The Best Gaming Moments of 2008 - Harry

2008 has been a great year for gaming – Left 4Dead, Fallout 3, Mass Effect – all great games I that I’ve enjoyed immensely.

Yet for me the sweetest of gaming delights is found not in co-op zombie slaying or a deep single player experience, but in competitive online play; the thrill of knowing you’ve just bested another player rather than an AI controlled zombie is tough to beat.

And for dedicated multiplayer warriors, 2008 hasn’t really been a great year when you come down to it. Left4Dead is undeniably awesome, but it’s a different kind of multiplayer experience, one where you’re working co-operatively with other players .

Call me a jerk if you will but sometimes you just want to rub another player’s face into the dirt, dance around their corpse taunting and revel in the fact that you’re better than them.

The Best Gaming Moments of 2008 The Best Gaming Moments - Harry goes online

This is why my favourite gaming experiences of 2008 have, somewhat ironically, all been in games that were released in 2007. The first is in one of my all-time favourite games, Company of Heroes – a game which this year I began to play online to a unhealthy amount.

The developers, Relic, have continually supported the title since release with bug fixes, DirectX 10 enhancements and standalone expansions, so while some flaws still remain, the game is astonishingly well balanced in competitive play and can be ferociously intense. The level of attention and skill required to win against a decent player is very high, and micro-managing important units is critical to succeeding; victory rarely comes from the unit spam or base rushes that plague other RTS games.

One particular match against an annoyingly cocky opponent started badly for me, and with five minutes gone it looked like my troops were done for, pinned back in my base and with few resources left. With some intensive micro-management of my anti-tank guns though I was able to swing the tide of battle, blunt my opponent’s tank assault and stage a counterattack which culminated in that most delicious of finishes – the opposition rage quitting. It was a tense, nervous, adrenaline fuelled nail-biter of a match where victory is never certain and it’s why I just adore this game.

The Best Gaming Moments of 2008 The Best Gaming Moments - Harry goes online

But my absolute best gaming moment of 2008 came a few months back during an evening of Team Fortress 2 with a few friends. We landed in a public payload-only server and joined the losing team, grouping together and looking for trouble. What came next was some of the most hilarious and big-grin-making Team Fortress 2 sessions I’ve ever experienced, with our somewhat organised (and occasionally utterly rubbish) group causing havoc for the other team.

Uber-charged Pyro rushes that caused the whole enemy team to retreat and repeated attempts to get the Medic’s Blunt Trauma achievement weren’t just satisfying but utterly hilarious and combined with all of us laughing it up on a Ventrillo server, made it a sublime slice of gaming nirvana that’s been tough to top.

While Left4Dead has shown us that playing with your friends can be great fun, for me there’s still nothing that can top pwning with them - and for me, the best place to do that is in a place where I can use my wits as well as my reaction times to conquer my opponent!
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