With all of the recent Top Games of the Year discussions going on in our message boards and on other websites, I figured I would throw some of my opinions in the mix for the top media of 2007. Though I started this just as a reference for myself to remember what I played and what came out in 2007, I was surprised at the amount of quality material released only in the past one year. Hopefully seeing some of these titles will jog your memory as well and remind you of what a great year it’s been and all that we have to look forward to in 2008.
Iâ€™m not going to spend too much time discussing the big titles of this past year. Weâ€™ve already gone over and praised them many times, and they deserve every ounce of that. 2007 saw a lot of big franchise titles including Call of Duty 4, the two Guitar Hero releases, Metroid Prime 3, Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, and Halo 3 just to name a few. However, this year was also marked by a lot of new properties as well: Assassinâ€™s Creed, Bioshock, Rock Band, Zack & Wiki, and Portal immediately come to mind. While I donâ€™t necessarily hope for sequels to all of these newcomers, it definitely kept the gaming world fresh not to just rotate around a few big name releases. Iâ€™m glad to see how much coverage these new games got – obviously games like Rock Band donâ€™t need a huge campaign, but it was great to see IGN advertising and supporting Zack & Wiki so much to keep people from overlooking it.
At no point during the year did I not have a portable game to work on. The DS has so much momentum at this point that Iâ€™m finding it very difficult to keep up with all the games currently released, and there are a few games such as Etrian Odyssey and both Sonic Rush games that Iâ€™m still missing the boat on. I had a grand old time with Lunar Knights, Contra4, and of course, Phantom Hourglass. Of special note for being almost permanently jammed into my DS since July is Picross. This unassuming little $20 grid game ate up so many spare ten minute chunks of my life, and I still find myself going back for more.
Finally, the PS2 proved it still had some lingering sputters left in it at (at least for the first half of 2007) with the release of Odin Sphere and The Red Star in the summer. I was hoping no one else would mention The Red Star so I could be the first, but I keep seeing it pop up on the message boards. Itâ€™s the perfect mix of the challenge you would expect from a traditional SHMUP like Ikaruga but without the frustration (mostly) and also without being a typical top-down shooting game where you play as a ship. I canâ€™t say if they did justice to the comic book source, but the gameplay is rock solid. I wish I had more to say about Odin Sphere, but regrettably did not have the perseverance to make it through the game. It does get major props for the gorgeous 2-D sprites, great animations, and entertaining voice acting.
I donâ€™t think I can remember another year that I spent so much time and money at the movie theater. I donâ€™t have quite as much to say about the rest of the categories other than games, but hereâ€™s a quick rundown of the most entertaining (not necessarily â€œbestâ€) movies I saw this year.
300 – the manliest film of the year, full of more yelling and kicking than you could ever hope for. Special points for featuring a guitar playing goatman, a brief cameo appearance by Voldo himself, and a trip to Caketown. By no means an enduring American classic, but Iâ€™ll be damned if seeing this with a large group of friends wasnâ€™t the most fun Iâ€™ve had in a movie theatre. Ratatouille – refer to Justinâ€™s post from the summer about how magical this movie is. If he liked it that much, you know it has to be something special. Transformers and Harry P. were the obligatory popcorn blockbuster movies of the summer, and certainly did not fail to disappoint in terms of sheer entertainment. TMNT – â€œnot a complete turdâ€ according to a succinct over-the-phone review from Justin, and he turned out to be right. Good for him. Hot Fuzz – part of the whole reason I wrote this entire post. There are still people who havenâ€™t seen this, and shame on them. What I originally thought would be a mildly entertaining movie good for a few laughs before the inevitable after-movie Dennyâ€™s run turned out to be the best movie of 2007, and I couldnâ€™t have been happier to be so surprised.
Shoot â€˜em Up – I originally didnâ€™t see this, but was later told that it was basically tailor- made for me personally to enjoy. As a dollar theater aficionado of retarded movies, I did my duty and saw it on the big screen. Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti hamming it up to the tune of a thousand gunshots and explosions, and oh the one-linersâ€¦ it was like some sort of glorious spiritual successor to Commando. Which is a good thing. I promise.
In the non-explosion littered side of filmsâ€¦ I know Nick and I mentioned it earlier in the year, but The King of Kong is also definitely worth seeing. Combining an unorthodox movie subject (the world of top score competition in classic arcade games) with a surprisingly interesting story and a few truly bizarre characters, itâ€™s a movie that draws you in more and more once you realize that these people are serious – itâ€™s not a fictional story. No Country for Old Men (aka Metal Gear Solid 4) also impressed me quite a bit. Even if it sounds like the plot synopsis isnâ€™t up your alley, see it anyway. Thereâ€™s more to it than you think.
Look, Iâ€™m not going to sugarcoat it. Youâ€™ve heard the news. Heroes was pretty awful this year. Iâ€™m sorry. Obviously Iâ€™m drawn in enough at this point to keep watching next season, butâ€¦
HERE IS THE PROBLEM AREA. Right in this general area here. However, using a complex algorithm, I have come up with two replacements for these characters that I feel will drastically improve the show. Close your eyes, make a wish, andâ€¦ presto-change-o!
Who doesnâ€™t love Cousin Skeeter?!
Ahhhhh. Thatâ€™s much better. Bobbyâ€™s ability is that he can appear in any number of short lived Nickelodeon sitcoms and/or the movie House of Wax. The aforementioned Cousin Skeeterâ€™s ability is to be a puppet made of soft felt. This is much more intellectual than anything offered by the Micah storyline in Heroes.
In the realm of good television, Nick and I finally got on The Office bandwagon and couldnâ€™t be happier. This is the best show since Arrested Development, and I think I may even like it more.
I am woefully out of the current music scene, but a big recommendation for anyone who likes electronic or dance music – the album â€œCrossâ€ by the group Justice released in June tops my chart for album of the year. This is what you wish the last two Daft Punk albums were, and may even be as good as the first Daft Punk album Discovery.
And, just for laughs, check out the fan album 8-bit Bullshit available for free download at http://www.scrubclubrecords.com/music/8bit.html – not all of the songs are quality, but Iâ€™ve never heard a better rap about the NES game Wild Gunman. The Zelda, Punch-Out!!, and Metal Gear songs are worth a quick listen as well.
â€œI got bullets â€˜n buckshot loaded in the barrel
Iâ€™m lookinâ€™ damn fine in my baby blue apparel
Ten gallon hat – you got a problem with that?
My dual revolvers make your head go splatâ€œ
Oops, didnâ€™t read anything except Harry Potter this year because I am an uncultured prick. However, as far as new comic series go, the first collection of The Dark Tower is certainly promising.