Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
Nintendo Tokyo
I somehow managed to avoid all previous Smash Bros. games due to not owning a console since 1994, so this was my first, and it's pretty God damned fun -- probably my favorite party game this year. The frustration and sadness and anger the game causes (mostly due to Pikachu) is second to none, and the team went to great lengths to make it as easy and as much fun as possible to play it with a group of more than four people.

Fond memories of Easter Wario and Leopard Print Snake and, uh, Slightly Different Shade of Blue Sonic will stick with me for years to come.
Mike "Michael O'Cyberdemon" Watson

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (Xbox 360, PS3)
Capcom/Backbone Entertainment
Despite the name becoming a parody of itself with all its prefixes and suffixes, this rerelease of Capcom's longstanding fighting game, paired with netcode developed by the same team that developed the networking library GGPO, set a new precedent as to how fighters should play online with its relative seamlessness.
Nick "grayscale" Selpa

Valkyria Chronicles (PS3)
Sega WOW
Valkyria Chronicles is the best strategy RPG to be released in ages, and despite its very Eastern-inspired character designs and dialogue, it takes place in a unique setting for a Japanese-developed game--plus, it has some very solid turn-based-with-a-hint-of-real-time-control combat.
Score: One anime-inspired kitten.
Trent Polack

World of Goo (PC, Wii)
2D Boy
Usually with these puzzle-type games I tend to get overwhelmed near the end when they become ridiculously hard, but World of Goo never really got to that point. It became difficult, of course, but never beyond what I thought I could do. Maybe I'm totally retarded, but I like playing games where I don't have to destroy my life trying to beat one level and then I go on the internet and see that apparently everyone beat it in three seconds.

Due to certain physics-based gameplay mechanics, the game also allowed you to brute force some things -- you could, for example, just build a horribly shaky tower of goo as fast as possible, and when it inevitably falls over it's still tall enough to stretch to where you needed it to go. That helps if you don't have a degree in structural engineering (of goo).

Also, I think adding "of goo" to the end of any noun should become some kind of internet thing. Lost opportunity there.
Mike "Michael O'Cyberdemon" Watson
Brilliant endeavor by indie powerhouse 2D Boy, World Of Goo used innovative controls and a haunting desolate atmosphere to lambast blatant consumerism and the ominous influence of mega-corporations in our day-to-day lives, as well as providing that grim beam of hope which may yet overthrow the machinations of a world gone horribly awry.

Its core mechanic is simple enough to satisfy, yet complex enough to provide multifaceted avenues of utility, and the game's resilience in the face of rampant piracy is a wondrous sight [of goo -Ed.].
Griff "Icebox" Rousseau

Yakuza 2 (PS2)
Amusement Vision
With the English voice acting gone in favor of subtitles, Yakuza 2 came out on the PS2 at a significantly lower price point than most PS2 games, just $30.00 USD. The continuation from the original Yakuza doesn't skip a beat with a very in-depth and (supposedly) accurate recreation of Osaka, a refined combat system over the last game.
Nick "grayscale" Selpa