The 6 best game endings of all-time (and how BioWare would ruin them)

Video game endings tend to feel a lot like an afterthought. Whereas a bad movie only ever consumes two hours of your life, games can have you playing upwards of 100+ hours before reaching the finale, and quite often that payoff is woefully underwhelming. Two big-names examples in just the past few weeks include Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, where the conclusion was given about as much attention as bug-testing in a Bethesda game, and Asura’s Wrath, which has a “true” ending that acts as nothing more than a gateway for “closure DLC.”

GamesBeat Only weekly roundup

Here are some of the stories that ran on GamesBeat this week. We’re running more articles exclusively in the GamesBeat section of VentureBeat, particularly when they’re mainly of interest to our game readers. The broader-interest posts will continue to run on VentureBeat as well. Please visit the GamesBeat section to catch up on the latest game news. We’re ramping up our game coverage, so you’ll find a larger amount of deeper news at GamesBeat.

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John Robertson on The Dark Room, his merciless and hilarious YouTube game (interview)

John Robertson has created a monster. The Australian stand-up comedian’s YouTube adventure game The Dark Room has been played over 220,000 times in less than three weeks. While many have entered The Dark Room, few have found their way out, and the comments on YouTube are filled with cries of despair, from players trapped in Robertson’s devilishly clever puzzle-box adventure.

Red Dead Redemption studio worked on an “interactive girlfriend project” for Microsoft

Before there was Halo, there was XGirl, apparently. Former Angel Studios Chief Creative Officer Michael Limber lists some interesting design work on his online portfolio, including what he describes as an “interactive girlfriend project” for Microsoft for the launch of the original Xbox. XGirl had “natural engaging facial animations” and “reacted to various controller inputs.”

Take-Two follows a profitable 2010 with stellar 2011 games lineup

Take-Two Interactive Software reported a strong profit for the fiscal year and quarter ended Oct. 31, the first time it has reported a sizable profit in a year when it didn’t ship a Grand Theft Auto Game. Much of that was due to the breakout hit from Take-Two’s RockStar Games label, Red Dead Redemption.

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.

Take-Two Interactive still likes thugs, but quarterly results show it isn’t dependent on Grand Theft Auto anymore

Take-Two Interactive Software blew past revenue and earnings guidance as sales of its Red Dead Redemption video game continued to set records. That may be enough to silence (or at least soften) critics who say it spends too much on games and can’t diversify away from its Grand Theft Auto fan base. But despite the good news, the company confirmed suspicions and postponed the launch of its highly anticipated L.A. Noire game until the first half of next year.

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.

Red Dead Redemption frees Take-Two from the Grand Theft Auto curse (interview)

For many years, Grand Theft Auto has been a huge boon for Take-Two Interactive, selling tens of millions of copies and generating billions in revenue. But the company has always struggled to make itself profitable in the off years when it wasn’t shipping a new GTA game. It’s been a bit like a curse, although other game companies would love to have this problem. But with the successful launch of the Wild West open world game Red Dead Redemption (made by the company’s Rockstar Games division), Take-Two is finally riding high. It isn’t profitable just yet, since it is still investing heavily in very high-quality games that take a long time to make. But some of the heat is off, and Ben Feder, chief executive of New York-based Take-Two, is happy about that. We caught up with him at E3 to talk about life beyond Grand Theft Auto. Here’s a transcript of the conversation.

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.