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Best of the Rest: James' Picks of 2009


New Super Mario Bros. Wii
"You've just made a 28-year-old boy's Christmas." That's what my friend's wife told the GameStop employee as she was buying the store's last copy of New Super Mario Bros. Wii several weeks back. That sentiment has summed up my own holiday season, as my cohort and I have continued our nostalgic domination of the new "Mario Brothers."

Twenty-something years ago we were both anxiously awaiting the same Christmas Morning when we would unwrap our Nintendos, and shortly thereafter our gaming lives split two very different ways. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the first and only game she has played with me for more than, um, "five minutes" (besides those late-night Rock Band parties), and its brilliance is in its ability to engage us both, on different levels, in the same level.

The House of the Dead: Overkill
Nuuuhhhhgwaaaahhh ... mmrraawwrrr ... eeaaaghaaa ... BRRAAAAIIIINNNNSSSZZZZZ

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 w/ Wii MotionPlus
A third-straight Wii game topping my list? I'm not sure what's going on here, but it's actually happening. While it's completely ridiculous that Nintendo has concocted a plug-in peripheral for the Wiimote that makes it a ... (better) Wiimote, Tiger 10's implementation of MotionPlus was the one combination that got me excited about all the motion tech in the pipeline for 2010.

Street Fighter IV
I'm mostly convinced I like fighting games again thanks to es-ef-i-vee. At least, I've been convinced enough to sell the game -- for money toward the incoming "super" edition -- and cobble together some gift certificates, store credit and loose bills to throw down a hundred bucks or so on a decent arcade stick.

DJ Hero
I still haven't forgiven myself for spending $120 -- one hundred and twenty dollars! -- on the game and turntable bundle, but once I get over that I can admit that DJ Hero is my favorite rhythm-music game experience ... when the mashup is tight. Can I get, like, "my favorite hip-hop cuts" version or whut?

PixelJunk Shooter
PixelJunk is the PSN franchise, and there's a game for everyone. Shooter is the one for me.

Honorable Mention

iPhone games! There's a pile of 2009 releases worth mentioning, but I'll limit my shoutouts to $30's worth: Bookworm ($1.99), Flight Control ($0.99), geoDefense ($1.99), Homerun Battle 3D ($4.99), Hook Champ ($2.99), iBlast Moki ($1.99), I Dig It Expeditions ($2.99), N.O.V.A. ($6.99), Peggle ($1.99), Wolfenstein 3D Classic Platinum ($0.99), and Zen Bound ($1.99).

Or Games I Wanted More From
  • Killzone 2 -- Getting warmer ... Third time's the charm?
  • Resident Evil 5 -- Not Resident Evil 4. Not even close.
  • Punch-Out!! -- I'll take my memories of the original over this remake.
  • Halo 3: ODST -- Let's give Halo a breather. (Yeah, sure, like that's going to happen.)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 -- Two words: Favela Level. Two more: Not fun.

New Year's Resolution
I will "beat" Dragon Age. (There is an end, right?)

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