With 2010 drawing to a close, and TIME magazine having made Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg the "Person of the Year," it's time for me to announce the Hardware 2.0 "Game of 2010."
I play a lot of games, across a number of platforms, so there's quite a bit list of possible games to choose from.
The obvious game to choose would be the first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops. It's a good game for sure, and sold an amazing 5.6 million units within 24 hours of its release. I've played it and enjoyed it immensely, and I also found the Zombies mini game thoroughly entertaining.
Overall, and excellent game, with excellent graphics, and a decent story. It also got a fair bit of replay potential too.
Good game, but no, it's not CoD:OP.
Another game that I thoroughly enjoyed playing this year was Aliens vs. Predator. I'm a massive fan of both movie franchises and pre-ordered this game months before it was available.
The game certainly lived up to my expectations, and the twist of being able to play as either human, Alien or Predator meant that it was three games in one (albeit three short games). I also found the game highly immersive, thanks to the well thought out lighting (or lack of it) and sound. The game reminded me a lot of Doom 3, and managed at times to send a chill down my spine.
Another great game, but it's not "Game of 2010" material.
So, what is the Hardware 2.0 ""Game of 2010"?
** drum roll please **
Why am I choosing simplistic game, featuring basic graphics and a simple storyline over big budget games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops?
Low drag gameplay
Let's look at each of these in turn.
Angry Birds for the iPhone costs 99 cents (OK, I did also shell out for the HD version for the iPad, and the Angry Birds Seasons game too), yet I think that I've played it more than CoD:BO and Aliens vs. Predator combined. CoD:BO set me back fifty times more than Angry Birds did yet I can't honestly say that CoD:BO was fifty times better, or offered fifty times more gameplay. Big budget games cost a lot of money to make, which means they're gonna cost you big bucks. But it feels to me like there's a disconnect between the price you pay for a game and the enjoyment you can squeeze out of it.
Angry Birds is addictive. It can also be frustrating at times, but overall it's fun. There's no right way or wrong way to play it. Increasingly I feel that big budget games are little more than elaborate rail shooters which force you to do this, then that, and finally the other. You're following a script, only a script that the makers don't allow you to read in advance.
Low drag gameplay
I love how you can just fire up Angry Birds and dip into it for a quick game. There no elaborate pre-game preamble and no save points to worry about, and you know that the game will be over in a few minutes. It's casual gaming at its best.
I've lost track of the number of new levels and games that I've had for free for Angry Birds since I bought it. Remember that this is a game that initially cost me 99 cents. It's a game that keeps on giving in terms of new levels and feature (something not unusual for Apple App Store games). It's good to feel that the game developer doesn't have their hand continually in your pocket squeezing you for each and every extra.
If I think back to the beginning of the year I don't think that I would have predicted that a cheap, low budget game designed for a small screen platform could beat big budget games. But that's what's happened, and it's something that the big names in gaming need to take note of. There's more to a good game than graphics.