Oh 2008, you provided me with so much. From penis shaped levels on LittleBigPlanet to penis shaped monsters in Spore. From over sized sweater monkeys in Soul Calibur IV to Snake’s ED in Metal Gear Solid 4. And when I wasn’t busy gawking at virtual sex organs, I played some great games too.

But sometimes, videogame industry, you made me into a curmudgeon. I tried to stay positive, but then you didn’t let me rip off Batman’s head with Scorpion or you released Home in the middle of December, and, and… No, no you calm down.

Here it is, every moment you made me grit my teeth. These are all the times you broke my heart, you cruel mistress. You sexy, luscious cruel mistress.

20. Nintendo’s Video Game Releases

The Cold Hard Facts: While Nintendo dominated the videogame market with 2 million Wii’s sold this November, their software left much to be desired. Generally, the folks behind Mario have launched their flagship titles like Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario Galaxy between Turkey Day and Christmas, but this year hardcore fans were left in the gutter like junkies without a fix. Wii Music and the copy/paste edition of Animal Crossing, what’s a Nintendo fan got to do to get some substance around here?

The Healing Process: Next year’s schedule is packed with Nintendo goodness. We know Punch-Out! and Sin and Punishment 2 will drop in 2009, and we can expect Kid Icarus to get the announcement it deserved six months ago. Until then, Ubisoft Montreal has thrown us a life preserver in the form of Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip. And if you’re the rare Wii owner that hasn’t invested in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, now’s as good a time as any.

19. 90% of World of Goo Installs Were Pirated

The Cold Hard Facts: While PC gamers and big studios continued to grapple over DRM, our disillusionment with gaming piracy began when the small indie studio 2D Boy, creators of World of Goo, announced that an estimated 90% of their game’s installs were pirated.

While we don’t advocate stealing from “the man,” a tiny innovative studio especially needs all the financial support it can get. Sadly, they only got the tithing end of what’s rightfully theirs.

The Healing Process: 2D Boy’s not bankrupt! And thanks to Best of… lists, World of Goo can expect sales into and after the holiday. I bought it last night. You should do the same, as this gem’s deceptively rich.

As for the pirates in the audience, buy what you play. You can’t afford it? Deal. I can’t afford an apartment bigger than a breadbox, but I get by. And don’t feed us balognna about how you want to play World of Goo, but you refuse to pay full price for it. How would you like your job to stop paying you, because they want you to work, but they never really plan on coughing up more than $25k a year?

18. Ebert Still Hates Video Games

The Cold Hard Facts:I am still not sure video games can be “art” in the sense that we use it in this thread, but I am convinced they are getting a lot better. However, if I had at the beginning of my career been told I would spend the next 41 years playing video games, I would have taken up professional knitting.” – Roger Ebert

The Healing Process: Ebert’s barbs are a response to Slate’s thoughtful look at videogames in their second annual Gaming Club. We may not have the man with the thumbs on our side just yet, but we’ve got our own batch of critics like N’Gai Croal, Stephen Totilo, Leigh Alexander, Chris Dahlen, Seth Scheisel, Brian Crecente, Jeremy Parish, Adam Rosenberg, Michael Abbot, Shawn Elliot, Brandon Boyer, Maggie Greene, Kieron Gillen

17. Burnout Paradise Omits Crash Mode

The Cold Hard Facts: A note to Criterion dated December 17, 2007: What are you thinking, Criterion? Crash Mode made the Burnout series. And how am I supposed to take down my friends from the comfort of a shared couch without split-screen multiplayer. You’re killing me. Literally. This game’s going to blow chunks over the empty streets of Paradise City. Empty, because no one’s going to play the damn game.

The Healing Process: A note to Criterion dated December 17, 2008: Dear Criterion, I apologize for any ill feelings I may have wished you last December. You have produced the first game that I have ever played for a solid 12 months. The crashes, the races, the busy streets and constant updates: you gave me more even when I did not ask. Long live the saviors of racing.

16. The Championship Gaming Series Folds

The Cold Hard Facts: Another year, another failed competitive gaming circuit. The CGS’s promoters were right to think gamers deserve recognition for their achievement. Perhaps this idea was too ahead of it’s time.

The Healing Process: Or perhaps this company was looking for all the right things in all the wrong places. This year, games like World of Goo, Prince of Persia and even Metal Gear Solid 4 made our favorite hobby out to be art, not sport. With Jason Rohrer, Jonathan Blow and other innovators molding the medium to express themselves and the world around them, games may get the mainstream recognition they deserve, just not how we originally expected.

15. GTA IV DLC Doesn’t Make 2008

The Cold Hard Facts: GTA IV hit the streets aboard a hype train only topped by The Dark Knight. But like all hype trains it eventually sputtered to a halt with a swell of backlash. While companies like Criterion and Bethesda knew to dish out their update DLC quickly to prevent a property from turning stale, Rockstar sat pretty.

The Healing Process: February 17th, 2009. $20. Take a look.

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