Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
This may surprise some of you, but there is a lot that happens in the world than what falls under the umbrella of the Video Games (gasp!). I know, it’s shocking. There was a lot going on in 2008 that changed the way the world views gaming. Some of it was good and some of it was bad and some was a bit of both.
Contained in the pages that follow is my alcohol-influenced opinion on what were some of the more noteworthy achievements, as well as the shameful skeletons in the closet of everything gaming. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with:
The TOP (4 of) 5 MOST EPIC FAILURES OF 2008
#5 Death– In 2008 one kid in Canada runs away from home when his parents take away his 360 and dies of exposure to the cold and falling fatally from a tree. A teen flips out when his mom won’t let him play Halo 3and shoots her in the face. Of course, people are going to blame the folks that make consoles and develop games. But are they really to blame? Someone who acts out in violent ways like this has some serious, deep-rooted issues that were not taken care of properly. And sadly some paid the ultimate price. A complete and total tragedy.
#4 Gamer Grub and Mana Potions– A pox on those who would shill products of improper quality upon the culture of gaming. Whether it was energy drinks with pics of Donkey Kong on the cans or ones that came in little novelty magic bottles, companies saw the major potential of the secondary market and proceeded to hock whatever fanboys were willing to buy. Of course, this is nothing new, but it seemed like all the good ideas have run as dry as the Sahara and all that was left was in the reject pile. Putting lousy snacks in a tube does not make it gamer grub.
#3 Studios Closing– Woe, how the mighty have fallen. Nothing seemed to reflect the oncoming recession more than the epic amount of studio shutdowns this year. And not just random little fly-by-night ones. Ensemble, Free Radical, and Sierra laid off all their staff and stopped production. Even giants like THQ and Midway have their future hanging the balance in 2009. Is the gaming industry as "recession proof" as it makes itself out to be? Just from what we’ve seen in the first week of the new year, I have my doubts.
#2 E3– Some considered last year’s E3 to be the nail in the coffin. With dull-as-dishwater presentations and a distinct lack of spectacle, E3 failed to deliver what it’s meant for: hype. The entire thing is all about getting major coverage for your games on CNN and MSNBC. News vans were nowhere to be seen and booth girls were spoken about only in fairy tales. To be fair though, The Who did kick some serious ass at the Rock Band 2 concert. Serious. Ass. Will E3 2009 be the year that they get their proverbial shit together and bring back the magic of the old days or will it go the way of the dodo?