Year in brief: Not a lot changed this year from the previous two. Nintendo continued pushing the DS Lite as an “everyone” platform while third parties picked up the hardcore slack, releasing dozens of top-notch “gamer games” throughout the year. From RPGs to puzzlers to classic 2D action titles, the DS proved itself as a robust platform with plenty of traditional and off-the-wall efforts, making it the system to beat for yet another year.
Above: Carrie Underwood totally loves that old ass game!
Criticism: If you were tired of the Brain Age / Nintendogs / Cooking Trainer scene perpetuated by Nintendo, 2008’s series of celebrity-endorsed commercials probably irked you even further. In fact, Nintendo seemed almost devoid of “gamer” marketing, focusing instead on people who prefer Dancing with the Stars to the latest Zelda or Metroid. Not only was this campaign loaded with “um, why?” celebs, it also promoted age-old games that we’d long since passed on. A Nintendogs commercial in 2008? C’mon!
Above: 2008 also brought us the carpal tunnel-inducing Guitar Grip
Sales: It wasn’t another doubling of the previous year, but the DS was still steamrolling the competition with 96 million units sold through December. At this point it’s entering the top tier of best-selling game machines of all time, closing in on the current king, PS2 with 138 million over nine years.
Best game of 2008: Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword
This was an amazing year for software, usually with 2-3 quality games released every month at a minimum. But no game better exemplified the platform’s strengths than Dragon Sword, a fire-blooded action title that was just as intense as the console versions yet completely controlled with the stylus. It looked great, sounded perfect and played better than 90% of the games claiming to have intuitive touch screen controls.
Honorable mentions: Final Fantasy IV, Professor Layton, Ninjatown
Worst game of 2008: Homie Rollerz
Meanwhile, some people don’t mind releasing unfinished catastrophes like Homie Rollerz. We don’t want to spend any more time discussing this flotsam, so read our 1/10 review for the details. Yes, ONE out of ten!
Hateful mentions: Tornado, more offensive shovelware crap like Hell’s Kitchen
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