Wednesday, December 15, 2010

games for gamers

I compiled a list of my favourite games for portable game systems and the computer last year, and that list hasn't changed much (in fact, I'm still playing most of those games). I'm going to amend a few things, though. Firstly, Little Big Planet for the PSP sucks. I hate it. I can't stand playing it. I haven't finished it and I don't intend to. It takes too long to load and I can't see what's going on. Don't buy it. I also got so sick of Rhythm Heaven songs that I banished the game from the house. The songs infiltrated everything, and we're already notriously annoying for making up songs about random stuff we're doing, but soon those songs were set to Rhythm Heaven music and I just couldn't take it anymore. All I have to say is "peck your beak" and it all comes back like a terrible curse. So I retract those games.

I'd like to add mahjong to my list of favourite computer games, too. I casually remembered I used to like playing mahjong online, so Idle Husband bought me a $10 mahjong game and now it's taken over a lot of my spare time. I usually don't like playing online with others, but I actually enjoy the challenge of playing against other people on mahjong. I usually get my ass handed to me, but that's the sad consequence of playing online with "gamers," who I always assume are hardcore, even with mahjong (I also really enjoy saying mahjong. It makes me feel knowledgeable).

This year, I thought I'd gather my favourite games for the major home systems. You know, cuz guys can be hard to buy for and there really are gamer girls out there that would love love getting a game for Christmas. (Really! It's true!) So this is kind of a mix of what I like (mostly what I like) and what Idle Husband has suggested. I hope it gives you at least a few ideas for quickie game presents you can pick up in a jiff.

And if you haven't got a Wii, XBox, or Playstation 3, and you're thinking of buying one, I think (oh I'm going to get teased for this) if I had to get just one it would be the Xbox. I just think that overall, it's the one we play the most (besides computer games) and despite my deep love for all games Mario, I don't think I'd really miss the Wii if it were gone. There. I said it.

I'll apologize right now and say that anything having to do with Nintendo for me has to do with Mario (and Wario, apparently). I mentioned it a lot in my DS list and there's really nothing different when it comes to the Wii. There are a lot of games for the Wii and most of them are really lacking. So Mario's kind of it for me.

{New Super Mario Brothers} We loved this game for it's dual (and quadruple) game play and (naturally) cuz it's Mario. Admitedly, the gameplay for two people can be really frustrating. I just found the controls awkward and uncomfortable, and there are certain logistics that factor into playing the same level with another person (like bumping or bouncing on each other) that make gameplay especially frustrating. So as long as you go in with the attitude that you're going to die a bajillion times so just have fun while you can, then it is fun.

{Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2} Idle Husband and I bonded over Galaxy 1. It was the first 3D game I'd ever played. Ever. And I think he enjoyed totally inept me (I still can't swim). So we played the hell out of Galaxy 1. At least four times, I think. I really loved being a star helper. It's not exactly playing together but it is fun helping Mario out. I discovered a lot of neat tricks the star helper can do and some of them I didn't figure out until the fourth playthrough. Galaxy 2 was nice, but I think it was a little overblown. Being a star helper was a little harder as they took away some of the complete abilities or made those abilities more precise, and besides the addition of some different worlds, Yoshi, and some enemies, it's really not all that new and felt very recycled.

{WarioWare: Smooth Moves} This game is just hilarious. The explanations of technical wiimote moves alone make the game worth getting. It's comprised of minigames within a (short) storyline and generally, we're not that into minigames, but the weird Japan gameshow style had us hooked. It was fun for just the two of us, but it would definitely be a riot with a group of people. The minigames have you doing odd movements with the wiimote and I know that that would definitely incite a lot of laughter. This is one I'm SO SAD we loaned to that guy who moved who never gives anything back.

{Wario Land Shake It} I got up in the mornings on weekends just to finish this game. I really love the watercolour-like graphics, and it was surprisingly fun and surprisingly hard. IH had to finish a few bosses for me, honestly, but that was because I was so tired of shaking! I know it's right there in the title, but there really is a crazy amount of shaking in this game and you have to coordinate shaking and jumping and moving all at the same time. But that's true to the whole essence of the Wiimote which is good, I guess. But have you ever thought to yourself, damn it Nintendo. Just because you have motion control doesn't mean you have to put it into every single game you make. Some games would just be better without it, you know? Nevermind. I've been thinking of playing through it again so that's something.

Of course, I have to mention that you can download Tetris and any other retro Nintendo games on the Wii for minimal dollars and they're all good classics that are fun just because you'll remember them from back in the day. We had so much fun playing through Super Mario World together and Super Mario 2 and 3 (or you can pick up this epic compilation game! If you're as excited about Mario as I am, that is).

Playstation 3

{God of War 3} We loved this game so much, we played through it twice. No, it's not two player, but it's got a really interesting story (I've always loved stories of Greek gods and godesses -- even if these aren't entirely true to the originals) and awesome graphics, so I honestly don't mind sitting and watching. Besides, my job is to help figure out the puzzles in the game and that's pretty important. See? It's not all killing and button mashing. You have to use your brain, too. I'm actually good at the button mashing, though, and usually we'll take turns, but Idle Husband wanted to play through the first time on hard and that's too hard for me. You can also pick up the others in the series for the PS3, so don't go out and buy a PS2 like we did (a few months before the compilation came out. Damn you, Playstation!)

{Uncharted 1 and 2} If you like God of War, Uncharted has the same feel except with guns and a jungle. This is another single player game, but the graphics, smooth gameplay, and interesting story makes sitting and watching (or taking turns) not so bad. There's going to be a third soon!

{Little Big Planet} Another game chosen for cuteness! I love the graphics and the music (ever heard of the sweet band, The Go! Team?). It's all crafty and interesting and creative and just different stylistically from games that came before it. I also loved this game because we could play it together and that's something that's really important to me. The only thing it was lacking was length. We finished it pretty quickly and that's just sad when you're enjoying it so much.

{Heavy Rain} This game was so interesting. It plays out exactly like a movie except you control everything, even mundane things like brushing teeth or bandaging a wound. I think we would have easily played this over and over again except, because it's so much like a movie, once you see the ending, that's it. They really could have evolved this concept a little more by making choices effect the outcome (the choices you make effect some outcomes during the game, but not the conclusion). So fair warning. If you get this one, you might only play it once, but it is worth it.

Idle Husband wants me to mention Batman: Arkham Asylum because he thinks he'd play it again if we hadn't have loaned it to that guy that moved and never gave it back (again), but I doubt it. I seem to remember that I caught up on a lot of missed sleep while he was playing this game. That's really all I remember about it. So, you know, check it out if you're looking for some good games to nap through while your husband plays them.


{Super Meat Boy} I think I talked about this game quite enough here, but I stand by what I said. It's cute and hard and very hard and tricky and we keep unlocking more levels and more gameplay and more characters and it seems like it's the game that never ends. It's also the first game in a long time that'll make your hands sweat and make you jump your controller every time you want Meat Boy to jump. For real.

{Plants VS Zombies} This is another game I've talked about quite enough so I won't labor on and on anymore about it. It's just one of those great games you can forget about and pick up later and it's still fun. A classic. Like Tetris, I think.

{Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2} (I just discovered that there's a first and a second to this game. Huh. I guess we've been playing the second, but Idle Husband says the first is just as good.) Speaking of classic games, this is one we usually go back to when we haven't got anything else on the Box to play. Basically, you're a little spaceship fighting against multi-coloured geometry pieces. That's it. The controls are very basic and easy to pick up, but it's surprisingly hard the longer you play. This also has two player gameplay and it can get interesting when you play cooperatively where one player shoots and the other maneuvers. It can get really tricky but it creates laughs not frustration.

{Grand Theft Auto 4} I liked the story in this game! There. I said it. I also really suck at driving a car in a video game, but that's neither here nor there. I just really enjoyed watching and helping to make decisions while Idle Husband did all the heavy button pushing. Sometimes those are the games that are really up my alley.

He loves a good computer game and he just got an epic game/work laptop, so here are games he especially loved this year in no particular order: Starcraft 2 (which he played like a crazy person on a mission and that's kinda rare for him) and

{Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age: Awakenings, Mass Effect, and Mass Effect 2} (on any system including the PC, excluding the Wii) If you enjoy role playing games, you should really pick one of these up. Not only are they really good games, but you'd also be supporting local video game producers, artists, and programmers right here in Edmonton by doing so. How often is it that you can say that that amazing, well-received, award winning game was made right here in Edmonton, Canada? I think it's really important to support local businesses of all kinds, and if you're someone who likes to get their gifts locally, then consider that a craft fair isn't the only place you can support local Edmonton artisans (and I can attest to the fact that video games are a true craft and an art form and they take thousands of hours of dedication in order to produce).

I think the hot things this year are the Kinect for the XBox and the Playstation's Move, but we've decided Move is stupid (it's basically the exact same as the Wii) and we're wavering around on the Kinect. We kind of think it might be fun, but when we think about how often we play Wii Sports or use the Dance Dance Revolution mat, we back away from the Kinect rather quickly. Plus you do need a lot of space in order to work it correctly and we're not sure we'll have that amount of space (we definitely don't right now). We just don't think it's a gotta have device yet. It's still pretty new technology with half-decent games, so by the time there are more interesting games for it, it'll probably be cheaper. And that's just our two cents on those.


Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot said...

I'm going to have to try these. If they have the Idle Wife seal of approval then I know they must be good! And if you get a Kinnect can I play too?

GALaxy said...

If we get a Kinect, you'll be the first one invited over to try it! (aka to look stupid with me while we both try it -- I'm super bad at Dance Dance Revolution, so I can already imagine)

Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot said...

I am a pro at looking stupid, don't you fret!