#3 Minecraft (PC, Droid, iOS)
After years in the making and developing a rabid fanbase, thanks to giving users who preordered the constantly evolving beta, Minecraft finally hit version 1.0 this year. The indie sensation gives gamers a randomly generated world to make their own. Dig up materials during the day and build a homestead and weapons to fight the monsters that show up at night, or hit up some of the dungeons and mine away for diamonds. Minecraft is whatever the player wants it to be.
Rage (360, PS3, PC)
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks—Developer: id Software
id Software’s latest game was supposed to help reinvent the first person shooter, and it very well could have. From a technical standpoint, Rage is easily one of the greatest-looking games on consoles. Unfortunately, its poor PC debut, riddled with technical issues, was only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to flaws that tarnish what could have been an amazing experience. The open-world design feels empty and restrained, even for a game set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The story is bland and abruptly ends with nothing even close to a satisfying ending, and the characters are all cardboard cutouts that don’t serve anything more than as a reason to send the player’s character on more fetch quests. Even worse is the multiplayer, deliberately eschewing the FPS gameplay modes that id Software practically wrote the book on back in the 1990s in favor of vehicular combat modes. If there’s a better example of the epitome of coulda, woulda, shoulda, we at Pads & Panels can’t think of one this year.