December 2009


The holiday season is a great time to be a gamer, with big new releases hitting seemingly every week. But for game journalists, it can also be a stressful time, full of rushed reviews, tight deadlines for gift guide features and visits to family members that don’t even have an HDTV (what is this, the Stone Age?).

To relieve some of that stress, some members of the Game Trust took part in a virtual White Elephant gaming gift exchange this year. It was a chance to take the focus off the latest and the greatest and exchange some cheap-but-fun-but-overlooked games from the recent past in a relaxed environment. It was also, hopefully, a way to learn something more about our fellow Game Trusters.

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The idea behind the next great experiment in reviving the American videogame magazine didn’t come from the board room of a powerhouse publishing giant. It wasn’t spun off from an existing lifestyle magazine or adapted from a successful Web property. It wasn’t the product of a focus group or a marketing survey or a know-nothing middle manager trying in vain to capture younger readers by focusing on a medium he knows nothing about.

Instead, Kill Screen magazine started out as the subject of idle chatter over Indian food.

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You’ve patiently listened to Uncle Crispy rant and rave about his least-favorite gaming moments of 2009. You’ve looked on with horror as we recounted the year’s oddest gaming moments. Now it’s finally time to talk about the reason we’re all here: the games themselves. Specifically, the best games to come out in 2009 (Yeah, we know the year’s technically not over yet, but we hope you’ll forgive us for not holding our list off in anticipation of Playmobil Pirates and Guitar Hero: Van Halen).

To keep things simple (and to avoid months-long arguments/barroom brawls over which games truly belonged where), we based our game-of-the-year rankings on a secret ballot. Eighteen members of the Game Trust submitted a ranked list of their top-five personal favorites for the year. First-place picks received five points, second-place picks got four points, all the way down to one point for fifth-place picks. The point values were added together to create the rankings below.

If you really can’t get enough statistics, there’s a detailed breakdown of the voting at the end of this piece. But for now, let’s get right down to it with our top 10 12 picks for the year:

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Only man himself can control his videogame news. You’re nothing!

In this issue:

  • Tony Hawk Looking for People to Play Tony Hawk: Ride With Him
  • Charity “Desert Bus” Drive Goes from “Hope” to Havoc
  • Actually, do you want to play with me?

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With 2009 coming to a close, we offer some odds on what the coming year will bring for the videogame industry.

  1. Nintendo Wii sales will decline year over year in North America.
  2. PlayStation 3 sales will increase year over year in North America.
  3. Rhythm-game sales will decline year over year.
  4. Industry-wide game sales will go up, year over year.
  5. At least one download-only release will be on the shortlist for the Game of the Year awards.
  6. No PS3 motion control or Natal-exclusive games will be on the shortlist for Game of the Year.
  7. The PSP Go will drop in price during the first half of the year.
  8. At least one new major console or portable system will be announced.
  9. Nintendo will announce a portable Virtual Console of Game Boy classics for the DSi.

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Kyle talks about the year’s best gaming cinematography and animation in advance of the popular Machinima.com series’ annual awards show.

(View on YouTube)


Covered in this issue:

  • Activision’s unorthodox early review access
  • On the spoke missing from IGN’s MusicHub
  • News bits

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