In the soup
Arab shooting gallery


Happy-camper-plate My long-promised essay on DeathSpank is finished. I decided to use it for my monthly GameSetWatch column, so when it appears there I'll let you know. Our discussion here about comedy in games was quite useful to me, and I incorporated a few of those thoughts into the new piece. So, thanks.

In the meantime, I've been thinking about the splendid world of games recently and wondering if others find themselves in a similar state of euphoria. The short story is this: I'm swimming in terrific games - so much so that I've begun to question myself a bit. Have my standards fallen? Am I a sucker for the latest shiny thing? If I wave my flag for too many games, do I risk compromising my critical credentials?

I'm looking at a pile (real and virtual) of games I've played recently, and I can't think of a time when I've felt more satisfied as a gamer. Here's a list of games - limited to summer releases- all of which I've enjoyed. I don't claim all are masterpieces (in fact, some contain serious flaws), but each is a high-quality game I found great pleasure playing. By the way, I can't claim to have finished all these games. I do have a life, folks. :-)

  • Blur (multi)
  • DeathSpank (multi)
  • Dragon Quest IX (DS)
  • Joe Danger (PS3)
  • Kometen (iPhone)
  • Limbo (360)
  • ModNation Racers (pending forthcoming load-time patch) (PS3)
  • Monkey Island 2: Special Edition (multi)
  • Out of the Park Baseball 11 (PC)
  • Persona 3 Portable (PSP)
  • Red Dead Redemption (multi)
  • rRootage (iPhone)
  • Sin & Punishment: Star Successor (Wii)
  • Super Mario Crossover (PC)
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 (Wii)
  • Zeno Clash: Ultimate Edition (360)

I'm also waiting for an unheralded downloadable indie browser game called StarCraft II, which may turn out to be worth a look. I'll let you know.

We used to think of summer as a dry spell for games, but, increasingly, interesting and ambitious games appear throughout the year. With the usual spate of release delays accounted for, we can no longer point to a specific period on the calendar as prime time for new games. In fact, I'd say this summer makes last year's holiday season (typically the ideal release window) look like the dry season.

I fear I sound like Dr. "best of all possible worlds" Pangloss, when I say it, but video games are making me very happy these days. Is this Arcadia, or am I living in a fool's paradise?