What to watch for at the Consumer Electronics Show

The International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is the gadget industries SuperBowl. This year’s CES events start Tuesday. Floor show exhibits open on Thursday and run through Sunday. VentureBeat’s Anthony Ha and I will be covering lots of stories at the show. There are in reverse order, from No. 13 to No. 1. (Here’s our post mortem from last year, FYI).

EA's Chip Lange on the future of gaming's hottest sector: casual and social games

Chip Lange is vice president and general manager within the EA Play label at Electronic Arts. He’s in charge of a wide variety of properties including the company’s games based on Hasbro brands from Monopoly to Nerf. Created in 2007, the EA Play label also includes the Sims, Maxis, and casual games produced by EA. We caught up with Lange recently to talk about trends in video games.

These are the ten best video games of the decade, dammit!

Here it is, New Year’s Eve, and I have exhausted all of my other list opportunities. Now it’s time to consider the best games of the decade. I procrastinated on this one because it wasn’t easy to do. But then I started seeing all of the other best of the decade lists being posted. I disagreed with them, and the annoyance built up so that it overflowed and I felt compelled to retaliate with my own list. So here’s my favorite games of the past 10 years and my reasons for liking them so much. Please leave your own comments if you agree or disagree, and pick your favorite game in the poll at the end. I’m grateful that a lot of these games were fairly recent, meaning that the game industry just keeps getting better and better. Please enjoy and thanks so much for reading in 2009!

Arkadium CEO plans to adapt to social gaming's popularity

It’s a time of big change in the game industry, but Kenny Rosenblatt is used to it. In 2001, he co-founded Arkadium with his wife Jessica Rovello. The New York-based company originally started as a casual game site. But that wasn’t successful. Instead, Arkadium made money licensing its games to well-known brands. So it shifted into “advergaming,” where a game is embedded with ads and essentially becomes a promotional tool. Now the company has more than 200 Flash games that it licenses out to brands. We interviewed Rosenblatt recently about the changes happening in the game industry and his own shift into social games.

Dutch embrace the digital strip search, U.S. next? (reader poll)

The Netherlands will use full body scanners in screening airline passengers as a result of the lapse in security that allowed a would-be terrorist bomber on board a jet from Amsterdam on Christmas Day. The scanners will allow security personnel to see through people’s clothes and will amount to what privacy advocates are calling a “digital strip search.”

Our favorite horribly wrong or amusing tech magazine covers

I have this habit that really annoys my wife. I store old stuff in plastic waterproof bins in my garage. I was cleaning out my collection of old papers and happened upon these precious old magazines. The covers and the accompanying stories show how astoundingly bad we, the media, can be at making bold predictions about the future.

The most addictive iPhone games of 2009

There are more than 22,000 games on the iPhone. So it’s a quixotic task to try to figure out the best of the year. But with some recommendations from readers, we’ve taken a look at some of the most compelling. So here are the most addictive games we found. We did this list last year, and I think you’ll agree that many of these new games are leaps and bounds better than last year’s titles.

Flurry and Pinch Media to create mobile analytics powerhouse

Two analytics startups, Flurry and Pinch Media, are announcing a merger today as they try to create a mobile data analytics leader. While Flurry has been focused on e-commerce, Pinch Media was focused on ad optimization. Together the companies intend to go beyond just providing data and become a media company that offers services to developers, such as ways to mine data from users and target them with recommendations for mobile apps.

The best video games of 2009; Pick your favorite, too

1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (Sony PlayStation 3. Teen) Naughty Dog/Sony. I’m on the record as saying that this third-person shooter title is one of the best video games ever made. Uncharted 2 certainly could have been a tired sequel and a clone of Tomb Raider, but Naughty Dog got this one right. Just about everything is executed well. The story is compelling and sustains your interest over 26 chapters. Treasure hunter Nathan Drake has to choose between goodness and greed as he hunts down an ancient treasure. He also has to fight off thugs and decide which of two very different women he loves. The art style is hyper-realistic, with vibrant, larger-than-life colors in everything from the characters to the breathtaking Himalayan landscapes. The combat scenes are tough because you’re always fighting your way out of some kind of trap. The train chase scene is unforgettable as you fight thugs from car to car, evade a helicopter blasting at you from above, and make sure you don’t lose your footing as the swaying train rocks back and forth. Those combat scenes, set against lush scenery, are so tough to render that you won’t see them on rival game consoles. You feel like you’re in the midst of a Hollywood blockbuster as you scale dizzying heights and solve riddles as you track down the lost city of Shambhala hidden in the mountains. This game is sharp, polished and consistent from beginning to end, pulling together great elements from good weaponry to awesome sound. That’s why I think this game is one of the finest video games of all time. It’s not enough to single-handedly turn around Sony’s fortunes as the third-place player in the console market, but if Sony can keep on making games like this one, it won’t have to worry.

Multiverse's Remix makes it easy to create Avatar spinoff games

James Cameron’s high profile sci fi movie Avatar, which hits theaters tomorrow, will be accompanied by a ton of accompanying merchandise and spinoff products. And thanks to a small company called Multiverse, two big brands, Coca-Cola and McDonalds, were able to easily create some spinoff web games based on the themes in the film.