John VignocchiOne of the big hitters in the arcade basketball genre, John G. Vignocchi came onto the scene in 2000 and was one of the driving forces behind Midway's NBA Ballers franchise.
On August 15th, 2008, Vignocchi left Midway Games to help start up a new Chicago-based studio for Vogster Entertainment. There he oversaw the production of an original IP for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. He also assisted the company with new business development. He is now the Development Director for Disney Interactive.
10. Kinect w/ Kinect SportsA week before the launch of Kinect I found myself at the Yaletown Brewery in Vancouver, drinking beers with other devs and arguing about Microsoft’s new peripheral. I was surprised to find I was the only person who did not think it was going to be DOA at retail.
All I can say is: Told ya so!
The feeling you get when you wave at Kinect for the first time and begin manipulating something on screen with your hand, in complete free space, is wild. And while I’ll admit that the system has its faults (the legs spazzing during the “Kinect ID” setup hurts the dream early on), Kinect is a really cool and innovative piece of technology. And while our press has not rated “Kinect Sports” as one of the best titles for the system, my buddies and I have had a ton of fun with it. It’s a great title to teach people about the system (start with the Super Saver and Target Kick mini-games), and I’m surprised that Sports wasn’t packaged with Kinect. My hope is that as time progresses Kinect will get better, with firmware updates from Microsoft (something they recently denied they would ever do?!), but for the time being I’ve really enjoyed my experiences with Kinect and Kinect Sports, more so than any other Kinect title.
9. Joe DangerExcitebike meets LittleBigPlanet.” I’ll never forget when I first heard about this game--all I could say was “when does it come out?!” I’m not going to gush too much on this one, but if you haven’t picked up this little racer on PSN you are doing a disservice to the four talented guys at Hello Games who put it together.
Yeah…just four of them.
With a loveable main character that reminds me of a Pixar cartoon, a fun racing experience and great level building tools, Joe Danger stands out as a genre mashup that is deserving of GotY recognition in 2010.
Publishers take note: This is the way we want HD remixes of classic titles!
7. Split/SecondRemember the feeling you got when you played Need for Speed and made your first getaway from the cops? Remember the first time you flashed your headlights to challenge someone to a race in Midnight Club? Remember when you played Burnout and suddenly crashing was the best part of the experience?
I got the same feeling from Split/Second with the whole “the city is your weapon” mechanic. The first weekend I had the game I sat in my underwear in a cold sweat, slamming Monster Low-Carb Energy Drinks and refusing to shower or shave until I had a gold medal in every race. (The fiancée was out of town; otherwise I probably would have at least showered…!)
With beautiful visuals and a unique hook, Split/Second made it to the top of my list for driving game of the year. While I’ll admit the rubber banding AI is frustrating (although it’s not any worse than 150cc Super Mario Kart), Split/Second stands out as an amazing title that everyone should try.
Kraig Kujawa tweeted that he had just played Civ V for seven hours on a plane. So like all good friends, I had to go and check out the title because Kraig and I like a lot of the same stuff.
7:00PM: Picked up the title from GameStop.
8:30PM: Kinda tried to put some food in my mouth with my left hand.
10:30PM: Put the fiancée to sleep, who graciously didn’t complain that I hadn’t paid attention to her all night.
11:30PM: Pondered if I was going to go for world domination or a more diplomatic victory.
12:30AM: Probably should have gone to bed.
1:37AM: “Wow, it’s late. Since it’s already past 1:30, I guess I’ll go to 2:00.”
2:03AM: “Christ, I’m going to be such a wreck tomorrow. Oh, and Caesar is an a$$hole.”
2:38AM: “Oh wow, it’s past 2:30… Y’know what? I should probably just take tomorrow off.”
3:03AM: “Yep, I’m going to take tomorrow off. The Grecians are uprising.”
3:38AM: Subtle sounds of a toilet flushing, water running, then footsteps on the stairs.
“John?!” my fiancée exclaims, in her shouting-whisper voice, “are you still playing that fu#*@&% game?! Who are you?!”
She comes downstairs and shakes me for a response.
“I’m the Chinese!” I exclaim with bloodshot eyes.
I ended up emailing the boss around 6:00AM, slept until 10:00AM, and then kept playing all day Friday. This behavior lasted well into the weekend. I became totally addicted and still play to this day!
Civilization V is an imaginative title that I feel everyone (especially industry folk) should check out. Once again the talented designers at Firaxis continue to innovate while brilliantly weaving the events and definitions of civilization and society into an imaginative and cohesive game design.
Adam said that the first Assassin’s Creed was a total abomination. Over 5,999,998 of you disagreed. I picked it up, buying into the hype, the 30+ magazine covers, the reviews, the Jade Raymond, and put about eight hours into it. Sorry to say, I didn’t like it either.
After reading the many praises from industry press, I wanted to give ACII the benefit of the doubt. I loved the title--not only was the story cool, but the characters were more interesting, the title looked even better, and my gripes about the first game had been addressed. I even went on to buy and play through the DLC. I became totally engrossed in Assassin’s Creed.
I was excited when Brotherhood was announced but was also a bit skeptical. I put a lot of time into ACII, and while I was excited to continue my adventures with Ezio and the Assassinos, I wasn’t sure if I was really down to dump a bunch more time into another AC title.
I was wrong.
The single player campaign gave me more of what I loved about ACII, and the new features and visual enhancements did not disappoint. What truly solidifies AC: Brotherhood’s place in my top ten, though, was how they integrated multiplayer into the title!
Let’s be honest: A quick sequel to ACII with a co-op campaign would have made sense and probably been the “easy” thing to do. It is what we expected….
The first time I got to play the title was at an event in Arizona. Ubisoft’s Faith Harrison let me sneak in to their booth early to play it. “The trick is to not stand out,” she said. “Try and act like the computer does.”
After one match, I was totally sold. I was convinced I could buy this game for just the multiplayer alone.
Look, for years we’ve been doing headshot here, take cover there, melee up close, throw the grenade in a room. It was all getting old, despite the inclusion of the RPG-lite leveling/customization systems. I feel that Ubisoft took a risk and tried to push the envelope by creating an innovative and unique multiplayer component for the 3rd person action/adventure genre. This, plus the highly polished single player component, is what solidifies Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood a spot in my top ten of the year.
3. DarksidersA lot of reviewers knocked this title for being a Zelda clone, but I’m still wondering why this is a bad thing?!
Vigil and THQ introduced us to a detailed world, with unique characters, a great art style, awesome voice acting, larger than life bosses, a cool soundtrack, and a great combat system. Every time I felt like Darksiders was about to get sleepy I was slapped in the face with something new and unique, whether it was a weapon or item, an intriguing puzzle, an interesting plot twist, a new game mechanic, or area to explore with unique enemies. I really enjoyed the overall pacing of the title.
For those of you who made the jump from Wii and are looking for something to scratch that Zelda itch, I encourage you to check out Darksiders. It was truly one of 2010’s gems, and the developers at Vigil deserve your hard-earned cash.
Mass Effect title. After about 15 hours into the original, I finally put it down… hence my apprehension to check out its sequel until well after it was released. A close friend demanded that I play through by letting me borrow his copy. 60 hours later (yes, including the DLC, nubs :P) I was totally hooked!
Mass Effect 2 is an amazing title--I constantly found myself in awe of the presentation and depth of features within the title. The pacing of the story is tight, the combat feels polished, the RPG elements feel like they raise the bar of the genre, and the cinematics are breathtaking. It was the first game in a long time where I found myself “geeking out” with fellow fans both online and at work. I got totally lost in the experience and loved every minute of it…
I haven’t been this engrossed in an RPG since (dare I say!) FFVII or Chrono Trigger. PS3 gamers are in for a treat with their impending release, and I couldn’t be more excited about future entries in the series. It just goes to show what a world-class developer can do with the UE3 engine.
…And yes, in case you are wondering, I ended up buying a copy of the title even after I beat it. The amazingly talented team at BioWare absolutely deserved the sale!!!
You guys are amazing... but you know that.
Thank you for giving us the most memorable character of the year.
Thank you for fixing the targeting issues inside the GTA engine.
Thank you for giving us a totally crazy ending, with an even crazier post-game twist.
Thank you for letting us get lost in another one of your detailed worlds.
Thank you for letting us warp around when we got bored.
Thank you for telling another amazing story… and for letting us skip a cut scene every once in a while.
Thank you for adding just the right amount of depth to your “RPG” elements.
Thank you for a super cool soundtrack. Your composers and music supervisors are second-to-none.
Thank you for including a multiplayer feature even though we wouldn’t have complained if you didn’t ship with it.
Thank you for the continued support with DLC.
Thank you for having unwavering faith that a high quality action/adventure title set in the Old West would be a hit with gamers, despite whatever the market research told you.
Lastly, thank you for continuing to push the envelope and be the older brother of our industry. Your constant commitment to high quality interactive entertainment and marvelous storytelling is what helps push our industry forward. Like most little brothers, a lot of us secretly look up to you.
Thank you, Rockstar, for making Red Dead Redemption--My 2010 game of the year.