SB Staff Picks 2008: Mike Walbridge

December 17, 2008

Game of the Year awards are almost never consensus picks. Different gamers like different types of games. Here at Snackbar Games, we have a diverse staff of writers and editors, and between now and the end of the year, they’ll each be telling you, however they choose, about their top ten of ’08. Today, editor Mike Walbridge shows his dislike for rankings while telling you his favorites.

In no particular order:

N+: The little downloadable that could is a party game that can take up the evening just as effectively as any music or gun-based game. Hundreds of levels, fun competition and cooperation, four players on one console, and free map packs featuring over 200 maps, months later? Juicy.

King’s Bounty: A cult hit to be sure, but fans of strategy or the quirky can get lost in the world of King’s Bounty for a very long time. A permanent world requiring frequent creative approaches to battle makes numerous reruns worthwhile, and each run is at least thirty hours!

Left 4 Dead: Manages to make the players the content in the game. This is the multiplayer version of making the player the character. Plenty of good runs and the way the Source Engine supports so many enemies on screen at once is uncanny.

Fallout 3: This seems like its the only game that is sure to be on everyone’s personal top ten list. I predict it will get the majority of Game of the Year awards.

Wrath of the Lich King: Probably the biggest, most successful, expansion to a game.

Braid: This is one of those titles that feels like one of those indie bands where its so cool to love it that it’s even cooler to hate it. Regardless of its pretentions or themes, those puzzles were ingenious. Challenging puzzles that are humanely impossible are rare to come by.

Gears of War 2: Highly similar to the first, but it does have Horde mode and the plot (if not the writing) actually managed to convey sincerity. It may not be “new” enough but it deserves the sales it gets.

Culdcept Saga: The most misunderstood title on the 360, or of the year. Yeah, there are dice rolls and openly visible hands, but it’s still addicting and victory is still more due to strategy than chance. And the community! How crazy is it to get on LIVE and discover the same people playing together civilly over and over again?

Fable II: It’s ridiculous how accessible Fable II was to both male and female, hardcore and casual. The uniquely told story and the high number of ways to decimate your foes was almost as creative as what you could to with (or to) cities and towns; the permanent world is exhaustively moldable, and it’s even funner to mold than it is to explore.

The World Ends With You: not only a JRPG, but a JRPG by Square Enix on the DS. Yet, it managed to be like juvenile lit, a game you hope your kids play when they are teenagers. Big plus: never a dull moment in a genre filled with the highest ratio of dull-to-exciting moments. DS game of the year, hands down.