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Brütal wrap-up and PixelJunk Shooter

Brutal Legend Screenshot

After completing Brütal Legend, there were several pictures of the development team on screen as the credits rolled. The people on view all looked like nice, upstanding, hard-working citizens of the game dev community. As these snapshots appeared, I felt an intense wave of something approximating some kind of bizarre guilt because actually having faces attached to the game made Brütal Legend's failure somehow more tangible. More terrible.

Was 2009's games line-up better or worse than 2008's?

Better.
50% (271 votes)
Worse.
25% (135 votes)
About the same.
25% (133 votes)
Total votes: 539

Brütalizing Brütal Legend

Brütal Legend Screenshot

Tim Schafer is a brilliant guy and I have tons of respect for him, but he's just been off lately. I don't care what anybody says, Psychonauts was a big bag of fail to me, and although Brütal Legend is better, it's still not anywhere near what it could've been. In fact, I'm not even really sure what it is.

Dragon Age: Origins Second Opinion

Enchantment?

Dragon Age: Origins Screenshot

HIGH This is a very serious breach of protocol, but I have two: 1) Watching my companions change from fantasy archetypes into actual characters. 2) Glyph of Repulsion + Inferno + a doorway = awesome.

LOW The sheer amount of useless crap that I'm presented with while looting. (NOTE: This has been relieved somewhat by a recent update.)

WTF Enchantment!

My favorite games of 2009

Full Throttle Screenshot

Rather than do one big top ten list, I thought I'd instead break things up into two separate top five lists (with a few honorable mentions thrown in): my favorite games of 2009, and my favorite games from prior years that I played for the first time in 2009. This seems like a good compromise, since I haven't come close to exhaustively playing all the "big" releases this year, and therefore any best of list from me would be loaded with caveats and qualifiers. In addition, many of my most memorable gaming experiences this year came from older titles, and I think that needs to be acknowledged.

Gamer Diversity

Mass Effect Screenshot

Getting close to wrapping up my second time through Mass Effect, and since I almost never replay games, it's been an interesting experience. A friend asked me today how it was going through again, and to be perfectly honest, it wasn't nearly as fun as it was the first time. Don't get me wrong—I'm not saying that there's anything the matter with the game itself, it's more about the kind of player that I am.

What if Mario were a Jew?

New Super Mario Bros. Wii Art

One can very reasonably argue that religion does not play a role in most video games (other than those which are "edutainment" or pointedly religious to the point of proselytizing, ala the Left Behind series) for the same reason that many cultural and ethnic factors do not: It's just not part of what we look for in an avatar. You don't really see a "Buddhist" slider in the Elder Scrolls character creation screen, after all. But is that really the case? That games remain pleasantly ignorant of religion and ethnic culture because we will them to do so?

Matt's Year in Review, Part III: My Favorite Games of 2009

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Screenshot

Big surprise, I know. Uncharted 2 will inevitably rack up countless Game of the Year honors and will be forever remembered as a crowning jewel in the PlayStation 3's game library... but it will deserve every glowing remark, every spot of praise. While I was similarly fond of the first Uncharted game, Uncharted 2 expands upon the successes of its forebear with even more stunning graphics, breathtaking set pieces, and some of the best voice acting and writing in the business.

Matt's Year in Review, Part II: The Most Overrated and Underrated Games of 2009

Street Fighter IV Screenshot

I should note that by "underrated," I mean under-appreciated or overlooked by the media and public. These are games I feel deserve just a spot more attention than they initially received, or sold very poorly relative to their quality. Similarly, my selections for "overrated" games are not necessarily massive hits or top-tier critical choices, but I do feel each one undeservedly dominated a specific part of the gaming conversation at some point or another this year. They're not bad games; just not as good as they could have been.

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