Insomniac’s Favorite Games of 2010

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As part of our fantastic year-end takeover of the PlayStation.Blog, we wanted to share with you some of Insomniac’s favorite games from 2010. At first, we got a wide variety of responses… as you’ll see below.

ModNation Racers (Sackboy)

ModNation Racers
My choice would have to be ModNation Racers. I played that game all night long, collected all the outfits, stickers, and whatnot, and made a ton of characters. I also posted a few tracks online – “A Night On Bald Mountain” and “Alice In Wonderland.”
Giac Veltri, Engine Programmer

Rock Band 3
I really enjoy the challenge of playing songs in pro mode. The new keyboard, cymbals, and pro guitar are great additions to a game that was already amazingly fun.
Herman Miller, Senior Programmer

The experience it gives you, you can’t get anywhere else.
Joe Valenzuela, Engine Programmer

Super Meat Boy
It is unforgiving, unrelenting and unapologetic. It’ll grind your nose to the ground and make you feel insignificant. It does all this while staying fair to the player, no cheap deaths, and the feedback system showing the player where they jumped, landed and were mutilated by massive-death-blades(TM) creates a comforting and addicting “no, I can do this” feeling in the player.

It not only revels in a past era of super hard games, it refines it to near perfection. Super Meat Boy is everything anyone could ask for from a pure run-and-jump platformer.
Chaz Wilke, Scripter

Starcraft II
I’m kind of embarrassed that it’s so mainstream, but Starcraft II. This was a surprise for me, since I’d always considered myself no good at RTS games, but apparently that’s all changed as I continue to charge through the Platinum 2v2 league 6 months after its release. It’s definitely an intense yet enjoyable challenge for me, and I love playing Zerg! (I chose to play Zerg for a highly strategic reason: they are adorable.)
Lisa Brown, Designer

Bejeweled Blitz
My favorite game of 2010 was Bejewelled Blitz on Facebook. Despite a weekly @$$ kicking by my wife I keep coming back for more. (Lead Designer Jake) Biegel bows before me.
John Fiorito, Chief Operating Officer


Bayonetta, easily. The game really surprised me with its amazingly fast combat and unique (and kickass) soundtrack. It also had some of the best boss battles I’ve seen this entire generation.
Scott Michalek, Engine Support Technician

Norman Jayden - Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain
Although other games like Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead Redemption captured me for longer periods of time this year, Heavy Rain is the game that most stands out in my mind. I really loved its depiction of fatherhood, a rarity in games. Heavy Rain gave me a new type of experience I hadn’t had before in any other game, and it made me really excited about the possibilities for interactive fiction in future games.
Joel Bartley, Gameplay Programmer

If you guessed that our writer’s favorite game from 2010 would be the game where you played a writer… well, you’d be right:

Alan Wake
My favorite game of 2010 was Alan Wake. It was dark, atmospheric, with a compelling narrative and a really unique combat mechanic. It also satisfied my insatiable hunger for lumber mill-centric gameplay. As an added bonus, Alan Wake brought to light the gritty truth about writers: that we are all badass action heroes you want to align yourself with should possessed beings ever invade your tranquil summer burg. Unless you’re married to one of us – then you should probably run.
TJ Fixman, Senior Writer

Sometimes we don’t get to play new games during the holidays, and they slip to the next year. That’s the case with the next couple of selections:

rooftop jump

Uncharted 2
I liked the platform/parkour aspects of the level design. If Uncharted 3 has more of the platforming and jumping around I’ll be calling in sick until I complete it.
Frank Lafuente, Lead Programmer

Dragon Age: Origins
Primary reason is that on my list of favorite game titles it was one of the only new titles, the others being sequels/new installments of a previous franchise.

I think that Dragon Age is an excellent example of bringing old school DnD style RPGs into the current generation. It was refreshing to see them revamp many of the traditional RPG standards while maintaining many of the same themes. It’s also one of few games that really delivers on content and epic story telling.
Josue Benavidez, Associate Designer


Despite the wide variety of selections, as the response continued to flow in, it was clear that a vast number of Insomniac’s favored one game above all others during 2010: Red Dead Redemption. As our own (in?)famous cos-playing Senior Animator Ben Van Dyken writes:

  • It was an emotional experience. You had real empathy for the character over the course of the game…. And not just in the main storyline, but I also got very attached to my horse, and when he died, I felt real loss…had to go through almost a mourning period before getting another. And these were never ‘canned’ experiences either…they usually happened so dynamically, that it never felt like an event ‘forced’ upon me by the designer….which gave it that much more impact.
  • I also remember back when the game came out, each morning people would gather in the kitchen and tell their “RDR stories” from the night before. “…and right after that, I was wrestling this bear with only my bare hands…when all of a sudden, a cougar jumped out and mauled my horse…” It was great.


Ben Van Dyken, Senior Animator

Other praise for Red Dead Redemption:
As repetitive as many of the quests could be, they created a world I enjoyed being in. They nailed the visuals and sound design of the west, from the time crickets swap with grasshoppers as the primary insect noisemakers to the way dawn casts nearly white light over deserts. The Morricone-esque soundtrack made me feel like I was in a western movie; It just felt good to ride around and experience that world.

Add to that the sheer number of things to do (skill rankings, outfits, primary story missions, mini games, bounty quests, etc) and amazingly entertaining ambient behavior (watching people get mauled from their horses by mountain lions, hearing the prostitutes around town say things like, “I hate to see a dry pecker” and trying to line-up the perfect sniper shot when suddenly being attacked by a Grizzly…) and you had a game that truly defines an era. Would anyone even want to try to make another western game?

Oh, and their “Undead Nightmare” DLC kind of ruined DLC for the rest of us. Best $9.99 I’ve ever spent!
Marcus Smith, Creative Director on Resistance 3

My love of Spaghetti Westerns was beautifully recreated in this game. I loved the story lines and the fire fights felt like a cross between the Magnificent Seven and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. John Marston, the main character is well defined and carries all the emotion needed to connect with him. Rockstar did an amazing job and they continue to set the bar for sandbox games.
Carlos De La Torre Jr, Tester

From cattle rustling to coyote wrestling to bandit killing, this game really drew me into its world. Playing co-op with some fellow Insomniacs is also a blast.
Chris Edwards, Engine Programmer

The level of difficulty in making a Western game of the year is epic – yet they managed to nail it. The level of immersion and gorgeous environments leaves me awestruck – it’s a world that I love just being in.
Joel Goodsell, Senior Designer

My favorite game of 2010 would have to be Red Dead Redemption. I expected it to be GTA4 with horses, but it turned out to be a sprawling, profound, emotionally moving experience centered around one of the absolute best characters in video games (John Marston). Easily the greatest Western video game ever made, and possibly the greatest Western ever made, period.
Josh Leman, Tester

Sounds trite, but I loved, loved, loved Red Dead Redemption. I love the desert. I love hiking in the desert, camping, and driving through it. I think the Red Dead team nailed the feeling of the lighting, the topography, and the natural plants and cacti. I’m also a huge fan of westerns, and to me, this was nothing less than the definitive western video game–besides Boot Hill, of course. :)

I’m not sure I’ve seen better looking horses in a game either. It’s the kind of game I like playing just so I can ride around watch the sunset… before I smoke some outlaw gang from their shack. It’s truly a world I feel like I can escape into.
Steve Ratter, Environment Artist

I loved the openness and the fact that you could finally be a bad-ass gunslinger. First western game to really capture that and it was awesome. And let’s face it, who didn’t always want to skin a bunch of bears.
Tim Salvitti, Web Developer

So Red Dead Redemption is definitely the favorite pick of Insomniac Games for 2010. Congrats to everyone at Rockstar: San Diego for making such a fantastic game, that sucked up so much of everyone’s time here at Insomniac Games. If you haven’t played it yet, we can’t highly recommend it enough.

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