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Giant Bomb's Game of the Year 2009, Day Five

One day left till the big awards, but we had to knock out a few more special mentions first.

Does reading words make your brain tired and confused? Try listening to today's awards podcast instead!
 

Best New Non-Player Character


Tenzin



 Dependable.
 Dependable.
Tenzin is an ally you meet in the second half of Uncharted 2, an indigenous dweller of the arctic mountains where Nathan Drake finds himself in no small degree of peril. And thankfully, Tenzin is the sort of guy who always seems to turn up right when you need him the most. He's a fighter, an explorer, an incredibly capable dude who you just know can get things done with a minimum of hassle and no word of complaint. 
 
It must say something about the quality of his actions that he won us over without ever speaking a word of English. In fact, he wins Drake over too, who comes to depend on him not just as a comrade in arms but as a friend, in the face of what seem like impossible odds. If you were deep in the mountains, fighting against ferocious yak demons, an army of well-armed mercenaries, and a psychopathic warlord bent on world domination, you'd want a guy like Tenzin on your side. 
 
         
No Caption Provided
Runners-Up: Ghost, GIRL
 
 

The Northies - Best Performance By Nolan North


Nathan Drake

 
No Caption Provided
It's been a prolific year for voice actor Nolan North--even if you don't know him by name, this unnervingly ubiquitous performer's dulcet tones have likely brightened some of your favorite games, perhaps even as the main character. In fact, this apparent workaholic has lent his voice to so many games in 2009, we felt compelled to call out our favorite Nolan North performance. There were so many to choose from, but we are proud to present this year's Northie to Nolan North for his performance as Nathan Drake in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. No slight against his other performances, but this is the definitive North: an assured balance of self-aware swagger and an enthusiasm for absurdly dangerous situations, but with enough room for some genuine pathos when he's not cracking jokes about his own imminent demise. He's a funny, relatable character, and if you found out that, in addition to Sir Francis Drake, Nathan shared lineage with Indiana Jones or John McClane, it wouldn't be terribly surprising.
 
The performance-capture technology Naughty Dog used for Uncharted 2 also means that Nathan Drake actually shares some of Nolan North's physicality. Frankly, the first time we saw an actual image of Nolan North, it was a little surprising, and more than a little disappointing, that he didn't look like a flesh-and-blood Nathan Drake. This pretty much sums up how quintessentially Northian the role of Nathan Drake is, and why it easily wins the 2009 Northie.

No Caption Provided
Runners-Up: Jason Fleming ( Shadow Complex), Sgt. Forge ( Halo Wars), Desmond Miles ( Assassin's Creed II), Romeo ( Halo 3: ODST), War Machine ( Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2), Guard ( The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena), Additional Voices ( Dragon Age: Origins, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, InFamous, X-Men Origins: Wolverine)
   

Most Disappointing Game

 

Scribblenauts


No Caption Provided
It's not that we hate the games in this category or anything; they just didn't deliver to the full extent of what we perceived their potential to be. Whether due to extensive marketing campaigns, misleading appearances, or just good old-fashioned runaway hype, we expected more with these games than we got. And in no case was that disparity greater than Scribblenauts, a wildly unique open-ended puzzle-action game for the DS that, honestly, sounded kind of like the best thing ever. Come on, the tagline itself of "Write anything, solve everything" sets up grandiose expectations that perhaps no game could live up to.  
 
But we didn't expect Scribblenauts' controls to be so wonky and hard to handle, its puzzles and challenges so inconsistent. What good is the ability to create a zillion objects if only a minority of them behave like you want them to? Most of us ended up picking half a dozen functional tools and playing through the whole game with them... which kind of defeats the whole concept. That concept is still an enticing one, but Scribblenauts could have used some more time in the hopper before it made its way to shelves.
 

No Caption Provided
 Runners-Up:  Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Br ü tal Legend 
 
 

Best Competitive Multiplayer


Modern Warfare 2


No Caption Provided
The best part about Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer is that it gives players significant choices to make about what weapons they want to use and how they want to play. If you'd like to specialize in accuracy, the powerful three-shot burst rifles are there for you. If you're into dumping lead everywhere and hoping something sticks, a light machine gun like the RPD or the AUG lets you remain effective, even if every bullet doesn't hit its mark. Then, of course, you've got the sniper rifles, which let you reach out and smoke someone via your thermal scope.

But plenty of games have offered you a choice in weapons. Modern Warfare 2 goes beyond the gun with its extensive perk and attachment system. So if you're constantly firing that machine gun so much that ammo is becoming scarce, then you can slap the Scavenger perk on that class to make ammo pickups plentiful. If you want to be fast or quiet, there's stuff like Lightweight, Ninja, and Commando, which makes that knife of yours stick out just a little bit more than the other guy's.

While everyone claims to have found the "best" loadout that unbalances the game and always ends up getting shouted down as "cheap" by message board fans around the world, it's less about the class you build and more about effectively matching a class to your playstyle. When you finally get that stuff honed in, Modern Warfare 2 takes on a whole new feel.

Of course, it's got the modes to back all of that up and make the run from level 1 to level 70 exciting, and the fast-moving, almost arcade-like feel of the action makes it high-powered. Modern Warfare 2 is a constantly-on kind of game, and that's just another reason why it's the best competitive multiplayer game of 2009.
    
No Caption Provided
Runners-Up: Street Fighter IV, Left 4 Dead 2 
 
 

Weirdest Game


Noby Noby Boy


Look, if you can figure out what's going on in Noby Noby Boy, write to us care of this station. Actually, you know what? Forget about it. We don't want to know the truth about Keita Takahashi's stretching game, where BOY must stretch himself out as often as possible and report his length to GIRL, who is stretching her way past multiple planets thanks to the reported lengths of all the people playing BOY around the world. We can't even bring ourselves to see what the recent planet unlocks add to the game. All we know for sure is that this game is weird. So weird that it's barely even a game. But if there is a game in there somewhere, we're pretty sure that we're winning said game. And we're pretty sure that it's the weirdest thing to come out in 2009, too.

Press PAC-MAN PAC-MAN for more information!

No Caption Provided
Runners-Up: Zeno Clash, Demon's Souls

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Edited By Brad

Does reading words make your brain tired and confused? Try listening to today's awards podcast instead!
 

Best New Non-Player Character


Tenzin



 Dependable.
 Dependable.
Tenzin is an ally you meet in the second half of Uncharted 2, an indigenous dweller of the arctic mountains where Nathan Drake finds himself in no small degree of peril. And thankfully, Tenzin is the sort of guy who always seems to turn up right when you need him the most. He's a fighter, an explorer, an incredibly capable dude who you just know can get things done with a minimum of hassle and no word of complaint. 
 
It must say something about the quality of his actions that he won us over without ever speaking a word of English. In fact, he wins Drake over too, who comes to depend on him not just as a comrade in arms but as a friend, in the face of what seem like impossible odds. If you were deep in the mountains, fighting against ferocious yak demons, an army of well-armed mercenaries, and a psychopathic warlord bent on world domination, you'd want a guy like Tenzin on your side. 
 
         
No Caption Provided
Runners-Up: Ghost, GIRL
 
 

The Northies - Best Performance By Nolan North


Nathan Drake

 
No Caption Provided
It's been a prolific year for voice actor Nolan North--even if you don't know him by name, this unnervingly ubiquitous performer's dulcet tones have likely brightened some of your favorite games, perhaps even as the main character. In fact, this apparent workaholic has lent his voice to so many games in 2009, we felt compelled to call out our favorite Nolan North performance. There were so many to choose from, but we are proud to present this year's Northie to Nolan North for his performance as Nathan Drake in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. No slight against his other performances, but this is the definitive North: an assured balance of self-aware swagger and an enthusiasm for absurdly dangerous situations, but with enough room for some genuine pathos when he's not cracking jokes about his own imminent demise. He's a funny, relatable character, and if you found out that, in addition to Sir Francis Drake, Nathan shared lineage with Indiana Jones or John McClane, it wouldn't be terribly surprising.
 
The performance-capture technology Naughty Dog used for Uncharted 2 also means that Nathan Drake actually shares some of Nolan North's physicality. Frankly, the first time we saw an actual image of Nolan North, it was a little surprising, and more than a little disappointing, that he didn't look like a flesh-and-blood Nathan Drake. This pretty much sums up how quintessentially Northian the role of Nathan Drake is, and why it easily wins the 2009 Northie.

No Caption Provided
Runners-Up: Jason Fleming ( Shadow Complex), Sgt. Forge ( Halo Wars), Desmond Miles ( Assassin's Creed II), Romeo ( Halo 3: ODST), War Machine ( Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2), Guard ( The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena), Additional Voices ( Dragon Age: Origins, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, InFamous, X-Men Origins: Wolverine)
   

Most Disappointing Game

 

Scribblenauts


No Caption Provided
It's not that we hate the games in this category or anything; they just didn't deliver to the full extent of what we perceived their potential to be. Whether due to extensive marketing campaigns, misleading appearances, or just good old-fashioned runaway hype, we expected more with these games than we got. And in no case was that disparity greater than Scribblenauts, a wildly unique open-ended puzzle-action game for the DS that, honestly, sounded kind of like the best thing ever. Come on, the tagline itself of "Write anything, solve everything" sets up grandiose expectations that perhaps no game could live up to.  
 
But we didn't expect Scribblenauts' controls to be so wonky and hard to handle, its puzzles and challenges so inconsistent. What good is the ability to create a zillion objects if only a minority of them behave like you want them to? Most of us ended up picking half a dozen functional tools and playing through the whole game with them... which kind of defeats the whole concept. That concept is still an enticing one, but Scribblenauts could have used some more time in the hopper before it made its way to shelves.
 

No Caption Provided
 Runners-Up:  Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Br ü tal Legend 
 
 

Best Competitive Multiplayer


Modern Warfare 2


No Caption Provided
The best part about Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer is that it gives players significant choices to make about what weapons they want to use and how they want to play. If you'd like to specialize in accuracy, the powerful three-shot burst rifles are there for you. If you're into dumping lead everywhere and hoping something sticks, a light machine gun like the RPD or the AUG lets you remain effective, even if every bullet doesn't hit its mark. Then, of course, you've got the sniper rifles, which let you reach out and smoke someone via your thermal scope.

But plenty of games have offered you a choice in weapons. Modern Warfare 2 goes beyond the gun with its extensive perk and attachment system. So if you're constantly firing that machine gun so much that ammo is becoming scarce, then you can slap the Scavenger perk on that class to make ammo pickups plentiful. If you want to be fast or quiet, there's stuff like Lightweight, Ninja, and Commando, which makes that knife of yours stick out just a little bit more than the other guy's.

While everyone claims to have found the "best" loadout that unbalances the game and always ends up getting shouted down as "cheap" by message board fans around the world, it's less about the class you build and more about effectively matching a class to your playstyle. When you finally get that stuff honed in, Modern Warfare 2 takes on a whole new feel.

Of course, it's got the modes to back all of that up and make the run from level 1 to level 70 exciting, and the fast-moving, almost arcade-like feel of the action makes it high-powered. Modern Warfare 2 is a constantly-on kind of game, and that's just another reason why it's the best competitive multiplayer game of 2009.
    
No Caption Provided
Runners-Up: Street Fighter IV, Left 4 Dead 2 
 
 

Weirdest Game


Noby Noby Boy


Look, if you can figure out what's going on in Noby Noby Boy, write to us care of this station. Actually, you know what? Forget about it. We don't want to know the truth about Keita Takahashi's stretching game, where BOY must stretch himself out as often as possible and report his length to GIRL, who is stretching her way past multiple planets thanks to the reported lengths of all the people playing BOY around the world. We can't even bring ourselves to see what the recent planet unlocks add to the game. All we know for sure is that this game is weird. So weird that it's barely even a game. But if there is a game in there somewhere, we're pretty sure that we're winning said game. And we're pretty sure that it's the weirdest thing to come out in 2009, too.

Press PAC-MAN PAC-MAN for more information!

No Caption Provided
Runners-Up: Zeno Clash, Demon's Souls
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PAC-MAN PAC-MAN!

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Dynamitekyle

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Hooray!

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ip007

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Yes, MW2 got the multiplayer award!

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Akeldama

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Demon's Souls still confuses the shit out of me...

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Gabriel

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Edited By Gabriel

Not even a mention of Killzone 2 for competitive muliplayer, really?

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Lobster_Ear

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Awesome

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zanzibarbreeze

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Yeah Nolan North!

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solidlife

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lol you gotta love Reporting your length to Girl. 

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Edited By Yummylee

w00t for the Northies! If this guy gets as much work every year I imagine that award may be able to carry on for some time.  
 
I agree with the award for Tenzin too, but greatly so infact. As an NPC? Yeah hes beast to have at your side, but I'm never too fond of playing as him =P
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Shifty_Mcfly

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Nolan North certainly earns his bread.

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Afroman269

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Holy crap I didn't realize how many voices Nolan did until I looked at that list! That man is amazing!

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I'm a little confused as to why Street Fighter IV was nominated for multiplayer. I enjoyed the game an awful lot, but its online features were pretty basic compared to other games (even Marvel vs. Capcom 2 had a spectator mode!). Looks like I'll have to listen and find out.

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GIRL should have won.

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@ZanzibarBreeze: Why would a fantastic ARPG confuse you?  
 
I think this if the first giant bomb goty list I completely agree with.
 
Edit: still ignoring KZ2, I guess I can kind of retract my statement.
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best competitive MP...L4D2?  huh?  Should of got mentioned for COOP.  Ya there is a versus mode but cmon now...we are just gonna act like Killzone 2 doesn't exist I guess?  That game was good because of the MP. (I see someone else already made this comment so at least I know I'm not alone.  It at least should of got a nod for graphics)

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ht101

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Nice list of awards once again.  Can't wait for the GotY podcast and reveal for tomorrow.
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boom

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Edited By Tuggah

Why do people like Ghost? Seriously, he doesn''t do anything besides get shot.

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Rio

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@Tuggah: I guess alot of people are just slaves to appearance, but really, whats new?
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@Tuggah said:
" Why do people like Ghost? Seriously, he doesn''t do anything besides get shot. "
Dude, he wears a SKULL MASK. A SKULL MASK!!!!!!!!!11
 
I never understood the infatuation either. I always thought Soap was much cooler.
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Northie is the best award name ever, but then again best big ass ramp and I'm calling it are also great  
Great work GB

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Wow. I did not know Nolan North did so many voices. That man gets around.

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I think it's worth mentioning that North also played the ridiculous over-the-top Frenchie Le Crochet in The Saboteur. I did a double-take when I saw his name as the credits played... then I thought to myself, hook-handed, foul-mouthed French resistance fighter? Who else!

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I love nolan north, im not joking when i say the voice acting was my favorite part of uncharted 2

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Noby Noby Boy is GotY. 

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When is the main podcast? Or are they just splitting it up into 10 minute chunks. I wished we could listen to 4 hours of discussion on why they picked the game in a more in-depth manner. Oh, well.
 
Also, I saw Scribblenauts coming. It was over-hyped because it was the "cool" thing to like. It turned out to be crap like expected from those who had a clear mind about video games.

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If Red Faction: Guerrilla would have had any sort of co-op, would have been a contender for best multi for sure. But, of course.. MW2.

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@Vendetta said:
" @Tuggah said:
" Why do people like Ghost? Seriously, he doesn''t do anything besides get shot. "
Dude, he wears a SKULL MASK. A SKULL MASK!!!!!!!!!11  I never understood the infatuation either. I always thought Soap was much cooler. "
Ghost/Gaz is becoming the Boba Fett of the gaming world, Fuck you people
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I want to marry Nolan North.

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Edited By StaticFalconar

Hey I don't see hardcore tournaments for MW2. SF4 wins for competitive multiplayer easily. MW2 would win for casual multiplayer. 

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Nolan North got totally robbed for the Northy this year.

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Best Multiplayer? LOL

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@StaticFalconar said:
" Hey I don't see hardcore tournaments for MW2. SF4 wins for competitive multiplayer easily. MW2 would win for casual multiplayer.  "
There's noi such thing as casual multiplayer when something like 800,000 players play ever night and have been doing so since it's release.
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How is Demon's Souls weird? Innovative? Challenging? Rewarding? Maybe. Weird? Dunno.

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Nolan North is god. I like these choices, though I disagree with Ghostbusters being on the most disappointing list. I have been playing that after picking it up for cheap on Steam and it's a blast!! Funny, excellent graphics and good action. Perhaps it doesn't stand well as a full priced package but I highly recommend anyone to pick it up.

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@Gabriel said:
" @Vendetta said:
" @Tuggah said:
" Why do people like Ghost? Seriously, he doesn''t do anything besides get shot. "
Dude, he wears a SKULL MASK. A SKULL MASK!!!!!!!!!11  I never understood the infatuation either. I always thought Soap was much cooler. "
Ghost/Gaz is becoming the Boba Fett of the gaming world, Fuck you people "
A SKULL MASK!!!
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Ghostbusters... a disappointment? Wha??

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Hey, Demons Souls finally made the list!  Now, people will stop whining about it not getting any attention!
 
Awesome list, though.  About damn time Nolan North got some recognition from SOMEONE.

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"The Northies" are genius!

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Ratcabbage

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I knew North was in Uncharted and Shadow Complex but jesus... He must have little free time.
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Edited By Branthog
@blackbeard said:
" @Gabriel said:
" @Vendetta said:
" @Tuggah said:
" Why do people like Ghost? Seriously, he doesn''t do anything besides get shot. "
Dude, he wears a SKULL MASK. A SKULL MASK!!!!!!!!!11  I never understood the infatuation either. I always thought Soap was much cooler. "
Ghost/Gaz is becoming the Boba Fett of the gaming world, Fuck you people "
A SKULL MASK!!! "
You're all fucking nuts. I've played all of the COD/MW series over the years and though I can name "Ghost" and "Soap" today as characters from the series, it's ONLY because people kepe mentioning them all the time this month. If you had asked me the names of the characters two months ago or six months from now, I'd stare at you and say "I have no idea what the fuck you're talking about - there were some army dude with guns who did stuff".
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Edited By normajean777

NORTHIES i almost fell off my chair laughing

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May your first child be a masculine child, and you will name him Tenzin.
 
I love that guy.
 
*sniff*

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@Nemesis said:
" When is the main podcast? Or are they just splitting it up into 10 minute chunks. I wished we could listen to 4 hours of discussion on why they picked the game in a more in-depth manner. "
I'm pretty sure the main podcast is coming tomorrow. The mini podcasts for the last few days have just been for these "made-up" side categories. As I understand it, the main podcast, which according to certified Giant Bomb scuttlebutt is indeed around 4 hours, is just them discussing their nominees for overall Game of the Year. If it's like last year's, they'll spend time discussing each game individually, and they had at least 10 nominees last year. About 20 minutes of discussion per game X 10-15 games = HOLY SHIT THE LONGEST PODCAST EVER.
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Edited By Milkman
@Nemesis said:
" When is the main podcast? Or are they just splitting it up into 10 minute chunks. I wished we could listen to 4 hours of discussion on why they picked the game in a more in-depth manner. Oh, well."
Tomorrow is the full 4 hour podcast, specifically about Best Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii Games, along with the overall GOTY.
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Spiritof

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Edited By Spiritof

I want to be Nolan North when I grow up.

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vendetta

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Edited By vendetta
@Branthog said:
" @blackbeard said:
" @Gabriel said:
" @Vendetta said:
" @Tuggah said:
" Why do people like Ghost? Seriously, he doesn''t do anything besides get shot. "
Dude, he wears a SKULL MASK. A SKULL MASK!!!!!!!!!11  I never understood the infatuation either. I always thought Soap was much cooler. "
Ghost/Gaz is becoming the Boba Fett of the gaming world, Fuck you people "
A SKULL MASK!!! "
You're all fucking nuts. I've played all of the COD/MW series over the years and though I can name "Ghost" and "Soap" today as characters from the series, it's ONLY because people kepe mentioning them all the time this month. If you had asked me the names of the characters two months ago or six months from now, I'd stare at you and say "I have no idea what the fuck you're talking about - there were some army dude with guns who did stuff". "
 
Congratulations?
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dbz1995

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Edited By dbz1995
@Nemesis said:
" When is the main podcast? Or are they just splitting it up into 10 minute chunks. I wished we could listen to 4 hours of discussion on why they picked the game in a more in-depth manner. Oh, well.  Also, I saw Scribblenauts coming. It was over-hyped because it was the "cool" thing to like. It turned out to be crap like expected from those who had a clear mind about video games. "
Sorry, but I beg to differ. Scribblenauts was disappointing because of the fact it had so much potential, they had made a fantastic idea which was only restrained by a few things, and everything seemed fine from videos-the controls were so atrocious it just didn't play up to it's true standards. And around 50,000 of the people in Giantbomb have 'a clear mind about video games', and yet there were more than a fair few who thought this was going to be awesome.
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DrRandle

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Edited By DrRandle

If there was still a "Take a Break" award from last year, I think Nolan North should win it. not that I don't like the guy, but the voice is... well, having a bleeding effect. 
 
Also: Claptrap is the best NPC. C'mon everybody, get down.