A lack of originality is often bemoaned by many gamers but very rarely celebrated in an equal amount when originality is present. That’s why this award has its own category. Read on to find out what our staffers and some notable forum folk have nominated as their most original game of 2010.
DeathSpank — by Iyield2no1
Released on July 13th, 2010, by Hothead Games, DeathSpank had one of the funniest stories of this past year. Not taking themselves seriously, Hothead Games went with the over-the-top dialog, making you laugh as you explored your answer options. You didn’t rush to see how the story advanced but to find out what funny, crazy things DeathSpank was going to say next.
A Dispenser of Justice, Vanquisher of Evil, and a Hero to the Downtrodden – DeathSpank’s funny dialog had you helping this dim-witted hero towards his goal of obtaining The Artifact! In an age of big budget games, it is refreshing to see a video game company take a different route and insert humour throughout a game. Sure, you’ve got humour in every game, but it’s just situational humour. It’s hard to do a whole game that’s funny around every turn without seeming like you’re trying to be funny!
Minecraft — by Shanghai Six
This comes down to several titles, of which you’ve got, Heavy Rain, Limbo and Minecraft. While I’m sure there are more out there, these three titles stand out in my head as trying to really break the mold and work outside the accepted medium that we’ve come to know and love.
I’m going to absolutely have to go with Minecraft. Despite personally not being a big fan of the game, I can get behind what it was going for in its execution, and I can appreciate that the game was just about having fun and building things. Instead of going for a hyper- realistic presentation or putting in a multiplayer mode with unlockable weapons and a persistent levelling, this game went all 8-bit on us and opened up sandbox gaming as we know it. You still hear stories from friends and other journalists who have had epic adventures within the game’s boundaries.
Limbo — by Jatosin
Limbo broke the gaming code; it did everything wrong, but for some reason it felt right. Limbo presented gamers with little to no story, but you had a sense of urgency to accomplish something, even though you had no idea what that something was. The graphics of the game where simple. Even if you went back two generations ago, they still would have been on the low side. The game presented itself with a monochromatic hue of black and white, but it accomplished what some games cannot do with full spectrum colours and 3D graphics: immersion.
The protagonist was a little boy had no identifiable features except a pair of glowing eyes, which drew you into his world. Even with the simplistic appearance, there was something that drew you into the game world of Limbo. You felt every death, and you generally felt sorry for the boy as he traversed the landscape wrought with danger. The soundtrack consisted of some eerie ambient sounds of water drips and machines. The occasional crash was enough to make you jump, and the lack of music and sound helped in making you feel the loneliness and sadness the boy felt.
This puzzle-platformer was a fresh breath of air, with the over-saturated shooter and action games that blanket the gaming market these days. Limbo’s gameplay was spot-on: every jump was precise, and very few times you felt like you were cheated when you died. You knew that the reason you died was because you did not do the puzzle right, not that the game was broken. Limbo was the first game of the impressive Summer of Arcade this year, showing impressive critical and retail numbers.
Heavy Rain — by TheStonedSheep
Yes, that game. For all of its flaws, Heavy Rain can still hold its head up high for doing one thing: breaking the mold. Quantic Dream stuck their foot out and committed to creating something completely different from other video games. Whether it be in the control scheme, the use of cinematography, or the deep story, Heavy Rain is riddled with innovation. Despite its problems, you can simply not discount the fact that Heavy Rain was something special. It proved games can be dark and involving to a much deeper level than any other game before it. The way the game was presented to you and interacted with you was phenomenal; the atmosphere created in each level was brilliant as well. In some levels (or should I say scenes), I felt genuine fear, sadness, and panic. Heavy Rain is a far from perfect game, but I feel that it has done enough to earn its rightful place as Most Original Game of 2010.
So, those are the four games that you, the community, get to choose from as FTG’s Most Original Game of 2010. Please vote in the poll in the forums (and don’t forget to thanks FTG’s new site artist Batman5273 for his amazing work with the art for these awards!).