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Sparky's Year in Games 2010

Metro 2033 Screenshot

Well, it has reached the time of year when we harvest the crop of retrospectives, the best-of and worst-of lists that one can accuse of gratuitous iconoclasm, corporate servitude, or trolling as suits your fancy. I continue my habit of not naming a "Game of the Year", nor even a "Game (that I played) of the Year" because it's a hollow designation, and (rightfully) nobody cares. That said, since it is customary to roll out some kind of year-end wrap-up, here is one.

Brad's Top 10 of 2010

Heavy Rain Screenshot

Another year, another breakdown of the year's best games—according to me. Looking back, 2010 was an odd twelve months. Catching many players and critics by surprise, a large number of the most hotly-anticipated titles ended up being unexpectedly disappointing, leaving the top honors wide open for a number of lesser-known, smaller-budget projects. Unfortunately, while many of these smaller games displayed promise and creativity, most of them were flawed or uneven enough to give pause. The result? A year where (in my view, anyway) there really was no single runway pick for the year's best.

Video: New Mario Bros. Movie Trailer

This particular video really hits its mark. Part tribute to Super Mario Bros., part tribute to Grand Theft Auto and completely awesome. As an homage it captures some popular Nintendo catch phrases and mixes them in with altered non-Nintendo catch phrases. My favorite part of the video though is that frequent sad sack and third wheel, Luigi, is particularly badass. Though clearly the second in command in The Brothers Mario, he's not the pathetic, attention-seeking sibling we see in other fan videos.

Consoleation: November 2010 domestic console video game sales

Super Mario All-Stars Screenshot

Since NPD stopped sharing its domestic sales figures with the press (and therefore the general public), it's very difficult to pinpoint numbers and interpret larger trends. Over at NeoGAF, fellow armchair analysts have taken the time to sift through press releases and have posted what available information that's been released regarding November's sales numbers. I'm going to borrow from that data to forge a bit of analysis.

Long Overdue

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite Screenshot

My son became a Monster Hunter Tri addict earlier this year when he was with us for the summer, and we spent lots of time going after the big beasties on the Wii. He asked for a copy of his own for his birthday (which he got, of course) and I just found out yesterday that one of his other family members gave him a PlayStation Portable and a copy of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite as an early Christmas present.

Consoleation: Acceptable Irrelevance

Red Dead Redemption Screenshot

As we talk about almost every year at this time, the 2010 Video Game Awards are in the books… and I didn't watch it. After having watched the show for the last two years, and with my karaoke job coinciding with the event, I was fine trying to follow the event via Twitter. I didn't miss much.

DJ Hero 2 Review

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

DJ Hero 2 Screenshot

HIGH Nailing the effect taps on any of the Axel F mixes.

LOW Finger cramps.

WTF DJ Qbert's sadistically wonderful battle.

Video: You too can own a street-legal Tron Light Cycle for only $55K

Whether it is the original Tron movie, its sequel (Tron Legacy) or video games based on the sequel (Tron: Evolution), the one thing movie goers and gamers always look forward to seeing are the Light Cycles. Those unrealistically aerodynamic and blisteringly fast quasi-motorcycles have not only cemented a place for themselves in science-fiction and video games, but popular culture in general. More than a few bike aficionados went home after seeing the first movie, to look disappointingly at their now obsolete motorcycles.

Now a company called Parker Brothers Choppers is making it possible for some of us to live out our childhood fantasies and actually ride a "recreation" of the virtual bike. However, fans of the original movie may be disappointed as these bikes are modeled after the new virtual machines from Tron Legacy.

But who cares? These models look sexy, powerful and extraordinarily cool looking, however impractical they may be to maneuver, maintain and own.

Four Light Cycles are available should you have $55K to spare.

Video: If games had super-easy mode

In honor of Brad's gaming brick wall blog post and the comments that followed, here is College Humor parody video. Would some of those classic games have been as revered without the legendarily tough stages? You be the judge.

Breaking down gaming brick walls

Have you ever had a game that you just knew was going to take serious effort to complete, but you dug in for the long haul and stayed with it until the end? I'm not talking about the average (and tedious) 60-hour Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) or anything that's a simple matter of hours devoted. No, I'm talking about something that's really difficult, or something that presents some sort of extraordinary obstacle to overcome. Something like the video game equivalent of a brick wall.

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