Video game makers are rolling out their new titles — with a wide range of creativity and style — just in time for the holiday shopping season. Jamin Warren, founder of Kill Screen magazine, shares his list of video games you should keep your eye on:
Nintendoland: The marquee release for Nintendo's Wii U console, this title shows what Nintendo does well: pure family fun. I tried several of the mini-games within Nintendoland and was dazzled by their simplicity. In one, I simply had to play tag with four others and found myself laughing the entire time. The Wii U is also a referendum on Nintendo's future: Despite the dominance of the Wii, the emergence of iOS and Facebook games have chipped at Nintendo's core audience. If the Wii U sells poorly, the 100-year-old game maker may be on the ropes.
Machinarium: A "point and click" adventure game set in hand-drawn apocalypse about a little robot looking for his place in a lost world. Notes of the Tim Burton-produced animated feature 9.
The Unfinished Swan: The game opens with an amazing sequence: an entirely white space in which the player, a boy named Monroe, is chasing after a swan that has escaped a painting. You are equipped with a paint gun using the first-person perspective so the world can be painted black and thus show you where you need to go.
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask: I loved these Japanese adventure games for their novel take on puzzles and adventure. Consider this Encyclopedia Brown for the modern age. Brain-twisting puzzles are merged with a carnivalesque city setting as you hunt to unravel the secrets of the town.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II: This will be one of the biggest games of the year as the past Black Ops generated more than $1 billion in sales. These games are the closest to the big-budget sheen of films like The Avengers, and in this sequel to the long-running franchise, you are various secret agents working behind the scenes from the Cold War to the near future. Also, you can ride a horse.
Assassin's Creed III: The previous versions of AC have paid close attention to historical detail in Crusades-era Jerusalem and then Renaissance Italy. ACIII takes place during the American Revolution as you play Connor Kenway, part English and part Native American, drawn into the conflict. The game also features several notable characters from the time period, including Benjamin Franklin, King George III and Samuel Adams.