Every year gaming websites are required by law under the 1996 ClichÃƒÂ© Column Act to gather a Ã‚"˜Best ofÃ‚' list. Useful for those readers who might have been temporarily comatose, heavily medicated, or who are completely incapable of forming their own opinions, these lists serve only to ensure that people in internet forums absolutely never run out of things to complain about. Despite their pointless futility, websites usually compile these lists because itÃ‚'s really quite time consuming to invent an otherwise original idea for an article. Besides, these things practically write themselves. In fact, I plan to take several naps while compiling and writing my list, though it probably wonÃ‚'t surprise you to learn I write many of my articles this way.Still, I donÃ‚'t want a traditional Ã‚"˜best ofÃ‚' list, one with some rational process by which lists of games in standardized categories are well considered before a winner is finally determined using Rock, Paper, Scissors. The thing is, the games alone donÃ‚'t tell the yearÃ‚'s whole story. There are many other events, products, and news items that consumed our collective consciousness, even sometimes beyond gaming itself. Thus are born The Elys, a hodgepodge of nods to those people who briefly stumbled into our field of vision, looked nervously around, and then tried to skitter back off stage. LetÃ‚'s begin:
Best Fiction Masquerading As News:
Winner - Microsoft Buying Vivendi Ã‚– Try not to look surprised when I tell you this rumor, among a great host of others, was apparently fabricated and passed along as fact by C&VG. This rumor was such a lovely cliche, the archetype of its kind, that to not choose it would be as anathema as serving merlot with salmon, or playing a FPS with a joystick. Microsoft has been rumored to be in the process of buying out pretty much everyone. Vivendi, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Square, even Rare Ã‚"… though, that last one proved to be accurate. ThereÃ‚'s a good reason that Microsoft makes for good rumor. ItÃ‚'s because we like having a Death Star around to point all our troubles at. If it werenÃ‚'t for Microsoft, weÃ‚'d have no one to blame for putting out software we all use and thus can cooperatively complain about. I mean, IÃ‚'m writing this article in Word, and that copy of Word is running on Windows XP, which makes me as eminently qualified as everyone else to bitch about Microsoft. Those bastards make all this stuff I use! They should be taken out behind the woodshed immediately.
So when some poorly managed company comes hobbling into the spotlight, itÃ‚'s only a matter of time before someone intones the inevitability of a M$ buyout Ã‚– heavy emphasis on and a wry wink at the $. Why? Because ultimately we all want to be owned by Microsoft. ItÃ‚'s just much easier that way.
Runner-up - Halo 2 in 2003 Ã‚– IsnÃ‚'t it funny how quickly you can go from Ã‚"˜wouldnÃ‚'t it be cool ifÃ‚"…Ã‚' to Ã‚"˜itÃ‚'s a factÃ‚'? A rumor that made it to news through sheer force of wishing, thereÃ‚'s never been any evidence to substantiate this rumor Ã‚– and of course in hindsight, it was obvious bunk. Supported by the ever nebulous Ã‚"˜inside anonymous sourcesÃ‚', which is journalism's way of saying Ã‚"˜IÃ‚'m making this upÃ‚', this managed to make the full circuit around the internet despite being refuted time and again by those annoying people who actually know.
Best Place to Get Fiction Masquerading As News
Winner - C&VG Ã‚– I wonder what the process is by which these folks decide a story has the credibility to be newsworthy. Is it entirely a process of deciding that the best way to make wishes come true is by pretending that they actually are? Perhaps itÃ‚'s not C&VGÃ‚'s fault. Perhaps they have someone with a mental illness working on staff, the kind of person that canÃ‚'t distinguish a self-created fiction from reality. ItÃ‚'s a tragic story when you think about it, that person wandering around all day thinking heÃ‚'s sleeping with supermodels, that heÃ‚'s rich, and that anyone takes C&VG Ã‚"˜rumorsÃ‚' seriously.
Of course, I donÃ‚'t think C&VG is going to make a big deal out of receiving an Ely. I know this not because I am perfectly aware of how insignificant GWJ is by comparison, nor that I mask that inferiority with sarcasm in a vain attempt to comfort myself with self-prescribed credibility instead of recognizing that we donÃ‚'t have a fraction of the readership, presence, or revenue. ThatÃ‚'s ridiculous. ItÃ‚'s because the people who create Ã‚– and I do mean create Ã‚– news over there have probably already given themselves an imaginary Pulitzer or perhaps Nobel.
ThereÃ‚'s really something pathetic about a person who would create an award to give to themselves.
Runner up - Out of your own ass Ã‚– Though it may ultimately be proven that C&VG is already using this as their own source.
Best New Gaming Website of 2003
Winner - Gamers With Jobs Ã‚– Maybe thereÃ‚'s something pathetic about creating an award to give to yourself. Some might suggest itÃ‚'s a conflict of interests, or that somehow IÃ‚'m not entirely objective on the matter. Some might even go so far as to say the award is rigged, and of course those people would be absolutely right.
I considered giving this Ely to another website as a kind of self-depricating humor, you know an ironic jab at my expense entirely for the quick laugh so you guys would like me, but I did enough of that in high-school. Besides, thereÃ‚'s only one other site I noticed going up this year Ã‚– though IÃ‚'m not omniscient or anything Ã‚– and I just canÃ‚'t see awarding them anything more than a tuna sandwich. A moldy one at that. Who knows, that may be worth more. So, you know what, screw anyone who wants to bitch about it, GWJ gets the award and proudly accepts. WeÃ‚'d like to thank ourselves for working tirelessly, and all our fans that, as yet, havenÃ‚'t sent us a single shred of hate mail, which we assume as defacto accolades.
Further, we expect to be called Award Winning Gamers With Jobs from now on, though we will accept the acronym AWGWJ.
Runner-up - AinÃ‚'t It Cool Games Ã‚– An apparently disavowed spin off of movie news site and large font repository AinÃ‚'t it Cool News, this was the only other gaming site I noticed coming online this year. It appears to still be running, with one post already for the young month of December. Its black text on white background doesnÃ‚'t appear to cause blindness or induce seizures. Also its headlines are both readable and generally free of racial slurs. Many of the sentences it uses appear to be grammatically correct. Err, um, I usually donÃ‚'t want to hurt myself when reading it. There are many more nice things I could say about our runner-up, but I canÃ‚'t seem to think of any right now. Maybe IÃ‚'ll write some more later.
Best Gaming System That Costs Less Than $99
Winner - Game Boy Advance Ã‚– When I created this category I did so in the hopes that I could concoct an award the Gamecube could win. Then I remembered that the GBA also fits, and so the Gamecube automatically slipped to third place, which is surprising since there were only two nominees.
Runner up - A SNES I saw on Ebay Ã‚– I had to go looking for a second place nominee, and I think this SNES fits the bill nicely. Though there havenÃ‚'t been any new games made for the SNES in half a decade, itÃ‚'s still just a better gaming system than its grandchild. I don't know, maybe the final bid for this thing will scoot it over the $100 mark, and allow our honorable mention to move up in the ranks, but a SNES with 35 games for under $100 is pretty damn snazzy.
Honorable Mention - Gamecube Ã‚– It has Zelda and Metroid Prime. If you just think of it as paying double price for those two games, then you can probably justify the expense. Ok, now all you Gamecube fans can go ahead and start scribing your scathing responses. Just be aware that when I read your angry invective, it will sound like the Comic Book guy in my head. IÃ‚'ll laugh and laugh.
The What Have You Done For Me Lately System of the Year:
Winner - Playstation 2 Ã‚– This was a great year for the Playstation 2. With amazing games like, um Ã‚"… hey wait just a damn minute. There was nothing this year that set the PS2 juggernaut apart from its competitors. What, the Eye Toy? Pffff! Please. Ooooh, I canÃ‚'t play The Getaway on any other systems. IÃ‚'ll try not to get my salty tears on anyoneÃ‚'s shoulder.
Ladies and gentlemen. I present a system on cruise control.
Runner Up - NONE - For as much as I might mock the Gamecube, in a very delicate and loving way of course, at least it hauled two or three big games that fans could get excited about.
Best Phantom System
Winner - Phantom Ã‚– YouÃ‚'ve got to admit, if itÃ‚'s a joke, itÃ‚'s a funny one. Seemingly making up hardware specs and devising promises on the fly, Infinium Labs may be one of the most organized scams to hit the streets in years. I know it seems like itÃ‚'ll be a great system if it ever is released, what with the fantastic developers that have signed on to make fantastic games for this imaginary system. Developers like, uh, you know those guys who had that big game a few years back, with the cool sounding name. Oh yeah, everyone was playing their game. It was awesome, and theyÃ‚'re totally making a game for the phantom. I mean three games. There are so many other guys too. I couldnÃ‚'t begin to list them all here. Um, so I wonÃ‚'t.
Yeah, itÃ‚'ll be awesome!
Runner Up - N-Gage Ã‚– IÃ‚'m assured by some very reputable people that there are actually people out there who have gone into stores to purchase NokiaÃ‚'s product. Eventually, IÃ‚'ll actually see someone playing one, or perhaps IÃ‚'ll just find one discarded in the trash.
Putz of 2003
Winner Ã‚– That loser who hacked Valve Ã‚– I make it a rule to never expressly wish physical harm on anyone in my articles. Ok, so itÃ‚'s a new rule. Still, if the possibility exists at all that Half-Life 2 was delayed because some elephant testicle licking ball of pus-filled flesh wanted to feel like a man Ã‚– largely because his unusually small genitals so often leaves him confused on the issue Ã‚– I do wish him a general sense of malaise, and perhaps a nasty cold. I know itÃ‚'s a little low brow of me to go for the small penis joke, but we really have to assume itÃ‚'s true. Besides, itÃ‚'s not often I stray from the high path, so when I do I like to go all the way.
In that spirit IÃ‚'d like to say thereÃ‚'s more character in my newbornÃ‚'s soiled diapers, more class in a Tijuana brothel, and more integrity in C&VGÃ‚'s fact checking department than there is in this vomit brained goon. Just to be clear, IÃ‚'d rather hang out with a urine stained oil rag pulled out of a clogged sewer line, than this guy.
Runner Up Ã‚– Any Interplay Executive Ã‚– LetÃ‚'s put it this way. Enron seems to have been a more skillfully run corporation than Interplay. IÃ‚'d expect better money management from drunken frat boys at a strip club.
You know itÃ‚'s bad when people donÃ‚'t even concoct rumors of Microsoft buying you out.
Worst Gaming Award Show
Tie - Video Game Awards (Spike TV) & G-Phoria (G4) Ã‚– I might just as easily have called this Best Gaming Award Show, as both categories would end up with the same winners, and both would have ended up in a tie. The thing is, when you use the word best you create a positive connotation, and really I wanted to avoid doing that. Now, itÃ‚'s very easy for me to sit upon my high chair perched in this ivory tower and pass my venomous sarcasm down on the people who work hard to put shows like this together Ã‚"… and thatÃ‚'s why I do it. If it were hard, it would hardly be worth doing.
I really wanted to single out Spike TVÃ‚'s show as the worst of the year, if only because I think Spike is a really stupid name for a network, but G-Phoria was hosted by Jamie Kennedy, and thatÃ‚'s just unforgivable. I donÃ‚'t mean to imply that I donÃ‚'t like Jamie Kennedy. I mean to outright state it.
Both shows seemed as video game savvy as a grandmotherly librarian.
Game of the Year (Nintendo)
Winner - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Ã‚– This was actually a difficult decision for me. Mostly because I donÃ‚'t have a Gamecube, and havenÃ‚'t played any Gamecube games. I figured, since many other awards are given without any relevant information taken into account then I could follow that lead. So, yeah, Wind Waker gets my nod as Gamecube game of the year. Mostly I chose this game because you all would have gotten on my case if I hadnÃ‚'t. Everyone who put finger to keyboard to scribe a review about Wind Waker performed verbal fellatio on the game, so I donÃ‚'t see why I have to play it and come to the same conclusions as everyone else. Sure, I thought the cel shading looked a little infantile, but what the hell do I know?
Congratulations The Wind Waker
Runner up - uh I dunno, letÃ‚'s say Ã‚"… Mario Kart Double Dash.
Congratulation to all our inaugural Ely winners, but hang on, thereÃ‚'s more celebration and hilarity yet to come! Next week, some non-gaming awards plus my pick for Xbox game of the year. IÃ‚'ve even played some Xbox games, so get excited! It might not be what you think.