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volume 1, issue 17

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

Real Life: Check out our newest comic strip, Real Life! Updated daily!

User Friendly: Updated daily!

Related Links :

The Top Shelf: Our review of Half-Life, our game of the year.

The Top Shelf: Our review of Grim Fandango, our adventure game of the year.

The Top Shelf: our review of Shogo, our deathmatch game of the year.

Feedback:

You've got an opinion...voice it! Drop a line to our Feedback column...you could end up with a free T-Shirt!

Random Feature :

Inside Raven Software: Our definitive history of the company behind Hexen, Heretic and other classics.

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It's a Very Geeky Christmas

 

By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman

 

Part Three: Software

Yeah, here it is. Our picks for the best games of the year. It was especially tough this year with so many great new games coming out seemingly every day…but shoooeee are these some great titles. Not one of the games we’ve picked is anything less than an instant classic. If you’re making your list this year, be sure to include all of these if at all possible. They’re all worth it. No geek levels on software, by the way…software’s by default immune. Start the fanfare…here’s our games of the year.

Action Game of the Year:

Heretic II: Now here’s a shocker. This one came totally out of left field and quickly became one of my personal favorites. The title formerly known as "Project Y", and a title completed in under a year, managed to beat out some games that were in development for much longer periods of time. Here’s the scoop on Heretic II. It’s a third person, balls-to-the-wall action game. No sissy puzzles here…this is blood, guts, and carnage, with some seriously sick ways of doing it. And, to top the whole shebang off, it’s got one hell of an involving story line (who knew?). Raven Software has outdone themselves with this title. A must have for any action game fan.

Publisher: Activision

Developer: Raven Software

Avg. Price: $40

Runner Up:

Sin: While it’s not quite as over the top as Heretic II, Sin deserves a definite mention for its sheer fun factor. Sin features lots of wisecracking, some superb level design, and some great action to boot. Major bugs out of the box (although there is a patch available) and some truly hideous dialogue keeps this one down slightly (although one suspects that it was put in there by design) but don’t let that scare you off. Sin is one hell of a ride. Oh, and Sin takes the award for "best ending"…it makes the whole game worth playing.

Publisher: Activision

Developer: Ritual Entertainment

Avg. Price: $45

Deathmatch Game of the Year:

Shogo: Mobile Armor Division: Another shocker for you. Before any of this year’s top tier titles shipped, I never would have thought that this would end up on my list at all, let alone as DM game of the year. But hey…what can I say? I’m addicted. Shogo deathmatch is a total rush…fast paced, totally chaotic, and fun as all hell. Plus, the fact that you get to choose between robot and human DM makes it very difficult to get bored with this one. I haven’t enjoyed a DM experience this much since Quake 1. Look for "loonyboi" on those Shogo servers…I can’t stop playing. ;)

Publisher: Monolith

Developer: Monolith

Avg. Price: $40

Adventure Game of the Year:

Grim Fandango: Playing Grim Fandango is like sipping a fine wine. It’s best done slowly. Of all the games I played this year, I think I lamented finishing Grim Fandango the most. Featuring the most complex and intriguing plot to hit the gaming industry in years, Grim Fandango proves that LucasArts still knows how to make the best damn adventure games in the industry. While other developers are toying with 3D graphics, and some just can’t shake that whole "point and click" problem, LucasArts has delivered a game that you’ll want to play all the way through multiple times. This one goes on the "every six months" list, along with Sam & Max Hit the Road, Zork I, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This is one of those games that reminds you why you love games to begin with.

Publisher: LucasArts

Developer: LucasArts

Avg. Price: $40

Console Game of the Year:

Zelda 64: You know why this is our console game of the year? Because of the crack factor. You see, every now and then a title comes along that’s so addictive, you have to lock yourself in a room for a few weeks until you finish it. Zelda 64 is definitely this year’s version. Try asking anyone who’s got it what it’s like, and you’re likely to get a response along the lines of, "quit bugging me, I’m playing Zelda, you moron!" And that pretty much says it all. If you’ve got a Nintendo 64, you won’t want to stop playing it. No matter what comes up. You must get this game.

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Nintendo

Avg. Price: $60

Game of the Year:

Half-Life: Like you didn’t already know this was coming? Yeah, what can I say. Half-Life is probably twice as good as you’ve heard. Truth be told, I wasn’t quite sure what to call Half-Life. Its got plenty of action, but the pure action in Heretic II is better, in my humble opinion. Its got a decent deathmatch, but Shogo’s offers more variety and more overall chaos, and while it has plenty of puzzles, they simply can’t compete with Grim Fandango’s. So why is Half-Life our game of the year? Because despite the fact that individual parts may be surpassed, the overall experience can’t even be approached. Half-Life’s revolutionary storytelling style, mind blowing AI, and spectacular level design make it a fantastic experience, and one that shouldn’t be missed.

Publisher: Sierra

Developer: Valve Software

Avg. Price: $40

So there you have it kids…our picks for the year’s best bets. Happy shopping!

Credits: Illustration © 1998 Dan Zalkus. It's a Very Geeky Christmas is © 1998 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, dangit.