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10 Favorite Games of E3 2010 (My personal Best of Show award)

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While I didn't get to attend E3 this year (one day, I swear I will go), I attentively lived on the internet while watching G4 for the past few days to try to soak up all the E3 coverage I could. There were a few great moments, like the amazingness of the 3DS; there were some epic fails, like the Kinect. Overall, though, the E3 showing was pretty good for all 3 of the big hardware companies (though some of the press conferences didn't help).

Without a doubt, Nintendo walked away the big winner. Not only was their press conference simply spectacular, but Sony and Microsoft both had less-than great conferences. Overall, I'd rate Nintendo's conference with an A. Their focus was on games, almost all of which will wind up in my library (3 of which are already pre-ordered), and then the amazing 3DS announcement came and rocked my world. A new Zelda game was shown, and that wasn't even close to being the highlight. That's how amazing Nintendo's conference was. In second I'd put Sony with a grade of a C. The Move seems decent, though it's painfully obvious that it's a rip-off of the Wii Remote, and the 3D gaming on the PS3 could be cool, I guess, if you have an appropriate, expensive TV. Killzone 3 was really cool looking, I must admit, but other than that, there was a whole lot of meh. The highlight, in my opinion, was the airing of the new PSP commercials. In general, commercials shouldn't be a highlight. In last place I would put Microsoft with a D. Some of the parts were cool, like Call of Duty: Black Ops and Metal Gear Solid: Rising, but there was so much emphasis on the Kinect and it was painful, just painful, to watch. We'll be joking about Skittles the tiger for E3'a to come.

And now, for the list of the 10 games of E3 that got me the most excited:

10. LittleBigPlanet 2 - November 2010 (PS3)

I admit it, I never played the original LittleBigPlanet. The first game struck me as a traditional sidescrolling platformer with a level editor and nothing more. From what I've seen so far of the sequel though, this game looks like so much more. The variety of games that can be created from the level editor looks great and users are no longer limited to creating platformers. I was so taken by the demos that I actually just ordered the first game so that I can play through it in time for number 2.

9. Child of Eden - TBA (360, PS3)

Child of Eden is the only thing at E3 that looks like it will be worth purchasing the Kinect for. The spiritual sequel to Rez is very similar to that title in that they're music-based shooters that look like candy-coated acid trips. Of course, I say all of this as a compliment. Rez HD has proven to be a considerable time sink for me, and I have high hopes that Child of Eden will provide the same amount of entertainment.

8. Super Scribblenauts - November 2010 (DS)

I'm still a little upset about how the first Scribblenauts turned out. Going into 2009, it was my second-most anticipated game and then topped my list after E3 '09. It was actually a game I hyped AAAA. However, it turned out to be a hugely missed opportunity; the concept was amazing, but the controls were simply broken. Now, 5th Cell has fixed up the controls, allowing for buttons to be used to control Maxwell, and I'm left anticipated a Scribblenauts title all over again. This time around, the gameplay will hopefully match the excellence of the core concept.

7. Donkey Kong Country Returns - Q4 2010 (Wii)

Honestly, if Nintendo had casually mentioned that there was a new Donkey Kong Country game in the works, that would have probably been enough to put it in my honorable mentions section. However, they did so much more by showing a phenominal trailer. From the moment the music started, I became certain I wanted this game. Also adding to my desires is the fact that Retro is the developer and that the hands-on feautres I've read all say the game seems great. I can't wait to see how K. Rool looks after all these years.

6. Metal Gear Solid: Rising - TBA (360, PS3)

I guess now's the time to admit it: I've never played a Metal Gear Solid game. I have all four of the games sitting in my basement, waiting to be played, and now I finally plan to truck through them after seeing how great Rising looks. What really got me interested in Rising was its great showing during Microsoft's press conference. The emphasis on the action and the swordplay really made it look like a lot of fun and I can really see myself having a blast slicing enemies into itty bitty pieces, all in beautiful HD. My No More Heroes-loving self really got excited for this game... I think I may need therapy.

5. Portal 2 - 2011 (360, MAC, PC, PS3)

Portal 2 would have likely wound up on this list without having as strong of an showing as it did. Even though it's been a while since I last played the first game, "Still Alive" is still stuck in my head and I still find myself randomly chuckling at the memories of some of GLaDOS's jokes. Needless to say, Portal 2 was a game I was excited for before E3 even started. After reading about it some more though, I find myself frothing from the mouth more than ever, just wanting to get my hands on it.

4. Lost in Shadow - Fall 2010 (Wii)

Lost in Shadow is a game I knew about, but didn't particularly care about until E3. It's strange, because it's a game that seems right up my alley. It's a puzzle/platformer with gorgeous art, similar to Braid, I guess. In it, you run along the shadows in the background and manipulate the objects in the forground to make the desired path. It seems interesting, but what really makes the game seem great is how abasolutely glowing the hands-on features about the game have been. People have been gushing about the game's excellence. Over the past 3 days, my anticipation for this game has grown tremendously.

3. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - 2011 (Wii)

First off let me say that any of the games in my top 3 could have taken my top spot. Skyward Sword, no doubt has me amazingly excited. I'm probably more excited to play it than any other title on my list, but I have a few reservations. The focus, according to Miyamoto has been taken away from the story and put onto the "fun." This may be great, and I trust Miyamoto, but I'm not 100% sure yet if I'm ready to have my Zelda games lack a certain epic-ness. The epic-ness may well be there, but nothing really was spoken about it. Still, there's no doubt in my mind that the game will be excellent, but it may just be a little different than the Zelda titles we're used to.

2. Kirby's Epic Yarn - Fall 2010 (Wii)

No single reveal trailer at E3 made my jaw drop like Epic Yarn's did. At first, the visuals had me in love with the game instantly. Then, the gameplay in the trailer had me pre-order the game since it looked like so much damn fun. Finally, the great press the demo received made me bump up my pre-order to overnight shipping since it was so well received. It's been a decade since Kirby was on a platformer on a console, and it looks like he's back and better than ever. Fun and an insanely amazing art had me loving this game months before it's even being released.

1 - BEST OF SHOW. Rage - 2011 (360, LNX, MAC, PC, PS3)

I'm somewhat embarrased to admit how minimally I was followed Rage before this E3. id Software's long in development FPS did nothing short of leaving me speechless while I watched videos of people playing it. First off, the game looks gorgeous; even on the consoles it will impress some PC elitists. Then there's the other key aspect of the game: how kick ass it looks like it will play. The huge post-apocalyptic world and addictive-looking combat has me excited like no FPS has done for me in years. I can't wait to get this game.

Honorable mentions:
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
Epic Mickey
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
Kid Icarus: Uprising (what a trailer!)
StarFox 64 3D

My 20 Most Anticipated Games for 2010

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2010 seems like it may very well be the best year for gaming ever. 1998 might be dethrowned as next year will make gamers file for bankrupcy with its fanastic releases. The first half of 2010 is chock-full of great games originally intended for 2009, but they've all been delayed to 2010 to make them even better and throughout the year there are also games that were originally intended for a 2010 release, many of which look like AAA contenders already. Cutting my list down to just 10 games was way too difficult, so now I present my list of 20 games to get in 2010.

Honorable mentions (alphabetical order):
Ghostwire: Link to the Paranormal (DSi) - Q4
Dementium II (DS) - Q1
Sonic and Sega: All-Stars Racing (360, PS3, Wii, DS, PC) - Feb 10

20. WarioWare: D.I.Y. (DS) - TBA

The WarioWare franchise is one of the most strange game series to achieve commercial and critical success. Twisted on the GBA is among the best on the platform and Smooth Moves on the Wii shows that the series still has it. In D.I.Y., users create and uplode microgrames via Nintendo WiFi. The concept sounds a bit shaky, but apparantly it works. D.I.Y. is the only game to receive a perfect score from NGamer magazine, outscoring some all-time greats like Super Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess, Metroid Prime and Resident Evil 4.

19. Okami Chronicles: Tiny Sun (DS) - TBA

Okami was a great game on the PS2. When it was ported to the Wii, everyone thought the Wii Remote would be the perfect way to write using the Celestial Brush. Now it seems that Capcom has come up with the best way to write with the Brush, by actually writing. The touch screen of the DS seems like a perfect way to control an Okami game. With a whole new story and absurdly adorable new protagonist, Okami Chronicles has what it takes to be a truly great action/adventure game.

18. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3) - TBA

The Zelda formula has been an inspiration to games since the NES era. Many games have been inspired by it and been awesome, many have failed, but none have been more blatantly inspired by Zelda than 3D Dot Game Heroes. Almost everything about the game seems to be straight from Zelda. The art ****looks like Zelda made out of 3D dots. The music is very Zelda, the weapons are very Zelda, the world is very Zelda, the combat is very Zelda. Everything is very Zelda except for the protagonist, who is very Dragon Quest. While many people would be ticked about such an homage copying Zelda so blatantly, I honestly don't mind. If the game copies Zelda's quality as well, I honestly wouldn't mind playing a super-stylish great game.

17. Alan Wake (360) - Spring

Do you know what will make Alan Wake a truly great game? The fact that it was announced as "done" in August and that it would be undergoing polishing until its release. That's at least six months of nothing but polishing, six months of nothing but ensurance that the game is of quality. Remedy has aleady proven themselves more than competent at making action/adventure games with good stories, but the psychological horror aspects of Alan Wake are definetly intriguing. After receiving great feedback at E3, reservations towards Alan Wake have been eased and the game is starting to look better and better with each new thing shown.

16. Wiiwaa (Wii) - TBA

There isn't all too much known about Wiiwaa. Players control a character, Wiiwaa, through levels and minigames, but literally control him. By shoving a Wii Remote into a stuffed Wiiwaa's mouth, the player moves the stuffed animal, shakes him, throws him into the air, etc. to make WiiWaa do the same things on the screen. Sure, it has the potential to be absolutely abysmal, but it also is controlled by a stuffed animal that's chocking on a Wii Remote. It's interesting to say the very least.

15. Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth (DS) - Feb 16

Ace Attorney games are niche but very, very good adventure games. The series' following might not but the largest, but it's one of the most devoted. Ace Attorney fans have something to keep them occupied while waiting for the fifth main series game with this spin-off title starring the lovable rival from the first three games. As a huge Ace Attorney fan, I'm excited for the game but am also a little bummed it isn't Apollo Justice 2, but still, it's going to be another great addition to a great franchise.

14. Metroid: Other M (Wii) - TBA

Team Ninja knows action and Nintendo knows how to make a great Metroid adventure. Let the two companies work together and there are the makings for a perfect Metroid fusion (ha!). Promising to blend 2D and 3D gaming, Other M seems like what fans of the original Metroid games want: a return to ****c Metroid ****gameplay and some of the best great gameplay from the Prime games. While the chilling feeling of isolation from the Prime games seems to have been sacrificed for a dark story-intensive title and the exploration element has been swapped out for action, there is definitely a great deal of potential in Other M. Even if it doesn't wind up being very Metroid-like, it still has the possibility of being a great game.

13. Super Meat Boy (WiiWare, PC) - Q1

You see that cube of meat? That cube of meat is the new hero of indie gaming. Super Meat Boy is the sequel to the fantastic flash game Meat Boy. It's supposed to be so good that Nintendo asked for the sequel to be released on WiiWare in addition to Steam. Also, it's a love-letter to indie gaming. Unlockable characters include Alien Hominid, Commander Video from the Bit.Trip series and Tim from Braid. The flash game was great and it's been fully fleshed out with options and tons of content to justify becoming a downloadable title. Anyone looking for the next World of Goo or Braid need look no further than Super Meat Boy to play a great game that their friends will never hear of.

12. Tales of Graces (Wii) - TBA

I'm a huge Tales fan. While Symphonia 2 may not have been the best of the series, it can largely be attributed to the fact that it was not a part of the main series. Graces, on the other hand, is the latest entry in the mothership series which is home of some of the best RPG's this decade, including Tales of Symphonia and most recently Tales of Vesperia. For people who disliked the control scheme of Dawn of the New World, Graces has confirmed ****c Controller support and the game has an expected length of 70 hours. Hopefully, Tales of Graces will finally bring the Tales series to the mainstream awareness it deserves.

11. Red Steel 2 (Wii) - TBA

Red Steel was an anticipated launch title for the Wii. It had promises of great sword and gunplay using the precision of the just-announced Wii Remote. Needless to say, Ubisoft had overestimated the precision possible with the Wiimote. So, how does Ubisoft plan to make right with a concept executed wrong? Make a sequel that has to be played with MotionPlus, continually push back the release date to ensure quality and give the game to a totally different team. Red Steel 2 has all the makings to be everything promised by the first game and more, and the cel-shaded Western ****doesn't hurt either.

10. The Another World (DS) - TBA

Level-5 has already proven itself as a very good development company. Studio Ghibli (films like Spirited Away, Princess Monoke, Ponyo, My Neighbor Totoro) has proven itself to be among the absolute best of animation studios in the world. A marriage between the two to make an RPG on the DS sounds like something that dreams are made of. Great buzz from TGS takes the excitement-worthy pairing and ensures that the title will be great. Plus, Studio Ghibli-quality cut scenes and animation really guarantee that the game will be a sensory treat. It's hard to describe the magic that great Ghibli films possess, but the fact that this magic might be captured into a great RPG is very exciting.

9. Sin and Punishment: Successor to the Sky (Wii) - Q1 2009

The original Sin and Punishment game was an unknown gem on the N64; originally released only in Japan, it gained international renown after being released on the Wii Virtual Console. A decade later, a sequel is finally coming out and making its way out of Japan. Sin and Punishment 2 has the makings to be a fantastic on-rails shooter from Treasure, who have built themselves a reputation for making some of the best shooters around. Newcomers to the series and hardcore enthusiasts of the first game will both be able to enjoy the fun that will come with the game. Plus, it also looks like one of the prettiest Wii games yet.

8. Last Window: Midnight Promise (DS) - TBA

For those who never heard of Last Window, don't worry. Its announcement didn't get the attention it should have. Last Window is the sequel to the fantastic DS game Hotel Dusk: Room 215. Set in 1980, Last Window is a continuation of the story from the first game and retains the top-notch art ****and music from the first game. Hotel Dusk continues to be one of the best games this generation that didn't get the attention it deserved. Also adding to Last Window's anticipation level is the fact that it has a good chance of getting localized! People might think that like the Trace Memory sequel, another follow-up to a Cing DS adventure game, the Hotel Dusk sequel will also fail to find its way to North America. However, Hotel Dusk nearly doubled Trace Memory's sales, it was a better game, it was re-released as part of the Touch Generation series, and its sequel isn't on the casual-focused Wii. Scheduled for a January release in Japan, I wouldn't be surprised if a North American release is close behind.

7. Final Fantasy XIII (360, PS3) - March 9

I feel a little bit of a jerk for including this game so high on the list mainly for its graphics, playable cool black guy and the fact that it's a Final Fantasy title, but my god! The game is gorgeous, that black guy is so cool and it's a freaking Final Fantasy game! There really isn't anything else too specific about FF13 that makes it so intriguing. It's a beautiful game that comes from one of the, if not the, single most respected series of any genre of video games. Whenever a Final Fantasy game gets released, it's always reason to be excited and the thirteenth game of the series is no exception.

6. God of War III (PS3) - March

So, if I may confess something: I've never actually played a God of War game. I just recently bought a PlayStation console for the first time and have been planning on picking up a copy of the first game for a while but just haven't. However, I have to concede that the third game of the series looks absolutely incredible. Graphically, the game looks great; every tendon in the neck of decapitated enemies is visible. Furthermore, as we learned at the last E3, the gameplay is as great as in the first games, which made them ****cs on the PS2. Also, you get to rip off enemy heads and get to tear of enemy horns only to then stab them into their eye. I don't know if these actions were possible in the first games, but their inclusion now had me drooling while watching gameplay videos.

5. Heavy Rain (PS3) - TBA

My interest for Heavy Rain has been growing since the truly brilliant "Casting" trailer back in 2006. Now, Quantic Dream's "interactive drama" is finally going to be released and it's become more apparent that Heavy Rain will not be like anything released before it. Described by the development team as an "interactive drama," Heavy Rain will attempt to walk the delicate line that adventure games often have a hard time walking: the line between game and too uninteractive. From previews so far, the game seems like it will do a very good job balancing gameplay and story-telling, telling mature stories while still keeping itself a video game. If any game in 2010, or this generation, will demonstrate that video games are as valid a form of art and entertainment as film or television, Heavy Rain is the game to do it.

4. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (Wii) - January 27

There really isn't anything else like No More Heroes. In 2008, the first NMH game turned Wii owners on their heads telling the story of a video game loving, porn enthusiast otaku who buys a beam katana (think light saber) on the internet in order to kill the top 10 ranked assassins of an assassin organization with hopes of sleeping with a girl who says she'll do him if he becomes number one. The game was mindlessly fun and with the flick of a wrist Travis Touchdown, the aforementioned otaku, would cut a foe in half, causing a fountain of blood and coins to flow out of them. Now, Travis can wield two beam katanas and once, doubling the awesomeness. Plus, creator Suda 51 says the overworld has been fleshed out, the side quests are more varied and there are 50 boss characters to fight. Gamers only have to wait until January for some more strawberry on the shortcake.

3. Bayonetta (360, PS3) - Jan 5

I was this close to actually using a picture of Bayonetta's gameplay. For those who don't know, Bayonetta is Platinum Game's action title that buzz says may actually out-Devil-May-Cry Devil May Cry and may out-God-of-War God of War. The stellar buzz regarding the gameplay is enough to earn Bayonetta a spot on this list, but what really makes Bayonetta stand out is how simply badass it is. The lead character, Bayonetta, is a witch who has guns attached to her shoes, wears a suit made out of her own hair, bleeds roses that bloom upon hitting the ground and walks as if she's on the runway. A 40/40 in Famitsu for the 360 version certainly doesn't hurt my anticipation for Bayonetta and with an extremely early 2010 release, Bayonetta will be blowing down doors using her shoes soon enough.

2. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) - TBA

Nintendo hasn't released two 3D Mario platformers on the same console ever. While it may seem like Super Mario Galaxy 2 will be a rushed product, eager to cash in on the Wii's success, I honestly don't think that's what the game will be. According to interviews 90% of the game is built entirely from the ground up. Also helping SMG2's case is that it's a Mario game. To deny that main-series Mario games are great is simply wrong, and the first Galaxy game is one of the best yet (it's the second best game of all time according to GameRankings). Take the second best game ever, improve on whatever minor things needed improvements and throw in some Yoshi and this title has all the makings to dethrown the first Galaxy game as the second-best game of all time.

1. Mass Effect 2 (360, PC) - Jan 26

The first Mass Effect title is one of my favorite games of all time. With some minor tweaks I firmly believe it could have achieved the universal praise I wish it had. Mass Effect 2 looks to fix what the first game didn't get right and makes the highlights of the first game even better. As previews and hands-on say so far, the side missions are more varied and the combat is better. The only other issue I had with the first game, when the player's character would randomly get stuck in place, will likely be nowhere in sight based on what we've seen so far of this game. And the story? Its epicness will make any RPG fan pre-cum instantly. Mass Effect 2 doesn't look like it will be just a great game; it looks like it will be an experience.

My Ten Most Anticipated Games for the Second Half of 2009

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With 2009 halfway done in a few days, I think it's time for me to re-assess what games from 2009 I am excited for. Most of the games from my list in January have been released, and since then there have been new announcements, trailers, and previews to make some serious shuffles among my list.

1. Scribblenauts (DS) - September 15


With my most anticipated game from my January list already released, it seemed like a safe bet for my second choice from then, Scribblenauts, to get bumped up to the top spot. However, by no means did Scribblenauts earn this spot now by default. My anticipation for this game was insanely high to begin with, but after E3 and the countless hands-on previews confirming how limitless the game's possibilities are, I am now frothing from the mouth as I eagerly await the September release. Reportedly, it took five members of 5th Cell six months of dictionary combing to incorporate all of the words in this game, but the inclusion of popular internet memes like "Keyboard Cat" and totally random inclusions like "Kraken" or "Cthulu" show real dedication to this title. Scribblenauts looks like it may be the first true Game of the Year contender on a handheld system.

2. Bayonetta (PS3, 360) - Q4


Bayonetta's been on my radar for a while, but has always been overshadowed by Platinum Game's other project, MadWorld. Now that MadWorld has been our for a few months, Bayonetta can finally emerge as the standout title it should be. Looking like a pure, true action game, equipped with a busty protagonist with guns attached to her boots, Bayonetta promises to be a nonstop action romp. The game looks gorgeous, stylized beautifully like you'd expect from the creators of Okami, and, did I mention, it's a NONSTOP ACTION ROMP? Who would have thought that tying pistols to a hot girl's shows would lead to something promising?

3. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) - Q4

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

I don't care how old or how mature you claim to be, if you don't enjoy a good Mario game then I just don't like you. The sequel to the fantastic New Super Mario Bros. on the DS seems to take everything that made that title so fantastic, which are the same things that made the 2D titles clas.sics, and ups the ante by introducing competitive co-op. While 3D Mario has produced some masterpieces, the idea of a new 2D console version is so refreshing that the title alone earns the game a spot on the list. Great looking footage and extremely positive previews don't hurt the game either.

4. Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (DS) - August 24

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

I'm honestly not too sure what the plot of Layton and Luke's second journey is, but I couldn't care less. Based on the first game, I'm expecting the second title in the series to be as charming, and brilliantly puzzling, as the first title. Reviews of the Japanese version indicate that this game is just as good, if not better, than the first, so it seems perfectly acceptable to get extremely hyped for this game. As long as a 10-year-old boy is giving me puzzles in a game that make me want to ram my head into a wall all while he says he knows the answer, I'll be more than happy with the Diabolical Box.

5. Brütal Legend (PS3, 360) - October 13

Brutal Legend

I'm not too sure if I've ever described a game as "metal" before, but I can't think of a word to better describe Brutal Legend. A metal-themed action-adventure title with an A-list voice cast including Jack Black and Ozzy Osbourne can only be described as "metal." Brutal Legend looks like a truly original, charming and fun title that keeps getting more and more hype. If this game winds up being as good as i imagine it will be, then EA gets two fists, pounding in the air, for releasing this title.

6. Ju-on: The Grudge (Wii) - October 27

Ju-on: The Grudge

Coming to North America courtesy of the localization heroes at Xseed, the video game adaptation of the cult Japanese horror film looks to be everything a Fatal Frame would have been and more. Finally, a horror game is coming out that looks like it will properly utilize the Wii Remote as a flashlight to deliver some genuine chills. What really gets me excited for this game is that Xseed is localizing it without much provocation. They've done a great job bringing over games that American gamers have been begging for, but this is a game they chose and I put my faith in their taste entirely.

7. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (Wii, PS2, PSP) - Fall

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

I have to say, I'm pretty surprised I included two horror titles on this list. Even more surprising is that they're both Wii games. What makes Shattered Memories so hype-worthy is the feedback it generated at E3, winning multiple "Best Wii game" awards and receiving tons of praise for its controls and technical proficiencies. Again, the idea that the Wii Remote is being used effectively as a flashlight is enough to garner interest, the adulation gained at E3 is just extra icing on the cake.

8. Trace Memory R: A Journey Into Lost Memories (Wii) - TBA

Trace Memory R

While not officialy confirmed for North America yet, I'd be very surprised if the game doesn't get released stateside. The first Trace Memory game was released in June 2005 in Europe and released in the US in September. Trace Memory R has a European release date of June 24, meaning it's already translated into English. I think it's only a matter of time before it gets announced to come here. The first game was a fantastic, if a little short, adventure title on the DS and this title promises to be as inventive with its puzzles as the first game, all while being an acceptable length. If you neve played the first game, go try it. It's a cheap buy you won't regret.

9. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) - November

Uncharted 2

Within the next few weeks, I'd have bought a PS3 and I'll finally play a game I've been wanting to try since it came out: Uncharted. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, looks like a blast to play, an updated Tomb Raider with great combat and platforming sections and some of the nicest visuals my eyes have ever gotten to see. The moment I buy my PS3, I'm throwing down my $5 to pre-order this game.

10. Assassin's Creed II (PC, PS3, 360) - November 17

Assassin's Creed II

I'll admit that I haven't gotten around to playing the first Assassin's Creed yet, but I have to hand it to Ubisoft, the sequel looks absolutely fantastic. Graphically, Creed 2 looks like it will be a powerhouse both technically and artistically, and the gameplay I've seen looks like it'll be really fun. My excitement for this game has actually motivated me to go out and buy the first one once I'm done with my current stack of games, which is a pretty impressive feat for a game a few months off.

My Most Anticipated Games of 2009

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My life got pretty busy the second half of 2008, leaving me with a crap-load of games I bought that still need playing. Despite this backlog of games, there are still some excellent looking games that I know I need to get when they come out in 2009 (in order of anticipation).

1. House of the Dead: Overkill (Wii, Feb. 10)

There are a few reasons why I'm most excited for House of the Dead: Overkill. First off, there was the absolutely fantastic trailer that gives this game more character than any of the previous titles in the series. Then there's the fact that this is an evolution for the franchise. You can now turn the camera 45 degrees left and right. While that doesn't sound like much, it shows that Sega is actually trying to make something new with the series and they want to keep it fresh. Anyway, the Wii Zapper capabilities are enough to ooze wanting for this game anyway. Everything else is just sweet, sweet frosting on what's sure to be a delicious cake.

2. Scribblenauts (DS, TBA)

Scribblenauts is an extremely simple puzzle game that will offer loads of options. In each level, the main character needs to be guided to a star. How you get to the star, though, is entirely up to you. Using the touch screen, you write in objects that you want to get you to the star. If the star's in a tree, you can get a beaver to eat the tree, you can get a ladder, or an saw. There are loads of options. Of course, it's natural to be skeptical since the game won't be able to have a full dictionary inside it, but from what hands-on's and previews say so far, there hasn't been an issue with the amount of words, which is why Scribblenauts is worth keeping an eye out for.

3. Final Fantasy XIII (360 PS3, TBA)
Final Fantasy XIII Screenshot

Let's face it, everyone is pretty pumped for this game. The Final Fantasy name is enough to make me want it, and the epic trailers only contribute to my thirst for XIII. What really makes me want this game, though, is how beautiful it looks. I've been impressed by virtually every single image I've seen of it. When Final Fantasy XIII finally comes to North America, it's bound to be an epic experience.

5. Heavy Rain: The Origami Killer (PS3, TBA)

Right now, there are two things that make we really, really want a PS3. There's the fact that I never owned a Sony platform and need to catch up on older games, then there's Heavy Rain. After watching the "Casting" trailer, anyone should be able to recognize that this is going to be a special game. I almost feel obligated to play it, both as an adventure nut and a video game fan. Also, look at the screen shot I posted for this game. It's stunning! There's so much working in favor for Heavy Rain that no other adventure titles seem to even have a chance of being recognized.

6. Professor Layton and Pandora's Box (DS, TBA)

When Professor Layton first appeared on my DS, I though I was getting into a light, kiddie, Brain Training-esque game. I quickly learned how wrong I was when I got my ass handed to me. Professor Layton and the Curious Village worked incredibly well as both a puzzle game and an adventure game and left a lasting impression on me. Though its sequel, which was originally released in Japan in 2007, hasn't been confirmed officially for a North American release. I'm almost positive it'll get a stateside release at some point in 2009. Strong sales and reviews pretty much ensure that this game will come to the US, which is great since I've been yearning for some more puzzles to sink my teeth in.

7. Noby Noby Boy (PSN, Q1)

No matter how much about Noby Noby Boy I read, I still have no idea what it's about. This is precisely why I have such high hopes for the game. From the same mind that brought Katamari Damacy come Noby Noby Boy. Both are insane, off-the-wall, super Japanese games that sound near-retarded on paper. Katamari worked, however. It worked really well, so I hope Noby Noby Boy works just as well.

8. Sin and Punishment 2 (Wii, Summer)
Sin and Punishment 2 Picture

The original N64 Sin and Punishment was a gem of a game that never made it to North America until it popped up on the Virtual Console. Essentially, it's a shooter with a silly and unnecessary plot and it relies heavily on its extremely fun action. The controls were unique, moving side to side with the shoulder buttons is my preffered scheme, and it's plain, old fun. When the sequel was shown during Nintendo's montage of upcoming games, it looked nice and shiny too. Treasure, the developers, are known for their quality titles, and Sin and Punishment 2 should further solidify them as great developers. Everyone pretty much agrees they make some of the best shooter around, anyway.

9. Street Fighter IV (360 PS3 PC, Feb 17)

Really, this game doesn't need an explanation as for why it made my list of anticipated games. Street Fighter is a fantastic series and Super Street Fighter II HD Turbo only proved that the games are even more fantastic in high definition.

10. The Maw (TBA, XBLA)

If there's something that could have been learned in 2008, it's how powerful and great an indie game could be. Last year, hits like Braid and World of Goo showed that it's not the size of the development team that matters, and The Maw will continue this trend. Pet projects always get extra love and attention from their developers, and with that focus going towards something as creative as The Maw, there's a lot of promise for something speacial.

Dreamcast Get!

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Your good friend JAB991 got himself a Dreamcast today! For $80, I got the system with all appropriate cables, 2 controllers, NFL 2K1, Shenmue and Chef's Luv Shack. Time to start Shenmue :)

Half Life 2 = huge disappointment

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I got an X-Box 360 the other day. It's beautiful, hasn't shown me a red light yet, and lets me get rid of the old, gigantic DVD player sitting in my basement. With Milady (that's what I call her to myself), I picked up Beautiful Katamari and The Orange Box. First, I started playing The Orange Box. I got through Portal, found it to be freakin' brilliant, then started to work through Half Life 2.

I've never played the first Half Life, but I Wikipedia'd its plot to avoid confusion during my playings. What Wikipedia failed to tell me is how much of a snoozefest the series is. I'm 2 hours into the game (and just got up to the third chapter, shamefully), and am very ambivilant towards the game. Originally, I thought it was a kick-ass blend of FPS and adventure game (I wound up doing a whole load of exploring), then I found the game boring as all hell. According to a Google search, I should beat through the game's 19 chapters in 10 hours; I'm way behind schedule. Is this why I find the game boring? Anyway, the point to this story is that I'm disappointed with what I expected to be one of the best games ever.

Beautiful Katamari is really fun (though it's no Portal). Once I get connected to X-Box Live so I can thoroughly test out my two purchases, expect some glowing reviews for both (I would have spent $60 on Portal alone, honestly).

JAB goes multiplatform tomorrow!

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After working non-stop, saving up money, wasting money foolishly, then saving up money again, I now can afford to go multiplatform! Up until today, I've been a Wii-only gamer. I consider myself to be a Nintendo fan, but not a fanboy. I like to think of myself as a gamer rather than a fanboy, meaning I don't thrive off the misery of other consoles if it makes my favorite look better in comparison. I've been wanting to get all 3 of the consoles at some point, and tomorrow I'll be 2/3 of the way there.

I spent a lot of time debating whether I wanted to get a 360 or PS3 next. I never owned an original X-Box or a PS or PS2, so both consoles have a good deal of older games available for me to sink my teeth into. For a while I was leaning towards a PS3 because of this. Then I realized something, it's still too freaking expensive. Both of the consoles are perfectly good and worthy of a purchase, but I don't have the will power to save up another $200 (40 hours of work) in order to get a PS3. The X-Box has pleanty of good games now, plus some of the games from the previous generation will finally become playable to me. I've watched my friends play Fable pleanty of times, but never got to partake in the action; now I can. Tomorrow, I'm going to go into GameStop, pick up an X-Box 360, a used copy of Fable: The Lost Chapters, and then I'm stuck. Following Fable, there are 4 other games I'm considering purchasing. There are the last-gen games Psychonauts and Dreamfall, and then the current-gen games like Beautiful Katamari (now at a cheap price) and Gears of War (also inexpensive now). Regardless of whether or not I actually buy a second or third game to give Fable company, I'm excited as hell. How excited am I? Do I wish bacon bits was an ice cream topping? Heck yes!

My 10 Most Anticipated Games for The Second Half of 2008

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1. Tales Of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (Wii) (Winter)

The first Tales of Symphonia, orginially on the GameCube and later ported to the PS2, is something rather special to me. Prior to my time with that game, I never identified myself as an RPG fan. I normally disliked the genre and would only play certain games that were of it. However, Tales of Symphonia changed all that. If you haven't played the first game, go out now and buy it. It's an experience that needs to be played to be believed. Naturally, my hopes are extremely high for the direct sequel.

2. Too Human (X-Box 360) (August 19)

Like Tales of Symphonia 2, Too Human gets me excited because of my experience with a GameCube title. Silicon Knights, the developers behind GameCube's Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem know how to make a story in a game. Story-wise, Eternal Darkness is among the most unique games ever, and the promise of epicness that comes with Too Human can't be ignored. As the first part of a planned trilogy, I'm trusting Too Human to kick off my summer with a huge dosage of awesome.

3. Spore (PC) (September 7)

Spore is really the only reason I feel a need to upgrade my PC to Vista. After seeing all the fun people are having with Creature Creator, I feel a need to partake. After wasting a load of time playing Sims as a youngster, Spore will be what brings me back to my PC. I'm not excited to lose my social life, but I accept it.

4. Tales of Vesperia (X-Box 360) (August 19)

Tales of Vesperia has a lot to offer. First off, it's a Tales game, which is enough to get me excited. Secondly, it's from the same team as the GameCube's Tales of Symphonia. Third off, it's freaking beautiful! Vesperia offers a lot and hopefully it can live up to the high expectations I have for it.

5. de Blob (Wii) (September 22)

Though de Blob is also coming to the PC and DS, the Wii version is the one that truly makes me excited. de Blob looks like it could easily join the Wii's growing library of unique games that will be critical darlings, but commercial failures. Hopefully, this game won't fall through the cracks.

6. Moon (DS) (TBA)

Moon Screenshot

The DS isn't really home to many games that would satisfy a typical, blood-thisty gamer. The closest thing the DS has is Dementium: The Ward, an awesome little FPS/survival horror from Renegade Kid. Though Dementium went largely unnoticed, hopefully Renegade Kid's new DS FPS, Moon, won't. So far, all previews for this game have been glowingly positive. There's no doubt in my mind that Moon will deliver.

7. World of Goo (WiiWare) (TBA)

World of Goo exeplifies what WiiWare is all about. Made by an indie-deloveper, the game is quirky and will be released for a reasonable price, spreading the name of its unheard-of two-person development team, 2D Boy. Cinderella stories aside, Goo looks like a truly unique experience, ripe with humor and personality.

8. LittleBigPlanet (PS3) (October)

Drop-dead gorgeous, LittleBigPlanet is the 2.5-D platformer that I've been waiting for for a while. It'll offer a butt-load of user-created content, winning personality, and it's 2.5-D! I have a personal love for 2.5-D games, and after Sony felt motivated to buy the development company on the spot at E3 2007, you have to know this game will be something special.

9. Fatal Frame IV (Wii) (TBA)

I've never played a Fatal Frame game before. Once I buy an X-Box 360 and PS3, I plan on going back and playing through the franchise. Despite my inexperience with the series, I'm still super excited for this game. It looks creepy, Sude-51 helped with the game, Nintendo is publishing it, and it will let me use my Wii Remote as a flashlight. Using my wiimote as a flashlight alone makes the game worth the price of admission. This will be a scary-ass game.

10. Dead Space (X-Box 360 and PS3) (October 28)


The reasons why I'm excited for this game are simple. I like outer space, I like shooters and I like survival horror games. Dead Space looks like an awesome fusion of all three of these things. What's there to dislike?

Banner Get! and a quick question for a Photoshop whiz

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I finally made a banner! I'm not particularly good at Photoshop, so I'm pretty proud of it. Originally it was going to be the maximum size GS allows, but then I was told it was too big, then I shrunk it down to be less than 50K. Does anyone know how to make a banner larger, but still keep it less than 50K?

Anyway, what do you guys think? It's basically the finished product (except for the size, obviously). I like it. :)

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