Followup on “What a Great Year”

This isn’t on the previous post’s list of things I wanted to talk about, but I’ve honed down the best games of 2007 list that I drafted in a previous post. My final list for 2007 is: Portal, Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and Passage. Passage wasn’t on my original list, but after really thinking about it, it deserves to be. While I really enjoyed Assassin’s Creed and Skate, they were both flawed games, that I am certain will improve on the inevitable iterations. I’ve lost the buzz I once had for Puzzle Quest, even though I still think it is a great game. And while Peggle is still the ultimate casual game, I probably won’t feel a need to come back to it in five years. Has the well ran dry on it? I’m I tired of being pledged to pay for the game for a third time?

As I grow older or rather as I grow more annoyed by working in the industry, I am less impressed by excellent execution on stale ideas. Madden is still an alright game every year, but I find it hard to care, even though I share studio space with the people who give it life. I’m at the last boss in Eternal Sonata which is essentially Final Fantasy VII/Star Ocean: Second Story with a more interesting coat of paint. And while I’ve put thirty hours into it and enjoyed it, it is a saccharine kind of joy because while the mechanics are extremely sound, they just don’t produce the same aesthetic that they did ten, five or even two years ago. I realize that isn’t a problem with the game, but with me.

Rest assured, I’m not straying to incomprehensible pap in a weak attempt to find something new (For instance, Space Giraffe is still a terrible game), I just think my barometer for fun is becoming a little more sensitive to certain inputs.

I read this thread about whether Portal or Passage is the better game with mild disdain. While Kotaku commentors rank only above Gamespot/IGN board posters and Youtube commentors on the intelligence food chain, I was surprised to see people insisting that Passage wasn’t a game. This is literally the stupidest non-trolling statement I’ve ever read on the Internet. By any reasonable definition, Passage is a game. Unless your definition of a game is “interactive software that I am told I will like by websites if I pay sixty dollars for it”, then maybe it isn’t a game, but I don’t know many people who openly subscribe to that ethos. I’ve seen people comment that Twilight Princess had a great, original story in the same tone that one would say “We’ve always been at war with Eurasia”, but I really think calling Passage a non-game takes the cake if cake was an honorable mention for a kind of ludo-Darwin award.

Sorry for the digression. Back to normal posting soon.

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