The biggest gaming surprises of 2012

It doesn’t matter how closely you follow the news or how often you refresh your browser; some companies can still manage to catch the gaming public completely unaware. Here are some of our picks for the biggest surprises of 2012.

Remedy CEO: Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is a “Gordon f***ing Ramsay hamburger”

Remedy Entertainment had a big week this week with the debut of Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, a new adventure in the Alan Wake series available on Xbox Live Arcade. The downloadable game started out as an arcade action game and it evolved into a full-fledged story-based episode where the hero Alan Wake, a bestselling horror novelist, has to grapple with a nightmare that is born from Wake’s own pulp fiction.

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare kicks off high-quality game releases on Xbox Live Arcade

Alan Wake was a high-potential game that didn’t sell as well as expected in 2010. Critics said that the story was great, but the game play of the psychological thriller title was mediocre. Amid rivals such as the spectacular western Red Dead Redemption, which came out at the same time, Alan Wake got a lukewarm reception. With a new downloadable game coming, the question at hand for Alan Wake is whether the franchise can make a comeback.

VGA premiere: Alan Wake American Nightmare

Alan Wake was one of the best games of 2010, in my opinion. But it never got the recognition because it was overshadowed by the hit game Red Dead Redemption. Now the franchise will get a second chance with its sequel, Alan Wake: American Nightmare, unveiled tonight at the Spike TV Video Game Awards.

VentureBeat’s top ten video games of the year (vote for your favorite)

Game publishers aren’t thrilled that video game sales are down 5 percent year to date. But for gamers, it’s been an awesome year because 2010 saw the debut of some of the best games ever made. From skinning cougars in Red Dead Redemption to shooting birds at pigs in Angry Birds, there was never a dull moment. The year’s biggest hits drew huge numbers of gamers much like the opening weekends of blockbuster movies, redefining the definition of a blockbuster game far beyond a mere 1 million units sold. If there was any weakness in the year, it was that the middle thinned out, with games falling into either the blockbuster bucket or the dud bucket.

Video games sales fall 5 percent in May despite blockbusters

U.S. retail video game sales fell 5 percent in May after a big slump in April. The launch of two blockbusters — Take-Two Interactive’s Red Dead Redemption (pictured above) and Nintendo’s Super Mario Galaxy 2 — weren’t enough to lift sales above last year’s relatively weak May numbers.

Best video games so far in 2010: some aren’t bestsellers, some aren’t games at all

The year is almost halfway done, and video game publishers will be announcing a whole new slate of games at the E3 Expo starting June 13. So this is a good time to assess the best games of the year so far. We’re lucky to have such a great slate of titles to choose from, since game publishers are finally catching on to the strategy of releasing games in off season. As usual, the bestseller lists don’t tell the whole story about innovation in video games.

Alan Wake’s master storyteller explains why video game took so long to make

I can picture Sam Lake, the man who wrote the story behind the great new video game Alan Wake, struggling over the plot and game for almost six years. Lake sat in the darkness in a cabin by a lake, trying to get over his writer’s block and bring his story to a conclusion. And in the story he came up with clearly carried some of his own experiences in it.

Alan Wake takes video games to an art form (review)

Alan Wake is a work of art, and it’s one of the best video games I’ve ever played. It deserves critical accolades, but the jury is out as to whether it will also be a commercial success.