman Returns.

Next week will be a review of Zelda: Twilight Princess, as well as the best games of 2006. I may do some blog-only honorable mentions, as well.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The crankiness is back

Back to what I do best: lowballing acclaimed games like F.E.A.R.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Wii acquisition

A little more detail on how it shook down:

Yesterday, acting upon a well-corroborated rumor, I got up at 6:30 and drove to Target. They don't open until 8, but when I pulled into the parking lot at 6:45 there was already a long line -- much longer than I'd expected. More people showed up every few minutes, and finally around 7:10 a guy in a red shirt came out the front door. "I've got 48!" he yelled. He'd be handing out tickets shortly so the lucky 48 could claim their prize. The kid behind me, who looked college-aged and was accompanied by his girlfriend, did an exact count and determined that we were in the low fifties. But surely not everybody in the line would want a ticket. There were girlfriends, bros, and kids. We just didn't know. They didn't start handing out the tickets until 7:30. And it was cold. The line continued to grow.

Finally, the Target manager started working his way along the line, counting off loudly. I didn't hear him until "Twenty-one!" It seemed like he hadn't even made it halfway to me. I started to get worried. But as he proceeded, suddenly he was only a few spots in front of me, still in the thirties. I got ticket number 40. Once the 48th was gone, dozens of people in line dispersed. Many headed to the Best Buy across the plaza, which didn't open until 10.

At 8 o'clock, they opened the doors to Target. At that time, I glanced over at Best Buy and saw the entire line dispersing. They must have gotten bad news about Best Buy's stock. We lined up again inside Target, tickets in hand. Nobody was allowed into the department without a ticket. It took me half an hour to get to the front of the line. I was ushered over to the games, pointed out my selection, and then had to wait to be escorted over to the register. There, I handed over my ticket, and my debit card, and then I was finally able to walk out with my Wii.

NP: Andrew W.K. - "Victory Strikes Again"

P.S.: Given the units Nintendo has been able to deliver so far, and its status as one of the hot Christmas gifts this year, I'm guessing it'll be much easier to acquire one after the New Year. They may even stay on shelves for a couple of hours at that point. But I'm not sure how easy it'll be to get one before Christmas.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Got one.

The Wii is mine. All I had to do was show up at Target at 6:45 AM on a Sunday! I was fortieth in line, too. People are nuts.