All About SlikNik27
Good evening, my friends. After a long hiatus, I have decided to return to the world of video blogging. I apologize for the complete lack of energy in this video, but I've been waking up at 4 in the morning to go into work and sleep has been a rare commodity. As always, questions are welcome and I'll try to answer them in my next video.
GameSpot doesn't allow embedding (or can't handle it due to the archaic design of their site), so click here if you want to watch the video. However, you can get a sweet script for Firefox that will auto-embed videos from many sites. Contact me if you want to know how to get it.
On a non-gaming note, I've made a resolution to get through all of the movies on my shelves that I've never seen (And yes, I know it's ridiculous that I own movies I've never seen). As such, I've taken this weekend as a relaxation weekend and decided to stay in, study, and watch movies. Last night I popped in The Bourne Supremacy (HD-DVD) and thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I liked it quite a bit more than the first one. Sure it was completely preposterous, but it was a blast to watch Jason Bourne handle his inept opponents. I'm excited for the amazingly well-reviewed The Bourne Ultimatum on Sunday to finish off my lazy weekend.
Tonight I'm actually having some friends over to watch the season 5 finale of Lost in anticipation for next week's big premiere. Despite being a big fan of the show, I made it this far without seeing it or having it (completely) spoiled for me, so I'm definitely stoked. I've heard very good things and might just end up a little giddy by the time it's all said and done. After that, maybe we'll throw in some Rock Band and beer to finish things off. I've still got a few Leinenkugel's sitting in my fridge and that's about all I could hope for on a Saturday night. Peace.
Today is the day that the inaugural Endies come to an end. I thought long and hard about what my game of the year would be and came up with a limited list. I didn't play a lot of games, but those I did were mostly fantastic, making this a very difficult decision. In the end I knuckled up and made my surprising pick. Read on to find out.
Game of the Year
Plants Vs Zombies (PC)
That's right, the smash hit from PopCap is the single game I enjoyed more than any other in 2009. Coming out of nowhere, this game set off quite a rumble in the video game community. The publishers tried to pass it off as a casual tower defense game, but gamers flocked to its hidden depth, addictive gameplay, and charming art **** Even in a time when zombie games were dropping left and right, PvZ found a way to stand out and overshadow it's decaying brethren.
The single biggest reason for Plants vs Zombies shocking success is its excellent pacing. The initial enemies are weak, early levels uncomplicated, and your choices for defense limited; this allows the player to adapt to each gameplay variable independently. Moving through the story mode, new plants are unlocked with nearly every victory. By the time tougher enemies come along, the player has a thorough understanding of the basics. Even better, the rewards are doled out so perfectly, that you'll always want to play one more level. Saving money for new seed packets and add-ons is deceptively fun and exceedingly pleasing. Even better, the changing environments will throw a wrench in your best laid plans and force you to experiment with all of your defensive and offensive options, a rare feat in games today. I haven't played a game that was this well-paced in years. By the time you've finished up the story mode, you'll have plenty of challenge and puzzle levels to play through, including one that has you commanding the insatiable zombies. With so much to do, this game is also probably the single best value of the year.
While I can't overemphasize how well Plants vs Zombies nails its gameplay, it would be a crime to forget the audio and visual components. You've never seen zombies so cute and so deliberate; the variety of enemies is really quite fantastic. Many of them move at a snail's place, but you'll probably be surprised when a pole vaulter jumps over your front lines or a miner digs his way behind you. The plants are equally charming, making you wince every time one of your defenders takes a dirt nap. The backgrounds aren't especially interesting, but they provide the perfect atmosphere for some undead action. And lastly, the sound design is excellent. Catchy tunes will have you humming along or going crazy as the hours fly by. The sound effects are just as good, with Zombies moaning and groaning, calling out for the delicious brains that they yearn, pressing on against the effortless pop of pea plants and bouncing springs of the watermelon launchers.
Maybe I've gone on too long and exposed myself as a casual gamer, or maybe Plants vs Zombies really is the best game of the year. You may not agree with me, but if you play this game, you'll have a great time trying to refute my argument.
Street Fighter IV (360)
Halo Wars (360)
Chrono Trigger (DS)
I hope you enjoyed reading my end of the year awards and I'd love to hear what you think. Drop me a comment letting me know about any of your awards, and especially your GOTY. See you in 2011.
As we approach the halfway point of Januaryand the video game barrage of 2010 begins, the inaugural Endies are winding down. We've had some great times, a couple people got punched in the face, and you've seen that I play almost exclusively old games. But fear not, my GOTY will come to light in the next and final entry. Until then, enjoy one finalancillary award that no one really cares about.
The Phantom Menace Award
This award goes to the game that made me giddy with anticipation, only to dash my hopes like so many Jar-Jar Binks. To qualify for this award, a game must: 1. Have had a substantial amount of prerelease hype; 2. Utterly fail in reaching my expectations; and 3. Have some sort of positive quality.
And the Endy goes to...
Ah, Scribblenauts. You had such potential. In fact, you still have so much potential. But you squander it. Over the past couple of years, it seemed that this game got better with every showing and the press went along for the ride. I waited patiently and as the game neared release, I imagined all of the ways I'd outsmart the level designers. But then something strange happened: the reviews started coming out. Some were bad, some were very good, but there were too many mediocre scores to simply ignore. them all I thought to myself, "Surely they are being too harsh. They've forgotten the joy of creativity,berating the originality they so often call for." But they were right.
It's hard to say what Scribblenauts' biggest problem is simply because the controls and physics are so equally terrible. The inability to move Maxwell with the D-pad is both frustrating and mind boggling. Why not allow the player the option? Why force such an unwieldy control scheme? Why does he run with such gusto into assorted pits, sharp objects, and menacing creatures? Did any of the developers even play the game?
And who decided a single rope should be able to pull a boulder off of a ledge with just its own weight? Why are the air vents so strong that they are able to lift steel girders and entire buildings? Again, did anyone actually play this game? I don't completely blame the developers for the fact that I mostly used a select few objects to make my way through 200+ levels. Some of that falls on me and my lack of imagination, but when so many items behave wildly different from what is expected, it makes sense to stick with athe dozen that are (relatively) predictable.It really seems that the developers spent too much of their time building a rich dictionary. If they had worked more on the gameplay, one can't help but think of what could've been accomplished. Here's hoping Scribblenauts 2 learns frome its forebear's mistakes.
Runner-Up: Scribblenauts (DS)
So disappointing that it also takes the runner-up spot. Seriously, this game is disappointing.
Closing Ceremony - Day 3
And so we come to the end of a very short day 3. All that remains is the ultimate prize, the grandaddy of them all, the big kahuna, the lobster stuffed with steak sandwich, my GOTY. See you then.
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