RIP Ralph Baer
I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...
#5 Telltale Games Brings Back Adventure – Did you play the Monkey Island games?! Well, did you?! Telltale has been hard at work for quite a few years bringing us some of the best point-and-click adventure games out there, such as Sam & Max and Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. But this year they showed just how much clout they had, scoring the rights to make episodic games for the popular British Claymation duo Wallace and Grommit and revitalizing the cult classic Monkey Island series. Telltale has already proven that it's going to be around for a while and knows its audience. Let's see if they can continue to be successful in 2010.
#4 The Single-Player Life – Dragon Age: Origins, Demon's Souls, Batman: Arkhum Asylum, Assassin's Creed II: What do all these games have in common? They're all single-player only. While there were some extremely awesome multiplayer games to play with your pals while tossing back some brews and talking smack that would shame your poor old mother, there was also a healthy dose of titles that were great for some “Me time”. BioShock may have paved the way but 2009 might have perfected the formula.
#3 PS3 Gets Competitive – The bulky system that cost way more than its competitor's consoles, and came with fewer features and had fewer A-list titles, took a step in the right direction last year. Sony slashed the price of the PS3 down to something comparable with the 360's and came out with a slim model for those who feel aesthetics are important to a gaming rig. On top of that, Netflix distributed special Blu-Ray discs that allow their customers to watch their instant queue using the system. Now if they could only do something about their online community, they'd be where the 360 was a year ago... [Don't worry, they've got surveys and stuff. ~Nick.]
#2 Project Natal Announced– The Playstation 3 wand kind of looks like a giant purple personal pleasure device for women, and everyone's already peeved about having to fork out even more money to get their Wii-motes to function properly. Would there ever be a motion control device that can live up the expectations of a tech-savvy generation of gamers?
Enter Microsoft with Project Natal, an odd, slim-lined device that rests on top of your TV and allows you to interact with your games physically. In order to demo the practical aspects of the new technology, Lionshead studios came up with Milo, a boy who lives in a virtual world inside your machine that you can interact with. Draw a picture of a fish and slide it in front of the camera, and he can compliment you on your extraordinary artistic skills. He can even remember your face and read your emotions.
Duke is already convinced that this is the future of gaming, and while I remain skeptical, we can both agree that this is something both unique and impressive. Hopefully, 2010 will bring more information forth about the new technology and maybe even a chance to fool around with it a little.
And The Best and Worst Moment in 2009 is...
#1 My Love/Hate Relationship with Capcom - In 2009 we were treated to a lot of fan pandering from everyone's favorite old school game corporation. Resident Evil 5 came out and so did the revamp of Bionic Commando and the much anticipated Street Fighter IV was the herald of a new era of fighting games.
WhileRE5 received a lot of slack for having a bunch of black zombies, even though that made perfect sense because it's in freakin' Africa, the real problem was the game just wasn't that great and felt nothing like a scary Resident Evil game. Bionic Commando... I don't even want to get into what was wrong with that.
But probably the worst of the bunch in the long run was SFIV. It arrived with so much promise and potential. Sure the roster was a bit thin by today's standards and there weren't too many modes. But it wasn't like they couldn't solve any of that with some well-timed DLC releases. And it seemed like that's exactly what they had planned and it was enough to tide us over.
Then, a little over half a year later and after only one paltry add-on that was more about fixing glitches than providing new content, they have the gall to announce Super Street Fighter IV. Basically it's everything you assumed you'd get out of the original SFIV, but you have to re-purchase the game again. For a company that has always pandered to a hardcore, dedicated fanbase, this is like a big giant middle finger in the face while taking one up the keester (financially). Way to alienate your customers, Capcom. That's why you're the best and the worst at the same time.