Even though we’ve been in 2007 a few days now, I figured it be a good time for some reflection. I took a look back at my archives from the last year and realized I didn’t play a ton of games this past year. I was quite surprised. I spent a good chunk of the beginning of the year playing EVE Online, which started out slow, was fun for a while, then just sort of petered out. The summer was pretty dead, and things really didn’t pick up until the fall, when I finally joined the next generation with my Xbox 360. Even with the lack of variety, I still wanted to have my “Best of 2006” list, so here it is.
I really wish I had more time to play a wider variety of games, but I don’t have that luxury, so I really try make sure the ones I actually play are good ones. It’s hard to avoid all the duds, but I did a pretty good job this year. I’ll look at the two systems that I actually played this year.
Dead Rising was definitely my favorite Xbox 360 this year. The story wasn’t great, the save system was severely broken, and the fighting system was simple, but Dead Rising was a blast to play. Give me a inventory full of two-by-fours and let me whack zombies until I can’t buttonmash any more and I’m happy. Simple, mindless fun is what Dead Rising was for me. I’m still playing it, trying to get some more achievements. Dead Rising is my pick for the Best Xbox 360 game for 2006.
Runner-ups would have to be Viva Pinata and Burnout Revenge. I’ve only played Viva for a few hours so far, but I can already say that it’s going to be a great game and will probably suck up a lot of my time. The kids love it, which is always a plus. The kids also love “the crash game,” so Burnout got a lot of play time this year. Both are great games.
Biggest 360 disappointment was Just Cause. That game was such a colossal turd, I couldn’t last more than an hour playing it. Avoid it at all costs.
DS was definitely my console of choice during 2006. I played a ton of DS. It was tough to pick the best game, but I have to go with Elite Beat Agents. I discovered the greatness that is Ouendan this year, so Elite Beat Agents was definitely the next step. It doesn’t have the quirkiness of the Japanese game, but with stories I can actually follow and music I actually know, EBA is a great DS game. Besides, any game that has music from Jamiroquai is okay in my book.
Runner-up would have to be Brain Age. Even though playing Brain Age was a great game (and a lot of fun), it was the Sudoku puzzles that really keep me coming back. I hadn’t played a single Sudoku game before I played it on the DS and I don’t think I could ever do them on paper now. The DS is the perfect system for the Sudoku puzzle.
Biggest disappointment would have to be Metroid Prime Hunters. It pains me to say this, because I’m a huge Metroid fan, but MPH just wasn’t that great of a game. I never got used to the control scheme, the online games were never enjoyable and it failed to hold my interest. Hopefully Metroid Prime 3 will return Metroid to it’s glory.
If I had to pick the game I had the most fun with last year, it would easily be Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, by far. Sure, it didn’t come out in 2006, but I couldn’t put it down. The music, the rythms, the quirky stories, everything about it was pure enjoyment. Ouendan will be getting a lot more play in my DS. Overall, 2006 was a pretty good year for gaming. Surprisingly, I didn’t play any new PC games. I’ve never been a huge PC gamer but I normally pick up a PC game or two each year, so this year wasn’t a great one for my PC.
I had a pretty good year here at buttonmashing.com, but there’s always room for improvement. Visitors were down near the end of the year, but I think a lot of people are “visiting” via RSS feed readers, which is perfectly fine with me. As far as what I want to do with the site this year, I’m looking to continue to provide good content while improving my writing. I’m always trying to balance what I provide with the site. I can’t compete with the bigger blogs to get all the news stories that come out each day, so I have to pick and choose what to blog about. That usually ends up being Xbox and Nintendo related items, which may limit my audience to a degree, but I still enjoy working on the site and hope you, the reader, are enjoying it, too.
So, how was your 2006? What games stood out for you? Which ones stunk? What about the site? What would you like to see here at buttonmashing? Comments, questions and criticisms are all appreciated.