8. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)
With the release of the GameBoy Advance, Nintendo chose for the big Mario release to be a remake of Super Mario Bros. 2, which isn't many peoples favorite Mario game to begin with. Luckily, they also released Castlevania: Circle of the Moon along with it it had the setup of the now-standard "Metroidvania" style of gameplay, plenty of RPG elements, and (best of all) card collecting. These cards, unlike Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon Card Game, had magical abilities, but still you and I are not so different from vampire hunters. The only major complaint leveled against the game was that it was insanely dark, and thanks to the GBA's initial lack of a backlight, very difficult to see what the hell was going on in the screen. Then again, maybe it was just extremely self-aware. After all, why would Dracula want light in his castle?
7. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved (Xbox 360)
Geometry Wars is tiny, beautiful, and perfect. It's like a chicken nugget that reappears after you eat it, glistening with honey mustard or barbecue sauce. It's like the little laugh after a first kiss. It's cool and fun to yell at, like your best friend's dog. It's the arcade game kids in the 80's had wet dreams about. It gets more gameplay out of two analog sticks than some games get out of entire controllers. It proved that a well-designed, well-polished, digitally distributed indie console game can actually sell well, so you might as well blame Geometry Wars for the proliferation of top-shelf indie games like Shadow Complex and Braid. I love it, and so do you. Geometry Wars!
6. Wii Sports (Wii)
If Wii Tennis never made you grin like an idiot as you flailed your arms and unconsciously synched your breathing with the back-and-forth of the rally, you've failed some kind of Turing test. If Wii Bowling never made you scream cusses at your 8-year-old cousin for obliterating you on the lanes, you need to reevaluate your life priorities. If you've never gotten drunk and played Wii Golf and thrown the controller across the room and it knocks over a picture of your great-granddad and the glass breaks and your dad is screaming and crying because that was the only picture he had of his grandpa, then we have nothing to say to each other. Baseball and Boxing are fine, too, I guess.
5. Tetris (Game Boy)
Tetris is the haiku of video games: utterly simple, breathtakingly elegant. I have had more Tetris dreams than sex dreams. Tetris nestles into our brains like it belongs there. Packaged with the original Game Boy (and its color version, Tetris DX, with the Game Boy Color), Tetris completed handheld gaming like Renée did Tom. There is, however, a dystopian alternate reality where this never happened; Tetris's manufacture for the Game Boy, and its subsequent 30 million sold units, only came at the tail end of a protracted, years-long legal battle between Nintendo, Atari, and multiple developers. So remember: When a big corporation wins a big lawsuit, it's always a good thing.