And with a new year comes, well, lists of everything that happened last year of course. An underwhelming start to the year and the now live new site perhaps, consisting mostly of holiday leftovers and largely indistinguishable ‘year in review' pieces. But hey, there's a juicy backlog of Critical News Rundowns and News Extended pieces (specific commentary articles in which I mouth off for slightly longer than any self-respecting news format should allow) from last year for everyone to catch up on. Where have you guys been?

  • Nintendo Difference
    What I thought would be a timely appraisal of the successful rebirth that Nintendo have been nurturing over the last few years, despite their last home console's slow and miserable demise, is actually a questionably relevant 'should Nintendo abandon hardware' debate. This is still a solid piece—even if it does casually avoid the issue of third-party support— but I feel there is more to be said about the ‘Nintendo difference' now that the company's unprecedented creative and commercial trajectories have so clearly resurrected their fortunes from a few years ago and subtly revitalised the industry and opened up new markets in the process.
  • Xbox MVP Award!
    Special mention this week goes to the folks at for receiving an MVP (Most Valuable Professionals) award from Microsoft. For those as unfamiliar with this innovative and good-natured site as I was until recently, it allows 360 owners to enter their gamer tag into the site and receive a personalised blog from their system based on their gaming activity or, if you're prepared for the pouting of an under-used console, inactivity. Check out this example and see if you think this is one more demanding relationship you can do without, or a prime excuse for giving your 360 plenty more TLC.
  • Lines, anger, police … A Wii story
    Time for one last personal account of launch day fever (until the next PS3 shipment, at least). I thought this piece nicely conveyed the weak-kneed anxiety and simmering violent sentiment that hangs over those tense store queues as they approach the counter. Anyone who's been in one will recognise that half-unpleasant, half-exhilarating feeling. Though unlike Krysten Peak, I imagine most of us never needed a police escort to see us safely away from the store.

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Andrew Fletcher
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