2009 Calvin Awards: Best Videogame

February 9, 2009

I must admit that there is a lot to smash in this picture.

If you visited the BOP offices, you'd probably believe that the Video Game of the Year was Halo 3. Despite the fact that the game was released to the public in 2007, the group really seems to enjoy the team dynamic available to them with this infamous Xbox 360 shooter. Still, we can't name Halo 3 Game of the Year two years in a row, can we? Can we?

The game in the top spot this year reflects the ascension seen by Nintendo, which saw its market share fall significantly to Sony during what we will heretofore refer to as the GameCube years. (Me, I loved the GameCube. There were countless games on the system that I absolutely adored, including Eternal Darkness, Viewtiful Joe and Animal Crossing.) Since the Wii has come to prominence, though, a whole new world of gaming has opened up. People who haven't played on a system since the Atari are reliving their youth as they take on Wii Sports and other interactive games like it.

Our winner of Best Video Game is Super Smash Bros. Brawl, a game that is the grandchild of Super Smash Bros., which originally debuted in 1999 for the Nintendo 64. The second game in the series, Super Smash Bros. Melee, was created in 2001 for the GameCube and deserves mention along with those other games I noted in the paragraph above as one of the best ever made for the system. The Wii version, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, is the biggest and best ever.


For those unfamiliar with the game (and we're sad for you if this is true), Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a fighting game that lets players choose characters from the Nintendo family and smash each other around until a winner is declared. Playable characters include Mario, Luigi, Kirby, Bowser, Donkey Kong, Samus, Pikachu, Link, and a host of others. Each character has his or her own special moves, which means that someone who is skilled at the game can really dominate depending on who they play as. Things are even complicated along the way as special props are dropped, like guns, baseball bats, Pokeballs and more. These can be used to pack an extra wallop and hopefully smash your opponent out of the stadium.

The Smash Bros. series has always been a blast, but this time around, there's the added benefit of online play, which means that just as we did with Halo 3, friends can join up and play each other to settle the score as to who is truly the best smasher around. It's cute, it's funny and it's a joyous way to spend an evening.

Second and third place are owned by games targeted for the Nintendo DS. First up is the glorious strategy game from Square Enix, Final Fantasy Tactics A-2: Grimoire of the Rift. BOP has a faction of Final Fantasy fans - including me, and it's likely that this dedication to the series helped to bump this game up to runner-up in our annual poll. The game itself has players leading a clan of creatures to battle through a fictional land known as Ivalice, which happens to be the same setting as Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy XII. Essentially, you work your various team members to learn a variety of jobs, and then choose the best players for each battle. It's almost like creating a small family, and it offers all kinds of replay value. For fans of role-playing-games and figuring things out, it's a top notch option.

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