As I prepare to say goodbye to to the blog, I thought it would be a great time to revisit “Games of our Lives.” The original 3-part series was some of my favorite material to write, and I still go back and re-read them every now and then. I intended to cap off each year with a new entry, but that got away from me after I concluded part 3 with 2007. So without further adieu:
2008 – Super Smash Bros. Brawl – The original Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64 was a high school, and later dorm room favorite. I didn’t play very much of the GameCube followup, but the promise of more Smash Bros. on the Wii – a console I was already having so much fun with – was a no brainer.
Brawl is the last game I stood in line for at a midnight launch, a month before my wedding in 2008. It could very well be the last midnight launch I EVER attend.
With all its game modes and hidden characters, Brawl is an unbelievably deep game. A month after launch, I was still having a blast discovering things in the single player mode. So when I couldn’t sleep the night before our big wedding weekend, I naturally popped in Brawl.
The familiar feeling of smacking around characters like Link and Kirby with my old pal Mario really brought me back. I had just quit my job the day before, and was about to start my family the day after. But for a few pre-dawn hours, none of that mattered. I got to play.
2009 – Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – Last year was the first time since I started writing the blog that I named a Game of the Year, so it would have been easy to choose New Super Mario Bros. Wii. But when I think back on 2009, it all kind of pales in comparison to an unseasonably warm Sunday in early November when I got to meet my beautiful daughter.
I had missed the first Uncharted. It came out before I got my Playstation 3, and while it sounded cool (especially Nathan Drake’s badass shirt per Tim Schafer), but there were a ton of great games in my backlog by then.
Among Thieves was met with critical acclaim upon release, and must’ve set some kind of record for enthusiast press podcasts devoted to singing its praises. It’s a technically solid game, puts endearing characters into a compelling story, and even threw in rich multiplayer modes for good measure.
All that aside, I was desperately trying to finish Uncharted 2 as my wife’s due date approached, and that’s why it will always stick out in my mind. That whole week was a blur of making sure we were ready, from packing the hospital bag to washing the newborn clothes. And whenever my wife took a nap, or I managed to snag a spare moment, I would jump back into Nathan Drake’s search for Shangri-La. I was at the final boss, this close to beating the game when we finally had to go to the hospital, and I didn’t end up beating it until about a week after we brought my daughter home. So it has the distinction of being the first game I played as a dad, too.