Halo Reach vs. God Of War III for GOTY? Not likely...

Opinion: January's 'Best of 2010' lists have got Tim Ingham climbing the walls already...

The New Year's Eve hangover has finally subsided and most of us are back in the sunlight-starved rat race.

So has the chilly return to the working week put a freeze on UK gamers' enthusiasm for a verbal dust up? Of course not.

And if there's one subject that's getting you lot more wound up than Zac Efron's personal Red Ring cheerleader, it's those predictable (and premature) 'gaming's best of 2010' forecasts.

Oddly, there seems to be two clear winners: Microsoft's Halo Reach and Sony's God Of War III.

If I were 18, I'd write '*sigh*' here. But I'm too old for that. So I'll just write, erm, 'sigh'.

I don't know about you, but aren't these choices just a little, I don't know... unambitious?

Don't get me wrong, both games are fantastic adverts for their respective machines.

Halo, after all, was the biggest FPS on the planet until Infinity Ward starting fiddling about with Al Quaeda's least favourite gadgetry. It's a Bona Fide classic; enduring and endearing in equal measure. Reach looks like it's going to tear Xbox Live a new one.

Likewise, the God Of War series has taken a Blade Of Olympus to traditional notions of what a third-person action title can offer; its gargantuan foes and beautiful environments causing many a half-munched corn snack to hit carpet in disbelief.

Each GoW installment has stood the test so time so well, they'd probably still be playable if they were developed in Ancient Greece. And the third iteration is drop dead gorgeous (shame the same can't be said for the pricetag).

But gaming's MOST anticipated releases of 2010? Do me a favour.

We enter a year which even the legendary Peter Molyneux calls the 'biggest in the industry's history'. Are these minutely improved, reliable, decade-old franchises really the best we can do? Of course not.

Let's look at what we know is coming already - and that's not even taking into account what E3 has in store for us June...

Project Natal and PS3's Motion Controller revolutionising what the words 'games console' even mean. That do for starters?

Then there's APB, which, if it comes off, could be like a grown-up GTA MMO - minus the spliff-suckling, Fiddy-worshipping rude boys.

You want more? How about the dawn of 3D gaming (more on that to come folks - trust us)?

Do I hear Red Dead Redemption, Heavy Rain, a Natal-utilising Fable, Agent, Aliens vs. Predator, Alan Wake, Medal Of Honor? Diva Girls: Princess On Ice 2? Anyone? Anyone? Oh, sorry, got carried away there...

Look, I'm not decreeing what should or shouldn't be popular - so if you're an offended Halo hound or GoW groupie, please wind your neck in.

I'm just sticking up for the unknown and the enterprising; the 'Tomorrow's World' contingent of 2010's interactive entertainment smorgasbord.

Sure, they might fail - heck, some of them might end up falling apart. But doesn't the sheer thrill of discovering them stimulate your gaming antennae a little more than Kratos and The Covenant's familiar faces?

Maybe the best thing to do is to not offer these lists too much in the way of credence.

They're meaningless popularity contests, after all - and making the public emotionally invest in popularity contests is only beneficial to one group: Those that create them.

Besides, as Simon Cowell found out to his cost at Christmas, you lot don't always... what was it again now? Ah, yes, 'do what they tell you'.