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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-12-29 06:32:13
Direman Press 2008 Game of the Year
The crop of 2008 titles is a contrast to 2007. Both were great for gaming, but 2008 resulted in ten shitloads of great games, as opposed to 2007's smaller list of truly exceptional benchmarks. 2008 resulted in a deeper, but less monumental field.
To be considered for DPGotY, a game requires an "S Rank". The following is just a partial list off the top of my head, of the slew of "A Rank" games that made 2008 so much fun, but were winnowed out of the running: Burnout Paradise, Fallout 3, Gears of War 2, Left 4 Dead, LittleBigPlanet, Prince of Persia, Valkyria Chronicles, and World of Goo. And since I don't review MMOs, I passed up Wrath of the Lich King which might in fact be an "S Rank" game.
In any case, the 2008 award goes to Grand Theft Auto IV. It's getting a ton of backlash from wannabe-indie-cool-hipster gamers who get off on hating the formerly popular. This was THE monster game of the year, and I posited all of my arguments in my review linked above.
Runner up is my wannabe-indie-cool-hipster pick: Rock Band 2. The linked review breaks down why it's significantly superior to Guitar Hero. I realize most people don't consider this a "proper" videogame, but its impact on operation and sales of the music industry, and the new means by which we are able to digest the ancient art form warrants recognition.
The first honorable mention is somewhat hard for me to swallow. I constantly compare Metal Gear Solid 4 to Jabba the Hutt with Bikini Slave Leia. It makes me simultaneously want to vomit and rub one out. At its best, MGS4 transcends the medium to provide groundbreaking gameplay. At its worst, it's a self-indulgent regression into everything that's wrong with videogames. Regardless, this game is the best in the series and a monumental effort to push videogames forward as an art form. In the past, I've compared it to Birth of a Nation, a primitive and horrendously flawed movie that was nevertheless instrumental in the development of film as an art form. Or maybe Metal Gear Solid 4 is that very first lungfish to haul its ass out of the water onto dry land. That pathetic, gasping, flippered vermin must have been completely useless, yet a critically important landmark in the evolutionary chain. (Assuming that evolution was indeed the mechanism for the propagation of life ;)
The other honorary mention is also a wannabe-indie-cool-hipster choice: Braid. The game's creator, Jonathan Blow may be a pretentious blowhard, but he created a true masterpiece. I may have written more words about this game than any other in the past year, so I'll let the review and past blogs do the justifying.
I've also been accused of being a Microsoft fanboy several times this year. I do give the 360 the bulk of my attention, because that's what the bulk of my readership seems interested in. I'm focusing on catching up on reviews, which will eventually result in more PlayStation 3 (and Wii) entries. But bottom line? The Xbox 360 is cheaper and provides a significantly broader library of great games. To date, Metal Gear Solid 4 and LittleBigPlanet are the only two games that make the PS3 special. However, I do love the Blu-Ray player.
Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-12-29 15:44:53
Diplomacy - Spring 1903
For anyone following along at home, these forums will give you all the information you need to keep track. The roleplaying thread is, quite frankly, better comedy than our comic strips.
Nothing particularly unexpected occurred this turn, except for a minor Austrian breakthrough into German Silesia. The significant event is that the German player (our film reviewer, Paul Yim) abdicated due to life related nonsense. I'm still sorting out the ramifications of this, but for now, I'll be assuming the duties of handling Germany.
This has the potential effect of fundamentally changing the political alignments of the game. I'll only remain in the "Gang of Three" if I can be convinced that it's in Germany's best interests.
The image below is the current state of the map. A larger version is available for viewing by clicking on it. Note that Switzerland is now in possession of ballistic technologies! Also, note that the dislodged British fleet retreated to Wales, and the dislodged German army retreated to Berlin.