Since all my esteemed colleagues seem to be doing it, I feel compelled to
slap together thoughtfully craft a year-end assessment of my own. As there enough "Top 10 of 2010" lists to make a "Top 10 'Top 10 of 2010' lists" list, I won't be making one of those. Instead, I'll just ramble about some trends of 2010 and release you unharmed back to the Internet wilderness.
2010: The Year Digital Distribution Defeated D'GameCritics
Like the majority of my fellow writers for GameCritics (but distinctly UNlike Richard Naik or should I say BENEDICT ARNOLD) I have viewed downloadable titles and DLC as filthy, money-grubbing scams engineered to take all of my money and then also take away my games because of "licensing issues" or "the company went out of business" or "sir your system has been stolen we can't replace those games until you get a replacement" or whatever evil excuses those corporate devils try to run past me. But y'know I just can't resist a good sale!
And really I think it was the sales that got me. If it's cheaper to download than it is to buy a physical copy, I'll download all day long. Well, it was that and being robbed. You can't steal digital data! Yet!
I'm not the only one. Ardent Hater Brad Gallaway also has succumbed to the temptations of digital distribution, with several of his favorite games this year being of that forbidden ilk. In fact, I think each one of the GameCritics staff has at least one game in his Top 10 that's download-only—quite a change from the "Just say NO!" attitude we shared back in the good old days, when paper manuals meant something.
2010: The Year I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Portable
This might seem incredibly old-fashioned of me, but I kind of hate portable systems. Well, hated. I couldn't see the games on them as anything other than something that sucked worse than it should because it wasn't on my TV set. That and I got burned by the DS at launch. I wanted some world-changing two-screen religious awakening, and a map on the second screen of every game kind of...wasn't that.
Then I started reviewing games, and I felt obligated to drop my curmudgeonly ways in the interests of keeping abreast of Important Gaming Trends. Of course I failed at that by continually playing games no one cared about (Remember how awesome Echoshift was?! Of course not!) and ignoring actually popular games because I thought it was safe to assume that because I've seen ten thousand Ace Attorney memes then that's just as good as actually playing it.
But I succeeded at actually having a good time with those little portable buggers! You mean I can sneak out of work to play video games while I'm on the clock? Yes please! What do you mean I'm fired?
2010: The Family that Plays Together, Dies Together Because You Stole My Powerup Dammit!
I remember back on the Sega Genesis when there were games whose existence was pointless without a second player. Or at least in my mind. Who plays Streets of Rage 2 alone? A loser, that's who (me)! Co-Op WAS Streets of Rage 2!
Then I remember in the PlayStation 2 era where Co-Op was pretty much a dead concept, and unless you were in the mood for some team grinding in Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, you were pretty much SOL.
And THEN I remember in 2010 when the "useless without a second player" genre came back, and what a glorious day it was! Technically Resident Evil 5 was the first of these (in my limited knowledge) and that wasn't in 2010, but last year was really when it came to fruition. Games like Spelunker, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (both downloadable only! spooky!)and Lost Planet 2 were great opportunities to get in fist fights with your loved ones over meaningless points in an imaginary game world!
Nowadays I'm always disappointed when an anticipated game doesn't have Co-Op. I'm looking at you Vanquish!
And that's pretty much all I noticed in 2010. Literally. Things besides video games happen?
Here's hoping that 2011 can be the year everyone started making E.V.O. clones!