fallout-3 06 Oct

Author’s Note: We here at Elder-Geek understand that its never to early to look back and fondly reminisce over what just recently was. It is in that spirit that the fellow staff here let me dust off a Game of the Year piece I did over 9 months ago in summation of 2008. This was back when I was the ‘Fro (due to me having the best white man afro in the history of ever,) so don’t mind the informal voice and allow the subjective awards presentation to wash over you. This may not be close to your ideals for the past year, so if you disagree, give your objectively better opinion down in the comments below. And, as always, enjoy this while it lasts. We look forward to fondly reminiscing about this later.

2008 was another year that saw the video game culture grow in terms of both quality, and notoriety. Our biggest villain to date was disbarred, but that didn’t stop news stories pouring in blaming at least one of our stalwart franchises for everything wrong with juvenile psychology. Wii Fit broadened what we can assign the “video game” label to, Wii Sports continued to draw the expanding market into its clutches, and Wii Music made them put down the controller, run out of their house, and never game again. Our severe case of manic-sequelitis was all-too-fun to itch, and the industry even managed to break stereotype and pump out a few new kids in between milking the teats of older ones. Support for downloadable media exploded on all fronts, resulting in a plethora of content available to even those suffering from bed sores. World of Warcraft continued to blacken the skies of RL sociality, and companies began finding out just how much their consumers don’t like not owning the games they thought they bought.

It was a stellar year that brought us more burning questions, like, “Why doesn’t Darth Vader’s lightsaber burn through Mitsurugi’s steel sword?”, “Is Playstation exclusivity feared more than a Vin Diesel vehicle?”, and “Am I the only one that doesn’t give a shit about Resident Evil 5?” Needless to say, on such a year, grouping every news-worthy game together, bringing it to a boil, and serving the delicious stew that results is not a task for the faint of heart and short of hair. Fear not, gamers of the world, for the ‘Fro has compiled the ultimate ceremony celebrating the best of these past twelve months. This is the First Annual Golden ‘Fro awards!

Quickie Awards

Most Innovative IP LittleBigPlanet

Best New FranchiseDead Space

Best Playstation Portable IP God of War: Chains of Olympus

Best Use of Celebrity (Uncle) Gary Busey -Saints Row 2 TV Ads

Most Improved SequelCommand and Conquer: Red Alert 3

Best Strategy GameSins of a Solar Empire

Best Puzzle GameProfessor Layton and the Curious Village

Best Re-release/Port Final Fantasy IV: Nintendo DS

Most Overlooked GameLost Odyssey

Biggest SurpriseBraid

Worst Overall IP

Let’s get the most unpleasant one out of the way first. As inevitable as a bad movie from Michael Bay, for all the good games that are released, more bad games are released, and 2008 was full of good games. Unworkable controls, sloppy artwork, terrible sound, or just being unplayable, this game had to make us feel sorry for our culture, and make us hide it for the fear of it setting back our hobby ten years. We could have smelt its stink from the pre-alpha days or cried ourselves to sleep after our first playthrough, but these IPs had to be absolutely terrible by universal agreement.

And the Nominees Are…: Wii Music, Haze, Iron Man, Fracture, M&M Kart Racing

And the Winner Is…:

Wii Music

The measure of a man is calculated by his highs and lows, and dictated by karma. Shigeru Miyamoto-san has created some of gaming’s best franchises, so when he failed, he failed with such absolute potency that it made even his most dedicated fanboys speechless. The game’s showing at E3 was one of the lowest points in Nintendo’s history, the Miyamoto name being the only thing keeping this festering pile of pungent puss on the production line. The worst music selection library ever made, coupled with repetitive controls and an absolutely broken gameplay setup wasn’t even the worst part of it: it simply wasn’t a game. You got the same result dangling the Wii-mote from your wrists and jumping on a trampoline as when you attempted to implement the buttons to the cues on screen. Whenever someone is foolish enough to purchase Wii Music, Hitler’s demonic army gets one step closer to rising from the pits of the Abyss and conquering us all.

Best Trailer

We, more than any other industry, scrutinize and judge our products by what they can fit into two minutes of airtime. Sites trudge through every second of footage with a fine-tooth comb for hints at plot or gameplay, but most of us just want to be entertained. Luckily, this year presented a universe of promo-content for nearly every single release. The final game doesn’t have to be good, but it helps. To be the best, a trailer had to hint but not reveal, grab and pull us in, keep our interest throughout, and most importantly, always leave us wanting more.

And the Nominees Are…: Grand Theft Auto IV – “Move Up Ladies” Trailer, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows – Debut Trailer, Dead Space – Lullaby Trailer, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – “Courage is Solid” Trailer, I Am Alive – E3 Trailer

And the Winner Is….:

Dead Space – Lullaby Trailer

Sure, it wears one of trailer-making’s greatest clichés like a skin-tight mining suit, but the slow, creepy recital of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ did set the tone for the advertisement, and let the stunningly grotesque atmosphere of the USS Ishimura and all of its twisted denizens set our appetites ablaze. The footage took a cinematic turn with slanted camera angles and steady, soft pans across gore and transfigured flesh. The contrast between the innocence of the title song’s wonder and the quick, inter-spliced footage of maim and torture was incredibly blunt, but it worked. It was scary as shit, and in that respect, it was a perfect appetizer to the final game.

Best Original Score

Certainly an overlooked aspect of gaming, a soundtrack is pivotal to setting each and every scene’s mood and aesthetic, whether it’s keeping the adrenaline pumping during action sequences or building up a moment of victory with a rising string crescendo. 2008 had a wonderful selection of games that took it upon themselves to supplement their in-game worlds with lush and melodic tunes that made each and every enjoyable moment ten times better.

And the Nominees Are…: Valkyria Chronicles – Hitoshi Sakimoto, Fallout 3 – Inon Zur, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – Harry Gregson-Williams, Alone in the Dark – Olivier Deriviere, The Bourne Conspiracy – Paul Oakenfold

And the Winner Is…:


Fallout 3 – Inon Zur

Subtlety was the key to the success in Fallout 3. Inon Zur went for a minimalist approach, highlighting the rare moments of the title when most dramatically called for. The result was a perfect highlighting of the IP’s vision, a frontier of barren wasteland, with hotspots of heightened activity and drama appearing sparsely and with great effect. Zur used orchestral sound only when needed most, creating an unrivaled atmosphere of bleak desolation found only in the Fallout universe.

Best Licensed Score

Sometimes it’s using the best of others in compilation that gives developers the most useful route to creating the experience they desire. Having the entirety of published music at their disposal, whatever they can get the rights to at least, gives them an unrivaled variety of motifs and melodies to mix and mesh as they see fit. The best of the best had to know their tunes across generations and genres, and select their tracks with their sharpest instinct.

And the Nominees Are…: Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero: World Tour, Grand Theft Auto IV, Burnout Paradise, Braid

And the Winner Is…:


Rock Band 2

It’s undeniable. The sheer amount of tracks available either on disk or download, even taking out the mass of gaudy emo-rock, was unmatched this year. Literally every single person to have ears to listen with will find something to their taste in Rock Band 2’s library. Sure, they could include more from rock’s better days, but you can’t imagine a better, more polished, and more varied soundtrack out there this year.

Best Narrative

Gameplay will always be the king of what makes a game a game, but a strong and potent story is what truly separates the masterpieces from the great. Narrative absorption is what allows us to connect to characters; it makes the worlds we visit tangible and emotional, and makes those we experience it with more memorable. The tales this year came from different inspirations but all reached for the same goal, to make us feel.

And the Nominees Are…: Lost Odyssey, Grand Theft Auto IV, Valkyria Chronicles, The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

And the Winner Is…


Grand Theft Auto IV

The writing is so sharp; it opens new doors in what a video game narrative can do. The thousands of citizens residing in Liberty City each have a story to tell and all of them were given the same eye for characterization and humor that has made Rockstar famous. The result is a city so bloated with drama and interest that we would weather the rampant crime to move there. Niko Bellic is the best protagonist the series has ever had, and with a new mature outlook on life, the narrative of Grand Theft Auto IV is a pillar that games will be measured against for a time longer than we can foresee.

Best Sound Design

A good game can set an atmosphere even when the musical score is turned off. From footsteps to the most minute background noises, a game’s spatial sound defines the world the player experiences while in-game. Good sound design can create an immersive world that draws everyone watching into it, great sound design makes them never want to leave. The games that follow didn’t have to be good or great, they had to be the best.

And the Nominees Are…: Condemned 2: Bloodshot – Kristen Quebe, James Ackley, Brian Paminatuan; Grand Theft Auto IV – Will Morton, Jon McCavish, George Williamson; Left 4 Dead– Mike Morasky; Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – Sotaro Tojima; Dead Space – Dave Feise, Andrew Lackey, David Swenson

And the Winner Is…


Dead Space – Dave Feise, Andrew Lackey, David Swenson

From making slow-moving fans and engine blips scary, to somehow managing to emphasize the eerie silence of zero-gravity, the audio team at EA Redwood Shores did so well, that the IP is utterly dependant on its ambient noises; the game becoming just a slightly creepy walk through a spaceship when muted. The sound design of Dead Space is so richly detailed that nearly every movement you make yields a noise that’ll make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, giving the IP a never-ending sense of dread and doom around each corner.

Best Technical Presentation

There is a ring of truth to the graphics whore creed. The one element of games that can be measured with unpartisan instruments, the power behind these polygons and pixels makes bleeding an extra $2,000 for the LCD worth it. But this award isn’t just about power, but the use thereof. After all, power is nothing if not wielded under expertise and an eye for the beautiful.

And the Nominees Are…: Grand Theft Auto IV, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Fallout 3, Dead Space

And the Winner Is…


Metal Gear Solid 4 – Guns of the Patriots

Flame baiting aside, Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots’ was so stunning that it took decided effort to find any flaws in its visual presentation. What was once thought impossible – invisible transitions from cinemas to gameplay – was conquered to the point of poetry with Solid Snake’s farewell performance. Hate the story, hate the catering to the shooter crowd, but those that deny this game its rightful spot have no solid ground to reason on, just spite and brand loyalty.

Most Artistic Presentation

Being pretty is nothing unless you have something for us to look at. 2008 was full of games that took aesthetic design to the hilt, the result being visual orgasms that made dirtying the developer’s world by traipsing around in it almost an act of sin. A distinct style, impressive technicality, and a mystical je ne sais quoi are the keys to victory in the best of artistic presentation.

And the Nominees Are…: Valkyria Chronicles, Prince of Persia, Fable II, Braid, LittleBigPlanet

And the Winner Is…


Fable II

While not the most technically impressive game this year, its storybook cottages and rustic character design birthed a world so rich that it felt genuine in its fantasy. The cartoon aesthetic was backed up by the Fable II’s overarching plotline, with evil characters feeling rightfully out of place in idyllic towns and do-gooders woefully contrasting the stank towers of the Spire. Whether good or evil, the universe of Fable II was as fanciful as the gameplay experience it offered.

Most Disappointing IP

The sole reason this year did not eclipse the last was the disproportionate amount of disappointments to decent games released. Sadly, 2008 was full to the brim with titles that just didn’t match up to our hopes. Whether due to extended development time, misguiding press, or intriguing prospects gone stale in execution, these games had to build us up, only to tear us down.

And the Nominees Are…: Too Human, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Haze, Rise of the Argonauts, Legendary

And the Winner Is…


Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

Never buy a game based on a debut trailer. The TV spot released on this dud’s launch reeked of potential and creativity, but what we got was a spastic collection of redundant side missions and a famous comic book character asking trivia questions in lieu of actual battle. It wouldn’t have been such a blow if each and every gamer that viewed that trailer hadn’t crafted an imaginary version of the IP that turned out infinitely better than the actual release. Ruining a Spider-Man game with a Venom plot in it? We can only hope that divine punishment exists.

Best Expansion

On rare occasion, developers will see the light of day and decide to spend the extra time to return to their previous game and make it stronger, faster, better. This usually results in extra fluff, but quality additional content can usually be expected with the same amount of plausibility, especially with the plethora of new goodies our games got in 2008. It goes without saying that the original game had to be good in its own right, but the content later bestowed to us had to fit without seeming to be stapled on, while also adding a new layer of entertainment to our already delicious gaming pie.

And the Nominees Are…: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, Lord of the Rings Online: The Mines of Moria, The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, Neverwinter Nights II: Storm of Zehir, Portal: Still Alive

And the Winner Is…


The Witcher: Enhanced Edition

The game is infinitely smaller than the multiplayer madness of the other nominees, but it also had an infinitely smaller development team. All the possible detractions from the game’s original release were fixed and polished, to the degree that any naysayer with the bucks to buy must reassess their position. Tolerable loading times? Check. Varied NPC design? Check. Streamlined Menus? Check. Better animation, dubbing, script, motion capture, and a varied selection of languages? Check. Hell, they even through in a map editor, a couple new lengthy quests, and a movie maker with all the trappings. Blizzard can throw money at development until it shames Bill Gates, but the heart that went into The Witcher: Enhanced Edition shines through as truly building up on a great foundation.

Best Action-Adventure IP

The genre is as difficult to award as it is to define. Both ‘action’ and ‘adventure’ are elements individually assigned by each creative team to their own specific idiosyncrasies, incompatible with any other developer’s idea of the terms. But universal qualities like solid controls, entertaining gameplay variances, and replay value establish a surface that any publisher could create upon. It’s the individual flair of the studio building on that foundation that breaks or makes what is released. The following IPs, were most definitely not broken.

And the Nominees Are…: Prince of Persia, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Grand Theft Auto IV, Devil May Cry 4, Dead Space

And the Winner Is…


Grand Theft Auto IV

The faults and achievements of this game have been lauded and decreed since its release in April, for the sanity of all those involved, we’ll only do a quick recap. Liberty City’s leap into the current generation brought with it a gigantic urban environ free of most loading times and uninspired content. Niko Bellic’s story was deep and engrossing, complete with some of the best character animation, voice work, and motion capture ever put to development. The excessive mayhem laid open for players to cause, while toned down to a more serious pitch, remained enjoyable while updating to modern sensibilities. What was fun about the prequels remained intact, what was missing was filled in, what was lacking was minimal, what resulted was bliss.

Best Platformer

You leap from one thing to another. That’s how we got started in this mess, and that’s what it still boils down to. Making this idea fun, while constantly having to make it new, is not an easy task. Nevertheless the year saw releases on all fronts that managed to spin gold from the platforming straw yet again. Whether carrying secret information across a bleak dystopia, or making you and your friend’s your own detailed worlds to play in, platforming has never been so different. And the result has never been more fun.

And the Nominees Are…: Mirror’s Edge, Braid, LittleBigPlanet, Bionic Commando: Rearmed, N

And the Winner Is…



Time manipulation is nothing new in the world of games, but it took a team with less people than EA sends out to get lunch to show us how much we have been missing. The incredibly poetic and philosophical story, something rarely attached to this genre, set the brooding tone to a design of arresting art, intoxicating music, and addictive levels. The elitists among us proclaimed it an intellectual release for the ages, but most of us were just happy to shut up and visit the world inside Jonathan Blow’s head for a while, feeling a sense of attachment to our little protagonist not felt since we controlled an Italian dude with some severe attachment issues.

Best Shooter

The industry is constantly aflutter with shooters these days, the different aesthetics of each fragfest blending together after a while. The fan favorites inevitably floated to the top of the quality pile this year, but the egotistic genre finally let some originality beneath the red rope, giving us something very unexpected: variety. Pointing and shooting has never been that complex, but that hasn’t stopped developers from turning the demand into an entertaining cash cow. Nominees had to hit the basics: strong controls, visceral gameplay, expansive multiplayer, and overall, a feeling of sadism with each bloody murder.

And the Nominees Are…: Resistance 2, Left 4 Dead, Gears of War 2, Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway, Call of Duty: World at War

And the Winner Is…


Left 4 Dead

Short but sweet, Valve’s six-hour survival against the zombie horde took an interesting look at cooperative play and gave us the most fun we’ve had shooting zombies in years. Gross, messy, intense, frightening, and completely kick-ass, the game was made even more fun with friends. Taking it from the zombie’s perspective was a fresh change of place, and the AI director did a decent job of scaling difficulty to always keep us on our endangered toes. It was like playing Dead Rising taken both more and less seriously, and with the Valve guarantee, there was no better reason to pick up a gun this year.

Best Role-Playing Game

Vicariously living another life through the eyes and world of a fantasy creation has been one of the finer points of escapism since the burgeoning days of interactivity. There is just something alluring about molding the lives of our on-screen counterparts through dialogue and interaction that allows the genre to soak up ten times the hours of shooters and platformers. This year we had a galaxy populated with nearly every style conceivable, each one offering a unique and tantalizing prospect of narrative absorption. It is a tough contest, to say the very least.

And the Nominees Are…: The World Ends with You, Valkyria Chronicles, Fable II, Fallout 3, Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness

And the Winner Is…


Fable II

It was a close fight between many of the contestants, but the sheer love your canine companion inspired, and the expanded, lyrical world of Albion edged Fable II to the most lucrative role-playing experience of 2008. The combat may have been strung through the stream-line machine, but somehow it gave way to an easier and more intuitive combination of elements that allowed for a great deal more personalization that what appeared on surface. The city socialites whispering about your accomplishments as you return to your wife, berated for being away so long right before being welcomed back home, your son pouncing up and down at your heels begging for a present…there is just no other way to say it. Peter Molyneux was right.

Best Multiplayer

Gaming has become a rather social beast as of late, many releases spending much more time crafting the game for more than one player. Some formulas are just made better when friends are taken into account, the shared commentaries across rooms or chat-logs fostering a sense of connection impossible to recreate with AI of any sense. These games had to all have one moment successfully rendered: the feeling of anticipation you feel as your favorite gamer-bud gets online right on schedule, and the accompanying knowledge that there is no place you’d rather be as you boot up the game.

And the Nominees Are…: Rock Band 2, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Left 4 Dead, Resistance 2, Gears of War 2

And the Winner Is…


Rock Band 2

The King has returned, his lordship more fit to rule than ever. Yeah, for the hard disc updater not much was changed, but not much needed to be. What was faulty was tweaked, and it came bundled with dozens more tracks to keep your weekends occupied, was there anything else that was needed? The next iteration of Guitar Hero will be more of a contender for the Beast, but for now, Rock Band 2 enjoys the pedestal as the most fun you could have had with friends, all year long.

Best Nintendo DS Game

The portable powerhouse from Nintendo continues to house the strongest variety of available titles on the market today. Developers continue to find new and intriguing ways to implement the finicky stylus control scheme and present us with games that make traveling and down time around town more fun than when we finally get back and power up the home system. Each quarter of 2008 gave us plenty of reasons that two screens are better than one.
And the Nominees Are…: Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, The World Ends with You, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword
And the Winner Is…

425proflayton021508Professor Layton and the Curious Village

It’s hard to make a game with brain teasers and a competent story, but the folks at Level-5 managed to weave a tale worthy of inclusion into the Studio Ghibli library, without sacrificing the challenge of any single puzzle. More than a simple collection of mini-games, Professor Layton and the Curious Village offered up an engrossing plot that kept the twists and turns regular and convincing, making us feel like a slightly more approachable Sherlock Holmes. The feeling of accomplishment we got with each solution was pleasing, our failures stinging of embarrassment. This is one case we didn’t want to be closed.

Best Software Lineup

Technical specs only go so far before a console can be held up and judged by harsh reality. While not so much about exclusivity as the days of Sega/Nintendo lore, superior versions of multiplatform titles yield a lot of bite in determining which console gets most of our play hours, and DLC support is definitely encouraged. It was a great year for all contenders involved, the bevy of AAA content bringing the choice for one superior experience down to a very precise science. Which system made us spend the most time in the lab?

And the Nominees Are…: Nintendo DS, Microsoft Xbox 360, Windows PC, Sony Playstation 3

And the Winner Is…

sony_playstation_32Sony Playstation 3

The tides have turned, and the console war…has changed. Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns of the Patriots successfully blended multiple media into a divine experience, LittleBigPlanet re-defined the Web 2.0 approach to online content, Resistance 2 took multiplayer in a surprisingly enjoyable direction, and the system finally got copies of some titles long begging for the Cell processor. What was once a console race all but decided, the battle between Xbox and Playstation has become a much more lucrative one to watch, especially since the future for Sony’s entry has never looking brighter.

Best Downloadable IP

Wi-Fi was never so much appreciated as it was in 2008. Connected internet lines bequeathed a back-catalog of classics and old favorites, while independent support bestowed a new array of got-to-have-it titles at prices even non-Otakus could afford. With as much content as the web could hold, this year was bursting at the seams for worthy contenders from across the net. Suddenly not having enough for a hard disc purchase doesn’t matter as much.

And the Nominees Are…: Mega Man 9, Bionic Commando: Rearmed, Braid, Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness, Echochrome

And the Winner Is…



Artistic, poignant, dramatically mature, it all adds up to one of the most delightful times we have spent gaming in recent memory. Those that wanted more got one of this year’s most melancholy and entrancing narratives, but even on the most basic level there was a competent platformer with amusing time-bending controls taken in a refreshing direction. There wasn’t a more satisfying feeling to be had all year.

Best Playstation 3 IP

With the strongest lineup of both exclusives and multiplatform versions this year, it took a lot to shine through on the black behemoth. Those that did, however, radiated brilliance by delivering everything from new heights for an existing franchise, or complete originality in an industry practically devoid of it. This is the game that made you proud to own a PS3. It could be said that the sole reason for Sony coming into their own this year were these nominees.

And the Nominees Are…: LittleBigPlanet, Valkyria Chronicles, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Resistance 2, Motorstorm 2: Pacific Rift

And the Winner Is…


Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Still at the top of the genre it invented, Kojima Productions showed noted flexibility this time around, tweaking their control scheme to allow even the battle-sexed adrenaline junkies a chance to experience Solid Snake’s expansive final chapter. The inclusion of the Solid Eye and the Mk. II eased the title’s difficulty without it feeling like it was castrating its charm. The best looking game yet created, it gave you control over the cutscenes as well as the gameplay, so prideful in its cosmetics that they practically begged the player to spot any hang-ups. While the story is extremely complicated and convoluted, Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns of the Patriots’ was presented so cinematically that it was rarely a chore to watch, blending perfectly both interactive and visual media to produce an experience that next year will have to, and fail to, match. It’ll make you cry, make you stand up and cheer, and make you proud to be a Playstation owner.

Best Xbox 360 IP

The veteran console of this generation has yet to have a bad year, with a strong lineup and stronger back catalog, and by far the greatest live service on market. The old stand-by has a lot of exclusive DLC support in its back pocket, but this year Microsoft didn’t skimp on the hard disk media either. Like the Playstation 3, 2008 was a mix of amazing sequels and bright freshman efforts, all of which ended up worth paying 60 bucks for. These were the best games made for the 360 this year, making us all happy to jump in.

And the Nominees Are…: Gears of War 2, Lost Odyssey, Ninja Gaiden 2, Fable II, Braid

And the Winner Is…


Fable II

Cry foul, all ye fan boys. All the nominees were fantastic in their respective fields, but Fable II managed to finally cash in on the Molyneux promise. Set against an incredibly immersive world and the year’s best artistic presentation, it was impossible not to connect with those around you, even if they weren’t human. Its faults were bluntly obvious, but – like your hero that has fallen to bandits one too many times – the heart that pumped beneath the surface forgave much of the aesthetic scars. The game finally went all out on the British atmosphere, and for that gamers were given one of the funniest and charming experiences in a long time. No other Xbox game this year made good on every promise, and no other Xbox game made us this eager to go back and play more.

Best Multiplatform Game

Keeping the platform awards to just exclusives was a move that severely limited our ability to reward some of the best games of the year, the large majority of which weren’t confined to one set of specs. Viewing all systems as equal, these titles spread themselves out for all to enjoy. The result was a burying of many hatchets across fan-boy borders, as discussions of gameplay memories didn’t have to follow or precede taunts of system superiority. These were the best games that didn’t segregate, and lead us all, equally, to the next plateau of gaming excellence.

And the Nominees Are…: Fallout 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, Dead Space, Left 4 Dead, Rock Band 2

And the Winner Is…


Fallout 3

Not all versions of Bethesda’s masterwork continuance of a decade old franchise were as fine-tuned as the next, but even with subtle lows and highs amid platforms, the basic playthrough of Fallout 3 was always fantastic. Character models stranded in the Uncanny Valley and an ending that dropped off worse than the last season of “Heroes” were but flaws in our wealth of good post-apocalyptic tidings. Most of the time, when we had gotten to the comparatively lackluster ending, we had already spent nearly 70 hours enjoying so many side stories and mutant explosions that we could care less. Sublime from its RPG skivvies to its new, shiny FPS coat, it was a game that had to be played to be believed.

17 thoughts on “Instant Nostalgia: 2008 Game of the Year Awards”

  1. Yay @ Dead Space getting some credit. Shame Gears of War 2 wasn’t nominated for music though, Steve Jablonsky did a pretty awesome job on it (especially when compared to the original).

  2. Can’t say I agree with anything… at all, but thats cool. I never really agree with any website :). I believe Yakuza 2 should have been acknowledged as an action adventure nominee, and especially Persona 4 for RPGs, but thats just me I guess.

    Also, do we really need a “Best use of a celebrity” award? I mean… really?

    1. Yeah, Persona 4 was leaps and bounds the best RPG I played all year… and for the past decade for that matter. Fallout 3 was pretty good, and I actually disliked Fable 2 (the style was so… bluh for me).

      Yeah, Persona 4 should have at least been nominated over Penny Arcade Adventures.

  3. Fable II was defiantly NOT the best RPG of 2008, it would have to be Fallout 3 and then Valkyria Chronicles, no question. Fable II was decent but not anything to tout as impressive.

  4. Poor Lost Odyssey D;

    I never got around to picking it up myself either. Mostly because it’s impossible to find.

  5. I have to fervently disagree with Fable II — I’ve never seen an art style so disgusting and unappealing. Valkyria Chronicles all the way.

    I also gotta say that Rock Band 2’s multiplayer ain’t got nothing on Left 4 Dead’s — that game is by far the most intense multiplayer experience I’ve ever had.

    1. I agree with Eliot, Fable II is just bland all around. L4D has impressive Multiplayer, there is no way that game would still have interest in it if it weren’t for the multiplayer.

      1. considering the WHOLE POINT of left 4 dead is multiplayer, that is a terrible argument. it’s like saying “counterstrike is crap, people only play it for the multiplayer.”

        no shit.

      2. Same can be said for Rockband 2… there is no way the game could have become a mainstable at any party if their was no multiplayer.

  6. fable 2 RPG of the year? god….must have been a shit year for RPG’s. and to an extent it was, but considering fallout 3, valkyria chronicles and lost odyssey came out i don’t know how fable 2 won the ROLE PLAYING category.

Comments are closed.