292 points, 18 votes, 4.5 TOP GAME votes
Matt D: It’s pretty much pitch-perfect Western from the voice work to the vistas. The world has a great amount of verisimilitude and immersion, and a sort of weird self-awareness. At one point while searching for buried treasure, I realized I was in a cactus-free zone and the very moment I said to myself, “Damn, what am I doing here?”, Marsten said, “What am I doing out here?” Creepy, Rockstar. Everything sort of reacts as you’d expect: bandits are bandits, varmints are varmints, coyotes are coyotes. The combat is a step up from GTA IV (which I found a bit anachronistic); there’s endless freedom to explore and the storyline is surprisingly good. This competes for the top spot among Rockstar’s many offerings for sure. Can we have Tokyo next?
Mitch Krpata: This being a Rockstar game, the story of Marston’s quest for revenge — and, yes, redemption — is adorned with endless side missions and mini-games. At their best, they flesh out the world. What would an Old West setting be without some back-room poker? Some of this is busy work, like the series of challenges that send Marston into the wilds to hunt game under increasingly stringent conditions. Yet it’s all worth pursuing just to experience the harsh environs, and to marvel, evenings, at the red sky in the West. Rockstar builds incredible worlds. Red Dead still showcased some of their worse qualities, but it also gave us their most compelling hero and their most beautiful environment.
n/a: Admittedly this is pretty much the only 2010 game I played in 2010, but it’s also almost the perfect game for me. I feel justified in naming it the best game of the year.
jjjusten: Loved it to death until it became terribly terribly samey and boring; find the herb/critter hunting quests for level ups are total bullshit. On the plus side, this is the first game where riding a horse didn’t make me want to break shit in my house. It looks absolutely gorgeous.
Lamp: There are so many aspects of Red Dead Redemption that I found deeply stupid ,but its one of the rare games i felt compelled to finish this year. Others will, I’m sure, write more fluently and more passionately about it but damn did I ever… uh… finish it.
ledge: Who knew a GTA clone set in a desert (wait a minute, that’s literally a sandbox…) would be so fun. Less irritatingly repetitive gameplay than GTA IV, a more engaging story and and less ridiculous cutscenes; plus it was good fun just to chill out in the desert and spend some time shooting rabbits and coyotes and pumas and armadillos and bears and crows and wolves and boar and eagles and… I do agree that the missions end up being repetitive, but it’s not as bad as GTA IV was for that, and also the various challenges do add a bit of spice. Okay, picking herbs gets a bit dull but i had fun trying to find all the different critters to kill, searching out the treasure, etc. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the depth in the gameplay.
bnw: King Kong of 2010. Writing, atmosphere, and voice acting all on a different level then the rest of the field. Biggest complaint would be that it gets a little grindy with repetitive side quests.
Polyphonic: A few of my friends and I brought our 360s together to play this game as one big posse. It was probably the nerdiest thing I’ve ever done, and caused me to seriously question the life decisions that led me down that path. But fuck it, it was fun. There are few moments in my gaming life that I will ever treasure more than when I killed that bear in the snows of Tall Trees with only my knife, or when I drifted up on my RS to see a starry sky as I hunted for armadillo carapaces — only to be mauled to death by a cougar.
The single player storyline was very good, probably the best Rockstar has done to date, and the closest they’ve come to gameplay that is actually fun in and of itself. But the star of this game is the atmosphere. Also, the zombie overrun multiplayer co-op is fucking great.
Jimmy Mod : I just met my first cougar. The meeting did not go well.
JimD: I didn’t actually finish RDR, and I don’t think it’s that good as a game (it shares a lot of GTA’s flaws while lacking a lot of its dumb fun) but as a world it’s fucking amazing. It just feels like a totally believable immersible recreation of a certain time and place, which is kind of a new thing for games to do, and I hope lots more games do it in the future. Bonus points for multiplayer too, which was good for big stop-shooting-me-in-the-horse lulz.
ZS: The “shoot 5 flying birds from a moving train” challenge was like the chillest assignment I have ever received. If only real life challenges were so relaxing. YES, I want to name my horse, YES I would like to name it Michael Lindington, and NO I don’t care who knows it. I’ve been getting up and down off the horse every time, listening to John Marston say “ooooh…this is DIRTY”
Tracer Hand : i have logged approx 5,000,000,000,000 hours with this game. i was just about ready to launch my assault and unlock mexico but my horse died right before the big race – the one i’d spent hours getting to know! so fuck – i spent a good while looking for the kentucky saddler but never found him so finally i just went on an all-night hunting binge, leveling up enough to buy the kentucky saddler outright
something happened while out hunting that sums up this game, and all its nonsensical, fabulous breathlessness
1 – trying to kill a coyote i somehow ended up aiming straight down into my horse and pulled the trigger (!)
2 – my horse was still alive but my honor dropped and suddenly lawmen were on my tail
3 – trying to outrun them, i heard the sound of a train and realized one was headed past right in front of me
4 – i managed to race the train and dart just in front of it, cutting off the lawmen and saving my sorry ass!
total movie moment
Forks’ RDR Country Soundtrack mix:
Buck Owens – I Got A Tiger By the Tail(1965)
Cherryholmes – Black and White (2007)
Cherryholmes – Don’t Believe (2008)
Anonymous Young Girls – Hopali (1930’s?)
The Carter Family – See That My Grave Is Kept Green (1933)
Cinderella G Stump – Temptation (1947)
The Carter Family – Keep On the Firing Line (1941)
Chet Atkins – Tennessee Stud (?)
Bill Monroe and Doc Watson – Chicken Reel (1963)
Alex Hood’s Railroad Boys – L and N Rag (?)
Alfred G Karnes – I Am Bound for the Promised Land (?)
Alfred G Karnes – We Shall All Be Reunited (?)
Basil May – The Lady of Carlisle (?)
The Carver Boys – Sisco Harmonica Blues (?)
Bascom Lamar Lunsford – Lulu Wall (1939)
Buell Kazee – A Short Life of Trouble (1939)
Charlie Bowman and His Brothers – Moonshiner and His Money (1929)
Blue Highway – Where Did the Morning Go? (2007)
Charlie Poole and The North Carolina Ramblers – If the River Was Whiskey (?)
Cal Stewart – Monkey on a String (?)
Ben Curry – I Heard the Voice of a Pork Chop (?)
Ben Curry – It’s A Fight Like That (?)
Daddy Stovepipe and Mississippi Sarah – The Spasm (?)
Bill Carlisle – Feet Don’t Fail Me (?)
Asher Sizemore and Little Jimmie – Little Jimmie’s Goodbye to Jimmie Rodgers (?)
Mayor Jingleberries: played this drunk last night and my horse got killed by some rampaging animal. So I got upset and starting killing anyone I came across to get their horse. I guess your not allowed to murder fools for their horses when you think its convenient. I guess you’re supposed to find a riderless horse out there…?
goole: i think i’m around the 40% mark, in the game’s second act in Mexico, and i haven’t interacted with one indian yet. i don’t think there are any in the game at all. i think this is significant, somehow. i like that the game is in 1911, a “late western” about the closing of the frontier rather than an early one about opening it. maybe this is just to allow them to put more interesting guns in the game, or riff off the meta-westerns like the wild bunch or there will be blood (a town called plainview? really?). plus it doesn’t shy away from politics at all; every other dude wants to talk to you about federal power. anyway, the setting’s early-20th-century-ness is really present and apparent to me and i’m really liking it. speaking of politics, there’s the politics of Rockstar’s media reputation, and i’m getting ongoing chuckles from the (what i take to be) anti “hot coffee” vibe of the whole thing. no matter which path you take, the John Marston character is (so far) faithful to his wife as a given. the prostitutes say stuff like “”I hate to see a man with such a dry pecker… can I help?”and our killer just says “my wife wouldn’t like that” or something. the writing and v/o is head and shoulders above even IV. the mission design is finally good. the secondary challenges are interesting well-thought out, hit that grinding w/o grinding sweet spot. the body physics and gun combat are excellent (the gta games are kind of bad as shooters, really!) I’m not totally without complaints but most of the things that bugged me about the GTAs have been mostly fixed. and the things it does well it does really really well. you can’t underestimate how important it is to have a game be pretty. funny i think it’s closest to bully in terms of uh vibe, maybe cos of the atmosphere and hazy old-timeyness
Cozen: jesus, the sky in this game
Jim D: Huge lolz last night – I wandered up to that little cave where West Dickens lives, and found him stood there rambling away to himself while pissing onto his own bed. Went a bit closer to try and get a better look (yes, I was looking for his winkie), but accidentally bumped into him, which caused him to fall face first into his own pissy matress and lie there shouting about what a bastard I was.
Forksclovetofu: On a river bed, I found an old man doubled over holding his head. A woman was laid out in front of him, bloody and dead. When I stopped and walked up to him, he stood up and shakily held a gun to his own head. I ran up and pushed him. He dropped the gun and began weeping and then finally glaring at me angrily until I rode away. That’s not a video game, that’s a Cormac McCarthy short story.
My main issue with this game is: riding along minding my own business, “help save my baby” from the side of the road, I pull off my horse and before I know what’s up someone is shooting at me, I return fire, kill some old lady and now the game is shaking its head at me with a “what were you thinking” attitude. Then, cougar attack.
I just went south of the border and the amazing and very clearly directorially planned moment with the Jose Gonzalez music was awesome; as deeply affecting as anything I’ve ever seen in a game. Then I got eaten by wolves. This is a lot less like GTA and a lot more like Fallout 3
There’’s a lot less relatably icky gang bullshit and putting caps in people’s asses than GTA but the game is about two steps away from blatant racism; the first guy I met in Mexico might as well have been Al Pacino playing Tony Montana which didn’t even make sense. There is a definite parochial “save us old white guy we cannot survive without you” vibe. Also there’s a real disregard for life that even GTA never fostered; the game invites you to kill kill kill every animal you encounter… weirdly, that puts you somewhat of the game’s time though?
All the above aside, I recommend this wholeheartedly and would definitely say it’s the best thing Rock Star has ever done.
BRB LEVELLIN’ MY DONKEY
MPx4A: I lassoed a guy off a hooker to try and go the taking him alive route, but it just made him fall headfirst into a wall and he died anyway. The drunk guy that sometimes falls out of the bar seems to be immune to punches. I tried to lasso his body to drag him to the cells for the night and he disappeared, leaving only his hat. I kind of hope they don’t patch any of that shit. It’s happened to me twice that I’ve seen a guy standing on his own in the middle of the wilderness, waving his hands and looking scared, and then I’ve got off my horse to talk to him, he’s immediately tried to ride off on it, and I’ve shot him and then lost 50 honor as a result. I too have accidentally shot my horse in the neck, minutes after maxing out its loyalty. I did not skin it. Do you know why? It was out of respect.
bnw: forks shot me in the head. never forget.
189 points, 10 votes, 3.5 TOP GAME votes
Mordy: This had a multitude of bugs that kept it from placing higher, but despite those I still gave it about 20 hours or so before deciding to wait for a major patch or two. Half my vote is for what I’ve already seen — a sharp, well-written game that is deserving of the Fallout brand (if you include Wasteland it’s my favorite video game series of all time) — and half for what I hope: that further patched play will reveal an incredible game. I’m embarrassed to admit that like a fallout-crack fiend, despite being disgusted by the early crashes, I still played about 4 hours of this last night. I got down to Primm and cleared that shit out (took a couple reloads tho, I’m not in love with my character build atm). It’s very familiar to F3, especially wrt the types of items you find lying around. I’m playing on hardcore which is actually kinda hard (gotta remember to tote around purified water and food) and led to one of my cooler Fallout experiences. Someone got a critical head shot on me while I was in the middle of clearing Primm and since stimpacks don’t heal critical damage on hardcore I basically continued to fight with my head in poor condition (since I didn’t want to run away and see a doctor). Every few minutes the screen went all blurry and shaky and static came up, which was a really cool way of indicating trauma and reminded me of the malaria mechanics in Far Cry 2. It’s hard killing gangers when you can barely see the screen or aim your gun.
jjjusten: So yeah, people keep saying that this is just a content expansion pack for fallout III but eh I call bullshit, its a better swing at the fallout universe than III was in pretty much every way that matters – the characters are far better, your companions are more than just bullet sponges, the plot actually has legit moral choice based branches, the locations look better. yeah sure, its the same game mechanic, but once you peel back the grime filter from gta4 yer still pwning pedestrians and boning prostitutes, so whats the big deal. still loving this game but:
A) no one in the entire world will ever get excited about the stupid survivalist thing
B) some of the fixit quests are a little badly designed ie “here is a broken food processor, and here is the list of 74 pieces of junk you need to fix it. no, we will not keep track of this for you, so i hope you have a pen and paper handy”
C) some of the quests are pretty counter-intuitive, I’ve had to gamefaq a couple which always sucks.
that being said roaming the tight vault passages fuckin’ peeps up with a chainsaw is like the best shit ever
NI: one of my favorite moments of the game was me and boone spending about an hour blowing away the mother and alpha male deathclaws and their clan in that mining pit. avoided it for so long as i’d heard deathclaws were pretty much unkillable this time round but boone + missiles + incinerator + my cunning technique of running up a mine chute squealing like a girl soon sorted them out.
im up to about level 24 now, only just entered the strip and i can sense the old FO3 syndrome of it getting too easy starting to kick in. been doing a bunch of no-risk ‘wander about and chat to people’ missions in camp mclarran and freeside and it’s all getting a bit zzzz. the xbox loading times between locations is frustrating as hell too.
Princess TamTam: combat’s wayyy better imo – the true iron sights are a great addition, and because of that i’ve barely touched VATS so far. sneaking and sniping is my tactic of choice. enemies are still bullet sponges (im playing on very hard btw) which is unfortunate because I really prefer shooters where one well-placed headshot = a kill no matter what. the ammo variety is great, AP bullets actually work, and the new guns are all awesome and make bethesda’s weapons look retarded (it’s really jarring when you equip say the 10 mm pistol and it’s this weird clunky made up gun that doesn’t fit in with anything else), reload animations are sick nasty too. I was fully on-board when I walked into Nipton and the fucking Necropolis music from Fallout 1 started playing. Also, fucking JOHNNY GUITAR. Just as an aside, I think this game will be remembered as one of the most progressive AAA titles ever wrt its treatment of gay characters. Most of the v/o is a huge step up. It reminds me of how impressed I was by the presentation of the first Fallout… it was really cool that whenever you had a talking head convo, you knew you’d get some great voiceover from people like Clancy Brown, Ron Perlman, Keith David, Frank Welker, Richard Moll, etc. I took a break from the game this week, but I’m playing again today. I just got to Jacobstown, and lemme just say that I’m glad mutants have personality again instead of just being bellowing hulks.
Magnificent *kisses fingertips like a french sommelier*
jeff: bugs so far today: got stuck between two crates that were seemingly stacked right next to each other. guess not. and then one where my fire button stopped working and my weapon would only fire when i exited out my pip boy menu. had a really fun vats experience where i just watched a gecko run at me in slow motion for a minute while my gun did nothing.
Craig G: A new Fallout game and Cowboys must be cool this (last) year I guess. A lot of people criticized New Vegas because it looked dated, still using the Gamebryo Engine. I guess I didn’t notice this because it hadn’t been that long since I finished playing Fallout 3 and all the DLC. That said, in spite of the fact it is my game of the year, for me New Vegas wasn’t as good as Fallout 3, but in an intangible way. I guess it could be because Fallout 3 was something new, and I spent way more time just wandering around the environment looking at things, and exploring for the heck of it. New Vegas was familiar, and for that reason just not quite as exciting. It brought lots of nice additions though; modding weapons to stick a scope on my usual favorite the Hunting Rifle makes it pretty fun to wander the wastes picking off Bad Dudes. The new factions cover a wide range, and it was a pretty satisfying hour and half clearing out Cottonwood Cove and The Fort of the Legion jerks. I think it will be better for multiple playthroughs too, as the options available, both for side quests and main quests, seems more flexible than Fallout 3 was. Cannot be assed with playing Caravan though.
bnw: I’m playing hardcore mode. It’s not really that tough so far, we’ll see when my resources dwindle further. One fight gave me problems so far, took like 10 tries. I’ve had a couple freezes and a corrupt auto-save. Seen some coyotes stuck in the ground and some other animal stuck motionless on the road. Overall a bit of letdown as it’s like a more buggy fallout 3. Also seems lacking in the great underground tunnels fo3 has. seems kinda silly that hardcore mode cripples you so realistically and effectively wrt injuries and weight and yet you can still “fast travel”. You can even walk/run as fast as a gimp, you just limp at equal speed. I do think you’re more vulnerable in those areas if crippled though. Also not a big fan of CRAFTING. So far it is completely unnecessary and just a pain to manage 8000 different ingredients. My character is a black lesbian obv.
Ste: Some of the feelings i get from this game are too real and not fun enough lol. one mission had me lure some guy in front of a sniper. but i got told off for having no evidence. it was quite funny to see the guys head explode as i talked to him, but i felt really shitty when i was told off by the sniper guy.
need to level up before i go lurking into areas with deathclaws, they’re sons a bitches but at least i got my egg!
EZ Snappin: Might have been my game of the year if it didn’t ship horribly fucking broken. Better story than F3, even more of a mess technically. If Obsidian ever manages to release a finished, working, product the world might end. I believe their “unnamed development project” after Dungeon Siege 3 is scheduled for release December 20, 2012. Make of that what you will. No bugs, still lovin’ it (almost 10 hours in), playing with Wacky Kooky Wasteland but haven’t seen anything kooky or wacky – just radscorpions, ghouls, molerats and the like. I’m enjoying it more than F3 at the beginning, and the humor seems less LOOK! FAN SERVICE FUNNY! than Fallout 3.
Forks’ Fallout 3 Soundtrack:
The Master Keys – I Don’t Mind the Rain (Unreleased, radio)
Charles Brown – It Ain’t Gonna Be Like That
Nat King Cole – Nature Boy
Son House – Low Down Dirty Blues
Dizzy Gillespie – Oop Pop A Da
Jack McVea – Open the Door Richard
The Stanley Brothers – Death Is Only a Dream
The Big Three Trio (Willie Dixon) – I Ain’t Gonna Be Your Monkey Man
The DixieAires – Joe Louis Is a Fightin’ Man
John Lee Hooker – Crawling King Snake
Amos Milburn – Bad Bad Whiskey
The Big Three Trio – Signifying Monkey
Redd Stewart – Brother Drop Dead Boogie
The Dominoes with Clyde McPhatter – The Bells
Earl Hooker – Sweet Black Angel
Eddie Boyd – Third Degree
June Christy with The Stan Kenton Orchestra – Everything Happens to Me
Howlin’ Wolf – Evil
Junior Wells – Somebody Hoodooed The Hoodoo Man
Little Walter – Mellow Down Easy
Lambert Hendricks and Ross – Standin’ On the Corner, Whistlin’ at the Pretty Girls
Little Richard – Slippin and Slidin’ Peepin’ and Hidin’ (Piano/Drum Demo)
The Starlight Gospel Singers – I Got a Right To the Tree of Life
The Weavers – Sixteen Tons
Bobby Blue Bland – You Got Bad Intentions
Bo Diddley – Hey! Bo Diddley!
Chuck Berry – Maybelline
Eddie Banks and The Five Dreamers – Sugar Diabetes
Elvis Presley – Blue Moon
Patience and Prudence – Tonight You Belong to Me
Nhex: coming back in 3 years after the fan patches make this playable
163 points, 10 votes, 1 TOP GAME vote
if: The first section of Limbo was unrivaled in atmosphere all year – it may have been mostly basic 2D platforming but that was not as important as the darkness, the sense of dread, the creeping realization that yes, the entire world is against you! It later went on to lose the singular feel a bit and do some clever but rather more conventional puzzling, but the art and feel of it was still strong enough to make it all still hang together as one enjoyable experience. I enjoyed the deadpan sick humor of the deaths in it a lot more than similar in other games, too.
Salsa Shark: One of the things I absolutely love about this game is that all of the puzzles can be figured out if you just think about them a bit. Limbo often rewarded contemplating and surveying your environment rather than jumping right into it.
forksclovetofu: If you liked the idea of braid but couldn’t handle the preciousness, this is your game. Best played after it gets dark; it’s not an appropriate before noon game. That goddamn fly puzzle! And the moment when you see your sister, there she is, in the light, so close AND THE GODDAMN BRAIN WORM TURNS! Totally worth fifteen bucks and one of my favorite gaming experiences of ’10.
Craig G: I dropped the full 1200 MS Points just to play this for Coint and Plick a day before the end of polling and I’m so glad I did. The atmosphere is great and the puzzles were *just* hard enough that I eventually figured them out, but at times they kept me occupied for quite some time. The game is brutal, both in how violent the deaths your character suffers at the hand of bear traps, giant spiders, crushing blocks, etc and in how it teases you with glimpses of (what I assume is supposed to be) a way out of Limbo before snatching them away because a brain worm forces you to go the other way and when you return the landscape has changed into further trials.
bnw: Beautifully done. We really need more games like this.
ledge: Very reminiscent of Another World (aka Out of This World). Inventive puzzles, evocative atmosphere, yadda yadda.
Polyphonic: Another game that goes a long way with atmosphere and good level design. Everyone I’ve shown Limbo to has loved it, gamer or not. Reminds me of sidescrollers like Out of this World and the original Prince of Persia, but with great intuitive puzzles that never veer into the absurd like Braid and enough story to intrigue but never get in the way.
Jordan: I love its positive attitude toward dying.
149 points, 10 votes, 2.33 TOP GAME votes
abanana: Proves that Nintendo’s drones can pump out just as good a good a game as Miyamoto can.
if: Putting this at number one feels a lot like the easy route, the vote for the Arcade Fire as album of the year, but in this case there really is no other option. The best game of this gen, remade with new levels and with all of the same invention and creativity intact, as well as a few minor fixes (like the clock pickups making the timed levels more thrilling than frustrating). Clearly it was never going to have the same revelatory effect as the first one, and I’ll take Rosalina and her storybook over the faceship every time, but the basic happiness from playing stills beats everything else.
Polyphonic: This was the year I finally played Super Mario Galaxy 1, and of course this game is not a huge departure from that one. Collectively these two games prove that Nintendo is still unmatched when it comes to level design. Constantly changing but always intuitive and built in a manner that is fun for gamers and noobs alike. When faced with the innovation of games like Portal and Braid, Nintendo proved that they can do stuff like that with their eyes closed without sacrificing mass appeal.
ilxor: Super Mario Galaxy 2 was my go-to game for most of the year. I played it two or three times through; am currently hunting for green coins. The puzzles are extremely clever and can be frustrating in parts (in a good way, promise). Two-player mode is addictive, and the nature of the P2 controls having a simple, secondary role allows for my elementary-aged kiddo to get in on the fun. Well-done Mario games are pretty much in a class of their own as far as I’m concerned. This one’s perfect.
tomofthenest: It’s very good. More of the same, but so many ideas and so much fun. Most of the boring stuff from SMG1 has been ripped out and replaced with new cool stuff that works. Only criticism is that it’s been a little on the easy side.
Jeff Levine: Picked this up tonight and played for about an hour. There’s something about hearing Mario go, “yeah” and “woo hoo” that is instantly more fun than most other games and puts a big, stupid smile on my face. Design and graphics so far impress (no surprise there). I especially enjoyed the first 2d section that introduces the game (I understand the game plays with 2d more?) and riding around on Yoshi – who feels especially powerful – so much better to be able to eat up those enemies than to bounce on their heads, toss star bits at them, do the spin attack, or run away.
J0hn Darnie11e:I agree that the linear “you’re here to do this task right now” nature of it is a little bit of a drag but the game is a blast otherwise. The purple coin treetrunk race was a fucking blast.
Autumn Almanac: I gave up on Sarah Michelle Gellar 2 after star 55 because of all the lazy timed/racing shit. It’s 2010 and I don’t want to be pissfarting around with that crap. It’s a shame, because up until star 40-odd I was infatuated with this game. Thoroughly inventive but very, very boring when you’re expected to execute the same perfectly-timed series of pinpoint jumps etc. 100+ times in succession. That’s not fun.
Captain Lorax: This is better than the first one. I feel that it has a bit more emphasis on the gameplay. One of my top 3 games of the year.
122 points, 12 votes
if: A couple of years ago a friend gave me a football management game which was written and played entirely within Microsoft Excel. It was, of necessity, somewhat simplified – you changed the team each game based on injuries and tiredness, gradually made money and used it to replace your players with those with better stats (well, “stat” singular; it was just one number) then watched your team climb the divisions through results based on those stats with just a slight added element of randomness. Just plugging through the routine and gradually watching all the numbers go up was necessarily limited but weirdly addictive. While playing Game Dev Story I was acutely aware that in terms of complexity, it was very much closer to that football management game than to, say, Sim City. For at least the first two thirds of the twenty year lifespan of my imaginary game company it was a brilliant experience. Some of that was from the same basic enjoyment of watching the numbers go up, some was from its presentation, but the largest element was probably from its propensity for games industry satire – deliberate satire on the part of the makers, deliberate satire on the part of the player, but also an accidental, light touch satire which it just consistently seemed to generate almost every time something happened, every single success or failure a damning indictment on the tastes and actions of someone out of the industry workers and/or the fans at large.
Jamescobo: Ten hours of fun for $4 doesn’t sound like that great of a deal, especially compared to the value proposition offered by about 468438432038464 other games on the app store. On the other hand, it’s a game that lets you make a game called ANUS LANDLORD. You’ll definitely burn out quickly but those 10 or so hours where the game has its hooks in you are a magical blur of whimsy and profanity.
Sgt Biscuits: This thing functions as like a surrogate girlfriend to me, in that it provides a means for me to make unacceptably shit, offensive jokes without needing to have a “woman” there so I’m all “in a comfort zone” with to the point where I have “no filter”. I paid $800k getting a renowned children’s artist in to devise an art style for my romance simulator. I then titled it “Shrub Rapist”. It shifted 4.9 million units. This game is Japanese, right?
The 14 character limit is kind of a drag though, if there was a bigger limit you could get cracking mileage out of making up lots of pretentious modern game names with colons in them, instead of not even being able to fit the “2” in when you make a cash-in straight-to-DS shovelware sequel.
Polyphonic: Also known as the week I accidentally stayed up until 3am every night and was a complete wreck at work.
govern yourself accordingly: The fact that i’m now taking extended bathroom breaks to play this while at my ACTUAL JOB AS A DEVELOPER is super weird.
That being said, I’m really happy that Dong Collapse was a massive hit.
antexit: Other notable failures: My foray into dating simulators for the 8-bit market, Lonely Too Fat, was far ahead of its time. I also overestimated the demand for the town simulator Fuck Your Face 3 and rushed it prematurely into the marketplace near the end of its console’s lifespan. The golf arcade game Cup My Balls was greeted with confusion in the press and the cool reception City of Pubes received in the same season nearly did me in. Thank god I had a surprise cash infusion with the one-off bookstore simulator Fuck Cunt Book. The rest is history…
In describing GDS, I tell people it’s a game where you run an office, which sounds boring (and it mostly is) but you get to engage in videogame nostalgia and make up funny titles. See? It says Fat Fuck Guy is popular with 12-13 year olds! So if you’re as entertained as I am by giving profane, offensive, obscene or ridiculous titles to mundane objects, it’s a godsend. A little bit of game holds a mechanic together which allows me to make myself laugh with my tourette-y jokes without alienating my loved ones.
ZS: Sure, after the first 20-year cycle, the replay value is pretty much destroyed, and once you’ve managed to release a single million-selling game, you can pretty much coast through the rest of the game without trouble. But the first 6-8 hours of gameplay are totally addicting, great for killing train rides and very much worth 99 cents.
s1ocki: this game plateaus so hard. once you do okay once, it’s easy peasy street and there’s nothing new for you to do or new challenges to face. Kinda lame.
Euler: When my dating life game “The Quims” made the hall of fame, I knew BumweiserWare had finally reached the top.
Craig G: Of course I know it’s just A Rockstar Ate My Hamster with ‘funny’ names for games, but damned if I didn’t sink a lot of bus/waiting room/office lunch break hours into trying to even get a game that scored a 30.
forksclovetofu: Dude, if i paid you 2.4 mil you don’t get to say “I don’t know if I’ll do well this time”. It’s 2010; designers are a dime a dozen. In good news, the Toot Toot harbor motion franchise is in full bloom and I expect an NYT trend piece shortly.
JimD: BOOBS! Game BOOBS story! Game Dev BOOBS! LOL!
112 points, 8 votes, 1.5 TOP GAME votes
Cozen: If you own a current gen system and you are not currently playing this game, then you are a n00b.
Polyponic: It is the perfect Pac Man game, basically. Easily the best re-imagining of a classic arcade game ever and arguably more fun than the original. The revamped gameplay is like eating all of the pixie stix on God’s green earth at once.
Antexit: I’m a little uncomfortable with how much the giant five-second serotonin burst that comes with nailing a line of 100 ghosts feels like an orgasm. It makes me not want to play too much.
Unpredictable Johnny Rodz: Basically “Pac-Man: The Benny Hill Years”.
Will M: Not as mindbendingly fun and fresh as the first one but still a hell of a lot of fun. Plug in your arcade stick for maximum greatness.
Forksclovetofu: Compulsively replayable and intense to the point of tears. Somebody explain to me why they don’t put a mini version of this to play during the loading screens of every other game ever made for the rest of eternity.
jamescobo: The Portal of 2010: an elegantly compact, bite-sized (YEAHHHHHHHHH) celebration of pure game mechanics. If at all possible, play with a joystick; it’s so much fun that it threatens to rip open the space/time continuum.
107 points, 8 votes, 1.5 TOP GAME votes
Mordy: People have complaints about the ludic gameplay elements of Mass Effect 2 and they’re pretty fair. It is kinda silly with only superficial RPG elements. They also have complaints about the story and those are pretty fair too. You spend 95% of the game recruiting characters and doing their loyalty quests and only 5% actually forwarding the plot. But has any other series of games ever rewarded player participation quite as much as the Mass Effect series? The decisions I actually deliberated over in Mass Effect 1 were constantly mentioned and came to bear upon Mass Effect 2. Part of what makes ME2 great is the resonances of ME1 still echoing in the gameworld and the part of what makes it great is the promise of ME3 and the assurance that the things I am doing now matter.
Will M: I loved the first game precisely for the reasons everyone hated it and this game over-fixes the problems and removes a lot of what made the first game magic. But it’s still gorgeous space opera-y shit and the story, while junk compared to virtually all non-gamery things, is better than a lot of space opera stuff. George Lucas couldn’t compete with this even if he’d made his movies 30 years later.
Darramouss : Mass Effect 2 is way better aside from the horrible end mission. I was seriously pissed off when I finished it and realized that was the whole game. Scanning planets is boring as hell, but still beats that bastard buggy from the first one.
Matt D: If the first ME is liking playing a nineties sci-fi flick (with a decidedly 80s score), ME2 is like playing a high-budget contemporary blockbuster. I also played the last few ME2 DLC packs. Overlord is pretty good. Shadow Broker is great. Arrival is SHIT.
JimD: Three hours into this I was ready to put it on my disappointments-of-the-year list. So much of what was great about the original game got thrown out for the sequel that it’s barely an RPG at all any more. But it’s still a great universe and still has great characters and they got away with dumbing down the gameplay by clevering up the dialogue. Still don’t think it’s as good as the first (and ore mining can fuck right off) but that doesn’t stop it being great in its own completely different way.
GM: Yes, Mass Effect 2 is a greater achievement than Pac-Man CEDX; it balances the stat-addicted compulsion of an RPG with eminently competent third-person action, all while crafting an intricately layered story that transcends its inherently goofy sci-fi underpinnings. And yet I still play Pac-Man CEDX almost every day and haven’t touched Mass Effect 2 since I blew up that kinda lame giant Terminator looking thing at the end.
93 points, 7 votes
jon /via/ chi 2.0: For an ubiquitous app game, Angry Birds is incredibly designed and thoughtful.
Dayo: Do not not not understand the appeal of angry birds
HI DERE: Angry Birds is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too addictive
Autumn Almanac : Angry Birds is the sort of game you play out of compulsion, not necessarily for enjoyment.
Forksclovetofu: I’ve referred to Angry Birds as “the game non-gamers like” which i guess is sorta… gamist? Bottom line is that it’s a poor man’s Boom Blox with noxious sound design. I’ve not been able to play more than ten levels cause it bores the hell outta me.
Ledge: I played this a hell of a lot so i must have got some kind of enjoyment out of it… the birds are fun characters and it was a challenge to beat all the levels but ultimately i ended up frustrated, feeling like luck played too large a component in whether or not you got the pixel perfect placement necessary for gold starring a level.
JimD: I can’t explain why I haven’t got bored of this, because in a sense I was bored as soon as I started playing. It really doesn’t feel very different to any number of flash games that have gone before, but perhaps it’s one of those situations where the game is just a perfect fit for the format. Angry Birds is exactly the kind of non-game you want for a 15 minute train journey and that’s where most of my gaming happens these days. The constant drip feed of new levels is a plus too.
Polyphonic: I bought Angry Birds for some reason and regretted it immediately. So joyless.
ilxor: I’d be kidding myself to deny it: this game has its moments.
Zappi: Angry Birds is boring as hell, wtf people
84 points, 5 votes, 2 TOP GAME votes (includes votes from 2009)
JimD: Picross in 3D stops being a pen and paper logic puzzle and turns into a hammer and chisel logic puzzle! Chipping away at a big block until you’re left with a little 3D sculpture is just hugely satisfying. And the chewiness of the puzzles is just right too, they’re consistently challenging, sometimes infuriating, lots of fun. Even the time limits are perfectly judged (man, the number of times I’ve lost a star by being 5 seconds too slow…). So somehow this has ended up being my game of the year.
Forksclovetofu: As killer as apps get; easy to pick up and play and immediately engaging. Holds up phenomenally well; I’ve played it for two years running now!
abanana: My most played game of the year.
Nhex: I actually don’t like this nearly as much as the previous one – it’s not even in the same league IMO – and yet I’d find myself going back to this in little free moments, so it must be pretty good despite my natural distaste for it. (So much orange.)
Euler: only played it a little bit due to getting it only pretty recently & due to Pic Pic obsession when I want a puzzle game, but it’s fab & will be a regular puzzling mainstay in the near future.
75 points, 6 votes, 1.5 TOP GAME votes
EZ Snappin: I always need a go-to game for 20 minutes of mayhem. That I can also play for hours of exploratory bliss without hurting a fly is just a bonus. 120+ hours and I still haven’t finished the story. I’m still playing the crap out of this game. Passed 100 hours this weekend, and I’ve collected all the skulls, black boxes and drug drops, 100% of all the towns done (still a few things to find in a couple of the cities) and am slowly wiping out the airfields, harbors and military bases. I think I have a couple of oil rigs left to finish off as well.
Gave up on the story though – kept failing at killing the bosses on top of the towers and decided since the story sucked anyways I’d just do all the other stuff.
Antexit: OK this game’s pretty sick
Jjjusten: Stupid as hell, but engaging while it lasts. Big dumb logos on your shit is apparently the red exploding barrel of the banana dictator set. Vehicle controls range from kinda shitty on cars to nearly unusable on anything that flies. Save often to avoid endless re-exploding drudgery.
Forksclovetofu: A big, dumb B-movie of unimaginably epic proportions. JC2 is best explained as “all the dicking around in GTA, improved”. I loved it.
Ste: I should be complaining that it’s fairly repetitive but somehow I keep finding things to do picking up hidden stuff or randomly destroying government property. My favorite right now is taking out the antenna stations. Twanging the supporting cables with my chopper.
The dialogue is hilarious. There’s a mission where you have to pick up some prostitute and the woman who is telling you about the mission constantly bad mouths the ‘filthy whore’… sooo many missions.
Mordy: Was there a more joyful game in 2010 than this one? You’re a vaguely foreign CIA-type operative in a Banana Republic. But that’s just an excuse to create the most engaging mechanics in any video game this year. You zip around with a parachute and a grappling hook, travel around in dozens of vehicles and traverse snow capped mountains and sandy beaches. But what made this my favorite game of 2010? When I discovered how peaceful I could feel if I turned jj’s second album on, fly over a tall icy peak, and slowly parachute down as the music played. Or just hopped on a motorcycle and drove for hours around the gorgeous island. No other game has ever alternated as quickly between wild chaos and tranquil balm quite like Just Cause 2.
Polyphonic: A great playground for mayhem and terror. Jump out of that moving tuktuk and grapple onto the helicopter; kill the pilot and take the reins; destroy the water tower, and parachute into the jungle.
Matt D: Plain, dumb fun.