Ah, this year was a great one. Good games, good times and good EVERYTHING. It makes sense that the following two games are probably in my top ten games of all time.
Rock Band (2)
Being a music fan who is musically inept, I obviously loved the Guitar Hero games. They were great games to just pick up now and again and have fun with. Eventually Activision gave their newly acquired Guitar Hero, due to their purchase of RedOctane, to Neversoft while Harmonix, who were bought over by MTV Games, would create a brand new music game. The result was 'Rock Band'. Instead of being limited by just playing with a guitar, you could now play drums (and annoy your neighbours) and sing (and annoy your neighbours). I bought the first game in the summer of 2008, though I only had the GHIII controller and a crappy headset. It quickly became my obsession for a few weeks. I even managed to almost complete Hard, which I wouldn't dare to do in GH due to my crapiness at fake-guitaring.
But that was the fun of Rock Band, you didn't need to practice the songs millions of time just to pass it. It understood that it was, before anything else, a party game. The game also had so many brilliant songs, from my favourite band Nine Inch Nails ("The Hand That Feeds") to Weezer ("Say It Ain't So"), Soundgarden, Nirvana, Faith No More, Pixies and a whole heap more.
But it was the second game, released late on in the year, that truly became an instant classic. With the option to export (most of the) songs from the first game, plus the select songs I downloaded, Rock Band 2 pretty much featured the greatest licensed soundtrack in video game history. The "endless setlist" (where you play all the songs from the disc in one go) provided a whole day worth of fun for me and my friends, though we had to stop at song 50 because we had to go home for tea. Hey, we were still sixteen at the time!
I would eventually blow £100+ on Beatles Rock Band for the PS3, but by then the music rhythm genre's momentum collapsed. Plastic instruments have ceased to be cool. But every time I see a cheap copy of Rock Band 3, I'm tempted. But for now, may the great memories that Rock Band provided for me, lay to rest.
Though, to be fair, I blame Guitar Hero for being crap.
Grand Theft Auto IV
I'm going to point out one thing; I absolutely adore this game. I don't care that people think it wasn't funny enough, it wasn't over the top enough or all that stuff. I've heard people say they preferred Saint's Row 2, but while that game was pretty fun, as a GAME, GTA IV blows it out of the water.
Never was I more excited for a game to be released. Then it was released...and I had to wait two weeks to get it. Two weeks of pain and excitement, only made easier by one of my friends going through the same thing. And then, on my 16th birthday, my sister delivered it to me. I would then spend the rest of my birthday, in a room, playing this game, pausing only to taunt my friend that I got it.
When you are so excited for something, one of two things will happen...bitter disappointment or OH MY GOD THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER.
Obviously it was the second option with me. Sure, in retrospect, it could have used a bit more colour and fun ("The Ballad of Gay Tony" DLC provided exactly this). Do I care though? No. Every time I start a new game I get transported to four years ago. When this song plays as you take control for the very first time...
The magic hits me again.
Multiplayer is extremely fun also, and I'm actually good at it which is a rarity. All in all, this game is probably the most important game of my teenage years. It came right in the middle of them, so in a way it's like a bridge from my childlike days to the more recent adultlike (and incredibly pretentious) days. Hopefully GTA V will bring back some of that childlike excitement when it comes out.
Next: We buy a console just to play the end-game of a story and then take a dive.