Yes, it's that time of year again. As Cliff Richard would say, a time for forgiving, a time for forgetting, a time for looking back on all the events of the past 12 months and making snide comments about them.
Part one of our retrospective covers the first half of the year, logically. Remember the Manhunt 2 ban? The death of HD-DVD? The national outcry over accidental breast shrinkage in Age of Conan? Then you don't need to read this. But if not, carry on.
It was a bumper month for videogame-related controversies. First off, the High Court decided Manhunt 2 should be banned from sale, on account of how it might turn us all into big old murderers.
This must have pleased the Daily Mail but it also left the paper with empty pages, so it was time to turn on Nintendo. The newspaper reported that playing the Wii is no substitue for regular real-life exercise. In other news, burgers have more calories than apples.
The Telegraph also took a pop at Nintendo, identifying what it called "Nintendo Wii syndrome". The newspaper reported that "thousands" of injuries had occurred, and found one man in Cheshire to confirm this.
Fox News had a go at Mass Effect, claiming that half a tit amounts to "inappropriate sexual content". One commentator described it as "Luke Skywalker meets Debbie Does Dallas". Which, come to think of it, could put Mark Hamill's career right back on track. I'll tell him when I see him.
The best news of the month, and indeed of all time, was the announcement of Gizmondo's imminent return. Or not so imminent, as it turns out, but hope springs eternal.
There was bad news for comic book fans this month as Cryptic stopped work on superhero MMO Marvel Universe Online. However, there was good news for comic book fans this month as Cryptic started work on superhero MMO Champions Online.
Speaking of MMOs, EA rubbished reports of a new Knights of the Old Republic game. LucasArts also issued a statement saying its relationship with BioWare "has nothing to do with Knights of the Old Republic". Apart from, as it turned out, the Knights of the Old Republic MMO LucasArts is developing with BioWare.
Big Phil Harrison said goodbye to Sony after 15 years of service. Reasons for his departure were not given, but rumour had it he was off to Valinor with his brother Gandalf.
In comedy-games-in-the-media-news, Watchdog got upset with Brain Training for not being able to understand a word Northerners say. Nintendo advised people to "try to avoid using strong dialects" i.e. be a bit posher.
TV's Tanya Byron published her report on videogame age ratings. She sent the games industry to the naughty step for failing to educate parents properly, and recommended a film-style ratings system for games. Don't know what's wrong with marks out of ten, personally.
It was confirmed that Manhunt 2 would get a release when the BBFC decided it had "no alternative" but to give the game a ratings certificate after all. Presumably Rockstar had come round its house and threatened it with a carrier bag.
There was controversy over Alten8's Imagination is the Only Escape for DS, in which players take on the role of a Jewish boy struggling to survive under the Nazi regime. It's still too soon.
Everyone's favourite anti-games MP, Keith Vaz, stood up in parliament and claimed some videogames let players "rape women". It will always be too soon.
Big Phil Harrison announced he had a new job. No, not blowing dreams into children's bedroom windows, but being president of Atari. "As the game business moves rapidly online I believe we have an outstanding opportunity to create amazing network game and community experiences for players the world over," said Harrison. "Plus, they've promised me all the snozzcumbers I can eat."
Blizzard won the award for best April Fool's again with no less than three top quality spoofs. But Eurogamer came a close second, hilariously asking people to pay GBP 16 for a t-shirt. (They're of an extremely high quality though and are still available, by the way.)
Stevens Spielberg and King were revealed as big old gamers. The film director likes a bit of Crysis, it turns out. The horror author (yes all right he spells it with a PH actually) spoke out against politicians blaming pop culture for everything, and argued parents should pay closer attention to what their kids are doing. Particularly if they're going down storm drains to face off with giant tarantulas and terrifying clowns, presumably.
Capcom's Jun Takeuchi defended the African setting for Resident Evil 5 following accusations of racism. At least he admitted it's set in Africa. Julian Widdows, director of the new 50 Cent game, claimed it's not set in the Middle East, despite the fact it features lots of baddies in turbans who take cover behind distinctly Middle Eastern-looking bits of architecture, and is subtitled Blood in the Sand.
There was a right old furore over the European price of Rock Band (GBP 180 / EUR 240 for the full kit). "We're not trying to rip anybody off," said Harmonix's Rob Kay. "We're just trying to make sure we've got enough gold bars to build a staircase to the moon," he did not add.
Film directors Michael Bay and Uwe Boll became engaged in a public spat over artistic differences. Bay describing Boll as "a f***ing idiot", while Boll observed that Bay "sucks big time", before challenging him to a boxing match. Brilliant.
The biggest videogame release of the month, and arguably of the year, was Grand Theft Auto IV. More than 600,000 copies were sold in the UK alone on the first day of release, with the Xbox 360 version proving most popular. Within a week, 6 million copies of the game had been sold around the globe. Jack Thompson must have been pleased.
The second annual UbiDays event was held in Paris. The highlight for the hardcore was the announcement that a sequel to Beyond Good & Evil is on the way. Ubisoft also revealed that the Prince of Persia had a new girlfriend, and unveiled "the first ever game you can play with your ass". This led to confusion amongst drunker attendees, who came away thinking Ubisoft was doing the first ever game where you could play with the Prince of Persia's girlfriend's ass.
Nintendo issued an apology after Wii Fit was accused of calling children fat. There was some confusion over the BMI system, it turns out. "People with more muscle mass than normal will have a higher BMI rating due to the heavy weight of muscle tissue," Nintendo explained. "They're also more likely to have really great personalities," the platform holder did not add.
Greenpeace had a go at hardware manufacturers for failing to produce greener games consoles. "There's no excuse for playing dirty," said a spokesperson who is probably brilliant fun at office parties. Rumours that PlayStation 4 will now be constructed from old newspapers and potato peelings instead of dolphin fins and panda skin are entirely made up.
This month it was Blizzard's turn to hold a big old party in Paris, where it unveiled Diablo III for the first time. More exciting than the BGE2 announcement? Perhaps, but can you play it with your ass?
A load of videogame-related info from market research firm Intellisponse leaked onto the internet. In a statement, Microsoft said the products referred to "may or may not be real". The products in question included a karaoke game called Lips, a sequel to Marvel Ultimate Alliance and something by the name of Call of Duty: World at War. Only time would tell, and it did.
Denis Dyack boldly took on the internet over whether his new game, Too Human, would be any good. "If I am wrong and gamers in general think the game is 'crap' then I am comfortable with getting tagged 'Owned by the GAF'," he stated. Curiously, Dyack did not state what he would be comfortable with if gamers in general thought the game was fair to middling.
Just over a month after it was reported that work on Eight Days and The Getaway PS3 was in full effect, Sony announced that work on Eight Days and The Getaway PS3 was no longer happening. At least fellow PS3-exclusive Metal Gear Solid 4 did well this month, with 1 million copies shifted in Europe alone during the first week on sale.
But the real issue of the month was the accidental breast reduction in new MMO Age of Conan. The bug meant Funcom was able to issue the best company statement of the year, telling players, "We are working on a fix for this and your breasts should be back to normal soon."
Check back tomorrow to find out what happened between July and December. Otherwise there is no way you could conceivably find out.