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GameStooge Awards 2009: Technical Awards, Part II

The 2009 GameStooge Awards continue with the fourth part of the Awards – the Technical category that covers expansions, digital games, and the surprise games of 2009.

With no further ado, here is Part II of the Technical Awards.

Best Expansion of 2009

And the winner is…

Fallout 3: Broken Steel

Despite the five strong contenders – with other expansions from other games that could have easily have been nominated – Fallout 3: Broken Steel was the standout of the six expansions for our 2008 Game of the Year: not only did it raise the level cap, but it allowed you to survive the ending if you’d chosen to sacrifice yourself. That alone makes it the Expansion of the Year. A special shoutout to Dr. Ned, which also raised the cap of Borderlands and featured a massive amount (over 1GB) of content as well.

Jerry BonnerFallout 3: Broken Steel. I have to admit that Fallout 3 stole more of life than I’d like to admit and all the excellent expansions didn’t help matters any.

Best Digital Game (Original) of 2009

And the winner is…

Plants Vs. Zombies

Digital distribution games have become just as popular as full retail games, partly due to the proliferation of Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and WiiWare, but also because they’re very budget minded. Most of the best gaming experiences in 2009 were found in games that cost $20 or less. This year, there were tons of quality original IPs, and culling the number to a final five was difficult. Even more difficult was deciding between Plants Vs. Zombies, Battlefield 1943 and Shadow Complex. In the end, PvZ was the most accessible of the three, and the most addictive. Every nominee, however, is well worth the price.

Jerry BonnerPixel Junk Shooter. It reminds me of an old school, C64 game that I loved, Space Taxi. I played this more than any downloadable game this year.

Best Digital Game (Adaptation) of 2009

And the winner is…

Trials HD

Among the group of nominees includes one of the biggest award winners of last year (Braid) and one of the most addictive puzzle games of the decade (Peggle), as well as a beloved fighter (Marvel Vs. Capcom 2). The winner, however, is the surprise hit of Summer of Arcade II: Trials HD, the high-def remake of the flash game Trials. This Excitebike 2009 update provided some of the most addictive gameplay of the year, as well as a level editor and video sharing feature. Maybe this will influence Nintendo to make their own real Excitebike update.

Jerry BonnerMarvel Vs. Capcom 2. 2D fighting at its best!

Best Multiplayer Gameplay of 2009

And the winner is…

Halo 3: ODST

This was one of the toughest categories. You had the tried-and-true Left 4 Dead 2, with some new game modes, while New Super Mario Bros. Wii allowed four players to co-op/compete traditional-style SMB levels, while Borderlands and Demigod had their faithful. However, it was Halo 3: ODST‘s Firefight mode that won it the award – it brought a whole new level of addiction to the venerable series. Those players who enjoyed co-op campaigns got their wish: a co-op mode that randomized things a little. It also doesn’t hurt that ODST came with every single multiplayer map for those gamers who didn’t shell out for them on release. For unnominated games, a shout out to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – even though the multiplayer is utterly broken (and a reason it’s not a nominated), its in-game achievements and medals made it addictive.

Todd HargoshNew Super Mario Bros. Wii. Only had a short time playing this with my girlfriend but it was so intuitive.

Jerry BonnerNew Super Mario Bros. Wii. A very fun twist on an old standard.

Best Game You Didn’t Play in 2009

And the winner is…

Dead Space Extraction

Notice anything about the nominees? Yes, they’re all Wii and Nintendo DS games, though, honestly, Chinatown Wars was a PSP game, and those don’t sell either. However, there’s hundreds of millions of Nintendo consoles, and no one are buying serious efforts, even Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (and you can’t pin that on an M-rating.) Shame on Nintendo for creating a user base that simply doesn’t buy any games at all. Perhaps the king of overlooked games is Dead Space Extraction, a thrilling rail-shooter that has sold to date a grand total of 190,000 units. Yes, 190,000 units since September 2009. It’s a criminal shame.

Todd HargoshMadWorld. I’d have to say MadWorld. Watched videos of it on Youtube and the gameplay looked so outrageous combined with the unique visual style and the MXC style commentary from John DiMaggio enhances it. “No means no and yes means anal!” Classic!

Jerry BonnerMadWorld. A really badass title with an interesting art style that deserved more attention. Too bad it came out on the Wii.

Jordan Lund. There are always games that slip through the cracks. If people started buying them they would be called “sleeper hits”, but when nobody buys them they just kind of fade away.

Suikoden Tierkreis – Nintendo DS. The latest entry into the Suikoden series and the first to return to a traditional style 2D JRPG since Suikoden II way, way back in 1999. It plays the same way as the original Suikoden titles, with slightly dumbed down battle tactics. It’s a shame it only sold around 7,000 copies the first week in the U.S. and topped out around 50,000 total.

Phantasy Star Portable – Sony PSP. Attempting to bring Phantasy Star Universe to a portable is a monumental task and some areas did suffer for it. There is no “town” per se, simply an over-head map where you navigate from dot to dot which represent characters to talk to. The actual gameplay and narrative though is just as strong as any entry to date and certain streamlining made it as playable as any entry since the original Phantasy Star Online. Yet only 25,000 Americans bought it during the launch week, compared to over 300,000 in the Japanese market. It did go on to sell around 130,000 in the U.S. so hopefully we’ll see Phantasy Star Portable 2 sometime next year.

Best Surprise of 2009

And the winner is…

Batman: Arkham Asylum

No one expected Batman: Arkham Asylum to be the smash hit it was. Most people thought it was yet another beat-’em’-up in the style of Watchmen: The End is Nigh. Some of the more observant noticed that the game was written by Paul Dini, and that the voice acting featured many from the Animated Series. However, Rocksteady’s pedigree was in question, so when the game was released with a perfect balance of stealth and combat, it was a total surprise. A special shout out goes to Dead Space Extraction. “A rail-shooter version of Dead Space for the Wii” didn’t exactly inspire confidence – but it rocked, big time.

Todd HargoshBatman: Arkham Asylum. Need I say more?

Jerry BonnerBatman: Arkham Asylum. A licensed game with Batman as the main character can’t be this good, can it?

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    3 Responses to “GameStooge Awards 2009: Technical Awards, Part II”

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    1. Sean Says:

      I think Modern Warfare 2 should be up there somewhere.

    2. GameStooge Awards 2009: Genre Awards, Part II | Game Stooge Says:

      [...] Technical Awards, Part II [...]

    3. GameStooge Awards 2009: Technical, Part I | Game Stooge Says:

      [...] Technical Awards, Part II [...]

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