Abstract Game of the Year Awards 2010

In continuing with last year's list, the premise for these game of the year awards is simple: Absolutely every game that's come out within the past year is a winner in some regard if you think hard enough. It doesn't matter how arbitrary or inherently uniquely tailored to the game the award is; deep down, there's something every game does to merit an award, good or bad. This list takes a yearly ritual that can already be pretty trivial, subjective, and has little bearing on anything at all and makes it even more irrelevant and irreverent. If there's any game of the year award list that recognizes it's bullshit from the get-go, it's going to be this one.

List items

  • Award: "Game of the Year Before the Year Has Barely Begun," for being such an apparently awesome game that people were already declaring it their official game of the year before, you know, the next 11 months of 2010 had actually come to pass. It either takes guts or foolhardiness to immediately presume that no other game is going to match or exceed it at such an early point in the year.

  • Award: "Most Japanese Game to Not Resemble Anything From Japan At All," for taking the Warring States Period, an era in Japanese history that is as pivotal to the country's direction as the Civil War was for the US, and making it completely unrecognizable... and then getting people to believe it was based on real events. Sure, the actual people involved are there, but when you have guys like Tokugawa Ieyasu riding around on Gundams in what is supposed to be the early 1600s, you should probably presume that some liberties were taken in adapting the era to video games.

  • Award: "Most Forgotten Single-Player Campaign By Its Own Developer," for featuring a completely separate mode from the multiplayer that was being exclusively marketed and hyped heavily by the Ubisoft PR machine. Rarely does the inclusion of a single-player mode catch anyone by surprise, but given how the game had been presented in the months leading up to its release, somehow Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood manage to make it something entirely unexpected, despite the series' penchant for being a solo affair.

  • Award: "Most Relevant Game A Year After Its Release," for being able to utilize DLC well and keep the game in the public's consciousness well after it had come out in October 2009. Not all of the scenarios were winners, especially Mad Moxxi, but Borderlands continued the trend that Fallout 3 started and helped prove that, you know, when EA isn't handling it, DLC isn't always so bad. Maybe.

  • Award: "Most Spoiled Ending Prior to Release," for Microsoft unwittingly letting Reach's ending slip in a Halo novel published nearly 10 years ago. People already knew what was coming before the game had even been announced. Talk about broadcasting your game plan well in advance of enacting it.

  • Award: "Most Anti-Gravity Game," for letting you use a grappling hook to pull yourself to the ground while you're falling and not result in any damage being taken. Only people who truly hated physics and everything it stood for would dare to implement such a brazen and misleading feature in their game.

  • Award: "Most Consonants Bought Without Also Getting a Vowel," for saying suck it to Pat Sajack and his Wheel of Fortune and just buying six of the same letter to complete the puzzle that is the game's title.

  • Award: "Straightest Game Ever," for being such a literally straightforward game in both narrative and level design, arguably to its detriment. The second year in a row it's won this same award, Square-Enix should actually be pleased to get this redux, as it means one less joke about sexually ambiguous character designs in its games. I TOOK THE HIGH ROAD ON THIS ONE.

  • Award: "Most Relevant Use of Yoshi Since Yoshi's Cookie," for giving the fruit-eating dinosaur an actual purpose in life that didn't involve just being the condescendingly cute mascot people play when Mario and Luigi have already been taken. Sometimes we all need our time in the sun to be reminded that we're still appreciated by someone in the world. Next up: Shy Guy?

  • Award: "Best Use of Glitches to Enhance the Gameplay," since things like the donkey lady and the flying bird people must have been intentionally designed into the game, right? Right. And they help make the tale of John Marston and all the more surreal, moving, and engrossing.

  • Award: "Best Game About Babies to Not Have a Z Anywhere in the Title," for Majesco's supreme courage in bringing out a game in such a competitive market and choosing to boldly defy naming conventions in the genre for the sake of still having a soul. Runner up for: "Best Waste of a Dubbing Budget," for just employing some random Japanese woman with questionable phonetic skills instead of any number of gaijin who would do a better job by default.

  • Award: "Best Game to Warrant a Serious Review Somewhere," for somehow provoking IGN into giving it a 7.5/10. It's okay, IGN. I don't think anyone would have been hurt if you hadn't done that one.

  • Award: "Most Likely To Dethrone Konami Once and For All," for taking the one genre of music games Konami still had a decent grasp on away from them and doing the entire dance game thing from scratch. Ubisoft might have gotten a head start on this with the Just Dance line of games, but the only good thing those games have going is that they once got Suda 51 to play them.

  • Award: "Best Use of a $20 Bill," for forcing anyone who wanted to buy the 1200-point WiiWare to pay for 2000 points and keep 800 points left over, regardless of whether they wanted them or not. A great use for a great payment system!

  • Award: "The Space Invaders Extreme Award for Making the Old Awesomely New Again," for taking the original Pac-Man formula and making it beyond batshit crazy. Bombs, ghost trains, constantly changing mazes, and more ghost trains are all the stuff that Pac-Man dreams are made of.

  • Award: "Best Use of Itagaki Feminist Philosophies," for, accordingly to some people, taking a largely silent and somber woman, and making her an absurdly submissive lackey. This accomplishment is something Team Ninja should be especially proud of, since they were able to extract such sentiments from people without even having Itagaki around anymore for the game's production. Apparently his studio learned well from him and have taken his ideas about women to heart.

  • Award: "Most Efficient Use of a DVD's Space," for taking a disc and literally copy-pasting the SNES game's ROM entirely unaltered. No changes to the control layout screens, copyright dates, or anything else to make it feel slightly more modern. If you do your research, you'll realize that the remakes of all three games take under a megabyte in space. It might be a little more with the inclusion of an emulator, but still, by no means are those discs feeling the squeeze.

  • Award: "Most Desperate Game," for Sega's various attempts to prove to fans, skeptics, and skeptical fans that what they had on their hands was, in fact, a good game. When the game's marketing campaign actually more or less implies that Sega will commit seppuku if it isn't well-received, you know that they're trying really, really hard to make a game that will be accepted by the masses for once.

  • Award: "Best Sequel to Shenmue," for taking a beloved Sega character and inserting him a Mario Kart clone, making it his first appearance on consoles in years, a moment most bittersweet for fans of the Shenmue series. At this point, considering their choices for moving on are Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing or Shenmue Town, the former still might be the lesser of two evils and the better pill to swallow.

  • Award: "Most Original NES Game Released This Year," a highly competitive category, but one that No More Heroes 2 nevertheless wins by allowing the player to spend vast swaths of the time having Travis do part-time jobs that are rendered in 8-bit graphics. The rest of the game might be rendered in polygons, but we'll just chalk that up to being technical wizardry with NES hardware that's just being emulated on the Wii. Yep.

  • Award: "Best Endoscopic Sim," for achieving what was once thought to be impossible and making the act of sticking a tubular camera inside someone's body a legitimate gameplay mechanic. Once thought to be an unachievable holy grail in the real of medical video games, now anything is truly possible in the genre, thanks to the achievements of Atlus' seminal Wii game.

  • Award: "The Rapelay Award for Keeping It Classy," for being a game where your objective is to go off and fetch (probably) an underaged girl's panties in order to prove your valor as man, or penguin, or something. Nothing says sexy quite like going through a lady's underwear drawer.

  • Award: "Best Pointing and Clicking Game That Wasn't Actually an Adventure Game," for Telltale's attempts to bring its innovative use of mouse clicks first seen in games like Sam and Max to unexplored territory: the poker game. Now you have to do something other than click through dialog boxes galore to get the funny people on the computer screen to talk!

  • Award: "Most Innovative Use of the D-Pad," for making one of the directions devoted entirely to making the adorably bonkers rabbids just lose it and scream their lungs out. A simple feature with a surprising amount of impact, the ability to make your rabbid scream on command changes how you approach platformers and minigame collections on a fundamental level.

  • Award: "Best Unlicensed Version of Blue's Clue's," for making Vinny do what he was born to do on camera: to play the role of a children's television host. Watching somebody hide remotes inside a studio has never been more educational!

  • Award: "2010's 2011 Sexiest Game of the Year," for proving that the only thing a Japanese developer has to do in order to make their game relevant to the West is to actually take advantage of humanity's innate horniness. The gameplay could otherwise be obtuse as hell for all we care because, hey, BOOBIES AND SEX POSITIONS EVERYWHERE.

  • Award: "Most Likely to Remind You That Your PS2 Still Exists," for being an SRPG/dating sim-hybrid originally released in Japan back in 2005, but only just made it to North America this year because, hey, that makes sense or something.

  • Award: "Most Demanded Game That Was Not Hypocritically Abandoned by the Fans," for proving me wrong and eliciting supporters who actually stepped up to the plate and actually bought the game like they promised, despite the content cuts. Apparently they did a good enough job to justify bringing over Yakuza 4 as well. And Sega didn't even have to ask!

  • Award: "Quickest Game About Time Travel to Beat the Telltale Back to the Future Episodes to the Punch," for totally being another game about a time-warping Delorean that came out months before Marty McFly and company could get on the scene. Bonus points for having British people in it!

  • Award: "The Wiimote Award for Shoehorned Motion Controls," for Sony's decision to make Quantic Dream patch in controls for the PlayStation Move instead of making DLC that would expand the game's narrative like what had originally been planned. Just because an idea can work doesn't mean it should be nevertheless pursued.

  • Award: "Best Sequel Nobody Really Wanted..." for being a solid game despite the sheer apathy a lot of people had towards it because, hey, the original game was already a pretty fulfilling experience on its own. The constant price drops and discounts on it so soon after release are probably indicative of its overall place in the series, which is to say, not super fondly remembered.

  • Award: "Best Sequel Nobody Really Wanted Either Until That Other Sequel Came Along And Made This One Look Rad By Comparison," for going the proper route in choosing to not be a direct sequel to the original game. It's probably all the better off for it.

  • Award: "Best Reference to Old-Timey Communism," because we all know the cat is really supposed to be called "Chairman Meow." There are screenshots that prove this fact.

  • Award: "The Third Time Really is the Charm Award," for being the third release of a seminal RPG that still somehow manages to be relevant and cram in significant new content for fans who previously experienced the original game in some form. It might have been excessive and not entirely necessary, but it was as good an excuse as any to actually get out that PSP. Runner up for: "Most Square-Enix Like Game," for proving once and for all that Persona 3 may very well become Atlus' very own Final Fantasy I and II if it's ever in a real bad pinch. Coming soon to your iPhone... PROBABLY!

  • Award: "Most Console-Like Game That Probably Should Have Really Been on a Console," for once again reminding people that under no circumstances is a PSP the ideal way to play conventional Metal Gear Solid games, a shame when considering that 4 finally managed to show how very possible it is for a Metal Gear game to actually control well and be more fun because of it.

  • Award: "Most Likely Game to Make People Track Down a Delorean," because as it turns out, the 80s and 90s were an all-right time for video games. When downloading ROMs of those games it cribs/references just isn't enough, there's this downloadable game that will do all the nostalgia-making for you!

  • Award: "Best Game Everybody Gives Too Much Credit," since, dude, parts of that game are real, real janky. A game can still be awesome and have busted parts, but it's best to keep it relative. You're either a bad person or Jim Sterling if you seriously make this your number one game on your official GOTY list.

  • Award: "Most Complex Game That Wasn't Railworks," for having a battle system, that while thoroughly enjoyable, certainly requires getting used to. Certainly not for those expecting accessibility from the get-go, Resonance of Fate expects you to either pick up all the nuances yourself or find the one place that will actually train your properly, a location whose optional nature makes it extremely easy to miss. A rewarding experience, but a harsh one nonetheless.

  • Award: "The Need For Speed Award," for having so much speed and still giving you the impression that it could actually go even faster just because it can. And then it does go faster. Ow.

  • Award: "Most Meta Game," for having dialog in the demo that not only acknowledged it was a demo, but then humorously made sure you knew it was a demo, just in case you had mistaken it for the real thing. Bonus points for that dialog not just being on the screen where the game arbitrarily pleads with you to buy the full version immediately.

  • Award: "Best Game I Have No Award For," because I don't think anybody needs to see that meme uttered yet again.

  • Award: "The Fallout Award for the Best Depiction of War," for showing that even when your home land is on the brink of falling apart from a civil war that could potentially result in widespread genocide, it's all going to be okay because you still have your unrealistically happy-go-lucky friends at school to hang out with! And that makes life in that country awesome and carefree! Always and forever!

  • Award: "Best Text Adventure Game," for its inclusion of Zork as a playable Easter Egg. Now fully playable with the power of your console's software keyboard!

  • Award: "The Nowhere to Go But... Hell if I Know Award," for justifying the existence of a third numbered Rock Band game so thoroughly with the ability to use actual instruments that it's really, really hard to know where Harmonix will go with it next. My personal hope: playable didgeridoos.

  • Award: "Best Game Pepsiman Already Has," for being so cheap used in Japan way before the English version came out that I just said, "TO HELL WITH IT!" and more or less ensured I'd never actually buy an English copy. That's probably too bad, since I imagine the chicken-head-dude-manbearthing is still pretty awesome in English.

  • Award: "Best Game About Tamagotchis That Actually Had No Tamagotchis In It Whatsoever," for taking that glorified pedometer that is the Pokewalker and making it a much better idea than it has any right to be. Now you don't have to choose between raising your Pokemon or (pretend) exercising! Another lifelong predicament resolved!

  • Award: "Best Worst Game," at least according to Entertainment Weekly. Because apparently when you grade a game in your magazine a B , that's the lowest of the low without a doubt! It's like 8.8, but the magazine did it to itself.

  • Award: "The Trauma Center Award for Most Innovation in the Area of Surgical Gameplay," for showing us just how immersive of an experience it can be when you have to stab your own eye socket. This, ladies and gentlemen, is clearly why video games are art.

  • Award: "Best Sequel to a Party Game Starring Pac-Man," for Namco-Bandai's efforts to remind you that, actually, this is not the first time Pac-Man has hosted virtual board game/minigame parties. Pac-Man Fever clearly lives on in this game.

  • Award: "The Great Things Come In Small Packages Award," for being a modest little Nintendo puzzle game sold at a paltry $20 that was not only devious, but also highly addicting. It also probably reminded people that Nintendo once dabbled in the puzzle genre with some regularity, once upon a time.

  • Award: "The Screw Persona, Thank God Atlus Finally Made a REAL MAN'S Shin Megami Tensei Game Award," for Atlus finally being able to satiate the whiny old-school SMT fans by giving them what they (mostly) wanted: a proper, mainline, canonical SMT game. Oh, and with it came the return of a difficulty level that will actually make you sweat. The last few spin-off games kinda dropped that for a while, didn't they?

  • Award: "Most Terrifying Implementation of Maps," for forcing the player to be the cartographer and chart out every single last detail on every map in the game, including the big blue sea. Why have the game automatically draw information on the screen that it already knows about anyway when it could save time and energy by just having you do it!?

  • Award: "The Battered Wife Syndrome Medal of Courage," for being a game so tough that no matter how much it treats loving gamers like shit, people are compelled to endure its levels and come out on top because of, like, pride or masculinity or something. Truly, it's a good relationship brewing between player and game here.

  • Award: "The Keeping Up With The Joneses Award," for finally catching up with the rest of the world in allowing games to be rated R18 like the rest of the world. Oh, wait....

  • Award: "Best Flight Sim Based on an Existing Newspaper Comic Strip," for letting players have fun while Snoopy finally lives out his life's ambition to take down the Red Baron. Having previous been dethroned by classics such as Hagar the Horrible Hindenburg and Garfield: Flight for Lasagna, it's nice to see the true king of the genre return to the top once more.

  • Award: "Best Game to Not Actually Be About the Title," for probably getting people's hopes up that, finally, a good limbo simulation had arrived for Xbox Live Arcade. Looks like that will have to wait for another day.

  • Award: "Best Game That Isn't Just About the Boobs," for reminding players that, at some point in history, Lara Croft actually had good gameplay to back up her looks before developers just relied on the latter entirely to sell copies. There's something to be said when you can still have both cakes and eat them, too, you know.

  • Award: "Most Brazenly Western Game Not Made by a Western Team," for reminding people that there are still Japanese developers that know how to make universally appealing games that can be appreciated in every market. In Vanquish's case, getting that to happen just meant making as Western of a shooter as possible and then making it MORE Western.

  • Award: "Most Incomprehensibly Awesome Game," for taking what God Hand started in the crazy department and then amping it up by several thousand times at least. Through and through, Clover's style of brawlers still lives on in Bayonetta. Now it just comes with no medication to keep the insanity in check.

  • Award: "Most Relevant Music Game Released by Acitivision," since, hey, in case you didn't notice, Guitar Hero is kinda sorta starting to go the way of DDR. And that's happening in a much shorter stretch of time, no less. DJ Hero 2 serves as a nice reminder that somebody working for the publisher is still actually making an interesting music game.

  • Award: "Best Adaptation of a Game Show that Revolves Around Real-Life Ragdoll Physics," for reminding people what physics technology in video games was like circa 2004 and why it was always so god damn hilarious to look at. Although the Price is Right, Hollywood Squares, and Press Your Luck are also suitable game show candidates to include ragdoll physics in their games as well, Wipeout clearly shows us the very, very high quality bar that would have to be topped to make such an effort worthwhile.

  • Award: "The Ronald Reagan Award for Communism, No!" for being "Capitalism, ho!"

  • Award: "Best Game with Lolis to Still Have Actual Gameplay in It," since the proliferation of the archetype in visual novels and the like has made everyone more or less forget that, hey, sometimes they can be actual games sometimes. Fun ones, too!

  • Award: "Most Condescending Use of Rise Kujikawa's Voice to Date," for making Omochao such a dick when you screw up the tutorials. Apparently anything that has the voice of Rise in video games has to more or less just stand on the sidelines and be support, but Omochao more or less ensures that you know he is COMPLETELY UNSATISFIED WITH THAT POSITION. Runner up for: "Most Unnecessarily Cheap Cutscenes by a Company That Can Afford Animated Ones," for doing still slides with voice overs because why not?

  • Award: "The Axe Body Spray Award for Manliest Game," because when something has the Spike TV label on it, you know you're in for a classy time!

  • Award: "Best Game That Actually Got Out of Japan," because somebody at Nintendo of America finally noticed that so many people either imported the original game or bought it on Virtual Console that it would probably be a safe bet to just let the second game get an official English release.

  • Award: "Most Valiant Fan Translation Effort," for having the patch actually incorporate anti-piracy measures and actually force people into, you know, buying a copy of the original game if they wanted it in a comprehensible language so bad. Those measures might have been cracked quickly enough after the patch's release, but it was a move that nevertheless made the translation a bit less sketchy than most others.

  • Award: "Best Game That Wasn't (Initially) About Monkeys," for being a neat little motocross stunt game despite some publisher's belief that, dude, monkeys totally need to be in there somewhere. Sometimes, you just have to stick to your guns... even if the monkey was later implemented into the game ironically.

  • Award: "Best Game That's Already Shown Up on a Bunch of Other Systems Already," for giving people yet another version of a classic platforming game, just in case they haven't touched an SNES, Genesis, Sega CD, GBA, or PC in the last 16 years.

  • Award: "Best Game to be on Life Support," for somehow miraculously being revived by Gearbox after its near definitive death through the shutdown of 3D Realms. Now supposedly on track for 2011, it almost looked as though we were going to live in a world where Duke Nukem Forever came out before Gran Turismo 5, thanks to that game's own problems with delays. It might not have happened, but still, imagine the possibilities!

  • Award: "Most Flawed Game That Still Has Adamant Defenders," because even Deadly Premonition fans know how to come to terms with that game's issues and just enjoy it for what it is. Gran Turismo 5, on the other hand, seems to have accumulated a Pentecostal-like following that will go to crazy lengths to prove why it's such a masterpiece simply because they've stuck to that rhetoric for so long that they might as well keep using it until the bitter end.

  • Award: "Best Game That Would Still Probably Be Better on Another Platform." When you have to make that many control and gameplay compromises just to justify putting out a pretty-looking game on an unconventional platform, it might just be ultimately better to put it out on something that can really bring the underlying ideas to life. The viability of Unreal Engine 3 on the iPhone is still an ultimately iffy matter.

  • Award: "Best Puzzle Game That Wasn't Picross 3D," for being as good of a puzzle game as you can conceivably be without being Picross 3D. You can try, but you're not Picross 3D. What I guess I'm trying to say is, this game was not Picross 3D. But that's okay. Even if it wasn't Picross 3D.

  • Award: "This is Ji-" HAHAHA. NO. I DON'T WANNA MAKE THAT JOKE. The actual award shall be "The Good Luck Have Batman Award for Good Luck in Having Batmans," because the Korean scene just can't get enough glhb.

  • Award: "Best Whaling Sim," for having gigantic whales and other sea creatures that players can fight and dominate. Here's hoping there's a Sea Shepherd quest that eventually makes its way into the game, completely with brazen disrespect for international sovereignty and property rights!

  • Award: "Best Use of Adjectives in a Title," because why give that to Super Scribblenauts when it actually uses adjectives for gameplay purposes when, in fact, Street Fighter started using adjectives in its titles way before then? Clear winner here, folks!

  • Award: "Best Menu Controls," because why have a proper pause menu when you can just force your character to go to an actual place in the game world to change the settings? Truly astounding UI innovation in this game.

  • Award: "Most Realistic Post-Apocalyptic Simulator," for the inclusion of a hardcore mode where the game is generally out to make your gameplay experience miserable and devoid of any pleasure. If you like bullets taking up weight, fetching clean water, and being truly disabled if one of your limbs falls out (HA), then look no further than Vegas. Oh, and those glitches contribute to the realism, too.

  • Award: "Best One Man Show," for having so much voice work done by the prolific Nolan North that, under the right circumstances, you could totally see two of his characters just start talking to each other... and with the same voice, too. It just might be a sign that the Nolan North market is becoming a little oversaturated. Or self-aware. Potentially both.

  • Award: "Best ESRB Description." Few games genuinely warrant the phrase "creepy voyeurism," even in an industry with no shortage of gender stereotypes and caterings to male horniness, but if one qualifies for it without a doubt, it's certainly Dead or Alive: Paradise and the ESRB made that apparent under no uncertain terms. Also, "Paradise cannot mean straddling felled tree trunks in dental-floss thongs."

  • Award: "Best RTS Nobody Cared About Until It Died," for seemingly having no real hardcore fans until Microsoft said that they were going to shut down the leaderboards because, hey, it's not really a game they're supporting anymore. But once that happened, people sure got passionate about such a largely forgettable entry in the Halo franchise. Way to come out of a woodwork nobody thought even existed.

  • Award: "Best Use of the English Language," for proving that the underlying gameplay concepts can, in fact, get more wonderfully insane if you throw adjectives into the mix. "Gentlemanly red raptor" indeed!

  • Award: "Most Unfortunate Game to Come Out in the Wake of Pac-Man Championship Edition DX," for being just more plain old Bomberman instead of more AWESOME NEW BOMBERMAN. You can't win them all, although that's apparently been true with the Bomberman games since the early or mid-90s, depending on who you ask.

  • Award: "Most Apparent Enemy Faction Everybody Knew About," for implementing the Taliban as one of the playable multiplayer teams, but then changing the name to "Opposing Force." This might have actually worked had the Taliban models actually been changed, but new name aside, they still walked the walk and still talked the talk. Ignoring the name doesn't change the fundamental identity. That's like calling old-timey British soldiers "Red Coats" because you want be vague about who you're fighting, but specific enough to discuss their fashion statement.

  • Award: "Best Use of Intellivision Games," because after that critically acclaimed gangbuster that was the Intellivision Lives compilation, what people wanted were more ROMs of (justifiably) obscure games with piss poor controls even in their heyday. Translating that number pad to a 360 controller sure is intuitive!

  • Award: "Best Arcade Compilation for Games Nobody Remembers," because when it comes to late 90s light gun games, it's all kind of a blur. They all just kind of look and play the same after you've run into enough of them at rundown bars. This compilation does a good job of reminding people why that is indeed the case.

  • Award: "Classiest Use of DLC," for Sega deciding to charge an additional 50 percent in DLC on top of the base game's price for anybody who wanted to play the definitive version of Sonic Adventure on their modern console of choice. What good that still ultimately achieves for a game that time hasn't always been super kind to is also disputable, but that's for another day.

  • Award: "Best Cameo by Michael J. Fox," for having his replacement voice actor be so spot-on that, save for a few missteps here and there, you'd swear the Family Ties star was his 80s self again. Perhaps the voice is just something that gets passed down from generation to generation?

  • Award: "Best Promotional Game that Was Better than the Product It Supports," for showing that the idea of game that's like Contra, but with jet packs is totally cooler when it's scaled down to an 8-bit game. Also, having to blow on the imaginary cart in the DSiWare version is a very classy touch.

  • Award: "Most Quickly Forgotten Quirk Indie Game," for having attention peter out so quickly that the game recently went for 50 cents on Steam. Truly, a sad sight to behold.

  • Award: "Most Japanese Title to Not Have the Words 'Shin,' 'Megami,' or 'Tensei' In It." Now, as you might have noticed, it only has one actual Japanese word on here. However, since it's one that the average weeaboo isn't going to intuitively pick up without fairly extensive Japanese studying, that's more than enough for the game to win. Runner up for: "Best NIS SRPG Nobody Noticed," because when it's not Disgaea, it's not worth noticing, apparently.

  • Award: "The Farmville Award for Being More Compelling Than It Should Be," for showing that, for reasons beyond anyone's comprehension, putting violent unicorns and Erasure song together makes for a winning combination. For once, it was a 4chan meme that people loved legitimately and not just ironically.

  • Award: "Best Game that Wore Out Its Welcome from the Get-Go," for being so conceptually similar to Mega Man 9 that the entire thing just feels kind of soulless. While its prequel was a nice return to the series roots that almost parodied the original games' lack of creativity, this once just immediately resigns itself to that fate. Maybe if they actually had gotten around to putting 9 on a legitimate NES cart, things would have been different.... Nah.

  • Award: "Best Game Square-Enix Regretted Releasing," because last time I checked, that game was more or less an implicitly free-to-play MMO under the supposed justification that Squeenix was going to somehow massively fix it in time for the PS3 release. Miracles do happen, but usually not for things that have already millions of dollars sunk into their production.

  • Award: "Best Game to Make the Jump from Downloadable to HD Console," for somehow taking something that was meant to just be a free pack-in for a bigger game and somehow still turning out well as a full retail product that you could acquire on a disc. Gotta spread the Tim Kitzrow love as far and as wide as possible.

  • Award: "Best Game That Just Wouldn't Let Xbox Live Die," for still having such a dedicated fanbase that played it prior to Microsoft shutting off original Xbox support for Xbox Live that they let those players keep playing until disconnection problems naturally removed them from the system forever. It's an honorable way for a game's online multiplayer to end, even if means dying with a whimper and not a bang.

  • Award: "The Capitol Hill Award for Beating Around The Bush," because why make a proper Kingdom Hearts game when you can just keep making endless side-stories that flesh out plotlines the fans may not have even wanted elaborated in the first place? Oh, right, because these games still sell despite all that.

  • Award: "Most Compelling Argument for Donning Purple Ponchos," because if we learned anything at all from Nintendo's marketing campaign for Dragon Quest IX, it's that Seth Green has good fashion advice and that young girls will implicitly take it seriously.

  • Award: "Yu-Gi-Oh Game of the Year 2010," because there was probably still more than one of these this year. At least they finally figured out how to make an online version of the game that didn't have arbitrary pricing structures for duels.

  • Award: "Most Innovative Window Dressing Simulator," for showing people the true potential of venetian blind sims in video games, even if the controls are complete bollocks. (You should have to press DOWN to pull the blinds UP.) Runner up for: "Most Bang for Your Buck Release on Game Room," for being a short and simple prototype that Microsoft is still asking $3-ish for. Also runner up for: "Most Appropriate Way to End This List," because writing 100 of these entries is kind of grueling. But hey, at least I finally got the Martin Luther quest completed FAIR AND SQUARE.