BEST OF THE BEST: Part 15 (11/07)

Today we’re looking at awards that are less about games, but the news and events surrounding the gaming industry. First up is “Biggest News Story” where we chose the single biggest event (in our opinions) that happened in that calendar year, be it good or bad. The second award is “Gaming Lowlight of the Year.” Here we looked at the one biggest thing that happened that made us a wee bit ashamed to be gamers.

That being said, let’s start this shorter midweek piece of the feature.

34. Biggest News Story
Award Winner in 2003: Sammy Buys Sega

Award Winner in 2004: Acclaim goes under

Award Winner in 2005: Hot Coffee

Award Winner in 2006: Wii Dominates.

Let’s to a recap for each event here:

2003: Sega was at rock bottom. Sure the games were quality like Panzer Dragoon orta, but the people in charge of Sega had no busiuness sense what so ever. Sega was put on the auction block by then owners CSK. Namco, Bandai, Microsoft, and Electronic Arts all went after it, but un the end, Sega was bought and paid for by Sammy. At the time we were all happy because Sammy was a big proponent of quality 2-D fighters like KoF and Guilty Gear. Oh was that opinion to change…

In August 2003, Sammy bought the outstanding 22% of shares that CSK had, and Sammy chairman Hajime Satomi became CEO of Sega. With the Sammy chairman at the helm of Sega, it has been stated that Sega’s activity will focus on its profit-making arcade business rather than its loss-making home software development. Look how well THAT turned out. Sega hasn’t made a quality game in years. Shadow has guns? Yet another crappy 3-D Sonic? Shining Force ruined! Sakura Taisen buried. It’s just been dismal. Most long time Sega fans hate Sammy Sega with a burning passion and its easy to see why. At one time Sega was the dominant player in gaming, temporarily pushing out Nintendo from the king of the mountain spot. Now it’s a curtain jerker at best.

2004: Acclaim was once one of the biggest developer/publishers in gaming. They brought CAW mode to US shores, they had their own cartoon series called “The Power Team.” They were the original Atlus, bringing over games that didn’t have US Equivalents of their publishers over here like Bust-A-Move and Double Dragon II.

Somehow though, it all went to crap.

Acclaim stopped making good games and released drek like Shadowman and the Olson Twin games. They also released the infamous BMX XXX. They purchased Valliant Comics, which was heads above anything else being published, and they ran it into the ground. They destroyed their classic franchises like Turok and they even managed to make Crazy Taxi suck.

It was no surprise that in 2004, Acclaim went bankrupt. And we all cheered a little because it was sad to see how the mighty had fallen.

In 2005, a new company bought the Acclaim name and logo and now makes MMORPG’s for Korean and Chinese audiences. Good for them.

2005: Hot Coffee. Rockstar considered putting a sex mini game in GTA. They chose not to but left the code in. People found the code and got it to work. Fanatics of all types foamed at the mouth at this revolution, using clips of Night Trap and the original Mortal Kombat as proof that gaming is evil. Rockstar made a bundle. This shit was planned from the beginning by Rockstar to take advantage of overprotective people and horny loser gamers and so I refuse to personally buy any Rockstar games because of it. Each Game they make has some uber controversy they put in simply to get free attention and more sales, and that’s a “little” unethical to me. Kind of like a few years back when they solicited to gaming pubs and websites that if you wanted interviews, beta copies, and review materials of their games, you had to rate their games from a score crazy high.

2006: If you has said that any Nintendo console would ever be in first place again after the N64 and Game Cube, it would have been laughable. Sony and Microsoft aren’t laughing now though are they? Neither are we.

The Wii took not just gamers, but the world by storm. Nintendo was right in going for gameplay over games that were graphically intense but played like ass. That was Sony’s strategy and where are they? DEAD LAST with no chance of catching up.

Right out the door, the Wii burst into first place in terms of software and hardware sales, and it shows no change of releasing its grip. Everything old is new again, and for the first time since the 1980’s, Nintendo is the undisputed king of gaming.

35. Gaming Lowlight of the Year
Award Winner in 2003: The N-Gage

Award Winner in 2004: Electronic Art’s Employee Abuse

Award Winner in 2005: Jack Thompson

Award Winner in 2006: PS3 Murders

Again, a quick recap for everyone.

2003: The N-Gage was a gaming system/cell phone by Nokia. They had no idea what they were doing and much like the PSP and UMD’s, was a dismal failure whose highlights include only “Sidetalkin'” and the RIFTS video game, which was well received by critics.

Cute story, back in 2003-4: Nokia tried to hire me to do publicity for them. I had a long convo with the (then) 411mania Games staff and I decided I couldn’t ethically do it. Even though you know, I’m currently involved with Pokemon and Castlevania. I have no idea how to explain that, except I can still rip apart Pokemon and vampire hunting games, while Nokia wanted me to praise everything about their system for money. Eh. No.

I only know one person that still has the original N-Gage. Spike Kwaan of Minneapolis. Silly Spike.

Oh! Other fun story. Right before the N-Gage hit, I wrote a big article on how many EBgames still had Neo Geo Pocket Colours in stock and how you could buy it and like 6 games for fifty bucks. This was at the height of our popularity and a ton of people took me up on the deal. I called EBGames across the country and learned the long dead NGPC outsold the N-Gage 10-1 that opening week. MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! FEEL MY POWAH!

Basically, the N-Gage was how to do a handheld system utterly wrong in every way possible. What you may not know is that Nokia is finishing up the next Gen N-Gage as I speak. You think I’m shitting? I wish I were. IT’S BACK!

2004: An Electronic Arts employee started blogging on the Livejournal with the horrific conditions and treatment their employees must endure. I’ll save you time by pointing you to the blog here. It was all proven to be true and EA lost a class action lawsuit to their employees for 14.7 million dollars. GOOD. Sadly, Gamewatch.com lasted a full two months…and Electronic Arts went back to their old tricks, getting caught bullying reviewers, editing their Wikipedia article and more. Bottom line people -DO NOT BUY EA PRODUCTS. If you do, you’re just letting them get away with stupid shit.

2005: Jack Thompson. You know all this by now and I’m not going to dignify him win any commentary other than to tell you to google him.

2006: People were being murdered for their PS3’s right after launch. Why? They weren’t selling and no one wants one, even at the end of 2007. People are just stupid and disgusting sometimes. It made us all ashamed to be gamers.

And that’s a rather dark way of ending today’s piece of the feature. Tomorrow we’ll be back with Best Platformer and Best Driving Game. We’ve got four parts left to go, so I hope I’ll see you back for the rest.