The year is over. With only a couple of days remaining until 2011 (one year before the apocalypse), time is running out on those 2010 calendars. New Year’s Eve has always been that bizarre changing of the guard, a holiday only in the fact that it exists as a bookend from one year to the next. So what is there to do but to eat, drink and be merry? There’s plenty to do if you’re a gamer.

Just over the horizon is the highly anticipated new MMO DC Universe, in which you will become the hero (as if City of Heroes never existed, I suppose). Set in the world of DC Comics, subscribers will have the opportunity to create their own superhero or villain in order to save or destroy Gotham City, Metropolis and wherever Martian Manhunter is from.

Lex Luthor has caused an incident in which normal citizens are given super abilities, which explains why you are suddenly able to lift and throw vehicles as well as wear ultra-revealing leotards. As a superhero, you’ll be given direction by Batman, aid Superman in battles against giant space starfish, and/or kill 15 or so generic criminals in order to proceed. Expect your typical MMO grinding marathon, and no, this isn’t a Warcraft killer. (But it’ll be fun!)
Who says 2010 doesn’t have anything left to give? Time traveling seems to have come back into favor with the Back to the Future trilogy celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Now you can be a part of the series since TellTale Games just released episode No. 1 of Back to the Future: The Game.

Marty McFly, as made famous by Michael J. Fox, is once again given control of that iconic DeLorean when Doc Brown goes missing in time. No prior Back to the Future game has been able to capture the sheer excitement of driving Doc Brown’s time machine up to the critical 88 miles per hour as this one has: and with several more episodes to be released over the next few months, there’s no need to time-travel to experience the sequel we’ve all been waiting for.

One of the best aspects of Back to the Future: The Game is the voice cast. Dr. Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd in the original films, is once again voiced by Lloyd, who melts flawlessly back into character, and though Michael J. Fox doesn’t lend his voice, he did allow his image to be used, and A.J. LaCascio, who plays Marty, has the voice nailed.

It’s as if he had a time machine of some sort and followed Fox around in his youth. That’s heavy, Doc.

But rather than look forward, let’s take a look back at what we’ve learned from 2010. Roger Ebert taught us that, yes, there will always be a generation gap between gamers and those born pre-polio vaccine. I’ve often spoken at length, here and elsewhere, about games meant to be played as much as they are to be admired for their artistic merit. This year, we can lay the debate to rest and never speak of it again.

We’ve learned that World of Warcraft will never die, and instead will be continually rebirthed in its unspeakable tomb, deep beneath the blackest ocean, where its impossible tendrils keep an unnatural grip on millions of followers, filling them with some nameless dread.

Most of all, 2010 gave us a reason to keep playing. In a year in which film and television was mostly a disappointment, gaming thrived; for that I am thankful and ready for whatever the future may bring.

Chris O’Neal is a writer living in Camarillo. He enjoys epic space operas and long walks on intergalactic beaches.

chris.oneal13@gmail.com