Fun Games of the Year

We don’t get to play every game that comes out every year. Heck, combined we probably hit 10% of the titles that came out this year. So we feel a little unqualified to declare a particular game the “Game of the Year.” It would be presumptuous and rude. So we’re going a little different route this year, naming the “Fun Games.” Games we had the most fun playing this year. They may not be the prettiest games or the deepest story lines, but they were the games we keep going back to, the games we can’t put down.

So without further ado, Nat and my picks for the Fun Games of the Year:
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Get Out the Gamepads Summer’s Almost Here

By way of introduction, I figured I let everyone know a little bit about myself and then we’ll get on to the good stuff. I’m a 30-year-old gamer who grew up playing Nintendo and PC games who has been married for seven years and has two boys ages 4 and 1 1/2, and you could probably say I’m a Nintendad. I work in the IT industry developing and maintiaining web sites that run on the technology that is behind this one. Sonic was cool, Punch Out should have the words “Mike” and “Tyson’s” in front of it, and Tie Fighter is the essence of a pure of computer game.

Now that that is out of the way, here’s what I’m currently playing with some quick impressions. You’ll probably be seing future posts that revolve around these games, though there are some suprises I’m not sharing right away.

  • Crackdown for Xbox 360: My Game of the Year (currently) for 2007. It’s a great game for blowing off some steam. This was the game that caused Tony and I fits (well, really it was me doing something else). It’s also the first game in which I’ve bought downloadable content, and that should say something because I think most content on Xbox Live is too pricey.
  • Pokémon Pearl for the Nintendo DS: I’ve never played a Pokémon game before. How can Nintendo put all that digital crack in an itty bitty plastic case?
  • Titan Quest for the PC: I’m a little late to the game on this title, but I never played any of the Diablo games either. I hear its supposed to be similar. For some reason I’m compelled to play…a long time. My longest play session was four hours. That cannot be good.

Now this is where you come in. Let us know what you’re playing.

What I’m playing

I have a new rule for my game playing — I’m limiting myself to one title per console at a time. A couple of games are exempt from the rule. Viva Pinata is one, since it’s a game my kids love to watch. So I can pop Viva in at any time. Another is Sudoku on Brain Age. That’s an excellent 5-minute gaming-fix game, so it’s exempt as well. So, with that in mind, here is what I’m playing:

CrackdownCrackdown – I haven’t played much Crackdown lately, as the kids have been monopolizing the TV of late. I’ve finished off the first two gangs, so I’m in no hurry to rush through the rest of the single player missions. I haven’t felt super compelled to jump back into Crackdown for some reason, but if I could get into a co-op game or two, that would definitely interest me. My first couple co-op games were a total blast, so I’m looking forward to more co-op craziness. If you see me online, don’t hesistate to send an invite. I’ll probably be on at some point since I have hundreds of orbs to gather. The way it looks now, I may do a little orb hunting this weekend.

I have the maps, afterall.

Everquest 2Everquest 2 – Right now, EQ2 is consuming the lion’s share of my gaming time. When my running mates are on, I’m out slaying monsters and doing quests. When they’re not on, I’m harvesting everything in sight and working on my tradeskills. I decided to go with Provisioner (the guy that makes food) because everyone’s got to eat, right? The crafting isn’t as engaging as I thought it would be at first, but it’s still a fun diversion. I just wish there was a way to make more than two items at a time.

I also made my way to Nektulos Forest, which is much too difficult for my little Bruiser, but has actually rekindled that feeling I had when I first played EQ1. My first couple weeks in EQ2 didn’t have that same feeling, but making it to the forest, where things are darker and more confined, reminded me of my first corpse runs in EQ1. Ahhh, those were the days.

Contact DSContact – Currently, Contact is getting the least amount of attention. I get to it about once a day (read: bathroom break) but I’m making steady progress. I started over from scratch a few weeks ago, so I had to replay through some of the content, but it wasn’t too painful. I’m now in the desert, trying to find all the pieces to a statue. I’ve exhausted all the places to look, and the only possibilities seem to be either buying a deed to a pyramid to explore (it’d take forever to get enough money for it) or figure out what outfit I need to wear to open a door in another pyramid.

Anyone with hints for getting past this point would be appreciated. Otherwise, Contact has been a fun little game. I’d classify it as an RPG-lite kind of game, which is okay with me.

So that’s what I’m playing. I’ll also think I’ll slip in a round or two of Tiger Woods when I get a chance. What are you guys playing?

Crackdown Maps (Agility and Hidden Orbs)

I haven’t mentioned Crackdown recently, but I’ve been getting a lot of people looking for Crackdown Maps for both the Agility Orbs and the Hidden Orbs. I haven’t begun my orb quest in earnest yet, as I still have single player missions to complete, but I’m torn on whether or not I want to use these maps. Nevertheless, there are people who are looking for them, so here you go. Actual images after the jump.

Agility Orbs Map

Hidden Orbs Map

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I am an idiot.

Okay, so that will probably not come as a surprise to many of you, but it’s true. Fortunately, I’m not completely crazy, there is actually a method to my idiotness.

It turns out, there was nothing wrong with my saved game.

I was thinking about Crackdown today at work (yeah, I have exciting days at work) and it dawned on me — when I was playing with Bobster, we located the Volk Kingpin, we just never went after him. He was out on an oil rig in the ocean. Turns out, I was looking in the wrong place last night. Argh!

I did a little search and found a Crackdown map and sure enough, I was right. There he was, the Volk Kingpin, happily tucked away on his little oil rig out in the water, not where I had initially thought he was. In my defense, here’s what threw me off. Look at this portion of the map:

Crackdown Map

As you can see, I killed General Natalya “White Fox” Gryzunova in one portion of the map, but she’s actually located at another spot. So I don’t know if she was supposed to get away in a car or something and I killed her too quickly or what, but it was driving me crazy that she wasn’t showing up where I actually killed her.

So all is well in Pacific City. I’ll be heading back to Crackdown after 24. I can’t wait.