Gather round the fire, friends, as we celebrate the year in games—the good, the bad, the really bad, and everything in between. It's our 3rd Annual Holiday Awards Spectacular! Plus, Brad's son stops by to share his best and worst of the year, and we announce the winners of our Game Credit Giveaway! Featuring Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Richard Naik, Dan Weissenberger, and Tim "Counting is Hard" Spaeth. Happy Holidays to all our listeners!!

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Please send feedback and mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.


Tim Spaeth

Tim Spaeth

Cleveland native Tim Spaeth grew up in a happy household – a household with a father whose major client happened to be an Atari games distributor. This led directly to Tim's first nickname: "The kid who got Atari games before anyone else." Indeed, he knew Pac-Man and E.T. were colossal bombs weeks before the rest of the world, and the resulting celebrity brought him great pleasure.

Through the years every aspect of Tim's life has been touched by gaming. He mastered typing thanks to Space Quest, honed his poker skills on The Sierra Network, and learned to hate after a particularly traumatic game of Tecmo Super Bowl.

Today, Tim lives in Chicago with his three kids and strives to find that perfect balance between family, career, and Warcraft. He enjoys broadcasting, martial arts, rock and roll, growing and shaving his beard, singing show tunes to the homeless, and losing at Mario Kart to his lovely, talented, and amazing girlfriend.

In late 2008, Tim became the producer and host of the GameCritics.com Podcast, and he's thrilled to be bringing GameCritics' unique editorial voice to a brand new medium.
Tim Spaeth
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21 Comments on "GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 47: Third Annual Holiday Awards Spectacular"

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Odofakyodo
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Odofakyodo
5 years 8 months ago

How would you guys compare DP to Eternal Darkness and ICO? Although very different in style (ICO was minimalistic), each of those games had a great story. The combat, IIRC, was the weakest aspect of the gameplay (more irrelevant for ICO than ED, IMO), but it did not drag out. I think both of those games invested you in the story by requiring you to explore and solve puzzles, and I did enjoy those games. That sounds what DP is like.

Richard Naik
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Richard Naik
5 years 8 months ago
[quote]Despite these facts, I have never experienced a game that more thoroughly pulled me into the world. As I said to Richard on the Podcast – you saw a great story by watching it on Youtube – but you missed out on the experience of BEING Zach Morgan, which is one of the great videogame experiences of all time.[/quote] OBJECTION!!! Sorry, that had no real purpose. I’ve just been dying to say that for like four months. DP had a great story. It just has the misfortune of being told by an immensely shitty game. As I also said on… Read more »
Daniel Weissenberger
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Daniel Weissenberger
5 years 8 months ago
Deadly Premonition does not have branching conversations that you control. Nor will you receive a different ending depending on how you play the game. Save a couple of dead ends, of course. Despite these facts, I have never experienced a game that more thoroughly pulled me into the world. As I said to Richard on the Podcast – you saw a great story by watching it on Youtube – but you missed out on the experience of BEING Zach Morgan, which is one of the great videogame experiences of all time. As I stated, I consider going to Youtube the… Read more »
Odofakyodo
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Odofakyodo
5 years 8 months ago
[quote=Daniel Weissenberger]Also, for the record, only about half of the articles so far have been about ‘how to play’ the game – the rest are just close readings, because Deadly Premonition is the rare game that both invites and rewards analysis. Compared to something like Heavy Rain, which the developer discouraged people from playing twice (probably because very little holds up if you think about it for more than a second), DP is a game that encourages players to consider its mysteries, and get more out of it than a series of shocks and thrills. Deadly Premonition was the best… Read more »
Tim Spaeth
Guest
Tim Spaeth
5 years 8 months ago
I again want to thank everyone for listening and especially for taking the time to comment. This episode in particular was a blast to prep for and record, and I’m thrilled so many of you dug it. [quote=Scott]I wasn’t a fan of Mario Galaxy 2 at all (it’s the EXACT SAME GAME as 2007’s Mario Galaxy…LITERALLY the same damn thing)….That’s one reason the universal love for Mario Galaxy 2 irked me so much this year – NO ONE on ANY site addressed the issue that so much of it was a blatant ripoff of the first Mario Galaxy…and yet everyone… Read more »
Trent Fingland
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Trent Fingland
5 years 9 months ago

Good to hear SOMEONE say ANYTHING good about Heavy Rain, for once. Kudos, Brad. ;P

And it was Sonic Unleashed, Richard.

Mike Bracken
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Mike Bracken
5 years 9 months ago

That’s a good idea about the top 3 with a scoring mechanic. Would certainly add some drama and suspense.

karn1
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karn1
5 years 9 months ago
Congratulations on your third anual award show. It was a joy to listen to and a great way to end the GC-year. I always enjoy listening to your GOTY-picks and other awards, because they are so different from all the other gaming sites (I didn’t hear Mass Effect 2 mentioned once, I think). I don’t always agree with your ratings and picks, but I can always follow your reasonings and it is interesting to hear some different takes on the games. After the awards show I immediately downloaded “Game Dev Story” for my iPhone after hearing Tim give it such… Read more »
Mike Bracken
Guest
Mike Bracken
5 years 9 months ago
[quote=Scott]However, I loved Alan Wake and even dug up a recent podcast where you covered it (#44) and you guys got hung up on not liking Alan – when he was clearly modeled after the protagonists in many Stephen King books. The story in the game was phenomenal, as were the graphics (aside from facial animations), the soundtrack, voice acting, pacing and presentation. And I loved the gameplay/combat system.[/quote] Well, to be fair, I really liked Alan Wake too. I think the game has some significant flaws (unlikeable protagonist being the biggest), but I had a lot of fun with… Read more »
Brad Gallaway
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Brad Gallaway
5 years 9 months ago
Hey Scott. Thanks very much for your comments. I basically echo everything that Dan said… the reason that DP took the crown this year was because it took so many risks that paid off, had phenomenal writing and characterization, and its approach to the material was revolutionary compared to a sea of games that may have looked and controlled better, but were essentially safe, low-risk, low-imagination projects that were iterations of things we’ve seen many times before. I also want to point out to you that if you go to the actual reviews that were turned in for DP, Sparky’s… Read more »
Scott C.
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Scott C.
5 years 9 months ago
Dan – I may just do that. I know watching Youtube videos might be like watching the cinematic DVD from the XBox version Shenmue II… I was thinking of doing the same thing about FFXIII since I could only put up with 15 hours of it before the gameplay turned me off. And I totally agree with you that “Game of the Year” should be reserved for a game that raises the bar in a significant way like no other title. Maybe after I see the storytelling in DP I’ll feel that way. Maybe after watching the story unfold I’ll… Read more »
Daniel Weissenberger
Guest
Daniel Weissenberger
5 years 9 months ago
You’re right about different types of players engaging in games different ways – and the absolute horribility of Deadly Premonition’s combat puts up quite a wall to every survival horror gamer post-RE4. There were other criteria to picking game of the year, though, and this year it came down (for me) to ‘what’s the most singularly wonderful time you had playing a game this year’? ‘What game raised the bar on videogame story and characterization’? ‘What game’s perfect conclusion will you continue thinking about for years to come’? Also, for the record, only about half of the articles so far… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
5 years 9 months ago

Kudos to you for picking DP. I played a lot of great games this year, but DP is my GOTY as well, and I’m glad there’s at least one website out there that gives this game the credit it deserves.

Scott
Guest
Scott
5 years 9 months ago
Here’s the thing, I’m of the belief that there are really two ways for gamers to approach any given game: #1) Make the gameplay so intuitive and enjoyable that gamers of all types can start enjoying it immediately. #2) Make the gameplay so frustrating/difficult/confusing that the steep learning curve forces players to look “outside of the game” for help (websites, FAQs, Youtube videos, etc.) I’ve played both types over the years and thankfully, the #2 approach is rather uncommon. Demon’s Souls was a game that was so punishing I doubt very much even one player went through their whole play… Read more »
Daniel Weissenberger
Guest
Daniel Weissenberger
5 years 9 months ago
I wish you’d taken the time to read at least the first couple of articles before selling the game. The GOTY piece is as much about acting as a guide to help people through the early, rough parts of Deadly Premonition as it is an analysis of all the game’s high and low points. Also, everyone should feel free to message me when they’re going to be selling their unloved copies of DP on eBay – I’m bidding whenever I can pick one up for under 15$. That sounds low, but it’s what I can pick them up for new,… Read more »
Scott
Guest
Scott
5 years 9 months ago
…yeah – I 100% agree that you’re more likely to get burned from totally trusting a site all the time…but I just discovered GameCritics earlier in the year…and while not every review hit close to home, whenever you guys covered more story-line/cinematic titles you spoke the truth, even if it didn’t please developers/publishers or fans. I like that – way too many sites give everything an ‘8’ or higher automatically if they fear advertiser or readership backlash. Now I can accept that you guys didn’t like Alan Wake – to each his own – and if that was the general… Read more »
Richard Naik
Guest
Richard Naik
5 years 9 months ago
@Scott I agree that DP isn’t GOTY material. It’s just too broken, which I made perfectly clear on our DP show. It was actually close to being my “Most Disappointing” entry. That said, it isn’t reasonable to automatically assume that you will like a game because someone recommends it to you. Dan talked me into giving DP a whirl, and I bailed after the second episode. Brad talked me into playing Vanquish, but I wasn’t impressed with it. The choice to try those games out is on me, not them. Asking them to “be ashamed of themselves” makes no sense… Read more »
Scott
Guest
5 years 9 months ago
I still cannot understand the love for Deadly Premonition. I picked that game up based solely on GameCritic’s non-stop praise of it and it is a horrible, horrible game. Maybe the game gets better as you get further into it and interact with everyone – I don’t know…because after being exposed to the last-gen-at-best visuals, shoddy presentation, laughable cinematics and horrid controls I promptly put the disc back in the case and sold it online. However, I loved Alan Wake and even dug up a recent podcast where you covered it (#44) and you guys got hung up on not… Read more »
Richard Naik
Guest
Richard Naik
5 years 9 months ago

I think the suspense of knowing the Steaming Pile award is totally worthy of the ending music from The Best of Both Worlds part 1.

Gene P.
Guest
Gene P.
5 years 9 months ago

I don’t know if I would say I liked Castlevania. I was pretty meh on it. But I guess with your guyses crazy rating scale, a 5.5 means that I liked it. lol 😉

ZippyDSMlee
Guest
5 years 9 months ago
Wiat when was Sonic Adventure bad? Unpolished sure but bad? Its no worse than Mario 64. Sonic 1,2,3 and Sonic and knuckles were pretty good, Mario was a better platformer but it was not free roaming. And Sonic Unleashed is half right. Er what? CV 64 is better than Lords of shadow, I’ll take an adventure style game over a god of war want to be. Also Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness were as bad as Lords of shadows tho they are bland and flat and iffy pacing LOS might be paced better but just has worse content.… Read more »
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