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Gamasutra's holiday round-up: What you missed

As the new year begins and everyone heads back to work, Gamasutra rounds up noteworthy game industry news, interviews, and feature articles that you might have missed during the holiday break.
As the new year begins and everyone heads back to work, Gamasutra rounds up noteworthy game industry news, interviews, and feature articles that you might have missed during the holiday break. Gamasutra's Holiday News Gamasutra's Best Of 2011: Top 10 Games Of The Year - As another exciting year for the video game industry wraps up, Gamasutra's editors choose their diverse top picks for 2011's best games, ranging from a game about infidelity to the triumphant return of an antagonistic A.I. Opinion: A Theory About Humor In Games - Spry Fox's (Triple Town) Dan Cook argues there are plenty of humorous games out there. Oh, and did you hear the one about the two hunters who were out in the woods...? Indie Royale Begins Pre-orders for 'The New Year's Bundle' - Indie game fans can now blind pre-order Gamasutra sister site Indie Royale's New Year's Bundle - which includes PC and Mac versions of all games - at a recommended €/£/$5 to €/£/$10 USD contribution, and a minimum of $3.99 USD. 2012 IGF Finalists Now Coming January 10th, 15th - In order to give mobile games their fair chance, the announcement of the finalists for the 2012 Independent Games Festival has been delayed slightly in order to give the judges more time for evaluation. Mojang Doesn't Know How Minecraft: Pocket Edition Will Turn Out - Now that Minecraft: Pocket Edition has completed its portable transition with its release on iOS, developer Mojang discusses the long future it has in mind for the game. The Craft Of Game Systems: Practical Examples - Microsoft game designer Daniel Achterman continues his series on system design's best practices with several examples from Dungeon Siege 2's development. Opinion: Skyrim And Gaming's Old School Myth And Legend - Remember what game culture was like in the weird old days, before information was plentiful and the internet connected all? Gamasutra's Leigh Alexander looks at what Skyrim reminds us we've missed. Schell Brings Craft Culture To Games With Puzzle Clubhouse - Viral media and craft culture online present fascinating new opportunities for user-generated gaming -- Jesse Schell talks to us about Puzzle Clubhouse, a collaborative game design project. Coco Girl Dev MetroGames Faces Extortion Allegations, 'Financial Problems' - The COO for Playdom-funded social and mobile game developer MetroGames tells Gamasutra the studio is "facing serious financial problems," as sources close to the studio allege employee "extortion." Digital Sales Can Make Up For Physical Declines, But Questions Remain - Digital video game sales in the U.S. can offset declines in physical sales, leading to a "strong upward trend" for 2011, but foggy data hinders the trackability of progress, says Gamasutra analyst Matt Matthews in his regular Behind the Numbers column. PS Vita Sales Nosedive As 3DS Sees Record Week - While 3DSes continue to fly off the shelves in Japan, Sony's newly-launched PS Vita saw its sales decline dramatically in its second week on shelves. Viacom Owes Former Harmonix Shareholders $383M, Says Accountant - The ongoing "who owes who" fight between former shareholders of the Rock Band developer and its former parent took a significant turn when a jointly-appointed accountant found the latter owing big. American McGee's Shift From AAA To Social A 'Struggle' - With Alice: Madness Returns all wrapped up, American McGee discusses his plans for the future, starting with a free-to-play Facebook game titled BigHead Bash. Star Wars: TOR Points To 'Healthy' MMO Market - Analyst - While the MMO market is highly competitive and often volatile, the recent successful launch of BioWare and EA's Star Wars: The Old Republic indicates there is still good demand for MMOs, according to one analyst. Can Zero Point Make The Minecraft Of Shooters? - The Danish indie has Halo-sized ambitions but a core team of four, and a plan to get the community integrally involved in the ongoing development of its shooter saga. Gamasutra's Holiday Features: Gamasutra's Best Of 2011 - Another year is ending, and Gamasutra has once again taken a broad look at the ever-expanding face of the industry with a series of articles that identify the games, trends, and companies that have made the biggest impact. NanaOn-Sha: Changing The World Of Games - Outspoken creator and musician Masaya Matsuura has said that he wants to see games into a more positive place -- and in this interview, he discusses what path that could take, while Dewi Tanner speaks on developing Haunt for Kinect. Dealing With Death: Streamlining The Player Experience - What creative solutions have developers come up with over the years to make dying less destructive of flow and immersion? Designer Dan Andrei Carp presents solutions from across the years and in multiple genres. All That Glitters: An Interview With Bungie's Senior Graphics Engineer - In this feature interview reprinted from the December issue of Game Developer magazine, editor-in-chief Brandon Sheffield speaks to Bungie senior graphics engineer Hao Chen about how Halo creator Bungie plans to solve problems for its new IP and the next generation. The Designer's Notebook: Bad Game Designer, No Twinkie! XII - The latest installment of Ernest Adams' Designer's Notebook series once again takes a close look at major and minor design flaws made by developers -- when it comes to interface, A.I. behavior, or pure game design -- and highlights them so you know what to avoid doing. Led By A Love Of Games: Team Ninja's Hayashi Speaks - Yosuke Hayashi discusses the changes he's bringing to the Ninja Gaiden series, his collaboration with Nintendo on Metroid: Other M, what he learned from his old boss Tomonobu Itagaki, and what drives him creatively.

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