Ophelea, "Out There"
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I Enjoyed 2007

2008-01-01

Permalink 17:20:38, by Ophelea
Categories: Musings

I Enjoyed 2007

As I sit here, waiting for my children to awaken (it's 11am!), I consider making New Year's Resolutions. I've never been one for personal much less public traditions, but I've reached the ripe old age of 36 considering changing a few habits may be prudent.

Perhaps blogging more often than every 7-8 weeks ...

Broadening my original topic beyond gaming journalism would help. I can't help but look back upon 2007, It only ended some 11 hours ago for me and I still have a rather large pile of games left on my floor, my couch, my desk and strewn throughout my bedroom, that I'd intended to review before the year vanished into memory. Life continues to intervene and slow the best of intentions but what strikes me is how truly good the games of 2007 were - and I played only a smattering of them.

Follow up:

2007 will forever be known as the year I learned to manage two thumb sticks - and 14 buttons - on a control pad. It began with the glorious Mass Effect and continued with mad hijinks in Crackdown. Although Mass Effect's engrossing storytelling which gave me the unique experience of a "Choose Your Own Adventure" story while staring at my television was one of the pinnacles of my year, I feel giddy knowing that as I continue to hone my FPS skills and I will read yet another great game soon in the highly lauded Bioshock will fulfill the bibliophile in me.

Will I ever make it to a Halo 3, Call of Duty 4, Orange Box or God of War II? If I become flush, will I get the chance to try the likes of the latest Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction or maybe Heavenly Sword?

The mind reels at what my newly found thumb-skills have brought me!

Being an editor, sitting at a PC means work. This year my upgrades were all for the memory hungry MSOffice but noting yet for gaming. Still I played some delicious PC. Many of which I've yet to write about!

Three Rings' Bang! Howdy still amazes and delights me and I did promise to revisit it - it is on the top of a LONG list for this year. I've been wholly sucked into the world of online trading card games by Stargate Online Trading Card Game and it's wonderfully maniacal expansion, System Lords; The Legends of Norrath continues to delight me without ever causing that itch for an MMOG (thankfully); nothing can compare to Pox Nora's blend of cards, miniatures and strategy; and turning cards into 3D battles with Pirates Constructible Strategy Game makes me giggle regularly - sea monsters rock! (That is far too many online trading card games!)

The casual developers KNOW how to catch my attention - Ballhalla and Atlantis Sky Patrol both have caused me no end of sleepless nights. Three months later I am STILL trying to find the last magical plant in Plant Tycoon - and I have the press cheat code for money!

My son and I have incredible dog fights in Attack on Pearl Harbor; Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (in all formats) owns my soul; and eBay has sent me thank you letters for the Funkeys I've bought to complete my children's U.B.Funkeys collection. If anyone has a Gulb, I bid $10 US!

I've either not played enough of or not had the time to write about the remarkably versatile SimCity Societies, classically fun Fantasy Wars, absolutely perfect Venture Arctic, awe-inspiring Warmonger (and no, I do not have the system to run this but wow if I did!), almighty Virtual Villagers 2: The Lost Children (where apparently my staff finds a regular villager by the name of Ophelea who is either dumb as a post or loves to breed), or a list too long to mention of games I've simply installed and gone no farther.

Then there's the single MMOG I've been playing ... Eye of the North was enough to get me to retry Guild Wars and they now have 4 new accounts as it is perfectly designed for short play sessions with 2 pre-tweens in a family environment. I need to let NCSoft and everyone know that!

It boggles my already scattered mind when I consider what my play time would be like if I actually had the system to run The Witcher, Crysis, World in Conflict, Supreme Commander or completely overlooked War Front: Turning Point? (Wow, that game was fun at press previews.) Or should the rotation of the Earth slow and I found time to play Death to Spies, ; Max Season 2, Episode 1: Ice Station Santa, Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar, Knytt Stories or Avencast: Rise of the Mage? The mind reels at the sheer sensory overload from the diversity of characters and locations I'd encounter.

Still, the hours I spent with the Wii, DS, Xbox 360 and XBLA don't come close to finishing those piles of games I mentioned. For every game I reviewed I played 3 others. For every review I edited I played 2 more still. And it was rare that I found a stinker in the bunch.

I began the year breaking my children's Pokémon fascination with Disney's Spectrobes (Disney, I am in your gratitude) and it appears we are ending it in the grips of Puzzle Quest . Mind you, we're playing PQ on the DS, Wii AND X360.

Along the way we (or I) have gone through such wonderful experiences as Dewy's Adventure, what is now a perennial favorite right along with Viva Piñata - MySims; Boogie, Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, Smarty Pants, Avatar the Last Airbender: The Burning Earth, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Happy Feet; the most perfect game every designed for children ages 4-7: Disney Princess - Enchanted Journey; and EA Playground; the holidays brought the boys NiGHTS and Mario Galaxy (both still in shrink-wrap) - that's just the Wii.

The beginning of the year was hard in this house when it came to the Xbox 360, we had to give up Viva Piñata, but Pirates of the Caribbean Online: At World's End helped. Jack Sparrow can break most addictions and the 360 version of this title outshined its counterparts in so many ways. Shrek the Third was on its way to becoming a favorite, until 3 hours into play it was discovered that no device had been specified for saves (ouch!); luckily, a great vs. mini-game design has kept it popular. Rolling came back into fashion as it does every year with the release of Beautiful Katamari; only this year, friends got into the act for remote battles! Mom took over the controller for a few days (weeks) when Mass Effect arrived but all was forgiven when - for an 11th birthday - Rock Band was purchased under the caveat that it be shared. It never ceases to amaze how agreeable two boys can be when they want to "rock out". Now, if only they didn't want Mom to sing (I disliked many of these songs the FIRST time around). The end of the year brought Crash of the Titans to the child looking for "games where you can help each other" and Assassin's Creed to the child interested in the Saracens.

Yet, we never had the chance to play (before shipping off to another reviewer or simply because Mom is super-particular about M-rated games) sooooo many games! There was no Lost Planet, GRAW 2, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, Guitar Hero III (just didn't get this one!), Project Gotham Racing 4, Eternal Sonata, Obsidian: Shivering Isles or Timeshift. That's just what I can think of off the top of my head, not already included above.

Between Band of Bugs, Arkadian Warriors and the afore (repeatedly) mentioned Puzzle Quest, we do a fair bit of Xbox Live Arcade gaming as well. I only WISH I had the time to use the keys we receive; I suspect Shrek'n'Roll is going to become very popular very soon …

And yes, I've left sports out of every platform so far because *I* personally have not been able to play sports titles to date. But if I keep working on these thumbs of mine I may be able to ... someday.

Handhelds.

Handhelds rule my life. No, my children rule my life. But handhelds run a very close second.

I write ALL day long. How do I emphasize this properly? I write reviews, 2-300 emails PER day, edit reviews, am working on a degree in Communications (more writing), I blog - not this one obviously, and keep a diary. It's a LOT of letters from the alphabet. Handhelds I can lay on the couch with, go outside with, lie in bed with and cuddle with like a … I can cuddle with them.

When I say handheld I mean anything you can hold in your hands: DS, PSP, phones … those weird things you buy at Wal-mart that are self-contained. I can't do much PSP gaming any longer. I sent that system off to a staff member and he turns them around in record time but I'll get back to it - someday. A good handheld title will ruin me for months. It will be all I play. A good puzzle-based handheld title? That's crack-laced chocolate dipped strawberries. And I LOVE strawberries.

Having my best friend visit from the United Kingdom meant my valued copy of Tetris DS disappeared before I realized how really bad I am at Tetris, but not before I determine how infinitely cool Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon is. Worms: Open Warfare 2 disappears Across the Pond as well, much to the dismay of my older son (who then begs to buy it the week it hits XBLA). What is it with worms?

Theme Park sits idly on the shelf … waiting for me … it just wants so much of my time! And it's worth it but the pile, it grows! At E3, Warner Bros. kindles my love of Daffy Duck with Loony Toons Duck Amuck! which both succeeds in so many ways yet fails. What a maroon! A trans-Atlantic trip is what begins the evil all-consuming Puzzle Quest addiction that will consume the soul of me, my children and everyone I know. Mama is back with her hodgepodge selection of recipes in Cooking Mama 2: Cooking with Friends and through the removal of fish heads (ick!) I remember why this title captured the attention of us all.

Later in the year, some of the most amazing games are put into my hands. Drawn to Life was sent for review and is by far most adorable and truly innovative title I've had the pleasure to play/draw in a while! Math Play is so good, so fun, of such high quality and so perfect that I find myself able to recommend it to the local school board for their curriculum - oh, and the kids go nuts for it.

Mobile titles, some of my favorite games, are amazing this year! I still play Extreme Hangman 8 months after reviewing it. Not even a new phone stops me, I buy it again! Atlantis Sky Patrol had to be removed from my hands by the demonstrator; and the one-key playability of Snoopy the Flying Ace in concert with the perfect Peanuts sound and visuals makes it a winner for anyone with any phone.

I don't know if I COULD list the handheld titles I've half-played, played but not written about, or sent out to be reviewed! The Sims 2 Castaway remains in the shrink-wrap along with Orcs & Elves and Ben 10: Protector of the Earth. I suspect at least 2 if not all of these are very good ... I've wanted to play Glory Days 2, Contra 4, Heroes of Mana, DK Jungle Climber, Diddy Kong Racing and The Simpsons Game. I'll assume three of these were excellent - the neighborhood kids found my stash and nabbed 'em. *grins*

I simply didn't have the time to write up titles like Crush for the PSP - one of the most novel puzzle/adventure titles I've played in some time. And Jeanne d'Arc looked good! When I get that PSP back, I will play Dead Head Fred.

2007 ...

This list is not even close to comprehensive. I am writing of the games that I have laid hands on, just me. I've only mentioned those I liked or knew I would like based upon time with vendors. Out there is an entire world of games I haven't touched, don't know about or aren't to my taste. I am ignorant about racing titles, the entire world of sports games (I want to fix that!), I barely made mentioned of MMOGs - a genre I am very versed in, and I eat indie titles for lunch yet to list them here would take days.

How can I pick my favorites from this list? And based upon what criteria? Wow. How is it done?

2008, be good to us. Give us half as many good titles and it will be a great year.

2 comments

Comment from: Noelle [Visitor] Email
You wicked, wicked woman. All the hours I've lost to Puzzle Quest are entirely your fault. I tend to play more on the PC version just because it's easier than holding up the DS to play.

And have you defeated Lord Bane yet?
2008-01-02 @ 15:23
Comment from: Lucio [Visitor] Email · http://www.killerguides.com/
Kelly,

I tried to get in touch with you via the posted e-mails in the about us and domain registration but was unsuccessful so far - I keep getting error messages.

Can you please drop me a short line at the e-mail linked to this post? I'd be interested in advertising on gamersinfo.net

Thanks!

Lucio
2008-01-29 @ 04:32

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