You don't have to be a video game nerd to know all about the Grand Theft Auto series. "It's that game where you kill cops, right?!" Sure is. It's also the poster child for everything wrong with America. Oh, and it's incredibly fun. You can do anything in this game. Run over people, lead the cops on a high speed chase, or, you know, actually play the storyline. It plays out like an episode of The Sopranos with twists and turns, and plenty of dead bodies. Plus, this was the first GTA for the "next gen" systems, so the graphics finally caught up to the point where the characters don't look like they're The Penguin from Batman comics, with their webbed-claw hands.


Patapon could have easily been the stupidest game of the year. It's a sidescroller where instead of hitting buttons to attack and defend, you perfectly play "beats" as they march to the drums of war. Depending on the pattern you're playing, they'll react accordingly and either attack or hold up their shields. So it's basically a music game disguised as an action platformer. Oh, and did I forget to mention that the Patapons themselves are totally adorable?! I'd follow them into battle any day.


For a PSP game, this sucker is a beautiful masterpiece. The amount of graphics, speed, intense battles, and awe-inspiring gameplay they managed to pack into a handheld is something to marvel at. This game had been played out on the PS2 before this installment, and Chains of Olympus doesn't feel like a cheap knock-off...instead it competes with the best of what the prior games offered us. If you have a PSP, you owe it to yourself to play this game!


Already an award-winning masterpiece from the XBOX 360 last year, us PS3 owners finally got a chance to dive into the depths of Rapture and discover what the fuss was all about. Turns out, this game was huge helping of fucking fantastic with a sprinkle of "guilty conscience" decision making on the side. You're asked to kill these "Little Sisters" (or save them) throughout the game, and your choices determine which outcome awaits you. It's the rare treat of a first-person-shooter with a heart and soul. One that begs to be appreciated.


If this game hadn't just came out last week, I'd probably rank it much higher. The animations in this game are so fluid, you'll swear you're watching a Japanese anime instead of playing a video game. A simple, yet thrilling adventure of great heights and incredible feats. You'll run along walls, climb up the sides of buildings, perch over railings, and swing amongst polls. All with the help of a woman sidekick that never lets you die...ever. That's the strength of this game. It feels it nice and relaxing and allows you to enjoy the experience, instead of worrying about what's coming up next.

5. ROCK BAND 2 (PS3)

The ultimate party game, hands down. Nothing is awesomer than rocking out with 3 friends to "Livin' On A Prayer!" Which is a blessing and a curse. Playing by yourself isn't nearly as fun (is it ever?!) and since Molly sings while I play drums, our band is usually on hiatus. But Rock Band 2 brings all the fun from the first one, allows you to bring over all your old songs, (and the hundred or so you've downloaded from their weekly updates) and gives you new challenges and skills to keep you busy for at least the next year. (...or at least until Rock Band: The Beatles comes out!!)


A survival horror title played on an abandoned space ship instead of scary houses or creepy villages. Sounds, okay, I guess. But boy, did I underestimate this game. It's easily the creepiest, most intense, gory, and disgusting game of the year! Sure it rips off 15 different sci-fi movies and the main character never speaks, but the visuals and the sound mixing create an incredibly believable world...that you pray you'll never actually visit. Since the spaceship is entirely made of metal, you'll hear things scrape and bump hundreds of feet away from you. It's an odd thing to get giddy about, but the sound in this game is outstanding! Oh, and the monsters you're fighting are basically the remains of your fellow crew mutated with Aliens. They use the dead bodies as a host and stretch the skin to create horrid images that seriously resemble that of car wreck victims. (which the producers of the game studied to recreate the grotesque designs. How'd you like THAT job?!)


A $9.99 downloadable game off the Playstation Network came >this< close to being the best game of the year. It's got simple, easy-to-master controls and the graphics of old screensavers...but man, if you're not careful, it'll steal your heart. Well, the early levels anyway. For what seems like a carefee, relaxed, laid-back experience, becomes quite challenging about half-way through. The simple notion of jumping from one plant to the next, while spinning into the lil' round things that release more pollen, gets trickier with each and every new level. In fact, I never actually beat the damn thing. But man, I sure had a smile on my face each and every time I played it.

2. DE BLOB (Wii)

Again, the entire time I played this game, a smile graced my face. From ear to ear. It's rare that I play my Wii, and even rarer to play something that isn't a collection of mini-games. De Blob was overlooked and will probably not end up on many "Best of 2008" lists, but dammit, it's amazing! The premise is a simple one. All of the color in the various cities has been removed and you play as a blob who is able to mix and match red, blue, and yellow to create whatever colors the citizens desire. You repaint everything...and I mean everything! Trees come back to life when you brush up against them. Buildings require you to touch each and every wall, jump from one level to the next, in order to let the citizens come back out into the world. You have to play it to understand the joy this game brings. Because it somehow touches into your childhood and how much fun you had coloring away on a white piece of paper, leaving your mark on the world, creating art and having fun.


Good Lord. There cannot be a better video game this year...possibly this decade. A simple 2-D sidescroller, Little Big Planet becomes so much more after you've beaten the 50 levels that come with the game. One way to look at this game as one giant tutorial for all the tools they give you throughout the levels. Because there's an entire new experience awaiting you once you get done "playing" and start "creating." And even if you don't want to create a damn thing, there's plenty of people creating levels online every single minute...all over the world! This game has charm, a wow-factor, and makes you feel excited to see what new things are around the corner. This is the reason video games are becoming more and more of a mainstream success story. You can play it alone, with friends, create new levels, challenge your friends online, search the various worlds online like some sort of Youtube system where you get ranked and the cream of the crop rises to the top. This is the future of video games, and I'm glad innovation and creativity is alive and well.

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