Recently, Time Magazine released their "Top Ten Of 2008" lists. Naturally, a magazine of Time's stature is sure to release lists of quality films and gadgets and games. Well, I decided to look at their lists of video games, and ... well, let's break it down bit by bit, starting from 10 and going down to 1:
For what I feel is a completely non-understandable reason, people adore Spore. I played this game a little bit when it first came out on a roommate's computer... and so did he. So did everyone. In fact, the main thing I noticed about Spore was that, while it seemed innovative, it got really old really fast. People spent $50 on this game, played it for a week or two, and I haven't heard about it since. No one I know is playing it anymore, and I know a lot of people who spent money on it. This game is by far not worthy of even the last spot on a Top 10 list. To me, a game needs to last or leave a standing impression to be a Top 10er. However, this game is designed for repeat plays and no one is repeatedly playing it.
9) Field Runners
...what? An iPhone game? Really, Time Magazine? Out of all the games released this year, you felt that an iPhone game is worthy of a Top 10 list? What next, a Flash game?
8) Hunted Forever
...wow. Good going, Time. You put an iPhone game and a Flash game on your list. I almost have no real words for this. The only thing I can really think to say is that I completely agree that both of these games are better than Spore. But if you were going to put a game designed out of Flash, couldn't you have put something good on here like Castle Crashers? CC didn't make the list at all, and it is way more deserving than Hunted Forever. I'd like to put a bunch of REAL gamers in a room together, then ask them to raise their hands if they've heard of/played Field Runners and/or Hunted Forever. You know how many people would raise their hands, Time Magazine? Absolutely none of them.
7) Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Ok, now while I do not agree that this game is a Top 10er, I can at least maybe see where Time is coming from. This game is a LOT of fun. I rented it, played through it, and had a great time. I would play through it again. It's got good graphics, good gameplay, a good story. Compared to what George Lucas is forcing (no pun intended) us to endure with his beloved Star Wars series, this is a breath of fresh air (I know someone out there actually enjoyed The Clone Wars, but I did not appreciate it one bit). I especially like the two climatic battle options. In fact, all of the boss battles are quite wonderfully cinematic. SW:TFU takes a page from games like God Of War and allows you to beat the crap out of your opponent, then go through a series of button combos in order to really demolish them in a pre-rendered destructothon. It's great. So maybe I would put this game near the end of my list... but probably not. Either way, at least this is a real game.
6) Dead Space
Dead Space is awesome. Does anyone else remember buying Resident Evil 4 when that first came out, then waiting up until Midnight and playing it with all the lights off in their room? No? That was just me? Well I did the same thing for Dead Space because it is essentially Resident Evil 4 in space, and it was awesome. I love Dead Space and I don't think enough people played it. The only thing that wasn't good about Dead Space was the final boss fight. The whole game is atmospheric and creepy and there are plenty of jump moments (if you play it properly at night with the lights out), but after all of that, you get to the end, fight the boss, and you're just wondering, "...wait, that's really it?" Luckily, I think the game is long enough and filled with enough possibilities that the rest of the game is fun enough to make up for a lacking final boss. I would highly recommend this game, and probably put it near the end of my personal Top 10 list.
5) Gears Of War 2
I have never been a fan of the Gears Of War series (can I call it that?). I played through the first game twice, and I had fun with it, but that was mostly because of who I was playing with. Playing it on my own... I just don't get the same out of it. I haven't even bothered to really try out the multiplayer option, only once or twice. That being said, I have not even played Gears Of War 2. I plan to, but I have not yet. I do not think I reserve the right to comment on it having not played it, so I won't. But, based on Nate's comments on the game, I can see why someone would put it on the list, and no matter whether or not I like the series or not, it's still a more legit choice than Field Runners and Hunted Forever.
4) Rock Band 2
This, in my humble opinion, is another goof up on Time Magazine's part. Rock Band 2? Really? What was so great an innovative about this game? It's Rock Band with new songs and screens. They added a few other nice little things in there, such as that option where you can't fail out of a song (in case you're playing with your father who just doesn't get the concept of pushing buttons after having played an actual guitar for several years), but this is no way a Top 10er, and this in no way should be so near the top. I like playing "Float On" just as much as the next guy, and I've seen the video with the Rock Band 2 Fog Machine, but come on. There are so many better games than this. It would appear that Time Magazine just looked at what games came out towards the end of the year, looked at what got good reviews, and made a list based on that. Oy. Stick to talking about "things that matter" and leave stuff like this for people like Nate and I who actually play video games.
I do not have a PS3. I have not played LittleBigPlanet. I do not have the right to make a comment. That being said, I feel this game would get old just like Spore got old. I could be wrong though.
This is an absolutely legitimate claim. While it's not a claim I would necessarily make, at least I can sit here and say, "Hmm... yeah. Yeah, that's a good decision." Braid was smart, fun, difficult, and all in a very simple design/premise. The settings were wonderful to look at. Rewinding time NEVER got old. I put this game on for people and said, "Solve the puzzle," and then laughed as they struggled just like I did. Beating this game made me feel pretty good inside. Braid was definitely a welcome breath of fresh air in the Arcade market. I do not like most of the Arcade games (I only own 4 (well, technically 5, but who cares about Fable II Pub Games?)), but this is one I bought without even trying based on what I had heard. It was by far one of the best games I played this year, and there is no doubt in my mind that Braidshould be on everyone's Top 10 list this year.
So now we have 10 through 2, so what could possibly be number 1? After going through that incredible list of (mostly) failure created by Time Magazine, what could possibly be the number 1 game of the year according to those (clearly) non-gamers? What is better than a game for your iPhone? The answer, my friends, is:
1) Grand Theft Auto IV
COME ON. This is the best game of the year? Hardly. The best game to come out this year was Fallout 3 without a doubt. Nothing was better. Nothing. Furthermore, GTAIV does not deserve to be on anyone's Top 10 list. This game was NOT that good. Sure, it was fun for the first week or so, but it's so damn repetitive. It got old just about as fast as Spore did! If you didn't beat it in the first week or so, good luck getting the energy to. That being said, I never made it through. I couldn't. I just can't handle it. There was no variety at all. One can be said that this argument could be made for a lot of games. For example, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is the same on every game through out every level just with a new background. However, THAT does not get old. It's fun to run around with a lightsaber and hack stuff up. Running around with a gun, stealing cars and shooting hookers on the other hand... this is now the FIFTH time we've been given this game. Aside from giving it an amazing graphical over haul, a new city, and new characters, couldn't they do anything else? No. They couldn't. Because there is nothing more to the Grand Theft Auto series. There never will be. And this, ultimately, will be the downfall of this section of Rockstar. Or maybe not. People are dumb.
So there you have it. Time Magazine's Top Ten Of 2008 that didn't include Fallout 3. I apologize for wasting your time, but I felt commentary was somewhat necessary. I hope that whenever Nate and I release our Top Ten lists, it will blow your mind. Or, at the very least, be better than this list. Actually, I have no doubt it will be better than this list. You know why? Because this list included a Flash game and an iPhone game and did not include Fallout 3.