Time Magazine Publishes Top Ten Games Of 2008 List
The year's not over yet, but Time is getting a jump on the competition with the slightly premature release of the Top Ten Everything of 2008 Lists, including, naturally, videogames.
The selection is surprisingly thorough, and not just a thinly-veiled excuse for mainstream media to beat up on the evils of gaming: Heading up the list is none other than Grand Theft Auto IV, described as ironically miscast in the debate over sex and violence in videogames "because where it belongs is in the debate over whether video games count as art," adding that it's "a grade-A shoot-'em-up that doubles as an interactive novel and triples as a sly critique of American consumer culture." Rockstar North, the studio behind the game, earns its own share of effusive praise as well. "No game developers are more radical and more passionate about the storytelling power of their medium than folks at Rockstar North," the list entry says, "and GTA IV is the company's most ambitious work ever."
Other entries in the list include Braid ("a simple mechanic in the hands of a brilliant developer can yield near-infinite entertainment"), Rock Band 2 ("boot up, jack in, and rock out") and LittleBigPlanet ("a restful, chill-out kind of experience"). But like all good "Best Of" lists there's plenty of room for debate, and this one is no exception. The placement of an iPhone game and even a free Flash game on the list smacks of nothing more than a desire to be inclusive above all, and a few choices - and one very big exclusion - are questionable at best. Does The Force Unleashed really deserve to be on this list, while Fallout 3 doesn't?
Despite a few misgivings, this looks like not a bad Top Ten Games of 2008 list, and a decent kick-off to the inevitable end-of-the-year torrent of "Year's Best" lists. But the important thing, as the holiday seasons approaches and the hopes and fears of a new year loom large, is that lists like this give us something to argue about. Check out Time's Top Ten Videogames of 2008 list here. (If you want to have a peek at a few others while you're at it, like the Top Ten TV Series, Gadgets or Scientific Discoveries, the full list of Lists is available here.)
Yea gods. This article may be stupid or brilliant, but I'll never know; it's more ad than content, and it's got pop-unders to boot. No thanks, Time, I can't support that... I'll catch it in the doctor's waiting room next year or something.
The controls in The Force Unleashed pissed me off emormously, causing multiple cheap deaths from falling down bottomless pits. Then those stupid driods that can apparently kill a Sith Assassin easier than a Jedi could ever hope. I thought it was a pretty fun overall. The ridiculously hard gameplay in some of the later levels reminded me of the older time start wars games for NES or SNES, which were equally as hard and annoying. And when I finally beat it, it was all that much more satisfying.
Plus I enjoyed the new storyline to fill in the gaps from the movies.
Hrm, except for 8 and 9, they seemed to be pretty much in the pockets of the gaming industry. I mean, really? Force Unleashed? Didn't that get hammered by...uh...everybody?
Any top 10 that doesn't atleast include fallout 3 is neglected by me...
Any top 10 that doesn't atleast include fallout 3 is neglected by me...
I reluctantly agree. I have a hard time understanding how TFU got anywhere close a top ten list unless the writer is a hardcore SW-nerd :/
I've never seen that trailer for GTAIV, and it made it look so much better than it actually was. I realise that that is the point behind a trailer but still...
I've played GTAIV and whilst I still really liked it, and found myself staring blankly at my watch at 3am thinking where the hell did the past 6 hours just go I haven't replayed it, like I have the others.
On topic: Where the hell is Fallout 3 when Spore is included!?
The Force Unleashed does not deserve to be on this list. It was a mediocre game with bad controls and plenty of bugs. How they left Fallout 3 off of this list is beyond me.
Leaving Fallout 3 off the list is just plain criminal, especially insofar as it's a legitimate Game of the Year candidate.
Personally I thought 2008 was a weak year in gaming---too many highly anticipated releases weren't nearly as good as expected, which in my estimation means Fallout 3's the GotY more or less by default, even with the shit sandwich of an ending.
Interesting that they liked GTA IV so much for all the reasons that most gamers don't think should trump game design. The satire and the comparison to a novel are impressive at least in the sense that they picked up on and appreciated those elements. It is a really sharp plot if you pay attention to it.
Might explain Force Unleashed as well, since typically people claim the plot was the one redeeming aspect of that game. I dunno...one step forward, one step backwards.
Wow, I disagreed with that whole list in general.
Leaving out Persona 4 and Fallout 3? Having The Force Unleashed. Looks to me like they accepted a few checks (coughbribescough) while making that list.
well i never agree with best game of the year thingys anyway but seriously, the only games i would even consider playing for on that list are Spore (i already have) LBP (want but have no PS3) and RB2 (im gettin at crimbo) and GTA but i unfortunatly doesnt quite match the old ones ;)
but personally (i say this as i no it will never win) i THINK Left 4 Dead is game of the year, if not THE game evar
GTA4 "where it belongs is in the debate over whether video games count as art"
No. No. No.
The worst part of GTA4 is as a storytelling medium.(that and ridiculously boring mission design, and that a large part of the game involves going on man-dates) The dialogue is over-the-top juvenile. I get it. You have an M rating, you can swear. It seriously sounds like it was written by 14 year olds. Stereotypes does not equal brilliant satire; stereotypes equals lazy writing. Its hard to take a story seriously that tries to make you feel emotions about your choices on killing a few choice characters, when you casually kill dozens of innocents on your way to breakfast. Way to suck us into the world of the story. Oh and the plot. We've seen that plot before, and much better in movies and television. (think sopranos and Scarface, among others)
I think you guys are missing the point of who reads Time magazine. Here's a hint: it isn't gamers. It is a very different audience.
I actually give Time credit to having a list of games that aren't all based on the Wii. Even if, to us, the Force Unleashed was flawed based on controls and other game design issues, the major audience of Time would probably look at it more as "dude, I get to do all kinds of awesome stuff with the Force that you never see in the movies!". Different audience with different priorities.
I'm just glad to see someone put Dead Space on there, as I imagine it'll get overshadowed a lot by plenty of other titles with other gaming magazines and sites.
Fallout 3 deserves to be on the list.
The exclusion of Fallout 3 makes me lose a lot of respect for the list, and they included a flash game which I played (on newgrounds.com) and did not enjoy.
I liked TFU but I do not think it deserves a place on the list.
(And why no L4D?)
Given Time's target demographic I can see them omitting Fallout 3; drug use, sexual references, graphic violence, child slavery... I can just imagine the "letters to the editor" they'd get if they recommended it. (Then again, given the general ignorance in the public, I am somewhat impressed they gave a nod to GTA4 anyway.)
GTA4? Rock Band 2? Gears of War 2? Dead Space? Spore? Give me a break.
I don't really have a problem with Hunted Forever since I would rather play it than most other games released this year. It's the most graphically impressive game I've played in a long time.
But yeah, overall there is a startling lack of imagination.
[For the record, I don't think Fallout 3 belongs on a Top Ten of 2008 list. Like other Bethesda games it gets significantly worse over time, to the point of becoming almost unplayably dull.]
I'm surprised by alot of games, like why is Fieldrunners there? There are plenty of games just like that, and they aren't being praised by such a big company. The MGS fanboy inside me is saying, "Why isn't MGS4 on the list?!"
Ah, top ten lists. :)
GTA IV is a lock. The omission of Fallout 3 is inexcusable. The Force Unleashed... eh, let's call that one very iffy. Beyond that, I think the list can be argued as reasonable, if only because it provides a broad spectrum of games for a mainstream audience that, as Steve pointed out, isn't "us." I think it's safe to say that Time is trying to provide a broad range of high points for people who don't have our level of specific engagement, and in that sense they succeeded. I'd like to enthusiastically argue for the inclusion of The Witcher Enhanced Edition, except that objectively, I know it doesn't belong. It's easy to be a fanboy, but much harder to rationalize your choices to a wider audience.
That said, there are some good suggestions here. MGS4 is a worthy candidate, L4D is a bit less certain but at least in part just because it came so late in the year. And what about Wii titles? Where's the love for SSBB?