2008 came and went in a blur, but now 2009′s here there’s no better way to welcome it in from the winter cold than to get into the warmth of the Carnival of Video Game Bloggers cabin!

Clutching a Nintendogs by Nintendo DS hot water bottle in the corner is Robin from Kids Toy Reviews, who told me "I have reviewed this product with young kids in mind. I think that video games can be for many different age ranges!"

From Gaming for Glory, Judd‘s Game Review: Mirror’s Edge is heating us all up by reminding us of sunny blue skies and warm yellow suns.

With Why the Wii has Won and Wii Success Marks the Downfall of the Hardcore Gamer over at Console Me.., karmstrong is conjuring up images of families waggling in front of their goggle boxes. Nothing makes me sweat more than the idea of exercise. 

IMG_1224Tony Huynh is huddled in a corner somewhere, surrounding himself with plush throws and luxurious cushions. He’s keeping his mind off the cold by embroidering each with a message, then passing it around to his fellow bloggers. Let’s have a look at some.

One a huge throw, that’s almost entirely brown and grey, he’s sewn Gears of War 2 Through the Eyes of a Game Designer at LimitlessUnits.com, with the message "Gears of War 2 continues the story of Gears of War. The Locust horde has been sinking entire cities and steadily pushing humanity back. The game begins with humanity clinging to their last stronghold of Jacinto and the Gears setting out on a counter-offensive to prevent their last bastion from being undermined. In the following sections I will outline the aspects, levels and events in the game that left a more lasting impression on me."

He’s just given karmstrong a soft pillow, embroidered with 2 Months: Star Wars Vs. Star Trek, Super Mario Level Mod and Flash Game Sonny and "Videos of Star Wars Versus Star Trek Video and Most Difficult Super Mario Level Mod Ever Part 1. Flash games Sonny and The Worst Flash Game Ever."

Tony has just finished a huge quilt, on which he’s hand-stitched What Video Games Taught Me About Life at LimitlessUnits.com, with "I do not go a week without the media putting out a report or hearing somebody say that video games are a waste of time and that there is very little value in spending time playing them. I can personally say that video games have been hugely beneficial to both my social and professional life. I have learned first-hand many of life’s lessons from video games and I constantly draw upon my experience as a gamer to be successful in any goal or challenge that I face. Here are some of the life lessons that I have learned from playing video games" underneath.

IMG_0041On the quilt’s underside he’s embroidered Crayon Physics  Indie Game Released Today and 9 Theatrical Movie and Short Film and "I wanted to let you guys know that a great indie game came out today called Crayon Physics. Crayon Physics was created by one-man developer Petri Purho of Kloonigames. On another note I was talking with a co-worker and we started to discuss what books or movies would make a great game. He told me about Shane Acker’s 9."

Tony is just about to put the finishing touches to a chunky scarf, with a long message winding along its woolly fronds. In thick letters it reads Top 5 Greatest Moments in Competitive Gaming (eSports), followed by "Here are the top 5 greatest moments in tournament video gaming. To qualify these moments had to occur in a tournament witnessed by others and of course it had to be recorded." It is a very long scarf.

Tending lovingly to a big dixie of soup is old-wizard, throwing all kinds of ingredients liberally into the mix. With a handful of Top 10 Games on the Wii, a pinch of Top 10 Most Underrated Video Games and a teaspoon of his secret ingredient, Ten Steps to Making a Successful FPS, all from the world’s best Soup Ingredient Megastore, Old-Wizard.com.

Trench is staring longingly out of the window into the wintry abyss, no doubt wondering if he’ll ever be able to get back to 7milesdown. He’s not bored, though – with Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Prince of Persia, Call of Duty: World at War and Gears of War 2 for Xbox 360, he’s got plenty to keep him busy for a good few days. Or at least until the fresh water runs out.

One person I certainly don’t want to intrude on our little Carnival bunker is a zombie wolf, but thankfully should the worst happen we’ve got Reviews: Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ for the Nintendo DS. If there’s one person I trust to defeat zombies, it’s Little Red Riding Hood. And Scott Davis of ZombieChatter.com, of course.

Actually, maybe one thing worse would be vampires, but we’ve got that covered as well, as Pwn Greenland (not his real name, I suspect) has brought along the vampire-slaying guidebook NES Hell: Castlevania. "A brief rant on Konami’s "Castlevania" for the NES. Contains strong language and humour. Discretion advised."

IMG_0072 Looks like a few more winter hikers are trying to seek refuge in this tiny cabin. Yoshi’s here with Megaman the toughest enemy, wearing his favourite G’s game vids woolly hat. I feel sorry for Yoshi – with his cold blood there’s no way he can survive outside. Better let him in.

What the..?! Mike Kurz just burst out from under a pile of coats! He’s shouting something about the Community Game Of The Week: Blow posted at Check Your HUD. I hope he’s not coming down with cabin fever…

Trudging through the snow towards the warm refuge of my cabin is Gene Simmons. He looks weighed down by a huge briefcase – probably the result of his recent $100,000 Flash Game Experiment – part 2. As he gets closer, I can read "Accumulate Profit Margin Invest Destroy" on the case, so I decide to let him in. He greets me with "this is part 2 of one man’s journey into the sinister world of the online flash game business. In this episode, he goes through the creation of his first game and eventually ends up losing his sponsorship-virginity." Nobody just says "hello" any more.

My good friend DaggleC has recently started his blog Dag’s Paradigm, and his first proper post is a real cracker – end of an era tells his view of the good old days of the Spectrum and Commodore machines, and mourns the loss of the good old times of cassettes and lines of codes. Nostalgia is always a good way to get a warm glow going!

Of course, I’ve been in here all along, putting together the most heartwarming post ever imaginable – The Top Sega 50 Games of All Time. It’s finally finished after a long time’s toiling, so let’s all bask in the warm sunshine of my love affair with Sega.

Game bloggers copyHopefully this cold weather is going to pass us by in a few hours and we can all get back to our families, but until then let’s join together in saying a big thanks to everyone who reads and submits to the Carnival of Video Game Bloggers, and a very Happy New Year to you all.

If you’d like to submit to next month’s – much warmer! – Carnival, head on over to the Blog Carnival Submissions form and let gamers and bloggers all over the world read what you have to say!