I'm a gamer. I love to play video games. For as long as I remember I've looked forward to browsing through the latest game offerings and wishing I could play everything. Lately, though, I feel like I've been in a slump. Where are all the great games? Store shelves are stocked with variations on a theme: Generic First-Person-Shooter 7, Generic 3D Platformer 9, Nostalgia Retro Mashup 4, SPORT! I take a look through the list of games coming soon and I don't get the least bit excited. I was considering a PS3, but after looking through the paltry list of titles worth playing, that's out. An Xbox 360 has a better selection, but nothing incredibly interesting. We have a Wii in the house, but the most excitement we've gotten out of that lately are LEGO games. I'm not looking for a ultra-violent blood soaked adventure. I'm not looking for an exercise / brain training game. I'm looking for something fun and innovative. Something that makes you smile when you play it. Something that doesn't require an immense investment. Where are you fun games?
The best game I've played recently is BioShock. That was a very interesting variation on the FPS theme, but at its core was still just a FPS. Games that fall into the category that I'm looking for are games like Katamari Damacy and Elite Beat Agents. There are a couple of games like that out now (Loco Roco, Patapon) but two interesting games is not worth the price of admission ($200 for a PSP plus the cost of the game). A quick look at upcoming games with a lot of hype doesn't really offer me anything. Gears of War 2 is a console based FPS. Strike one - I can't stand console based FPS games. The control is vastly inferior to what you get on a PC. Strike 2 - Nothing interesting in this game to make it stand out from, well, Doom really. And that game is how old now? 15 years old! Call of Duty : World at War. Again, another FPS, and this the fourth in the COD series. Even the developers are getting tired of this and have said this will be their last WWII based FPS. How about the Wrath of the Lich King expansion to World of Warcraft? As tempting as that sounds, I've been off the WarCrack for some time and don't really want to relapse. Fall0ut 3 and Resident-Evil 5 are coming up. Both are third person shooter adventures. I know, third person, what a revolutionary take on the first person genre right?
So what games are coming out that don't involve first or third person shooting? LittleBigPlanet is one. I'll admit, this one is an interesting variation on the 3D platformer theme. Unfortunately this media darling title is only available on the PS3, and is about the only really interesting title for the system. With a PS3 system running around $400 and the game another $60 or so on top of that, it better be one helluva game. Fable 2 is out for the Xbox 360. I really enjoyed the first one, but again is it worth purchasing a whole new system to play one game? Admittedly, the 360 has a pretty rich library of games, so it wouldn't be an entirely bad move. However, $250 for a new system plus the cost of the game is pretty steep. Guitar Hero might be fun, and I do like rhythm based games. Unfortunately most of the content for Guitar Hero is 80's and 90's pop rock, which I was never a big fan of.
The one ray of hope for interesting new games are the downloadable content on each system. The WiiWare titles on the Wii have been unique games, like World of Goo, that don't conform to the typical releases from major vendors. The Wii Virtual Console doesn't get me all that excited because the nostalgia of the old games wears off too fast. The WiiWare titles, on the other hand, are new content. The DS also seems to have the occassional divergent game, but these have so far been few and far between. The Wii has been a lot of fun so far, but lately Nintendo has seemed to avoid releasing true games. Between the Wii Fit, Wii Sports, and the myriad of franchise rehashes, there hasn't been much of interest to a jaded gamer looking for something new to play. Exer-gaming is fun, and I'm glad that Nintendo is getting non-traditional gamers into the mix, but I want to play a fun video game.
Have I missed something? Is there something out there right now that is new, different, and fun that I've just overlooked? I'm looking for suggestions here, so if there is something you've discovered and enjoyed, drop me a line in the comments.