Games of 2012


New

Tron Evolution: Battle Grids by n-Space [Wii]
Only played the first two levels, so no profound opinion.

Die Hard Vendetta by Bits Studios [NGC]
Only played the first level, so no profound opinion. A bargain at just 2.70. The original asking price was an already low 9, but then Dutch toy chain Blokker held a clearance sale in Antwerp, which resulted in a 70% reduction. Hurrah.

Toy Story 3 by Asobo Studio [PSP]
A very well done licensed game. Perfect atmosphere and levels that are actually inspired by the movie (take note, LJN Toys, Limited - defunct or not). This game was a free download via the PlayStation Network. In 2011, Dutch toy chain Bart Smit promised me a free copy of Gran Turismo as a perk for purchasing the PSP GO system. For reasons unknown, they could not honour that promise, but they gave me a 20 PlayStation Network gift certificate instead (the monetary equivalent of Gran Turismo). Bart Smit sure knows how to treat their clients.

Cars by Locomotive Games [PSP]
Bought together with the aforementioned Toy Story 3 (two Disney games for 10, can't go wrong there). Another accomplished licensed game. Nothing more than a race game, but a solid one.

Drawn To Life by Planet Moon Studios [Wii]
Only played the first level, so no profound opinion. In Drawn To Life, gamers get to make their own starring charachter. I created my first cartoon character, Snel The Fly, in the game. Which means I can actually play with a character I dreamt up in 1992. If I could have done this 21 years ago, it would have blown my mind multiple times.

Disney Universe by Eurocom [Wii]
Only played the first two levels, so no profound opinion. I would have preferred a different art style, though. It's too "I can't put my finger on it" for my liking.

Epic Mickey by Junction Point Studios [Wii]
Only played the first three levels, so no profound opinion. Early impressions: it looks phenomenal and it's filled with easter eggs for true Disney fans. The camera angles were lambasted by professional game critics, but I didn't hate them at all.

Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition by Dimps [3DS]
Only played the first few fights, so no profound opinion. From a shallow point of view: it's a fighting game, people. Has the genre ever seen radical changes since its inception?

Lego Indiana Jones by Open Planet Software [Mac]
Still shrinkwrapped, so no opinion. S&S, the legendary Apple Macintosh store that sold my father his first computer in 1984, had to close down. This game was picked up in their clearance sale, for just 5. Mac games are otherwise very expensive. Now all I need is a new Apple computer, for my 2003 eMac is nowhere near capable of running a game designed for an Intel processor.

Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 by Aspyr Media, Inc. [Mac]
Only played the first level, so no profound opinion. Another S&S clearance bargain.

DJ Hero: Renegade Edition
by Exient Entertainment [Wii]
The same brilliant game, but in an extended fatso super deluxe edition. Featuring a golden DJ deck in a robust carrying case and a Jay-Z/Eminem double album. This cost $200 in New York's Nintendo Store, but just $47 in Brussels' Media Market.

Sega Get Bass by SIMS Co., Ltd. [DC]
FINALLY! Even though I first acquired my Dreamcast in 2007, this game has been on my wanted list since 1999. Back then, it seemed supremely awesome to use a (plastic) fishing rod and throw it towards your television. The Wii made some realise that motion control isn't all that jazz. Still, Get Bass kept its place on my "most wanted: games" list and I looked in second-hand stores whenever the opportunity presented itself. In 2000, a new, sealed copy cost no less than $166 in GameNation, a long gone Antwerp game store. A Swedish store asked $86 in 2008, and "some store" wanted $59 when they sold their copy on the F.A.C.T.S. convention in 2010. Imagine my super surprise when Video Games New York, a Big Apple store that demands to be visited for they have more than most, sold the Japanese version for a mere $19.99 + tax. Now all I need is a PAL copy of the game; the fishing rod controller is compatible across the globe.

Back to the Future: The Game
by Telltale Games [Wii]
Only played the first episode, so no profound opinion. The excellent voice work is immediately apparent. The Wii version features downplayed graphics compared to the PC edition, but it's still an honourable release: the first non-crappy Back to the Future game! Save for the hard-to-find Japanese Back to the Future II for the Super Famicom, that's - allegedly - quite fun to play.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn by Ubisoft Montpellier [Wii]
Only the second game I actually finished in 2012 (Toy Story 3 came first). A very, very good licensed game - could that be a trend? Probably not. The old Tintin SNES games were super hard, this is a lot more accessible for newcomers, youngsters and old farts like me that fail at mastering the art of succesfully playing videogames.

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
by Grasshopper Manufacture [Wii]
A birthday present from doctor Peter De Voecht. Still shrinkwrapped, so no opinion.

ZombiU by Ubisoft Montpellier [Wii U]
Yours truly finished this as well, hurrah. Polarizing game, but I liked it a lot. Came bundled with the new Wii U.

Game & Watch by Nintendo R&D1/Tose [3DS]
My first Nintendo eShop/Virtual Console purchase. Fun, fun, fun! Four classic games, of which I only previously owned one (Oil Panic).

Tetris by Bullet-Proof Software [3DS]
The same brilliant 1989 game as an eShop download. Pixel perfect conversion, and just one caveat: the original cartridge Game Boy game couldn't save high scores. Couldn't they have implemented that feature by now? I understand you want to recreate the exact 80's game, but it would have been fun to actually save the high scores and then attempt to improve on them.

Metroid by Nintendo R&D1/Intelligent Systems [3DS]
The original NES game, as another eShop download. Only played the first level, so no profound opinion.

GTA IV by Rockstar North [Xbox 360]
At long last - and four years after the rest of the world - I tried Rockstar's blockbuster game. When all is said and done, it's not exactly the best game of all time. Fun, diverting, expertly made, challenging but never excellent.


Second-hand

The Lost World: Jurassic Park
by DreamWorks Interactive [PSX]
Only played the first level, so no profound opinion.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire by Eurocom [PSX]
Only played the first level, so no profound opinion.

Metropolis Street Racer by Bizarre Creations [DC]
Haven't sampled it yet, so no opinion.

Das Boot by Artech Digital Entertainment, Ltd. [PC]
A game on real floppies! Today, "floppy disks" aren't quite floppy anymore. For Commodore or Amiga, consoles/computers I don't own at the moment. Only cost 1 on the famous Brussels Marollenmarkt (where Tintin buys the scale model of the pirate ship in The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn).

The Land Before Time by Realtime Associates [PSX]
Only played the first level, so no profound opinion. Looks and plays like an average, early 3D platformer.


Hardware

Wii U by Nintendo
Nintendo's newest console that - modestly put - didn't exactly sell like hot cakes since its release. I agree, the GamePad is a strange idea. But, when it works, it works beautifully. Playing a game and then seamlessly switching to the GamePad when "someone" wants to watch TV? Brilliant. Exactly what we needed in the 90's, when our parents would say "Stop gaming! We need the TV!".

Xbox 360 by Microsoft
Bundled with Kinect Star Wars and Kinect Adventures, bought for Disneyland Adventures. Unfortunately, Disneyland Adventures didn't turn out to be the best game ever (you need an internet connection just to save the game? Madness! Sparta!) and Kinect Star Wars is just sacrilegious trash. Luckily, the Xbox 360 is also host to some must-play games. Still, I could have waited for the Xbox One.



Julian De Backer, 21 December 2013