Friday, January 9, 2009

My Favorite Games of 2008

Dice's Favorite 5 Games of 2008
(These are, in order, the 5 games I enjoyed the most that I played for the first time in 2008)

Well it's that time of the year again.  The winter is settling in and Lion's fans are once again hearkening back to that one time when they won a playoff game with Barry what's his name in the line-up.   But for me it means I get to partake in one of my favorite pastimes, list making.  The following few weeks I will be revisiting my favorite Games, Albums, TV, and Movies of the year 2008.

A few caveats:

- I am not a well rounded gamer.  I know what I like and it usually begins with Nin and ends with tendo.  I have never owned any console but those from the big N, and don't pretend to know the glories of the latest first person shooter that the rest of the "gaming world" is raving over.

- My lists are personal.  They are not "best of" lists.  I call them resonance lists, in that these are the games that resonated the most with me that I played for the first time this past year.

- Games I love are the ones that I found myself coming back to whenever I got the chance.  The games I couldn't shake from my brain, and the ones I felt the most joy while experiencing.  I'm pretty simple in this way, if your game makes me have fun, you win.

Let's get started, shall we?


5. Wii Fit - OK, I know this one stretches the definition of the word game and maybe even fun, but I'm convinced it is both.  It's hard not to include a game that was a crucial part of me losing over 100 pounds in 2008, so it sneaks in at number 5.  Aside from the fact that Nintendo created a game that is both a true workout and a true blast to play, there is the added bonus of the balance board.  A high tech scale that encourages accountability while adding game play options.  Nintendo execs are swimming in hundred dollar bills that bare testimony that this concept works with real people.

4. Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People - You can even tell from the title that this game was obviously designed with me in mind.  Hilarious pandering aside, if you are a homestar runner fan this game with keep you laughing all the way through.  What's wonderful about this game is that the brothers Chap have managed to actually design a pretty competent adventure game hidden amongst the one liners and inside jokes.  You can tell they have a de
ep love for the text adventure games of old and understand exactly what it is that makes the search and experiment gameplay work.  If you are a fan of Strong Bad, it's a must have, if not you still might enjoy yourself.

3. Auditorium - The one game on the list that you can play right now for free.  Just hit up playauditorium.com and marvel at the peaceful genius that is Auditorium.  Hard to explain but beautiful to experience, this game will have you anticipating each new level's intricate puzzle of light refracting goodness.  No need for me to linger on this one, just go play it for yourself right now.


2. Mario Kart Wii - Even though the "Wii Wheel" is about as lame and useless a peripheral as the Wii world has shown us, this game was a blast to play.  Personally I enjoyed the motion controls (without the wheel thank you very much) but even if you didn't, there were many other options for controlling the always hectic and hilarious Kart action.  Even the addition of motorcycles to the racing mix seemed to hit the right note with me.  But what really puts this game over the top are the incredible online play options.   You can play against friends or strangers in almost any mode imaginable.  You can download ghosts (actual saved races from other players) from the top racers in the world to test your mettle on any track.  They even have periodic Mario Kart tournaments where they release themed levels or different objectives.  As poorly as Super Smash Brothers Brawl did online, Mario Kart did superbly and almost a year later the game is still worth playing.


1. World of Goo - Every once in a while a game will push my joy button so intensely that I can't think of anything other than finding the next opportunity to play it.  Everything about this world of sticky blobs as building devices was note perfect for me.  Simply use the little goo balls to construct a structure to the exit pipe so that the remaining goo can be harvested.   A simple enough concept, but the way the game designers continue to add interesting layers and twists to it level after level made each new discovery a welcome challenge.  Throw in that the game was only $15 to download and it's hard to pass on this one.