The Best Game nominees for the Vodafone Pocket-lint Gadgets Awards 2009 are likely to be much more of a fight than last year's cut and dry selection. Without quite such monumental hits as Little Big Planet, GTA IV and Wii Fit, the field is wide open and there are one or two more platforms of maturity to compete with the big three consoles. Who would you choose?
Somehow sequels are infinitely more respectable in video games than they are at the movies, which is fortunate for the industry seeing as pretty much all the big hits this year have been just that. The annual releases of FIFA 2010 and PES 2010 probably take the award for the longest running of the lot but with Resident Evil 5 and its slightly awry publicity stunt zombie hunt coming in close behind. Back from the dead came Street Fighter IV with all your favourite faces plus a few new ones just waiting to be pummeled by a few well placed Shoryuken and a cheap 100 hand slap.
COD looks like it might just squeeze in its sixth episode in time for the deadline with Modern Warefare 2 but it looks as if both Left 4 Dead 2 and the hugely anticipated Tony Hawk Ride have left it too late this time. Probably just so they can be hot favourites for our pick of 2010.
The Halo series has managed two releases on its own with its first person shooter and strategy lines - Halo ODST and Halo Wars respectively - and if it's shooters you're after, then there's the recent launch of both Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and the highly regarded Borderlands to consider - the latter of which comes with strong RPG elements and a gaggle of console players currently at its mercy.
The trouble with most big games is we hear about them 12 months before they arrive. By the time they get here, they're almost old news. There was a seemingly endless wait for a certain DC title in the dark shape of Batman: Arkham Asylum, but it didn't disappoint when it turned up at the end of the summer. Definitely another big title worth a shout for the award.
Rock Band & Guitar Hero
We were going to use Rhythm Games as a title but frankly these two warring factions pretty much eclipsed every other party in 2009, so between Harmonix and Acitvision it is. Both companies have world domination on their minds releasing multiple titles for multiple platforms. Probably biggest of all was the moment the Fab Four finally went digital with the release of The Beatles: Rock Band but the EA backed franchise has also remembered to think small with the launch of Rock Band for the iPhone as well.
The big release for Activision was a little harder to spot. You'd have to pick between Guitar Hero 5 and and DJ Hero for the largest splash, but with Band Hero out today, there's room for a third party in the debate. GH too went portable with Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits for the DS and brought another band their own version of the game with Guitar Hero Metallica too. The list for both dynasties is set to continue despite Rock Band's latest confession. We're told there's a version for The Who in the pipeline and we're sure there's plenty of acts to get through before they start scraping the barrel with Guitar Hero Color Me Badd.
Just when you think portable gaming has exploded, it explodes some more. According to one Steve Jobs, Sony and Nintendo have a new kid to worry about now that the app store is in full swing. Whether you believe it has the same potential as a platform or not is one thing, but what we have seen for sure this year is that there are a lot of big titles focusing on an iPhone release.
Rock Band we already know about but some of the other stand out serious titles for Apple have been the wildly addictive Championship Manager, Command and Conquer Red Alert, for those who just can't put the mouse down, and the return of a classic in digitised form with the Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone Fighting Fantasy role play series getting an app of its own.
As for the PSP and DSi, there have been hundreds of titles but the two standouts for our money are GTA Chinatown Wars, which brought the first 18 certificate to Nintendo's handheld, and the enormous cult success that is Monster Hunter Freedom Unite.
Some games are still just too hardcore for a simple console interface and this year has seen Will Wright come back one more time with the latest chapter of his god game classic, the Sims 3 - even if it did arrive a little earlier than anticipated. But it wasn't just the one classic for 2009. Another season brings us another Championship Manager, but it was the people's champion who made the biggest splash in this field bringing the beautiful game to the Internet with Football Manager Live, and they weren't the only ones to do so. The seminal first person shooter, Quake also hit the Web and ruined worker efficiency everywhere with Quake Live as well.
Thankfully, we also had a few fresh starts in PC gaming or perhaps more accurately computer gaming in this case. Playfish brought out another of their social networking phenomenon games with Quiztastic - to challenge and annoy your friends with and there was also proof that Flash gaming is as strong as ever with the appearance of the Super Mario 63 web game for all to enjoy. Last of all though was another of the big hitters for 2009 in the small and cute form that is Plants vs Zombies. The game is set to take over the world on just about every level as soon as it hits the iPhone but for now you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own computer.
At the other end of the scale there's a certain brand of games that are only going to work on the Nintendo Wii. The fitness wave rolls on with Wii Sports Resort and more recently Wii Fit Plus but there's also been the resurrection of Punch Out, this time without Mike Tyson. Finally, though, one of the biggest storms in a d-pad was caused by the release of the dark MadWorld beat'em up from Sega, which received plenty of complaints given its launch on such a family minded console. It's unlikely to cause issues when it comes to other machines soon but it's the gameplay that counts and word is that it's one that certainly delivers.
What do you think?
But these are just some of the fantastic choices our readers have had in 2009. What would you like to see held aloft as the winner of Pocket-lint Best Game 2009? Who have we missed out? Which are your unsung heroes and of those we've already mentioned, which would get your vote? Let us know in the comments below and you can help our panel decide which make the shortlist of nominees to be announced here on Pocket-lint on 16 November. We'll have all out coverage of the Vodafone Pocket-lint awards 2009 right here. Don't miss a minute of it.