Wednesday, December 31, 2008

BossFight GOTY 2008 - PSP Game of The Year

The PSP had a patchy year, with games that really pushed the envelope in terms of the console's processing power, but rather slim pickings overall. The PSP-slim and 3000 series added performance boosts, and developers were keen to show off what they could do. This resulted in prettier, heavier games that got even closer to console quality, and promised much for the future.

The runners-up


This crazy, laugh-out-loud percussion-rhythm game was a surprise hit on the PSP, featuring superb visuals, deceptively deep strategic elements, great music, and addictive, innovative gameplay. Oh, man, that craaaazy beat! Pata-pata-pata-pon! It took weeks to get it out of my head.

Crisis Core : Final Fantasy VII

The long-awaited debut of the Final Fantasy franchise (nope, Advent Children doesn't count. Games only, sorry.) on the PSP was a mixed bag. It was one of the most visually impressive games on the PSP, ad featured an engrossing story, great characters and fun combat. Not everyone agreed with the leveling-up system, though.


The definitive football title on a handlheld system, FIFA 09 finally settled the argument by including phenomenal graphics, flawless and realistic gameplay, and the usual FIFA slew of official licenses and gameplay modes. PES 2009 wasn't bad either, but FIFA is now 'Campione del Mondo'.

BossFight PSP Game of The Year 2008

God of War : Chains of Olympus

What can we say about Chains of Olympus? That it was far and away the best looking PSP game? That it featured all the classic, furious God of War action in such a small package? That it successfully adapted the PSP's one-stick control scheme to God of War without sacrificing any of the gameplay? Focusing on any one aspect would be akin to standing in front of the Taj Mahal, and then proceeding to praise the qualities of some individual column. This, simply put, is the best PSP game. Period.

If Chains of Olympus is any indication, then it is definitely possible to have near-console quality action adventures on the PSP, and this should lead to a virtual parade of top-notch games for Sony's handheld. Well, we're waiting, developers. Hit us in 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

BossFight GOTY 2008 : XBOX Game of The Year

Microsoft's machine had a great year, overcoming the bad press from the RROD fiasco to continue to outsell the PS3, and seeing a whole slew of stellar titles. XBOX Live continued to be the leading online service, and the XBOX Live Arcade saw some great, affordable downloadable titles go toe-to-toe with the heavy hitters in terms of quality.

The runners-up

Braid [Winner : BossFight XBOX 360 platform-exclusive Game of The Year]

One of the surprise packets of 2008, Jonathan Blow's masterpiece featured ingenious time-manipulation mechanics, challenging puzzles, fantastic presentation, and possibly the greatest ending in any game ever. And paved the way for downloadable games on every platform holding their own against the big guns in terms of quality and gamer praise.

Castle Crashers

From the makers of the very wild 'Alien Hominid', Castle Crashers surprised everyone with it's impossible cute-yet-gory graphics, and frantic co-op beat-em up action. It featured some truly hilarious character and level designs that looked like a strange mix of ideas out of Bone and Ren & Stimpy. And some Br00tal and bloody battles against some of the most intimidating bosses seen this year. And we all know how much we love Boss Fights.

Gears of War 2

Gears of War 2 is the game that Gears of War should have been. Bigger, more hardcore and more polished than the original, Gears of War 2 is a deceptively top-notch product that stands out as one of the finest action gaming experiences in years. Look beyond the inevitable hype, beyond the idiot-fanboys online, beyond the gratuitous statements from Cliffy B, and you'll find a near-flawless implementation of the trademark run-cover-and-gun gameplay, amazing visuals, great set-pieces and a truly epic feeling of scale. Plus, Marcus and Delta are true badasses. Plus, this game features the bloodiest level of all time – it literally drowns you in blood! Best enjoyed coop with friends online.

Fallout 3

When Bethesda Softworks announced that they'd be taking over Interplay's legendary Fallout franchise, the true faithful weren't entirely convinced. They needn't have worried – Fallout 3 emerged as a stellar role-playing experience for the hardcore, featuring a post-nuclear wasteland that was amazing to explore and live in, an engaging storyline, great combat and all the trademark Fallout regulars – such as Radiation, Brahmin, and Bottle Caps, and Booze.

BossFight XBOX 360 Game of The Year

Grand Theft Auto IV

Any game that has a character like Brucie Kibbutz deserves to win GOTY on that alone – but GTA IV went beyond any game before it. Here was a title that featured the most believable, consistent and engaging gameworld we've seen so far. GTA IV takes the proven GTA formula and raises it to another level altogether – this is the future of gaming, and we like what we see. And did we mention it has Brucie Kibbutz?

We've heard the complaints – frustratingly difficult missions, relatively poor combat, uninteresting weapons. Yeah, whatever. That's missing the wood for the trees.

No other game we have played has succeeded in creating such a realistic, believable and interesting gameworld as GTA IV. You felt like you actually were a part of a living, breathing city that carried on with its existence regardless of your participation. You actually believed that you were Niko Bellic, making your way up the ladder in a city of hope, dreams, crime, and, naturally, stunt-driving. The brilliant writing, hollywood-class dialogues, great story and complex situations drew you in to Liberty City, until you obsessively played and played and played.

The sheer amount of content that was created by Rockstar in order to make the gameworld plausible and coherent is nothing short of mind-boggling. You'd see references to products, people and services scattered through the game – an ad on radio, and appearance on TV, a billboard while you were driving by, in conversations with other characters. A cabbie would pick up a random conversation with you. Random pedestrians carried on their own phone conversations. You could walk into a club and see Ricky Gervais perform a stand-up act. You could call a friend, go drinking at a bar, get drunk, crash your bike while trying to outrun cops, and put your buddy in hospital. You could just sit and surf the in-game Internet. And all of this is purely incidental to the plot and the main game – you don't have to pay attention to any of it if you don't want to.

Another of this year's major blockbusters, Metal Gear Solid IV, was roundly celebrated for taking storytelling in videogames to a higher emotional plane. But the important difference is that MGS IV is like starring in your own movie, while GTA IV is like living in another world. And, in our opinion, the former is a game with next-gen production values. The latter is a next-gen game, period.

Bossfight GOTY 2008 : Wii Game of the Year

Everybody's favourite little white box had an unusual year – featuring some big-name Nintendo licenses as well as a number of innovative third party titles. This is the year third-party developers really took to the Wii, rivalling Nintendo in the quality of games they delivered – no mean task. It continued to be the largest selling console, and shows no signs of slowing down.


Super Smash Bros. Brawl

This is the 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' of the Nintendo universe. Featuring every conceivable character, and then some, fighting out in an assortment of zany arenas using the usual Smash Bros arsenal of insane moves, Brawl was the top fighter of the year by some margin. Watching Wario fart on Solid Snake and then run over him with his bike counts as one of the greatest gaming moments ever.

World of Goo

World of Goo was another delightful example of an independent developer hitting the big-time with a top quality, original and imaginative game. 2D Boy delivered a mind-boggling physics-based puzzler featuring sticky goo-balls, balloons, spikes and all manner of challenges that are too bizarre to describe in a short paragraph. The first truly must-have WiiWare download that isn't a remake, World of Goo is a pointer to the kind of amazing games we can look forward to from smaller developers in the coming years.


Boom Blox

Whether he's creating terrifying monsters, telling touching stories, or showing us how the Wiimote can be used to create an intuitive and addictive puzzle-based game for the Wii, Steven Spielberg is, to put it mildly, teh_pWnzor. Boom Blox is the best, most natural-feeling use of the Wiimote yet. As you throw balls at towers of stacked blocks, making them tumble this way and that, and rack up combos to score points, you'll realize that this is what the Wiimote was invented for – games where the interface is so intuitive that it practically disappears, leaving just you and the game. Removing the layers of abstraction involved in controlling a game is a challenge that needs to be overcome if gaming is to move beyond niche into the true mainstream.

And Boom Blox is important for this reason more than any other. It's an eye-opening experiment into intuitive control schemes that can draw people into a game, as opposed to abstractions that need to be mastered before a game can be enjoyed. This was the great promise of the Wii, wasn't it? That we could perform actions in-game like how we would in real life? That's a promise that hasn't been fulfilled yet, but Boom Blox goes some way towards it. Here's hoping that more developers find ways to integrate Wiimote controls to give us natural-feeling game interactions that make us feel more like we're in the gameworld.

Plus, Boom Blox is not only about technology – it's addictive, charming and challenging, and great fun to play with friends and family. Hundreds of addictive puzzles will keep you entertained for the longest time. Just the sort of game that we like to play on the Wii, and without question BossFight's Wii game of the year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

BossFight GOTY 2008 : Nintendo DS Game of The Year

2008 for the DS was a little unusual. Instead of the usual top-rung Nintendo properties ruling the roost, it was the third-party titles that truly drove the platform's reputation for innovative games this year. Importantly, the DS finally made its way, albeit quietly, into Indian store shelves. Sadly, the available games library is yet to catch up, with most of us depending on assorted imported goods stores for quality titles. IN fact, we're ashamed to admit that it took us months to get a copy of Professor Layton and The Curious Village, and we still haven't played one of the year's best titles, The World Ends with You, because we couldn't get our hands on a copy.

But still, it was another year that made us happy to be DS owners, with great games and important technological advances that make us look ahead to 2009 with great anticipation.

The runners-up

Professor Layton and the Curious Village

Beautiful cartoon graphics and some great puzzle design made this puzzler one of the standout DS games in 2008. A great handwriting recognition system, and completely stylus based controls made it a pleasure to play, and, with 135 challenging puzzles in all, and an oddly cute story involving murder and crime, Professor Layton is a must-play for DS owners

Chrono trigger

Yes, it was a pretty faithful remake of one of the greatest games ever made. Chrono trigger really didn't offer any exciting DS specific features, but hey, you don't fix what ain't broken, right? This admirable principle results in Chrono Trigger being one of the best DS games of the year, but then, it would have been on any platform it might have been released for. Youngsters who have no idea what Chrono Trigger is, play this game. That's an order.

BossFight DS Game of The Year 2008

Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword

When Tecmo announced that they were bringing their popular Ninja Gaiden Franchise to the DS, eyebrows were raised. How could a series known for stunning graphics and fast, furious hardcore gameplay make the transition to a platform not known for such games. Turns out that there was no need to worry. Ninja Gaiden : Dragon Sword is a revelation on the DS, that somehow manages to keep the series' reputation intact in every way. Amazing graphics and fast, visceral combat make this an important game to show the way forward for hardcore action games on the DS. It demomstrates how stylus-only controls can be implemented without compromising the gameplay, and here's hoping that other developers take Tecmo's lead.

You could argue that Castlevania or Chrono Trigger were superior games to Dragon Sword, and you may even be right. But these games don't really make use of the DS control scheme and features in anything other than the most superficial way. Dragon Sword, on the other hand, showcases the DS touchscreen controls in the best possible way - by being a stellar game that wouldn't be possible to implement on any other platform. It was a pleasure to control Master Ryu Hayabusa, leaping, blocking, dodging and slashing with furious ease. The ninpo system was also fun to play with. And, importantly, the control scheme was not merely a novelty that wore off after a few levels - it soon became second nature, and very much an integral part of a wholly unique gaming experience. It also helped that Dragon Sword is easily the most visually impressive DS game to date, featuring production values that many wouldn't have thought possible on the system.

Ninja Gaiden : Dragon Sword does the DS a great service in demonstrating the platform's suitability for hardcore titles, as well as showing the way for control schemes that make use of the touch-screen to find newer, and I daresay better, ways to play. For that alone, it wins BossFight's DS Game of the Year ahead of some truly heavyweight competition.

The Zeitgeist GOTY part 2

Anand Ramachandran and Videep Vijay Kumar wrap-up the first ever GOTY in the mainstream press in India - for Zeitgeist in The New Indian Express. Of course, you'll see more details and other awards in a slightly different format on Bossfight in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Click on the image for a larger version.

Bossfight GOTY 2008 : Special award for delayed gratification - Braid

Few games, from any generation, on any platform, have ever appeared as simple yet worked on as many different levels as Braid does. For instance, my favourite Braid moment didn’t even happen when I was playing, or have anything to do with what was happening in the game itself. Watching someone else play for the first time, I found myself gently chuckling as he went through his repertoire of standard gaming responses - time that jump just a bit better, take a longer run, explore a different area of the screen, look for power ups – before it slowly dawned on him that maybe, just maybe, that rewind mechanic in the game was there as something more than a fancy replacement for a save/retry option. From there, it was a few short steps before he started to understand why the story was written as it was, the correlation between the intro screens and the game mechanic. As I watched, I was reflecting on how so many of our responses as we go about our lives are so conditioned, so predetermined.

That’s right, watching someone else play, I was thinking about how I go about my life. That’s the kind of experience that Braid is. Or isn’t. Take your pick. It’s a challenging puzzle-platformer, a ground breaking experiment in videogame mechanics, a beautiful work of art, a brilliantly written story of unrequited love, a commentary on the creation of the atomic bomb, and a thought provoking documentation of a young man’s journey through life. Braid can be any or all of the above, all delivered through lovingly crafted visuals set against haunting, melodic music, liberally sprinkled with subtle, reverent nods to classics of platforming like Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong. And all of this is capped off by probably the best ending level ever, with an honest to goodness twist ending – which in itself, tales a little time to really sink in. It really has something to reward anyone who has even an iota of the patience needed to absorb it. With no “tutorial”, and the largely respected plea from the developers not to put walkthroughs up on the net, you will need patience. And will be well rewarded for it.

Play through from start to finish before challenging yourself with the speed runs and maxing out your achievements, sit back and gaze upon the paintings you create by finishing each level, or trawl the internet figuring out what it all means. It doesn’t really matter how you experience Braid, but experience it, you must. In the twitch dependent, photorealism craving, mega budget marketing dominated world of videogames, Braid is a simple, purely movement and jump control driven, independently developed game that requires, no, demands, that you put down your controller every so often and think, reflect and contemplate. And in today’s world of instant gratification, that certainly deserves an award.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bossfight GOTY 2008 : Mobile Game of The Year

The mobile platform continues to grow in relevance as a true-blue option for great gaming, and 2008 saw some great leaps forward.

Earlier on Bossfight, we took a look at certain aspects of the mobile gaming scenario. Here's the post.


Assassin's Creed HD

Gameloft managed to drop our jaws with the mobile iteration of Assassin's Creed. Featuring the wall-scaling, rooftop-leaping, swashbuckling gameplay of its console cousin, Assassin's Creed HD is great news for gamers looking for a fuller, more hardcore experience on mobile phones.

Boom Blox

Steven Spielberg's Boom Blox was a surprise hit on the Wii in 2009, wowing everyone with it's accessible and devilishly addictive puzzle based gameplay. The mobile version was also great, with separate versions for Java and N-gage. You had to launch a ball to knock over different kinds of blocks (exploding blocks time-bombs, chemical blocks) to score points. This is way more fun than it sounds, trust me. The short, addictive puzzles made Boom Blox ideal for on-the-go gaming, and the level editing tools in the N-gage version were also a good step towards UGC on the mobile platform.

Metal Gear Solid Mobile (N-Gage)

The first truly heavyweight license (other than the disappointing FIFA 09) to make its way to the N-gage, Snake's first outing on NOKIA's platform was an exceptional game in every way. Featuring the best graphics on the N-Gage yet, the trademark MGS gameplay translated surprisingly well to the miniscule screen and controls of the mobile phone. It also featured some neat uses of the mobile phone camera – where you could point the camera at any real-world object to choose a texture for Snake's camo-suit. Let's hope the success of MGS mobile encourages other publishers to bring great franchises to N-gage. GTA mobile? We can hope.

Spore Origins (iPhone)

Basically just the cell stage from Will Wright's PC hit Spore, Spore Origins was an engaging mobile game that also added a feature where you could upload your creations from the mobile version and then download them for use in the PC game – a cool idea which shows how integration between platforms can be implemented in interesting and relevant ways. The iPhone version featured the best controls – you guided your creature by simply tilting your phone, and the coolest feature, where you could click any photo and use it as a texture for your creature's skin.


Reset Generation (N-Gage)

Reset Generation energized the N-Gage platform with its insane multiplayer gameplay, crazy power-ups and weaponry, and cast of colourful characters – perhaps the funniest and most challenging multiplayer strategy game since Worms. It was a lovingly crafted parody and homage to the cult of gaming, featuring caricatured versions of videogame superstars such as Mario, Master Chief, Lara Croft and Sonic spewing ridiculous lines such as “I plumber! I fix toilet, I save princess!”.

All this would be of no use if Reset Generation wasn't a good game – but it is just that, and much more – it's a genuinely great game. Featuring a host of game mechanics that were completely original, this is a strategy game that is challenging, fun and truly hardcore, belying its cutesy-pie graphics. Perhaps the greatest tribute to Reset Generation is that we can't quite say “It reminds us of X game or Y game”. In an age of me-too game designs, that's praise of the highest order.

Importantly, you could play on your mobile against a friend who was playing on a web browser – the cross-platform multiplayer gameplay making sure that the game wasn't limited to people who owned an N-Gage compatible phone – a farsighted and laudable move from NOKIA. Reset Generation released in August. We're still playing it. Word.

Here's our original review of Reset Generation – where we tell you in detail why it's so special.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bossfight GOTY 2008 : Best Indian Game That Was Never Made - Chili Con Carnage, Rajnikanth Edition

It's a match made in heaven - the insanely funny, over-the-top stunt action of Chili Con Carnage combined with da mean skillz of the greatest Indian action-hero of all time, Rajnikanth. The mere thought of controlling 'thalaivar' as he twirls through the air, defying physics and kicking villain-butt has us in a tizzy! 'Airilayae suththi suththi adippendaa!'

Imagine Rajnikanth doing this shite :

Runner Up : Mortal Kombat vs. Tamil Movie Universe.

Bossfight GOTY 2008: Most Tedious Installation Award - Grand Theft Auto IV (PC)

I don't remember the last time a PC game tortured me like this one did. Yes, I knew the game was buggy as hell, and yes, I knew that the damn thing would eat up more system resources than Crysis . For some reason, I didn't come across any bitching online about the game's preposterous installation process. The game takes about forty-five minutes to install, provided you dedicate that time to clicking on the million "next" and "I agree" buttons screen, and change the DVD (yes, it's a double-DVD game) promptly. So don't expect this game to install itself if you decide to "achieve other things" during said process.

During the installation, you are informed that GTA IV requires, not just GTA IV to be installed in order to work, but other things as well, as you can see (above) and (below). It saddens me to see that Rockstar is in cahoots with M$. It needs meaningful things like GFW, SP3, and er... IE. There's more fun to be had in setting up your GFW Live account and your Rockstar Games Social Club account. Yes, you need both of them if you want play online.

A few thousand clicks, a couple of registrations and a few updates later, you'll be good to go! Yay! Just two hours after inserting the first disc into your drive! Of course, you can choose to bypass the setting-up-of-accounts process if you're going to play offline. Of course, then you'd be a n00b.

So, there you have it, the prestigious "Most Tedious Installation" Award goes to GTA IV, not just for pwning the end-user, but also for making EA look like Mother Teresa.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bossfight GOTY 2008 : King of Swing Award - Steven Spielberg.

Who says the movie industry is full of pretentious, ignorant n00bs who will gladly faff about videogames without even playing a single one? We do, that's who. Like Roger Ebert and Rashid Irani.

But, unlike these morons, Steven Spielberg showed us that he's teh_2347 d34l. By creating the wonderfully refreshing and addictive Boom Blox, for the Wii and mobile platforms. Boom Blox proved to be one of the best uses of the Wiimote ever. It's intuitive, imaginative gameplay showed the way to attract more audiences to gaming - by creating accessible, original and fun games as opposed to lazy adaptations of board games or drab me-too clones of Bejewelled.

Boom Blox, besides being a great game in its own right, is more important than is immediately obvious. Its game mechanics and control scheme lend themselves to cloning in a very basic way, in that these can be used to vastly improve the way we interact with many different kinds of games. True, several games have attempted this in the past, but never before has using the Wiimote to interact with 3-D objects with plausible physics felt as absolutely natural as it does when grabbing, throwing, pushing and pulling the Blox in this marvellous game.

So take a bow, Mr.Spielberg. For showing us that when it comes to understanding how to entertain people in ANY medium, you're the man.

Here's a gameplay video :

The Bossfight Game of The Year Awards 2008

At-em, hearties! Listen up, Delta! Waaaaaaaaaaagh!

Whatever your battle-cry, there's no doubt that December is here. And you all know what that means! No, not Rajnikanth's birthday, you fanboys, it's time to celebrate the year's best in gaming! That's right, Bossfight kicks off our very first GOTY awards.

While we will be looking at the usual suspects with a keen, we'll also be giving a whole bunch of India specific awards.

And, since we're indisciplined assholes, we'll freewheel as long as the format is concerned. There will be platform specific awards, but apart from that we'll just hand out whatever we feel like. There, that's settled.

And, to get you warmed up for a taste of things to come, Bossfight's very own Anand Ramachandran and Videep Vijay Kumar are proud to present the very first GOTY in the Indian mainstream press - kudos to Aditya Sinha and his mates at the New Indian Express for supporting gaming like no other Indian daily newspaper. Hit the image for a larger screenie.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The genius of Popcap

This article first appeared on my weekly 'Game Invader' column for The New Indian Express.

Popcap games makes the world's most addictive, insanely fun games. Sorry Maxis. Sorry Blizzard. I'm afraid these guys are numero uno.

The cause of this rant is Peggle. A devilishly simple looking game, in which you drop a small ball into a playing board that consists of coloured pegs arranged in various patterns, sort of like a pachinko board. The aim of the game is to drop the ball in such a way that you clear all the pegs of a particular colour. It sounds simple. It is simple. But I challenge you to stop playing.

Within minutes, you'll be figuring out angles, using power ups, biting your nails, and fervently 'willing' the ball to drop in a favourable way. You'll be humming the tunes, ogling the cutesy-pie graphics, and cursing the evil geniuses who designed this mind-virus.

This isn't the first time popcap has done this to me. I've been, at various points in time, addicted to Zuma, Insaniquarium, and Bejewelled. I hate these people. It's all Popcap's fault.

Insaniquarium is actually a game where Popcap has managed to make fish-feeding a fun activity! The whole game revolves around the rather goofy and silly premise of keeping all the fish in your aquarium well-fed and happy. By clicking. That's it. Clicking, Like Diablo. Only crazier. You'll have to manage carnivorous fish that eat the herbivorous fish, you'll have to manage resources by allowing the fish themselves to generate pearls – which convert to cash to buy more food. And of course, you'll have to defend your fish from aliens that sudddenly appear in the tank. You heard me right. Aliens.

Many of you may have played a clone of Bejewelled – the classic match-3-gems-in-a-row puzzle. If so, you'll understand how Popcap games are – simple to learn, impossible to stop playing. It's a formula they seem to have mastered better than any other developer. In fact, in the midst of typing this article, I briefly went over to popcap's web site for 'just a few' rounds of Peggle! The masterly design, superb, pleasing production values, and finely-tuned gameplay makes their games unique, even in the highly competitive world of casual gaming. They're like the Pixar of casual gaming – showing repeated successes and spawning countless inferior imitators.

Popcap also makes these games available free to play on You'll need to install a small plug-in, and you're all set to play some of the finest games ever made. Just don't blame me for the loss in productivity!

In a world where the heavyweight and 'hardcore' games get all the fancy media coverage, the contribution of casual games is often overlooked. Tetris continues to be among the world's most played games. In fact, often people have said to me “Nah – I don't play games. Just Tetris.” Just Tetris? Think about that.

Companies like Popcap continue to draw millions of new users, and generate huge dollars for the industry. By making their games available on almost every available platform – Bejewelled and Zuma are available on PC, web browser, mobile, and even XBOX live arcade – they ensure that huge numbers of casual users become fans of gaming. A significant number of these will then experiment with hardcore titles, and who knows, they may even end up being chainsaw addicts on Gears of War.

But it would all have started with Peggle. Or Zuma. And it would all be Popcap's fault.

Why my gamerscore looks bad.

This article first appeared in my weekly Game Invader column for The New Indian Express.

Ok – this one's a rant against those of you who mock my puny XBOX live gamerscore. Don't laugh. You know who you are ;)

I admit, I myself often feel a bit, how do i put this, inadequate when I look at my rather modest points and achievements tally, when compared to the mighty achievements of those on my friends list. It isn't a happy feeling. It slowly, mockingly, goads me to play more XBOX games. It implores me to spend more time on Forza Motorsport 2. It pleads with me to explore every corner of GTA 4. It makes me want to complete every time trial in Braid. But even that isn't enough.

Because, you see, that is the sorry plight of the multi-platform gamer.

Thanks to my line of work, combined with personal inclinations, of course, I game on a wide variety of platforms. All the current gen (or is it still next-gen? I'm confused) consoles – XBOX 360, PS3 and Wii. The PC is also a regular – being so close to me throughout the day that games (namely, Peggle. Curses) is only a click away. Add to this a gaggle of handhelds – the PSP, DS, and my N-Gage compatible mobile phone that also plays Java games. And I haven't even begun on the emulated retro classics I dog from time to time.

While this no doubt makes it sound like I am a super-fortunate guy who spends every waking minute playing games on every conceivable platform, sadly it isn't true. I spend about the same amount of time (even less, I would hazard), as any mid-core gamer does. It's just that my time is divided across so many platforms. Leading, naturally, to a puny looking list of completed games on each individual one. Which is no doubt the cause of much merriment and amusement to my fellow gamers on XBOX live, or on N-Gage arena. But never mind them, I say.

So here I am, with gaming experience that is impressive in breadth but perhaps lacking in depth when compared to the guys who have played every single C and C game. Or every character in every instalment of Mortal Kombat. Or guys who have played Counter-Strike longer than some people have lived. Which means I get pwned more often than not when pitting my skills against them.

But I love this. And wouldn't have it any other way.

For me, the sheer wonder of discovering new gameplay ideas, characters and worlds is the draw. Sure, I enjoy the challenge of playing a testing, exciting game, but I'm not a completionist. When faced with an insurmountable difficulty spike in a game, I'll try once, twice, thrice. And then, I'll probably switch my attention to something else. In the past couple of years, the only games I've actually really finished are Bioshock, Halo 3, God of War (PSP) and Mass Effect. But I've played more than half the major releases on every platform in the same period.

Do I regret it? Actually, a bit. It would have been nice to have finished more games. But the truth is, given the kind of time on my hands, I'm glad I get to play and experience the joy of so many different kinds of games across platforms – which gives me a great bird's eye of where the industry is heading creatively.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Best WTF Film Scripts of All Time

You want teh_pWnage? You've got it.

The below are scans of an actual pitch that was circulated to buyers at a recent film market in India - where leading international film companies came to identify and buy Indian films to produce, market and distribute.

I won't demean the awesomeness of the pitches by dwelling on specific points or highlights. That would be disrespectful - like looking at the Taj Mahal and then dwelling on the merits of a specific dome or column.

I just so badly wish that one of these gets made into a film. That would be the most kvlt thing ever.

Click the images for a larger image - trust me, you don't want to miss a single detail.

[Note - I have deleted the name of the writer, which explains the odd white / black rectangles]