Top Five Minus Two

I’ve been very quiet lately because I’ve been going through some tough times here at work and I don’t want to post anything on design because I’m quite beat down and cynical at the moment. So something a bit lighter is MTV Multiplayer’s (best games blog on the web, IMO) list of the top 5 games of the first half of 2008.

The January-July period is usually pretty light, the lions share of sales and hence quality titles (we can debate this chicken-egg thing if you want, but I won’t do it here) but we’ve seen “blockbuster” titles all through this first half: Smash Brothers Melee, Grand Theft Auto 4, Mario Kart Wii, GTA5 Prologue, Metal Gear Solid 4, Wii Fit. It’s a pretty big year.

So when I read this article, I tried to think of what my top five were. I hated Smash Brothers Melee. While I appreciate the effort, I was fairly disappointed with GTA4. Mario Kart Wii shipped fairly broken. I refuse to pay $30 for a demo, so GT5 is right out. Metal Gear Solid 4 was impressive, but it feels like it was directed by a fourteen year old boy. I’m not done with it, so I don’t want to completely write it off just yet. I haven’t even seen a Wii Fit anywhere so I can’t comment on it, but it seems all the suckers who got real excited over it the first week now have it in a corner.

My favorite game I discovered this year is hands-down Chocolatier 2, but it actually was released in 2007, so it is disqualified from this list.

So the games I’ve really enjoyed and appreciated this year are probably: The World Ends With You, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, and Boom Blox. Then there’s a list of also-rans that don’t quite make it to that top tier but I enjoyed nonetheless: Burnout Paradise took an adventurous turn, although it got bogged down in repetition. Etrian Odyssey II takes no adventurous risks, but is such a nostalgic good time for me that I think it deserves mention. Space Invaders Extreme does the unthinkable and makes something that feels completely new out of old parts and dethrones Pac-Man Championship Edition as the best reimagined retro game out there. From watching my roommate, Battlefield: Bad Company looks excellent. And the Spore Creature Creator is addictive. Should it count as a game?

In re-reading this list( and I know a simple little list is not so provocative of a blog post, but cut me some slack), I noticed something:

Big Budget Blockbusters:
Burnout Paradise
Battlefield Bad Company
(maybe)

Smaller Titles:
Everything Else, including my Top 3.

Am I just getting elitist in my exposure or are the blockbusters getting Hollywoodized and Sterilized to the point where they are a little interesting to everyone and super-interesting to no one? Will we see an era of great innovation from little titles or will we just see bland blockbusters push all innovation out of the industry? I sure hope it is the former.

2 thoughts on “Top Five Minus Two”

  1. That MTV Multiplayer link you had mentioned “The World Ends With You” for DS a lot. I’d never heard about it- have you played it? It looks like Crono Trigger might be coming out for the DS soon, which MAY force me to finally buy one.

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