And here we are! It’s 4:14 p.m. here in Toronto, CA (that’s Canada, not California) and I’ve finally completed my carefully-sifted list of the 10 best Riddles posts from 2010.
Except that it’s the 15 best. And posts from 2011 also count.
You see, although I wrote nearly double the posts he did during Riddlethos’ lifespan, it’s an undeniable fact that Riddles wrote twice as many posts of substance during that time. Also, this is really, REALLY late so I’m giving my buddy a little extra love.
Because I love him.
A sincerely lovely picture of Oliver Motok
Bayonetta Review – Move Over, Dante
I already praised Riddles’ work on Bayonetta Faceoff Week, but the review of the titular game deserves a special nod.
During the days when Riddlethos was still living and breathing, Riddles was a more finely-tuned writer than I was. This review is concise, playful, well-structured, yet decisive and informative. Something I couldn’t pull off with nearly the same consistency.
Riddles’ JRPG Relapse
I’m not even going to apologize for using a tag with multiple posts in a single award anymore. We’ve all done it (meaning Riddles and I). It’s just a thing now.
Riddles’ relapse is sharp stuff as usual. But Riddles has fallen farther from JRPGs than I have, so it made his relapse opinions even more valuable and objective in my opinion. I’m more prone to being defensive about archaic mechanics that I still enjoy, whereas Riddles has the ability to separate himself for the sake of analysis. Except FF8. He’s wrong about that game.
This series also got the nod for his hilarious bit about Mitsuru and his recurring defensive bursts about not replaying games as often as most.
Hey, Wait a Minute…
This is basically identical to one of last year’s winners. Normally that wouldn’t be enough to make it, but this one does a hilarious one-up via the tags. I mean, it’s already funny that he gets to tag it with “Ethos is a lazy fuck” and “BAHA PAYBACK”, but the cherry on top is the “I’m not even going to tell them that your internet is dead” tag. I mean, he vindicates me in the same device that he uses to taunt me with. But it still works and even makes it extra hilarious.
flOw Is Free for Today
I point to a lot of Riddles’ serious work in today’s awards, so I don’t feel bad about also linking to short posts like the last one and like this one. I don’t even want to ruin it by summing it up. I’ll just say that nobody else presented gaming news like this and that’s why I tell myself that Riddlethos was important.
Farm Boy Montok without the obnoxious MS Paintjob
Sunday Soapbox: BioShock and the Death of the Cutscene
Speaking of serious work…
The Sunday Soapbox was Riddles’ idea and it shows. The reason the joke was that Riddles was the one who tried to maintain some semblance of editorial integrity is because he simply had more valuable things to say about gaming than I did. It’s not something I really realized then, but it’s certainly true. Just read his on-point deconstruction on the cutscene and why his precious Bioshock revolutionized it. He almost convinces me. That’s how good he is.
Save Data Should Never Be Locked (#Heavy Rain)
This is casually one of Riddles’ more amusing pieces.
Riddles can definitely be funny when he tries, but this one is funny and effortless at the same time. His encounter at the Gamestop, his quick assimilation into a Torontonian lifestyle, the always-present bitter undertones. Where else on the internet will you find something so related to gaming, so well-written, but also so pointless? This article is quietly one of the reasons why Riddlethos was so great.
Sunday Soapbox: Where does Final Fantasy XIII fit now?
This is nominated because of its achievement, really. As I mentioned, the Sunday Soapbox feature was Riddles’ idea and I’m fairly certain the concept for this particular editorial was his as well.
While it took until my review to be more even-handed with Final Fantasy XIII, Riddles was far more fair off the top. He never beat it, so he never got to see the game at its best, but in his defense, why should he have to beat a game for it to get good? With the exception of Bioshock 2, Riddles is far more even-handed out of the gate when compared to me and I think it’s his half of the article that made it one of the more commented on stories in Riddlethos history.
Blue Dragon Plus “Review” – Give Up Already
In a post that has so many levels of weird and inside-jokes, Riddles paraphrased an old RPGamer review I did of Blue Dragon Plus. Its existence is hard to justify, but damn if it isn’t hilarious. Seriously, I think Riddles’ next website should just be a “I’ll paraphrase your reviews and make them way more concise and entertaining” website.
This was extra funny for me at the time because I didn’t expect it, but I laughed just as hard when I re-discovered it for my research for these awards, so I knew it had a place.
Sunday Soapbox: Everyone’s Fantasy
Usually I’m the one to wax nostalgic and bring a positive whimsical finish to a gimmicky week, so it’s way more special when Riddles does it. That is evidenced by the great response in the comments and – of course – the sincere post itself.
(Funny to note that I consider this positive and whimsical when the article ends on such a negative note. But hey, that’s Riddles. Just one of the many reasons why we love him).
A totally real unaltered picture of Riddles.
Sunday Soapbox: Why Nocturne is Better Than Final Fantasy XIII
You might be noticing a trend now. A lot of Sunday Soapboxes have made the cut and now a number of Final Fantasy posts. That’s because those two elements combine for a very powerful Riddles potion.
See, Riddles is a great games journalist. Also, Riddles is very good with bitterness. The Sunday Soapbox was all about good editorialized game journalism. And Riddles hated Final Fantasy XIII. While a later post sums up the latter fact in a far more hilarious way, this one is like the Bioshock cutscene article in that the man just makes a lot of goddamn sense.
Alan Wake Review – Fear The Dark
It’s a little strange, but I was very caught up in the Alan Wake hype. It’s not really my genre, but I was into it and so I read a lot about it, listened to podcasts about it as well as buying and playing the game myself.
Therefore it has some weight when I say that I think Riddles’ review of the game is the most even-handed piece on the title I’ve read. It details everything that’s good and bad about the game, it details why and it references these things within the context of the genre. This review isn’t life-changing, but it is a good example of Riddles’ excellent work that I keep talking about.
Riddles’ Handheld Journey
One of the benefits to doing this Best of Lord Riddles stuff so late (besides being able to ostensibly present it as a “Birthday Gift”) is that I get to award Riddles stuff during the “unawarded era”: The time between the Best Riddlethos of 2010 Week and the site’s perma-coma. Good thing too, because Riddles’ Handheld Journey is a treat.
2010 was actually an outstanding example of Riddles as not only a great games journalist, but a great writer in general. Therefore it’s nice to shine a light on the return to posts that erred on the side of personal for him, especially during the first piece. I nodded to this week as one of 2010/2011’s best, and Riddles’ Handheld Journey was obviously a large part of that. I mean, the guy somehow made his 3-part article into a 4-part article! He obviously gave a crap.
Concerning Dragon Age II and Not Playing as a Female
Riddlethos went out with more of a fizzle than a bang, but one of Riddles’ last posts of substance was one in which he started by taunting our readers. Riddlethos had ups and downs, but it was certainly consistent in its tone.
Anyway, the opening paragraph is hilarious, and Riddles talks about something that we rarely explicitly tackled on the site: playing as a female character. It’s a casual romp through a light-hearted and funny explanation, but it’s insightful as well. One of Riddles’ last was also one of his best.
Biggest Letdown 2010 – Riddles
Alright, that last one had funny moments, but it’s time to give another one out for comedy content alone.
It might be weird to have one of the Best Riddles Awards go to one of Riddles’ Best Games Award posts, but man it’s worth it. Having let the wound of Final Fantasy XIII fester, Riddles lets loose on the title in his award for Biggest Letdown. Whether or not the time apart made him overly bitter or made him see more clearly is irrelevant. This is Riddles roasting at his best.
Sunday Soapbox: Riddles’ Visit to Toronto
I’m too much of a narcissist to not use this. And to not use it as the final Best of Lord Riddles award.
In this Soapbox, he talked about how awesome I am and how awesome my city is. Still, reading this just makes me realize how little of Toronto he really saw. That was the baby tour. Either way it’s cute to go on this wide-eyed journey with Curious Riddles. And it makes me realize just how desperately Toronto misses him. I might miss him too.
Well folks! I hope you enjoyed this time capsule of sorts. Riddlethos is certainly in a coma that the doctors are suggesting might be life-long, but if treasures like this pop up from the past every year or so, it’s worth it to keep the poor sucker alive on the machine.
Happy birthday, Riddles!