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You know, it's funny; I always find it incredibly hard to sit myself down and write for myself. I always tell myself I should do this more often, and though I have ideas I can write about, I can never bring myself to actually sit down and do it.

Anyways, 2010 was a very interesting year, and, unlike the last couple of years, had more ups than downs for me, both personally and gaming-wise. But since this is a gaming site, I'll only talk about the gaming-related ones!

Video games have always been an important medium for me. So much so, that I just recently received by Bachelors of Science in Game Art & Design from a college in San Francisco (I've been attending for the last three years), and hopefully, I'll be spending the rest of my life developing them. Video games have the ability to make us laugh, cry,think, and even make us sick to our stomachs. Of course, this is all subjective, and, depending on the kind of person we are, we may experience things differently than others do. We may come together in perfect harmony... or the exact opposite. But there is one thing that video games do that means more to me than all of the above do combined.

And that's whisking me away to another world. A world I can get lost in, where I can be the hero everyone loves, or the villain everyone fears. A world where I can forget about all the hardships of growing up and personal and financial responsibility in favor of jumping from one colorful world to the next. In short, I love games that take me back to my childhood and make me forget the world around me... if only for a moment. Don't get me wrong, though; I love my life! But sometimes, we all need a break. And unfortunately, I've been finding it harder and harder for games to suck me into the TV/monitor these days and keep me there; I'm not sure if they're just not involving enough for me or if I'm just growing up. But these games stood out above all the rest I played this year, and have a special place in my heart for doing just that; putting a smile on my face and making me feel like a nine year-old again.

Now, because I am (or was, I should say) a college student, it took me a long time to get to play any of these games, and there were quite a few I still have left to try out (Assassin's Creed 2, Mass Effect 2, and God of War 3 just to name a few), but I'm talking about my own personal experiences.

So, here they are!

That's right; I couldn't decide between the two of them. Whether it's hopping from planet-to-planet or from bounty-to-bounty, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Red Dead Redemption sucked me in and never let me go. Both were incredibly captivating, stunning to look at, great to explore, and, most importantly, fun to play. I never had more fun trying to rescue a princess in my life, and, I'll finally tell myself this, it's my favorite Mario game of all-time. Sorry Super Mario Bros. 3! And who didn't want to be a cowboy when they were growing up? The only thing that was missing from Red Dead Redemption was another charming Englishman you could play as (I'm looking at you, Jack Swift!), but with a character as badass as Jack Marston, I didn't mind so much.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 offered tons of unique worlds, each rich with their own colorful environments and bouncy characters, and never once lost steam. Each level brought forth its own challenge, and hardly ever left you doing the same thing twice. It must have been incredibly difficult to design a game that followed up on the near-flawless original, but the folks at Nintendo proved they could go above and beyond anything they've ever done; and damn does it show. There wasn't a single world I didn't want to explore, and by the end of the game, I still wanted to pop the disc back in my Wii for some more playtime. And that's something I find hard to do these days (especially when Achievements aren't involved! Ugh, I know).

Remember that feeling you had when you were a kid and you popped in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in your N64 for the first time? Remember how magical it felt? Yeah, that was the same feeling I had playing through this game. And I'll never forget it.

Red Dead Redemption offered me something I only dreamed I could design; a HUGE expansive world set in the Wild West that never once slowed down in its pacing. It always kept things interesting (even when it kept teasing you with the hopes of finally tracking down two of the game's main villains) with new missions, challenges for you to complete, treasure for you to track down, animals to hunt and skin, horseback races, poker games for you to cheat in, and even good-'ole fashioned Mexican standoffs. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

Hell, even riding to a mission on your horse while your assisting character talks to you is fun, especially when it's a huge group of people riding next to you on horseback. The Grand Theft Auto series showed that Rockstar could make a rich, deep game set in an urban environment, but Red Dead Redemption proved that even when they stripped all of those buildings and landmarks away, they could still make a kick-ass game with just as much going for it... maybe even a bit more!

I can't recommend these two games enough to anyone. Even if the Wild West isn't your thing (Once Upon A Time in the West is one of my all-time favorite movies), you should still give Red Dead Redemption a shot; it's one of the best shooters out on the market today that doesn't have a Call of Duty or Halo in its title. And Super Mario Galaxy 2, well... this game alone proves the Wii has what it takes to cater to the "hardcore" players. And, well... just look at the numbers.

There are some really close runner-ups I wish I had time to go into detail with (Dragon Quest IX and Donkey Kong Country Returns), as well as some honorable mentions (Heavy Rain -even IF that "twist" sucked-, Super Meat Boy, Epic Mickey, Limbo, and Split/Second, to name a few) I would have liked to talk about, but maybe for another time.

Again, I did miss out on a lot of games, but hopefully I'll be catching up on those soon. I've still got the original Mass Effect to finish! Anyways, thanks for reading this far, and hopefully I didn't bore you too much.
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About FireFox516one of us since 1:11 PM on 01.15.2010

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