Posts Tagged ‘Dalagonash’

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Dala’s other favourite games from the last Decade.

January 21, 2010

After the last few days I am beat for writing so instead of a well structured, intelligently written post here is a list of honourable mentions, games that just missed out on my decade top ten list. No descriptions, just names.

Because I’m lazy.

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Advance Wars 2

Rez

The World Ends With You

Timesplitters: Future Perfect

Conker’s Bad Fur Day

Street Fighter IV

Peggle

Wii Sports

Halo

No More Heroes

Trials HD

Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations

Oddworld: Strangers Wrath

Deus Ex (Happy now Dave?)

The Sims 2

Unreal Tournament 2k4

Rock Band 2

Civilization 4 (Happy Tam?)

House of the Dead: Overkill

Team Fortress 2

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Dala’s Games of the Decade, 2 and 1.

January 19, 2010

Warning: incoherent personal gushing within.

2- Shadow of the Colossus


It’s rare for a game to show subtlety or tact, body counts normally stack into the hundreds or it’s a cuddly bear world full of jelly beans and menacing kittens. Shadow of the Colossus is subtle, you’re kill count doesn’t need all your appendages to count whilst your skill pool is actually quite small, and yet the game is anything but simple.

Essentially a boss rush the idea is to beat down a selection of hulking beasts in an effort to bring a dead bint back to life, because the ominous voice told you to. In the game this is told with a little more feeling but that’s the idea, the real joy of SotC comes from the battles themselves.

The beauty of the colossi fights is that you need to frequently think outside the box, all you know is that you can grab, shoot arrows, and clang your sword menacingly on their toes, but the environment is as much of a tool as any item in Zelda.

Because your horse behaved for itself, the companionship you form with it is undeniably strong.

But once you attach yourself to a colossi the game reaches new heights, as you’re thrown around helplessly praying you’ll hang on, as the music soars and dives with your performance, as every lumbering move of the colossi throws you off balance, and you grab the beasts beard as you’re thrown off, Shadow of the Colossus is rammed with moments of nail biting tension and sky punching victory as you fell a beast after an intense forty minute fight. David and the goliath is a complete understatement, Verne Troyer vs the Hindenburg would be more accurate.

And if these epic memories weren’t enough, the game hits you in a thoughtful manner as well, every colossi defeated seems more sad than a joy, you start to question your motives leading to the memorable climax, it’s an emotional journey as well as a brilliant game.

1-World of Warcraft


Has it really been five years? Five years since gamers started innocently becoming heroes in Azeroth and setting off on a quest to attain loot and glory in gaming’s best developed fantasy setting. Look at it today and it’s hard to imagine these humble beginnings, look at it today and it’s hard to imagine it not having many of its now staple features, look at any other MMO’s statistics and it’s impossible to logically calculate WoW’s success. But at the end of the day WoW has succeeded because it’s a brilliant game and a great RPG.

Everything about Warcraft says quality, when other MMOs were getting away with lackluster visuals and animations Blizzard were fine tuning their engine and tweaking their art direction to create a timeless experience, whilst other MMOs were grind fests Warcraft eliminated this with constant and intelligently paced quest lines and a constant influx of useful loot, and whenever another MMO had a good idea since, Blizzard added it into WoW to keep it on top. WoW is as relevant today in the face of the Warhammers and Star Treks as it was to Everquest 2 in 2005.

Regular Expansions help keep WoW relevant, whilst patch content stretches them out over a long time.

Ultimately it’s Blizzard’s attention to detail that propels Warcraft into many gamers hearts, every corner of the world has memorable locations that feel correct, as opposed to Lord of the Ring’s field bears, whilst the visual look is still strikingly cohesive and character animations display an artistic joviality often missing from video games. The music too is sublime; with over a day’s worth of some of the best music in the industry, WoW is both a visual and an audible tour de force (except for the constant grunting). The endless pop culture references will keep us laughing as well, and the new appreciation of cinematic design makes the end game events even more exciting.

But then there are the MMO aspects that propel it beyond the realms of normal games, get into a guild and the game becomes an unforgettable experience, you will forge friendships, competition with other players, and sample your own stories that you can share again and again with other people, unforgettable experiences in an unforgettable world.

Some of the boss fights look spectacular.

Sure it has problems but when a game can lure in 11.5 million subscribers, be featured in numerous sitcoms, have a South Park episode dedicated to it, spin off novels, mangas and board games about it, endless cosplay, and almost single handedly spawn gaming rehab clinics then it’s got to be doing something right (ish).

Warcraft’s reach extends beyond its gaming roots and this alone would be enough reason to celebrate it, but the fact it’s also a lovingly crafted piece of virtual entertainment and one that will remain relevant and talked about into the next decade and beyond makes it the only choice as game of the decade.

This is a slap dash description of this brilliant game, it would be possible to write a university thesis on how important and enjoyable an experience it is and still have things to say, all that remains to be said is that it’s a great game, and one that will stay with you for many years to come.

The cataclysm will reshape the world, marking the biggest change to Warcraft since its release.

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Dala’s Game’s of the Decade 5-3

January 19, 2010

This was meant to be 5-1 but I spent so long writing about these three I decided to finish it off tomorrow. Enjoy!

5. Left 4 Dead 2

As with the Melee and Brawl position in the previous list you could substitute this for Left 4 Dead if you prefer your apocalypse more urban, your survivors more conventional, and your black dude less fat, but for me knocking the brains out a zombie’s nose with a cricket bat makes L4D2 the winner.

The new special infected are all winners as well and make versus ten times better.

‘Game of the Decade though? Really?’ Yes, twat, my list so it’s my favourite games games on it and boy oh boy is L4D2 one that I adore. Great games are made from the experiences created within them and any four player session of L4D2 will create memories, it’s the kind of game you and friends can gush about over several pints down the local, recounting that time you were the last survivor making a dash for the safe room with three zombies on your tail, suddenly the growl of a hunter fills your ears and in a moment of blind panic you spin and melee, batting him away mid leap before finishing the level in the safe house. Or the time you got side swiped by the tank after your team left you, downed and almost out you shoot your last bullets into him, as he reaches up for his final punch your friends lay into him and he collapses at your side and over the mic one says ‘we never leave a good man behind’. Forget ‘cinematic’ setpieces, these kinds of moments only happen in video games.

Left 4 Dead and its sequel bucked the trend of forced co-operation, no ledge is a centimeter too high therefore needing two people to scale it, and no buttons ask you to press them simultaneously like they’re your boss, all the situations that occur in a session are unpredictable and test the players to their wits end, with co-operative events happening organically as players yell for help whilst one friend is being reeled in by a smoker and another is wrestling with the randy jockey humping his face, you’re the man the entire run depends upon and if you manage it you’re a damn celebrity to them.

Melee combat, bloody good fun.

Memorable characters (for the most part) and an interesting ‘story’ helped give the game depth whilst additional game modes add hours of fun for those who enjoy killing some undead, Realism mode is fantastic. The brilliant gore engine added in part two was ace as well.

4. Super Mario Galaxy

Mario Galaxy is brilliant, the variety on display in the star collection whilst all typically cut from the same cloth (get coins or traverse stage to get star) was continuously toying with what it could do meaning in one level you could be trailing some music notes to make the Mario underground theme when in another you’re skating along water, then in another you’re riding a manta ray around a race track like a revenge seeking Steve Irving, then in another you’re fighting a giant mole, then in another you’re rolling a ball down a hill Monkey Ball style, then in another you’re clambering around the nether regions of a humongous bee.

Mario soaring from planet to planet is a brilliant feeling.

The beauty of Galaxy is the subtlety in which it uses the Wii’s innovations, but also in its limitless creativity with which it surprises you every time you think the designers might have run out of juice. Visually the game was a delight as well, the conventional locations were present but interspersed with Saturn-esque ring planets in which the ring was actually water, or a huge mansion in which, you guessed it, poor Luigi was trapped.

The music was brilliant as well; Nintendo tunes are normally the sort you’ll hum whilst writing rubbish blog posts (currently humming Mario Bros Underwater theme) but to do the music in Galaxy justice you’d need a well-rehearsed chamber choir. This is the kind of music that could raise the spirits of an entire cancer ward, go on, go to your local hospital and play it.

The 'planets' made all other platformers flat in comparison... Oh wait...

Mario Galaxy is a beautifully created video game, and an unrestrained expression and celebration of the medium’s most jubilant character.

3. Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

Screw the haters, I bet you’re one of them, one of the ones that judged this on the fact it replaced the idea of jumping with a car with springs, or because Rare’s output since leaving Ninty has been ‘shite’ (go play Viva Pinata ya numpties), well more fool you because Nuts & Bolts was brilliant.

Brilliantly flawed however, the game had some rubbish design ideas such as carting jiggies to the center and getting chased by the cops, or some of the rubbish ‘LOG’S choice’ challenges, but when it was working well Nuts & Bolts was gaming gold dust.

It also looks drop dead gorgeous.

The vehicle creator was sometimes hard to use but rewarding when you got it, being asked to protect ‘Mr Fit’ as he runs around a course a novice player might try and fight all the enemies, a true genius will make a cage to go over the portly rodent whilst they laugh at enemies banging against it with no luck, or when you’re asked to take part in a dogfight and you create a disco ball death star, firing death in every direction.

Whilst games like Mario Galaxy created the genius in which you played, in Banjo a lot of your fun was created from your own imagination, sure there was always an obvious method to something, but breaking the game was half the fun. Winning a sumo match because my car had an ejector seat, meaning I remained in the ring whilst my opponent and ten tones of now inanimate vehicle plummeted to the ground below was brilliant, my friend however used springs to keep his vehicle intact, probably the more insurance friendly approach.

I made this abortion of a vehicle 😀

The multiplayer was also an under appreciated piece of genius, before the game’s release I feared it would be easily dominated by small children who’d unlocked everything whilst older people like myself were constantly turning the TV back to Question time or porn whenever parents or friends came in so they didn’t catch us spending our lives making brumm sounds whilst the Dalamobile Mk 3 laps the speckled mole and shoots a rocket up the native American woman’s tail pipe, but it was actually good fun thanks to tricky course design that favoured technical vehicles over powerful ones.

Klungo’s games were brilliant as well.

A true gem of a game.

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Second and First place coming tomorrow!

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Dala’s Games of the Decade 10-6

January 16, 2010

10. Paper Mario 2: The Thousand Year Door

Mario RPGs are mostly brilliant, Thousand Year Door is sublime. Taking Mario and company away from their natural habitat of The Mushroom Kingdom meant Nintendo could flex their vibrant creativity just that little bit more. Featuring memorable characters and a selection brilliant miniature stories, no one will forget their time at the wrestling ring or the mysterious events on that train, alongside an addictive and ever expanding combat system the game continually surprises until its closing moments, a good twenty odd hours later.

The brilliantly simple visuals meant scenes like this would happen on a whim.

Add to all that a charming visual style that bleeds into its gameplay and a brilliant translation that could make a world weary toad smile and you’ve got one of the best video game’s available.

9. Super Smash Bros Melee/Brawl

I can hear the heckles now, ‘Idiot dunno what he’s talking about’, ‘Smash Bros is diabolical’, ‘A disgrace to fighting games’, well fluff all of you because any Smash Bros plus a room of mates, plus drinks, equals more fun than dealing a game of strip poker with seven super models in a hot tub.

As a serious fighter Melee tops it, but Brawl is still brilliant fun.

Smash Bros, as Russell Howard said to Jonathan Ross, is whatever you want it to be. Fun filled party game – turn all the items to max, super serious brawler – turn items off, RSPCA worrying animal cruelty sim – all play as Pokemon with only pokeballs turned to high frequency, Smash Bros has been a constant source of fun for years. Infinitely playable, incomparably competitive, unbelievably stupid, yet undeniably brilliant.

8. Mario Kart DS

Sure it’s Mario Kart, and sure the Wii version has a superior online mode, however this is a very personal choice for one reason – College.

Of a lunch time me and several great friends (and some smelly strangers) used to hang out in the café enjoying some intense Mario Kart, no snaking (gentleman’s rules). The game bred some serious competition and we regularly had five or six players, but then Mario Kart DS is also arguably the best Mario Kart hands down.

Oh and custom decals were brilliant as well.

Waluigi Pinball, Delfino Plaza, Yoshi Falls, Luigi’s Mansion, Airship Fortress, Peach Gardens, all brilliant tracks and tailor made for the DS, there was more spectacle than Mario Kart 64 and the tight kart handling taught Double Dash a lesson for trying to be different. What’s more, it’s just a plain well made game, it won’t improve your life spiritually, help you pass a degree, or cure cancer, but you will have cemented some friendships from time spent playing and laughing.

7. Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4. Meme generating, franchise reviving, list topping super game extraordinaire. Resident Evil 4 was exquisite, from the first pistol shot you plant in one of the game’s shambling insectey parasitey infected you know this will be special, shooting enemies hadn’t been this satisfying since the groin grabbing guards of Goldeneye.

But what took Resident Evil 4 beyond great to legendary status was the satisfying feel and surprising depth to the experience. Still the only game to get QTEs right finding context sensitive actions was brilliantly intuitive stuff, ‘I wonder if I can do that’, yes you can says Resi 4 as you hurl yourself from a window, spinning 180 degrees and shotgunning your pursuers in the face, reveling in the squelch and the satisfying chunk, chunk of your weaponry before soiling your drawers anew at the sound of a revving chainsaw.

If you ask me the best version is the Wii version, PS2 improvements with GC performance plus brilliant aiming.

But then there’s the wonderfully camp story with its myriad of absurd characters, never taking itself seriously the player pushed on notsimply to enjoy the combat, but to see what silly setpiece the game would invent next.

And then there was the extended game, unlocking more weapons, working out the tantalizingly deep mercenaries mode, Resi 4 was a game that begged to be played time and again, and yet no matter how many times you played it every one felt just as fresh as the first.

6. The Orange Box

Kind of a cheat this but screw the rules, I have… Well I don’t have money, but I have control.

I still stand by Half Life 2 as being incredibly over-rated, shonky controls and rubbish drawn out sections seem to get ignored for a physics toy when people recall it as classic (it is an awesome physics toy mind you), the episodes on the other hand, they are gloriously compact extracts of gaming nirvana, no thirty minute odd boat trip here just an intense set piece rush through some of gaming’s most memorable locations. Episode 2 also hits your were it hurts on multiple occasions, making it the only nomination here to cause a lump in my throat.

Shat box, brilliant games.

Portal is a work of genius; in terms of narrative it’s got one of the best twists and most subtle yet brilliant reveals in gaming, and in terms of gameplay the concept of using two interconnected portals to move things around, sneak up on turrets, or even launch yourself across gaping chasms is exhilarating yet somehow never disorientating. The compact three hour experience crammed more memorable moments in than a Hitchcock film and the writing was top notch as well. Oh and it finished with Jonathan Coulton song, wub.

And then there’s Team Fortress 2, the best looking, best playing online FPS that has evolved into a varied, chaotic experience and will continue to grow into the next decade. This certainly was a triumph.

10. Paper Mario 2: The Thousand Year Door

Mario RPGs are brilliant, Thousand Year Door is sublime. Taking Mario and company away from the confines of the mushroom kingdom meant Nintendo could flex their creativity a little more. Featuring memorable characters and a selection brilliant miniature stories, No one will forget their time at the wrestling ring, or the mysterious events on the train. alongside an addictive and ever expanding combat system the game continually surprises in both its story and gameplay until its closing moments, a good twenty odd hours later.

Add to all that a charming visual style that bleeds into its gameplay and a brilliant translation that could make a world weary toad smile and you’ve got one of the best video game’s available.

9. Super Smash Bros Melee/Brawl

I can hear the heckles now ‘Idiot dunno what he’s talking about’, ‘Smash Bros is diabolical’, ‘A disgrace to fighting games’, well fluff all of you because Smash Bros plus a room of mates, plus drinks, equals more fun than dealing a game of strip poker with seven super models in a hot tub.

Smash Bros, as Russell Howard said to Jonathan Ross, is whatever you want it to be. Fun filled party game – turn all the items to max, serious face brawler – turn items off, RSPCA worrying animal cruelty sim – all play as pokemon with only pokeballs turned to high frequency, Smash Bros Melee was a constant source of fun for years on end. Infinitely playable, incomparably competitive, unbelievably stupid, yet undeniably brilliant.

8. Mario Kart DS

Sure it’s Mario Kart, and sure the Wii version has a superior online mode, however this is a very personal choice for one reason – College.

Of a lunch time me and several great friends (and some smelly strangers) used to hang out in the café enjoying some intense Mario Kart, no snaking (gentleman’s rules). The game bred some serious competition, and we regularly had five or six players, but then Mario Kart DS also has some of the best tracks to grace a Mario Kart.

Waluigi Pinball, Delfino Plaza, Yoshi Falls, Luigi’s Mansion, Airship Fortress, Peach Gardens, all brilliant tracks and tailor made for the DS, there was more spectacle than Mario Kart 64 and the kart handling taught Double Dash a lesson for trying to be different. What’s more, it’s just a plain well made game, and you can’t ask for fairer than that.

7. Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4. Meme generating, franchise reviving, list topping super game extraordinaire. Resident Evil 4 was exquisite, from the first pistol shot you plant in one of the game’s shambling plant infected you know this will be special, shooting enemies hadn’t been this satisfying since the groin grabbing guards of Goldeneye.

But what took Resident Evil 4 beyond great to legendary status was the feel and surprising depth to the experience. Still the only game to get QTEs right, finding the context sensitive actions was brilliantly intuitive stuff, ‘I wonder if I can do that’, yes you can says Resi 4 as you hurl yourself from a window, spinning 180 degrees and shotgunning your pursuers in the face, reveling in the squelch and the satisfying chunk, chunk of your weaponry, before soiling your drawers at the sound of a revving chainsaw.

But then there’s the wonderfully camp story with its myriad of absurd characters, never taking itself seriously the player pushed on not just to enjoy the combat, but to see what silly setpiece the game would produce next.

And then there was the extended game, unlocking more weapons, working out the tantalizingly deep mercenaries mode, Resi 4 was a game that begged to be played time and again, and yet no matter how many times you played it every time felt just as fresh as the first.

6. The Orange Box

Kind of a cheat this but screw the rules, I have… Well I don’t have money, but I have control.

I still stand by Half Life 2 as being incredibly over-rated, shonky controls and drawn out sections seem to get ignored for a physics toy when people recall it as classic, however the episodes are gloriously compact extracts of gaming gold, no thirty minute odd boat trip here just an intense set piece rush through some of gaming’s most memorable locations. Episode 2 hits your were it hurts on multiple occasions as well, making it the only nomination here to cause a lump in my throat.

Portal is a work of genius; in terms of narrative it’s got one of the best twists and most subtle yet brilliant reveals in gaming, and in terms of gameplay the concept of using two interconnected portals to move things around, sneak up on turrets, or even leap across gaping chasms, the compact three hour experience crammed more memorable moments in than it had any right to. The writing was top notch as well, and it finished with Jonathan Coulton song <3.

And then there’s Team Fortress 2, the best online FPS that has evolved into a varied, chaotic experience and will continue to grow into the next decade.

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Dala Designs… A James Bond Game.

January 13, 2010

‘Be Bond’ has always been the mantra of the James Bond video game, but just how many of the games make you feel like Bond? I mean really feel like him, rather than ‘Ah’m doin objectives jus liek James Bond wud!’ or the ability to stealth your way around levels, rarely do we ever feel like Bond, we never get to choose a snappy catch phrase or unleash a gadget at just the right time (ok, apart from the Train in Goldeneye, that was pretty bad ass), it just never happens.

Which brings me to my design of a James Bond game, in which the player assumes the role of another agent.

Inspiration

Just go play the British levels of Modern Warfare 2 and marvel at the cinematic displays of your comrades, the stealthy tip toeing towards enemy outposts or the brilliant one liner radio chatter. Well I say brilliant, I mean ridiculous, but that still fits.

Imagine the muscly arms of Daniel Craig reaching down.

Gameplay

Now replace McTavish with James Bond, and Roach with an up and coming field agent, you, that Bond is effectively ‘babysitting’, already you have the set up for some brilliant story points in which Bond tries to show off how much better than you he is, or how he is too good to train a rookie, whilst the player still gets to see James Bond doing all his cinematic stuff and they get to shoot some suckers. Of course all the gadget tinkering would be there as well, but seeing Bond equip them or having Bond tell you when things would be good would teach the player before later levels demand they think on their toes.

So we’ve got a great story point to follow, some deliciously cinematic gameplay opportunities when following Bond, but a whole game can’t go on like that…

So then you need to split up, MI6 wouldn’t send two agents on a mission for nothing. Imagine doing the Bond like stuff to infiltrate a facility whilst the Bond whispers in your ear about his progress or what he’s found out, you could see his handiwork or catch glimpses of him whilst on your way to your objective, these levels would feel more like Goldeneye levels and even though you’re not playing as Bond, the feel of the game would make you feel enough like him.

And the love interest? Having a girl smooch your screen is always strange, so playing an outside role would let the usual Bond romance play out with no awkward feelings for the player (I know some female gamers who don’t like being forced to play a male, then being forced to fancy a female), the usual Bond cinematics could play out whilst the player retains control and watches Bond pull all his usual smooth moves.

How to make it ‘FUN’

Keep it interesting, make sure Bond acts like Bond and not some useless AI, whilst enemies should die in overblown ways. But what is paramount is to keep the player interested, throwing them down enemy gauntlets is boring but what if Bond needs sniper cover for one section, or visa verca, give the player a variety of gadgets to enable them to experiment or find secrets, but also mix in stealth opportunities with action, but don’t separate them obviously, let alarms be raised but for the player to fight out. Also some variety in terms of cinematic scenes, see MW 2’s cliffhanger as an example, or have a freerunning section that takes inspiration from Mirror’s Edge.

Also, Bond shouldn’t die but the character should feel important, perhaps let Bond pick the player up a few times before out and out failure, however a feature like this would be hard to put in individual levels. However the game needs to support the idea of Bond and not demean him, he should never really be in an emergency, i.e. Bond cannot be injured to needing to be picked up.

QoS so frequently wrenched the camera outside Bond's skull to remind you you were Bond, it may as well have been third person, but then Bond wasn't animated enough to feel like the real deal.

Issues

Well, people do like to be Bond, so the idea of controlling more of a spectator might disappoint some, however once it all got moving I’m sure it would be easy to adjust to. Bond fans would also likely have a problem with the idea of Bond ‘babysitting’, ergo a solid plot would be paramount; Sebastian Faulks proved proficient enough at penning a worthy Bond so the world is not short of people who would likely be able to do the premise justice.

As stated in the previous section, Bond needs to feel like Bond and not a usual co-op partner, something between MxTavish and Alyx Vance in terms of usefulness and have plenty of cinematic scenes.

Why this would work

Bond has been languishing as a typical FPS franchise for too long, no developer has really played to the strengths of the franchise and has instead tried to implement expected game elements such as QTE’s to make it cinematic rather than actually make it a cinematic game to play a part in.

This way, Bond still feels like Bond without a rubbish player muddying his name, the idea of playing an MI6 agent rather than the love interest means you won’t have Daniel Craig thrusting his scrunchy face into your screen when he feels horny whilst it also makes it believable that you could do Bond like things alongside the actual Bond. It would be fun.

Oh and as long as you lather hours of Monty Norman over it it will automatically feel like Bond, even if you get Harry Hill to voice the character.

Poker minigame optional

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The 2009 gaming checklist (aka the alternative GOTY awards).

January 8, 2010

2009 is over, finished, kaput, but did you sample the very best of gaming from last year? Well before 2010 gets into full swing (yes Bayonetta is awesome but it is only one game) you should make sure you check off the following essentials!

L4D2 – Boot to the Head.

I knew I needed to include something from the seminal Left 4 Dead 2, but it was a throw up between several things, the Hard Rain chapter, fending off the hordes during a metal concert, but in the end I settled on something that never gets old, smacking ten shades of claret out of zombies with blunt and or sharp objects.

From the first clang of the frying pan to the juicy slice of the katana L4D2’s melee is brutal, gory, and above all effective. In fact it’s currently being considered as a new dictionary definition of the word satisfying.

Insert sound: Thwak

HotD: Overkill – Play it with the Handcannon.

Gamers are split into two groups, those who have played House of the Dead: Overkill, and those who have not. Those who have played it are split into a further two, people who killed the undead limp wrested with a pathetic wii remote, and those that grew a pair and wielded the official Handcannon.

This is not just any piece of plastic, it’s a perfectly weighted piece of finely molded bad ass for you to give your wii remote the pleasure of sitting in, it turns an already amazing lightgun game into the real deal. Once you’ve used it, there’s no going back. It  beats that rubbish excuse for a lightgun Nintendo released any day, then again putting the wii remote inside a banana skin makes a better lightgun than that thing.

The Handcannon, brilliantly modelled by yours truly in blur-o-vision.

Halo: ODST – Vidmaster Endure.

Halo 3 ODST was a fun expansion pack and Firefight was fun, if a little long winded. However that first time you get endure, which coincidently wil probably be the last time you play firefight, is a real struggle. You and three friends figure, it’ll be easy to get that score! Until after an hour you begin to realize how long it’s going to take. The closing minutes of this two hour struggle are some of the tightest in a game in 2009, and the experience is best shared with others who don’t have the achievement as the elation felt afterwards is like a simultaneous ejaculation. Trust me, try it.

Firefight lasts far too long compared to other 'survival' modes, but it's still a blast.

Uncharted 2 – That Train Level.

I don’t have a PS3, and I have not played Uncharted 2. But I have been told by a reputable source (my mate Dave) that the train level is the best bit.

This is Nathan Drake, from Uncharted, in Shadow Complex.

Plants vs Zombies – F***ING BUNGEE ZOMBIES!

The third zombie enhanced game on this list and something everyone should have played, if only so you too can scream at the bungee zombies. By the roof levels any player of PvZ will be confident in their horticultural powered undead slaying abilities, until the bungee shows up for the first time.

‘YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH!’ It screams as it hovers above your prized watermelon catapult, before yoinking it from before your very eyes.

And you will scream.

But then, as with a new vegetarian girlfriend, you’ll adapt or fail, as that’s what drives the perfect difficulty curve of PvZ.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

Monkey Island: Special Edition – Something Old, Something New.

Every once in a while an element of gaming turns around, smacks you in the chops, and reminds you how far we’ve come in a short space of time, reliving Guybrush’s first adventure was one such smack.

So to fully appreciate this effect in full motion, press the button to swap the graphics and sound between old and new.

And do it again.

And again.

Addictive isn’t it? And if you’re playing on PC you can then say to yourself ‘how if the presentation is better, can they make the inventory and actions more awkward?’

Two steps forward, one step back.

If I wasn't so lazy, I'd have

merged these pics.

Street Fighter IV – HADOUKEN!

Like an old war veteran given a submachine gun, giving a gamer in their early to late twenties a copy of Street Fighter IV and a stick (or competent D-Pad) will induce flashbacks to a simpler time, a glorious time, possibly a treasured time, and then the nostalgia really kicks in.

Watch as their eyes scan the character select for their old flame; who will be there unless they’re mentally retarded (T. Hawk is shit), and the match starts. Chances are, they chose Ryu or Ken, chances are the first thing they will do is throw a Hadouken. And watch the smile spread across their face.

Still got it.

You’re not a real gamer until you can do these consistantly

Team Fortress 2 – Throw Piss on Someone.

Team Fortress 2 is a miracle in modern gaming, it stays a constant force in the minds of gamers thanks to Valve’s commitment to updates, and in 2009 we were given the best yet. The Jarate.

Playing as the sniper you now have the privilege of slam dunking a glass container of your liquid waste all over some helpless sap on the opposing team, watching it slowly drip off as your friends pummel them into the ground for being covered in pish. Yep, in 2009 Valve let us re-enact the best part of a night out in Glasgow.

Some call it gross, I call it effective waste recycling.

Trials HD – Getting past ‘that’ bit.

Trials is full of so many ‘that’ bits I couldn’t possibly name one, and everyone will find a ‘that’ bit in Trials that I daren’t say mine for fear of someone on the big bad Internet calling me a pussy. But anyway Trials HD is a hard game but it’s so quick to try again that we do, we try again, and again, and again, until on the eighty fourth attempt we get it, we cheer, we run around, we down the last of our beer, we start to question that twitching on our temple, we down another beer, we think the twitch is gone, or we can’t feel it, good enough.

And then the next bit is harder.

We degenerate into a caveman like dialect of grunts and splutters.

*gulp*

Borderlands – LUK AT MA GUNZ!

Borderlands is a game about guns. Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head, all tools of killing. Most fall into the category of mundane but every once in a while you’ll find a gun that makes you impersonate a monkey and you will need to show it off. In all honesty, Borderlands is a pretty average game but the ability to hop online with friends and say ‘watch my triple rocket launcher that electrocutes people and saves a starving African child every time I fire it’ is a joy no other game can match. God bless loot.

As fun a game as Borderlands is, these four have as much personality as a Cream Cracker. They leave a similar taste in the mouth as well.

Those are my ten moments that made 2009 a great year in gaming, apart from one from a reputable source (Dave), but if you think you’ve got any more why not share them here! Oh and make sure you actually, you know, go and do those ten. They’ll improve your life and maybe even make you a better person.

It’ll help you survive a zombie apocalypse anyhow.

2009 is over, finished, kaput, but did you sample the very best of gaming from last year? Well before 2010 gets into full swing (yes Bayonetta is awesome but it is only one game) you should make sure you check off the following essentials!

L4D2 – Melee.

I knew I needed to include something from the seminal Left 4 Dead 2, but it was a throw up between several things, the Hard Rain chapter, fending off the hordes during a metal concert, but in the end I settled on something that never gets old, smacking ten shades of claret out of zombies with blunt and or sharp objects.

From the first clang of the frying pan to the juicy slice of the katana L4D2’s melee is brutal, gory, and above all effective. In fact it’s currently being considered as a new dictionary definition of the word satisfying.

HotD: Overkill – Play it with the Handcannon.

Gamers are split into two groups, those who have played House of the Dead: Overkill, and those who have not. Those who have played it are split into a further two, people who killed the undead limp wrested with a pathetic wii remote, and those that grew a pair and wielded the official Handcannon.

This is not just any piece of plastic, it’s a perfectly weighted piece of finely molded badass for you to give your wii remote the pleasure of sitting in, it turns an already amazing lightgun game into the real deal. Once you’ve used it, there’s no going back. It  beats that rubbish excuse for a lightgun Nintendo released any day, then again putting the wii remote inside a banana skin makes a better lightgun than that thing.

Halo: ODST – Vidmaster Endure.

Halo 3 ODST was a fun expansion pack and Firefight was fun, if a little long winded. However that first time you get endure, which coincidently wil probably be the last time you play firefight, is a real struggle. You and three friends figure, it’ll be easy to get that score! Until after an hour you begin to realize how long it’s going to take. The closing minutes of this two hour struggle are some of the tightest in a game in 2009, and the experience is best shared with others who don’t have the achievement as the elation felt afterwards is like a simultaneous ejaculation. Trust me, try it.

Uncharted 2 – That Train Level.

I don’t have a PS3, and I have not played Uncharted 2. But I have been told by a reputable source (my mate Dave) that the train level is the best bit.

Plants vs Zombies – F***ING BUNGEE ZOMBIES!

The third zombie enhanced game on this list and something everyone should have played, if only so you too can scream at the bungee zombies. By the roof levels any player of PvZ will be confident in their horticultural powered undead slaying abilities, until the bungee shows up for the first time.

‘YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH!’ It screams as it hovers above your prized watermelon catapult, before yoinking it from before your very eyes.

And you will scream.

But then, as with a new vegetarian girlfriend, you’ll adapt or fail, as that’s what drives the perfect difficulty curve of PvZ.

Monkey Island: Special Edition – Something Old, Something New.

Every once in a while an element of gaming turns around, smacks you in the chops, and reminds you how far we’ve come in a short space of time, reliving Guybrush’s first adventure was one such smack.

So to fully appreciate this effect in full motion, press the button to swap the graphics and sound between old and new.

And do it again.

And again.

Addictive isn’t it? And if you’re playing on PC you can then say to yourself ‘how if the presentation is better, can they make the inventory and actions more awkward?’

Two steps forward, one step back.

Street Fighter IV – HADOUKEN!

Like an old war veteran given a submachine gun, giving a gamer in their early – late twenties a copy of Street Fighter IV and a stick (or competent D-Pad) will bring back flashbacks to a simpler time, a glorious time, possibly a treasured time, and then the nostalgia kicks in.

Watch as their eyes scan the character select for their old flame; who will be there unless they’re mentally retarded (T. Hawk is shit), and the match starts. Chances are, they chose Ryu or Ken, chances are the first thing they will do is throw a Hadouken. And watch the smile spread across their face.

Still got it.

Team Fortress 2 – Throw Piss on Someone.

Team Fortress 2 is a miracle in modern gaming, it stays a constant force in the minds of gamers thanks to Valve’s commitment to updates, and in 2009 we were given the best yet. The Jarate.

Playing as the sniper you now have the privilege of slam dunking a glass container of your liquid waste all over some helpless sap on the opposing team, watching it slowly drip off as your friends pummel them into the ground for being covered in pish. Yep, in 2009 Valve let us re-enact the best part of a night out in Glasgow.

Trials HD – Getting past ‘that’ bit

Trials is full of so many ‘that’ bits I couldn’t possibly name one, and everyone will find a ‘that’ bit in Trials that I daren’t say mine for fear of someone on the big bad Internet calling me a pussy. But anyway Trials HD is a hard game but it’s so quick to try again that we do, we try again, and again, and again, until on the eighty fourth attempt we get it, we cheer, we run around, we down the last of our beer, we start to question that twitching on our temple, we down another beer, we think the twitch is gone, or we can’t feel it, good enough.

And then the next bit is harder.

We degenerate into a caveman like dialect of grunts and splutters.

Borderlands – LUK AT MA GUNZ!

Borderlands is a game about guns. Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head, all tools of killing. Most fall into the category of mundane but every once in a while you’ll find a gun that makes you impersonate a monkey and you will need to show it off. In all honesty, Borderlands is a pretty average game but the ability to hop online with friends and say ‘watch my triple rocket launcher that electrocutes people and saves a starving African child every time I fire it’ is a joy no other game can match. God bless loot.

Those are my ten moments that made 2009 a great year in gaming, apart from one from a reputable source (Dave), but if you think you’ve got any more why not share them here! Oh and make sure you actually, you know, go and do those ten. They’ll improve your life and maybe even make you a better person.

It’ll help you in a zombie apocalypse anyhow.