Gaming icons of 2007: Part one

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As 2007 draws to a close, we say our goodbyes to what has arguably been one of the greatest years for videogames ever. With so many amazing releases, this year has been absolutely stunning, and we can now definitely say that the new generation of games has finally arrived.

From BioShock to Super Mario Galaxy, the hobby we love has given us so very much to latch onto, and latch we did. The online gamer community made memes, injokes and even obsessions of so very much in 2007 as iconic moments, characters and people surfaced. This is Destructoid’s first ever icons of the year showcase, where we celebrate those things that the gamer community has embraced with a passion and a vengeance.

In this celebration of all things iconic, we take a look at the most memorable offerings of 2007, those things that made an impression that will last long into 2008. Hit the jump for the first chapter in our look back at the year’s biggest memories.

Big Daddy

When looking for gaming icons of 2007, one need not look much farther than 2K’s BioShock. The brainchild of Ken Levine, this twisted trip into the flawed vision of a perfect society could have had any number of entries, from the “save or harvest” Little Sister debate to a certain famous phrase to the fallen king himself, Andrew Ryan. It is the Big Daddy, however, that walks (or lumbers) away with the prize. Arguably the “face” of BioShock (to use a term loosely), the Big Daddy captured our imaginations from day one, and both fascinated and intimidated in equal measure.

It’s not hard to see why he’s become so iconic. The now famous image of a hulking behemoth in an ancient diving suit, accompanied by the stark contrast of a weak and tiny little girl is simply unforgettable. The Big Daddies are by far Rapture’s most engaging citizens. They are at once brutal and inhuman, yet their devoted protection of The Little Sisters and the interplay between them could melt hearts. As a Big Daddy carefully watches over her, the little girl-turned-monster will call him Mr. Bubbles and warn him not to be a slowpoke. You almost feel bad about the fact that you have to kill the guy … then he slaughters you in seconds. 

Jade Raymond

Jade Raymond certainly kept the buzz going for the notorious Assassin’s Creed, but did we care about the game at all or were we merely ogling a pretty lady? While the highly anticipated game was let loose to a less-than-stellar reception, Ms. Raymond was gladly welcomed with open arms and more than a little disgrace from the gaming community. 

While Destructoid’s attempts to satirize the somewhat pathetic coverage of Jade Raymond’s cleavage were misinterpreted by some, it remains that certain people took their obsession with the poor woman a mite too far. The release of a comic in which Jade performed sexual acts for salivating nerds proved to be the final straw for Ubisoft and those few gamers who don’t use their genitals to think. With Assassin’s Creed now out of the gate and amusing countless gamers with its glitches, things have settled down on the Jade front, but Ubisoft may have to think twice before letting her promote a game so heavily in future, and who could blame them?

For the amount of attention she garnered, the controversy that followed, and the fact that she became both a recognizable face for the industry and a catalyst for gaming’s shameful underbelly, Jade Raymond is one of 2007’s icons. 

Silicon Knights vs Epic Games

To say that Silicon Knights’ Too Human has been marked by troubled development is putting it lightly. Game creator Dennis Dyack has earned himself the reputation of a whiner for blaming the game’s woes on everything and everyone around him, but it was the Silicon Knights vs. Epic Games lawsuit that saw the buck being passed to extreme lengths.

It’s not hard to see why this lawsuit has become an icon. It’s not often you see game developers throwing lawsuits at each other, and Silicon Knights’ claims that their licensing of the Unreal 3 Engine from Epic caused delays for the company’s game is certainly controversial, sparking debate all over the Internet. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? How bad will Too Human suck when/if it ever comes out?  

We may never know the answers to these questions, but we can’t deny that this has been an iconic debate and a memorable legal battle between two highly regarded companies.

Companion Cube

Once again, a game was released that could have had multiple entries into this showcase. Both the epic song Still Alive as well as the oft-quoted “the cake is a lie” phrase have become immortal, but in Valve’s Portal, one element stood out among the rest — The Weighted Companion Cube.

Without giving too much away, it can be said that the Companion Cube’s impact on Portal and the player alike is profound. Its inclusion was pure psychological manipulation on the part of Valve, and it worked like a charm. An unassuming cube with a heart decorating each surface, you’d be forgiven for thinking there was nothing noteworthy about Aperture Science’s little box of love, but you’d be wrong, and clearly haven’t played this masterpiece of game physics and comedy. 

The Companion Cube struck a chord with thousands of gamers and became one of the hottest memes of 2007. The Companion Cube plush toy sold like hotcakes from Valve’s online store, while fan art and tributes to the angular friend can be found all over the Internet.  

Iconic is certainly the word for the Companion Cube.  

MGS4 360

Controversial? That word doesn’t even begin to describe the MGS4 360 debate. In no small part fuelled by our very own Ron Workman, the rumors of Konami’s legendary franchise breaking the shackles of PS3 exclusivity has touched raw nerves and sparked fierce arguments across the Internet. Whether it actually turns out to be true or not is irrelevant — this is iconic because it represents one of the bloodiest battlefields that this generation’s console war has been fought on.

Metal Gear Solid 4 seems to represent sheer, unadulterated triumph for fanboys on both sides of the PS3/360 divide. PS3 fans would like nothing more than to deny their beloved title a chance to reach a wider audience, while 360 devotees would revel in a chance to rub the noses of their nemesi in another exclusivity loss before forgetting about the game and going back to Halo 3. The melodrama that has become attached to this most brutal of fights is hilarious, but also a reminder of just how passionate some people can be about not only videogames in general, but their console of choice.

While Metal Gear Solid 4 will fail to be a lasting victory for either party, the fact that so many people have invested their emotions into the fight has ensured that it will remain a hot potato and one of this year’s most memorable arguments. The gaming community may have attached too much importance to the reality of the situation, but nevertheless it was a huge part of 2007’s gaming moments. 

That’s it for part one of 2007’s gaming icons. The list will be completed on Destructoid up until the end of the year, and if you have any suggestions for things that stuck in your mind and are worthy of merit, don’t hesitate to email [email protected] to let us know. Stay tuned for the next part coming later in the week, where we look at accusations of being MR GAY, and on the flipside, explore the promises of alien lesbian sex.

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