FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS, the Mercury has celebrated the holiday season by tossing off largely meaningless awards to the best and worst in gaming. Who are we to argue with tradition?
Worst Everything: Duke Nukem Forever—Can we stop calling this abomination a "game?" That word implies some kind of entertainment value to be had, and unless you absolutely suck as a person, that's just not true.
Best Nintendo Game That Wins an Award Purely to Sate My Latent Childhood Nostalgia: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening—Sure, compared to Skyward Sword and Mario Kart 7, Link's Awakening isn't that graphically impressive—but this Game Boy game was recently re-released on the 3DS, and that's all the justification I need.
Best Nonsexual Use of Partial Anthropomorphism: Super Mario 3D Land—I'm as confusingly aroused by sexy cat girls as the next guy, but there's just something magical about a raccoon tail that serves double duty as a weapon and a means of pseudo-levitation.
Best Evidence (to Date) That Capcom Hates You: Marvel vs. Capcom 3—In the span of a year, this game spawned a handful of downloadable content add-ons, two huge strategy guides, dozens of expensive fighting sticks, and a $40 semi-sequel. Rent money? Pfft! You've got X-Men to punch!
Worst Glitches in a Major Console Release: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim—I still can't reliably play my PlayStation 3 version of the game....
Best Glitches in a Major Console Release: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim— ...Buuuut jamming buckets on people's heads so you can rob them blind will always be hilarious.
Game of the Year: Dark Souls—Not because it's gorgeous, and not because of the game's intuitive, cleverly designed fantasy world—Dark Souls is the best game of 2011 purely because it hates you and everything you care about. Old-school nostalgia be damned, I want you all to buy this thing so you can suffer as I have.