Cary’s “Best Games of the Year 2011 Awards Show!”

Welcome everyone to the “Cary’s Best Video Games of 2011 Awards Show!” I’m your host, Cary Woodham, and tonight we’ve got a lot of great special guests: two dogs, Missile the Pomeranian from Ghost Trick and Chibiterasu from Okamiden. Also, She-Hulk from Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Tifa from Dissidia 012, and Reiko Nagase from Ridge Racer 3D. Plus Rayne from BloodRayne: Betrayal and Toad from Mario Kart 7! Not to mention Wheatley from Portal 2 and other robot friends like Fi and Scrapper from Skyward Sword! OK, none of those are really guests, but I think if someone drew all those characters up on stage, that would be some pretty neat fanart, don’t you think? All right, enough silliness from me, let’s get onto the games!

Now, before we start, keep in mind that these are MY picks only. No polls or outside opinions were taken. Many games may be missing from this list that you would’ve liked to have seen. But I’m only one person and can play only so many games! This list also reflects my tastes in games, so some readers may think this list is a bit biased. But hey, it’s my blog so I can do what I want, right? Anyway, with that out of the way, let’s get onto the awards show!


Back to the Future: The Game (PC)

Technically the first episode of this came out late last year, after Christmas in 2010. But the majority of the episodes came out this year, so I’m considering it a 2011 game. It may not be TellTale’s best work, and it started better than it ended, but it’s still a fun romp for fans of the movies. It’ll probably be the closest thing we get to a Back to the Future 4. They got some pretty good voice work, like Christopher Lloyd and even Michael J. Fox in the last episode! The cartoony graphics work, too, actually, like DreamWorks got a hold of the movies or something. It also wins by default, since it’s the only point and click adventure I played this year. TellTale wasn’t quite as on the ball this year as they have been in previous ones.


Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (DS)

Ghost Trick was made by the same folks who did Phoenix Wright, and you can definitely tell by the characters and story! But the game is a weird mix of point and click adventuring with The Incredible Machine puzzle-like gameplay. You are a ghost and must possess objects to make them move to get to point A to point B mostly, or trigger other events. Great characters and a fun story with a crazy plot twist at the end will keep you on your toes, too. My favorite was Missile the dog, who also appears in the Phoenix Wright games, too. In fact, when I got Nintendogs + Cats for 3DS, I got the version that had a Pomeranian so I could have my very own Missile!

Runners Up:

Camping Mama: Outdoor Adventures (DS)

I always find the “Mama” games pretty crazy, and when she’s not cooking, it’s pretty weird to see what she does next. This time it’s camping. Fun little kid’s game with a pinch of Japanese quirkiness.

Okabu (PS3)

In this downloadable PSN game, you play as cloud whales wearing hats. I think that’s all that needs to be said.

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure (Wii)

The game itself isn’t that weird, as it plays a lot like Gauntlet. But the idea to switch characters with real life toys you collect is an interesting one.

Wappy Dog (DS)

A typical virtual pet dog game, but it comes with a real life robot dog you can interact with! That’s pretty weird, in a way.


The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

So the new Zelda game didn’t win my Game of the Year, but it did win Best 3-D Adventure, so that’s still good. Actually another Zelda-like 3-D adventure won my game of the year, so be prepared to be surprised! So what held Zelda’s newest back? Unforgiving motion controls for one. And while the world design offered tons of fun puzzles, there was a lack of a huge open world to freely tromp around in, so it was kind of a mixed blessing. I will say, though, that I did enjoy it a bit better than Twilight Princess. But it still can’t beat my top five favorite Zeldas, Link’s Awakening still being number one there. The characters were a crazy fun bunch in Skyward Sword, though. My favorites? Forget the romance between Link and Zelda, I loved how Scrapper the robot was smitten with “Mistress” Fi. They say that robot love is the purest love of all. Who were your favorites in Skyward Sword?

Runners Up:

Kingdom Hearts: Re:coded (DS)

One of the problems with Kingdom Hearts games is they rehash a lot of the same characters and locations, and Re:coded is no exception. They make up some kooky story to explain why Sora is revisiting all these worlds (they use the hackneyed virtual world plot here). But it’s essentially Kingdom Hearts you can play on your DS. And for what it is, it’s pretty good. Graphics are great and the hack and slash gameplay is fun. Plus they added all the gameplay tweaks that I loved in Birth by Sleep.

Solatorobo (DS)

This little-known 3-D adventure was published by XSEED, my favorite niche gaming company. It’s a sequel to Tail Concerto, a PSOne game I absolutely adored. Solatorobo gets a little too ‘anime-ish’ sometimes, and lacks the charm of the original. But it’s still a heck of a lot of fun. If you can find it, get it!

Super Mario 3D Land (3DS)

Even though I can’t see the 3D effects since I’ve been blind in my left eye since birth, I still really liked Mario’s newest adventure. It works because they kept it simple. Stages are kept short so you can play easily on the go. They also finally let you save after every level. And while completing the game may seem easy, once you beat it, the game gets twice as long with a whole new set of levels and challenges. This is the best way to do it, I think, by letting younger kids feel a sense of accomplishment by allowing them to beat the game easily, while older players can enjoy the extra hidden challenges that await. And it’s nice to have an easier Mario game, too, since the last couple of 2-D ones have been pretty tough.


Kirby Mass Attack (DS)

One of the last DS games is one of the best, too! Such a creative take on Kirby where you guide a mass of little Kirbys through levels. It’s actually one of the more challenging Kirby games out there. Plus it has tons of fun mini-games and great music (including remixes from Air Ride).

Runners Up

Kirby’s Return to Dreamland (Wii)

Not quite as good as Mass Attack, but this more traditional Kirby game is still lots of fun. Get three friends and you can play together, too!

Moon Diver (360)

It’s basically a spiritual successor to Strider. It was even made by the same guy. I wish I could get some friends to play multiplayer on it with me, though!

BloodRayne: Betrayal (360)

I hate vampires, so you know this game has to be good if I liked it. It was made by WayForward, and I’m a huge fan of their games. The 2-D animated graphics are beautiful and the game reminds me of a mix of Castlevania and Mega Man X. And 2-D BloodRayne’s main character is now officially cool to me. Not bad for a yucky vampire!

Mighty Milky Way (DSi)

Speaking of WayForward, here’s another creative 2-D game they made that’s quite a bit like Namco’s Star Trigon. I highly recommend downloading it if you have a DSi or 3DS. I can’t wait to try their next game in the series: Mighty Switch Force!

Sonic Generations (360)

OK, so this one is both a 2-D and a 3-D game. But really, most of the game is in 2-D. Even the 3-D worlds have 2-D sections in them. So I am putting it in the 2-D section. I enjoyed this game quite a bit, really, and that’s saying a lot since I’m not a big Sonic fan. I think anyone who enjoys both classic and modern Sonics should check this one out. I hope Sega revisits this idea in future Sonic titles.


Go Vacation (Wii)

This is actually a sequel/spinoff of We Ski and We Ski and Snowboard, two great Wii sports games in themselves. But Go Vacation adds sports you can play on the beach, in the city, and out in the wilderness, as well as snow. There are over 50 games in all, and most of them are really fun. There’s so much stuff to do that brother Jeff calls it “Namco’s Every Game Ever!” I highly recommend it.

Runners Up:

Mario Sports Mix (Wii)

A lot of people complained that this game was too simple, but I think that’s why I liked it so much! It uses the Wii Sports approach to the gameplay, and it means that players of all ages and skill levels can enjoy it together. Square made this one for Nintendo, and they put in a lot of old school Final Fantasy references and characters, which I liked. It’s not the first time Mario and Final Fantasy were in the same game, but it always still surprises me when they do that. Especially at the end of the tournament mode in Sports Mix when you go up against a giant purple Behemoth in a crazy sports boss battle!

NickToons MLB (360)

It was great to see all sorts of NickToons favorites all in one game. It was clearly made for the younger set, but that’s OK. Kids need good sports video games, too! And this one was pretty fun as well.


Dissidia 012 [duodecium] Final Fantasy (PSP)

I almost was going to give the fighter award to Marvel vs. Capcom 3, but when this game came out a little later, I played the heck out of it. Even though it’s nearly the same game as the first one. But it’s such an original fighter and the things they added to it really made it great. Like new characters such as Tifa and Kain. Heck, even dumb old Lightning was cool (but only because she has pink hair). Even though I played the first one to death, I found myself really getting into this one as well. So that’s why it beats Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Sorry guys.

Runner Up:

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (360)

Just because it didn’t win, doesn’t mean that it’s not a good game. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is still a great fighter that gets a lot of playtime around the house even to this day. It was also fun to learn about some of the Marvel characters that I didn’t know much about. I was also glad the Ultimate edition had Phoenix Wright in it!


Pokemon Black/White (DS)

This one really wins by default, as it’s the only RPG I’ve played this year. Well, OK, I’ve played two others, but the PSP remake of FF4 is getting another different award, and Hyperdimension Neptunia wasn’t that great, even if it had cute girls with pink and green hair. Even though it’s more of the same, the newest Pokemon games are still fun. My little brothers and their friends still enjoy them to this day. And the little piggy starter Pokemon is awesome. I think I just OD’ed on Pokemon back when I was writing about it all the time for the newspaper when the game first came out. I’d probably enjoy the games more if I hadn’t done that. Oh well. I do wish I had gotten to review some of Natsume’s RPGs this year, like the newest Rune Factory and Harvest Moon games. But the only one I got from them was Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove.


Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection (PSP)

And speaking of FF4, it gets this award, as the PSP version is probably the best FF4 remake yet. Yeah the DS version was in 3-D, but the graphics were crappy and it was way too hard. This has all the extra stuff found in the GBA version, and the After Years sequel! Plus tons of extra content. A must for old school FF fans like myself.

Runners Up

Galaga Legions DX (Xbox LIVE)

It may not be much different from the original Legions, but I do like the little enhancements. Plus it’s a little easier, too.

Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions (3DS)

While the new 3D games may not be the best, it’s nice that this one came with Pac-Man: CE and Galaga: Legions, plus the original games!

Shinobi (3DS)

It may not be the best Shinobi game, but I was impressed with the history section and crazy secrets and cameos! You should try it if you’re a classic Shinobi fan.


Mario Kart 7 (3DS)

While it may not be the best Mario Kart game, I know from experience that it’s a heck of a lot better than the other crappy kart games I’ve reviewed on the 3DS. It’s not very original, but it’s still fun.

Runner Up:

Ridge Racer 3D (3DS)

This other 3DS racer would’ve won, but I just like Mario Kart games just a tiny bit better. I hear the 3-D graphic effects are good, but since I can’t see 3-D, I wouldn’t know. But it has Reiko Nagase in it, so that’s nice. I like some of the icons you can put on your profile, they’re from classic Namco games and obscure favorites like Taiko Drum Master and Legend of Valkyrie. And you know I dig that!


Portal 2 (360)

The original Portal was a brilliant game and the only reason why I bought The Orange Box (I did wait until it went down in price, though). The sequel is every bit as good. It may look like an FPS, but it’s a cleverly disguised puzzle game. But I don’t need to tell you that. What I will say is that I never thought another Portal character could upstage GlaDOS, one of my favorite video game villains. But they did in Portal 2 with Wheatley. Man, he was so hilarious. I liked Wheatley so much that I even looked up what other work his voice actor, Stephen Merchant, has done. Unfortunately, his other work is too highbrow for me, but you know I had to have really liked Wheatley if I actually made the effort to do research on something! Portal 2’s co-op mode was also a blast and me and my brother Jeff had a lot of laughs with it. It really is a game that makes you think.


Taiko no Tatsujin Portable DX (PSP)

I love these cute little Taiko drumming games so much that I import them when I can. I was a little bummed out that this might be my last import title since the 3DS is not region free. But I read somewhere (might be wrong), that the Vita was still going to be region free so maybe I’ll still be able to import a game from time to time. Taiko games are great to do that with because they’re so import friendly! If I can figure them out, anyone can!

And now it’s time to announce my Best Game of the Year SO FAR! Taiko drum roll, please…


Okamiden (DS)

I loved the first Okami game; it was my Game of the Year for 2006 on the PS2. While the portable sequel isn’t quite as ‘epic,’ it’s nearly every bit as good. You get to play as an adorable little puppy, the graphics look amazing on the DS, and it’s a very long and fulfilling quest. I highly recommend it; it’s every bit as good as the portable Zeldas.

Another reason why Okamiden gets my Game of the Year award are the memories that I’ve associated with it. When the game came out, I got the opportunity to do an Okamiden Art Contest and that was a lot of fun. I got a lot of great entries that I posted that you can check out here. Definitely a highlight in my video game reviewing ‘career.’

There were so many great games this year though, that Okamiden had some tough competition. Mainly from Portal 2 and Skyward Sword. But Okamiden had less frustrating parts than Zelda did. And while Portal 2 was great, it was also pretty short for a full priced game. And again, puppies win out over elf boys and goofy robots.


And that’s my awards show! In the comments section, tell me what YOU think! Were my choices good or stupid? What were YOUR favorite games of the year? Would you watch an awards show on TV like this? Please let me know, and I’ll see you all later! Next time on my blog, I’ll ring in the New Year with games I’m looking forward to in 2012! –Cary

One Response to “Cary’s “Best Games of the Year 2011 Awards Show!””

  1. For me it supposed to be Plants VS Zombies hehe! If interested in burning Xbox 360 games visit

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