Patrick Kennedy Poop 08


HOW I SPENT 2008 IN FRONT OF MY TV.

A List by Patrick Kennedy

Instead of a list focused on everything under the sun, I wanted to use my two pages to look at the year in videogames. Partly because it’s a topic I hold dear to my dorky heart, and partly because I think the cultural relevance of videogames is increasing with every passing year. I missed just about every AAA game release in 2008 – I just got my PS3 in December and continue to make up for lost time – and many others were skipped for reasons ranging from time to preference of genre. But that’s what makes everyone’s lists so engaging for me: the personal insight into what made a year of avoiding social interaction special for them. Here’s what kept me going in the dying days of the Bush regime.

VIDEOGAMES

  Name Your Link
(1) LittleBigPlanet (PS3)
As one of the brightest jewels in the tarnished crown atop Sony, developer Media Molecule’s love letter to video games embodies an adorable glimpse into the industry’s future. Gently guiding you through its various levels with the handmade beauty of your favorite teenage ‘zine, the game eventually reveals its true glory as a instruction manual for its robust level creation and Youtube-like community interface. Unlike most of this list, LittleBigPlanet will become more complete and dynamic as time passes.


  Name Your Link
(2) World of Goo (Wii)
With music and art direction reminiscent of a Tim Burton film, this two-man creation from developer 2D Boy mixes Erector set mechanics with an impressive physics engine to create an addictive puzzler with style for days. A key example of why I believe the world of independent gaming has to be the lighthouse for the rest of the industry in the current succeed-or-die economy.


 
(3) Burnout Paradise (PS3)
EA completely dissembled their established and successful smash-and-dash racing entry apart this year, leaving the linear format behind in favor of an open-world sandbox that let players explore the city’s nooks and crannies. It only gets better with its online component, and its approaching downloadable content will keep its new look a fresh favorite throughout 2009.


  Name Your Link
(4) MLB Power Pros 2008 (Wii)
Perhaps the deepest, most stat-heavy game in a genre obsessed with depth and stats, this game gets my vote for achieving superior gameplay with a graphical look more akin to the SNES. I had to stop playing this game in the summer, or else I never would’ve gotten anything done. Proof that a solid foundation and confident direction can overcome graphics any day of the week.


  Name Your Link
(5) Rock Band 2 (PS3)
As the first developer to introduce the full-band approach to rhythm gaming, Harmonix built on its groundbreaking game with subtle gameplay tweaks, a stellar tracklist and weekly-updating DLC to solidify their place as the best of the music genre. Plus it really doesn’t get any better than playing the drums in this game. And Rock Band 2 lets you play “Alex Chilton”. Alex fucking Chilton. So good.


  Name Your Link
(6) de Blob (Wii)
THQ’s Technicolor-burst entry makes the list for being one of the few titles to explore the Wii’s possibility, and for its organic interplay of music and platforming. You have to limit gameplay to sub-hour bursts; more than that and it tends towards repetitive. Still, its high points easily outshine its lows.


  Name Your Link
(7) No More Heroes (Wii)
A tribute the world of coin-op gaming as filtered through a cartoonishly ultraviolent button-masher of an action game, and the single most unabashedly visionary title for the Wii. Flawed at times, but a must-play for any Wii owner.

i-wish-i-were-the-moon you-have-to-burn-the-rope
Play free Play free

(8) I Wish I Were The Moon / You Have to Burn the Rope (PC)
This group of games represents my favorites in a small sample of the wild creativity and clear-eyed vision that exists in the independent gaming community. Each of these games are free to play and run start to finish less than 10 minutes, but manage to achieve a Zen-like joy that larger titles often cannot achieve.


  Name Your Link
(9) Civilization Revolution (DS)
If you’ve ever played a Civilization game, then, in the immortal words of Mr. Jay Hova, y’all already know what it is. If you haven’t, do yourself a favor, do your free time some damage and give the DS version of this strategy elder-statesman a whirl. Like Risk against historic world leaders, the game isn’t anything new – but having it portable is absolutely amazing. A commute-eraser like none other.


  Name Your Link
(10) NHL 09 (PS3)
The best hockey game I’ve played since its heyday on the Genesis, and its online mode breaks ground with all-human teams of 5-on-5, each position being played solely by one player around the world.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Pixeljunk Eden (PS3) – Gorgeous, challenging, innovative.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (Wii) – Amazing control scheme.
LostWinds (Wii) – Too brief, but the best Wiimote controls I’ve seen.
Boom Blox (Wii) – Spielberg’s game; way fun to toddler-smash blocks.

And though I wish I could go as in-depth as I did with the games, here are my tops in music and movies.

MUSIC

(1) The Helio Sequence
(2) TV on the Radio
(3) Girl Talk
(4) The Hold Steady
(5) M83
(6) Flying Lotus
(7) Frightened Rabbit
(8) The Gaslight Anthem
(9) Blitzen Trapper
(10) The Walkmen

MOVIES

(1) WALL-E
(2) Let the Right One In
(3) The Dark Knight
(4) Slumdog Millionaire
(5) Milk
(6) Shotgun Stories
(7) In Bruges
(8) Frost/Nixon
(9) Burn After Reading
(10) American Teen

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