New York Times games journalist supreme Seth Schiesel looks back at the games of 2008, delivering accolades both coveted and undesired, leading to his game of the year - Grand Theft Auto IV.
Along with praising Grand Theft Auto IV for balanced combat, driving mechanics, and impressive writing, Schiesel also praises and pokes a few games and companies for their more obscure achievements. He awards Nintendo with "Best Explanation of Why Nintendo Hardly Needs Big Games Anymore" for The Wii, pointing out that widespread acceptance by non-gamers has allowed Nintendo to ignore core fans "For now." Left 4 Dead receives a much deserved "Best Zombies" award. He lists Spore as "Best Disappointment", while giving Molyneux a nod with "Best Vindication" for Fable II.
Of course it all comes down to the game of the year, and for Schiesel, that was GTA IV. Here's what he had to say:
G.T.A. IV came out in April, and for the rest of the year I kept waiting for some other new game to captivate and refuse to release me the way this masterpiece from Rockstar did. I’m still waiting. Beyond its formidable craft, apart from its well-balanced combat and driving mechanics, what impresses most about G.T.A. IV is its writing. It is one of the few games that even try to take on the real world in any adult way. (Of course, the game’s Liberty City setting is a parody of modern New York.) Penetrating through all the game’s gangster trappings is a hunger to engage with the idiocies, the contradictions and even some of the good things in modern America. After all, someone has to.
This is the moment where one of us stands up and starts a slow clap. You guys sort that out, and we'll join in shortly.
The Zombies Look Better Every Year [The New York Times]