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Best Original Games of 2003? 654

PapaZit writes "It seems like most of the games that I purchase these days are sequels: GTA3 and Vice City , Zelda: Wind Waker, even Knights of the Old Republic and Galaxies built on the Star Wars franchise. What are the best original (not a sequel or franchise) games that you've played this year?"
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Best Original Games of 2003?

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  • Quick Rundown (Score:5, Informative)

    by R-66Y ( 150658 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:01PM (#7822580) Homepage
    Viewtiful Joe and Beyond Good and Evil are both excellent.

    • i absolutely love Viewtiful Joe, it's been a blast. lots of fun to play, and looks great while you're doing it.

      (rather than looks great, but isn't much fun to play)
    • It's really, really sad how void the discussions are on this. So far I've only seen a couple of games mentioned.

      Was there anything released this year that wasn't a franchise game? Seems this article is dead.
  • WarioWare Inc. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vaguelyamused ( 535377 ) <> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:02PM (#7822586)
    WarioWare Inc. Mega Microgames

    I haven't played a game more original (or bizarre) in a very long time.

    • Re:WarioWare Inc. (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ... is a franchise (Mario Bros.) and therefore a "sequel."
    • That game is just a glorified (mostly)single player mario party (currently mario party has 5 versions out)

      so this is definatly not a new concept, just a wonderful variation on an N64 game.

      that said, it is not original, just very good.
  • by topham ( 32406 )
    Seriously. My GF loves it.

    And while it might be part of the DOA franchise, really it's hard to call it a sequel.

    • Big boobs aside, this game is actually very playable and fun. It's not one of those "you'll play it for months" type games but it was entertaining.

      Of course, I just downloaded it from Usenet.
  • GTA3 a sequel? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stemcell ( 636823 )
    I know the poster goes on to say that he excludes franchises as well as sequels but GTA3 was a ground-breaking and original game - it seems a bit harsh to exclude it on the basis that it shares its name with a top-down 2d crime game....

    But don't even get me started on Vice City ;-)

    Happy New Year,
    • Does the 3 in "GTA3" mean anything to you?

      Super Mario Bros. 3 was a groundbreaking platformer with incredible gameplay, but it was still a sequel to Super Mario Bros. 2.

  • saw some videos and seen it being played: Vietiful Joe [] Game itself is full of "special effects" and all the reviews are boasting how great the controls are. Damn i wish i had gamecube.
  • Pong! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Dragonshed ( 206590 )
  • Best game this year? (Score:5, Informative)

    by N0decam ( 630188 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:04PM (#7822598) Homepage
    Eye Toy: Play - it got my parents, my inlaws, and even my wife's aunt and uncle up out of their seats to "Wash some windows"

    Awesome fun for the whole family.
    • by AnriL ( 657435 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:39PM (#7822849)
      Absolutely! And aside from being an innovative concept in gaming AND a completely new approach to human input to games, it is an astonishing technology demo which works fantastically well. For those who have not seen it, it's not just that the camera recognizes motion on the screen in real time in wildly varying lighting conditions and uses it as input for boxing, keeping up a football in the air with your head, popping baloons, etc - the whole input system is camera based. When in the menus, the screen has several hot-spots (Select, Cancel, etc) and you just wiggle your fingers at the hot-spot for a second and the system will take your hint and accept it as input.

      In any way, kudos to Sony R&D for putting lots of cool technology to a very practical use. I'm still amazed at how flawlessly the system works in less than ideal lighting.
      • Ummm, this isn't really that new. I have an Intel webcam type deal that came with games that are essentially the same thing. I'm sure the Eyetoy is more polished and all, but this type of input has been around for 3-4 years or more(just not on a console).
  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:05PM (#7822599) Journal
    is Neverwinter Nights. Not sure if it was *made* this year though. I think you could make an argument for it being a sequel to Baldur's Gate, but in my eyes it's a totally new game :-) Oh yeah, and fantastic to boot :-))))

  • Viewtiful Joe (Score:5, Informative)

    by x mani x ( 21412 ) <> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:06PM (#7822608) Homepage
    By far the most original game I've played this year was Viewtiful Joe. 2d gameplay, best 3d cell shaded graphics since JSRF, slow down/speed up/zoom in effects, amazing puzzles, amazing bosses battles. Overall great mix of old school gameplay and cutting edge gameplay/graphical innovations. Totally original, totally great. My personal favorite game of the year.
  • Orbz 2 (Score:5, Informative)

    by gregfortune ( 313889 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:07PM (#7822615)
    Seems like a pretty silly game, but I ran my demo time out and am seriously considering buying the full version. Orbz 2 [] demo and screenshots can be found here. Seriously, don't knock until you try it out.
  • Call of Duty (Score:2, Informative)

    by domodude ( 613072 )
    Without doubt, the best game I have played all year is Call of Duty. Great game on so many levels.
    • Uh, not "Best", but "Best Original". Unless you think a WWII-based FPS is something new.
    • Totally agree.

      It's the first game that I've ever finished. I've liked alot of other great games (Sudden Strike, Max Payne, etc), but never got through them.

      The Soviet campaign rocked; the British was weak.
  • "Original" ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mirko ( 198274 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:08PM (#7822621) Journal
    I am not sure there *is* an original game : there are strategy games, like Civ, Warcraft, there are Doom like (once again obviously unoriginal), there are multiplayer games...
    Well, the last time I saw a NEW game and said "WOW" was when I saw people playing Dance Dance revolution...
  • If you ask: (Score:2, Funny)

    by Krapangor ( 533950 )
  • by coene ( 554338 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:08PM (#7822626)
    By far the best and most original game I purchased this year is Super Mario Sunshine. I'm really amazed that Nintendo hasn't followed up this genius Mario theme with at least 10 games by now.
  • Easy (Score:5, Funny)

    by Deraj DeZine ( 726641 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:09PM (#7822637)
    Duke Nukem Forever. It's the first game to have been in development for 5 years with no apparent progress. It's like these guys invented slacking. Actually they stole the tactic from Ion Storm and John Romero, but 3D Realms has taken it to a whole new level.

    How much more original can you get? I owe all of my failing grades to these gods of slothfulness.

    This generic DNF-bashing comment has been made possible by too much free time during winter break.
  • by vjmurphy ( 190266 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:09PM (#7822641) Homepage
    Great game, killer AI, and massive support from the publishers. Never had this much fun with turn-based strategy games since Alpha Centauri.
    • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @04:13PM (#7823049) Homepage Journal

      One problem -- GalCiv isn't particularily new or unique. It's been around for a decade now. In fact, the most recent Galactic Civilizations that you're playing is actually the fourth release in the series.

      The original release was made in 1993 by StarDock Systems, and was published by Advanced Idea Machines. It was released for OS/2 2.1, and took off in a big way. Many people switched to OS/2 just for this game. It had the dubious honour, however, of having the ugliest box art ever! . It came in 4 diskettes, with a "Shipyards" expansion released later.

      Then in 1995, StarDock produced "Galactic Civilizations 2", again for OS/2. They dumped AIM and became their own publishers -- resulting in vastly better box art :).

      1998 saw the last GalCiv release for IBM's OS/2 platform -- Galactic Civilizations Gold. Bigger galaxy sizes, an even better AI, and new game elements made it a big hit, but by the time of its release IBM's OS/2 was eclipsed by the vastly inferiour Windows 95 and Windows 98, and the market just wasn't there for it.

      I've been playing Galactic Civilizations for more than 10 years -- I was a registered beta tester for the original v1.0 release way back in 1993. It is a fantastic game, and it's designer, Brad Wardell, knows a thing or two about video game AI (when GalCiv 1 was released in 1993, nobody had seen anything like it in the AI department).

      The only sad thing is that it's taken 10 years for Windows gamers to realize how amazing this series is. Early on in GalCiv's lifetime, it's developer, Mr. Wardell, was quoted as saying that the game couldn't be ported to the then-current DOS and Windows platforms, because neither had suitable multithreading to support the games design. It's kinda sad that it's taken more than 10 years for Windows to finally catch up to what OS/2 could do in 1993.


  • by thdexter ( 239625 ) <dexter AT suffusions DOT net> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:09PM (#7822642) Journal
    It's just like The Sims, except with adorable animals, and interior decorating is rewarded! The thing that sucks is I finally bought my own copy recently and now my mom keeps me up until 3:00 am playing it with her character in my town...
    • by agent oranje ( 169160 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:43PM (#7822879) Journal
      Animal Crossing was new for the United States - I think a N64 version was released in Japan. But, regardless, it is an excellent game that stole a few months of my life. I wouldn't compare it to The Sims at all - in The Sims, you don't plant fruit trees for fun and profit. You don't go fishing to become immortalized in your local museum, or maybe to win the fishing tournament.

      What Nintendo did present was the potential of "goal-less games," as well as the potential for games based off of a real-time clock. I admit, I felt kinda geeky when I got all excited over the first snow in the game...
  • Gladius (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 3DKnight ( 589972 )
    Quite a good game which i play on PS2. Action, strategy, adventure... it's got it all!
  • I'm good at coding, game design, etc.

    I'm looking to join a crew who's making an action paced MMOG.

    There's a monopoly bigger than Everquest waiting in the action MMOG.
    • How serious are you on that?
      I'm not good at languages useful in writing games, my art sucks, but I'm quite good at design/storytelling.
    • My hope was that Star Wars Galaxies would offer FPS-style combat, like Planetfall. In other words: you still have to level and gain skill points, which will earn you a steadier aim and certifications on bigger weapons... but you will have to aim and fire those weapons yourself!

      *sigh* I was really disappointed to see that SWG's combat system was like all the other MMORPGs out there: dice rolls and special moves. Yawn.

      If someone creates an action-based MMORPG, I'll join it in a heartbeat.
  • Tranquility (Score:3, Insightful)

    by F2F ( 11474 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:10PM (#7822647)
    It's not brand new, but it's the most original game I've ever seen -- you move in a 3D world bouncing off platforms chasing a "spinner".

    What's really appealing is that the game is definitely a great stress reliever, very relaxed, with outstanding music (AI generated, which means it rarely repeats itself) based on your moves, and a highly, highly trigonometrical figures assembled on some of the most interesting mathematical curves you can think of...

    Reminds me of the 3D Simpsons epizode, where Homer falls into a black hole into the real world :)

    See it at [].

    NB: I'm not affiliated with the developers in any way, I don't make money off the game and in fact I've never purchased an account on their servers (though I did offer help with their Linux port at one point, but never did anything about it)...
  • How about "None"? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Urkki ( 668283 )
    There are no original games any more, any originality of powerful 3D engines has been used up a few years back already...

    The next opportunity at originality might come in the real time online world department, but I think all attempts at that in the year 2003 fell flat...?

    PC online games just have too much cheating, and consoles just aren't powerful enough yet (even XBox has way too little memory), and there aren't enough people with fast enough access who want to play them to bring out their true potenti
  • by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:11PM (#7822657)

    One thing that I'd like to know is why does nobody create any 2D games anymore? 2D is a great format for many types of games - scrolling shooters, platform games, shoot 'em-ups. Why does nobody make these any more?

    3D is fine for many types of games, but personally I'm a bit bored of 1000 variations of the DOOM format, and long for some 2D games. It's a good format for the screen, and it's a good format for games - afterall, most of the classic games of all time (Go, Chess, playing cards) are essentially 2D games in a 3D environment, which suggests to me that there is something intrinsically right about 2D for game formats.

    With the capabilities of modern consoles some fantastic 2D games should be possible, but I've looked everywhere for good 2D games for the Playstation 2 and can't find any. Very frustrating.
    • The progress of technology... people want polygons now, and game companys give them polygons =/

      On the bright side, not all games can be given another axis to move around in (2-d fighters), hurrah for SNK vs Capcom.

    • Viewtiful Joe and Ikaruga for the GameCube are clearly 2D (although with some fancy visual effects, including some 3d effects). The GBA has also been home to some great original 2D games (i.e. Advance Wars 2 and Fire Emblem, and plenty of other stuff)

      I can't speak on the PS2 since none of the PS2 games I bought this year were 2D.


    • Amen brother.

      I had my girlfriend order Gradius V (it's actually coming to the states!!!... unlike gradius gaiden, which I had to mod-chip my ps1 for....) before Christmas so that I would have something to play over the vacation....

      Turns out, their original 4Q estimate got pushed back... In fact, had an original ship date of December 18th... but, when we went to order (a little late) on the 22nd, there was a new delivery date of 01/08...???

      Checked out the Konami page. Hmm, 1q04 now. darnit.

    • There's a Contra game on PS2 that is 2d... and you can get Duke Nukem: Manhattan project for PC (even runs in wine) thats like 10$ now.
      • Contra: Shattered Soldier. It rules.

        As another poster mentioned, Ikaruga and Viewtiful Joe are both 2D games that are fun as hell (GC).

        If you have a GBA, basically everything is 2D. I'd recommend Konami's Arcade Advanced ($10), which includes Yie Ar Kung-fu, Frogger, Scramble, Rush'n Attack, Time Pilot and something else I don't play and therefore can't remember. If you input the Konami code at the title screens, you get fun extras.
    • I agree, and guess it's just about the market being blind... Right now, they can only see 3D games, but I guess if some company made some truly great marketing for a very innovative and addicting 2D game that became widely successful (perfectly possible IMHO), the market would be all for 2D games again...

      It's like when the CRPG genre was revived again with Baldur's Gate. Suddenly all sorts of CRPG's building on basically the same format started popping out of the ground.

      I don't really think 3D is anything
    • Ikaruga on the GameCube (and Dreamcast if you swing that way) is a fantastic example of a game with a wholly two-dimensional game mechanic using three-dimensional graphics to stunning effect. As far as I can tell only the projectiles are sprites in the game - your craft and all the enemies, scenery and bosses are spectacularly animated 3D objects. And WHAT a game it is. Fluid graphics throughout, frantic, difficult... this is what I think you're talking about. And I agree that I'd like to see a lot more of
    • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @04:01PM (#7822973) Homepage
      There was that Viewtiful Joe game.

      And that Megaman Network Transmission game.

      And that Guilty Gear XX game.

      And that Half-Life 2D [] game.

      And Galactic Civilizations.

      And Mobile Light Force 1 and 2 (aka Gunbird 1 and Shikigama no Shiro 2, finally ported to North America!).

      And Ikaruga.

      And Risk.

      And Dance Dance Revolution.

      Or Disgaea, that game was isometric top-down.

      Or even Contra: Shattered Soldier!

      Well, gee, it sure seems like the 3D consoles and PC still get a lot of 2D games! This is ignoring the huge amount of 2D games that come out on the GBA, naturally.
    • by edwdig ( 47888 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @04:01PM (#7822978)
      If you want to play 2D games, get a GameCube with a GameBoy Player. That way you get to play both 2D and 3D games on your TV.

      If you do that, I'd also recommend getting a Hori controller from Japan. I think they're about $21 shipped from Play-Asia. It's an SNES style controller for the GameCube. It's absolutely perfect for GameBoy games and for NES games running on the GameCube (i.e. Zelda bonus disc, Metroid 1 on Metroid Prime).
    • One thing that I'd like to know is why does nobody create any 2D games anymore?

      Because with 2D it's hard for the developers to constantly frustrate the players with "dancing" or uncontrollable camera positions that make it harder than necessary to play a game. Yes, Kingdom Hearts, I am talking about you.

      Good 2D games for PS2? Get Guilty Gear XX/2X (glorious 2D beat-em-up) or Contra: Shattered Soldier (3D graphics but hard, 2D gameplay).
  • Star Chamber (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rayonic ( 462789 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:14PM (#7822672) Homepage Journal
    Just squeaking in under the wire, the recent Star Chamber [], a 4X/board/card game for the PC, is one of the more unique releases this year. Furthermore, it's a free, and has free online play with ladder rankings. (The card booster packs are what costs you).

    So go to their web site and check it out. There is no excuse not to. Or at least read this glowing review from Gamespot [].
  • I'd have to say it was Xenosaga.

    Previous to that would be Devil May Cry or Halo, although those aren't 2003 games.
    • Xenosaga was great, but considering it's ties to the Xenogears universe (I know, I know.... they insist it is completely original, but come on....:) - it probably doesn't fit the criteria of the question being asked (i.e. a completely original game not part of a specific franchise........)


    • Re:Xenosaga (Score:2, Funny)

      by ATomkins ( 564078 )
      ...or Halo, although those aren't 2003 games.

      SURE IT IS!

      oh, wait, you're probably not a Mac-user...

  • Don't hate him because he's Viewtiful.
  • Most interesting new game I've played in a while. PC version had problems with the FMVs crashing the game, but still enjoyed it. I was hoping "The Longest Journey 2" (odd name huh?) would be out in 2003, but of course that's a sequel.

    I've been playing Final Fantasy for years... oddly enough FFX2 they just released is the first real 'sequel' they've put out.

  • Some friends and I had a decent couple rounds of Apples to Apples. Or did we first do that last year? Oh wait, you mean VIDEO games....
  • Yohoho Puzzle Pirates. I got me a lot of Gamecube and Gameboy games. And I like 'em all a lot. But I find myself playing Puzzle Pirates more than anything else. Even if you don't want to play, at least do the free trial, its worth it. And unlike other MMOs where progress is based on performing repetetive button clicking, in Puzzle Pirates progress is based on skill alone. And all ages and genders can have fun and appreciate it :)
  • Some original games (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kleedrac2 ( 257408 )
    This year I'd say the best original games were;

    -Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga, brought a whole new idea into the Console RPG genre by making the two characters in the party controlled on seperate buttons.

    -XIII, WOW.

    -Ultimate Baseball Online, first MMOSports game.

    -Wario Ware, the best way to waste hours on end.

    -Battlefield 1942, took FPS's to a new level by adding planes, tanks and automobiles.

    -Wolfenstein Enemy Territory, is kinda a sequel but goes to show how popular and great a free game can trul
  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:32PM (#7822810) Journal
    Believe it or not, one of the most original/unique games I've played this year is on the Apple Mac platform!

    It's called "Enigmo", and it's sort of a "real-time puzzle game", in the tradition of something like Lemmings. You have falling drops of water, oil and lava which must be captured in the proper containers at the bottom of the screen. You're given a set of objects you can place anyplace on the screen to attempt to achieve this goal. (Of course, there are lots of interesting little catches. If a stream of drops of lava intersect a stream of water drops, the water drops evaporate, for example.) As you complete levels, you get more interesting challenges and new tools in your arsenal of objects to direct the flow of the droplets.

    It's a very well done little game, and can be quite addictive.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:36PM (#7822828)
    Funniest game that was never released in 2003. A shockingly original concept where the game would be in not actually releasing a game. And the franchise can continue on in that mode, literally forever. Brilliant concept and execution all around.
  • It wasn't new for 2003, but I discovered it in 2003. Go to their website [] to find out more, and to play the demo. It's loads of fun! By the way, if you remember your latin, "pontifex" literally means "maker of bridges," iirc. In this game you're tasked with designing a 3D bridge spanning various bodies of water, capable of withstanding varying loads. It's deceptively simple, but, as far as I can tell, original and fun!

    Here's a review of an older version: Firing Squad Review [].
  • Ikaruga (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Etriaph ( 16235 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @03:52PM (#7822929) Homepage
    This is a 2D shooter which is *hard* and completely innovative for a shooter. Your ship has two polarities, black and white. When your ship is in white polarity, it can absorb white enemy fire and you can easily destroy black ships. When you're in black polarity, the situation is opposite. You can destroy white ships easily and absorb black enemy fire. The more enemy fire you absorb, the more it powers your super weapon (and there's only one of them). Object of the game is to survive really, but it's amazing.

    Another game I've played is Bejeweled by Popcap Games. Definately the most addicitve puzzle game I've ever played. Between those two I've wasted enough time to limit my capability to produce the cure for cancer this year.

  • Viewtiful Joe (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chuck Bucket ( 142633 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @04:04PM (#7823002) Homepage Journal
    Viewtiful Joe for the Nintendo Gamecube. it may be the best game I've played since something like Super Mario World. It's just a perfect gamer's game, with so much attention to detail, and it's now the new benchmark that I judge games against.

  • Grand Theft Auto 3 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Swanktastic ( 109747 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @04:06PM (#7823014)
    GTA 3 is such a huge departure from GTA 2, I happen to think it's much more original than most non-franchise games. Yes, its the same gangland/pedestrian-killing/jacking game, but vastly further developed.

    Compare to Call of Duty which is just more WWII-themed-FPS. Very fun, not original.

    At a certain point, who cares about originality? I'd rather go see Return of the King than some other lame movie.
  • Natural Selection (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Frizzled ( 123910 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @04:08PM (#7823024) Homepage
    First Person Shooter meets Real Time Strategy.

    To top this off, the two sides (Aliens and Marines) play completely differently; the Marines require a commander (who plays from an overhead view) to build structures and acquire weapons, each Alien chooses their own role: builder or fighter. The depth of this game is simply stunning, the maps are amazing (and this is on a 5 year old game engine) and there are lots of servers to play on.

    Lastly, if you own Half-Life (and who doesn't these days) you can get it for free. []

  • WWII Online (Score:3, Informative)

    by chullymonster ( 695441 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @04:51PM (#7823239)
    The only game i've been playing for more than two years now is world war 2 online ( The game is constanly updated and has really come into its own this year. It is a massively multiplayer online war simulation, with thousands of players fighting it out on a single, continuous map spanning hundreds of miles. It has everything - tanks, planes, infantry, naval vessels, you name it; and all in a world with the most detailed physics model yet attempted. If you're tired of the gaminess of BF42, MOH:AA etc and you want a war game done properly, check out wwiiol. The game is AWESOME.
  • Savage (Score:4, Informative)

    by The Analog Kid ( 565327 ) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @05:09PM (#7823325)
    I thought Savage was one of the best, blending both RTS/FPS together. While you might say that it copied Natural Selection, development for Savage started way before NS. Not only was it a good game, it came with a Linux port right on the CD.
  • Trogdor! (Score:5, Funny)

    by splerdu ( 187709 ) on Monday December 29, 2003 @04:18AM (#7826356)
    Trogdor! []

    beautiful 2d graphics and a fresh viewpoint to knights vs dragons
  • leave the mainstream (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday December 29, 2003 @05:17AM (#7826497) Homepage Journal
    Well, poster, all the stuff you listed is major publishing mainstream content. It is widely known that usually, and even more so in times of low sales, slow economy, etc., mainstream publishers will shun any and all risk and put out nothing but surefire titles, i.e. either sequels or stuff with a movie license.

    So if you look for originality, you're simply looking in the wrong place.

    Some of the original games I've bought and/or played (some are free) this year:
    (note: I'm Linux-only, so these games are as well, you might find even more in the windos or console world)

    Marble Blast []
    3D roll-marble-around and complete puzzles game.
    Originality factor: Combining marble games with FPS and turning it into a fast-paced, thrilling action game.

    Bridge Construction Set [] (only played the demo on this one)
    Build a bridge game. Simple, fun, addictive. It is a sequel to an older game of the same kind, by the same guy.
    Originality factor: I don't know any other games of this kind, the idea is brilliant.

    Orbz []
    Shoot-yourself-around-the-track game. Somewhat tricky to describe what exactly it is about.
    Originality factor: No other game of this kind exists, AFAIK.

    Scorched 3D []
    3D Clone of Scorched Earth.
    Originality factor: While the idea is old, this is one of the few games really benefiting from the 3rd dimension, and it was done greatly. It is one of the few "clone" games that are actually more original than most of the "original" games you find which just rehash a basic idea (FPS, RTS, ...) without adding anything new.

    Savage []
    A blend between RTS and FPS.
    Originality factor: Combining two genres in a unique blend. No, it wasn't done this way before. It's not an RTS with first-person perspective for the commander, it actually is a full-blown FPS for all the non-commander players.

    BattleMaster []
    Ok, shameless plug, this is my own game. I do, however, honestly think that it's quite original.
    (it's a turn-based, multiplayer strategy game)

    You will note all of these games come from small or independent developers.

    Games are really like music in that regard: If you are looking for originality, look to the small and unknown. If you are looking for polished, perfectly produced, know-what-you-get stuff, shop in the mainstream.

Loose bits sink chips.