I'm not a huge fan of game of the year awards. I find it really difficult to compare two completely different experiences and say definitively, this one is better. I much prefer category awards. That said, if my readers want me to give out a game of the year award, I will. Just leave me a comment telling me that you guys want it, and I'll oblige.This first Games of the Year post is dedicated to the worst this year has to offer.
Worst Company of the Year:
It's been a really popular thing to hate on Activision this year and I hate to appear as if I'm jumping on the bandwagon, but they really deserve this. This company really exemplifies all the negative aspects of a large gaming publisher. They abuse the properties they have, they stifle creativity and they treat their consumers like crap. I hate to say I'm happy about a game failing, but I'm so glad Tony Hawk:Ride did not perform as well as hoped.Now if only they'll stop pushing plastic crap on us every year, they might begin the road to recovery.
Runners-up: Sony (PSP Go! Pricing), Bethesda (For their lack-luster debut as a publisher)
Most Disappointing Game Released this Year:
Let's be clear here, this is for single-player only. I fully realize this is unequivocally the multiplayer game of the year. The single-player portion, though, was really underdeveloped. IW really didn't know what they wanted to do. They didn't know if they wanted a serious commentary about war or a fun gung-ho badass action game. You really can't try to do both a succeed at either. It left the game feeling really schizophrenic and empty. It's really sad too, as it didn't have to end up like this.
Runners-up: Brutal Legend. Scribblenauts.
Worst Game of the Year:
There are many ways to approach this category. I chose to go with the game I had the least fun with. To me, there is nothing worse than a mediocre game. If a game is really bad, you can at leas garner some enjoyment in it's inadequacies. Sure, Prototype isn't bad on a technical level, but it's just so boring and heartless. I rarely stop playing a game, but after a couple rounds of Prototype, I had to send it back to GameFly. It's boring, heartless and repetitive and that's why it's my worst game of 2009.
Runners-Up:Rogue Warrior. Tony Hawk:Ride.
Worst Trend of 2009:
Paying to unlock content you can unlock by playing the game.
I really hate this. Games that let you download unlock-able car parts or weapons or artificially increase your level really cheapen the experience for those of us who take the time to actually accomplish that task. If I need to purchase extra levels to avoid hours of boring grinding, it's a sign that you've failed to correctly balance your game.
Runners-Up:Different pre-order bonuses for different stores, Delaying the PC version of a game to promote console sales and stem piracy.
That's it for the dubious honors, next time I'll get into the actual positive gaming experiences of 2009.