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'Bioshock' tops list of best video games in 2007

December 30, 2007|By MATT SLAGLE

The over-hyped console wars are so last year.

In 2007, a bounty of actual games finally mattered more than nerdy debates over each system's technological merits. And for the first time since Pong bounced its way into our living rooms, it seems as if video games are again being relished by all sorts of folks.

That retired couple next door? They're probably better than you at Wii Sports.

Here's our annual look at the best and worst in video games, 2007 edition.

· Best game: "BioShock." A first-person shooter turned morality play, a thinking person's action game, a piece of electronic fiction with a soul. There are many positive ways to describe this gripping game and they're all true. There's just nothing else like this eerie vision of an undersea social experiment gone horribly wrong. Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PCs, $59.99, Rated M.

· Best deal: The Orange Box. For $59.99, the innovators at Valve Corp. have provided one of the best bargains in 2007. You get five games, and all of them are excellent. "Portal," in particular, seems destined for legendary status, having spawned a cottage industry for plush companion cubes. (If you don't know what that means, you're really missing out). Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PCs, $59.99, Rated T through M.

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· Best game that involves getting off the sofa: "Rock Band." Close the windows, lock the doors and warn the neighbors before you blare the volume. "Rock Band" elevates music rhythm games to arena-filling levels in a game that gets better the more people there are. For a true rocking experience you'll at least need two guitars - lead and bass - plus a drummer and a singer to belt out the dozens of tunes. Groupies are optional.

· Worst trend: The annual holiday video game deluge. Please, video game makers, you're only hurting your most loyal fans here. We spend all year with hardly anything new to play, then October rolls around and it's like an avalanche. Suddenly, we're faced with tough decisions about which of the dozens of good games we can actually afford to buy. Why not release more of these gems in the winter, spring or summer doldrums, when we're really looking for - and more able to afford - something new?

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