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What Is Your Game of the Year? 477

Posted by Zonk
from the all-three-console-makers-are-having-a-merry-christmas dept.
It's that time of year again. Last year's response to our Game of the Year post was so enthusiastic that I thought it would be worthwhile to give it another go. So, once again, some of the Slashdot folks have come together to offer up our 'games of the year'. Scuttlemonkey, Scott Collins, Chris Brown, CmdrTaco, and myself have all put together quick blurbs about the games we couldn't get enough of this year. When you're through reading those, it's your turn to speak up. What was the game you couldn't put down? The next-gen consoles really came into their own this year; was it one of those games, or something for the PC? In your opinion, what was the best game of the year?
Slashdot Engineer Chris Brown:
If you read game sites at all, by now you've probably had more than your fill of cake and Weighted Companion Cube jokes. But Portal remains one of the best games to come out this year, well worth the price of the entire Orange Box just by itself. It's a darkly funny genre-bender of a game, and every minute of it is enjoyable. The only thing a reasonable person could still wish for is more of it - it's a short game by anyone's standards. And Ellen McLain's brilliant voice acting as GLaDOS makes me giggle like a schoolgirl.

My only regret is not experiencing the game on my PC. The Xbox 360's controls are awkward and the general ambiance of the environments seemed pretty drab and washed out.

Slashdot Engineer Scott Collins:
My favorite game this year (outside of WoW, I'm required to admit) was something of a surprise. It started at a chili-dinner party when a friend pulled a deck of cards out and said "Let's play Fluxx." Everyone else seemed to know what was going on, so I didn't require any convincing. It turns out to be a pretty fast-paced card game where you play: 'Action' cards, such as 'Pick a card at random from another player's hand'; 'Keeper' cards which are assets you collect to win, like 'The Brain', 'The Toaster', 'Dreams', 'The Rocket', et al; 'New Rule' cards that change play, like 'Draw 4' which changes the initial game of "draw 1, play 1" to "draw 4, play 1"; and 'Goals', like 'Milk and Cookies' meaning that while that is the current goal, the player who has played both the Milk and Cookies Keepers immediately wins. It ends up being a very strange and fun mix, something like Nomic combined with Uno. But that's not the end of the story.

The game was so much fun that when I got home I looked up the maker, Looney Labs, to buy a Fluxx deck for myself. There I discovered Zombie Fluxx.Zombie Fluxx adds a new kind of anti-Keeper: the Creeper; while the Keepers are things like 'The Chainsaw', 'The Can of Gasoline', 'The Shotgun'; the Goals are things like 'I alone survived', where if you have a Friend (Keeper), and the Car, and no zombies --- and everyone else has at least one zombie, you win. I managed to play Zombie Fluxx with all of my kids at once. At Thanksgiving, we had a game with three generations playing (just regular Fluxx though; I don't think Grandma and Grampa are ready for Zombies). The decks are designed so you can easily combine regular Fluxx and Zombie Fluxx for an even bigger game (and easily separate them again).

Patrick "Scuttlemonkey" McGarry:
This year saw a rather violent shift in my gaming appetites, as I decided it was time to kick the World of Warcraft habit.Any game that required too much of my time was avoided like the plague.That being said, the Wii's Mario Galaxy turned out to be my perfect game this year. So long have I been engrossed in the massive "pretty factor" of games (Quake, Doom, F.E.A.R., Warcraft, EVE, Empire at War, etc) that try to impress users with graphics, huge storylines, or tons of options that I forgot how great it could be just to find a simple game that offers a little bit of distraction and fun. Mario Galaxy really is the ultimate realization of the Mario franchise so far. It offers all of the glory of a platformer while offering several new twists.The first major expansion beyond the normal Mario world was their use of 3D and gravity. Many surfaces in the game acted as their own planet, complete with gravity well and the ability to traverse all sides of the object. There are also many fun manipulations of gravity throughout the game.Mario Galaxy also takes advantage of many unique controls available on the Wii to really make the gameplay interesting, without being overly hard.

Many games I have played recently really required a great deal of time to hone your skills to that "expert" level, and while that may be fine for a game with the scope of World of Warcraft, I shouldn't need that level of dedication for a simple platformer and Mario Galaxy delivers spectacularly. There were just enough challenges in the game to make it interesting but it was easy enough I could just pick it up and put it down whenever I felt like it without getting frustrated. The other major advancement Mario Galaxy has made was in cooperative gameplay. The new "co-star" mode makes it possible for you to include even the most staunch non-gamers in the Mario Galaxy experience. The co-star is given a cursor on the screen with which they can pick up power-ups, halt incoming enemies or enemy attacks, assist with stronger jumps, and even stun enemies for easy dispatch. Keep in mind that while all of these things are helpful if you happen to have a co-star, the game doesn't require you to have one, so that helpful individual can come and go as they please.

This makes it ideal for friends who drop by or loved ones that don't want to really jump in with both feet. All in all Mario Galaxy is a great casual game that can provide entertainment for just about any gaming appetite, definitely worth a look.

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda:
My entry for game of the year is almost more about multiplayer gameplay. From fighters to first person shooters, there are just so many games out where I can invite a friend to join me, and then one of us crushes the other. Don't get me wrong, this is fun, but in many of those games, the person with the superior skill is bored while the less experienced player is defeated over and over again. It can get old.

Enter Rock Band. It might be the perfect party game. Someone drums, another plays bass, another lead guitar. And the most daring of any you takes up the USB microphone and goes nuts karaoke style. Instead of competing, you are a team. When one person fails out, another can bring them back by pulling off an overdrive move. And with the multiple difficulty settings, I can play on hard, while a friend plays on easy, and we can both be challenged and entertained.

It's hours of fun. It has problems: too many cords, not enough songs that everyone agrees on, and finding a spare guitar right now seems to be impossible. But each of those problems is addressable and doesn't take away from the fact that everyone can rock out for a few minutes. Everyone can be equals with a common goal and be challenged (well, maybe not people who have mastered expert mode, but I have no sympathy for you ;) It's got a steep price tag, but if you have 3 friends, it's worth it.

Michael "Zonk" Zenke:
My game of the year 2007 was decided during the 2006 E3 event.Mass Effect, at that point, was nothing more than a trailer about some space marine talking to an alien bartender. Years of patient waiting culminated for me in a 45 minute drive to the K-Mart in Portage, WI. Being able to buy a game a full week and a half before it releases generally is a special treat - moreso for me because of the chance to review the game before it came out. With a review in mind, I spent a full week leisurely exploring the world of Commander Shepherd, trying to stop Saren from carrying out his mad plot.

Over the course of that week, I was deeply, fully in love with the game. Yes, it's got some major flaws. The game's UI ranges from barely passable to amateur hour, and there are some honest frustrations to be voiced about character AI. Just the same, I was hooked, happily using the conversation wheel and Paragoning my way through the game's endless content. In some ways it reminded me a lot of Oblivion, my pick for last year's GOTY, in that the story fully drew me in. I've played Mass Effect quite a bit less than Oblivion; the exploration elements are just not as engaging.

But quality easily makes up for quantity, and my time with Mass Effect has been amazing. The moment that cemented this title in my personal hall of fame was actually the climax. Oblivion's ending is something of a 'whatever' - the joy there is in the journey. With Mass Effect, Shepherd's final confrontation with Saren is easily one of the most memorable gaming moments I've ever experienced. It's an incredibly fitting cap to the game's epic story and (somehow) actually makes me want to play through the whole thing over again.

Blemishes and all, Mass Effect is my game of the year for 2007. It reaffirmed for me the storytelling potential of western-style RPGs, and let me put to rest a burning anticipation I've had for quite some time. And, of course, now I can get ready for the next chapter in the series. When do you think Mass Effect 2 will be out?

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What Is Your Game of the Year?

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  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@@@devinmoore...com> on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:05PM (#21768104) Homepage Journal
    My game of the year is Super Mario Bros 3. It is an awesome game, easily as good or better than anything else I played this year. Or does it have to be something made this year? Hmmm, I guess whatever Wii game it was that I played at the mall.
  • nethack (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    same as last year.
  • hands down (Score:4, Funny)

    by wolfgang_spangler (40539) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:05PM (#21768116) Homepage
    pass the pigs.
  • #1 game (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:06PM (#21768132)
    hide the salami
  • Bioshock (Score:5, Interesting)

    by StealthyRoid (1019620) * on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:06PM (#21768142) Homepage
    It's not exactly an adventurous or controversial pick, but for me, Bioshock was far and away the best game of 2007. It represents a new era of the video game as a story, continually engaging players in the plot of the world that unfolds around them. The art was downright stunning, the characters interesting, the gameplay was great, and you got to engage in the exciting-yet-gross act of harvesting a 9 year old girl for her body fluids.
    • by klingens (147173)
      There have been games like this long before. First one I remember is Ultima Underworld. Others are System Shock, System Shock 2 and Deus Es
      • Re:Bioshock (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nick_davison (217681) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @04:45PM (#21769856)
        Underworld was a great game. It was also relatively PG rated.

        Where Bioshock scored for me was that, for the first time since Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines, it dared to treat adults like, well, adults.

        Other games have "moral ambiguity" but, let's be honest, most of them are simply, "There's no right option here." Do you help evil but rights of the individual side A or do you help evil but common good side B? Do you side with guy A's story or guy B's story. And you're left with no real doubt that that's as far as they've thought it through.

        Bioshock's genius comes from:

        Not just "Do you harvest little sisters for more Adam or be 'good' for less?" but really pushes you to think: What am I doing by "saving" them? Am I just taking out their symbiotic host so they die anyway? How do I feel about killing them if I know either option kills them?

        [SPOILER ALERT] When saved, they talk about getting sleepy and appear to climb in the vents to die. When it's later revealed that they really are just going "home" - it adds an aching emotional response if you chose to kill them for your own goals. The "good" ending taking that even further.[/SPOILER ALERT]

        Now add in insanity storylines, deliberate murders of families, stories of holocaust survival, Ayn Rand type debates. Even better, much of this happens off screen. Sure, the Manhunts or GTAs of this world will kill a family in front of you and have politicians up in arms for something with next to no emotional impact. Bioshock can imply it, off screen, leaving it to resonate in your mind on a vastly deeper level.

        I love GTA but it's candy violence and candy swearing. None of it means anything. It's like watching a Die Hard movie. Sure, it's "adult" but kids want to go and see it, and understandably so, because it's nothing but a fun adrenalin ride.

        Bioshock on the other hand is like the Godfather or, yes, Lolita. None of the violence, none of the swearing is there for a quick and cheap thrill. It's there because it's absolutely appropriate to a storyline that engages your brain on a much higher level. It shows you uncomfortable concepts, it doesn't tell you that it'll all get better if you just shoot everything, but still takes you on an intense journey that'll stay with you.

        And so, in the same way, Bioshock matters like great films matter. There are tons of Disney games. There are huge numbers of action movie games. There're a few, like Ultima Underworld that manage to be great ET or Bridge To Terabithia type (PG but really makes you think) games. It's incredibly rare in gaming though for there to be a non-gratuitous, truly adult in the sense that adults are trusted to think for themselves about darker concepts, games.

        Bioshock managed that.

        Yes, System Shock came close - which is why Bioshock is openly talked about as its spiritual successor. Even then, the medium's evolved and it's like comparing The Godfather to a great silent movie. So much more, technologically, can be added now - from detailed objects to animation flourishes, objects in the distance to quantity and quality of audio.

        Deus Ex was also a great game. Again, time moves on and a modern DVD, filled with the kind of quantity and quality of content a modern game budget allows, will always surpass it. Yes, pretty graphics for pretty graphics sake is meaningless. But, when used well, all of these advances really do enhance your immersion in a game just as VFX in a movie doesn't save a lousy movie but massively enhances a great one.

        So, we've got a level of meaningful adult content that's rarely been in any prior game. We've got advances in the medium that allow those earlier ideas to be more richly realized.

        Beyond that though, you're listing three games (if we ignore sequels) in 15 years. Even if we accept it does nothing new, one utterly engaging game in all of those ways, every four or five years, means it more than merits adoration - even if it isn't utterly unique.
    • by Keith Russell (4440) <keith.russellNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday December 20, 2007 @04:24PM (#21769518) Journal

      Unless you've played System Shock 2, that is. Ken Levine can use the phrase "spiritual successor" all he wants, but the story was System Shock 2.1.

      Warning: Here Be Spoilers

      There are so many elements that are almost directly parallel between the games:

      • Polito = Atlas
      • SHODAN = Fontaine
      • XERXES = Ryan
      • Diego = Tennenbaum
      • Delacroix = MacDonagh
      • Korenchkin = Suchong
      • FTL travel = pseudo-Objectivist utopia
      • Psionics = Plasmids
      • The Many = Splicers
      • Multiple ammo types per weapon = Multiple ammo types per weapon
      • Vending machines = Vending machines

      That said, I still enjoyed the game, because it was fun and well-executed. The art direction provides an incredible sense of place, with its underwater setting, Art Deco architecture, and Junkyard Wars improvised weapons. The root conflict is certainly more interesting. Ryan and Fontaine are both megalomaniacs at heart, regardless of their faux-religious veneers. (Notice how Fontaine countered Ryan's escalating Ayn Rand-like rhetoric by smuggling in bibles and rosaries to help recruit the disillusioned working class?) That's a better hook than SHODAN's scheming to get the Von Braun to the remains of Citadel. They did add new game play elements, like the Big Sister/Little Daddy dynamic, crafting, and photography research. And who can forget Sander Cohen?

      But that still doesn't do anything for my disappointment in the similarities. I saw the Atlas/Fontaine switch coming from a mile away, because I remembered Polito and SHODAN. I was hoping that Levine would surprise us old SS2 fans with a different plot twist. (I will give him credit for tricking us into thinking that Atlas' "wife" and "son" would be parallels of Suarez and Siddons from SS2.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jesus_666 (702802)
        Actually, I was pretty disappointed by Bioshock - not only is it a System Shock 2 rehash, I'd rather put its version number at 1.9... It's essentially System Shock 2 with half of the gameplay mechanics removed.

        SS2 was particularly engaging because you needed to be careful about how much ammo you use, how many nanites you spend (because you needed the things for anything from purchases to weapon repairs), which weapon you use when (because degradation might mean the thing breaks down when you need it least
  • I'm hoping it's 1/2 as good as you say. I'm waiting on the PS2 bundle which was to be released on the 18th...the Gamestops are all saying tomorrow the 21st. Which blows because I'm leaving early in the morning. Anyone know where I can get it in the Houston area?
    • Re:Rock Band (Score:4, Informative)

      by Saige (53303) <evil DOT angela AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:52PM (#21768988) Journal
      Unfortunately, from what I've read the PS2 version is about 1/2 as good as the next-gen versions. No Band World Tour mode, which is the meat of the multiplayer experience, no additional songs to purchase online, and no character customization. It's still good, being Guitar Hero with more instruments, but it seems like it's just a poor echo of the 360/PS3 versions of the game.

      And I agree that Rock Band is the game of the year... I've had the game going multiple times with a crowd of friends over, and there are constantly four people playing it. They've definitely taken the music game genre to a new level.
  • by krog (25663) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:08PM (#21768180) Homepage
    The "Waiting in line for the big-box store to open for the day so I can maybe snag a Wii" seems to be a popular title this year. No supply shortages either.
    • by pokerdad (1124121)

      The "Waiting in line for the big-box store to open for the day so I can maybe snag a Wii" seems to be a popular title this year. No supply shortages either.

      That was pretty popular, but there was a cross platform game that was way more popular. It was called "Console Fanboi".

  • Call of Duty 4 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fear13ss (917494) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:08PM (#21768196)
    Gameplay is amazing, graphics are acceptable. Single player isn't half bad either. After buying Call of Duty, it was nearly impossible to go back to Halo 3, so I haven't.
  • The QA game (Score:4, Funny)

    by Malevolent Tester (1201209) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:10PM (#21768236) Journal
    It's great.

    You score 5 points every time you reduce a developer to incoherent frustration*, 10 points when you "suddenly notice" a flaw in the requirements causing a project to be re-engineered at the last minute and 20 points when you break a production system and successfully lay the blame on someone else.

    *Double if they're on the autistic spectrum and temporarily lose the ability to communicate except in grunts and howls.
    • by FiloEleven (602040)
      I have never seen name, post, and sig all in such accord.

      You, sir, show a level of dedication that I find quite frankly a bit frightening. I applaud you for it while simultaneously hoping you are not near me in meatspace.
  • After not playing for quite some time, I got hooked on Nannymud [lysator.liu.se] again this year.
  • Laser Game! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:11PM (#21768250)
    My favorite game is shining a green laser at helicopters with my wife.
  • by Lane.exe (672783) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:12PM (#21768254) Homepage
    PC -- WoW, because it's one of the only games that runs on my Mac. And it's awesome.

    Console -- Mass Effect. Great looking and sounding game, with a fun real-time combat system and a cool space-opera story.

    Portable/handheld -- FFXII: Revenant Wings. They said that RTS could not be done on a portable. Then came the DS and Square.

  • Puzzle Quest (Score:2, Interesting)

    by chromatic (9471)

    I've spent more hours playing Puzzle Quest for my DS than I care to mention, and I haven't even finished yet.

    • Gah. I bought Puzzle Quest and played it for a few hours. I ended up selling to my cousin because I was bored out of my mind. My wife LOVES puzzle games and she was the one to suggest that we get rid of it. I'm glad you enjoy it, but I just couldn't get into it.
  • by EtoilePB (1087031) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:12PM (#21768270)
    I can't help but agree with Portal. I was impressed with it through and through. And as someone who adores Jonathan Coulton and who writes about gender issues in gaming... well, what's not to love? The game had a SUPERB learning curve, especially for someone like me who generally hates and does poorly with FPS-like games. It was clever, darkly amusing, and hnad actual problems to solve, which is my favorite sort of game.

    So Portal hands down, with BioShock in a good solid second place. I can't find out until after Christmas what I'll place in third, because that's when I'll be getting the rest of the games I was hoping to try this year. ;)
    • I'm confused (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EnsilZah (575600)
      I'm confused by people who thought the part where they drop you into the fire and you're like 'NO WAY' is the end of the game.
      I mean, you spend the whole game learning to think a little bit differently about spacial orientation, how can you accept just being dropped into the fire without a fight?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MagikSlinger (259969)
      Portal brought this game hater back to FPS. And oh man, the story makes it soooo much better! X-D The twisted humor made me laugh out loud and the game play itself was exhilarating. No shooting or killing; just jumping, flying and dropping things on machine-gun wielding drones.

      I still sing the "Still Alive" song to myself at work.

      "Now these points of data/make a beautiful line.
        And we're out of beta/and releasing on time!"

      We do what we must because we can!
  • I may behind the times on when these games came out, but I throughly enjoyed playing Power Grid, Ra, and Puerto Rico for the first time last week.
  • I was hooked on Lord of the Rings Online. But being in Beta and seeing the Shire the day it was released was a dream come true. It helps that Turbine made Lord of the Rings Online a game I love playing.

    And my wife and I were happy to leave WOW, after friends from EQ1 begged us to come onboard, then to be told we were not "ready" for the raids they held was a bit of a bummer. What aboring grindfest. I am still having fun taking my 4th alt in LOTRO through the level 30 content.
  • you guys are n00bs... Portal? Mario? what happened to all the cool fraggers on /.?
    ETQW ftw!
    Excellent Linux support too!
    ET>*
  • FreeCiv 2.1.1 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Luyseyal (3154) <swaters@lu y . i nfo> on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:17PM (#21768358) Homepage

    Seriously, our family just loves FreeCiv [freeciv.org].

    -l

  • Mass Effect (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sciros (986030) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:17PM (#21768372) Journal
    I would also have to give it to Mass Effect this year. Last year it was Oblivion, with stiff competition from Gears of War, Final Fantasy XII, Okami, and LoZ: Twilight Princess. I just like open-ended RPGs with immersive worlds more than anything else, I guess.

    This year Mass Effect has similarly strong competition from Bioshock, Halo 3, and Mario Galaxy (as far as "regular," non-Guitar Hero-type games go), but it managed to really draw me in the way Oblivion did. I haven't been this into a game since Gears of War and FFXII, and it's been a year since then ^^

    Mass Effect's story is decent enough on the surface (your character is badass and everyone knows it so you are sent to take out another badass -- simple but cool) and it really shines in the details. Very real character development takes place. You get attached to them. I do wish they had a bit more "presence" during combat, the way your teammates in Gears do, but that's a small complaint.

    The character models are fantastic, and the visual design of the game in general is quite good. The ligthing and shadows are sometimes very bad, and texture loading is very noticeably slow, but that rarely distracts, which is important.

    The flow of one mission to another, the way subquests are introduced and progressed -- it's all quite immersive.

    In short, Mass Effect is the closest I've come to feeling like I'm controlling a movie or miniseries. (Oblivion felt like I was playing a spinoff of Hercules The Legendary Journeys, which was sweet, hehe.)

    Oh, also the "world" Mass Effect introduces is cool and easily one of my favorite in sci-fi now.
  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:17PM (#21768382) Journal
    Game of the Year? Hmm... tough one. It's been a good year for games. I think if I were to rank my top picks, it'd look something like this:

    10) Odin Sphere (PS2) - wonderfully quirky little RPG/brawler combo, with 2d graphics that put some next-gen titles to shame and probably the best game soundtrack of the year.

    9) God of War 2 (PS2) - epic in scale, utterly exhilerating to play, the perfect demonstration that you don't need a fancy gimmick controller to make a game's controls immersive. Probably the best looking game that will ever hit the PS2.

    8) Call of Duty 4 (PC) - I hated the previous installments in the series, but this one is much, much better. Unlike most other "military" shooters around, this one has a pretty good plot. The combat is probably the most satisfying we've seen from an fps this year. It's too short, but it's a lot of fun while it lasts.

    7) Bioshock (PC) - yeah, I know, it wasn't quite the Second Coming of Gaming that some of the early reviews made it out to be. The atmosphere, concept and sheer flexibility of the combat system, however, still mean it was a great game.

    6) Command & Conquer 3 (PC) - I went into this prepared to hate it (I loathed C&C2 and Red Alert 2), but this was he game that, for me at least, put the fun back into the RTS genre. Stupidly fast-paced, it delivered the kind of adrenelin rush that you don't expect from an RTS. Moreover, with the gratuitous use of FMV cutscenes, it left most other offerings this year in the dust in terms of production values.

    5) Crysis (PC) - The combat doesn't quite match up to Call of Duty 4's, but the sheer scope of Crysis is incredible. Even compared to Farcry, the sheer number of ways you can tackle each mission is staggering. If it weren't for the incredibly irritating floaty mission in the alien base, this would have been a contender for number 1.

    4) Forza Motorsport 2 (Xbox 360) - Still no release date in sight for Gran Turismo 5, but I don't care any more. This is the best "realistic" racing sim I've seen on any platform, ever. A few more tracks would have been nice, but I guess we can hope to see that in the sequel.

    3) Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 - With a hideously dated game-engine and a repetative combat system, this might seem an odd pick for so high up on the list. However, with the superb production values, the great writing and the innovative "everyday life" dynamic, this was my favourite Japanese RPG of the year.

    2) Portal (PC) - Let's be clear, this game was too short. But there's no point crying over every mistake, you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake.

    1) Mass Effect (Xbox 360) - My game of the year, by some distance. Bioshock show just what they can do when they step out of the shackles of other people's content. It took me a while to get into this game, as the sheer size of it was a bit intimidating. However, there's no denying this is the deepest, best written, best produced and just-plain-all-around-jaw-dropping game of the year. The combat rocks, the characters are memorable and the game mechanics are intuitive.

    Now, a few games not quite in my top 10, but which also impressed me a lot this year (in no particular order):

    Ar Tonelico (PS2) - The ultimate guilty pleasure. I really shouldn't like this, but I couldn't help it.

    Halo 3 (Xbox 360) - Too short and unoriginal to make the top 10, but still engrossing.

    Resident Evil 4 (Wii) - One of the few Wii ports to be genuinely enhanced by the control system.

    Final Fantasy 3 (DS) - This is how you do a remake.

    Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (PSP) - Another excellent remake.

    Heavenly Sword (PS3) - Thoroughly overshadowed by God of War 2, but still decent.

    And now, the disappointments...

    Supreme Commander (PC) - It pains me to write this, because I had a lot of hopes invested in this game, but it just reminded me how much things had moved on since Total Annihilation. A good effort, but it felt slow and (dare I say it) a bit boring compare
    • by Faizdog (243703)
      Mind if I ask what you do? I'm amazed that you were able to play so many games. With my busy life, it would be amazing if I was able to play a fourth or fifth of what you apparently did. And I don't even have a family (as in wife and/or kids) to take up my time.
      • by RogueyWon (735973) *
        Me? Civil Servant, full-time 9-6 job, plus I go out 1... maybe 2 nights a week. I just tend to finish games fairly quickly and then move along.
  • For playing with the kid Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii is amazing. The graphics are okay, for a wii, but the puzzles and the game eplay is just amazingly engaging. It's just fun.

    Halflife 2. Ep 2 looks amazing. My PC isn't a dedicated gaming PC, but fairly new, and I did splash a bit extra on the graphics card. It's fun and it has a few good places where a literally twitched and dodged, when something jumped me. You need to be in the game to do that. Was a bit short through...
  • by HalAtWork (926717) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:18PM (#21768398)
    Mario Galaxy is definitely my game of the year. It's pretty much what every Mario fan has been waiting for after New Super Mario Bros. Right from the beginning, you keep getting wowed until you just can't believe you're playing this game. The physics of the gravity, the variety of gameplay in the different power-ups you can grab, and the focus on core Mario gameplay really brings this game to the top. This game will have you perfecting the controls in every sense, and they're a joy to use. You'll be doing acrobatics all over levels to reach areas that seem impossible to get to. The game is also constantly surprising with the various bosses and tricks the different levels use to get the most out of the gameplay engine.
     
    I just sincerely hope this won't be the last actual 'traditional' (platformer) Mario game we'll be seeing on the Wii. Mario Sunshine was pretty much the only one on the Gamecube, Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64, and Mario World for the SNES, but NES got SMB 1, 2, and 3. I realize it takes a lot to put out one of these games, but I really don't want to be playing any Princess Peach, Wario, or Luigi games or any of these knock-offs. They're great in their own right, but really you wish you were playing a new Mario game. I realize too much could water down the franchise, but it definitely won't get tired if there's a new one every 2 or 1.5 years. Come on, Nintendo! I want as much Mario as I can get!
  • I usually only game about 3 or 4 hours per week. I got Mass Effect about 2 weeks ago and have already put in nearly 30 hours.

    It's pretty rare that I bother to "savor" a game - but that's exactly what I'm doing. I know I'm about to go to the last planet, so I'm running around completely all the side quests first. They're definitely weaker than the core missions, but it's nice to have some extra bit of world to immerse yourself in.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:18PM (#21768406)
    Duke Nukem Forever. It should sweep this Game of the Year and Vaporware of the Year. And being slashdot, it should win again tomorrow.
  • by creimer (824291) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:19PM (#21768422) Homepage
    My friend and I been playing UT2004 mulitplayer since my other computer can't run UT3 yet. This is the game that we still keep coming back to year after year. Before that, it was Quake 2.
  • My favorite game is AOE III. I play that and Flight Sim X but AOE III Dynasties is the best thing to come out this year as far as I'm concerned. I built a new core 2 duo system with an ATI XTX 1950 card and run it it full 1920x1200 mode with all the bells and whistles turned on and the graphics are awesome. It will use a havoc physics engine if you have one. Playing that game in 4x4 mode stresses the computer but its quite an experience and a big step forward in realtime rendering, especially since it will
  • I really couldn't decide on one game, so I made a list. The one central theme this year (for me) is fun. I've enjoyed just about every genre over the years, so was really looking for something different.

    PC:
    BioShock. I know many people will disagree, but the story and setting of BioShock made it a blast to play. Loads of fun from start to finish.

    DS:
    Zelda, Phantom Hourglass. I'm currently about 3/4 finished with the newest Zelda rendition and I'm having a hard time putting it down. The control scheme to
  • Some lesser-appreciated games have my attention right now. Like "Yin and Yang" (a silly little Flash from MTV games), or Line Rider (another, even simpler flash game), or the Pirates CCG. For the big ones, Rock Band, Mario Galaxy, and Portal all struck me as fascinating, but I haven't played any of them at length.
  • Tools of destruction.

    Loads of fun, gorgeous visuals, beautiful environment, stylish characters, amusing mini-games, and fun for the whole family. This was a game where I would get home from work and my kids would say, "Dad, can you play Ratchet and Clank?"
  • Stalker (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GreggBz (777373) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:25PM (#21768520) Homepage
    I don't know if it's worth anything but STALKER was the only game I played to completion this year.

    I'm just so sick of Fantasy. I'm sick of elves, magic and special potions. I'm sick of WW2. Bioshock, while good, was not real to me, it just seemed over the top; to far fetched, sensational and psedu-scientific. A little make believe is ok, but spouting fire and lightning bolts from your hands because of a genetic enhancement potion stopped being intriguing to me. It just seems ridicules as I approach 30.

    Playing something that really challenged me, based on a real area, with very realistic weapons and a gritty post-apocalyptic atmosphere was refreshing. I also enjoyed the depth and detail. The translations for all that is said in Russian reveal some very interesting dialog. The almost endless buildings to hunt around in and the 7 different endings to try gave the game more replayability than most. The amount of different equipment to use led to lots of debate and online discussion of strategy.

    It was buggy, but in terms of breaking new ground, I think it gets overlooked when compared to the more sensational BioShock.
    • I'm able to run BioShock without any issues and Supreme Commander on medium settings. Yet, I've never managed to get Stalker to run without stuttering. Unfortunate since it sounded like an interesting game.
  • Munchkin! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oahazmatt (868057) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:25PM (#21768532) Journal
    This past October I was introduced to Munchkin, and all it's table-top goodness. My roommate and I became so enamored with the series that he purchased all five original Munchkin expansions within a week, and I've picked up its western brother, The Good, the Bad and the Munchkin.

    For anyone who hasn't played, think D&D. Now throw everything else out the window. Get a bunch of people, and try to get to level 10. Everyone will be real helpful to each other until someone reaches level 5 or so, and then it gets ugly. Redirect attacks, curse people, change their gender, take their pants, completely screw them over to the point of no return.

    Best game for me this year, hands down.
  • AC (Score:4, Interesting)

    by harl (84412) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:25PM (#21768534)
    Yes I know it's more of a tech demo than a game but Assassin's Creed is my choice for GotY.
  • Wii Sports (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jalano (309339) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:29PM (#21768600)
    Without a doubt, Wii Sports made the Wii the popular console that it is today. That small collection of easy to play games has the biggest mass appeal of any game I've seen come out in many, many years. How many games have you seen that entices your parents and grandparents to buy a console?

    I'd even go as far to say that if Wii Sports was not bundled with the Wii at launch, the Wii probably would not be the runaway success it is today.

  • Man, this game just keeps going on and on. My hats are off to the people who beat this one.

    Seriously, CoD4 is my game of the year at this point. I can't get into the single player but the multiplayer simply owns.

    For single player it has to be Portal. Sure, it's not a hard concept and it's pretty short but it's a neat idea for the fantastic engine it's built off of and the end credit song is worth any minor frustration you may experience during gameplay.

    Oh, and the cake is pretty damn good.
  • I tried many games this year... Lord of the Rings Online has got to be the most enjoyable game I have played. But what do I know? I am waiting anxiously for Star Trek Online to come out... lol
  • I've played it through twice now, and I'm gunning to give it another go. It's overtaken The Curse of Monkey Island as my favorite video game. The storytelling is truly epic (as overused as that word may be), and, like was mentioned, the ending is perfect. The feeling of overwhelming heroism that comes over you as the credits roll is unmatched.
  • Half-Life 2: Ep. 2 (Score:2, Informative)

    by neo-mkrey (948389)
    Half-Life 2: Ep. 2 is my pick for my favorite game. It felt like a HL game again (something the Ep. 1 was missing IMHO). A close second would have to be Portal.
  • I downloaded a free FPS game called Alien Arena (which I might have first seen on slashdot) and it has provided many hours of enjoyment through online play. It doesn't have a whole lot of eye candy, but I believe the game play engine is based off of Quake.
  • GH II (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MyNameIsEarl (917015)
    I have to say Guitar Hero II on my Xbox 360 pumping out through the stereo system. A good game to play with friends who are drinking.
  • Supreme Commander and its Add-On Forged Alliance are clearly my personal picks as "Game of the Year", somewhat closely followed by Team Fortress 2.
  • My game of the year is Portal, simply an awesome game with my review here [blogspot.com].

    My console game of the year is Call of Duty 4 (yes the game is also on the PC, but I played it on the Xbox 360). My review for that is here [blogspot.com].

    I played a lot of portable games this year but nothing really that new, mostly catching up on things. Two games of note were Dragon Quest: Rocket Slime and Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (review [blogspot.com]). Both good games but nothing I can say is game of the year quality.

    I also traditionally pick a
  • Not just playing, but creating content is very enjoyable. Top it off with servers playing your maps. or using your models etc. Good stuff.
  • by afidel (530433)
    I just picked it up a couple weeks ago so I avoided all the problems people seem to have had with patch 0. It's terribly addictive in the same way Diablo 2 was for me and I haven't even started playing hardcore yet =) Of course the people I played with was one of the things that kept me playing D2 for over 2 years and Hellgate doesn't seem to have quite the same community around it as D2 did.
    • I agree... I picked it up after it had been out for a while and didn't experience all the nastiness the reviewers seem to have hounded it over. It's fun, addictive, but doesn't require the huge time commitment in a single sitting that so many RPGs do.
  • Not really a game... but the only thing I've "played" all year. Runs on Linux/Mac as well as Windows. If you've never heard of it, use my link to sign up [isfoundhere.com].
  • I am glad analog gaming got some play in this story. While Fluxx (and its descendants) are a bit childish, they do serve as a great gateway drug to get typical Americans interested in modern card and board games.
    • by uncledrax (112438)
      Agreed.. I'm happy that a non-C-game got a showing :]

      I like Fluxx for it's stupid-simple play, zombie fluxx (which I just recently got to play) does make it a bit more complicated, but not enough so that you've gotten bogged down with rules.

      Unfortunately I haven't ventured out to any of the new/replacement game shops in my area to see what new and interesting board games they have around.. i need to do that.. :/
  • The witcher (Score:5, Informative)

    by aepervius (535155) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:50PM (#21768956)
    The witcher is a long RPG, better than NWN 2+MoB IMHO, and full of choice. I would crown it in one of the top 3 RPG, if there was not this stupid flaw on saving (game autosave at each map transition at night, you can't turn autosave off, and saving seem to take quite a long time... Apparently they will release a patch to solve that). It is a game of gray, evil/good is not so obvious, and actually if you eliminate the fantasy part, some of the stuff sound "plausible" story wise (consistent and solid), and so it makes it immersing. Combat is also nice with the combo things, where you have different type of attacks (group/strong/light) with a sort of paper-scissor-stone system without being too repetitive. It is also quite long as RPG. Very good. I dunno if it is out for the US...
  • by Faizdog (243703)
    With all of the new features in the latest expansion(s), and the fact that by nature Civ games take a while, Civ 4 is the game that I have spent >90% of my gaming time this year playing.
    • I have spent >90% of my gaming time this year playing.

      So you're nearly done with your first full map?

      I like Civ altho I haven't had a lot of time in Civ IV yet and the thing that always gets me is the endless micromanaging in earlier Civs. I like playing huge maps in Civ III because I hate my neighbor's capitol city being 12 whole squares away from mine but on big maps you get tons of cities.

      Tons of cities = tons of units.
      Tons of unit = micromanagement.

      I was really hoping this formula was going t
  • by Richard Steiner (1585) <rsteiner@visi.com> on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:51PM (#21768982) Homepage Journal
    No, really. Check [wunderland.com] it [boardgamegeek.com] out [funagain.com]...:-)
  • ChipWits II (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dougsha (247714)
    http://chipwits.com/ [chipwits.com]

    Program bots with graphic chips. A revival of a 1980's classic.

    Yeah, I wrote it. But it's still my favorite game this year. So sue me.

  • Super Mario Galaxy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gauntlet420 (646001) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:59PM (#21769114) Journal

    This game has brought back everything that I used to enjoy about video games back in the 90's console era (NES/Genesis/SNES/TG16) - joy, frustration, a sense of wonder, and an as-of-yet unresolved addiction. (10 more stars to go!) The control scheme took all of 30 seconds to master. The graphics, while not super-detailed, are incredibly smooth (with the exception of some underwater bits). The score is spectacular - haunting, epic, whimsical, and nostalgic as the need arises.

    I bought the game on release day (while on vacation), somewhat on a whim - thinking "It can't live up to the hype", "Hopefully it will have good trade value" and "At least it will give me something to do after I finish Guitar Hero III". So far, I've probably put 60 hours into SMG, and perhaps six hours into GH3.

    Having played all of the other Mario games to some degree (I never owned an SNES, but played a fair bit of SMW) only SM64 has been as much of an addiction as SMG. (My virtual console copy of SM64 hasn't been played in almost a month.)

    I also recently got a used copy of Rayman Raving Rabbids. It has been an enjoyable game thus far, although the control is sometimes lacking (the 'slam the outhouse door' minigame is very inconsistent).

  • Yeah, still...even in single, when I don't have connection to the internet. Or when friend borrowed me his HL2 with addons...

    Blizzard better release some proper game, I'm staring to look really anachronic :p
  • Footyman (Score:3, Interesting)

    by superbus1929 (1069292) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @04:22PM (#21769494) Homepage
    All the big-time games seem to be FPS games, and that's not really my cup of tea, so I can't really vote for games that I don't enjoy playing. So for me? GOTY = Football Manager 2008, which means two straight years of Football Manager dominance.
  • Sauerbraten (Score:2, Interesting)

    by daigidan (1206028)

    I haven't noticed a single open source game listed yet (but I haven't exhaustively searched either), so I thought I'd offer the one that's been dominating my time lately:

    http://sauerbraten.org/ [sauerbraten.org]

    Sauerbraten is a fast-paced FPS with a number of game modes, maps, and a fun community of players. They typically put out a new release once every quarter, with the "Winter" release scheduled to arrive sometime this weekend. The best part for me is that I can hop online for a 15min game and I actually feel like

  • Please, not Flux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hibiki_r (649814) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @04:30PM (#21769632)

    If flux is your favorite game, you really need to see what else is out there. The game is so random, the decisions you make are pretty much irrelevant. The fact is a friend of mine played against his cat, and lost! [boardgamegeek.com]

    There are a ton of good boardgames out there: From Descent to Agricola, with oldies such as Carcassonne, El Grande or Tikal.

    As far as videogames go, I've played pretty much every nominee, and Mario Galaxy is head over shoulders above the competition. Mass Effect did nothing KOTOR hadn't done better years ago. Better writing, better characters, better inventory system, better AI. The romance arcs were so absolutely lame they had me longing for Baldur's Gate II. Bioshock has a great story, but it's a pretty average shooter. Half of the plasmoids are pointless, and there's not much enemy variety as the game goes along. Portal is much better, but it is very short. Rock Band is better than Guitar Hero, but they did screw up with the manufacturing problems, and the lack of career online mode is disappointing.

    It's Galaxy's year.

  • Sadly, I didn't get to play enough games this year. Just too busy. But I did get to play a few. The game I have probably wasted the most time on is Team Fortress 2. And this is a year late, but I would say Oblivion is the top game I have played this year. It just has so many quests and things you can do...and the polish is amazing. Hopefully I will "beat" Oblivion over break (i.e. do all the guild quests, all the major town quests, get all the artifacts, and complete the storyline). Bioshock and HL2-
  • by SethJohnson (112166) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @04:41PM (#21769786) Homepage Journal
    While the sequel to Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory has failed to attain the massive online popularity that its predecessor currently enjoys, it is an excellent team-based first-person-shooter. An SDK has been released that promises to bring community-developed mods and maps that should help keep the game interesting for years to come.

    Seth
  • by SarekOfVulcan (133772) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @04:45PM (#21769854)
    I'm surprised nobody above me mentioned it -- in the subject at least. That game is way too damned addictive...

    And it got worse, when they released the Multiplayer version at http://www.casualcollective.com/ [casualcollective.com].
  • by robkill (259732) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @05:00PM (#21770116)
    Okay, it's an update/reissue of a board game that's been out of print for a decade or so, but it's great to finally have it for a new generation of players.

    Talisman

    http://www.blackindustries.com/?template=TM&content=talisman-history [blackindustries.com]
  • by xstonedogx (814876) <xstonedogx@gmail.com> on Thursday December 20, 2007 @05:29PM (#21770674)
    I was disappointed by Super Mario Galaxy. Other than the cool physics and the Wiimote, there was nothing really that great about it. Don't get me wrong: I like the game. It's just not as good as Super Mario Sunshine was (and is).

    Compared to Super Mario Sunshine, SMG is very linear. Yes, you can do the galaxies in pretty much whatever order you want, but they chose to have more galaxies in favor of more options in the individual levels. There was no searching for stars in the main area - they just dropped a hungry luma in your lap when you achieve a certain goal. There is absolutely no need to challenge yourself to get coins. They replaced the red coins in SMS with purple coins and saved all those levels for the end. The levels themselves were very linear and didn't provide for any exploring. All in all the game was much less challenging.
  • by The Fun Guy (21791) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @05:48PM (#21771026) Homepage Journal
    Oh, ha ha, very fsking funny. Rub it in, why don't you, you insensitive clod.
  • Super Mario Galaxy (Score:5, Informative)

    by solar_blitz (1088029) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @07:03PM (#21772102)
    Count me in for Super Mario Galaxy. It felt like I was playing Super Mario 64 all over again, but the bite-sized levels felt a lot more like Super Mario Bros. 3 as well. Add to it the return of the Airships, the Fire Flower, the incredible (for the Wii) graphics and stellar orchestration and you've got a game that can last for ages. Oh, and Luigi's Purple Coins will pwn your sorry butt, believe me.
  • Metroid Prime 3 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CoughDropAddict (40792) * on Thursday December 20, 2007 @08:37PM (#21773370) Homepage
    Hello?? Metroid Prime 3. The controls are so good you forget how you're doing it. You never want to go back to doing FPS any other way.

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