Festive greetings Eurogamer reader! We hope work has finished, your slippers are on and you're snuggled up with your families. As in, your individual families. I'm not saying you're a bigamist or whatever.
Anyway, by now you will have been subjected to Eurogamer contributors' views on the biggest and most interesting games of 2009. But what about the Eurogamer you don't see, like the management, Expo, tech and sales guys? What's their deal? Let's find out.
Matt Martin, editor of our sister site GamesIndustry.biz and probably the only shell-toe-wearing hip-hopper living in a remote village in Wales, singled out DJ Hero.
- "I love DJ Hero because it doesn't compromise the soundtrack. Not only has it got hard rap – Masta Ace, Gang Starr, Public Enemy – but it's remixed, chopped and scratched by some of the best in the business with J Period, Z-Trip, Yoda and Grandmaster Flash all turning in original work. On top of that the pop tracks get the credibility of DJs at the peak of their game, flipping chart tracks and eighties hits into something you'd only usually hear spontaneously on a mixtape or at a club.
- "Activision may have wanted a big hit for Europe, but DJ Hero is one of the most niche games in years. It's ugly though – maybe they should invest some money into getting a proper graphic artist (Futura 2000, Shepard Fairey?) to give a visual overhaul for any sequel."
Phil Elliott, GamesIndustry.biz managing editor, has picked old Bat-face.
- "For me it's Batman: Arkham Asylum - one of the few games this year to hook me in completely and make me want to explore everywhere. The solid, satisfying action made combat easy to get into, even though it required dedication, and for a really pleasant change I also found I was going after all the riddles because it was fun to do so - not because I was being a slave to Achievements."
Kath Brice, GamesIndustry.biz deputy editor and new kid on the block, has gone for Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.
- "GTA on a small screen sounded fiddly, no matter how much they bigged up the being-able-to-deal-crack bits of it. But when I played it, it ended up being my best DS experience ever. Yes, even above when I first got my DS and spent five hours in the bath playing Sprung: The Dating Game.
- "Chinatown Wars isn't just great because of the new stuff the developers thought of putting in it, but because everything is so much fun. It's easy to spend a day messing around on things like pulling off the perfect Ammo-Nation van heist. Basically it's like playing GTAIII for the first time again. Dare I say the GTA series was starting to look a bit vast, samey and unapproachable to me. This little lovely is the perfect reminder of Rockstar, and GTA's, complete brilliance. "
James Hills, Eurogamer TV's cameraman, went for Trials HD.
- "Empire: Total War and Football Manager Live (until they decide to reset it all!) are on my list but the winner has to be Trials HD. Stupidly addictive, superb level design and unless I'm mistaken, I am the best player at Eurogamer..."
Scott MacKintosh (PiD), ad trafficker, also went with Trials HD.
- "It's going to be Trials HD because it was basically the most fun I've had in a game in a long time, and it's one I keep going back to in order to do the same repetitive stuff. And I don't think I've ever suffered abuse from a game on the level I have with Trials HD from the editor right down to Marty [Taylor - Eurogamer designer].
Mark Kennedy (sharpkiddie), Eurogamer's lead developer, latched on to Machinarium.
- "I only played Fallout 3 earlier this year and that was brilliant. Shadow Complex was great too. But my game of the year is Machinarium. It rekindled my enthusiasm in game development and made me want to try again sometime - its back-to-basics approach to design and art felt really reachable."
Rupert Loman (rauper) is Eurogamer's managing director, and he's also sat on a fence between the FIFA 10 and Trials HD gardens.
- "Game I've played the most this year is FIFA 10. But I just can't score goals, which means the best I can hope for is nil-nil. A nil-nil is a win! The game I've had the most enjoyment from was Trials HD - and also the most frustration."
Nick Loman, brother of Rupert and co-creator of Eurogamer, has picked The Beatles: Rock Band.
- "I wasn't a huge Beatles fan when I picked up the game, I just wanted to boost my Rock Band song collection - even 'Wanted: Dead or Alive' by the Jove was getting tired. But lo and behold I found more than a mere DLC pack. From pop pin-ups to stadium rockers to psychedelic hippies to grumpy studio squabblers, the magical journey of The Beatles was brought to life beautifully.
- "The quality of the familiar songs meant they were a joy to play, and even being rubbish on drums wasn't a problem thanks to ham-fisted Ringo. Hannah [other half] had a great time trying to hit the harmonies and we whizzed through the story mode in one sitting, finishing in the wee hours. I spent the next month listening to The Beatles on my iPod and discovered albums I'd never really properly heard. Inspirational!"
Dan Robinson (Spydez), chief Eurogamer sales person, picked Uncharted 2: Among Thieves... and then sold it a house, camel and used car.
- "Even though it's not the best game I've ever played, Uncharted 2 does everything brilliantly and with loads of polish. Each section's playability is amazing, the acting is brilliant and it's the first story I've cared about in ages. Blends together really well."
Tom Champion (Venatio), one half of the Eurogamer Expo and expert at FIFA 10, has gone for Batman: Arkham Asylum.
- "My game of the year is Batman: Arkham Asylum, for having an amazingly simple and very satisfying combat system and stealth sections that didn't make me want to tear my eyeballs out in frustration."
David Lilley, the other half of the Eurogamer Expo, said Assassin's Creed II was his pick.
- "Have always loved the Prince of Persia/Assassin's franchises and the fact it's set in Venice and much better than AC1 makes it my favourite game of the year. Looking forward to finishing it over Christmas. Must also mention DJ Hero. It's nice to be the only person who played it in this country."
Barbara Loman, mother of the brothers and mother of Eurogamer, has picked Heavy Rain, even though it isn't out yet.
- "My game of the year is the only one that I can remember, which is Heavy Rain, which I saw in Cologne. That looked good to me mostly because it was a like a film script and it was all about emotions and it wasn't a shoot-'em-up, because that's not my idea of fun."
Paul Loman, Mario stunt double and godfather of Eurogamer, has also picked Heavy Rain.
- "Well, Bertie, I've had the pleasure of recording a couple of [interview] sessions with David Cage about Heavy Rain and so I really got into that, and the fact that he comes to it from a storytelling/film/scriptwriting point of view appeals greatly. So I definitely want a copy of that when it comes out!"
Chris Ward (fatchris), our indignant but chirpy developer, hopped on the Trials HD bandwagon.
- "It's a tough decision but my game of the year couldn't be anything other than Trials HD. I regularly got stuck in a loop, playing an extreme level for two or three hours straight, restarting the level the second I did something that wasn't perfect. Yet I was never frustrated at the game - it's too good for that. I just had to keep going until I go all those damn medals! I do feel the need to mention Drop7 [on iPhone] because I played it more than any other game this year."
Craig Munro (craigy), who's also a developer, zoomed in on FIFA 10.
- "My game of the year is FIFA 10, purely because I've never seen the office be so animated! It's the one game that everyone's adopted to play at lunchtimes and the competitive aspects are being drawn out of people like I've never seen before. It's amazing. It brings the office to life."
Matt Styles, Eurogamer advert seller, put "closing" to one side to pay his respect to... Trials HD. Get a room!
- "For me it has to be Trials HD. It hasn't been my favourite game this year but definitely my 'game of the year'. I have a real love/hate relationship with it. Never before has one game been responsible for me being late on so many occasions! Just one more try..."
Simon Downes, developer and the tallest man I've ever seen, went for Modern Warfare 1!
- "Bit of a late-comer to this as I only started playing about six months ago. Here's a montage of my thoughts whilst playing the game: 'Only 10 more kills to unlock the next weapon, just one more game!' 'Only 500XP to the next rank, just one more game!' 'Can't end a session on that poor showing, just one more game!' 'I'll stop if I don't like the next map, ooh I love this one, just one more game!'"
Martin Taylor (mouse), designer and laughter/excitement machine, picked... Oh it's Trials HD for god's sake.
- "Many games pushed buttons in places I didn't know I had this year: FIFA 10, Assassin's Creed II, Modern Warfare 2. But when pushed to pick one above the others then my heart will always belong to a sleeper hit about m070r81k35 from a small Finnish indie studio. And it truly did belong for a dangerous amount of time, as my better half would attest.
- "At first it's the gloriously bonkers track design that compels, as you simply want to move on and see what kind of demonic rollercoaster your hapless Trials HD rider will be forced to traverse next. But soon it becomes about shaving fractions of a second from track times for REAL-LIFE GLORY amongst your peers. Once that life-destroying one-more-go mentality comes into play, Trials HD owns you. "
I was hoping everyone would be too preoccupied to remember about me. Craig wasn't. So I, Robert Purchese, told Craig Munro why I had fallen for FIFA 10 as well.
- "My game of the year is FIFA 10. I know that's not very exciting, but the amount of drama bursting out of the [Eurogamer] games room is astonishing! There's a magic about each match before kick-off: it could be a belter, but it could also be a stale draw. Something is captured there, and I don't know if it's because I'm a football fan or a gamer. Martin Taylor's a case in point: he's not a football fan but he loves FIFA 10! There's a special quality about the game that ensnares all of the Eurogamer office."
Thanks everyone! That's almost it for our games of 2009. Join us tomorrow for one final burst - the Eurogamer Game of the Year!