It's the time of year when critics publicly ponder the best releases of the preceding 12 months. The results are collected, tallied and reproduced in countless lists across print and online.
Game developers have their views as well. They're gamers just like us – something that can be easy to forget as we await the launch of the next big thing with increasing impatience.
With that in mind, we recently asked some of the word's top creators to search their souls and reveal the answer to that burning question: which game was the best of 2010?
Read on to find out what the likes of Ken Levine, David Perry, Markus "Notch" Persson and others had to say on the matter.
Randy Pitchford is co-founder, CEO and president of Gearbox Software, creator of Brothers in Arms and Borderlands, and currently hard at work on Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines.
"All the big games of 2010 deserve all the attention they get, but what interested me most were the surprises," Pitchford tells Eurogamer.
"Two stood out most to me in 2010 and they were Limbo, which succeeded tremendously in style and scenario design and was rewarded with many customers, and Enslaved, which really accomplished something rare in terms of storytelling and game space engineering and, unfortunately, didn't manage to capture as much love in the market as it deserved."
David Braben is founder of Frontier Developments, the studio behind Kinect launch title Kinectimals, having previously worked on seminal space sim Elite.
"This year has been a busy one for me, and it has eaten in to my game-playing time," Braben admits. "But having said that, of those I've played so far, I think the best were Fallout: New Vegas and Red Dead Redemption, even though I haven't finished either yet.
"Yes, the graphics in Fallout: New Vegas haven't moved on from Fallout 3, but the story is great. Having said that, the atmosphere of Red Dead is excellent, so it is a very difficult choice.
"If I had to choose, I think Red Dead would win by a sliver."
Dave Cox is head of product planning at Konami and was producer on Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, which came out October.
"My favourite game of the year was The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks on Nintendo DS," he says. (Spirit Tracks was actually released in 2009, but not until December, so it makes sense that Cox played it this year.)
"There is always something magical about playing a Zelda game and, for me, Spirit Tracks captured that real feeling I had when discovering them on SNES and N64 for the first time. Both are personal favourites.
"Spending a lot of time away from home working on Castlevania: Lords of Shadow meant I relied on my DS quite a bit and Zelda helped me during those long evenings in hotels and the numerous flights to and from the UK."
David Perry is CEO of Gaikai.com and in a previous life co-founded MDK developer Shiny Entertainment.
"My most important game of 2010 was made by BioWare. BioWare is like Blizzard, Bethesda and Bungie in my opinion – it's that company starting with the letter 'B' thing that really makes them valuable.
"Mass Effect 2 is simply incredible. I try it out on the true definition of 'mass market' gamers, meaning the people that have never played a game and probably never will. So I fire up Mass Effect 2 and just watch them get drawn in by the story. It's the highest-rated PC game of the last 12 months, so if you've not played it yet, you should."
Nick Burton is Kinect development director at Rare and one of the chief architects of Kinect launch title Kinect Sports.
"I guess my favourite game of 2010 has to be DJ Hero 2. I love music games and the mashups in DJH2 are fantastic," he explains.
"That coupled with a game mechanic that lets you really influence and change the songs and online battle mode makes a great package that has had me coming back time and time again. I've also been playing Dance Central a whole lot recently. It just feels like the next evolutionary step for music and dance games."
Ed 'BongoBoy' Stern is the senior game designer of upcoming first-person shooter Brink at UK developer Splash Damage.
"Farmville. Yes, Farmville. What's that you say? Not a proper game? Rather too similar to other, previous games? No longevity, just an abyssal, unfillable friend-alienating void that reduces us to e-peons?
"Hear that crunching noise? That was Farmville rolling over your objections with its colossal crushing implacable enormousness. A salutary reminder of what an enclave we Self-Identified Gamers dwell in.
"Out there, in the real world, people are just getting on with playing games they think they – and they're not actually wrong – enjoy. And apparently their money is just as good as ours. Hard though it is to swallow, raised eyebrows, flared nostrils and sneers don't actually count as currency. Or we'd be squillionaires."
Tero Virtala is CEO of RedLynx, the developer of hugely successful Xbox Live Arcade game Trials HD.
"I try a lot of games, but only few of them get a lot of playtime. The games that in 2010 got lot of my time at home were games I could play with my kids, and enjoy the great time but also the game itself. If I have to name just one game, this time I go for New Super Mario Bros. for Wii."
Jason Avent is game director at Black Rock Studios, the developer behind arcade racing games Pure and Split/Second.
"I can't wait for Mass Effect 3. After getting annoyed with the first one and giving up on it because I chose the Matriarch Benezia mission and lost hours and hours repeatedly dying, I went back to it just before ME 2 came out. A few people I trusted said it was great so I got stuck in, levelled up like mad and kicked Benezia's ass on the first go.
"ME2 was much better balanced, had fewer usability issues and was still just as deep and fun. The connectivity of story between the two games was interesting and fresh. The fact that your choices made a fundamental difference to how things played out in ME2 was brilliant.
"I love my crew and I can't wait to see what happens in the next one. So best console game of 2010 for me was Mass Effect 2 and I'm really looking forward to the final part of the trilogy next year. On another note, I've been playing StarCraft II since it launched. It's bloody great."
Nathan Vella is president and co-founder of Capybara Games, developer of Critter Crunch and Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes.
"While 2010 was a stellar year for smaller studios – Super Meat Boy, Limbo, Joe Danger and more – I couldn't possibly speak about gaming in 2010 without expressing my intense love for Super Street Fighter IV," Vella says.
"The amount of time I spent with SSIV easily dwarfs all other games of 2010 combined... And then multiplied by four.
"The game is a beautiful combination of simple and complex, accessible and hardcore, fun and frustrating. It's surprisingly well-balanced, considering the massive cast of characters, and has fostered some of the most intense gaming competition we've ever seen. See you all at EVO 2011!"
Jack Emmert is co-founder and COO of Cryptic Studios, and one of the brains behind MMORPGs City of Heroes, City of Villains, Champions Online and Star Trek Online. Cryptic is currently developing Neverwinter.
"Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is currently a favourite game that I'm playing," he says. "It feels like playing several different Spider-Man games with the different art styles and game mechanics for each era."
Markus "Notch" Persson is creator of hit PC game Minecraft.
"There were a lot of great games released this year, including The Settlers 7 and Super Meat Boy, but I'd have to say my favourite one was Red Dead Redemption," he tells us.
Craig Morrison is a game designer and director at MMORPG developer Funcom. His credits include Anarchy Online, Dreamfall and Age of Conan.
"There are two I couldn't separate and they are Mass Effect 2 and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. They were both sequels whose predecessors I had liked, but with reservation.
"These sequels brilliantly addressed those reservations and improved on what had come before. As a developer, I love to see that happen!"
Edmund McMillen is co-CEO of Team Meat and one half of the development team behind rock-hard platformer Super Meat Boy.
"My game of the year is probably Minecraft, seeing as Tommy and I played the hell out of it for a month after SMB was released. It was a great means of escape. I have to also mention Desktop Dungeon though as a close second. I played that game the whole year... Amazing game."
John Vechey is co-founder of PopCap Games, creator of Peggle, Plants vs. Zombies and the Bejeweled series.
"A tie between League of Legends and Drop7 on iPhone. Both are incredibly compelling and seem to have near infinite strategic depth," he reckons. "More importantly, I've played hundreds of hours of both with many sleepless nights."
Finally, Ken Levine is the founder of and creative director at Irrational Games. He has worked on System Shock, Freedom Force and BioShock. He is currently working on 2012 title BioShock Infinite.
"Dragon Quest IX," he says when we catch up with him late in the year. "Call it a sad desire to reconnect with my DS, or Japanese RPGS figuring out how to tickle my Diablo-lover's soul.
"Dragon Quest IX took an embarrassing amount of hours out of my life this year."
Compiled by Fred Dutton, Robert Purchese and Wesley Yin-Poole.