Friday, January 2, 2009

Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop (Wii) - New Trailer

A brand new trailer for the upcoming Wii game, Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop, an obviously downgraded port of the original hit Xbox 360 game, has launched in Japan. It's sort of telling when the trailer uses 360 models and the Wii gameplay can barely be seen in the background. I'm not too keen on the technical effort Capcom put into this Wii version. However, the Dead Rising fan in me is still going to rent this title to give a chance pending how well it actually controls and plays.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Central City Census - January

Happy new year, one and all. 2008 has come and gone, and it's a brand new year. Hopefully SuperPhillip Central will make it all the way through 2009, too! First though, let's take one final glance at 2008 with December's census:

Not a lot of new consoles that were received for the holidays according to our readers. That's all right. There's more important things in the world than gaming. Well, certainly not in the world of SuperPhillip Central, but you know what I mean! Nine people believed they were getting Wiis, and four people each thinking about PS3s, 360s, DSs, and PSPs. Hopefully your thoughts were correct!

Time to take a gander at our first poll for 2009!

Game music has come a long way from the beeps and boops of classic gaming. Now we have real live instruments, surround sound, and themes that are forever immortalized in our subconscious. January's Central City Census is all about game music, one of my favorite types of music in general. Do you listen to video game music outside of gaming?

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2008 Awards - Game of the Year

Welcome to the final night of the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2008 Awards, a celebration of 2008's best and worst (but very much mostly best) games as judged by yours truly and my stuffed animal monkey, Popo. The SuperPhillip Central Best of 2008 Awards are proudly brought to you by... Taco Bell - Think Outside the Bun, Oppenheimer Funds - The Right Way to Invest, and Surge - a defunct soft drink from the nineties. Surge-- "Drink up into a coma, you caffeine-craving bastards!!!"

This is it, ladies and gentlemen, the final award of the SPC Best of 2008 celebration. It's been a wild ride with many outstanding games being nominated and winning various awards, but now it's go time. Here we are with the best of the best-- the nominees for Game of the Year. These games have all won at least one award already representing the best the Wii, HD, and handheld platforms have to offer, but which is my game of 2008?

Let's start with a look at last year's game of the year:

GOTY 2007: Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

Beautiful worlds, extremely creative and mindblowing platforming action, my personal favorite soundtrack of last year, and charm that many games can only dream of possessing all make up the as-deliciously-tasty-as-Sweet-Sweet-Galaxy Super Mario Galaxy. Not just a game to define 2007, but perhaps a game to define this generation. The team at Nintendo EAD fantastically expanded on the gravity concept of early vids to create a package that is truly out of this world.

And now on to this year's GotY...

Game of the Year 2008 ~ Nominees

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

It's few games that come out that mesh quality and quantity together for a brilliant game. Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii is one of these. With a multitude of unique characters, interactive stages, and many goodies to unlock through play, there's most likely many who purchased this title on its release date and still haven't seen all that this game has to offer.

LittleBigPlanet (PS3)

Yet another title that combines quality and quantity is LittleBigPlanet for the Playstation 3. Spawning a community full of dedicated and creative level makers, LittleBigPlanet's fun will only dry up when the creativity of its community does, and that does not seem to be happening any time soon. No matter if you love making levels or not, there's plenty in this package to love and adore.

Dead Space (PS3, 360, PC)

Speaking of "quality and quantity", it's EA who opted to adapt a new business plan-- less phoned-in efforts, more excellent games, and Dead Space is proof that the concept is golden. Spine-tingling creatures that leap out from nowhere, a haunting setting aboard a space vessel, and a story that makes one scratch their brain until the final pieces come together at the game's finale. All that is needed now is for more folks to purchase Dead Space and EA's titles of its similar aspiring vein.

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS)

While Issac in Dead Space uses a variety of firearms to take out his foes, Shanoa of Order of Ecclesia uses magical glyphs-- magic that creates weaponry like axes and rapiers. Armed with a more old-school difficulty than most Castlevanias released nowadays and a wonderful variety of level locations, and Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia may be the best Metroid-styled Castlevania yet. Just don't tell any Symphony of the Night fanatics...

The end has come. There's but this last award to give out. Which game will win it? Which game deserves praise as Game of the Year? Is it Super Smash Bros. Brawl? Is it LittleBigPlanet? Is it Dead Space? Or could we have an upset with a handheld title being my Game of the Year with Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia? The wait is soon to be over.

And this year's game of the year is...


GOTY 2008: LittleBigPlanet (PS3)

With 40 cleverly concocted levels already in the game from Media Molecule to explore and collect costumes, stickers, and level pieces in, one of the deepest level creators ever seen on a console, and a multitude of users designing mind-boggingly awesome levels both based off games and totally unique, LittleBigPlanet is my personal Game of the Year. It was a close race with Brawl as both games scored the same, but not only is LBP a new franchise but it's one that I've already spent an exhaustive amount of time creating levels and playing online with friends.

Runner-up for GotY 2008: Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)


Don't get me wrong though-- every game that was nominated is at the very least worth a look. Some like Gears 2 may not be for me, but you might love the heck out of them.

Thanks for joining me at my award "show". I'd like to personally thank everyone for their support whether it be for posting my stories on their own blogs, sending a supportive and/or constructive e-mail, comment, or c-box entry, or simply those who occasionally pop in and read a story or two on SuperPhillip Central. Your support is extremely appreciated, and I'm honestly very proud to have you as my readers. Have a wonderful new year, and we'll see each other in 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The SuperPhillip Central Best of 2008 Awards - Each Platform's Game of the Year

Here we are once again for the second-to-last installment of the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2008 Awards brought to by Gillette Fusion razor. Gillette-- the best a man can get. Tonight we're naming off the Game of the Year for all consoles! Let's hop to it!


Multiplatform Game of the Year

Exclusives are great and all, but what's the best way to get your game out there and selling? Why, bring out to as large an audience as possible! What's better than putting your game on one console? Why, putting it on more than one console! Hooray! Here are the nominees for the Multiplatform Game of the Year:

Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3, 360, PC)

I made it very clear that I was quite disappointed with the end result of Grand Theft Auto IV, but let me also make it very clear that there's still plenty to enjoy here. While there is much more realism that makes the game less fun to fool around with, you won't see a better realized world than you will in GTA IV's Liberty City.

Saints Row 2 (PS3, 360, PC)

Going from realistic to unrealistic, Saints Row 2 allows the player to participate in a bevy of wacky jobs. Ever want to drive around a celebrity to avoid the increasingly aggressive paparazzi? You can do that. Ever want to shoot %$## from a septic van at the police? You can do that, too. Ever want to fully customize your character from fashion to bone structure? Well, you see where I'm going with this. Point being, Saints Row 2 is a bloody good time even if it strays on the immature side of humor.

Call of Duty: World At War (PS3, 360, Wii, DS, PC)

Infinity Ward is working on Call of Duty 6, so the development for World At War was given to Treyarch. This was no small task trying to make a game at least half as good as Modern Warfare. In some regards, the team did just that-- even better most of the time. Not only that, but the Wii version of the game is rather capable, too. Of course, nowhere near its HD counterparts.

Dead Space (PS3, 360, PC)

Creating a tense, frightful environment is no easy feat, yet the folks at Electronic Arts pulled it off. Not only that, but they crafted one hell of a survival-horror action-shooter that controlled remarkably and had such a macabre beauty. The plot of the game constantly made the player second-guess just what in the world was actually going on. Fans wanting a Resident Evil 4-like experience in space, should hop aboard as Dead Space is one game to be reckoned with.

Burnout Paradise (PS3, 360, PC)

Burnout Paradise did a great thing. It not only improved the graphics and technology of the series allowing for some of the most detailed and jaw-dropping crashes a racing title has ever seen, but it also expanded on the formula. This time around was the open-world city that allowed players to zoom to and from missions at their leisure. Recently, PS3 owners got a chance to rev it up and slam into as many walls as they'd like just for the fun of it as Paradise hit the PS3.

And the winner is...

Dead Space (PS3, 360, PC)

I didn't have any expectations for this game, so when I got into the game I was floored. It seemed like almost everything was polished to the point of perfection. Dead Space is a magnificent game that those looking for more than just thrills and chills will get a kick out of.

Runner-Up: Saints Row 2 (PS3, 360, PC)

Handheld Game of the Year

This generation is really terrific because you can get by just buying one of the two handhelds if not both of them. There were a steady stream of games for handheld hounds, but what titles did I find the most enjoyable of all? The nominees for the best games you can play in your palms are...

God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)

How do you take the graphics of a game like God of War and make it look nearly as good on a much smaller device? Just ask High Impact Games as that is exactly what those guys did. The game had just an epic scope for a handheld game, and even the controls mended perfectly to the PSP's design-- even with less buttons and just one analog nub. God of War: Chains of Olympus is not just a technological marvel, it's a damn entertaining one, too.

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (DS)

War has changed. Andy, Sami, and the gang are gone. War has changed. The setting has shifted to a post-apocalyptic world. War has changed. You can now take the battle online, share maps, and take on CO's from around the world. War has changed, alright, but it's certainly for the better. War has changed. Wait, this isn't for Metal Gear Solid 4, is it?

The World Ends With You (DS)

Square-Enix isn't exactly known for churning out games that are severely different from their previous titles, so when The World Ends With You was uttered, the JRPG world was a-buzz. Played almost entirely with the stylus, having the player draw shapes and other touch-based gestures to perform special attacks, TWEWY really showed how innovative and enjoyable an RPG on the DS could be.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS)

Put on your thinking cap and perhaps obtain a few cheat sheets, too, as it's Professor Layton and the Curious Village. The professor and his protege, Luke, are on the case to find out the peculiar happenings inside a countryside town, all the while solving brain teasers, riddles, and other increasingly perplexing puzzles as they inch closer to solving the town's greatest mysteries.

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS)

This third version of Castlevania for the DS features a female lead, Shanoa, on a quest to rid the world of the threat of Dracula's rebirth. Order of Ecclesia's world is made up of not one huge area to explore like most Metroid-styled Castlevania's, but it's actually designed with a world map. Each location on the map opens an area to explore whether it be complex or linear. There's a numerous amount of these giving the game a plethora of different scenery and ambiance. Not only that, but the final area of the game is the largest and most challenging-- to an already difficult game-- of all. Could it be the best Metroidvania of all time? Could be.

Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee 2 (PSP)

Improving on what made the original Open Tee a joy to play as well as humiliating the PS3 installment of the series in terms of content and options, Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee 2 will have the aspiring armchair golfer chipping in birdies and sinking crucial putts in a masterful and rewarding fashion. You can customize your character in various costume pieces that are unlocked through play. Between this, Tiger Woods Wii, and We Love Golf, this year has been great for video game golf fans, and Open Tee 2 is one of the best this year.

And the winner is...

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS)

I love platformers, and I love action games. It made sense to me that adding them together would give me an experience that I'd love even more. That game is Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. With more areas, more hours, more side-missions, more enemies to farm rare items from, and a brutal difficulty quite unlike the past two DS titles, and Order of Ecclesia is my handheld game of the year.

Runner-Up: The World Ends With You (DS)


Wii Game of the Year

"The Wii had few good games in 2008." That's what you could say if you didn't do the research. However, for those of us who did (and didn't settle for shovelware) made out rather well this year. While most of these titles did not have megaton coverage or are the easiest games to market, they're some of the easiest to have a serious amount of fun with. The nominees for Wii Game of the Year are...

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

I played Melee. No. I lived Melee. Obsessively finding ways to unlock new characters, stages, items, and other goodies, I played the heck out of the Gamecube title. Then Brawl came out and I went right back into the same pattern. The sheer volume of content in the game alone is enough to make any Nintendo fan of any magnitude drool with glee. However, it's the addictive gameplay that keeps us coming back for more.

Mario Kart Wii

Mario Kart Wii came packaged with the Wii Wheel peripheral, and since its launch, it's been consistently selling well and/or sold out. For good reason to. While it's arguable that this is the best version of Mario Kart, I would argue that this feels like the most complete Mario Kart yet. 32 tracks, 16 old, 16 new, a bounty of racers-- even your own Mii, the best online system that Nintendo has concocted yet, and some joyfully exciting multiplayer all combine to create one awesome Mario Kart experience.

Boom Blox

Starting out it just seemed that Boom Blox was a game where you threw balls to knock down blocks for points. Then it became clear that there was so much more. Challenges having the player defeat all of the enemies with only strategic shots to destroy them all in as few as possible. Challenges having the player chuck balls at evil monkeys trying to storm your team's fort. Challenges where you'd try to carefully slide blocks out without knocking the whole tower to the floor-- Jenga-style. Challenges where-- well, you get my point. Not to mention that is an easy to learn, tough to master party/puzzler seals the deal on this great piece of software.

No More Heroes

Enter the violent world of Santa Destroy, and meet No More Heroes' hero, Travis Touchdown. He's got no money. He wants to be number one. And he's one horny little man. Thus, you take Travis through a series of assassination missions, taking out various men and women in creative boss battles, all the while mowing lawns, collecting scorpions, and hauling around one badass beam saber. All in a day's work for Travis Touchdown.

Wario Land: Shake It!

Many players will not find this game as fulfilling to play if they just scurry through each level. No, the real entertainment comes from solving the environmental and platforming puzzles necessary to collect all of the treasure in each level. Additionally, there's tons of side-missions such as beating a level without taking damage, collecting a certain amount of money, and defeating an enemy hidden in the level. Couple all that with controls that just feel so tight and responsive, a 2D hand-drawn art style that is breathtaking, and you have one serious contender for Wii Game of the Year.

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon

I'm surprised that I dug this game so much. It's a niche genre, but at the same time it's one that is so friendly to new players of the genre that anyone can enjoy. Don't get me wrong though, this dungeon-crawler with all its charm and beauty is no cakewalk later on. Final Fantasy fanatics will love all of the references to past games be it the myriad of music, monsters, or characters. If you haven't tried this one, there's no question in my mind that you should.

And the winner is...

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

You could probably add up the hours I played of two or three of those six games, and it'd barely add up to how much I played Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The game was that much of a wonderful experience for me. Your experience may vary, especially if you're not a fan of Nintendo, so be forewarned.

Runner-Up: Boom Blox


Best HD Game of the Year

The goggles! They do nothing! Well, you need an HD signal and some kind of HDTV, buddy. Regardless of whether or not you have HD, the experience of playing a game on an HD console like the PS3 or 360 didn't really change for the worse playing it on an SDTV (like the majority of the world does, developers). I was going to leave a category separate for both the 360 and the PS3, but I decided to combine them to one category to save myself some time and work. Let's check out the nominees... in HIGH-DEF!

Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3, 360, PC)

I made it very clear that I was quite disappointed with the end result of Grand Theft Auto IV, but let me also make it very clear that there's still plenty to enjoy here. While there is much more realism that makes the game less fun to fool around with, you won't see a better realized world than you will in GTA IV's Liberty City.

Resistance 2 (PS3)

Resistance 2 had a pretty good campaign that was rather engrossing. It had plenty of well-position checkpoints for pick-up-and-play folks and those who'd get frustrated having to do a large section over again once they died (I'm the latter). But where Resistance 2 really shined was in its multiplayer modes for both online and local. Cooperative had six large maps for up to eight players, all working together to complete various objectives. Meanwhile, you had Competitive which was never tedious since no matter if you lost or won, you'd earn experience for your character. This experience would allow the player to access new weapons and in-game abilities. Regardless of the mode, R2 was one brilliant package in my eyes.

LittleBigPlanet (PS3)

Play, Create, and Share-- the mantra of LittleBigPlanet. Whether you're playing one of the 40 already manufactured levels in the story mode, designing your own level that you could customize to mindnumbing details, or sharing your levels and creations with other players around the world, LittleBigPlanet is an incredibly engrossing concept that is even more engaging when you play it.

Motorstorm: Pacific Rift (PS3)

Combine adrenaline-pumping breakneck racing with some extremely beautiful tracks-- 16 in all with multiple routes and shortcuts-- and you have one hell of a ride. With eight types of vehicles ranging from big rigs to dirtbikes, Motorstorm: Pacific Rift has a lot of content and excitement buried within an innocent-looking disc. Not only that, but there's also a custom-playlist option so you can get muddy while listening to ACDC or Frank Sinatra.

Dead Space (PS3, 360, PC)

Creating a tense, frightful environment is no easy feat, yet the folks at Electronic Arts pulled it off. Not only that, but they crafted one hell of a survival-horror action-shooter that controlled remarkably and had such a macabre beauty. The plot of the game constantly made the player second-guess just what in the world was actually going on. Fans wanting a Resident Evil 4-like experience in space, should hop aboard as Dead Space is one game to be reckoned with.

And the winner is...

LittleBigPlanet (PS3)

You know you love a game when you're still exploring it, seeing what your limitations are (there aren't many), creating yet another level, enjoying every minute of your time, losing hours that feel like minutes, and joining a community just for LBPaholics like myself. I'm trying to get sober. I swear!

Runner-Up: Dead Space (PS3, 360, PC)


Platform of the Year

Which platform was my favorite this year? Doesn't matter if they sold 2 million or 20 million. It's all about the game for me, of course! So which of the five platforms that I regularly have access to (sorry, gaming-quality PC fans) did I found to be the creme de la creme in 2008? The nominees-- no matter how obvious-- are...

Playstation 3

The Playstation 3 has had a rough year sales-wise, but luckily for those of who just want great games, the PS3 definitely delivered in spades. With exclusives such as Metal Gear Solid 4, Resistance 2, LittleBigPlanet, Motorstorm: Pacific Rift, and WipEout HD, there was certainly enough to play beyond for fortune PS3 owners. And while Home may currently be a bore, there's plenty more interesting titles to help shape up 2009.

Xbox 360

Much of the Western media loves the Xbox 360, and why shouldn't they? It has a great amount of games for everyone, it has the best online service period, and it's made by a Western company, Microsoft. There were plenty of big titles such as Gears of War 2, Fable 2, and Ninja Gaiden II, but there were also many games that appealed to me like Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise, Tales of Vesperia, and Lost Odyssey. The 360 had a game no matter the player.

Nintendo Wii

The sales juggernaut may have completely dominated its competition, but many gamers questioned the quality of the Wii's library for 2008. Personally, I found it fantastic. There weren't many hyped-up releases to talk about like the HD consoles, but there was a good amount of games that flew under the radar. You had your noteable releases like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Kart Wii, Animal Crossing, and Wario Land, but you also had titles that were worth the play such as Boom Blox, Blast Works, Final Fantasy Fables, de Blob, and We Love Golf (what can I say? I love anime-inspired golf).

Nintendo DS

Setting the portable market ablaze year after year, is the ever-popular Nintendo DS. This year in Japan, launched the third revision of the hardware, the DSi, smaller, slimmer, sexier, and more tech-savvy version of Nintendo's handheld cash cow. While Nintendo didn't do much on the software front (an increasingly frustrating move year-by-year), there were plenty of notable games from third parties who helped pick of the slack. Nintendo and third parties delivered with: Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates, The World Ends With You, Crosswords DS, Dragon Quest IV, Final Fantasy IV, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, and Kirby Super Star Ultra. Phew! Can't say I can't find a game or ten I'd like from that list!

Sony PSP

There's a debate on whether or not the PSP could be considered a failure. On one hand, Sony failed to take down Nintendo's handheld supremacy as they promised, but on the other, they created a fantastic multimedia device with some wonderful games. The year started off great with games like God of War: Chains of Olympus, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, and Patapon, but by the time summer and fall came, the worthwhile releases trickled down to basically two for me-- Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee 2 and Star Ocean: First Departure. The PSP is still rather strong in Japan, and I'd love to see Sony reboot their marketing and support the little handheld that could. Is the PSP a failure? No. I would consider it to be a missed opportunity if anything.

And the winner is...

Nintendo DS

So much support, so many games, so much third-party goodness-- the DS was on fire once again all year round. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who didn't see at least one game that matched their interests be it action, puzzle, RPG, strategy, or even simulation!

Runners-Up: Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3


That does it for this installment of the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2008 Awards. Stick around for tomorrow night when the games that won Handheld, Multiplatform, Wii, and HD Game of the Year Awards battle to see which title is Game of the Year 2008! Don't miss it!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The SuperPhillip Central Best of 2008 Awards - Day Three

NOTE: The "SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs" segment is taking a holiday this week. They'll be back in 2009, so no worries.

It's the halfway point of the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2008 Awards. Tonight we have three more awards to "hand out" to some deserving games. Tonight's categories include: Best New Franchise, Most Overlooked, and Developer of the Year. Stay tuned tomorrow night as we start handing out Game of the Year awards!


Best New Franchise

IP, otherwise known as intellectual property, is a hot term for gamers and the media who caters to them. Usually, new IPs are welcome in the industry. However, if the IP is the same game I've played before just with new characters and a new setting, then I'd rather have a "rehash" that uses the same characters and settings but uses a totally different design element to it. These nominees aren't just new IPs as much as they were new experiences to me. Here are the nominees...

Dead Space (PS3, 360, PC)

EA undertook a new company philosophy: develop better quality games. And hey, what do you know? One of the end results of this ideology is Dead Space, an action-adventure title set aboard a defunct spaceship crawling with unknown dangers. Not only is the action well done, but the environment is especially foreboding at parts. Combine that with an intriguing story, and you have a great start to a new franchise. Now if only this baby would have sold more...

The World Ends With You (DS)

What do incredibly annoying teen characters in the bustling shopping district of Shibuya and digital demons have to do with one another? The World Ends With You answers just that. Comprised of an innovative plot device, intuitive touch-based combat, and an eclectic mix of music, TWEWY equally delivers on fast-paced action and moody heroes.

de Blob (Wii)

A PC version of de Blob came out last year, but it was a free downloadable game. Now that it's released for retail, I'm considering it the official start of the franchise. de Blob was a very stylish, fun, and mission-based platformer assigning the title character, Blob, of coloring the world that the INKT so viciously turned into monochrome madness. A topview DS version of the game is in the works for sometime early 2009.

Boom Blox (Wii)

Put something cool on that throwing arm. You'll need it after playing a night of this excellent multiplayer puzzle/party game. The idea of knocking down a tower of blocks is simple, but it's the way that the concept is enhanced upon and redefined that makes Boom Blox so engrossing. Word has it that a sequel is already under way based on the great performance of the original, so keep an eye out for any emerging details.

No More Heroes (Wii)

Many Wii owners gained a new role model in Travis Touchdown from the stylistically violent open-world action game, No More Heroes. As director Suda 51's best selling game by a wide margin (over 500k as last reported), the announcement of the sequel, No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle has already made fans of the original antsy with anticipation. As well they should, too.

LittleBigPlanet (PS3)

Sackboy-- how I love thee. So cute. So customizable. So adorable. Nothing like a mascot that you customize anyway you like or as anyone you like. The character is heavily marketable, the thirst for more level creation goods is everliving, and the community is full of talented, creative people. There's just the right amount of charm and fun to keep players coming back for more.

And the winner is...

LittleBigPlanet (PS3)

The legs on this game are already very long for me, personally. Creating levels is a blast, and continued updates of DLC (of the pay-for and free varieties) might not send Media Molecule a message that they need to crank out a sequel any time soon.

Runner-Up: No More Heroes (Wii)


Most Overlooked

I do hate it when a great game gets overlooked-- we all do. It's an unfortunate part of our industry, but so many high-profile titles get pushed out year after year that the ones that don't cause much buzz fall through the cracks. Here are the nominees of such titles-- all great titles, I can assure you, that deserve a rent at the very least.

Valkyria Chronicles (PS3)

This breathtaking beauty from the fine folks who created Skies of Arcadia fed JRPG/SRPG-starved PS3 owners when it released this past fall. Unfortunately, it fed only the ones who actually knew about it as the game sold a paltry amount on this side of the Pacific.

Tales of Vesperia (360)

Same genre, different console, same end result-- low sales. While nowhere near as poor as Valkyria Chronicles, Tales of Vesperia failed to make a spark with the 360 fanbase. Not enough guns, testosterone, fragging, space marines, hardcore pop-cappin', "manly" stuff, and other "mature" stuff for most 360 owners. Though over 150,000 is very much a respectable margin seeing as the JRPG has lost popularity over the years.

de Blob (Wii)

This title's sales actually pleased THQ, the publisher of de Blob, so that has to be a good thing. I've no idea on the actual sales (probably less than 250k), but you can bet many HD minded folk looked over this title. I mean, how else can you say the Wii has no games other than ignoring good Wii games? Duh.

We Love Golf (Wii)

I was surprised how much I adored We Love Golf which was developed by Camelot. These folks made the various Mario golf and tennis titles as well as Golden Sun. The game has eight differently themed courses, an ensemble of perky but bland characters, online play, and loads upon loads of unlockables and extras such as Capcom costumes like Ryu and Arthur (from Street Fighter and Ghost 'n' Goblins respectively). Perhaps people were desiring a swing system that was less arcadey and more realistic. Either way, We Love Golf scored well under par for me (that's a good thing for those who don't follow golf-- which is fine).

Blast Works (Wii)

Before LittleBigPlanet came out with its masterful level creator, a little known title called Blast Works from Budcat Creations launched its wonderful shmup creator on Wiis in early June. It's available now for twenty bucks new, has a thriving community, a fantastic site to host and download created levels, vehicles, and other creations from fellow Blast Works owners. I think the lack of an advertising budget really hurt this game-- not to mention the unappealing boxart. Here's hoping spreading the word on this diamond in the rough helps someone pick the game up.

Soul Bubbles (DS)

Soul Bubbles was a very ambitious, innovative gem of a title. You use the stylus to blow around a series of energy particles inside a bubble through the many labyrinth-like levels while avoiding enemies and other hazards. The damning part of this game was that it is/was only sold at Toys 'R' Us locations. No better way to alienate most gamers by selling it only at a toy chain, I say.

And the "winner" is...

Valkyria Chronicles (PS3)

You PS3 owners yearn for RPGs, and what do you do when a fantastic one comes out? You buy it, of course. Unfortunately the rest of the PS3's user base didn't hop aboard the same bandwagon as you. Look at her expression above... See what the people who like RPGs, own a PS3, yet didn't get this game have made her feel like?

Runner-Up: Tales of Vesperia (360)


Developer of the Year

We know the big publishers-- Nintendo, Capcom, Activision, EA, Ubisoft, Konami, and the rest, but it's the developers who create the many great and not-so-great gaming experiences we've grown to love and hate. The nominees for Developer of the Year created the many marvelous gaming experiences that we've grown to love. The nominees are...

Media Molecule (LittleBigPlanet)

Concocting one of the best level creation tools period is no small task, but then creating an engrossing game on top of that is another thing. This is exactly what UK-based Media Molecule did though.

Rare (Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise, Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise)

The only developer in this category with more than one game under their belt, Rare performed very well this year. Trouble in Paradise greatly improved on its already terrific predecessor, Pocket Paradise faithful translated the original VP from the big screen to the small screen, and Nuts & Bolts offered players an entirely new way of playing their favorite bear and bird duo-- vehicles. Your mileage may vary, however.

Game Arts (Super Smash Bros. Brawl)

Categorizing Nintendo's illustrious history within one fantastic package is no small task, but the fine folks at Game Arts somehow managed to pull it off-- online excluded. Filled with so much content and little filler (my issues of the SSE notwithstanding), Game Arts did a fantastic job with Brawl.

Nintendo EAD (Wii Music)

Let's make a music game, but let's not force the player to hold a dorky plastic guitar or be relegated to just playing what is on screen. Let's have the player experiment with and improvise around the notes and melody of a song. Heck, they can just shake till the sun comes up if they want. But let's not have the software judge the player. Let's have the player judge his own performance and how it sounds to them. Hence, you have the basic idea behind Wii Music, a very controversial game for some Wii owners.

Kojima Productions (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)

Kojima has changed. He makes movie-quality games with his talented team of developers, designers, directors, and doctors (what). Kojima has changed. His team capped off an engaging narrative to make longtime MGS fans satisfied (so I'm told). Kojima has changed. The team's plot for MGS 4 was quite convoluted. Oh, wait. I forgot-- that one stayed the same. Regardless, MGS 4 couldn't have been game of the year at several media sites without Kojima Productions' tremendous effort and polish of the game.

And the winner is...

Media Molecule (LittleBigPlanet)

Not only did they create a game, but they made one with some glaring flaws to creator community. One of which was the horrid search system. Within days the problem was addressed, and already the problem has been fixed thanks to Mm. This kind of dedication and response to their game is something I haven't seen in a long time. Good show, Mm. Good show.

Runner-Up: Game Arts (Super Smash Bros. Brawl)


I'll see you tomorrow for night four of the SPC Best of 2008!