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by Ethos

2009 Game of the Year Nominees

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

So… this is 2010, eh? Funny, it feels an awful lot like 2009.

But seeing that it’s only the second day, I suppose I can continue to give it the benefit of doubt.

So, have you all been enjoying our Best of 2009 picks so far? No? Well good, because they’re not over yet. Today, I have the pleasure of announcing the nominees for Riddlethos’ Best Game of 2009. They should hardly come as a surprise to anyone who follows our site at all, but nonetheless, here they are:

ac2logoAssassin’s Creed 2

Ubisoft’s second entry in their popular new franchise improves on the original game in practically every way. The result? A fantastic sandbox experience that leaves you hanging for the inevitable third entry.

arkhamlogoBatman: Arkham Asylum

Nobody really saw it coming, but for a multitude of reasons, here it is on our Best of 2009 nominations list. Batman: Arkham Asylum is the best licensed game ever made, and sure to be the start of a fantastic franchise.

flowerlogoFlower

I’m including this because Ethos told me to. I could copy/paste any one of the 9234 gushing posts he’s written about it, but I really don’t feel like it. It’s on our Best of 2009 Nominees list, so that should say enough. Right?

mw2logoModern Warfare 2

What list would be complete without the self-proclaimed “biggest game of 2009″? Lucky for us, Modern Warfare 2 actually lived up to its hype, and well-deserves a spot here.

uncharted2logoUncharted 2: Among Thieves

What can be said here that hasn’t been said a number of times already? Naughty Dog knocked it way out of the park with Uncharted 2, and both me and Ethan have been singing its praises for months now. So, if you’re surprised, you clearly haven’t been following the site long.

Place your bets, Riddlethosians. Best of 2009 Week will conclude tomorrow, with the sure-to-be-earth shattering final announement. Be there! Or… don’t. I really can’t threaten a consequence one way or the other.

Best Atmospheric Experience 2009 – Ethos

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

flower-game-screenshot-1 Flower

Man, even I’m getting sick of talking about Flower at this point. But the bottom line is that Flower has more atmosphere than most games I’ve played this decade, forget 2009. Every detail is exact. The individually rendered blades of grass reacting to the wind. The game only has to begin its first minutes for a player to feel like they’ve had a glimpse into what heaven might look like if such a place were to exist. Typically nothing can bring on or satisfy a mood faster than music, but Flower is the one game with an atmosphere powerful enough to rival a great album. And you know it’s a feat if Flower beat out my favourite Zelda game since Majora’s Mask.

Runner Up: The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Fireside Games Countdown #2 – Flower

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Ethos’ Fireside Games are games that he can pull out at any moment and it will soothe his fruity soul in one way or another. It is the perfect mix of nostalgia and comfort. It is a game that gives the same feeling it did the first time he played it. It’s the sort of game that can create the most unique distinct cravings that only the game itself can satisfy. Ethos is counting down his top #5 all week.

One of my favourite levels

One of my favourite levels

#2 Fireside Game – Flower
Okay, so one of my old standbys managed to grapple their way onto this list. It’s the only one you’ll see from my top 5 favourite list, but there’s no way it couldn’t earn a top spot as a Fireside Game.

The recent analogy I’ve been using is that Flower is like a great album. There are levels for every mood that work great individually, or if you have the time, the entire piece works wonderfully as a whole. That definitely leaves no question as to why this game is on this list. Each level is a different emotion in playable form. If the lights are off, and the music is blasted, the game gives a better sensation of flying than any other attempt in video game form. Not only that, but it’s a great fireside game because of the flexibility of the levels. You could beat a level in 5 minutes for a quick fix or take half an hour collecting every petal, and consequently using the extra speed and height to explore every inch of the world.

But, also like a great album, there are times when you want to take a break from it to listen to other music. And perhaps that’s the reason why Flower isn’t in the number one spot. It’s not a game I often talk about, so start your guessing.

In Which Ethos Melts Into Sap

Saturday, November 28th, 2009
Beautiful and sad.

Beautiful and sad.

There are many reasons I love living in Toronto. Number one, it works very well with my love for the underdog. Now, it’s arguable that living in Canada has, in fact, given me this underdog complex, but then it could be counter-argued that I live in the biggest city in the country and even the most American-like. But all nationalist reasons aside, I think I love the seasons most. Sure, I could deal with it if we managed to remove a month from Winter and place it…ANYWHERE ELSE, but I definitely wouldn’t want to remove the season altogether. The changes in climate, scenery, and collective mindset are so necessary for me. I love that the cyclical nature brings a sense of familiarity and nostalgia, but more importantly progression. I love that Winters remind me of previous Winters to not just comfort me with memories, but to feel proud or even discouraged when I think of where I am compared to where I was. Autumn, in particular has traditionally been my favourite. I love that the season literally brings about the death of so many things, but it does so with beautiful colours, smells, and the perfect weather. It’s more a celebration of life than anything else. It represents maturity and acceptance, but still vibrance and wonder.

But I’ve written too much about Toronto and Autumn without relating any of it to video games. I suppose my ultimate point is that I connect the strongest with any art – and particularly games – that can embody the same love of life in the face of death that Autumn does. Flower is a celebration of beauty and mood painted on a drab backdrop of melonchony and, penultimately, death. Shadow of the Colossus is the simple story of passionate courage in the face of – and at the price of – death. The most emotionally powerful Zelda games are the ones with themes of the celebration and eventual loss of innocence. Even Final Fantasy IX is an example of loving life in the face of death.

flowerWhat is it about this that resonates with me? I feel like it’s not disconnected from my morbid desire to see the apocalypse in my lifetime. I suppose I feel like Autumn and Autumn-like things best sum up what it means to be alive without making melodramatic sweeping statements. There’s depth in simplicity. There’s truth behind the beautiful celebration of life coexisting with the desperate struggle to stay alive.

All said, Autumn represents calm passion to me. It revives inspiration in me and resonates deeply in me when somebody is able to bundle up these thoughts into indescribable forms of interactive expression. It reminds me that life is more than just a zombie-like drift through life, and that even death is rarely a cause to mourn.

Anyway, that’s my vague ramble. The comments are there for your mocking pleasure.

‘ELLO GUV’NAH! – September 4th 2009

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Here we go you glorious bastards (NOT A REFERENCE TO A MOVIE BECAUSE I KNOW HOW TO SPELL “BASTARDS”)! The first regularly scheduled ‘ELLO GUV’NAH comes as a present to everybody, except for the British people I offend. Let’s dive in.

batmanlogogameBatman: Arkham Asylum-
Yup, everybody loves this game. Riddles, abe80, The Broken Finger, Nate Liles. I can understand it, the controls are tight, the level design is well thought out, and Mark Hamill kills it as The Joker. And while I’m definitely quite enjoying it, the game can’t really hold my attention for more than an hour or so before I start shrugging my shoulders a bit. I don’t blame anybody for jizzing all over it, I just don’t feel exactly the same way. I’m glad I got it, though, and I hear the experience is pretty short, so I’m sure I’ll beat it.

Suikoden-
Suikoden_USThe one that you can get off of the PSN, not the DS one that I am very slowing inching towards defeating. Except for the item management system, I’m really enjoying this classic. It seems like Suikoden will be a series that I’m going to be getting into. Late in the game, perhaps, but there are at least a number of titles I can look forward to! In any case, this PSX original -besides having the greatest box art ever- is exciting so far and I’m not even at the point when I assume I’ll be in control of my own castle and commanding armies! I’m not really big on the whole 108 playable character hook, but like with Tierkreis I’m sure I’ll find the 10 or so that I really like and stick with them.

ff12_logoFinal Fantasy XII-
I have no idea what compelled me to pick up this title again. I was in the middle of a second playthrough that I stopped about 18 months ago and I’ve jumped right back in as if no time had passed. All this when I just got a PS3, have both modern HD systems and the new Metroid Trilogy for the Wii. Oh well, while I constantly wish for the graphics to look better -they were so good on the PS2 that it just ends up looking like a incredibly shitty PS3 game instead of a great looking PS2 game- the battle system is as addicting as ever, and the cutscenes still blow me away. Seriously, until Uncharted, no game rivaled FFXII in its scene direction, voice acting, and animation. What a waste that (excepting Balthier, Larsa, and maybe Fran) the characters were all boring sacks of shit. But seriously, while any conversation between Ashe and Basch might as well be about sawdust, I’m still glued to the TV. Let’s hope FFXIII combines X’s great story with XII’s great scene direction.

Flower-
flowerlogoYeah, I don’t care that I play this game all the time, this segment is about what I’ve been playing, and I’ve been playing Flower, goddamn it! After watching In Good Company, I felt the second dream was the perfect way to settle the residue emotions from the movie. With its grey beginnings and themes of colour and drab optimism, this level has definitely grown on me the most since I first discovered this game earlier this year. Later, I boosted an already great mood with the game’s perfect finale dream. Anyway, there’s only so much even I can say about this gem.

That’s it! That’s all I got! Suck it!

Happy Birthday to Riddles!

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Perhaps it is my week, but I’d regret it forever if I didn’t point out that it is my partner in crime’s birthday today. Sir Oliver James Motok turns the tender age of 20 on this, the 20th day of August. I hope you join me in wishing him the absolute best.

Now onto my Top 5 countdown. Number 5 was Mass Effect, if you already forgot, so let’s move onto 4.

4 – Flower
This is no surprise to anybody who has been following my online antics since the beginning of the year, but Flower is the Playstation 3 Network exclusive title that knocked me on my ass. I didn’t see it coming because thatgamecompany’s first PSN title, flOw, was mildly entertaining at best. Flower however, captured 6 pure emotions and made them come alive in the form of the dreams of 6 flowers on a city windowsill. The premise is ridiculously fruity, and there is very little traditional challenge, but no game has created such a powerful thematic arc with such ease. There is a level for every mood I have and this is a game that – like a good album – will never get old, but will provide perpetual emotional satisfaction. Make fun of me all you want, but anybody who has dreamed of flying will not be able to help adoring this game.
flower

Ha ha ha ha ha…

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Joke’s on YOU, Riddles! I LOVE that picture of me.

WELCOME, CRETINS! Welcome to King Ethos Week!
Usually I seem a meek individual, clinging to my girlish love for Flower and Zelda, but given the smallest amount of power, I go on a drunken rage.
Well that’s not really true.
Anyway, this is my proper introduction post, but I’ve got to go get to sleep early for now, so you can expect your fully pictured post tomorrow in which I talk about how I beat another PS3 exclusive game before Riddles.
Oh man, I’m going to love this week.
Did I mention it’s my birthday on Wednesday?
Until tomorrow, don’t forget to check up the News Roundup. Just click the link on the sidebar!