A group of game critics has selected the “Best of E3 2010,” the annual list of the best in video games as displayed at the industry’s big E3 trade show in Los Angeles. The top winner of the show was no surprise: the Nintendo 3DS handheld that is debuting within the next year. I was one of the judges of the Game Critics Awards this year, and the list of winners matches pretty well with my own votes.

Nintendo’s 3DS wowed everyone with its ability to display stereoscopic 3D without requiring users to use 3D glasses. For Best of Show, it beat out nominees including Harmonix/MTV’s Dance Central, Disney Epic Mickey, Valve’s Portal 2, and id Software’s Rage. But Rage, a first-person shooter game with outstanding graphics and car combat, won three games awards altogether, including Best Console Game, Best Action Game, and Special Commendation for Graphics. That was remarkable because it contradicts the prognostications that game graphics are so good already they can’t get any better. Dance Central, the 3DS, and Portal 2 each won two awards.

Electronic Arts won four category awards, while Bethesda Softworks and MTV won three. Microsoft, Valve, and Nintendo each won two awards. Activision Blizzard, the largest independent publisher of video games, didn’t win any awards. The company chose not to show its best games, Starcraft II and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, but it got skunked on the titles that it did show such as Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Keep an eye on these games. These will likely be the blockbusters of 2010 and 2011. The list of participating publications is pictured right.

Best of Show
Nintendo 3DS

Best Original Game
Dance Central
(Harmonix/MTV Games/Microsoft for Xbox 360)

Best Console Game
(id Software/Bethesda for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360)

Best Handheld Game
God of War: Ghost of Sparta
(Ready at Dawn/Sony Santa Monica for PSP)

Best PC Game
Portal 2

Best Hardware
Nintendo 3DS

Best Action Game
(id Software/Bethesda for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360)

Best Action/Adventure Game
Portal 2
(Valve for PC / Mac, PS3 and Xbox 360)

Best Role Playing Game
Star Wars: The Old Republic
(BioWare Austin/LucasArts/EA for PC)

Best Fighting Game
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
(Capcom for PS3 and Xbox 360)

Best Racing Game
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit
(Criterion Games/Electronic Arts for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360)

Best Sports Game
(EA Canada/EA Sports for Wii)

Best Strategy Game
Civilization V
(Firaxis/2K Games for PC)

Best Social/Casual Game
Rock Band 3
(Harmonix/MTV Games/Electronic Arts for PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii)

Best Motion Simulation Game
Dance Central
(Harmonix/MTV Games/Microsoft for Xbox 360)

Best Online Multiplayer
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
(Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360)

Special Commendation for Graphics
(id Software/Bethesda for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360)