BEST OF THE BEST: Part 1 (10/18)

The 2007 Gaming Awards will be Inside Pulse’s (and before then 411mania’s) 5th year doing video game awards. I thought it would be fun to look back at 44 different categories we’ve given awards out for over the years and see who won each year. As well, in the forums we’ll be having a poll to see which award winner for each category is truly the best. Think of it as a video game Fatal Fourway.

To start this off nice and easy, the first categories we are going to take a look at are awards we started last year. There were several new systems launched in 2006 and so we had to come up with new awards for each one. There were also two new award categories we had started for Puzzle and Adventure games, but this year we decided to drop Puzzle as an award simply because there weren’t that many this year we could think of that were award worthy. Alas poor Puzzle gaming, will you make a come back ala Adventuring gaming?

Category 1: Best Puzzle Game (DEAD AWARD)
Award Winner in 2006: Lumines 2
Developer: Q Entertainment
Publisher: Buena Vista Games
System Released On: PSP
Release Date: 11/06/2006

Lumines 2 is one of the few games for the PSP to win an award outside of the “Best PSP Game” category. To say this generation of handheld games has been lackluster is an understatement. Lumines 2 is also still overshadowed by its predecessor, the original Lumines. This is mainly because you can use Lumines to hack your PSP. Lumines 2 really only got this award because there wasn’t much better to choose from and when the winner of an award wasn’t that exciting to begin with to the people handing it out, it’s a bad sign that we shouldn’t be doing this award in the first place. So congrats Lumines 2. You were a decent game that will be the one and only winner of this award!

2. Category 2: Best Adventure Game
Award Winner: Barrow Hill
Developer: Shadow Tor Studios
Publisher: Got Game Entertainment
System Released On: PC
Release Date: 08/25/2006
Potential Nominees for 2007: Harvey Birdman, The Lost Crown, Darkness Within, Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, Touch Detective 2 1/2, Dead Reefs

Well 2007 wasn’t the best year for Adventure games. God knows I played a good deal of awful ones at the beginning of the year. Thankfully the last quarter of 2007 is bringing us some amazing games.

Barrow Hill was one of my favorite games for 2006. Hell, it got nominated for best GOTY from me. It’s one of the most atmospheric and enjoyable games I’d played in a long time, especially in the adventure category. 2006 was one of the best years for Adventure gaming in a long time. We had this, Tunguska, the second Phoenix Wright game, and many others. It’s just too bad we didn’t have this award going for a couple of years before so that games like Still Life or MISSING could have received their due. Adventure Games are still quite popular in Europe and Australia, and although they’ve downplayed heavily in the US< I'm seeing them on the shelves of Targets and Best Buy's more and more. Sure they are primarily PC games, but three of the potential six games we have above for nominations are console games! What a crazy year for the genre. 3. Best Playstation 3 Game
Award Winner in 2006: Resistance: Fall of Man
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Insomniac Games
Release Date: 11/14/2006
Potential Nominees for 2007: Time Crisis 4, Grand Turismo HD, Folklore, LAIR

Man, 2007 is NOT a good year for the PS3. Well, 2006 wasn’t either. It’s almost being nice to say that the PS3 has fallen below expectations. Not only for Sony, but gamers in general. I can’t remember a console doing this poorly after being such a strong player. Not the N64. Not the Saturn. Not the Dreamcast. Woe to Sony. Here’s hoping they can turn it around.

Mark B. gave Resistance: Fall of Man a 7.0 last year. I haven’t played the game, so we’ll have to let Mark’s review speak for itself.

The problem with the 2007 nominees is that in order to qualify for this award, you have to be system exclusive and to be honest I had to wrack my brains to think of any such game. 2008 is looking better with some strong system exclusives. Still, the PS3 is by far the weakest of the three current systems and that’s just…weird to me.

4. Best Wii Game
Award Winner in 2006: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 11/19/2006
Potential Nominees for 2007: Carnival Games, Metroid Prime 3, Super Paper Mario, Super Mario Galaxy, Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, NIGHTS: Journey into Dreams, Raving Rabbids 2.

Good ol’ A.J. reviewed Twilight Princess for us. It’s funny because I bought TP at launch, but I still haven’t gotten a chance to play it. Hell, the only games I’ve played for personal fun this year are Raving Rabbids and Wii Sports. Read A.J.’s review and see if you don’t agree.

With the Wii, we’ve waived the system exclusive requirement, simply because the control scheme is so different from either console. Playing a game on the 360 or the PS3 and then playing something on the Wii feels like a totally different game. I have a feeling Nintendo will take honours for the best game on their own system again though unless Raving Rabbids is as brilliant as the original.

5. Best PC Game
Award Winner in 2006: Oblivion: The Elder Scrolls IV
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Bethesda
Release Date: 03/20/2006
Potential Nominees for 2007: Tabula Rasa Online, The Ship, Hellgate: London, Unreal Tournament III, Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of Illuminus, Lost Planet

Mark reviewed the 360 version, but we don’t have a PC version on file. Needless to say though, Oblivion, no matter how god awful repetitive it could be, was an incredible game. It was highly addictive and it fixed every complaint people had about Morrowind.

This year it looks to be primarily RPG and FPS games as potential nominees. I’m actually surprised it took this long for us to give out a PC gaming award, but then we’ve never really reviewed a lot of them here at IP.

Tomorrow we’ll look at three award categories that started in 2005. Check the forums for your chance to vote on which game you think is the best overall of the award winners.