December 13 - December 17
That's the watchword for basically the next 3 weeks. There are no new releases coming. And, I don't just mean there's no triple-A games on the horizon; aside from 1 or 2 throwaway Wii and DS titles, there is an absolute vacuum of games coming out the rest of December.
I'm pretty ok with that, actually. It gives me the opportunity to begin looking back and taking stock of the year, a year that began with Mass Effect 2 and ended with Cataclysm. I know we've been going on all year about the consistency of good releases -- there was essentially no down season for the industry this year -- but looking back as a whole I feel a little underwhelmed by 2010. For me the year is kind of defined by games like Alan Wake, Crackdown 2, Elemental and Epic Mickey. I walk away feeling like we were missing the 1 or 2 really exceptional, quintessential core-gamer games that exceeded any reasonable expectations, and instead ended up with a bunch of games whose names in the long scan of gaming history are writ in water.
That's not to say there weren't highlights, but I think one could pretty easily argue that the best game released in 2010 was a one-man project with virtually no budget, no marketing and no bells or whistles. I realize that a sentence like that is flavored with the kind of annoying cynicism and self-awareness that you get when a fan of true cinema points out that the best movie of the year is a Ukranian coming of age story about a boy and his grandfather set during the Turkish-Armenian War. So, let's just chalk up the bad vibes coming from my mood ring to a freak storm and a too-early Monday morning.