Other Games of 2004

Not every game is going to be amazing, but that doesn't mean those who fail to make my “Favorite Games” lists aren't worth talking about. Here are six games that didn't make the cut, but are still worth mentioning, for better or worse.

List items

  • For a short time, I found myself interested in racing games, especially those released on DS. That may have to do with how few DS games there were at the beginning. Just a guess. Regardless, Urban GT is a run-of-the-mill racing game, a mobile game (back when “mobile game” equated “shit”) ported to new hardware to grab suckers who wanted something – anything – to play.

  • With a set list that includes a medley of “Happy Birthday to You” (instrumental), “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” how could Donkey Konga not become a huge success?

    Yes, I’m being a bit of an ass since Donkey Konga actually was a fair bit of fun, but when I was clapping (yep, the bongos included a microphone to sense claps) to the Pokemon theme, it’s easy to feel like maybe I was a bit older than their intended demographic. To be fair, Donkey Konga does include songs from Queen, Blink-182, Willie Nelson, so it’s not completely children’s songs.

  • Grand Theft Auto Advance is notable for bringing back the top-down perspective of the early GTA games and for telling a story that sets the stage for GTA3. Beyond that, GTA Advance doesn't, and shouldn't, get a lot of recognition. The game could certainly be worse – ever play GTA on Game Boy Color? – but it’s an entire class lower than what Rockstar normally develops.

    For something that plays similar and is on a handheld, grab GTA: Chinatown Wars. It’s much, much better than GTA Advance.

  • There’s probably a solid game here, but I never quite got far enough to find out. The gimmick of Psi-Ops is that protagonist Nick Scryer has psychic abilities, including telekinesis. For the player, the use of more realistic ragdoll physics (a feature also touted by Half-Life 2, released the same year) allows for some amusing scenes as pieces of the world are lifted and tossed at enemies, assuming they’re not lifted instead. Additional powers include regaining energy by “absorbing” it from enemies, often leading to their heads popping.

    Unfortunately, the end of Midway means that the future of this series (if there ever was a future) is foggy. Did anyone grab the license? Or did it sink with Midway? Hell if I know.

  • At the time, the concept of using the touch screen as a racing wheel wasn't horrible. The concept wasn't horrible, but the execution was, and hindsight has proven that the concept IS horrible. But it didn't seem so then. Not to me, at least, which either proves that I was stupidly hopeful in the benefits of touch screen controls for gaming... or I was just stupid.

  • The Tales series has only grown in popularity since Tales of Symphonia, but I have kept far away from sequels. Symphonia bored me with a slow story (at least at the beginning; never got to see if things get interesting), blah characters, and unexciting combat. It was only with the 3DS Tales of the Abyss that I gave the series another chance.