We're all gonna die and possibly sooner than we all thought. The end times are near and there's nothing we can do to stop it! You might think I'm going nuts, but the signs of the apocalypse are all around you, hence the title of this blog. But let's skip the lengthy intro and let me show you what is going on in the world.
No more profanity citations in Pennsylvania. Perhaps it's not the most noticeable signs, but I never expected this to happen... that being agreeing with the ACLU. It is now okay in Pennsylvania to tell a cop to go fuck himself. So if you're gonna tell off a police officer, do it in my home state because the cops can't do shit about it. Hopefully the next step will be to rid of some of those pesky public nudity laws.
Mass animal deaths are normal. 2011 started off kinda weird with the mysterious death of thousands of blackbirds in Arkansas on New Year's Eve, but after top men gathered together to discuss this and the weird fish deaths in Arkansas (what the fuck is with you, Arkansas?) they stated that this shit is normal. So... now my cat is thinking about moving to Arkansas. Thanks, nature!
You can't get away from Roseanne Barr. Former TV star and all-around mouthy uber-bitch Roseanne Barr wrote a book and I can't turn on cable news anymore. Maybe that's a good thing, but how am I supposed to know about blackbird suicide cults in Arkansas? Anyway, I've seen her on TV more this week than I had in the past 20 years and it's making me throw up in my mouth. I think I speak for the rest the world when I say, "Who gives a fuck about Roseanne Barr?"
And so that's the apocalypse... or the aflockalypse, or maybe the afuckalypse? The abarrcalypse? The snookacalypse? Whatever, I'm gonna move to the moon if Earth explodes.
Altitude may have missed 2010 by about a few weeks, but if you're like me, you bought the game when it came on sale in 2010... and couldn't stop playing it. First off, it's in 2D so I automatically had to try it out. Second, it reminds me of Worms and I like Worms. And third, Dave Snider likes this game. 40 hours and an S-rank later, I have finally kicked the habit. But if you haven't tried Altitude yet, what is wrong with you? you're missing out on one of the most competitive online multiplayer games to come out last year.
Playing with your own music became more commonplace this year and Beat Hazard is probably the best game this year that uses this concept. Its a pretty basic dual-joystick shooter with no frills gameplay-wise, but the game is as good and as flashy (or epileptic) as your soundtrack.
I guess this is as close we'll get to a Metroid game on WiiWare. Cave Story is yet another of those games that appeal to the retro gamer crowd by going all out in its retroness. It looks like a glorified SNES game and plays as tight as some of the best of SNES games. Best WiiWare game of 2010 hands down.
Bioshock has the distinction of having the best first hour of any game I can remember. Here you are enjoying a relaxing flight and within minutes, you're in an underground city that is falling apart at the seams. Say what you want about the janky controls or the ending that just sorta putters out and ends too quickly, the journey through Rapture makes up for any of the shortcomings. I can ramble on about the beautiful art style, magnificent story, interesting plot twists, and the great use of sound, but I also have to applaud the developers for some of the unusual attacks you can perform. Like bees. Fucking bees.
Darksiders is the best Zelda game to come out since 2006... and I think you know what game that is. Darksiders could've been a poorly made action game that tried to do too much and not execute any of them right. Fortunately, Darksiders is the opposite of that. The apocalypse (or the game equivalent of the end times) looks pretty stunning and the game world stands out among the better looking games of the year. You have no shortage of weapons and items at your disposal and while most of them are obviously ripped from "you know what", they just feel right. Darksiders also features some of the best and most intense boss battles you'll find this year. The only downside I can see is the repetitive nature of the attacks, but I suggest mixing up your attacks and using what the game gave you. Darksiders is a fantastic homage to Zelda and in a few ways, trumps what the Zelda games have done over its lifetime.
I can't fill my list of games with only lollipops and sunshine. Metroid: Other M was the game I just had to play this year just because I'm a huge Metroid fan. Why? Well... Metroid: Other M looked as if Super Metroid and Metroid Prime had a baby. Too bad Other M does a disservice to the franchise. It's the general consensus that the story and the portrayal of Samus was not what we expected, but I'm not here to bitch about the cheesy dialogue and the bits of sexism because I think those criticisms were blown out of proportion. What I found most detrimental to the game was its awkward controls and the awful design choices. Other M had a pretty blah art direction, something that is unheard of from a Metroid game, and that might be the reason why the sense of adventure and exploration feels off. But the most glaring issue for me was the gameplay. Other M could've been a more bearable game if it used the Nunchuk. A NES pad is not the best way to play a 3D game that is pretty dependent on platforming. So don't expect Other M to be my game of the year, folks. Commence debate!
2010 was a big year for 90's reboots and NBA Jam might be the game that was most faithful to the old-school style of NBA Jam. EA impressed me with how much this game feels like a Midway game of old. Perhaps the number of modes in the game are lacking, but the core NBA Jam experience is spot on and as great as ever. But the highlight of this game is the comedic styles of Tim Kitzrow. Now they can get to work on a new Cruis'n game that doesn't suck.
Yes, this is a 2010 game. I was first introduced to Suda 51 thanks to the totally insane and completely fucked up game known as No More Heroes. Then No More Heroes 2 did it again, but on steroids. The game goes all over the place throwing in whatever the hell Suda thought worked. The side missions are essentially shitty NES games, some of the bosses are memorable (especially the crazy giant Gundam robot battle), and the supporting cast is colorful to say the least. This is pretty much more of what I expected from Suda 51 and that's not really a bad thing, even if his games are an acquired taste. Just one suggestion: no more platforming.
Poker Night at the Inventory has the best ensemble cast of any game this year and it better have because the actual poker in this game is awful and is nowhere close to actual poker. Poker Night at the Inventory's greatest (and probably only) strength is the hilarious banter between 4 characters I never thought would be in a Smash Bros. style brawler let alone a fucking poker game. The big surprise is that the Heavy steals Strong Bad's and Max's thunder in this one.
Shatter is Breakout if it went to a rave, popped some X, and partied with Andrew W.K. until dawn. Yes, Shatter is amazing and I suck at anything that's close to Breakout, including Shatter. But I don't care because the music in this game... fuck yes!
And that's 2010 in 3 nutshells. See you next year if it isn't already next year.
Puzzle games might be the sole reason I don't finish as many games as I normally would. Games that involve puzzle solving can have the same effect, but it really comes down to which game is more addicting. A number of games didn't make this list for a variety reasons, but maybe I should just give a few shout-outs to pad this list. Machinarium, the two hours we had together were magical and I want to play you again soon. Droplitz, you're a cool little game. Same with you, Puzzle Agent and Bob Came in Pieces. Puzzle Quest, I will get to know you even better, possibly after this blog. P.B. Winterbottom, you'll have to wait until 2011, old man. And with that, let me highlight the following games that I loved in 2010.
Tetris-like puzzle games are nothing new, but Chime added the music element to create something different and memorable. The goal, unlike Tetris, is to fill the board with blocks... that's about it. I wish there were some more substance, but for a game that was made for charity I can't complain. Chime was a game that had me hooked for a good week or two. Not to shabby, Zoe Mode (if that's your real name.)
I am a recent convert to the addicting nature of Peggle and its counterparts. I know it's 2010, but I'm not limiting myself to this year. Anyway, Peggle might be Latin for heroin because I spent hours and hours bouncing tiny balls around the screen. The hyper-casual aesthetic might be off-putting to some, but if you're like me, you'll immediately forget about the pretty colors and unicorns and just strategize your next move. This is truly PopCap at its finest.
I am also late to the Portal party, if you must know. And holy shit Valve has a masterpiece in their hands. I remember my Portal run lasted about 4 hours keeping me glued to my seat for the final half of the game. The beginning is quite cool with all the GLaDOS stuff and the nifty chambers, but the final half kept me playing even though I knew in my head that maybe I should stop, have a snack, go to the bathroom, and go to sleep. So if you hadn't already known, Portal is awesome. It's why Portal 2 is one of my most anticipated games of 2011... or 2012. Maybe 2013?
The first two seasons of Sam & Max started off my year with a laugh. I was first introduced to Telltale with Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, but I had never played its flagship franchise until 2010... and I sort of regret waiting so long. There's more funny packed in the series than probably all the other games this generation combined. Sam is the perfect straight dog, I love Max's warped mind, and the supporting cast... I would buy a Bosco adventure game, but fuck those Soda Poppers. Sam & Max made me chuckle a lot this year and although I haven't played all of The Devil's Playhouse, it could easily be one of my favorites of the year based on the first episode alone.
See? It's not all platformers. I might just clump the rest of the games tomorrow since they vary greatly. Expect some odd choices.
You may call this the introduction of my 2010 year in review.
Oh hey, 2010 is coming to an end and I've compiled a list of games that made a personal impact this year. If you're looking for the usual suspects like Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, or the numerous big boy games, you might want to look elsewhere. This is a personal list of games I played for a significant (enough) amount of time and/or beaten that made some sort of impact on me as a gamer. This blog will focus on the platformer which is the comeback genre of the year in my opinion.
The 13 year old kid in me is extremely happy to see this game come to fruition. The Donkey Kong Country games can stand toe-to-toe among the biggest and best franchises in the industry so I had high expectations for this revival. And Retro, in true Rare fashion, delivered on those expectations. Much like the classic SNES games, Donkey Kong Country Returns don't really add anything new to the genre, but it succeeds in its execution. The action is never stopping as the game tries to throw everything at you from all angles and the level variety and design is reminiscent of the SNES-era games. It might feel a little odd without the Kremlings or the extended Kong family, but the Tikis make for great villains and Cranky is still there being Cranky. He never does bitch about the advancement of graphics... but this is the Wii we're talking about. NosKong at its finest!
Kirby's Epic Yarn did the unimaginable by making headlines and turning heads among not just Nintendo fans, but even the gaming community. Props need to be given for the graphics team for packing in an extreme amount of charm, personality, and pure goodness into this game. There will always be that jaded gamer who will pass on Kirby simply based on its "kiddy" graphic style and piss-easy difficulty, but with the uber-hard platformers dominating the year, we can all use a more chill platformer that's easy on the eyes. I sure needed something less demanding in between bits of Super Meat Boy and Donkey Kong.
With all the games that came out in 2010, I had almost forgotten about Mega Man 10 as I browsed through the great games I had played throughout the year. It could be because it wasn't the tough-as-nails romp like Mega Man 9 was... or maybe the deliberately retro feel wasn't as striking... or maybe other games on this list were simply better. It could be the ridiculous Robot Masters that have no right to be robots. Like Sheep Man... for reals, folks? Nevertheless, Mega Man 10 is more of the same and there is nothing wrong with that as long as it's awesome. I immediately cooed over Mega Man 9 back in 2008 so it's no surprise that I really enjoyed this sequel.
The sequel to my favorite game of 2007 must make my list this year, especially since Super Mario Galaxy 2 is, for the most part, more of the same. Some might be turned off by the familiarities and the similarities, but that thought never crossed my mind the moment the intro plays. It's true that Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a more streamlined platform as the large hub world is replaced with the (in)famous "faceship" and the Super Mario Bros. 3 style world map makes an appearance, but the most dramatic changes come in the way of Yoshi as your faithful companion in some levels and the new suits that are just as amazing as the suits that return for an encore. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the complete package and has the right to be called one of the best Nintendo games in history.
The quality of VVVVVV is astonishing considering the basic gameplay concept involves one single mechanic. All you do in VVVVVV is flip, but VVVVVV finds so many great scenarios to use this one move. VVVVVV is one the tightest, most unforgiving platformers of the year and although I died a lot (A LOT), it doesn't cheat you in any way. Much like Super Meat Boy, the only person to fault is yourself. Oh, and the soundtrack. YouTube it and prepare for perhaps the best video game soundtrack of the year.
The best laid plans often go unfulfilled and this week proves that statement. I looked to you guys for some suggestions last week on what to play next and I decided on finally beating Darksiders, then Mass Effect since that was the popular choice. I did spend a few hours with Darksiders, but unfortunately Christmas-related priorities trumped video games this week... and there's this surprise Steam Holiday Sale nobody expected to happen. And some gifts from this guy.
But I did buy Puzzle Quest. And Puzzle Quest has the potetnial to consume me for hours at a time. I may have briefly said one time that the puzzle genre is one of my main weaknesses. Hours melt away when I play that shit. RPGs, on the other hand, often have the opposite effect... meaning that I avoid them whenever I can. So can combining what is essentially Bejeweled with Dragon Quest or Fire Emblem (sorry, RPGs are Video_Game_King's specialty and I know he's reading this so he'll set me straight) change my perception of the RPG genre? Probably not, but I still love matching 3 of anything.
Then there's The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom. I got it for free, but it's $0.50 right now on Steam so it's as close to free as it will ever get. I didn't spend too much time with it as I am still trying to stay away from platformers, but P.B. Winterbottom appears to be a fine game. A tad weird, like 1920s silent film weird, but I'm always down for something unusual occasionally.
I should really finish that Darksiders game already, but I have some shopping to do. And some alcohol to consume Christmas Eve. And Christmas Day. And maybe the day after. And some last minute Christmas shopping on the 27th. And I gotta feed my wallaby.