December 2012

There were a lot of great games in 2012, but here are the best: our Games of the Year. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have our spotlight today, and we also name our #1 multi-platform release. READ MORE

I spent the vast majority of 2012 with my face glued to my gorgeous new Vita, mostly playing PSP games and PSOne Classics, but I managed to get a hold of enough current games to put together a list of my favorites. At times I feel as if I am still reeling from the greatness of 2011, but this year definitely packed a punch in its own right.

10.  Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!

This one was almost a surprise, but WayForward was behind it, so I knew I was in for a good time from the start. An energetic soundtrack, fantastic sprite artwork and animation and the signature Adventure Time style and humor, all built around a hilarious homage to Zelda II of all things, make for one of the better licensed platformers I’ve ever played. READ MORE

10. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy

Square Enix again shows both its ability to expand the Final Fantasy brand and its knowledge of stylus controls with Theatrhythm. While it probably stands up more on the music than the gameplay, the controls work about as you would expect on a portable rhythm game. A great soundtrack and solid DLC options make this one of the best 3DS titles of the year. READ MORE

10. Max Payne 3

Max Payne 1 and 2 were two of my favorite games ever. The film noir setting, combined with the Matrix-like moves and gunplay, gave a 16 year old me an incredible rush. Times have changed, and this is easily the weakest game in the trilogy, but I’m glad they brought it back. The voice acting and cutscene direction is splendid, and it definitely feels like a movie. But did it need to be this hard? I died more in this game than the first two combined, easily. The flashback levels to the snowy city skyline were far superior to the South American setting, but it still worked. READ MORE

And so another great year of gaming draws to a close. 2012 was an important year at Snackbar Games, and for me personally as well. A couple months ago I hit the 100-column milestone here at Gaming Unplugged, and earlier this month the site itself observed its tenth anniversary; I’ve been on staff for seven of those years, and writing this column for the last four and a half (starting July 2007). It has certainly been an interesting ride, and it shows no sign of slowing any time soon.

I keep wondering how I will continue to find new topics to write about in this space, but the wealth of gaming just keeps giving. I have three or four boardgaming projects that I backed via Kickstarter that should start shipping in the early part of 2013 (one of which will actually pay off twice over the course of the year). I have also experienced several games this year that I have yet to cover, some new and some old — and that’s not even counting the ones I’ve played that didn’t impress me enough to discuss them (or were actively bad, but those are thankfully rare). READ MORE