A good video game trailer leaves you doubled over on the floor, panting with anticipation, chewing nervously on your wallet in hopes that $60 will magically emerge just in time for the game’s release. Your pulse quickens, your eyes dilate, you pray that the little YouTube progress bubble doesn’t catch up with the end of the red buffering line. Watching game trailers can be a pretty heady experience. A good video game trailer will make bad games look awesome, and awesome games look magnificent. Here are Paste’s favorites of 2008.
The studio behind Doom is still developing its buggy-racing, mutant-shooting action spectacular. With Fallout 3 having already perfected the Mad Maxexperience, it’s a good thing there’s enough post-apocalyptic fun to
spread around. And the trailer gets extra points for having a cameo
from Goonies character Sloth. If it’s not him, it’s his brother Quasimodo.
6. Brütal Legend
Tim Schafer, the lead designer on Psychonauts and Grim Fandango,
has teamed up with Jack Black for this heavy-metal, head-rolling
odyssey. Cartoon violence has never gone quite so far over the top,
which probably has something to do with the corrupting influence of
rock ‘n’ roll. Parents, consider yourself warned: no matter how
desperately you beg for a turn, your brat won’t turn over the
controller. (In case you’re slow on the uptake, he’s fighting with an
axe, which is also a nickname for an electric guitar.)
5. Mirror’s Edge
Maybe I’m just a sucker for the game’s theme song “Still Alive” by Lisa
Miskovsky (buy the radio edit on iTunes and watch the playcount soar), but the Mirror’s Edge trailer rocks me pretty hard.
This teaser trailer damn near made me weep, mainly because I first saw
it over a year before the game was scheduled for release. The
contextual irony of the Ink Spots song lyrics made me chuckle and the
slow reveal gave me goosebumps. Then when the Brotherhood of Steel
solider turns and looks at you in the final moment, I almost wet my
pants. Almost wetting your pants means the trailer has done its job
with ruthless efficiency.
The trailer for a survival-horror game should leave you rummaging for
your childhood blanky and a night light to plug in before you climb
into bed. While Dead Space’s Lullaby Teaser Trailer
was incredibly effective with its spooky child-singing, the extra
gameplay in the standard trailer packs extra punch. This game had
atmosphere to spare. And you can feel it spilling over in the trailer.
The Ian McKellen-style voiceover reciting Alan Seeger’s poem “I Have A
Rendezvous With Death” combined with the drama of the subterranean
battlefield—beautiful, grim, straightforward, effective. For a few
brief seconds, this funner-than-fun action blockbuster feels like it
has brains to match its brawn.
If I didn’t have such an addictive gaming personality and trusted
myself to dabble in MMORPGs, this trailer would have me asking, “World
of Whatcraft?” Epic, sexy, stylish, exciting. I had so much fun
watching the trailer, I found myself secretly pining for a feature-length
version of this animated short. Instead the world will get another
installment of Shrek. Burnish your Elven mythril chestplate and savor the fantasy flavor!