Normal blogging will be resumed shortly, but to mark the new year, here are the best ten games of 2009… that I played. (So no Modern Warfare 2 or Uncharted 2, for example.) It was hard to whittle it down to a top ten, but I think I got there. Unfortunately, it means that 33rd Division, Scribblenauts, Angry Birds, Ridge Racer Accelerated, Doom Classic, Borderlands and even the mighty Demon’s Souls, Minigore and Orbital got left out.

Assassin’s Creed 2 (360)

I loved the first Assassin’s Creed game, but the sequel is on a completely different level. It’s tuned to perfection, with the developers having learnt the lessons of the first game and it’s absolutely packed with things to do. You can’t move more than three feet in town without encountering a side mission, treasure chest, shop, random chase, glyph or feather. Everything’s interesting, everything’s fun, there’s a decent script that’s not afraid to be funny now and again (“It’s me, Mario!”) and it’s absolutely beautiful. Best of all, I’m nowhere near done with it, so it’ll last me well into 2010.

Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3)

If I had to choose one single Game of the Year, there’s no doubt that it would be Batman: Arkham Asylum. Influenced by the best comics and cartoons, it’s the first game that really, truly lets you be Batman. Batman’s not going to get hurt in a fight with a thug, but make him fight six at a time and he needs to be careful. And if those thugs have got guns, well, he’ll have to take them out without being seen. All the gameplay elements mesh together perfectly – with the exception of a few of the boss fights – and I’ll remember the setting and Mark Hamill’s Joker for a long, long time to come, even if I’ve already forgotten some of the details of the actual story. Brilliant.

Canabalt (iPhone)

If I were doing hardware awards, the iPhone would be running away with them. My scepticism of the device as a games machine disappeared within days of getting one. I even like virtual sticks and buttons now. But the first iPhone game to make this alphabetical list doesn’t need any of those. Instead, you just tap on the screen everytime you want to jump. It’s simple, yes, but only dimwits would see that as a bad thing. You run, you jump and you inevitably die. And then you come back for another go. The randomly-generated levels keep things tense and it looks and sounds incredible.

Flower (PS3)

Breathtaking. Flower sees you become a god or spirit and takes you on a incredible journey. It’s something of a miracle that the big brick of technology that is the Playstation 3 can make you feel such a part of nature. To describe the story would be an injustice – and I expect everyone has their own interpretation. The gentle glides, the swoops, the windmills and pylons and cities and grass and flowers… it’ll all stay with me a long, long time.

Fuel (360)

The game I’ve always wanted in my head now exists in real life. It’s a huge, sprawling mess of America, where driving for hours with no goal in mind is a simple joy. It’s a game you remember. Riding bikes down impossibly huge cliffs, picking your way round the shallows of a lake at night, watching the sun break over a burned forest… like most of the games in this list, this is an exceptional game not just for the pure rush of the gaming moment, but in the way the sights, sounds and feelings remain long after you’ve stopped playing. And, you know, it didn’t hurt that many of the races were brilliantly-designed, requiring knowledge of the environment and vehicles to succeed. A towering single-player achievement, it’s just a shame that the online didn’t quite live up to expectations.

Gran Turismo (PSP)

I only got this a few days before the end of the year, but after many hours of playing on the sofa and in bed, I knew it had to make this list. The driving model is exciting (though you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise before playing with the settings) and there are a huge number of cars and tracks. What really makes it for me, though, is the structure. Instead of a career mode you’re just given some basic modes and can choose any of the tracks to race on. By racing you earn more money to buy new cars. There’s nothing forced on you, you can just buy the cars you think look interesting and take them round your favourite tracks. What to see how a 1954 2CV handles Laguna Seca? Well, off you go – and you’ll even get some money for it. Absolutely exceptional.

Killzone 2 (PS3)

You like shooting people in the face? Of course you do! Killzone 2 understands this. It gives you great guns and great enemies and makes amazing set pieces out of them. It takes a while to get into, but once you’ve wormed your way inside, you won’t want to get out. Perfectly paced and just as long as it needs to be, Killzone 2 is an absolute triumph of the simple joy of putting bullets into bad guys.

Noby Noby Boy (PS3)

Initially, it seems like it’ll probably be fun for ten minutes, but no more. There aren’t any real goals (beyond hunting for trophies, if you feel like it) there’s just a random level and the stretching, twisting, ever-hungry Boy. You move around, eat things, knock things over and just play for the simple joy of play. And it doesn’t seem to get old. You always expect it to, but every time you go back, it still grabs you and a quick five minutes turns into an hour and a half without you noticing – or caring. Criminally overlooked and incredibly cheap, Noby Noby Boy deserved much, much better.

Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? (PSP)

Hard as nails – you might well lose all your 1,000 lives before completing the game – but never malicious, Prinny is an odd game. It’s an old school platformer spin-off from a series of strategy games and shouldn’t really work. If you believe the reviewers who skated the surface without finding their way inside, it was a failure. But those reviewers are wrong. It’s a huge game, packed with humour and secrets and, crucially, death is always your own fault. Quite frankly, if you like running, jumping and pounding things with your bottom, there wasn’t a better game released this year.

Words With Friends (iPhone)

The online multiplayer hit of the year, I’ve played this every day for months now. Heavily based on Scrabble, Words With Friends doesn’t bother with any fluff, but just lets you play the game against other people with a minimum of fuss. Portable game of the year, without a shadow of a doubt.