Amna Umen was born on the luscious planet known as Earth. Born in the latter parts of the 9th decade of the 20th century (the 80's in case there is any confusion). Amna's first console was an NES which he almost beat Super Mario Bros. 3 on...until his mother accidentally dropped a box on it making it reset. 17 lives were lost that day. Fast forward to his first new console, a Nintendo 64 where he beat his first game "Star Fox 64." But the good times were not to last, soon Super Smash Brothers would be released and he would fall into a deep dark addiction that would last 10 long years. His addiction would lead him to buy a Gamecube alongside his PS2 just to simply play Melee and Star Fox Assault, much disappointment lie in Star Fox Assault.
In the depths of his addiction his PS2 was a shining beacon of hope for a free life one day. But it was also not without it's vices, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy X and XI, and Xenosaga all grasped their fingers around the young gamer and dragged him down into the depths of JRPG hell.
LO did he receive a gift from the gods at Playstation Underground one day in the form of a demo for Shadow of The Colossus. Countless times he replayed the demo, wishing each time that the demo would be the whole game. His eyes were finally opened to the true potential of gaming as an art. Going from friend to friend he proclaimed the majesty and beauty of the game and even though his demo disc was lost in his tribulations, his will was not broken. Speeding at over 20 MPH over the speed limit he rushed to his local game store on the day the game was released, and he did play the game, and his life was changed forever. No longer could he play the generic JRPG or cookie-cutter shooter without wishing for more from them.
In the modern age he has turned into a frugal gamer, no longer able to play games for as long as he used to when he was in high school, he picks his games carefully. He can be found reading up on the history of the Fallout universe or speculating about the downfall of Rapture.
And he has retired from Super Smash Bros., seriously fuck that series. Eat a dick Sakurai.
Late last year I read an article that I stumbled upon called "58 Reasons Why Your Wallet Is Going to be Raped in 2011" Since then I have been checking off games on the list as they release and I play it, or as they get cancelled or delayed to 2012. And as I look back, this was one of the best years in gaming in years. We saw new installments in both the Elder Scrolls and Legend of Zelda saga, a revitalization of the Deus Ex series, and we even finally answered the life long question for some as to whether or not Duke Nukem Forever would come out. Statistically this year I bought more games than I have in years, and that says something because statistically I'm poorer than I was a few years ago. So picking my annual game of the year is proving to be a tough task this year. To preface this post lets see what games have received my extremely high distinction of getting the fabled Greasy Gringo (It's like the astronaut for MTV Movie awards, only crappier)
2010 - Fallout: New Vegas
2009 - Batman: Arkham Asylum
2008 - Fallout 3
2007 - BioShock
2006 - Kingdom Hearts II
2005 - Shadow of The Colossus
2004 - Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
2003 - Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
2002 - Kingdom Hearts
2001 - Final Fantasy X
Without a Fallout release this year I actually have to think about which game was the best combination of all things writing, music, fun and overall non-shittiness. So which games made the cut this year for me? Let's take a look.
LA Noire - Team Bondi
Being a lifelong fan of noir films and adventure based games made evident by my love of Grim Fandango. So when this game came out it was almost a dream come true, a detective game with more investigation than action and an amazing recreation of 1940's Los Angeles? How could it get any better? Wait I can play it in black and white? [Audible orgasm]
Portal 2 - Valve
When originally released as a fluffer to the already stacked release of The Orange Box, I'm sure Valve had no idea that this graduate based game would achieve the level of success that it did. Capitalizing on that Valve worked hard to top the fun and ingenuity that was the original Portal. Without doubt they succeeded and surpassed their goals with what I have said is the most entertaining game I have ever played. After beating the game 3 times in a month long span I had to give away my copy to stop myself from playing it a 4th. The fact that some of the best written characters of video game history are computers and AI's from this series says something about how well the writing is in this amazing sequel.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Eidos Montreal
To follow up a classic such as the original Deus Ex in this modern day of gaming is no easy task, but Eidos went head first into this challenge and came out with a stellar work of video game art. With a beautifully bleak world and a truly unique experience for each person playing it, this game made good on it's trailer hype (ahem Dead Island take notice) and became one of the most philosophically deep games I have played since BioShock.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Bethesda Game Studios
I will be honest I haven't had the time to play this game yet, as soon as I find the money and time to commit to this game I will be playing the shit out of this game. I have seen quite a bit of it being played and graphically for an open world game it is stunning, and the sheer amount of stuff that you can do is amazing. Call me swept up in the hype of it all but I am truly looking forward to diving balls first into this fish filled western RPG and could possibly name this a postmortem game of the year.
The ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Collection - Team ICO
Call this cheating but the improvements made for this collection did truly blow me away, I was just expecting an update to the graphics and a quick grab for money missed out on limited runs of ICO. But this was a truly amazing set, bringing new gamers into the realm of Team ICO's genius.
And now for the fabled Greasy Grino award for AmnaUmen's Game of the Year!
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
At the end of this game I felt the same feeling I felt when I finished Shadow of the Colossus for the first time, a sense of playing something different from the rest of the games of it's time. Human Revolution made me think hard about what my thoughts were on human augmentation, it made me think of the ethical and moral implications of making ourselves better through computer integration into our bodies. Also as stated earlier, each experience I have played and watched my friends play has been different from each others. Until I watched my roommate play through the game his first time I never knew that Wayne Haas will attempt to shoot you if you get him fired, or that the battle with Namir can be made extremely harder if you get the new chip that the game prompts you to get (which thankfully I skipped over completely by accident). With so many options and a absolutely engrossing world that sucks you in and almost depresses you, this game was an absolutely amazing experience to be had and will truly be one that I replay for years to come.