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Bracken's Best Games of 2012

Tera Screenshot

2012 is officially in the books, which means it can be time for only one thing: this year's installment of Bracken's Best Games of the Year. If you've already listened to our year-end awards extravaganza podcast, then you're well aware of what my top four games of 2012 were—but don't bail yet! There are six other games that made my top 10 of the past year, and you'll want to stick around to see what they are. Plus, if you haven't heard the podcast, the entire list is a mystery to you at this point!

Titan Books knocks it out of the park with Assassin's Creed III and Halo 4 Art Books

The Art of Assassin's Creed III

British publisher Titan Books has decided to celebrate the gorgeous artwork that provides the basis for our favorite digital adventures in two new books: The Art of Assassin's Creed III and Awakening: The Art of Halo 4. If you've got a finicky game-lover on your holiday shopping list, both of these books could make fantastic presents.

Three reasons why The Elder Scrolls Online might be a bad idea

The Elder Scrolls Online Screenshot

Since the days of Morrowind, players and game critics alike have often described Bethesda's beloved Elder Scrolls series as "an offline MMO." The titles have had many of the elements that make Massively Multiplayer titles like World of Warcraft a huge hit, but it's never allowed for other players to come together and share the experience—until now.

Relive the arcade's glory days in Lincoln Ruchti's documentary Chasing Ghosts

Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade Image

Lincoln Ruchti's Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade takes us back to a time when the country was gripped in the throes of a serious case of Pac-Man Fever and chronicles not only Twin Galaxies' Official Scorekeeper Walter Day, but the pimply-faced teenagers who were the kings of the arcade. It is at once a fascinating look into a relatively new medium's (videogaming is only set to turn 40 this year) past and an examination of how these men's lives were influenced by their passions.

Game Changer: Can Tim Schafer's Kickstarter Project change the way games are funded?

Game Changer: Can Tim Schafer's Kickstarter Project change the way games are funded?

It's unclear if Grim Fandango creator Tim Schafer intended to change the way games are financed or not, but his latest venture could have long-lasting repercussions on the hobby we all know and love.

Crafting Nightmares: Why Amnesia's Dark Descent terrifies audiences

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Screenshot

There have been some genuinely scary horror games over the years - everything from Silent Hill and Fatal Frame to PC titles like Clive Barker's Undying and so on. Each has worked diligently to merge the idea of the horror narrative with compelling gameplay in order to craft experiences that keep gamers playing even while they cower in fear behind their controllers. As great as some of those have been, few have been as perfect as Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

My secret gaming shame: I paid full price for Steel Battalion

Steel Battalion Screenshot

It's easy to figure out why gamers lusted after this thing when developer Capcom released it back in late 2002: It's the mech equivalent of a racing game's steering wheel—on steroids—complete with the foot pedals and about a bazillion other useless doodads.

Bracken's Best Games of 2011

Shadows of the Damned Screenshot

Twenty-eleven was not a banner year for games. Sure, the fourth quarter was once again overfilled with AAA titles that brought in billions of dollars of revenue (and review scores centered squarely at the top end of the scoring chart), but many of those titles weren't exactly mindblowing in their awesomeness. The games weren't bad, mind you—it's just hard to shake the feeling that 2011's fourth quarter was more about treading water.

Critical mass: Why it's okay to hate Call of Duty (and any other game franchise)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Screenshot

Kotaku's Luke Plunkett recently wrote an opinion piece entitled Why It's Stupid to Hate Call of Duty So Damn Much. Intrigued by the headline (and always a sucker for a well-considered opinion piece to counter the never-ending stream of gaming "list-icles" out there) I decided to see why people were stupid to hate on what is essentially the biggest game franchise in the world at this moment.

How Jace Stratton nearly ruined Gears of War 3

Gears of War 3 Screenshot

While it's hardly high art, Gears 3 generally manages to craft a satisfying enough experience—except in one regard. For some odd reason Epic Games made the strange decision to saddle Marcus not just with his usual team of cohorts (Dom, Baird, and The Cole Train), but to also add in some new characters as well. The additions of female characters Anya and Sam to the mix works out well enough, but the decision to add Jace Stratton to the team is a disaster.

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