Call of Duty: Black Ops

The most pirated game of the year also attracted record numbers of legal users in 2010 as it turns out. I'm not sure how those two groups of players do or do not bleed together in Activision's statistics, but the publisher has announced that more than 20 Million "Black Ops" players have run around shooting things together for more than 600 million combined hours.

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Castlevania: Harmony of Despair

Konami's "Castlevania: Harmony of Despair" grew from a rumor into a real, downloadable Xbox Live Arcade title this year, and its makers have more plans for it in 2011. They're even going to be selling new levels as DLC over XBLA, including some additional repurposed fun from "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night."

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Bit.Trip Flux

In the spirit of Gaijin Games' minimalist pixel-block series "Bit.Trip," the Entertainment Software Rating Board has opted to give their new game "Bit.Trip Flux" a suitably trimmed-down description. The explanation for their "E for Everyone" rating does contain a few barebones spoilers, however, including the presence of some elements like paddles and action-oriented musical tones.

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Activision vs. Schwarzenegger

The Arnold Schwarzenegger-signed law in California that seeks to intervene and blockade sales of violent games to minors made a lot of enemies on its way to the Supreme Court this year, and just in case you didn't know where Activision stands on Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, et al., Petitioners v. Entertainment Merchants Association, Activision Blizzard vice president and chief public policy officer George Rose has written an editorial for the San Francisco Chronicle naming a handful of reasons for trashing the law. He also addressed critics' obsession with the Running with Scissors' '90s gore-fest "Postal."

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Street Fighter 4 Arcade

Weird Japanese-to-English translations hold a proud place in video game history. From such meme-tastic classics as "All your base are belong to us" in "Zero Wing" to "A winner is you" from "Pro Wrestling," language hasn't always been able to make a clean jump across cultures. I'm guessing that a similar translation outsourcing process must have been behind some "Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition" instructions that were captured by a quick-camera'd Twitter user.

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Magic The Gathering DLC

Digital card hustlers in need of a booster pack for "Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers" got a nice surprise today, as a third batch of DLC came out for the game via Xbox Live. Featuring new cards and campaign levels, the new release will cost you 400 MS points, and it weighs in at a hefty 32.8MB, but it should bring some refreshment to your gameplay.

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Black Ops piracy

Every step of the way, onlookers have been watching to see if "Call of Duty: Black Ops" would be able to hit or surpass the benchmarks that "Modern Warfare 2" set one year ago. This week, Activision and Treyarch succeeded in crossing at least one more one title of distinction off their list — Most Pirated Game of the Year. Infinity Ward's previous installment for the series claimed the same honor in 2009, and now 2010 officially belong to "Black Ops."

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PopCap Games sale

Did you happen to come across some big, fat $5, $10 or even $20 bills at some point in the last couple of weeks and long to spend them on Mac or Windows PC casual games designed to eradicate your productivity? Well, PopCap Games has cut prices across the board in their webstore on PopCap.com through January 2, and though you won't be able to apply their discount to "Bejeweled 3" or bundles, you will be able to acquire "Plants vs. Zombies" or "Peggle Nights" for $9.95.

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Star Wars The Old Republic Trooper

With 10 years of gameplay on Bioware's list of goals for "Star Wars: The Old Republic," they're going to need a lot of class and combat options. The upcoming MMO game will have tons of races and starships, but it's also going to shine a spotlight on some occupations that have historically belonged to underdeveloped characters in the core Star Wars universe. Troopers are one such class, and Bioware's team has now explained exactly how they'll roll in the fight against the Dark Side.

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Epic Games new IP

Even as "Gears of War 3" pushed its release into the latter part of 2011 this year, Epic Games continued to move forward on schedule with its new Unreal-powered iPad title "Infinity Blade". Just because they're sitting on some successful IP's, don't expect them to hold back in the new year, however. Design director Cliff Bleszinski thinks that word of yet another Epic IP could be here as soon as GDC 2011.

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