Are we still pretending the Console Wars are important? Sure they drive Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft to strive and work for our money but when it comes to us, when it comes to the gamers does it matter if you owned a PS3, a Wii, DS or Xbox? We are this industry, behind it all, we and we alone have the power to shape what these goliath companies do – they don’t talk about us people though, we are a market and what the market wants the market gets. That’s a good thing! That’s a bad thing!
This generation we’ve travelled to distant worlds, we’ve taken on the armies of hell, laid waste to Zombie hordes and battled our way through difficult gym leaders. We have seen companies thrive and fall, we have seen the heart of our community both it’s good and dark sides and we’ve begun to talk more about the issues we as a group face every day.
It’s not about who owned what exclusive games or the biggest potential for graphics.
It’s not about the latest releases and record breaking sales.
It is about the experiences, the memories and the shared moments of frustration, joy and accomplishment.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
A lot of the gang here put Super Smash Bros Brawl into their honourable mentions but for me SSBB has to be one of the greatest fighting games in the history of the genre and not just this generation. Truth be told I’ve always been a huge fan of the series and even when I’d completed it and earned those trophies, I still found new ways to play, in fact if you want to try something different, load a random stage only with bob-ombs, you have to kill your opponent(s) using these items only, moves are forbidden with the exception of aiding in your dodges.
It’s veratile, it’s creative, it’s fun… it’s everything the Wii was! Where else in this world are you going to have Princess Peach piledrive into Snake or Pikachu shock the living daylights out of Bowser? I have racked up hours and memories of this game and if further proof of it’s success is needed then what other fighting game is continued to be played at conventions all over the country? While many will swap out other fighting games for the latest version, SSBB continues to dominate tournament schedules!
Left 4 Dead
Want to share in a horrifying struggle to survive? Want to gun down, ignite and flee from rampaging hordes of the undead? Want to turn off your goddamn flashlight so you don’t startle the witch?! Left 4 Dead is a masterpiece in cooperative survival and while not the perfect or even best FPS game on the market at it’s release, it was the game I went back time and time again even after it’s sequel was released.
I don’t think many people will agree with picking Bioshock 2 out of such a mammoth of a franchise, it was often slated for playing too similarly to it’s predecessor, afraid to break the successful mould and while that can’t be refuted, I don’t think it needed to do anything… if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!
No I picked Bioshock 2 because of it’s story, it’s characters, the journey and it’s heart. You are a Big Daddy lost without your Little Sister to protect, Rapture is in ruins but one voice echoes still, the damning proclamations of Sofia Lamb perhaps the most sadistic creature that ever skulked the murky halls of the underwater city.
Her army of brainwashed splicers, Big Sisters and the dilapidated ruins of Rapture all stand in your way but you are not alone, Dr. Tenenbaum has returned to right her wrongs once more and help you save the Little Sisters. Who are you? Why do you miss a face you can barely remember?
Bioshock 2 also introduced a multiplayer game, you take on the role of a splicer and hunt down other players in death matches, team games, turf wars and ADAM grabs! I was hooked on this for weeks, I played for hours, gaining levels, unlocking new weapons and plasmids, customising my splicer (I always picked Barbara Johnson, the house wife).
I got into the Halo-verse pretty late, in fact Halo Reach was my very first real experience with the games after I completed it I went back to the original and worked my way forward through the timeline. When I play a game, the controls matter, the graphics matter but it’s the story I’m living that I care most about. Halo Reach not only offered a fantastic visual and combative experience, it showed me why so many players invest days, weeks and months into these games, it is proof that an FPS can be more than just, bullets bombs and brutality.
Halo Reach is a prequel to the events of the main series, you are Six a member of Noble Team, on the planet Reach. There is something to be said about playing a prequel, you know what events will follow from the game, you could say it’s ending is already spoiled, why bother playing it when you can just skip ahead to the real guts but this game like I said above is about more than just shooting for the sake shooting. Reach is about hope as much as it is about hopelessness, it is about a desperate struggle against the tyrannical Covenant and the fight that must continue long after you are gone.
I completed Halo Reach with some teary eyes and I was genuinely surprised by that, if you skipped over it… then you made a big mistake.
Dragon Age: Origins
I am a Grey Warden! Dragon Age was first released in 2009 and it was met with success from fans and critics alike! The game is magnificent in both style and narrative, opting for harsh environments, brutal combat and a story like no other. Dragon Age allowed for freedom in creating your character, from class and race options to designing your physical appearance, you shape who you are and the world around you. Gameplay was made up of a travelling party with each character outside of your own acting independently unless you commanded them to do something specific, how you played impacted on your party and how they responded in combat – play a healer and let them deal the damage, play the a warrior and pull focus so others can strike from behind.
Dragon Age was more than just an rpg though, it was a real story with characters that reacted to your decisions, your choices! BioWare held nothing back when it came to the game and if you wanted to pursue a companion, male or female then it was within your freedom to do so. Sex and sexuality weren’t hidden, they weren’t sidejokes uttered clumsily by the loveable oaf or used as barbs by a sadistic villain, they were there and you dealt with it or you ignored it.
Origins was a game that paid attention to details, it didn’t dumb itself down, it didn’t have to and when it’s sequel followed two years later it took what it learned from the first game and improved.
This has not been easy, I started this piece nearly three hours ago and it’s so much easier to be objective when it comes to writing about games, telling people why they were your favourites, explaining how they made you feel, that’s a whole different story!
My honourable mentions go to The Walking Dead, Hotel Dusk: Room 215, Super Street Fighter IV, The Last Remnant and Twilight Princess
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!