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Armchair Analysis: December 2011 NPD, Part 2—Software

Super Mario 3D Land Screenshot

Software sales were the highlight of November's NPD report. Strong Year Over Year (YOY) comparisons were the result of one of the strongest months of software releases in recent memory.

Five reasons you should write for free

Freelance Image

So for the last couple of months (and especially over the last few days) there's been a resurgence of "no one should ever write for free, ever, never never" among freelance games writers and paid career professionals. As someone who takes games writing very seriously and who's also worked as a mostly-unpaid-but-not-always reviewer for the last twelve years, I wanted to take a few minutes and share my thoughts on the subject.

Armchair Analysis: THQ watch

South Park: The Game Screenshot

After a weekend rife with rumors and denials, eyes should be on THQ this week to see whether any fallout results from the currently unsubstantiated turmoil.

Armchair Analysis: December 2011 NPD, Part 1—Hardware

Xbox 360 Kinect Image

December 2011 is a month that, upon review of the NPD report, continues the slide that the console video game industry has seen for much of the year. Hardware sales were down 32% from a December ago, with weaker Wii and PlayStation 3 sales leading the decline.

Need for Speed: The Run Review

Can Plots Run on Fumes?

Need for Speed: The Run Screenshot

HIGH Race that avalanche!

LOW What, you again?

WTF Man, I'm killing way too many people in this racing game.

Layton's lame, Darksiders isn't, JC Brooks and a Japanese invasion!

Professor Layton and the Last Specter Screenshot

Wrapped up Professor Layton and the Last Specter (DS) a couple days ago. I'm just finishing my formal review as we speak, but the bottom line is that it was a pretty big disappointment.

Culling the backlog...

Note: Not my actual stack of games - just a dramatic re-enactment.

I'm not playing anything substantial at the moment; just a little of this, and a little of that. However, instead of starting up something big, it's usually around this time of year that I get the urge to go through my backlog and weed through the accumulated pile. I've got quite a bit of stuff stacked up, so I need to start deciding what I'm actually going to try to play, and what I'm never going to get around to.

Brad's Top 10 of 2011

Catherine Screenshot

Some people may disagree, but for my taste, a lot of the games walking away with top honors right now just weren't cutting it. Of course, your mileage may vary (and probably does) but for me, the ten titles I've selected were the ones that left the best impression and were most deserving.

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 66: 2011 Awards Spectacular

Fifteen awards, six podcasters, and countless surprises. You'll be stunned by our pick for Game of the Year, and by the vigorous debate that follows its reveal. Plus: we announce the two winners of our Holiday Contest! Thanks to everyone for entering! With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Richard Naik, Daniel Weissenberger, and Tim "Maybe Next Year" Spaeth. From all of us at GameCritics, have a fantastic holiday, and we'll see you in 2012!

Download: Right click here and select "Save Target As..."
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Please send feedback and mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

The crying game

Shadow of the Colossus HD Screenshot

There is a certain muddiness here between "narrative" components and "systems". Would I have loved Agro as much if he were a lizard? A featherless chicken? A square with four squares sticking out of it? Perhaps I would not have. At the same time the graphical (i.e. narrative) depiction of Agro as a horse serves to contextualize the system he presents and make the game's rules intelligible.

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