As we bid farewell to the year and look ahead to 2012, Jackalope Ranch contributors will bring you some greatest hits from 2011. Today we're taking a look back at the year's best video games ...
In 2011, beloved video game franchises returned to store shelves, accompanied by cheering fans and overflowing cash registers, while innovative new properties also found ground to thrive.
This year was cluttered with triple-A releases on virtually every platform, making sure Xbox 360s kept overheating and iPhone batteries kept dying.
Below are our picks for the best games of 2011, which may also serve as a handy guide for belated-Christmas shoppers.
10. Saints Row: The Third (360, PS3, PC)
Saints Row 3 is the guilty pleasure to end all guilty pleasures. Want to blow up a few military jets with a rocket launcher while wearing a furry costume? Go ahead. How about beating a luchador to death with a giant purple dildo bat, or blasting away at European mobsters while skydiving? In Saints Row 3, the city of Steelport is your schizophrenic, neon-lit oyster.
This open world romp, heavily styled after the more less serious Grand Theft Auto entries, is indulgence at its most over-the-top. It is the game made for your perverted, violent, ADHD-crazed 13-year-old self.
9. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (iPhone)
Release in March this year, SS: S&S EP not only makes one awesome acronym, but also serves as a testament to the potential of the iPhone as a legitimate gaming platform. This indie hit features a charming pixel graphics, a substantial emotional punch, and one of this year's best soundtracks, all while simultaneously oozing with trippy style.
At $4.99 on the App Store, this game is certainly pricier than most, but, trust us. There's a lot more to love here than with any of those angry birds.
8. Dead Space 2 (360, PS3, PC)
Like having an elevated heart-rate? How about constantly feeling the sour itch that some horrible monstrosity is lurking behind you, hungry? Want to regain your childhood fears of the dark? Then Dead Space 2 is the game for you.
The sequel to EA's 2008 horror blockbuster, you are once again put into the PTSD-ravaged shoes of protagonist Isaac Clarke as he takes on hordes of grotesque "Necromorphs," screeching monstrosities with disturbingly human features. Dead Space 2 is filed with both jump screams, and legitimate psychological horror, the kind that will stick with you sleepless night after sleepless night.