A look back at 2009

2009

With the year in its final hours, I’d like to look back on the first year of this blog in a small retrospective.

Projects

What worked out well is blogging about some projects of mine and pulling motivation for them out of the act of blogging about them. There was the Persona 3 FES calculator, which helps with calculating Persona combinations, and War in Space, a small XNA game. I learned quite a lot from these projects, both about the actual programming and design as well as about what it takes to bring such a side-project to completion. This aspect of the blog will definitely continue next year.

New series

I blogged a tiny bit about some other aspects of my life, hinted at in the post about the Garmin Forerunner and gpsies.com. Generally, I don’t want to blog about personal matters, but the aspect from that post will receive some more attention in a series about “Digital Fitness”.

What I didn’t get around to are two other series of posts. The first is “Learning Languages from Games” which concentrates both on what is generally possible with games as well as concrete examples. When I have some more time, I’ll definitely kick that one off. The other is a series of posts called “Game Effects” in which I want to describe with small demos how some effects in computer games are created. This will eventually start as well.

Games of 2009

The major part of this blog was definitely about games. Apart from the two projects already mentioned, I also covered my stay at the GDC Europe. And of course I blogged whenever I had finished a game, posting some info and my personal impression of the game in question. Looking back, I made it to 29 games, which amounts to 2.4 games per month. Of course, the games varied wildly in length. The Telltale games were pretty much the shortest with something like 4-6 hours each but definitely not the worst, while the ~100 hours of Persona 3 FES undoubtedly make it the longest.

Best game 2009

Another question now is which games were the best of this year? Starting from the other end, I think InFamous and 15 Days were the weakest games I played. InFamous seemed better when I played it, but after playing Assassin’s Creed as well as Batman: Arkham Asylum afterwards, it felt pretty weak. 15 Days was definitely the weakest adventure, with way too little interaction.

At the top, the decision is very hard. A lot of the games I played left very good impressions and memories. Modern Warfare 1 had a degree of immersion I rarely found in a game before. Thinking back to Apollo Justice and Trucy from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney still brings a smile to my face. The final dialogue from Mass Effect makes me eager to continue with the story as Commander Shepard next year.

If I had to name one game as the best I played this year, it would be The Whispered World, due to the intelligent riddles and the emotional ending which leaves a strong memory behind. Yet almost all other games I played are close runner-ups with strong points of their own.

On this page you will eventually be able to see an overview of the game reviews of 2009 with a shiny new Silverlight applet I’m still working on which arranges the entries in chronological order. A small preview of the current state can be seen at the top of this post.

So to anyone who might read this blog, have a nice New Year’s Eve, stay safe and see you next year!

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