Dear Defunct Games viewers,
You've survived attacks by hurricanes. You've donated all your money to re-elect Bush. You've quit your job just to watch the Scott Peterson trial. It sounds like you must have really loved 2004! After all, it was the year that brought us blockbuster about Jesus Christ, a time when being on Swift Boat captain was considered unpatriotic, and a year when Donald Trump got a TV show ... and a musical! What a wonderful year 2004 was.
But even with all these big ticket news stories, 2004 will be best known by gamers as being the best, and certainly most concentrated year for gaming we have ever seen. Within a four month time there were at least two dozen AAA games that did more than demanded your attention; they raised the bar on their respected genre. There's no doubt about it, if you didn't have a great time in 2004 chances are you aren't a big fan of video games.
One of the most striking aspects of 2004 came in the variety of games available for all kinds of different game systems. Fans of ultra violent action games were able to get their rocks off thanks to a steady supply of high quality titles (Grand Theft Auto, Halo 2, and Ninja Gaiden to name a few), while fans of racing games finally had something to cheer about. Picking where these twenty games were going to fit on the list was difficult because so many of them are different; it's almost unfair to make me compare a fast paced racing game to a first person shooter, they are never going to be similar, no matter how you spin it.
Unfortunately, 2004 was not a great year for originality. Of the twenty games chosen to populate the list, only four are truly original titles. The rest of the list is made up of sequels, updates, and rehashes of past titles. The fact that we're talking about video game sequels and not movies can make us all feel a little better, but we can only hope that 2005 brings us more new ideas and franchises, instead of just building on past successes.
Last year we attempted a Top 20 list (the 20 Games You Should Already Own) and had mixed results. A lot of people liked the article but wondered what it had to do with Defunct Games. This year we're going to do exactly the same thing, expect with a few minor improvements to make our show a little different from all the others. Let's face it, you've probably already seen at least a hundred Top Ten lists for 2004, so we're going to do everything in our power to make this one a little different.
So no matter if you're man lost the election, your favorite show got cancelled, or your idol got thrown in prison; we believe 2004 is a year worth celebrating! So I offer you, for the second year in a row, a truly mainstream article specifically created to tug at your heartstrings. Please, without further warning, put your hands together for a Top 20 list a full year in the making ... a list so good, we start right at number 1! Please, my friends and enemies, turn your attention to something I like to call, I Love the 04!
Your faithful editor,
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Rockstar)
Ninja Gaiden (Tecmo)
Burnout 3: Takedown (EA)
Astro Boy (Sega)
Halo 2 (Bungie)
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (VU Games)
Dead or Alive Ultimate (Temco)
Paper Mario: the Thousand Year Door (Nintendo)
Katamari Damacy (Namco)
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (Konami)
Alien Hominid (O~3)
Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (Ubi Soft)
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (Sony)
Maximo vs. Army of Zin (Capcom)
Jak III (Sony)
James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (EA)
Viewtiful Joe 2 (Capcom)
Sly Cooper 2 (Sony)
Champions of Norrath: Realms of EverQuest (Sony)
RalliSport Challenge 2 (Microsoft)