These lists do not list my favorite games of the year. Instead they list the moments in games I least want to forget: high points of 40 hour treks, spectacular surprises in silly little pet training and puzzle games.
These are the moments when games allow great things to happen — allow you to make great things happen — that any other form of entertainment can’t hope to accomplish.
Here are my lists for 2005, 1006 and 2007. Ready for some nostalgia?
- Arguing With The Panda King: “Sly 3” (PlayStation 2)
- Assisting Digestion: “WarioWare Twisted” (Game Boy Advance)
- Battling A Virtual Chef: “EyeToy Play 2” (PlayStation 2)
- Clearing The Screen: “Lumines” (PSP)
- Climbing A Giant’s Beard: “Shadow of the Colossus” (PlayStation 2)
- Rolling A Rainstorm: “We Love Katamari” (PlayStation 2)
- Sketching One’s Own Wanted Poster: “Indigo Prophecy” (Xbox/PC/PlayStation 2)
- Feeling Guilty: “God Of War” (PlayStation 2)
- Training A Sheepdog: “Nintendogs” (Nintendo DS)
- Waiting For The Washing Machine: “World Of Warcraft” (PC)
- The 60-Brick Bonus: “Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy” (PS2, GameCube, Xbox 360)
- The 66-Pin Strike: “Wii Sports” (Nintendo Wii)
- Bomb the Bridge: “Marc Ecko’s Getting Up” (PS2)
- Dog Throws The Car: “Half-Life 2: Episode One” (PC)
- Jack Bauer Goes On Tour: “24: The Game” (PS2)
- “Mario” Meets “Spy Hunter” With One Giant Leap: “Pursuit Force” (PSP)
- Hearing The Sound Of Victory: “Sound Voyager” (Game Boy Advance)
- Tea Time With Mrs. Sanderson: “Chibi-Robo” (GameCube)
- The Toilet-Paper Toss: “Bully” (PS2)
- Feeling The Video Game Blues: “Defcon” (PC)
- A Change of Clothes: “BioShock” (Xbox 360) — I can’t say more without spoiling things.
- Defense for the Wicked?: “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice for All” (Nintendo DS) — I wrote about this late-game morality twist in August [0f 2007].
- Eating the Perfect Pellets: “Pac-Man Championship Edition” (Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Arcade) — The act of thread a “Pac-Man” maze like a master, a skill “Championship Edition” teaches and then forces players to execute like a pro — faster and faster.
- Freefall Problem-Solving: “Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure” (Nintendo Wii) — The game’s first puzzle? Make yourself a parachute while you drop through the sky like a stone.
- A New Way of Jumping: “Portal” (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) — No surprise here. I already wrote about this as video games’ move of the year .
- The Slow-Mo Arrow: “Heavenly Sword” (PlayStation 3) — Riding the back of an arrow, steering with a Sixaxis, this is motion control at its finest in 2007, on the PS3 of all things.
- Stumbling Through Not-Really-Iraq: “Call of Duty 4” (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) — It happens after a big explosion. Anything more is a spoiler.
- The Tide of the Flood: “Halo 3” (Xbox 360) — The moment in the Covenant level when they start animating corpses and coming back at you; it had happened in earlier games, but never quite with this kind of punch.
- The Undoing of a Contract Killer: “The Darkness” (PS3, Xbox 360) — A personal favorite, a bug in this FPS turned an already unusual first-person dating scene into an accidentally profound encounter.
- Wonder of the World: “God of War 2” (PlayStation 2) — The opening level. Who wasn’t amazed by that one?
Later today: My 10 Favorite Gaming Moments of 2008