When I started writing for videolamer over a year ago, I was a slightly angry, jaded gamer. I was pissed with how the industry was going: the Playstation 3 was way too expensive; the 360 had some good games on it, but let’s all be real honest, most people got the system for Halo or Call of Duty; and the Wii was intriguingly underpowered but still kind of fun.
I felt a lot like Jack Black’s character from High Fidelity. I was a ticked off, elitist snob who firmly believed that the few people who felt like I did about gaming hung around this site and we were the last bastion of sense in a pixilated world gone mad. Today, I am still a cocky bastard to be sure but I am not nearly as angst filled as I was a handful of months ago. It is today that I proclaim to the world that, hands down, 2008 has been and will be one of the greatest years of all time for video games. This is what I am thankful for.
I want all of you who read this to ask yourself one simple question, “Is there a game that has come out since July that I have really liked?” If you answered yes, has there been more than one game released that you have liked in the last six months? For me, the last time this many good games were released that I liked was 1990. That year rocked for the following reasons: Super Mario 3, River City Ransom, Final Fantasy, and TNMT 2: The Arcade Game. ‘Nuff said!
This year, at least one game has come out that followers of every genre can be proud of and thankful for.
If you are a fan of racing games, this has been a sparse year for traditional racing games. But if you were willing to break away from your copy of Gran Turismo: Prologue, you were blessed with Mario Kart for the Wii, Burnout Paradise, and Midnight Club L.A. While Gran Turismo can be viewed as a racing sim, the latter three were more games and all of them were pretty good in their own way.
Role players should be satisfied too. Since it came out about three weeks ago, I have dumped almost two whole days into Fallout 3. What a phenomenal game that holds so true to its predecessors. We saw re-makes of Final Fantasy 4 and Chrono Trigger for the DS. We had four discs of Lost Odyssey bestowed upon us and before the year is out, we will have another Persona game.
For those who like strategy and tactics games, Disgaea 3 and Valkyria Chronicles came out. If you haven’t picked up Valkyria Chronicles and you have a PS3, get it now. The game is sweet! The characters are awesome and the play is excellent. People in Japan related to the characters so much, it is getting turned into an anime.
Fighting fans got Soul Caliber 4 and will soon get Street Fighter 4, though that title is looking like a 2009 release now.
Horror fans were introduced to Dead Space and Left 4 Dead. Both are good games in their own right and though it is a tad short, Dead Space is a downright creepy title.
If you like side-scrolling, hop n’ bop fun, you got Little Big Planet and if you are like me, you will be playing it for a long time to come. Stupid prize bubbles, hiding, taunting me…must play every level four times…will not use the cheat guide. If you don’t have a PS3 and wanted an excuse, Little Big Planet is it. I bought my Playstation 3 for that game and do I feel even a tad guilty? No.
The last two games I would mention are Grand Theft Auto 4 and Mirror’s Edge. There are those out there that did not like Grand Theft Auto 4 and I must admit there are parts of that game that drive me nuts. But regardless of our opinions, when is the last time a game sold ten million copies worldwide in the first four months of its release? Mirror’s Edge is a different story. While everyone and their dogs knew GTA 4 was coming out, Mirror’s Edge has glided and jumped and slid and tumbled just under the radar until it was released. Now that it is here, those that are afraid of heights stay well away from it and those that think parkour is a badass sport that they are just too chubby and inflexible to do cling to it.
I know that I have left a lot of games out of this article but the point was not to run down every single decent game released this year. I am just trying to illustrate the fact that most years cough up maybe two solid games that everyone drools over. This year has catered to almost every niche of gaming and I didn’t even mention a lot of rockin’ casual games that are steadily populating Xbox Live and the Playstation Network or the ever expanding Rock Band-iverse.
Now go eat your leftover turkey and play the games you are happy to have acquired this year. But realize, we have been truly fortunate and that periods like 2008 do not happen annually (partly because the number changes each year). If you’re a gamer and there hasn’t been a game that has excited you this year, what is it that you want, and are you on medication for depression brought on by the loneliness of being the only person you know that isn’t totally enthralled in a new game right now?