Yes, yes, I know there are 8 billion countdowns for the Best Games of 2006, but I'm going to limit my linkage to people who I happen to a) have on my RSS list and b) admire for having their own point of view, as opposed to munging billions of opinions into one uber-list of death. So that would be:
- Wired News' Chris Kohler has a very personable Top 10 posted, singling out games like Bully ("Politicos and moral crusaders slammed Rockstar's boarding-school adventure as a "Columbine simulator." In reality, Bully... was a lighthearted, gun-free comedy"), and - yes, Elite Beat Agents ("Do you believe in life after love? While you're tapping the DS' touch screen to the beat of 19 guilty-pleasure pop songs (also including "Material Girl" and "Sk8r Boi"), you will.")
- The San Jose Merc's Dean Takahashi get oddly war-centric in his Top 10, including the somewhat overlooked Company Of Heroes for PC ("Your soldiers have to struggle for every bit of territory with pitched battles that are won by the side with the best ground, flanking strategies, and massed firepower. It never felt so good to defend a series of bridges or to take the center of a town"), and rating Resistance: Fall Of Man highly, despite reservations: "It's like a realistic Ratchet & Clank, without the characters that you care about. You're never quite sure if your soldier is a monster or a super-soldier."
- What, no love for the Nooch? Dean's colleague, Mike Antonucci, also has his Top 10 posted, and he grabs out some hazy memories from earlier in the year like Kingdom Hearts II ("I listed it ahead of "Brain Age' for the first half of '06, but ultimately its fight-and-quest appeal is more limited. A big treat for PS2 owners in the year of the PS3 and Wii"), as well as, well, Brain Age itself ("A game that can get some adults interested in video games for the first time, as well as an important early-year release for the hot-selling DS.")
- OK, I don't _particularly_ care about him, but Lou Kesten of the Associated Press listed both his best and worst of the year, and he slams Appaloosa and Majesco's Jaws Unleashed: "Glitchy graphics, unnecessarily complicated controls and stupid missions take all the fun out of swimming around and chomping on innocent humans." I've heard from friends that you can swim around and chomp on innocent humans in ridiculous ways anyhow, in spite of the game? Even though it has horrid reviews, I just bought it in the GameFly end of year sale, so we'll see whether I need a bigger hype boat when it arrives. [Semi-via VH1GameSnap.]
To conclude - oh, go on then, what was your favorite game of 2006, or more to the point, the one you spent the most time playing? I already commented on a couple of my favorite games in the Gamasutra Quantum Leap Awards, but to be honest, the one I probably spent the most time playing in 2006 was Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee for PSP, thanks to it monopoliizing my plane journeys for most of the annum.