December 18, 2009 - Kind of like when VH1 decided to start its I Love The 90s series in 2004, reflecting back on games released just a year (or less) ago feels a bit soon. Still, it wouldn't make any sense to stop at 2007, so let's take a look at the games you're no doubt still playing and enjoying and what they brought to the table.
Fallout 3 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Open-world RPGs don't get much more open than Oblivion. There was a grand story to be sure, but how many players opted to ignore that and go on their own quests they stumbled across? Oblivion is an experience that gives near absolute player freedom in a huge world with things to do and explore at every turn. Besides taking the Elder Scrolls series to new heights, Oblivion also served to humble PCs across the world that were unequipped to play the graphical juggernaut of its time. Fortunately, the Xbox 360 arrived just in time, allowing gamers to play without needing to sell a kidney to upgrade their desktop.
Personal Highlight: To nuke, or not to nuke. That is the question. One of the earliest ethical decisions presented is a doozy: Do you nuke the town of Megaton or not? Me, well, I'm a wuss and let them live. But, should I ever get around to a second playthrough, you can bet things will be different.
Coming from the mind of Will Wright, creator of SimCity and The Sims, Spore was to be the next evolution in gaming. The scope was astonishing, causing widespread speculation on if Maxis could even pull off such a grandiose game. In the end, Spore succeeded more than it failed, giving a solid start to a new franchise. Still, simplistic gameplay hampered what was otherwise the ultimate God-game.
Personal Highlight: The character creator. Along with millions of others, I downloaded the limited option character creation tool before Spore's launch and spent hours making fantastic creations. Of course, it wouldn't be user-generated content without pushing the envelope of what could be created in a PG game. In fact, that may be the biggest joy of all.