A bit of time-in-lieu, and I’m off work for the whole week; but a trek to my parents’ place for Christmas left me with nothing but the DS to hammer for three days. Regardless, this was a big week… a big week.

Lumines Live, Geometry Wars – didn’t play either. Not really hard to avoid these chaps, what with the problems with Live over the last few weeks. Since my 360 Premium hard drive is now attached to my 360 Arcade, I require a Live login to play my XBLA games… and with Live going up and down like a whore’s knickers, I was constantly getting booted out of my games. Ho, hum.

Super Mario Galaxy – finished. 100% complete. Crossed off the list. All 121 stars, with both Mario and Luigi. That included a particularly heroic 14-hour day doing Luigi’s last 56(!) stars, including all the bastard muscle-memory-test purple coin challenges. Fantastic stuff; I loved Galaxy.

Stranger’s Wrath – finished. Just a few hours ago, in fact. After finishing Galaxy, I figured I’d push on through with this. I hadn’t felt especially driven to do so; sure, I really enjoyed playing it when I had the controller in my hand, but I wasn’t being compelled to play it. All that changed when I hit the plot twist about two-thirds through the game; when the game changed from the (decent) first-and-third-person shooter style to start incorporating run and dodge and hard-core shooter and… wow. Just wow. Great game. Will give this another play-through in a few weeks.

Phantom Hourglass – finished the main story… but, as with all modern Zeldas, the game doesn’t end there. Oodles of side-quests and ship parts and trading games and fishing left to do.

The completion of Zelda niggled me, though. In some ways, Super Mario Galaxy and Phantom Hourglass have a lot in common; both are flagship titles for their respective systems, and both show that careful design can lead to brilliant new control mechanisms that exemplify what those systems are capable of. The difference between them, though, is that the liberating control methods Galaxy are built on top of a game which, by itself, is all manner of awesome; it’s pretty hard to say the same of Zelda. Great controls, and some bits of the game are fantastic; but there’s huge chunks of crud there, too – walking into the Temple of the Ocean King for (what was to be) the penultimate time was utterly demoralising, and nearly broke my resolve.

So that wraps up a big week for me. Tonight, I start the critical darling that is Killer 7; I can’t wait :)

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