2010 Game of the Year (Editor’s Choice): Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Our Editor’s Choice for 2010 also tops our list of the 50 Best iPhone Games of 2010: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. This top-down, open-world crime game is epic and detailed, scaling between grandiose and gritty.

If last year’s selection, Real Racing, showed that iPhone gaming can compete with the DS and PSP, this year’s choice shows that the iPhone can beat those platforms. GTA:CW on the iPhone has both the PSP’s sharp graphics and the DS’s touchscreen controls (critical for breaking windshields, hot-wiring cars, and filling Molotov cocktails at the gas station). It’s the definitive version of an outstanding game. Plus, it’s cheaper, and plays on your phone.

2010, to us, is the year that iPhone ports came to represent the best possible versions of our favorite games. PC adventures like Broken Sword and Monkey Island 2, CD-Rom classics like The 7th Guest, Braindead 13, and Riven: The Sequel to Myst, and console classics like Secret of Mana all found new life on the iPhone. Who would have thought a few years ago that Apple’s little device would provide the best way to play classic PC and console games?

There’s another area we’re excited about, too: Modern PC ports like Plants vs. Zombies, Puzzle Quest 2, and World of Goo (on the iPad) are all perfectly executed on Apple’s devices. Not only is the iPhone playing gaming’s greatest hits, but it’s on the cutting edge as well. Not to mention all the incredible original development work that’s going on.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is the king of the ports, and that should make Sony and Nintendo nervous. With new handhelds appearing next year, we’ll see if the iPhone continues to stay out in front of the competition. Based on this year’s performance, we’re expecting great things.

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