2007: The Year in Review

Another year on, and still only two readers. Doubtless they’ll give not-a-shit about these worthless opinions; why start now, eh? Still, for prosperity, here’s my bouquets and brickbats for the gaming world (as I experienced it) circa 2007…

Website of the Year: The always amusing, constantly cutting, totally tongue-in-cheek Sony Defense Force.

Almost-but-not-quite Award: Oh, how I wanted Bullet Witch to work. Something about the movie presented at the 2006 E3 left me utterly smitten. Maybe it was the idea of a gun-toting witch. Maybe it was the fact that said witch was hot. Whatever it was, my pre-order was in as soon as I saw it on my local’s list, and I awaited delivery with bated breath. Sadly, whilst Alicia the Bullet Witch was indeed hot (especially when decked out in the schoolgirl and secretary costumes), the gameplay was astoundingly average. A little more content, a few less crashes, and a coherent plot may have made this a winner; sadly, most of the pleasure derived from this game was either lecherous or directed at the laughable “writing”.

Game Writing of the Year: tough one this, but Super Paper Mario takes the gong for this little next-gen dig:

I long for the sweet peace of the pasture… but the bright colors of the world taunt me!

Why must all things be so bright? Why can things not appear only in hues of brown!

I am so serious about this!
Dull colors are the future!
…The next generation!

Disappointment of the Year: The PS3s lineup of compelling games… or lack thereof. I was expecting my anti-Sony resolve to be tested, but no – release after hyped release was deemed no better than “good” by the majority of the gaming press. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune seems to be upping the ante a little, though – about bloody time. Honorary mention to Shadow of the Colossus – why is this game so revered, again?

Under-Appreciated Game of the Year: Normally, this would have been a no-brainer for Space Giraffe; however, judging by the Leaderboards, that title managed at least 15,000 sales (despite Minter’s almost abusive rantings… surely a candidate for Saddest Moment in Gaming for the year). However, the wonderfully weighted and polished Mutant Storm Empire was played by far fewer than it deserved – 6,454 people worldwide have claimed the impossible-not-to-get Beastie Combo Achievement. A massive shame; here’s hoping that the PomPom guys (and other publishers, too) don’t abandon the fledgling Live Arcade platform.

Funnest Gaming Moment of the Year: Halo 3. Rocket Races. Eight mates spanning three continents. I was hoarse from laughing. Honorary mentions go to Excite Truck, Crackdown, and the opening moments of Just Cause.

WTF Gaming Moment of the Year: Space Giraffe, level 52. Followed closely by level 64. Then there’s the other 98 levels, then a real big drop-off to the next game. Of course, Space Giraffe also picks up the Gaming Payback of the Year award, for the absolute glee I felt when I learnt to “see” all the levels. Brilliant stuff.

Couples Counseling Award: Earth Defense Force 2017, for bringing me and my SO closer together – in a gaming sense, at least.

Bring-On-The-Divorce Award: Halo 3, more late nights, early mornings, and inter-continental swearing and laughs than she could possibly imagine. New rule – if you see the headset on, I’m not actually talking to you. Honorable mention goes to Every Extend Extra Extreme – the SO thought it a great idea to drag me out of the zone by asking me something utterly trivial. On level 98 of Revenge Mode. Game over, achievement not unlocked.

Learning On The Job Award: Crackdown, for that initial vertiginous climb up the Agency Tower. With further play – especially with the foot races – comes the ability to just belt up the side of the building like it was an ant-hill. I can’t actually recall learning how to do that ;)

Bastard Technology Award: The EEPROM chips in Jaguar cartridges. Lost heaps of good Tempest 2000 progress because of that dodgy mid-nineties tech.

That’s What Gaming’s All About Award: this is kind of a runner-up for Game of the Year; but Super Mario Galaxy, with its worlds of imagination and gentle difficulty and giggles and fun was a brilliant example of a game for everyone, not just the gaming-since-birth crowd.

In Summary: Last year, I wrote “2006 was a bloody brilliant year to be a gamer “; but it could be argued that 2007 yielded more quality titles than any other year in gaming history. Even the over-hyped critical duds were huge – see Lair, Assassin’s Creed, Heavenly Sword. My spreadsheet tells me that I bought a lazy twenty games in 2007, but look at the AAA titles I didn’t buy: The Orange Box (an O/C nightmare), Bioshock (the demo scared the shit out of me), Guitar Hero III and Rock Band (I don’t need more rhythm games), and all manner of Wii Virtual Console (Super Metroid, Mario 64, A Link to the Past) and XBLA (Pac-Man CE, Alien Hominid) titles. There’s far more games than time, and my records show that I’ve still got 63 games incomplete. Maybe I should consider making a New Year’s Resolution regarding the “incomplete” list? Something along the lines of reducing it to around 50? Hah – I’m nowhere near that naïve… a more realistic resolution would be to not let it blow out much further.

But bring on 2008…

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