The Internet has spoken! To us! Using a form! And the results are further down this page. And across the next four. We thought, what with it getting on a bit, we wouldn't keep you in mega suspense and would instead splurge your favourite games of the last year all in one go. As with our own staff votes, you were asked for a list of your favourite games, and votes were compiled based the games' presence and their respective popularity with each of you - so Viva Piñata at number one, for example, was a bit more valuable than Mario & Luigi at five. Thanks once again for your involvement, and thanks to whoever at the TrackMania forums tried to cheat the game to the top of the chart. Finally, thanks to the chap whose wonderful typo brought us all a bit of January cheer. Altogether now: Destroy All Hymens!
50. Rhythm Tengoku
(J.P. Room, GBA) - Gamepage
HairyArse: The sheer gall of Nintendo to make a game that at its most basic level involves tapping the A button, yet still manage to make it an absolutely endearing, magical and transfixing experience shows that while other companies will strive to match it, there just is no beating that unique and often bewildering Nintendo magic.
Jonathan Burroughs: The most fun to be had playing a video game with your eyes closed.
49. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
(Alphadream, DS) - Gamepage
(Weirdly, a lot of you voted for this, but the people who made it their number one chose not to add a comment. We can only assume it left them speechless - as it should.)
48. Tony Hawk's Project 8
Phil May: This is the sort of rebirth that ALL tired old IPs should have. Tony Hawk's Project 8 and its much talked about "nail a trick" mode gave us the PROPER next generation Tony Hawks we didn't get with American Wasteland.
47. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusade
(Relic, PC) - Gamepage
Mike Carter: A new addition to my favourite RTS game for a very long time, adding two excellent new races and the kind of campaign the first two games really should have had. Many evening have been spent playing this.
(SimBin, PC) - Gamepage
Gareth Qually: So much detail and so much fun. Finally a sim worthly of replacing Grand Prix 4.
Segnit: Not exactly a game now is it? Still, it's a landmark title for bringing simulators (Like rFactor or Live4Speed) out of the elite closet and into the mass.
45. Prof. Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain?
(Nintendo, DS) - Gamepage
Louis Friend: I bet everyone else called him a doctor.
44. Sam & Max Episode 1: Culture Shock
(Telltale, PC) - Gamepage
Vincent van Moppes: Successfully reinvigorated the adventure genre, without falling into the trap of adventure games of old that relied more on bizarre logic than simple deduction. Plus, a consistently funny script and arguably the first real episodic game experience. For all these reasons, it is one of most original games released last year, and certainly the most pleasant.
Adam Shepherd: It's Sam & Max again, better (though shorter) than before. And nobody needs more than that.
43. World of Warcraft
(Blizzard, PC) - Gamepage
illi: Its gameplay and its community. (We assume he means these are reasons to like it. And not, you know, targets.)
Jim Rhodes: Even though I have finally shaken the addiction (again), I have nothing but fond memories of a place that for me, and millions of other players, does exist. That place is Azeroth, and when they tease open our bodies during the post mortem, its maps will be carved deep into our hearts.
Baz: Thanks to this, I didn't get a chance to waste money on playing halfway through any other games.
42. Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
John Mitchell: The story was so fantastically well written you actually formed your own opinions on the characters in the game. It was a refreshing title to play comapared to the numerous sequels, updates nowadays.
Patrick Newman: An absolutely gripping, moving story, with fantastic characters. As an actual game it has plenty of flaws, but as an experience, it is second to none.
Dylan Holmes: Dreamfall has many flaws, but its storytelling was still miles ahead of anything else this year, and it's use of sub-texts and "unspoken plot" seems relatively new to the realm of gaming. Plus, the visuals and audio are FANTASTIC. And it has two fully-fleshed out believable female characters, which is some kind of gaming record.
41. Guild Wars: Nightfall
(ArenaNet, PC) - Gamepage
Maquet: A full world of fantasy, always updated with lots of events. Nightfall is simply so niiiice! (Alright then.)
40. Test Drive Unlimited
Kristian(no relation): I know this game is flawed in many ways, but I cannot help but love it. It's a game that really hits the spot for me because of one simple thing: it allows me to get in a supercar and cruise around in a beautiful environment. That right there describes the game I've wanted for the last 10 years or so. Sure the handling model is so-so and sure there are some glitches. When I'm blasting down the highway in a Lambo listening to Freebird that doesn't really matter. It's totally awesome.
Steven Jackson: Not since the original NFS has driving like an lunatic on public roads been so much fun. The risk/reward of 200mph+ overtaking into oncoming traffic is sublime.
Nicholas Kydland: How about the fact that Eden actually reinvented what has turned into an incredibly stale genre? Minor mistakes and errors are, of course, completely forgiveable when so many interesting ideas are represented. The fact that every cause has an effect, both for good and for worse, results in a driving game that feels like you're actually driving, right down to every risk and chance you take. And let us not forget the online mode: Although somewhat less intuitive than hoped, it still offers an online experience pretty much unparallalled. Innovative and remarkable, this truly is the start of the next generation of gaming.
39. Dark Messiah of Might & Magic
(Arkane, PC) - Gamepage
gulag: Finally, a First Person Sword-Swinger (See what I did there?) that gets sword-play right. Be you a light-footed Errol Flynn fencer, or a Conan clone axe-man, the game gives you a chance to pull off all the right moves, and being able to bring the Source-powered environment into the fight is magic. A nice selection of unusual levels and lots of nooks and crannies to explore lend it a certain 'Ooh-I-wonder-what's-over-there' factor that I haven't really felt in an FPS since Thief, and for some reason, the over-the-top story and characters just made my manic grin even wider. Dark Messiah reminded me why they called these things 'adventure' games. A really engaging hack-fest from start to finish. Did I mention that it's rewardingly tough when played on 'Hard'? 3 on 1? You're stuffed my son! Put in the boot!
Markus M.: Flawlessly working first person melee combat, a better dungeon crawler than Oblivion, attention to detail we haven't seen since Looking Glass shut down, fantasy locations that feel real. It's the ultimate adventure game.
38. Project Gotham Racing 3
(Bizarre Creations, Xbox 360) - Gamepage
(I can't believe none of you wanted to comment on this. It's brilliant! You can play it with the Wireless Racing Wheel too. You know, the one that needs wires. It'll make you forget. Also useful for giving up smoking, believe it or not.)
37. Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
(Kojima Productions, PS2) - Gamepage
AcidSnake: Snaaaaaaake! Over the top storyline and the PS2 pushed to its limits (anyone saying SotC shut up!) The only game that makes me want to crawl through grass to slit people's throats.
Keith Phillips: By fixing the awful camera contained in MGS3, they made a great game into an excellent game. The fact that the online mode is so superbly balanced, fair and enjoyable to play, is the icing on the cake!
Pikkewyn: Last year I voted for Ninja Gaiden Black, as it refined an absolute classic. This year Kojima and company did the same with MGS3. A great game transformed into a perfect game.
36. Football Manager 2007
Ben Watts: It's the game that made me fall in love with the series again, insomnia, late for work and failed exams all over again!
Jon Are Dahl: What's not to like? It's the same incremental update I've been playing for the last ten years. Besides, it's probably the only game series besides Zelda and Resident Evil I'm willing to plonk down full price for. Although, as usual, I just borrowed it off a mate.
35. Tomb Raider: Legend
(Amazingly nobody's game of the year, despite reaching this position. Perhaps it's a guilty pleasure.)
Mark Hansgate: Interesting and varied locations, innovative gameplay and not a bad (if basic) storyline. Online multiplayer good fun too. Not too hard (which I like) and I enjoyed playing it through to the end.
Ideal: It is good.
33. Kingdom Hearts 2
(Square-Enix, PS2) -Gamepage
Rob Simpson: It may have been easy and basic, but people who hate this game or magazines that have marked this lowly have no soul. IT'S DISNEY with FINAL FANTASY, and lordly lord do some of the moments in the game work beautifully, to the extent where I'd more than likely smile like an idiot. Donald Duck dancing and singing in a underwater musical tips that iceberg. Plus the game itself ain't that bad, an RPG without the pretentions? I'm there.
32. Need For Speed Carbon
(Also nobody's game of the year. Less surprisingly.)
31. FlatOut 2
Tanz: Keeps me playing it for hours on end, it's the only game I still play even though I have completed the career. Lots of different things to do and great graphics for the power it needs.
30. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent
Kitts: Sort of like Prison Break, but without the convolution. Actually, wait.
(Sony, PSP) -Gamepage
Darren Tanner: It's all about the fun! And the singing: Pori nirumpa yamuta, Puru sorekya anchekku, Yamu pirita shuko papurareta, Kar-bankooer-jeg, Sanii kirita yamuta, Bu-gu soresya ateku, Yamu pirita shuko papurareta, Kar-bankooer-jeg!
Gerald Grote: Unique. The colors, the music, the cuteness, the secrets, the style. Opens your heart and fills it with happiness... for the short time it lasts (enough for me).
28. Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy
Michael Gormley: It's Lego and it's Star Wars...
Ed Bradley: It's pure fun and I like fun. Don't you like fun? If you don't like this game you don't. Everyone likes fun. Unless they're weird and play games for weird reasons that don't involve fun. But who could fathom those weirdoes anyway?
27. We Love Katamari
(Namco, PS2) -Gamepage
Elliot Rayson: This game stands out by a Japanese brightly-coloured mile for its ridiculously simple yet fun gameplay. I can never forget the first time I grew large enough to pick up the building I started the game inside, and you really cannot get that feeling anywhere else! It's a totally unique gaming experience and I haven't had this much pure unadulterated fun since I first used my Mega Drive. All those pretty colours... and nowhere else can you make a ball from squashing animals.
Terry Gallagher: Possibly one of my favourite games ever. Simple controls, a daft plot and catchy tunes. Above all - imagination. Months later - and it's still guaranteed to make me smile. Stupid, stupid fun.
Jack: Superb replay value. Contrary to what some "purists" say does improve on part one and manages to multiply its craziness in the process.
26. Hitman: Blood Money
Patrycja Wardzala: Great, complex game with an open-ended approach to the level design. Excellent visuals and audio, memorable 'hero' and mission locations. And it's nice they were able to make the game both brutal and tasteful.
Florian Kratke: Strangling hookers! STRANGLING HOOKERS!! STRANGLING HOOKERS!! STRANGLING HOOKERS!!!!
25. Animal Crossing: Wild World
(Nintendo, DS) - Gamepage
James Kenny: Like my own little private world in my pocket. Full of beautiful sights and sounds, it made the summer days and nights seem so much nicer. A real gem that says it all about Nintendo - simple, friendly, and fun.
Ben Richardson: Depth, addiction, beauty, appeal, atmosphere, character, personality... All these things and more!
David Hopkins: I hate that Lobo left, just after we seemed to be finally friends, in a Grumpy Old Men sort of way. I hate Tom Nook and his extortion, reeling me back just when I think I'm free. I hate it when someone calls me something rude after I was good enough to teach them the word. Such smut!
Tom Nook(very good): It causes people who are jerks to post on internet forums inane comments like "I wouldn't play this it's gay" - showing they're mindless trolls. And then, you can dig holes around the mindless trolls in your town, and trap them. And they can't get out.
Mike Bowden: Genius level design, humour and a thoroughly enjoyable game to boot. Schafer's a genius.
Kevin Young: "Should have been an adventure game"? It was a bloody adventure game! A rip roaring adventure game filled with intelligent adult concepts and humour in a fully 3d interactive environment. In which you could jump. A lot.
Stephen Burbidge: Tim Schafer. Almost every aspect past the first level is a work of genius. Things like the psychic smell of bacon or the cap wearing kid and squirrels or the reason you can't go into the water. Brilliant touch stacked upon brilliant touch till you're not sure core mechanics or level ideas begin. Even the nuts and bolts of how the levels work is mind-breakingly good. Even saying where levels take place would be a major spoiler. The only reason this won't win because not enough people bought it. (Evil Idiots) Terra Nova all over again.
23. Medieval 2: Total War
(Creative Assembly, PC) - Gamepage
Simon Ayrse: Mostly killing the French. Sometimes the Danish, but mostly the French.
Michael: It's really, really good, like. I like making everybody charge and fight the enemies. That's why it's good.
James Walsh: I only stopped playing Rome when M2TW came out, and will only stop playing M2TW when the next one comes out. Played Total War more than Halo 1, 2 plus online put together.
twelveways: One of the most immersive games ever! The battles are quite simply jaw-droppingly awesome and the campaign is as in-depth as you could ever hope for. Hundreds of hours of gameplay and millions of corpses, what more could you ask for?
22. Neverwinter Nights 2
(Obsidian, PC) - Gamepage
Twinkle: Sand. He's ace.
Christopher Soulsby: It's a proper RPG unlike Oblivion. It has a good story unlike Oblivion. And most importantly it doesn't have Sean Bean in it.
21. Canis Canem Edit
(Rockstar Vancouver, PS2) - Gamepage
manuel_garcia: Absolutely inspired setting for a game. Everyone can relate to school, and everyone will relate to at least one of the factions in the game, which makes the experience so much more personal and engaging. Top marks for the way that the story flowed across the seasons in a school term as well, which aided to the cinematic quality of the story, and also the way that they managed to lampoon so many references to all the classic high school / college / frat party movies. The icing on the cake though is the audio. Its rare for a game that has an original score to not take the intense, orchestral route. It sounds as if they scored this like a low-budget independent movie, with gives it a fantastic tone. The simplicity of the tunes that accompanied each in-game situation were nigh-on perfect. Ground-breaking audio in my view.
20. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice For All
(Capcom, DS) - Gamepage
Florian Joffrin: "Umm... Nick?" Phoenix & Maya are funnier than ever, the story and investigations are as interesting as ever. It's like reading a hilarious book, I love such games. No bonus chapter though :(
Alan Martin: More of the same: great stories, great humour and hugely addictive.
Riggers: HOLD IT! Phoenix Wright clearly needs no explanation as to why it's so fantastic. But, if you must - it hearkens back to a time when games weren't just empty displays of graphical prowess. They had charm. They had humour. Pretty much a point and click adventure, the occasional obscure leaps of logic required to progress didn't detract from the fact that this is one of the few games that genuinely made me laugh.
19. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter
Claes-Michael Karlberg: Rainbow Six might be a better game, but GRAW had 4-player co-op on split-screen, and 4 is twice as fun as 2. Good single-player campaign too and great graphics.
Ashley Burton: A definite thinking-man's FPS, a good solid single player campaign and an AWESOME multiplayer game. I spent many hours online playing GRAW because it has everything - stealth, sniping and bloody great cannons - the best fun I've had in ages.
18. Battlefield 2142
(DICE, PC) - Gamepage
Tommy Svedlund: It took the teamwork formula of Battlefield 2 even further. A lot of reviewers complained that there were not enough difference between this and Battlefields last incarnation but as my playtime grew longer, so did my suspicions. Suspicions that they may have rushed through it and therefore not saw the excellent new teamplay-enhancing features that I experienced. Playing together with folks really is the deal and this was the greatest online game of 2006.
17. Guitar Hero 2
Jim Johnson: Some people have lamented the move since its predecessor to have tracks aimed more at rock aficionados as than the general gamer, but the changes to the playing mechanism combined with the ability to play co-op make this the superior game to me. The one game everyone wants a go at and doesn't feel self-conscious doing so. Made my year :)
Mark: What's not to like with the greatest air guitar replacement ever? Manages to improve on a very sound game in a way very rarely achieved.
Hugh Roberts: The only game ever that has made my student flatmates demand it stays in the kitchen. There is something quite odd about waking up in the morning to get your regular dose of Coco Pops and seeing the quiet one we all thought was plotting to kill us rocking out with a small plastic guitar to Freebird at 8am. Plus co-op mode is just brilliant. So is Less Talk More Rokk. Quality song, that.
16. Final Fantasy XII
(Square-Enix, PS2) - Gamepage
Paul Magor: The new battle system is really intuitive. With the use of gambits it has made the battles more tactical and quite taxing in places. As with all Final Fantasy games, the amount of hours that you can plough into it makes it well worth the money (even on import). With the sheer amount of side quests and the Mob Hunts, you can easily get lost in the world for 200+ hours. The graphics are stunning as well. They really push the PS2 to the max and the level of polish to this game has to be admired. There isn't a bad thing I can say about this game!
Captain Shenanigans: It's as if the anime-blinkered fanboy wankfests of 7, 8 and 10 never happened!
Andrew Marshall: A successful reinvention of the series that breaks new ground but still feels like an FF game, epic in every sense of the word with a genuine feeling of exploring a massive world. So much content, so much polish, this is the defining RPG of the generation.
15. Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King
(Square-Enix, PS2) - Gamepage
Rob Wright: Put simply, it's the most beautiful world every captured in a videogame. The PS2 may not have the power of the next-gen consoles, but this proves that you don't need ultra machines to create something truly special.
Lewis Johnson: It was either this or Oblivion, and although Oblivion is technically the better and more ambitious game, Dragon Quest just has tons of charm and style. The memories of fighting Notso Matchos and One Knight Stands, and having my characters stunned by attacks such as 'the underpants dance' have stayed with me long after I beat the final boss.
Angelo Abela: It's the quintessential JRPG. Everything you love and hate about them in a package that is to die for. Cor blimey indeed!
(Clover Studio, PS2) - Gamepage
Ian Kiigan: Words can't do it justice - you just need to see it moving. A beautiful send-off for my PS2, and for Clover too.
Dave B: Majestic presentation incorporating classic 3D adventure gameplay with a brilliant twist.
Peter Barry: The most beautiful game i've ever had the fortune to play. Everything about it seems designed to draw you into its (slightly) cliché plot line. But the characters are well defined and the lack of voice acting is always a plus in my book, as it always seems to spoil your idea of how an NPC should say their lines.
Boyan Boyanov: Okami is the ultimate proof that videogames can be work of art. The oh-so-easy level of difficulty being the only thing I could nibble at, Okami is a rare gem just like its' source of inspiration - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Featuring beautiful art-style, immersive story and gameplay, adorable characters and funky Japanese traditional music, Okami comfortably occupies the top spot of my current-gen top 10 video-games list.
13. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas
Fintan Hynes: Exciting, fast, Beautiful. Better co-op and versus multiplayer than any other game on 360. Great maps. Brilliant character customisation and ranking system. Face-in-game technology. Will still be playing it in six months.
Austin Rathe: This wins for me not just for being good (which it is) but for being so surprisingly good. I expected a fairly good squad FPS, but what you get is an excellent FPS that really stands up to the best of them. There were better games during 2006, but none I enjoyed more.
Jason Wilson: Fun single play, excellent multi. A cover system that feels natural and just works better than any other similar system, Gears may have got released just before it but this is the shooter that deserves far more praise.
Christi MacPherson: In a year of mediocre first wave games for the 360, the winter period has been astonishing in it's impact on shooters in particular. Rainbow Six: Vegas epitomises that impact. Beautifully returning to its RS3 glory days, whilst embodying most of what was good about it's release period rivals; Gears of War and Call of Duty 3. Tellingly, the first game that I and many of my friends are playing every "gaming minute" we can scrabble together. The good old days are here again.
12. Guitar Hero
(Harmonix, PS2) - Gamepage
Patrick Schreuder: I love rock and roll! (Unfortunately I now also love Boston...)
Georg Gruber: I took my PS2 and a copy of Guitar Hero to three "non-gamer" friends' homes. Now they all own a PS2 slim. I think that says it all.
Atiqul Hussain: The novelty guitar controller was a genius idea which made Guitar Hero such a brilliant game. The gameplay was simple and easy to play, plus it contained classic songs which made me feel nostalgic. If there's one word to describe this game, it's FUN.
11. Viva Piñata
(Rare, Xbox 360) - Gamepage
Mat Robinson: It is so different and so much fun - a complete breath of fresh air. The missus loves it too so it gets a lot of play time. Also it is one of the only recent games I can play on the Xbox 360 with my 2-year-old daughter in the room :)
Nick: Something new happens every time I play.
Will Burchell: Addictive, complex, engaging beautiful, funny and a complete surprise. Who would have thought Rare could pull this out the bag?
FelderPony: Okay, apart from the rather unique graphical style of the papery Piñata, its also that its Rare going back to form with a game with depth, longevity and a unique style. While it lacks a more in-depth online capability, the game itself has managed to transfix both myself and my partner (to the point I have my own profile on the 360!) just so that I can have my own set of competing gardens! Plus, with seven Horstachios all going 'Neigh?' at things, what's not to love! ;)
Justin Cook: I helped make it. You have to admit we shook up the X360 fans a little bit :) (It's alright, we didn't count Rare's votes. Yes, plural. NOT FAST ENOUGH, JUSTIN.)
10. New Super Mario Bros.
(Nintendo, DS) - Gamepage
Forbury Lion: Back to basics for Mario, It was never broke so why did they change it?
Marc Cosgrove: It's pick up and play, yet challenging and fun. Sometimes I got frustrated with it but kept coming back for more and was rewarded each time. Few games can pull that off. Plus everything was tight in the production, haven't experienced a single bug or lazy developer moment.
Allan Cameron: Initially, a disappointment, couldn't get used to the controls, but get past that and you unlock an entirely new game comprising the best elements of all the previous Mario 2d platformers. The three coin collecting dynamic coupled with rewarding puzzles ensured this was the most enjoyable game of 2006 for whichever level wished to play it. Even if my girlfriend can't get past the first 4 levels...
9. Half-Life 2: Episode One
(Valve, PC) - Gamepage
Simon Hayden: A stunning continuation to the best game series ever created.
Marc-Andre Martel: Just plain enjoyable, the best five hours I've spent gaming this year! This one - and Sam and Max Episode 1 - actually convinced me that electronic distribution and episodic gaming was the way to go!
8. Pro Evolution Soccer 6
Mike Little: Manages to recreate the highs and lows of real football almost perfectly.
Richard Block: The fact that my mates and I never stop playing it, despite how flawed each version is!
Seb Merhej: Simply put the greatest footy game ever and the game of 2006. Improved on its predecessor by having more forgiving referees and making it a smoother game in comparison. However, the licence for Chelsea has gone, which is a terrible shame. (Yes, if only they'd got rid of the bastards entirely.)
7. Dead Rising
(Capcom, Xbox 360) - Gamepage
Gordon Bonifacio: Zombies!
Rob Brown: The fact that it satisfied the punters more than any other game this year. Capcom totally nailed the zombie-infested-mall sim and met the vast amount of gamers' demands. Both technically (quality of the graphics, the sound, the direction and writing of cut-scenes) and the numerous little gameplay details. Also the way that save system could have been even harsher (as with Survival Mode) but still managed to piss off a lot of people who wanted to play through the apocalypse with training wheels. What the hell is that about? Mostly, though, that it's the best in a year without standout bests - after Bethesda managed to manhandle what should have easily taken the crown, this is the only other option.
Stewart: Finding a bike, and being initially disappointed that I couldn't pop a wheelie. Then I found the corresponding book. Everything about the game was such a joy, even finding that the plastic sword wasn't useful was a revelation.
6. Company of Heroes
(Relic, PC) - Gamepage
ice_freezer: Excellence in just about every single aspect.
chavatar: Exceptional in every respect and great fun in both single and multi-player. I'm neither a particular fan of RTS or WWII games, but this sucked me in with a blend of great visuals, strategy and game balance.
gitsome uk: RTS at its finest, it's one of the few games that after playing a marathon session I've watched the replay and realise how much detail is packed in. Great graphics, sound and presentation.
Rob Heald: The very best games take up residence in your consciousness even when you're not playing them... CoH is one of these games. Awesome visuals, stunning detail, thumping gameplay with tons of depth, this game simultaneously re-ignited my desire to play WWII games and strategy games. And even the story bits are brilliant - what are the chances of that in an RTS?! I loved this game so much I had to go and spend some "quality time" with the tanks on display in the Imperial War Museum... "Sherman on point!"
5. Wii Sports
(Nintendo, Wii) - Gamepage
Peter A: Was played by the entire family and all my friends during the Christmas/New Years period, spanning an age range of 5 to 60, so gets my No.1 vote. I think my cousin summed it all up when he said "I'm usually good at (video) games!" upon losing to his Dad at Wii Bowling ^_^
Sam: It got my parents, girlfriend, sister and even gran excitedly prancing about in front of the telly at various points during the xmas holiday, a welcome change from being told I'm wasting my time with 'another games machine'. Brought a tear to my eye.
Joakim Hagdahl: The first launch title for any console that has so perfectly captured the idea of the console. Nintendo saw that for the Wii to be successful accessability was key, by making the game respond to the players making the moves he would do in the real sport they could capitalize on the players imagining that they are really playing the sport and not just a game. Wii Sports have changed what to expect from console sports titles from now on. Why would you be playing Virtua Tennis with a normal game pad when you could be playing with a Wiimote?
4. Shadow of the Colossus
(Sony, PS2) - Gamepage
Liam McGuigan: An exception to the "gameplay over presentation" mantra, Shadow of the Colossus isn't actually that much fun but you can't let that get in the way of a good game. A short-lived journey that feels like a 60 hour epic, it's an outstanding experience. When you emerge victorious your triumph is mixed with sadness - do the Colossi cry? I think they do.
Marcio Tavares: It's amazing how a game with awkward camera control, not so easy controls and badly measured difficulty can keep you wanting it more and more...
Tobias Hanraths: It is not also magnificent and often overwhelming in the scope of its artistic vision - it is also a wonderful example of simplistic, creative gamedesign, showing how to create a deep and satisfying gameplay experience without using cheap tricks like hundred button combinations or heavy scripting. It's beautiful, but also, and more important, an almost perfect game.
Hughes: I hate boss battles, even in games that I love they drag the experience down. And yet somehow a game based purely on boss battles grabbed me by the whatsits and didn't let go. The desolation of the environment that seperated you from each beastie just made the task feel even more lonely and captivating.
3. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Tardkommando: A triumph. For me the highlight were some of the genuinely brilliant quest designs not to mention the graphics, scope and freedom of the game. (Also the supposed levelling flaws were inconsequential if you hadn't read any of the internet teeth gnashing before you played the game.)
Derrick Dowd: A game that was seemingly endless. It its not normal for a huge game like this to have a 'pick up and play' theme to it but it was great. You could just turn it on for half an hour do a few side quests and turn it off and go out. But it was the only game I have ever played that kept me up until the sun came up.
Brian Stewart: Playing this game for the first time is when I decided that it was the first real next-gen game I've played. I love the huge world you get to explore and there have been many times when I've been walking along the road and something's caught my eye so I get sidetracked because I want to investigate. You can spend hours doing that.
Geoff Floyd: Great freedom to approach the game how you wanted to. Graphically stunning... well the outside views and towns! Good, varied bunch of side quests in addition to the main story. Being able to contract Vampirism and suck on the blood of the innocent!
Fergus Byrne: I'm still amazed that a game could keep me playing for 130 hours and even after all that I wish there was more.
2. Gears of War
(Epic Games, Xbox 360) - Gamepage
Daniel Wyld: I have been screaming for a game that allowed a full campaign play through with a mate over Live and this delivered. Graphically, it's the best looking console game of all time, and the online multiplayer is a beast! It's better than sex with my girlfriend (yes, the passion has died after seven years) and even has homoerotic undertones (or overtones?) to satisfy teh gays. Oh, and the physics engine is more enjoyable to watch than two lesbians wrestling in brandy butter at Christmas. This much fun in a box should be given a health warning - it rocks!
Mohammad Arsalan: It may not have been the most innovative game that we have ever seen but the fact that gears is the best looking console game of all time makes it worthy enough for being the best game of 2006. It plays amazingly well and has taken over Halo 2 as the most played game online. It shows us that even though the 360 might not have the same power as the PS3, programmers will find it much easier to program amazing looking games for it. As is Halo wasn't enough, 360 now has another name that will make Sony cry like little girls. HAIL MICROSOFT AND HAIL EPIC.
Niccolo Janelli: Two words... Total immersion. Sometimes graphics and other "technical" elements such as good surround sound, are seen as mere ancillary to the gaming experience. This is sometimes true, but a game like Gears of War remind us that a large part of the gaming experience is believing you are part of the gaming world.
Thor Henrik Bruun: Massive hype, massive satisfaction!
1. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
AGM: Such a massive game, epic in every sense of the word, while having a world thats so organic that it feels like its being lived in, rather than a random collection of areas. The sword combat is great, the usage of the Wii controller is novel, and the art design of the game creates a world that's visually impressive.
Frode Singsaas: What is there not to like about it?
Alex: It has got to be the best game of the year full stop. The fun of riding on horseback across Hyrule field while day turns into night while getting chased by enemies while aiming your bow with the Wiimote and knocking the moblins off their hogs and shooting the flying enemies down. Then riding across the big bridge and still firing at them, only with bomb arrows, then watch them fall off the bridge and into the darkness. Then morning breaks so you decide to go to your home village and go fishing and talk to all the people. Then you decide to go to Kakariko village. So you travel over Hyrule field again riding through all the moblins that get in the way. When you get there you buy some more bombs. Then you travel through Hyrule field again towards Lake Hylia until you get to a house which then you glide down to Lake Hylia with a cocoo and watch the cool game art of the water and the scenery. After chilling out you decide to finish the day blasting off in the cannon up to Gerudo Desert. You suddenly see a moblin camp outside of Arbiters Grounds guarding a treasure chest. So you steal one of their hogs and smash down all the guard posts and ram them all down. You open the chest to find 50 rupees. Then you ride off into the distance watching the sun set.
Simon Jones: It's not the immersive world of Hyrule and the the quirky characters who inhabit it that impress me most about TP. Nor the sense of joy upon discovery or working out a puzzle that has had you stumped for some time. All important things that do put Zelda above any other game I played in 2006 but this was expected. No, it's the fact the Wii controls work perfectly fine (perhaps better than traditional controls) in a "proper" game that makes me most pleased about how TP worked out.
Daniel: I love the way that it only takes the first bar of the theme tune to put a big-ass smile on my face. I also love jumping over the fallen pigs during the horse-back combat.
Jim Bob: It's Zelda...