Crispy Gamer

Jones Goes On Vision Quest To Find Game of the Year

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Last week, as my American counterparts celebrated Thanksgiving, as my friends and family gathered at giant tables to consume 20-pound doomed turkeys, I was in Vancouver, British Columbia enjoying a regular old Thursday.

Thanksgiving for Canadians, as you probably know, was nearly a month ago. So, with the Crispy Gamer offices shuttered in New York, with editors not tap-tap-tapping on my Inbox for stories, I decided to do something I had never done before: I would spend Thursday, Friday, and Saturday replaying through what are, in my opinion, the three games that are Game of the Year candidates.

What the hell, I figured. I've got nothing better to do. 

Those three games are Batman: Arkham Asylum, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Assassin's Creed II.

If you feel like arguing with my choices, consider that a sign that you also have nothing better to do.

Now, I like to dawdle when I game. I like to poke around in corners. I wander around. I look for things. I steep myself in the world.

But this time, there would be no time for dawdling. The idea is to sit down for extended gameplay sessions and consume all three in massive chunks and to reexperience each of these games in their entirety. I'd squeeze all three into my brain simultaneously--brain-size permitting, of course--in one gloriously indulgent act of gaming.

Movies get tied to an afternoon; an album can be consumed in a walk to the market. But games, like novels, get consumed over days, weeks, or even months. They get tied to your life, or more specifically to the rhythms of your life, in a tangible way. Mom sick? Girlfriend breaking up with you? Toilet backed up? Those things can color your experience of a game.

Over the course of any given year, as a reviewer, I play a lot of games, most of which all eventually blur together into one mostly terrible huge meta-game. For example, I played Batman in August. I've probably played at least 50 other games in the interim. All I can really remember of Batman is the vague sense that it was pretty fucking good. That's all I can usually remember about any game; the vague feeling that it gave me.

So like a student cramming for finals, or a Rhesus monkey hopped up on Jolt Cola, or a surreal amalgamation of those two things, I decided to live with all three of these games this week. I've got a pot of coffee going and plenty of sandwich meat in the fridge.

Over the next three days, I'll post my thoughts on all three, in my quest to find the good, the bad, and the overrated. Stay tuned.