Announcing the 2010 Game of the Year Awards from the First Hour! We published over 60 full reviews this year, tripling our output from last year. Of course, our writing staff has grown quite a bit also. I personally beat 30 games, undoubtedly making 2010 my most productive video gaming year ever. We also played over 55 first hours, keeping up a steady pace of one a week. We have not been lacking for great games or content this year.
This isn't your normal Game of the Year awards, we cover everything from older game of the year to worst first hour, so keep scrolling all the way to the bottom! If anything, our game of the year picks are the least interesting decisions. The writers here also don't vote on the categories, instead, everyone is welcome to submit their picks as their own definitive decision.
I buy a lot of my games used, most of them, in fact. I can't even remember the last game before Mass Effect 2 that I purchased brand new in a box, it's just something I've decided is both out of my budget and totally unnecessary. I've already beaten 13 games this year and have enjoyed most of them, and through a combination of buying used on Amazon, borrowing from friends, presents, spending money on deals for digital games, and a few lucky review copies from publishers, I calculated I've spent less that $100 on games this year, and that was with the $70 Mass Effect 2 Collector's Edition!
So when confronted with the idea of spending $60 on a new game that will be available for $40 in three weeks, $25 in three months, or $10 in three years, I generally think twice. The used game market is my friend, and I play both sides of it. However, sometimes an older game suddenly strikes my attention and I'm quickly making what seems like a steal of a deal, only to be burned later when I find out the game I received is actually a fake, a bootleg, a counterfeit cartridge or disc.
I've determined over the years that there are warning signs for bootleg games, so I'd like to share them with you. These are just general warnings, and even if you follow all of them you might receive something fake. I'm also not discouraging anyone from buying used games online, as I think they're extremely valuable resources that save gamers tons of money.
This was originally going to be part of my Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap review from yesterday, but I decided to break it into its own post as I believe the information stands on its own.
Over the course of The Legend of Zelda series, I haven't missed a lot of games. I've played everything from Zelda II to Majora's Mask to Oracle of Ages, but there was one that I had skipped: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. Why that one? How could I have missed it? I can only determine that my interest was low due to it being developed outside Nintendo again (Minish Cap, the two Oracle games, and Four Swords were created by Flagship, a former Capcom studio) and that it missed the 2004 holiday window by a few weeks. Plus, for whatever reason it seemed like a kids game. I always saw the feature of Link turning into a pixie as... lame.
How wrong I was.
Five years later and I finally determine that it's high time to play The Minish Cap, so I add it to my Amazon wishlist and receive it for my birthday in May. I plowed through this game like my family's lives depended on it (meaning I ignored them in the process, whoops, won't happen again), but wanted to let the game sink in for a while before I organized all my thoughts and finished the review.
It's probably worth comparing my review of this game to the two previous portable Zeldas: Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. I always felt like those games were missing something, but I couldn't lay my finger on it until I played The Minish Cap. Here's my full review of the one I almost let get away: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.