Looking back at another busy year for the gaming industry, 2010 was chock full of exciting announcements, innovative developments, and stellar games. It also had its fair share of painful fumbles, critical missteps, and general unpleasantries. For better or worse, join us as we take a look back at some of the memorable high and lows of the gaming world from 2010.
Motion Controls: Welcome to the Party…Finally
When the console launched in 2006, the Nintendo Wii's motion control capabilities were a big leap forward, pushing the boundaries of player interaction in new and exciting ways. It took a few years to catch up, but Sony and Microsoft finally came up with their own flavor of motion controls and launched the PlayStation Move and Kinect this year. Though pricey, both hardware upgrades offer fans of their respective platforms new ways to play and new motion-focused titles to play with, and it'll be interesting to see the impact this will have on gaming in 2011.
Revenge of the Major Franchises
2010 marked the return of some well-known characters with great new games on various consoles. The Wii saw an avalanche of such releases, with games like Kirby's Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Metroid: Other M, and the nicely remade GoldenEye 007, among others. The epic and hotly anticipated StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty gave hardcore PC gamers something to get pumped about, and other games like the Xbox 360 re-boot of the original Perfect Dark, Metal Gear: Peace Walker on the PSP, and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light rounded out an awesome year for older popular franchises.
Apple Takes A Bite with the iPad
This year Apple really firmed up its grasp on the portable gaming world with the iPhone 4 and the iPad, proving to be a strong contender in the downloadable game market. Aside from the PSP, few portable gaming devices have managed to go toe-to-toe with Nintendo and survive, yet its clear Apple isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Cheap game downloads and a glut of new releases keep things moving along at a brisk pace in the App Store, making on-the-go gaming even more accessible to a wide range of players.
Indie Gaming Explodes
The indie game development scene has made huge strides in the mainstream market this year with some epic wins on consoles and handhelds alike. In fact, small independent studios are responsible for many of 2010's hottest downloadable games. Hits like Cave Story, Joe Danger, Super Meat Boy, and Limbo definitely put the indie scene on peoples' radars this year, and they're joined by many other quality games made by independent folks. It's encouraging to see the little guys getting big action with some creative ideas. Here's to another solid run in 2011.
3D Goes Portable
The prospect of portable 3D gaming turned into a reality this year when Nintendo announced the new 3DS. With a hefty graphical improvement over the DSi and scalable 3D, the new system piqued many gamers' interest yet garnered a little skepticism as well. It wasn't until the press had a chance to go hands-on with a prototype during E3 that the excitement over the new handheld really heated up. However, a production delay bumped the 3DS' release to early 2011, so we have to wait awhile longer to see if it lives up to the hype.