Video Games | Games to Die For: Identifying the 2008 video games you’d play to the grave—or beyond. | Arts & Entertainment | Salt Lake City Weekly

Video Games | Games to Die For: Identifying the 2008 video games you’d play to the grave—or beyond. 

Pin It

nThere’s a scene in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line where Cash and his band are in the middle of a poor audition for Sun Music’s Sam Phillips. Phillips stops the gospel tune Cash is playing and asks him if he were dying and could only sing one song to sum up his time on Earth, what would it be?

That’s sort of how I approach trying to decide what my favorite games are. I try to identify games that stood out from the pack. I may not know which games are the most technically sound; I think I know what’s fun and entertaining. If I were lying in a gutter and had time for just one more game released in the past year, there’s no doubt in my mind what it would be.


A lot of critics agreed that Left 4 Dead—the new standard-bearer for zombie apocalypse games—was great, but it was often ranked below many other games, some of which are on this list. For me, this is the one 2008 title that I couldn’t stop playing. It even got me to stop regularly playing Grand Theft Auto IV.


All of the games in this list and other top lists are similar in that they’re fun, original and well engineered. So what I look for are the intangibles. Left 4 Dead takes you to a dark, dangerous world where the only goal for you and your three cohorts—complete strangers—is to survive. The game is slick, smart and addictive. The online multi-player mode—where your companions are actual strangers—takes the whole concept to another level.


So if I were about to be killed—say, by a zombie horde—I would want to play this game about trying not be killed by a zombie horde. But being a pragmatist, if the undead were closing in and there was no copy of Left 4 Dead to be found, I’d certainly play any of the following best of 2008:



n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n
Grand Theft Auto IV: After many hours of play, I’m finally convinced that GTA IV is the best of the franchise. I’m not talking just of its technical virtues—where it’s obviously superior to its predecessors—but the story and the characters are also far superior to anything my favorite franchise has offered up in the past.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: In much the same way that Left 4 Dead tosses you smack in the middle of a horror movie, Metal Gear Solid plants you firmly in the center of a fully-involved, unflinchingly beautiful war movie. Taking the aging Snake into one last fight is truly an honor that all video gamers should experience.
Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Batman: I’d grab one of these two games, only if I had my PSP or Nintendo DS available. The full-grown versions of these titles are great, but they really shine on smaller platforms, especially the PSP. Playing action games can be tough on the handhelds, but these titles—which don’t take themselves too seriously—thrive here.
Rock Band 2 or Guitar Hero World Tour: Maybe Sam Phillips had it right: What I really want to do is sing a little ditty as my maker calls me home. Between these two games, there are plenty of song choices. I think I finally have it narrowed down to “Spirit in the Sky” or “Pinball Wizard.”
nFinally as with any best of list, there always regrets. Other great games in 2008 included Fallout 3, Resistance 2, Dead Space and Super Smash Brothers Brawl—any of which I would consider as my swan song. Although, if I can somehow get on life support for 2009, I just have an inkling that Ghostbusters might be pretty awesome. tttt

Pin It

More by Charlie Deitch

  • Rockstar Games: L.A. Noire

    Rockstar Games reaches for a new sophistication in cerebral gaming.
    • Apr 20, 2011
  • Video Game Bits

    Random nuggets of headlines from the gaming world.
    • Feb 28, 2011
  • Tea Party Games

    The shift to the right could mean a shift in rights for gamers.
    • Dec 6, 2010
  • More »

Latest in Arts & Entertainment

Readers also liked…

  • New TV for January 2023

    Mayfair Witches, Velma, The Last of Us, Poker Face and more premieres
    • Jan 4, 2023

© 2023 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation