Monday, 10 December 2007

2007: The Best Computer and Video Games

Continuing my end of year list-fest, here is my top ten countdown of the best computer and video games of the year.

1) Despotic Vixen (X-Box 360 and Wii)

Despotic Vixen combines the ultraviolence of Grand Theft Auto with the world-building strategy of Sim City and the nudity of a late-night Channel 5 movie. It's a winning combination; the pace of the game is just right, and eventually the game becomes a spralling metropolis of carnage and sin. Your early decisions of who to bed or behead can determine things much later in the game, while the car-racing sidegames add even more excitement to the mix. Superb.

2) Fights on Skis (PC and PC Engine)

The sequel to the highly lauded Fights on a Train and Fights on a Plane, Fights on Skis is quite possibly the best computerised high-speed downhill fighting simulator since Winter Sports Massacre.

3) Wikipedia (PC)

Wikipedia is a massively multiplayer online strategy game in which players must add as much information as possible to an encyclopaedia without getting caught telling lies by other players. While it has been on the market for several years now, Wikipedia really came into its own in 2007 with the 'Complete list of Farscape Episodes' expansion pack.

4) Super Mario Dipthong (Wii)

Nintendo once again hit gold with their Mario franchise, this time with a game based around the Italian Plumber's quest to find words ending in '-ing'. While the controls were fiddly at first (pausing the game is only possible by doing a moonwalk), Mario Dipthong is a rewarding platform puzzler.

5) Cake Baron (PSP and PS3)

Ever wanted a pastry empire? Probably, right? Well, Cake Baron from Sony allowed millions of people to live out their dessert fantasies this year. From opening your first tart shop to crushing the neighbourhood meringue emporium and firebombing Dunkin' Donuts, this game had it all. British gamers were disappointed with the lack of jam tarts, however.

6) Extreme Chariot Racer (X-Box 360 and PS3)

Chariot racing games have been coming and going ever since the 8-bit revolution, but none have ever come close to Ben Hur Challenge on the Playstation, until now. With literally hundreds of courses (all of which are round), customisable horses and great AI for the other racers, this is certainly one of the best racing games set in ancient Rome ever. Plus there's excellent replay value too, with unlockable special playable characters including David Beckham, Ben (of Ben and Jerry fame) and BBC Royal Affairs correspondent Nicholas Whitchall.

7) Two-and-a-Half Men Fighter (Turbografix, Atari Lynx, Nintendo Dolphin and Mega-CD)

Two-and-a-Half Men Fighter allows you to beat up Charlie Sheen or any of the other cast members from the popular US sitcom. And while beating up the fat kid is fun, nothing compares to the visceral thrill that comes from punching Charlie Sheen repeatedly in the face.

8) Fraudulent Canoeist Fake Death House Hide Frenzy (PC)

A very late contender for game of the year, this topical adventure game allows you to play the role of John Darwin, the canoeist who faked his death five years ago. You are confined to your wife's house and you must find places to hide when friends, family members and police drop by. The game is played in real time, which means that it has literally years of gameplay value. If you play the game all the way through and make it to five years' worth of hiding, in 2012 you'll get to enjoy the final level, when you have to make your way to Panama, where you'll be reunited with your wife.

9) Maracas Hero (X-Box 360)

With the success of Guitar Hero and all those drumming games ringing in their ears, game manufacturers rushed to bring out more musical instrument-emulating games. While Tambourine-Shaker and Tuba-Warrior 3 were both excellent, nothing came close to this one. With music from Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, this game brought people together in ways no other game has; indeed, this game is credited with bringing peace to the Middle East after the PLO challenged the Israeli government to a Maracas-off.

10) Owl Killer 3 (PS3, Sega Master System 2, Playstation 5)

The Owl Killer franchise has produced some good games, but this is the best of the bunch. Based on the bestselling novels by Penelope Lively, you play the role of Domenic Chevalier, the celebrated owl killer. Armed with your trust golden hammer and a whistle, you make your way through eighty-six owl-packed levels, beating the nocturnal birds to death. With music by Jarvis Cocker and graphics inspired by the paintings of Edward Gorey, this was one hot potato. Of a game.


Anonymous said...

This is a very funny idea with many possibilities. Super Mario Dipthong is the only video game I've ever really enjoyed playing.

I just happened upon your site today. In order to get free copies of things you just need to make up an important sounding name for your publication and request them. Are you looking for any fellow writers at this time? Thanks for the entertainment

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

You are very welcome. I did make up an important-sounding publication but nobody believed that 'Award-Winning Writers Monthly' was a real magazine.

Super Mario Dipthong is a great game, but since it was revealed that the CD self-destructs after three weeks of play it has lost its lustre somewhat. I don't know what Nintendo were thinking...