Winner: The Orange Box
EA/Valve | 360, PS3, PC
In a year marked by some of the best games in history - BioShock, Rock Band, and Super Mario Galaxy just to name a few - it's amazing that the only argument we had in choosing the Game of the Year was whether to give it to the five-game Orange Box as a collection or whether Portal earned the trophy all on its own. It's that good.
Portal's concept is simple, unique and brilliant: You have a gun that literally shoots holes, which forces you to think in ways you never have before and feels more fresh and intriguing than any puzzle game we've played since Tetris. The dialogue is absolutely freaking brilliant, and finishing the game unlocks one of the most infectious theme songs in the history of mankind, which then bores itself directly into your brain. Game of the Year? This three-hour masterpiece is it.
So why didn't we just give the award to Portal by itself? Because PS3 and 360 owners literally can't buy it without also getting a metric gigaton of additional gaming bliss. Team Fortress 2 would be a strong contender for multiplayer game of the year on its own, and we shouldn't have to tell you how good Half-Life 2 and its two expansion packs are. The fact that a giant, money-grubbing megapublisher didn't break this into three separate full-price games deserves a standing ovation. If the PS3 version hadn't been released with technical problems, we'd have upped that to a Nobel Peace Prize.
With Orange Box sporting this historic combination of value for the money, quality, and creativity, we'd have to have great, bloody holes in our collective heads to give our Platinum Chalice Game of the Year award to any other game. We've never met a gamer who only bought one game a year, but if we did, we'd recommend The Orange Box - and especially Portal - over everything else 2007 had to offer. It's the best.
Honorable mention: BioShock
2K Games | 360, PC
In a year polluted by obvious sequels and repackaged compilations, BioShock stood out as a shining beacon of hope. Yes, a game can dare to be original and different. Yes, a game can aspire to - and achieve - the same maturity and subtlety of art forms like film and literature. And yes, such a heady game can still kick all sorts of ass in the action and horror departments. Thanks, BioShock, for showing everyone else how it should be done.