Crispy Gamer


As I write this, all the letters I type are slowly falling down and drifting ever so gently to the left in my mind. And I keep imagining a little figure in overalls, about two letters high and one letter wide, jumping on top of those letters as they appear, or bashing them from below to unlock valuable coins inside.

The reason for these odd hallucinations is Tuper Tario Tros., a Flash-based combination of two of the most addictive games in history — Tetris and Super Mario Bros. — into a game that … well, it isn’t quite as addictive as both games combined, but is awfully close.

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In this issue:

  • Do We Need Physical Conferences in a Digital World?
  • How the Spike TV Video Game Awards Are Hurting the Game Industry
  • News Bytes
  • Quote of the Moment
  • change

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Highlighting only the useful products shown at the Consumer Electronics Show misses half the point of one of the largest trade shows in the world. The real attractions of CES are the odd, one-off products, the over-the-top booths and the sheer weirdness on display everywhere you turn. And so, the CES Special Awards Division makes its triumphant return this year to capture a small portion of that weirdness for those of you that didn’t risk getting crushed by 10,000 people trying to get the same cab outside the Las Vegas Hilton. Enjoy!

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Since the Electronic Entertainment Expo split off from the Consumer Electronics Show in 1995, CES hasn’t exactly been the primary showcase for videogame publishers and developers. But while the software makers may have moved to a different show, many gaming hardware makers have stuck with CES, showing off their new wares in Vegas each year. Here are the most noteworthy of the selection shown at the show this year.

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With the coming of 2010 and the leaving of the Noughties, there are a lot of ways you could go about determining the “Game of the Decade.” You can just pick your own favorites, of course, but that’s always going to come off as overly subjective and personal. You can choose some nominees and ask the public to weigh in, as we did with our epic Game of the Decade bracket, but that really just tells you what’s popular with a certain subset of readers of one site. You can look at review or sales numbers, but those just tell you how well a game was received at the time of its release (by critics and the public, respectively).

What I wanted was a definitive Game of the Decade list — a collection of choices that represented a wide range of professional, knowledgeable opinions about the last 10 years of games. I figured such a list wouldn’t just pop into existence on its own, so I decided to build it myself.

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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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