Top 5 Games of ’10 that didn’t come out in ’10


It’s that time of the year again where I’ve decided to put together a list of my favorite games of 2010 that didn’t come out in 2010. With all these lists focused on stuff that came out this year (and generally populated with over rated bullshit) I like to bring it down a few notches and focus on the things I personally enjoyed while the rest of the universe is out there buying over priced 60 dollar games. I’m not guilty of Day 1 purchases myself, though I’ve gotten MUCH better this year as far as being able to control my urge to buy the latest and (usually not) greatest.

So anyway, here’s the rub as far as this list is concerned. It doesn’t matter which year the game came out, it just has to be something that was new to me. So while I’ve replayed stuff like Metroid Prime on Wii, I can’t add it to this list because I’ve already played it before. Without further ado!

Ristar – Sega Genesis (Originally released 1995)

I’ve always wanted to play Ristar, even when it was originally released during the days when I considered Sega the enemy. I intended to buy it when it was released on the Virtual Console a few years ago but never ended up nabbing it. I happened across it one night while I was looking for some retro games at a local shop and finally bought it. Anyway, it’s really good stuff. As a late gen Genesis game it features a really bright color palette, and nicely detailed sprites with some decent animation. It’s obvious that Sonic Team knew the Genesis inside and out by this point because it looks great even today. It’s an interesting little game because it’s clear that it hails from the same guys that made Sonic The Hedgehog, with it’s big sprawling stages, punchy music, similar title cards for the stages, and lead character with pointy hair (well he IS a star). I’d argue it’s better than a Sonic game though, with a focus on more deliberate platforming and the titular hero’s Bionic Commando-like grappling abilities. One of the few original projects from Sonic Team that they really knocked out of the park, but like most of their games outside of Sonic, this is about all you get as far as Ristar goes.

Interested in Ristar? Purchase it on Steam for $2.99!

Cave Story (Originally released 2004, on WiiWare 2010)

Okay so I’m cheating my list a little bit here. I bought this when it was new on WiiWare which was released this year, so it’s sort of a 2010 game, but the fact of the matter is that it’s been available for free on the internet since 2004. The Wii version has some new little tweaks, but it’s largely the same game, so it’s accepted onto my list. Does that make me a sucker for waiting to pay for it and play it on Wii? Probably, but developer Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya deserves my money for his amazing efforts. Cave Story is a fun throw back to the old days with a game design similar to that of Metroid (though more linear than a standard Metroid game) but with the gun play of something like Metal Slug. It’s kind of amazing that such a well balanced and pitch perfect platform game came from one single man. It even plays by the same rules as a classic game in that it teaches the player how to play without the aid of a tutorial. Just really well designed stuff here, nothing more, nothing less.

Want to try out Cave Story? Play it for free!

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (Originally released in 2009)

I think I hated Phantom Hourglass. I’m willing to say it’s the only Zelda game I’ve ever disliked. I really appreciated the work that went into making a Zelda game work with just the stylus, but the boring over world, tedious sailing, been there done that puzzles, and terrible Ocean King Temple absolutely killed the game for me. Oh and the music sucked too. I never finished it. I like to look at Spirit Tracks as an apology for Hourglass as there is actually a proper game designed around those fantastic controls. It stays pretty true to the Zelda formula, but I found the train parts interesting, and I loved Link’s new weapons and abilities. The dungeons seemed much more clever than Hourglass and on par with you’d expect to find in a Zelda game, especially some of the puzzles that required Phantom Zelda as your helper. Speaking of which, actually hanging around with Zelda herself for the entire adventure made for a fun story too. Minda still might take the crown for best Link sidekick, but Zelda sure was better than the likes of Ezlo.

Curious about this Zelda? It’s currently $18.00 on Amazon!

Resident Evil 5 (Originally released 2009)

Resident Evil 5 is kind of a mess, but it’s a very fun and intense mess. Instead of improving upon what was built with Resident Evil 4 (which Visceral Games sort of did as far as control in Dead Space) Capcom decided to complicate things by building the game as an online co-op experience. The result? A dreadfully complicated real time item system, a steep learning curve, and a sometimes brain dead partner if playing single player (which is how I played it). Despite these glaring faults, I still had a ton of fun playing through RE5. RE5 nails the spectacle of modern day games with loads of cool set pieces but still retains the elements that Japanese game designers are so good at, like amazing boss battles. It’s also a rather lengthy adventure, but Capcom does a great job switching up the locals and always introducing some sort of new hook. In this way, it feels very much like RE4 and it’s what you’d expect out of a sequel to that game. It’s certainly not going to go down in the history books the same way RE4 will, but RE5 is still loads of fun regardless of the fact that it fails in moving the series forward.

And now you want to blow up zombies don’t you? You can buy this for $14.99 (free shipping!) on both Xbox and PS3 at Newegg.

Wario Land 4 (Originally released 2001)

I bought a Gameboy Micro this year. I was in a GAF thread with nothing but love for the device and I decided to pick one up at a local Gamestop since I only own the original ugly GBA and a DS without a slot for GBA games. I’ve had a blast with the thing replaying old titles for the first time in years, and discovering lots of stuff I missed out on during the GBA’s initial run. The highlight of all these games I played is Wario Land 4. It’s basically your classic 2D platforming game, the sort of thing you come to expect out of Nintendo, but with a few twists to make it its own. It has some really well thought out level design, with areas where the game crosses into puzzle platformer territory, but it never breaks up the flow. Each stage also ends with a brilliant escape sequence in which Wario backtracks through a stage before a timer runs out, which while it sounds like an awful idea is fun in its execution. Finding all the treasures and replaying levels by doing perfect runs is where the game finds most of its challenge and re-playability. It’s funny because I played through Wario Land: Shake It for Wii about a week or two before I played this one, and it’s very similar to this. While that game is good in its own way, it totally lacks the charm, charisma, and just general Nintendo touches of quality found in this one.

Playing this one will require you to leave the house and head to Gamestop, but it’ll be yours for $4.99!

So there you have it, a list in no real particular order and all fine titles in their own way. If you were willing, you could get this entire list of games for just over 40 dollars, that’s 20 dollars less than the piece of shit game already collecting dust that you bought less than a month ago!

We currently have a thread going on the Smorg about our own personal Games of the Year. I’m having a hard time actually picking mine, if only for the fact that I’m finding myself to be reluctant about automatically listing Mario Galaxy 2 and Donkey Kong Country by default. I can’t help it though, they’re SO good. I should probably make a list excluding Nintendo games, because it’s just getting redundant by this point.

If you were curious, take a look at my list of favorites in 2009 that weren’t from 2009!

Movie Info of the Week (Dec 13-17 2010)


My DVD/Blu-Ray Pick

24 Season 8 – One of my favorite shows of the last decade was 24. It kind of fizzled out within the last couple years but its still a really enjoyable show. Season 8 marks the final season of the series where we see what happens with Kiefer Sutherland‘s Jack Bauer. Maybe eight seasons was a little too long and things got a little too repetitive but there’s always some gems and amazing episodes no matter how disappointing a season is. A show that makes it to Season 8 is sure to be remembered as something special. I chose 24 Season 8 as my pick this week not because it was such an awesome collection of episodes but more so because its a TV milestone.

My Theater Pick

TRON Legacy – about a year ago I finally saw the original TRON. I knew about the Internet TRON Guy in his tights but had no idea what the actual movie was all about. Jeff Bridges is one of my all time favorite actors so I had to give it a shot. Well I guess I was a bit late to the party because by the time I saw it, it was totally outdated and cheesy. Bridges was good and the story was kinda cool but its just soooooo old school with the technology and such. The new one looks like a special effects jizz explosion. Its pretty much green screen from beginning to end. Plus, Bridges has gotten better and better with age so I look forward to him reprising a role 25 years later. I’m not totally on board with making every movie IMAX and 3D but this looks like one that could definitely benefit from it.

Box Office Results

The Chronicles of Narnia series is still alive and kicking. The third movie in the series topped the box office with over $24 million. I think it still has some ground to make to be profitable but at least it topped the box office in its opening weekend. And even more impressive is that it beat out a big action spy thriller with two HUGE movie stars in Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. The Tourist kind of bombed with $17 million if you look at who’s involved. Tangled and Harry Potter lost a good amount of audience but that’s understandable.

Also coming out in stores this week is The A-Team, Cyrus, The Other Guys, Despicable Me and Nanny McPhee Returns.

Also hitting theaters this Friday is the James L. Brooks comedy How Do You Know and the horrendous looking Yogi Bear.

LIVE! Shamoozal Radio Podcast #35 (Dec 11th, 2010)

UPDATE: Going live any minute now!

What’s that? You miss hearing a room full of dudes just talking about stuff that only dudes can understand? Well, you’re in luck! Tonight at 8:30PM EST come on out and join us as we record our 35th podcast. You can even go into a chat room and say hi us, and potentially be on the show itself. It’s kind of magical when you think about it. I mean, where else can you go and hear some dudes just dude it up as they get progressively drunker and more drunker as the night goes on? No where! So that’s why you should come out and listen to tonight. Bring your friends. Bring your enemies. And if you miss it tonight don’t worry, because we’ll have it ready for your downloading pleasures before you know it. It’s going to be a heck of a time, dude.

R.I.P. – Lennon & Dime



Today marks the 30 year anniversary of the murder of world famous musician and Beatles member, John Lennon, who was shot and killed in front of his New York apartment. It also marks the day a heavy metal guitar pioneer was murdered as “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott of Pantera fame was brutally gunned down on stage in Columbus, Ohio during a concert 6 years ago. Instead of mourning the day, I celebrate it with the tunes that made me love the artists in the first place. The Shamoozal doesn’t usually concentrate on music too much but we have brought this up on the Smorgas Board for the past couple years and posted some videos, you can find those here.

RIP – John Winston Lennon, Darrell Lance Abbott

“Thought of You”

This beautiful piece was done by Ryan Woodward. Mr. Woodward has been working in the animation and film industry for fifteen years now. This is his latest work combining his love of 2D animation and the study of the human figure. It relies on rotoscoping of live action dancers, but pushes the meduim into expressive holds and flourishes of limbs of its two main characters. Head over to his blog to read up a bit more, and please check out the HD version of it on Youtube. It’s well worth it!

Movie Info of the Week (Dec 6-10 2010)

My DVD/Blu-Ray Pick

Inception – with only a month of new releases left, Inception remains in my Top 3 of the year. Christopher Nolan really puts together an oddly unique mindbending tale of stealing information from dreams. Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy and the rest of the cast are fantastic. Nolan really puts together another masterpiece. But don’t take a bathroom break or you might get lost. They do a good job explaining whats happening as it goes on but then the end just becomes a mess of dream changing. I have confidence that nothing that comes out in December will be able to take this off my Top 3 list. Genius! Genius! Genius!!!!

My Theater Pick
The Fighter

The Fighter – I guess its not great to pick limited release movies every week but this seriously looks like it will be the best movie of the weekend. Not sure if it will hit a theater near you but if it makes enough money it will go Wide. Mark Wahlberg is a boxer who never really wins the big fight to become a household name. His druggie brother is his trainer who is played by a ridiculously sickly looking Christian Bale. Bale once again destroys his body in order to perfectly fit a role. Its a true story based on boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward but its more than just a boxing movie. Its directed by David O. Russell (I Heart Huckabees, Three Kings) who is a very confrontational director. He demands the best out of his actors and often is seen blowing up at them on Youtube.

Box Office Results

Deathly Hallows and Tangled really have been battling it out to top the box office. Last week Harry kept its spot but this week Tangled took over. My guess is that a lot of the people who would see a movie like Tangled were attending Harry Potter showings last weekend. So now that almost everyone in the world has seen the latest Potter flick, Tangled garnered a better audience. Topping the box office with $21.5 Million. The new release The Warrior’s Way bombed with a 9th place, $3 Million opening.

Also coming out in stores this week is the terrible Angelina Jolie spy thriller Salt and Shrek Forever After, the 4th movie in the Shrek series.

Also hitting theaters this Friday is the third part in the Narnia series entitled The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and the action comedy The Tourist starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.

Donkey Kong Country Returned

Donkey Kong Country Returns

Donkey Kong Country Returns

Donkey Kong Country was a pretty big deal when it came out. I’m not going to go into boring specifics, but needless to say I ended up loving it. Over the years since the hype has died it seems that most of the gaming community (especially the enthusiastic press) don’t really have any true feelings of love for the series. While it’s true that DKC never truly broke any new ground in the area of game design, that doesn’t mean what it was doing was bad. I personally love the feel of playing one of the DKC games because they really do have fantastic spot on control. There’s something about being able to blitz through a stage flawlessly and having absolute control over every single jump. It’s just fine platforming, I don’t care what anyone says. Don’t even get me started on DKC2, which I’m willing to say is pretty much a masterpiece.

So now you know my love for the series. Donkey Kong Country Returns, coming from the fine folks over at Retro (the dudes that also revived the shit out of Metroid with Metroid Prime) have managed to bring the series back to its roots, yet make enough minor changes to the formula to give it its own identity. This isn’t Donkey Kong Country 4, it’s more of a reboot of the series which forgets creepy characters like Candy Kong, ignores Rare’s Donkey Kong “cannon” (in that Cranky Kong is alive, would you believe he was actually killed in a game? It doesn’t get much worse than that) and boils everything down to its basics. This is all for the better of course, because the moment you start introducing over arching story lines and awful characters (though I do like Dixie) in games like this things just get ridiculous.

Anyway the big thing here is that the speed of the game has completely changed, or at least at first glance. With a camera that’s more pulled back than the original games, and a more weighty and realistic Donkey Kong, Returns comes off by feeling slower than its predecessors. That isn’t a knock, it’s just that the speed has been toned down as a whole, meaning unexperienced players won’t be running and jumping like Mario does New SMB. That said, experienced players will be able to use DK’s move set to propel themselves through stages in the blink of an eye. Rolling and jumping onto enemies help DK find new momentum and will send him flying through stages. In fact there’s actually an entire portion of the game devoted to speed runs. So while it may initially feel like a slower paced game, it can easily be played at a much faster clip. It goes to show the range of the game where players can approach it with caution, or go through stages methodically to find all the hidden trinkets, or master the art of using every enemy and object to their advantage. Nothing is put into a stage without thought, it all has a reason for being there. The game encourages all these different play styles and rewards them accordingly. Needless to say, players will be playing through the stages multiple times, but always coming at it from a different angle.

Donkey Kong controls nearly identical to how he does in the previous games, though oddly enough Retro has turned what was essentially a two button game into a three button game (counting the waggle as a button). While the roll used to be assigned to the run/action button in the original games, it is now performed by shaking the remote. The game still has an action button, but it’s mainly just used to grab objects. Considering there is no longer a run button, this button feels slightly under used as rolling is what players will be doing the most. At first I tried to play the game with the sideways remote as I kind of refuse to play platformers with an analog stick, but it’s much harder to roll when needed holding the remote this way. Because rolling is such an integral part of the game, I made the switch to the remote/nunchuck combination. I can say that this was likely the method of control the game was designed around. DK has analog controlled walking (that’s why there’s no run button) and pounding and shaking the remote in this way is much easier. For people that want to master the game, this is the way to play.

That said, I wish rolling had a button assigned to it. I died countless times from the remote not picking up on the fact that I’m shaking on it. I’m generally cool with motion control, but in a game like this it’s almost essential to have something as important as DK’s roll assigned to a button. I think it’s satisfying to pound the ground by shaking, but the other actions don’t call for it. I’d say this is a large misstep on Retro’s part, but the truth is that it’s not a game breaker. Watching crazy gold medal speed runs on YouTube prove players are completely capable of kicking ass with the control the way it is. Just expect a few hiccups here and there.

I’m currently more than 90% through the game. I have completed the main quest and now spending my time finding all of the hidden trinkets and eventually going to man up and try out the speed run challenges. I know there is even more stuff beyond just that, and I’m loving the fact there are still several stages I haven’t even played yet. The game just manages to keep on giving, and I’ve easily put on around 20 hours of game time with no sign of me slowing down any time soon. It’s kind of ashame, because I’d really like to go back and finish collecting items in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, play some more Super Meat Boy, or finally wrap up my brothers copy of Dead Space Extraction, but I’m pretty much hooked on this one for the time being and have been playing it exclusively.

So if you have a passing interest in platforming games or have any feelings in your heart about the original DKC, you’d probably do well to check this one out. It’s pretty fantastic.

Just be prepared to die… a lot.

‘Jacquo’s Carol’ Returns to the Episodes Page

Decided maybe I should get this episode up early this month instead of waiting until the day before Christmas. We have some company over so it gave me enough time to run into the Shamoozal Dungeon and render out a new version of this short for YouTube.

Jacquo’s Carol was the first thing on Shamoozal to ever go semi-viral (I don’t believe we ever produced anything truly worthy of being called viral before, though we’ve come close a few times). I remember checking some statistics out on Christmas Eve of ’05 and finding that this video got absolutely hammered. Well over 20k in a night, which was a huge deal then (and to be honest, it would still kind of be a huge deal to me with any other projects we do) all thanks to a link on the site I felt pretty good about it because a week or so earlier I uploaded it to Newgrounds without much fanfare, certainly not the numbers ‘Black Friday Blues’ pulled anyway. It was probably the best Christmas gift I could have received that year.

Tonight is the first time I’ve watched this in ages. Like everything else I created from those days, I think it’s pretty ugly… but you know, I still find some charm in there. I like Joe’s music, and despite my terrible lyrics, I think there are a handful of decent laughs in there. I still like the idea of Jacquo eating boxes, stealing Santa’s sleigh, and of course Loose Leaves detachable leg and rotating teeth (later to be seen in ‘The Last Copy‘). I had never written a song before and know zero about music, but Joe did his best to show me what he felt would work and how it should be sung. It was a really challenging project, and considering I busted out the actual animation in about three or four days (with Frank doing about two shots himself), I had my work cut out for me.

So I guess I like this one, faults and all.