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GamesFirst! Holiday Wishlist! '04: Part 2
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posted by: Chris Martin
date posted: 12:00 AM Sun Dec 19th, 2004
last revision: 12:00 AM Sun Dec 19th, 2004

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First Annual GamesFirst! Holiday Wishlist! 2004: Part 2

We hit item #3 in of our Wishlist in the last issue, Part I, in which a number of our writers sat down to confess their holiday desires, and so now it's time to move up the charts a little and find out what's claiming everyone's #2 spots.  We're getting down and dirty with our hopes and dreams, and everything else that gets us salivating.  On with the wishing!

Dear Readers,

Giving is great and all, but let us face facts: there's nothing better than tearing open a present and finding just what you wanted on Christmas day.  And it doesn't just have to be on the day itself; late Christmas presents are always welcomed too.  Presents, in general, just rock.  Combine the concept of presents - boxes with things in them - with the concept of games - the things we all hope to find in the boxes - and you have a general recipe for a happy GF crew.  Unfortunately, being adults, we here at GF! don't always get every game we want; sometimes we have to put our favorites aside in favor of some less worthy title we've been given for review, or we have families, or we're building hot tubs, or doing something else that eats away our time.  But, being kids at heart, especially around Christmas, that doesn't keep us from wishing for them, or fulfilling childhood rituals like writing their names on paper, putting them in stamped envelopes, and sending them off to Santa, who, for us at GF, also sometimes goes by the name of Editor-in-Chief.  If we've been good little boys and girls, we get those games for review, and we respond by bringing Santa tidings of cookies and eggnog.  Such is the Christmas way.

This year, we thought it would be fun to compile a GamesFirst! wish list, a little compilation of the top game related items that has our inner children jumping up and down screaming, I want!  I want! I want!?  For the most part, all the items - mostly games, systems, and peripherals - come out around the Christmas season.  In a few cases, we refused to be bound by anything resembling either reality or income.  What fun would that be?

So here is the rather extensively titled GamesFirst! Holiday Wishlist! 2004: Part I (or 2 or 3) (sheesh!).  In good old-fashioned tradition, we'll start the wish list with the last item on each contributor's list, item #3, and work our way towards #1 as we get closer to Christmas itself.  We hope that this list will not only be a window into our souls, but might also help you to sort through all of the great presents that are available this Christmas season.  Enjoy our wish list, and here's to hoping that you get at least one of the items on your own wish lists, and that, presents or no presents, you have a fabulous Christmas season.

From all of us here at GF!, have a merry Christmas.

Sincerely Yours,

Chris Martin, Staff Writer
Aaron Stanton, Editor


Chris Martin
Forza Motorsport (Xbox)
Release date: February 1, 2005

Racing games have allowed people to do things they just couldn't do in real life, whether you're rallying off road in Rallisport Challenge 2, or taking real-life purchasable cars to the track in Gran Turismo.  Racing games appeal to the motorhead in all of us.  Microsoft's anticipated racing sim Forza Motorsport could get me all fired up simply because of the boasted true-to-life physics and the gorgeous graphics.  But add in a complex system of customization, seriously sweet damage models, and the ability to trade rare cars online and you've got one of the most ambitious titles for Xbox this year.

Aaron Stanton
Xbox LIVE (Xbox)
Earns Santa some cookies and some milk.

I've had an Xbox LIVE account since its launch, and to this day it still keeps me in awe.  Xbox LIVE represented, and represents, a fundamental shift in thinking for the game industry, a realization that people like to play together.  The stereotypical image of the young, anti-social male gamer that really just wants to sit in a darkened room is inaccurate, because what us gamers really want is to play with friends.  Nearly every Xbox game released since LIVE broke ground has held some sort of multi-player support, both over the internet and locally, which makes console gaming an entirely different experience. Sure, the service has a fair number of people that bought too fully into the trash talk slogans Microsoft advertised so heavily at launch (shame on you, Microsoft), but with its voice chat, game downloads, and player finding capabilities, Xbox LIVE still offers the best way to find others like yourself.  There's hardly a modern Xbox game that can't be improved with an Xbox LIVE account.  Why have Ghost Recon II without this little gem to go with it?

Steffan Del Piano
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II (Xbox)
Release date: December 6, 2004

I haven't cared so much about my avatars since ChronoTrigger.  I mean, damn; my avatar, Jada Linx, was the baddest motha to inhabit the Star Wars universe since Lando Calrisian.  She was everything I'm not...cut-throat, unscrupulous, no nonsense, not to mention black and a woman. Plus, I haven't had a crush on a video game character the way I had a crush on Mission since I don't know when.  Mission, my feisty little hipster who hangs out with a wookie she calls "Z."  What's not to love about her?

The original game brought me such joy that if Santa tries to overlook this gem in my stocking I'll have to force persuade his fat little self into bringing me a copy.

Laurie Taylor
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines (PC)
Release date: November 16, 2004

Troika, Masquerade's developer, brought us Arcanum, so the game's guaranteed to be good. Now, if they would just make a game focused on the werewolves...

Eric Bordrero
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GCN)
Release Date: November 15, 2004

Metroid Prime was easily the best game of the year when it was released, and I'm wholly expecting the same caliber experience from Echoes. I have not played it yet, which makes the wait for Christmas even harder, but I wait with baited breath. But for now, I need to find the last two Crystal Stars in Paper Mario so I can have a clean plate by Christmas.

Eric Qualls
Nintendo DS
Release date: November 29, 2004
I'll ask for a DS now so that when Animal Crossing DS and Mario Kart DS both come out in the spring (hopefully), I'll be ready for them.

Tristan Mayshark
Culdcept (PS2)
Release date: December 4, 2003

Because it's a truly bizarre mix of Magic: The Gathering and Monopoly (and twice as fun as either!)

George Holomshek
Halo 2 (Xbox)
Release date: November 9, 2004

It's harder to come up with a reason for not wanting this simply amazing game than it is to list why you should.  Excelling at nearly every level, including story, Halo 2 is one of the best games this year, period.  Along with some of the best graphics ever to be seen on a console, this game also has great gameplay and an unimaginable multiplayer mode to boot.  Playing split screen multiplayer on one TV is a blast, but playing with someone four time zones away is so much fun it should be illegal.  Xbox Live takes this game to a whole new level and makes sure that you will always have somebody to play with.  I'm going to suggest that Bungie hire extra security and keep their eyes on the sky, because Santa is going to be after every copy of this game he can get his hands on.

Matt James
Mario 64 (DS)

Cause without this, my number one pick - *cough* hint hint - will be rendered useless.

Cathlena Martin
The Incredibles (PC, Xbox, PS2, GCN)
Release date: October 29, 2004

Not just The Incredibles, I want better quality children's games in general.  Children's videogames are vastly neglected in terms of quality reviews, analysis, and attention.  Granted, the games themselves are usually not very good, but the younger audience does seem to attract more critical media attention than other age groups with headlines such as, "Video Games Dangerous to Tots" and so forth.  Yes, the violence in M games like San Andreas garners attention too, put people are mostly concerned with how these games will affect their children. 

The tamer games, especially ones that aren't appealing to gaming teens and adults, slip by the wayside. My research focuses on children's literature and digital media, with a strong emphasis on video games.  With the explosion of video games being released simultaneously with movies (Polar Express, Incredibles, Shark Tales, Shrek 2, Series of Unfortunate Events, and Harry Potter) children's video games are becoming more main stream.  GamesFirst has reviewed such games as Rugrats Go Wild in 2003, but children's games are still largely neglected.  As the average-age gamer (29) starts having kids, they are going to return to their favorite online gaming guide spots, such as GamesFirst, to look and see what reviews are out there for games their kids can play.  Hopefully, by that time more games like Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, which gamers of all ages can enjoy, will be available.  I am always hopeful that when I play a kids game that it will be like a quality picture book: able to be read/played/enjoyed by both adults and children.  Also, given the gamer's proclivity to scoff at children's games, and the children's lit scholar penchant to be technically illiterate, I feel the need to tap into this growing market of children's games (even if some of them suck, like Polar Express).    That, and I enjoy the nostalgia of playing games for children.

Jason Hickman
Release date: Up to the publishers, sorry Jason.

My next wish for Christmas is that more game developers would take a stand, if possible, against the Suits that run their corporations, and start releasing games only WHEN READY.  It breaks my heart that Troika released Temple of Elemental Evil - with an engine and gameplay to die for - and then watched it sink due to bugs.  Then Atari decides not to release any more - even though avid RPG'ers would snap them up - because it didn't make enough cash.  Gee, I wonder why, when it had enough bugs to put the Amazon Jungle to shame.  Same with Vampire Bloodlines, a game that screams "classic" only to be average with the number of snafus included in-game.  So my wish is that the game MAKERS would get a spine.  Would stand firm.  Would rebel.  I realize it's not that simple in the corporate world, but hey, this is a wish!

Shawn Rider
Playstation 2 Slimline Model
Release date: October 29, 2004

The new PS2 is just the thing for people like me who have long since demolished the original. And at $149 with the network adapter built-in, I'm totally into it. Plus, that way I can finally play Katamari Damacy (I told you I love these oddball games).


Thanks for reading our GamesFirst! Holiday Wishlist! 2004: Part 2, which ultimately leaves us geared up for Part 3 - our #1 wishes for this holiday!  Part 3 is coming very soon: same game time, same game channel!

Take me to Part III! --->

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