Here we are then, the final instalment in our Top 50 Games of 2008. It's worth reiterating once again that the list is not intended as a definitive rundown of the 50 best games of the year, but instead reflects votes cast by our staff and contributors based on the games they have played and enjoyed. Here's what you missed:
10. World of Goo
Jim Rossignol: World of Goo made me gasp. There were proper reactions of delight and surprise stirring my cold, dead fun glands. Christ, I don't just want to be seen as one of those need-to-be-hip blogo-critics who big-up indie game for the sake of sticking it to the man, but I can't help arguing this up as game of the year and a kind of statement about the state of game development. As brilliant as World of Goo is when looked at in isolation, the context of its existence is all the more thrilling: it is just two guys, with a bit of help from a third guy, and it's nevertheless better than two thirds of the commercial releases in 2008. This should make the big boys feel ashamed: the fact that they aren't ably beating the no-money bedroom code-monkeys is laughable. World of Goo is a startling piece of game design that sits on the same kind of axis as Portal: puzzle games were our past, and they are our future
Kieron Gillen: Anyone-with-a-heart's game of the year, which proves exactly how many cold-breasted undead writers Eurogamer hires. Put simply, the best character-lead puzzle game since Lemmings. Maybe ever. What I find endlessly charming about it is how physical the game is. The puzzles are less trying to find an actual narrow solution, and more manipulating this mass of stuff. This gives the game a genuine organic flavour. Add to that world-class art design and music, real personality, ridiculous quality control and indie-chic, and this is as good a game that's come out this decade. Looking up the list, there's games which I can totally understand people voting higher - but when we write those all-time lists of best-games-ever, they're going to fade as their charms are surpassed by their sequels. World of Goo is going to be part of the canon. I also suspect it'd have come several places higher if the Wii release had come earlier in the year.
Alec Meer: I often wish this hadn't been preceded by Tower of Goo, because so many people presume that game's one trick is all this has. World of Goo is the maximalist puzzle game, thinking up a dazzling number of glorious twists upon the core concept of object-stacking, and better yet setting it within perhaps the most loveable, beautiful and - amazingly - moving game worlds of the year. Man, it's so hard to be funny about games you love. Erm. Knickers?
John Walker: Halfway through the voting process, Tom told me that World of Goo was wavering between first and second place. From its 10th place finish you can conclude that the people who took the longest to get their votes in are the stupidest. And the ugliest. I take back what I wrote under Professor Layton. Definitely the game of the year. Definitely the only sensible contender for number one. A thing of such utter joy and wonderfulness like I've never known. Sadly I imagine its late arrival to Wii in Europe has meant the PC-phobes didn't play this yet, and thus it has been robbed of its rightful number one place. Saw off the bit of your monitor with this line on it, and glue it onto the bottom so it's in the position it deserves.
Tom Bramwell: I've played it, and it's not my game of the year. It's not even my favourite PC game of the year - that's Trials 2. But it is extraordinarily good for all the reasons these guys have listed, and no less special for years spent tinkering with Bridge Builder, Armadillo Run, Elefunk and other games built on similar premises.
9. Guitar Hero World Tour
John Walker: Okay, here's my plan. We subdivide gaming. Proper games go over here. And plastic toy karaoke games go over there. On that fire.
Kristan Reed: Having officially gone off Guitar Hero for a couple of years, this brought me back to the series with renewed passion. With stuff like "Love Spreads" on it, it's officially my dream music game.
Johnny Minkley: The one-handed lead riff in the chorus of "Some Might Say" on Hard (curiously not replicated on Expert) is peerless in its cock-rock posturing potential.
Rob Fahey: Better instruments than Rock Band 2, but the shine has been taken off a bit by having to return faulty drum-kits and jury-rig squeaking guitar strum bars. Music games live or die by their song list, though, and round my way, Guitar Hero World Tour died very quickly.
Keza MacDonald: No word of a lie, Guitar Hero World Tour is my favourite videogame. Ever. It was Harmonix that got here first, that opened up the rhythm-action genre to its true potential with Guitar Hero and Rock Band, putting the power of making music into the hands of gamers without the talent or opportunity to do it for real. Rhythm-action games give non-musicians a glimpse at the joy of playing music, and Harmonix games harnessed that better than any Japanese developer had yet managed, making it social and personal rather than reaction-time posturing in the arcades. Then along game World Tour, which gives us the chance to turn our pretend instrument skills into real music with the recording studio, and does the Band Game better than anyone else. This game shows me so much love. I've spent almost as long with the avatar creator and the music studio as I have with the career. I've said it before and I'll say it again: there's something so incredible about Guitar Hero's transformation from beat-matching game into full-on, recording-capable band studio, something that really speaks about the magic of videogames in general; how they can educate, stimulate and transcend themselves in the hands of enthusiastic players to become something that we'd never have dreamed of just a few years prior.
Kieron Gillen: My girlfriend is going to kill me if I try to keep another set of drums in our flat.
Tom Bramwell: For me, Rock Band 2's the better software, but only by a bit. Guitar Hero's got better instruments, and by a mile. It's worth owning both games though - whichever you buy first, the solus disc of the other is better value than the same money spent on DLC - but you only need one set of plastic instruments, and for now it's these.