2007 is almost over, and the end of the year brings joyous tidings of List Season. It's the time for taking stock of the last 12 months of gaming, and trying to make sense of it by putting things in numerical order. Join DS Fanboy for our best-ofs, worst-ofs, and other categories-ofs.
Weasked, and as always, you guys delivered. While the top-voted game of the year will probably come as no surprise to anyone, especially since it ran away with all the votes, the other five games that topped out in our readers' choice polls demonstrate not only the wide variety of content on the DS, but the depth of taste among DS Fanboy readers, as well. While the top games were above and beyond, every title feature snagged its fair share of votes. This can only mean one thing: it was one hell of a good year to be a DS owner.
So which six games were most deserving of attention this year, according to you guys? Mosey on past the break to see the winners.
Yesterday, we focused on some of the bigger games of 2007, as chosen by you. Today, however, we thought we'd look at the other games, the titles one or two people mentioned, somewhat wistfully, when we asked for your choices for the best and brightest. These games may not have gotten as much attention as titles like Phantom Hourglass, but that doesn't mean there aren't some real gems in the mix. From the quirky humor in Chocobo Tales to the portable and addictive destruction of Geometry Wars: Galaxies, these games all deserve another moment in the sun. The real question is: which are your favorites? Vote early, vote often!
It's an old complaint -- Nintendo games are too "kiddie" and the systems don't feature enough mature fare. The problem is that all gamers tend to define mature games in a different way. For some, it's all about the violence and gore, while for others, deep, thoughtful gameplay is what makes a "mature" title, whatever the rating may be.
Ishaan Sahdev has an interesting little post up over at Games.net that delves into this, in which games like Super Paper Mario and Zelda titles are examined as examples of mature titles -- as are Hotel Dusk and Trace Memory for the DS. Maybe they seem like lighthearted fare, as in the case of Super Paper Mario, or feature a youthful protagonist, as with Trace Memory, but they offer a memorable gameplay experience that can pull gamers into another world. Maybe that's not something maturity has a lock on, but Sahdev is right when saying that it usually equates to an enjoyable game. Is that really the kind of mature that we need more examples of? We're not one to shun blood and gore, but a game doesn't have to be Halo to be as engrossing as Halo. Sometimes, all it takes is an Ace Attorney, quirky characters, and interesting dialogue ... blood not required.
We seriously need more game reviews like this one. Krystian Majewski looked at the design of Hotel Dusk in terms of the behavior it caused in a player. By videotaping his girlfriend playing through the first chapter, he was able to calculate the percentage of the game involving interacting with people, interacting with items and the environment, or changing locations. He then mapped her spoken responses to the game to the kind of gameplay in which it occurred, to see where the player was most engaged.
It turns out that it isn't the characters that generate the biggest emotional response, but rather the interactions with the environment-- the puzzles. Majewski speculates that "When interacting with objects, the player is acting on his own so the feeling of responsibility is much greater." For this game, at least, it would seem that the story doesn't drive immersion as much as the gameplay, which is a pretty interesting hypothesis. We'd like to see the same kind of experiment done for a Final Fantasy game.
The year is half over, and while we've got some big guns yet to come, there are months of gaming behind us. Considering that, we figured it was about time we asked: what's the best DS game you picked up this year? It needn't have necessarily been released this year, but since the beginning of 2007, what newly acquired title has spent the most time in your machine?
We're guessing more than half the answers might start with "P" and end with "-okémon." But you know us -- we love a good adventure game.
It's doubtful that any publishers will ever pick up Detective Saburo Jinguji for North American localization, but with adventure titles making a comeback on the DS, maybe it's not that farfetched of a dream?
Developer Arc System Works has posted a teaser site to drum up interest for the seasoned private eye's DS debut, detailing some of the its features and providing a Flash demo for visitors to try out. Though the trial consists mostly of Japanese dialogue and menus, it's a nice preview of the game's jazzy soundtrack and photographic presentation. Plus, if you investigate the crime scene enough, you might come across some familiar consoles!
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Tantei Jinguuji Saburou's (Detective Saburo Jinguji) debut on the Famicom Disk System, WorkJam plans to bring the adventure game series to the DS. Despite appearing on a multitude of consoles ranging from mobile phones to the PS2, the chain-smoking sleuth's bebop-jazz-filled murder mysteries haven't yet been localized for the US audience.
Given the success of Phoenix Wright and Hotel Dusk in the states, both of them also being adventure titles, perhaps we'll finally see an English translation for this one? Come on Atlus, we can cross Touch Detective 2 off the possible-projects list and bring this gumshoe game over instead, right?
Players investigate their cases through menu-based interrogations and actions, piecing together clues found at crime scenes while taking Saburo through Shinjuku's tough streets. Bring your magnifying glass and deerstalker hat past the post break for screenshots of the stylish DS title and a gameplay trailer from the series' GBA release, Detective Saburo Jinguji: The Woman With the White Shadow.
All this week, the DS Fanboy staff is letting you in on a few of their favorite titles. Each day, a different member of the staff will present their personal top five DS games along with a snapshot of their gaming paraphernalia and habits, in an effort to provide our readers with a little more information on the tastes and personalities of our writers.
If there's anything that can be said about my life -- and that includes my gaming life -- it's that it's messy. I'm messy. I have all this organizational garbage that's supposed to make it easier to store and find all my stuff, but see, I keep accumulating more stuff, and so I need more organizational items ... it's a vicious cycle, and it's part of why I love cartridges. I know where the box is for Clubhouse Games. It's about three feet away as I type this. I could get it, but why? Clubhouse Games goes in and out of my beloved handheld so often, I usually just leave it here on my desk along with the other games I'm interested in at the moment, and I don't have to worry about it getting all scratched up because it isn't delicate like some pansy disc. This makes me happy. I have to be more careful with CDs and DVDs ... but that doesn't mean there aren't a few stacks of discs around my workspace. Believe me, if it's at all stackable, I'm gonna stack it, and to hell with the consequences.
Of course, the problem with the size of DS carts means that sometimes I lose my Clubhouse for a while, and that makes me unhappy to the extreme. Luckily, there are other games that can distract me ....
Well, unless you're just dying for a little portable Cake Mania -- and we know some of you are, you baking fiends -- then if you're in the U.S., all you can do is see what everyone else is going to be playing this week. And the you can make time for that stack of games you haven't finished yet.
We've been keeping a close eye on Monster Rancher DS (or, to use the more exciting! Japanese name, Kaite, Shabette, Hajimeyou! Monster Farm DS). Now we have more reason to be excited, we think. Who has Tecmo "farmed" (heh, heh) the development of this title out to?
Cing, for some reason! Cing, who is responsible for Trace Memory and Hotel Dusk, both of which were fairly well-received and high-profile. We aren't sure how their adventure-game development skills will transfer into monster-training, but we're optimistic. Cing at least knows a lot about making good use of DS features.
What do you think about the news? Is there another DS-centric developer you'd rather see on the Ranch?
If you are the kind of person who might have a few euros in your pocket, then you might want to break out a calendar and that special red pen, because the latest list of upcoming DS releases is full of stars. Even better? The next two months are pretty packed. Makes up for a few of those lackluster weeks, eh?
Hit the jump if you wish to grok the list in fullness, and remember, this is by no means complete. Do we need to mention also that it's subject to change? In fact, since it's a European list, we're pretty sure it will change, and probably often.
The New Gamer might not have enjoyed their stay at Hotel Dusk: Room 215, but they appreciate the work put into creating its memorable characters. Adding onto the unique visual style, each individual has a rich set of expressions and postures to communicate with. When one of the hotel guests describes a mannerism of the game's protagonist, you know exactly what he means by "that serious look in [Kyle's] eyes."
Sonic's toe-tapping idle animation and King Hippo's falling shorts were also cited as great examples of unforgettable character details. Simple idiosyncrasies like that stay with you long after you've finished playing a game. What unique traits have you seen give a collection of pixels an identity? Was it Midna's sigh? Or Dry Bones' skeletal chuckle as he passed you in Mario Kart DS?
There have been a lot of familiarfranchises on the DS, and we love them! But, and this is where a lot of the system's publicity comes from, there has also been an explosion of new genres and new experiences, as well as revivals of past trends. So, as hardcore gamers (the kind who read game blogs), has your gaming universe been expanded by the DS? Have you taken part in any completely new experiences? Played your first graphicaltext adventure? Minigame collection? Whatever Brain Age was?
Or maybe what you discovered on the DS is something popular that you just missed out on for some reason, like Final Fantasy or Castlevania. We want to hear about your experiences! We want to know how the DS has affected your gaming tastes! We want to know how you classify Brain Age!
As hard as it is for us to admit it, not everyone loves the rebirth of the adventure game that's been brought about by the DS. For some, the action in games like Phoenix Wright and Hotel Dusk just isn't enough.
We, however, are pretty obvious fans of the adventure game and find it intriguing when people bring up the idea of true visual/interactive stories that use the DS as a vehicle. Sure, you can read whatever you want on your DS with a little work, but we think it might be keen if people designed more stories that are meant to be experienced on a handheld. What's your stance? Do you prefer games that are a little more involved, or are you as in love with adventure gaming as we are?
Hey, guess what we're playing this weekend? Probably the same thing you are, no doubt. Yes, it's a little game by the name of Hotel Dusk: Room 215. Interactive is the name, and mystery is the game in this noir-inspired title. We cannot wait to pick up our copy this afternoon, come home and get under the covers (it's cold here, y'know) with our new game.
What about you guys? Will you be joining us, or do you have another game (or games) in mind for this weekend?