There’s a bit of symbolism in our selection, as World of Goo isn’t just a flawless game, it’s the best representation of where video games are headed. Using the Wii’s pointer (or the mouse on PC) and only one button, players construct gelatinous towers with tiny balls of slime, attempting to suck away excess goo by connecting their creations to distant pipes. Each level grows more complex, but remains playable to anyone with a basic understanding of physics. The soundtrack and visual style conjure Dr. Seuss, and the strange plot never misses an opportunity for wry humor.
Two guys in a coffee shop created World of Goo, and with virtually no budget they made the kind of simple but deep game that’s lost upon costly AAA titles. The indie game scene has swelled ever since Xbox Live Arcade made it more accessible, and this year’s addition of WiiWare — which hosts this Game of the Year — and Xbox Live Community Games only make fresh ideas easier to come by. The retail model isn’t dead yet, but World of Goo suggests that it’s no longer so damn relevant.