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- Activision-Blizzard becomes biggest 3rd-party publisher.
- Microsoft reveals Project Natal.
- Sony unveils Motion Controller.
A physics based platform game – such a simple notion that could’ve been exploited years ago, and yet it took Media Molecule in 2008 to issue the brainwave. And we’re glad they did, because the developer has been supporting the game with DLC, patches, and updates consistently over the last year to build a bustling community of amateur level designers with some incredible notions. Our personal favourite: the LittleBigPlanet calculator, which uses a complex system of strings and pulleys to replace the transistors of a modern day microchip. Truly amazing.
Ever since Nintendo unveiled the Wii in 2005, the legendary Japanese console maker has been consistently proving people wrong. One of its biggest servings of humble pie was the success of Wii Fit, which was met with confused faces during previews in 2007, but ultimately proved all the doubters wrong with total sales of just over 20 million units at the most recent count. With over 50 million Wii consoles in the world (as of last March), that’s one astonishing attach rate. Like most fitness products though, we fear that many of the boards are now resigned to dusty cupboards.
The game that sidelined PES after seven years of hurt, FIFA 09 returned EA Sports’ series to the glory days that had eluded it since FIFA 98. Under the guidance of a newly appointed Producer, David Rutter (a native of Stevenage no less), FIFA 09 built on the momentum of previous improvements that had bought the series up to speed with Konami’s PES, while adding all-new innovations that changed the game between the rival titles considerably. Konami now plays catch-up while FIFA blazes the trail, but can EA Canada keep up this impressive pace into the next decade?
Effectively the poster-boy in a new age of independent developers, Jonathan Blow’s Braid was one of the few games that you could describe as postmodern or existential . All pretention aside though, its most winning gameplay came from its puzzles, which managed to consistently stay one step ahead of the gamer while utilising a minimal toolset of controls and features. As a game that perfectly exhibited the benefits of distributing via Xbox Live Arcade and Steam on a low budget, in an era when triple-A games cost tens of millions of pounds to develop, Braid remains the leader in a gaming revolution.
Spore pulled together gameplay tenets from the likes of Asteroids, The Sims, Populous, Civlization, and Elite. Beneath these simple homages though, was a tour de force of gaming history. It was Will Wright’s symphony; a vast collection of experience from a long career in games. As with all of his projects though, sitting above the depth and innovation was a simple game that a wide range of people, across a wide range of ages, could sit down and enjoy. Wright’s refusal to alienate any player will be one of the developer’s lasting legacies, which Spore espouses across the board.
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