Now That’s Why I Love The Best 2008 Ever! January

Please don't sue us, Viacom.

Hello, welcome, and sit down. Beyond all reason, it’s December, the time of year when our minds get all reflective, and we ponder the twelve months past. What made them great? Or interesting? Or at least weird? Why was 2008 the best 2008 for PC gaming on record? Join us this month as we get all Andrew Collings/Michael Ian Black (understandable references for at least two reading continents there) over the year gone by.

January 2008

Don't print it out and hold it!

Gordon Brown tells the Sun newspaper that he wants to see knives removed from all videogames.

“I am very worried about video and computer games. No one wants censorship or an interfering State. But the industry has some responsibility to society and needs to exercise that.”

John: What I love is his long-term commitment to this idea. It could so easily have been a lazy sound bite, thrown out in an attempt to appeal to frightened parents, but he’s stuck to his guns and oh wait. Of course, this was then later followed by the Byron report, where it was concluded that violence in videogames has no appreciable effect on players, after which Brown issued a full retraction for his earlier comments and oh wait.

Jim: It’s been a good year for old men not knowing what they’re worrying about. I’m particularly enjoyed Boris Johnson slamming games as “soul-draining” a couple of years ago and then releasing a Mayoral statement saying how much he liked London Games Festival.

Kieron: Boris Johnson not knowing anyfuckingthing shocker. Actually, on a similar note, we didn’t actually write anything about That Lawyer being debarred, did we? We’re making progress, I think.

Alec: I want to see quick-time events removed from videogames, but that’s not going to happen either. I’m hoping that economy woes means politicians’ focus has shifted away from rabble-rousing about videogames, but with a UK election likely next year, some uninformed, knee-jerk oaf is bound to try and prop their campaign up by taking another swipe at our beloved flashing pixels.

Take that, supposedly extinct being.

Off-Road Velociraptor Safari was released.

John: And what a splendid thing it was too. Frankly, it could have been about moving a mouse cursor around a box and it would have still been great with that name. However, it happened to be an enormous amount of fun, running full physicsy 3D prettiness in a web browser, in which you were asked to control a monocled, hat-wearing velociraptor driving a Jeep, trying to run over other dinosaurs, or do stunts. If there was a button that made all games be about trying to run over dinosaurs or do stunts, I’d be damned tempted to press it.

Jim: I’ve always been a big fan of physics, and this was one of 2008’s most dinosaur’d physics. It was also startling weird, even in a year crammed with oddities. Good job.

Kieron: On a similar note, “The splendid jetpack dreams of an aptosaurus called brontosaurus” was the most evocative sentence in gaming this year. Shame the game wasn’t up to Velociraptor Safari, but still! Splendid Jetpack dreams.

Alec: If I’m honest, this never made me giggle as much as the name itself did. I’m dead excited about Minotaur China Shop, however. Smashing fine china whilst whistling is my idea of a good time.

Is RPS Gamingdom’s stupidest website? We asked that question and also found the answers. Yes, and yes.

Jim: I like to think that RPS really touches on human universals in its game coverage. Here we outlined one of the fundamentals: being a fucking moron. It’s something we can all identify with.

Kieron: Me especially.

Alec: I like to think the RPS writers and readers are like the archetypal absent-minded professor. We can perform amazing word-calculations, but we’re too dim-witted to realise that the glasses we can’t find are, in fact, on our head.

Finally, some notable game releases:

Pirates Of The Burning Sea

Jim: I wish this had been a little stronger on launch. It was almost Eve Online with sail boats and hats, but the PvP wasn’t quite interesting enough, and the land-lubber missions were too devoid of majesty. I wonder if anyone is still playing this, or has started playing now they have a free trial going. Readers?

Kieron: I played the tutorial, and meant to come back, but never did. I also forgot to cancel my credit-card, which lead to a couple of months money going to them. Which is probably the most actual money I’ve directly given an MMO developer all year. I’m not sure what this proves. [See above – Ed]

Alec: Spent a couple of weeks in the beta, and almost liked it. I was hoping for Pirates! online, but while it certainly had a lot of commonality it sacrified much of the joy for clumsily-presented technicality. There was enough of the right stuff there that it wasn’t beyond saving with canny updates, but I’d imagine it’s not been successful enough to warrant that. Oh, and it needs a jump button almost as much as The Witcher does.

PDC World Championship Darts 2008

Jim: This was absolutely incredible. It really captured the stern, swollen faces of modern-day darts champions. Brilliant.

Kieron: I’m pretty awesome at darts in GTA4. KING DARTS!

Alec: I was fortunate enough to review this for PC Gamer, back when the game release drought was so crippling that they’d give any old guff a page. Astoundingly, it didn’t even do darts well. Its worst feature was a mandatory, artificial stress element that kicked in whenever you went for a third treble 20. Unavoidably, your character would start behaving like a liver-failing junkie at the peak of skag withdrawal, their arm waving uncontrollably all over the shop, a deafening heart-pound noise would overcome all else, and the screen would blur over. Yeah, maybe that’s like pub darts after 38 pints of Large, but it didn’t strike me as terribly World Championship. If a player gets himself into that sort of state as a result of nerves, he’s never going to win. More importantly, you can buy a dartboard and darts for less than the cost of this game. Escapism entirely unnecessary.

That, as they say, was January. Funny how that’s a month that sounds like an adjective.


  1. Ian says:

    RPS 2008-a-Tron Look-Back-a-Tron?

  2. AbyssUK says:

    2008 the year Duke Nukem Forever wasn’t released again.

  3. Malagate says:

    This is nice, but what about the RPS advent-o-tron like we had last year? I think these series of articles could replace an advent thingie, especially as it’s reminding me of games I almost forgot about the first time around! Raptors ahoy!

  4. Alec Meer says:

    We have some long-form Christmas run-up pieces planned too, fear not. Not a calendar, but similarish. Which does, at least, mean you’ll be spared last year’s dodgy photo of the calendar John’s mum sent him (though similarly not blessed with Kieron’s mega-clever click-a-window magic, sadly).

  5. Meat Circus says:

    January 2008, eh? What was that all about?

    Did we really look like that back then? Really *dress* like that, all those heady weeks ago?

    What were we thinking?

  6. Lobster says:

    When does Mirrors Edge hit PC again?

  7. Ginger Yellow says:

    I want to see quick-time events removed from videogames, but that’s not going to happen either. I’m hoping that economy woes means politicians’ focus has shifted away from rabble-rousing about videogames, but with a UK election likely next year, some uninformed, knee-jerk oaf is bound to try and prop their campaign up by taking another swipe at our beloved flashing pixels.

    There’s an obvious crisitunity here. Lobby your MP to ban these sick quick time events that are corrupting our children!

  8. LeFishy says:

    Oh and this is why I hold RPS in such high regard.

    Also thanks for reminding me of the existence of Flashbang :>

  9. Malagate says:

    @Lobster, January 9th, so it will probably be in the 2009 version of this article, unless it’s so big that it doesn’t even need to be talked about.

    Also cheers Alec, that’s nice to know. There’s so much free stuff that I would never have found without this place and times like those. This year has been a year of immense procrastination, as I can recall what I was thinking last January, and none of that stuff got done unfortunately.

  10. Jim Rossignol says:

    We’re hoping to celebrate 2008 as the best ever year of posting endless Mirror’s Edge hype videos.

  11. Premium User Badge

    ChaosSmurf says:

    So I’m not gonna be able to eat chocolate out of an RPS chocolatecalenderthingy? :<

    You couldv’e made one that made a humourous comment about Spore and DRM or something. It would have been really original.

  12. Klaus says:

    Everyone loves to talk about DRM. All the time, I should just start up a conversation next time I go to the store. Get their opinions on Spore, GTAIV and the like.

  13. Meat Circus says:


    Just for all us DRM fans out there. XKCD to the rescue:

    link to

  14. James G says:

    I love the top image by the way, it reminds me of the Future Entertainment Show 1992 tickets. (Was anyone else there?) We need more collages of PC Gaming’s finest characters.

  15. Matthew says:

    Thanks for the mention, guys! It always tickles me that people other than us actually enjoy our games ;)

  16. John Walker says:

    It’s meant to remind you of this!

    link to

    When the Americans wake up, they’ll appreciate it. THEY’LL LOVE ME.

  17. Pags says:

    Pretty sure Off-Road Velociraptor Safari was the best part of 2008 in general, not just January. It also almost made me fail my A-levels. I didn’t in the end, but it still destroyed a large chunk of my life for a long enough time.

  18. Pags says:

    Also, nice to see VH1 are Giants fans too.

  19. The Hammer says:

    The only thing that could possibly beat Off-Road Safari is Minotaur China Shop. Seriously, my enthusiasm for this game is off the charts.

    Looking forward to more in this series! I remember the Stupidest Website thing fondly!

  20. Pags says:

    I wish the stupidest reader thing was still open, I’m pretty sure me sniping my best buddy in Far Cry 2 would rank quite highly.


  21. BooleanBob says:

    Not that I want to ingrain myself as ‘that creepy RPS commenter who always goes on about PC Gamer’ – but – well, maybe I do. Stalkeriffic!

    So, re: that Mass Effect review – do I not seem to remember a certain review of Atari’s Pong which , despite a promising start, eventually had its score bashed down below the seventies solely for the ‘impossibility’ of a cruel and arbitrary level featuring a clown and some coloured bumpers?

    Only for it to turn out via reader mails some months later that the level in question was, if not simplistic, then at least eminently solvable (soluble?) with a little application and wit.

    And you think Eurogamer scores cause controversy!

    (They don’t; they mostly just rile the cretinous mob).

  22. Kieron Gillen says:

    The funny thing was that I later found out that an old friend of mine I used to code games with as a teenager worked on that version of Pong.

    Still was shitty design.


  23. Larington says:

    What the fudge!?
    link to

  24. BooleanBob says:

    I should also point out my dismay at RPS’ collective failure to observe the first day of the Holy Advent of J.C. Denton’s Ascension to Global Administrative Godhood: December 1st, the Holy Day of Throwing of Garbage off the Liberty Island Pier (Relevant passage from the Ion Storm Dev Bible: Sin thou not before mine eyes: To chooseth the sniper rifle over the GEP gun is a choice unto abomination).

  25. Klaus says:

    Yes, remove the knives. I’m much rather see shivs.

    @Meat Circus
    I did ask the fellow at the checkout if he any strong feeling about Digital Rights Management and he told me to ‘move along’. =(

  26. Klaus says:

    My grammar is so fail 2day.

  27. Down Rodeo says:

    Kieron: King pub lunch?

  28. MarkN says:

    That banner’s crying out for a visit from the dude from Limbo of the Lost.

  29. RichPowers says:

    ahahah thanks for reminding me of that, MarkN.

    Also, those Spore creatures should be shaped like giant penises. Would make Pipboy’s thumbs-up seem even more awkward.

  30. Dante says:

    @ Pags

    I think my own greatest moment of stupidity has to be playing Halo on co-op, if one of you dies during the final stretch the game will respawn you just as your partner is about to board the ship, which is nice for the dead guy. Unless he’s playing with me, in which case I get so surprised when he beams in in front of my face that I reflexively pull the trigger, shooting him in the back of the head with a shotgun and running up the ramp, leaving him for dead.

  31. Dan says:

    Can we get rid of that power levelling wow gold buy wow power levelling guy?

    Perhaps by instituting some kind of automatic word filter which would also have blocked this post?

    Anyway. Year reviews are ace. Good start chaps.

    Off topic, I just started playing Fallout 3, and was delighted just at the point of my glorious vaultean escape to walk face first into a window saying ‘Actually, hang on, you know all those decisions you’ve been making? They were just for practice. Fancy another go?’.


  32. PHeMoX says:

    Team Fortress 2 … haven’t checked it out again ever since the first release.

    Guess I didn’t like it that much hehehe.

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