I blame myself for not pimping out PM Studio's excellent DJ Max Portable 3 more this year. The Korean music game is quite possibly the only music game you'll ever need on a handheld, thanks to its seemingly endless soundtrack, varied modes, rewarding progression, beautiful graphics, and note charts that will make your fingers cry. Oh, and for the first time in the franchise's history, you actually feel like a DJ. Ludwig makes fun of me for the epileptic fit I get into when playing it, but he just doesn't understand.
It's far more than "the best game on Kinect." It's the game that introduced a new passion for dancing. I can't begin to count the number of hours I've spent "breaking it down," trying to perfect every move of every routine. It may not be the best teacher around, but it's a good-enough motivator. Most importantly, Dance Central has given me something no other game can claim: confidence when clubbing. Who says video games can't help you in real life?
Super Mario Galaxy 2
The first Mario Galaxy is one of my favorite games of this generation. So, it's no surprise that a better version of the game would inspire the same childlike joy a second time around. Somehow, Galaxy 2 manages to make playing a mustached middle-aged Italian plumber wearing a pillowy cloud suit with eyes (while riding a long-tongued green dinosaur) seem like perfectly acceptable behavior. That must mean something, right?
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
I'm not entirely sure why this ancient Mayan temple was constructed with so many levers and switches that require two people ... but it sure makes for a fun game. Crystal Dynamics' top-down downloadable approach to Lara Croft is my favorite in the franchise (which begs the question: why reboot it?). The smart allocation of the two characters' powers made for some cool combinations. Whether it was being rescued from a perilous jump at the last second, or narrowly escaping a death trap, there were countless moments where my friend and I just stopped and asked ourselves, "Did we just do that?"
Valkyria Chronicles 2
Am I allowed to have two PSP games on this list? Good. Because that handheld is getting amazing games for a platform that is essentially dead. Valkyria Chronicles 2 takes everything I loved about the PS3 version and compacts it into a handheld experience. Sure, the overly cheery school setting took a bit to get used to, but it wasn't long before the game's deep mechanics lured me back, and drained my PSP time and time again. Alexander, we need to play some co-op at PAX East, okay?
Splinter Cell Conviction
Sure, the story is awful. And yeah, the dialogue would be insulting if it weren't so hilarious. ("I am not falling for that trap, Sam Fisher!") Splinter Cell Conviction is an awesome stealth action game in spite of its shortcomings, and its fast-paced "offensive stealth" gameplay demands to be elaborated upon. In many ways, I feel like the game has been grossly misunderstood. Like Mirror's Edge, Conviction looks like any other game in its genre, but needs to be played very differently for true success. How can you not love a game that lets you team up with a friend to murder a small nation undetected?
Windows Phone 7
The Samsung Focus I've been carrying for the past few months has really grown on me. And while it won't replace my primary phone, I am unashamed to admit that I am addicted to earning Gamerscore on the go. Last time I checked, I think I earned over 2000G from mobile games alone.
<<IMAGE NOT FOUND>>Art Academy
Nintendo's DSi art tutorials taught me some valuable art basics that -- to the best of my knowledge -- actually helped me learn how to draw. Thanks to Art Academy, I was able to recreate Justin Bieber, by request of an unnamed Nintendo employee. Unfortunately, Art Academy sorely lacks the ability to export drawings, meaning Joystiq readers are spared my black-and-white pencil rendition of the Canadian pop star.
Joystiq has revealed its 10 favorite games of 2010! Stay tuned to see those games that didn't quite make the cut in Joystiq's Best of the Rest series.