Surprisingly, I didn’t get any games for Christmas this year. In the long run, that’s alright, as I have plenty to play, and this move (still) looms over me.

I’m doing my “Best of” format a little different this year, without the categories, but am listing my 10 favorite titles of the year, and a few “Honorable Mention” nods.

So without further adieu, here are my Top 10 Favorites of 2009:

1.) Ghostbusters: The Video Game – Xbox 360 – Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the franchise, this game is essentially the third movie. It satisfied every expectation that I had as a gamer, a Ghostbusters fan, and then some. One of my most anticipated games of the year, it did not disappoint in the least.

2.) Batman: Arkham Asylum – Xbox 360 – While it’s been fairly customary for me to dismiss any Batman game in the last 15 years (with the exception of the charming Lego: Batman), I was set to do the same with this…. Until I played the demo. The demo put to rest every fear that I had about this game sucking, and was one of the finest free-roaming adventure titles I’ve played since the Castlevania and Metroid series. It’s a remarkable game marked by even more remarkable talent. To miss this game would be denying oneself an extremely well-crafted adventure.

3.) Beatles: Rock Band – Xbox 360 – To be honest, I’ve burnt out on music games, but the promise of the dulcet tones of the Beatles pulled me back one more time. The game is a love letter to the Fab Four. Every video, from the intro, to the music sessions themselves, are remarkable, and it captures the spirit of “Beatlemania” well. This isn’t merely a Rock Band game with Beatles graphics slapped on it. While it does little to change the conventions of the standard gameplay, it’s still an extremely satisfying experience.

4.) New Super Mario Bros. Wii – Wii – Another game that doesn’t break the standard conventions, the latest Mario outing decided to truly embrace its original roots, which leaves more than a little bit of dewy-eyed nostalgia with every playthrough. I still greatly prefer the title to be a single-player experience, but the game offers a fun, comprehensive old-school Mario experience. Old enough to be familiar, but with some new levels and enemies to keep the playtime going. This type of game is simply what Nintendo does best.

5.) A Boy and His Blob – Wii – If you don’t find this game utterly charming, then you’re simply dead inside. A beautiful update to the original game that addresses the original’s glaring (and numerous) flaws, providing a much more fair, but still challenging experience, and making the dynamic between the two lead protagonists somehow more “real” and essential.

6.) Bit.Trip.Beat – Wii – I love old-school, especially retro styled arcade games. This is a perfect throwback to those times, utilizing intelligent use of the Wii remote, and simplistic, but stylish graphics. This type of best best represents the potential of WiiWare: Games that don’t qualify as what would be considered potential retail releases in today’s market, but deserve to still find a home to be experienced and enjoyed.

7.) LittleBigPlanet – PSP – While not owning a Playstation 3, the only title I’ve envied system owners for is LittleBigPlanet. After experiencing the portable version of what all the fuss was about, it was worth experiencing. Sackboy is a cute character with a lot of personality, the music is charming, the level designs are the same, and the Narrator? Again, charming. The game is a fun experience to play, collect, and see all of the creativity the designers put into the title.

8.) Scribblenauts – DS – It’s easy to get lost on the title screen alone with all of the word play. What could have been a standard platformer becomes a challenge of your own creativity as you press your brain to come up with any solution that you can think of. It’s a nice way to rewrite the rules (And with the right words, you can), and make the game what you want it to be.

9.) Crayon Physics – iPhone – Another “forge your own path” title, the game allows players to invent their own path to achieve each level’s goal. Players can build their own paths and tools as needed to provide a complex or surprisingly simple means to an end. I’m surprised that this title never found its way to the DS.

10.) 1 Vs. 100 – Xbox 360 – Consider me surprised on this one. It’s a great party game with a lot of friend interaction, challenging questions, and a very competitive nature to not only try to be a part of “The Mob”, “The One”, or simply “The Crowd”. Friends and I have whiled the hours away trying to beat everyone else, raise our scores and status, or even unlock a new, goofy dance. This is a great casual, multi-play experience, and I’m honestly surprised that Nintendo hasn’t attempted anything like this.

There have been a number of other great games on all systems that could have fit here. I can’t list them all, but I’ll list the highlights:

Wii – Deadly Creatures, House of the Dead: Overkill, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Punch-Out!! the rest of the Bit.Trip series.
Xbox 360 – Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection, Left 4 Dead 2
DS – Retro Game Challenge
PSP – Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Half-Minute Hero

And of course, the PSP’s Digital Comics reader, great companies like XSeed and Gaijin Games, and my finding a cheap, complete Apple IIc on eBay earlier this year.

So there have been my highlights. Agree? Disagree? What have been your own personal favories?

Oh, and to the spammers who ask me generic, pseudo-related video game questions, just stop. I make sure to delete each and every one of your comments to make sure that you don’t get the advertising that you so desperately pander for.

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