Every year the same thing happens: just as we start to get busy with the lead-up to Thanksgiving, some early holiday shopping, and other end-of-the-year activities, there is a massive flood of games. And not just any games, these are the triple-A titles that we’ve been waiting all year for. And then then comes Black Friday, the day when we recall all the titles we missed during the year — the games like Portal 2 and The Witcher 2, which were must-plays at the time, but for whatever reason you just didn’t have time to pick them up.With the 2011 almost over, and the major releases past, it’s time for Geek.com’s End-of-the-Year Gaming Guide.Geek.com’s Top Games of 2011These are the games that defined 2011. Sure, they are mostly sequels, but these were the must-play games of the year. Any well-rounded gamer should consider playing these if they want to have a good feel of what happened this year and what everyone was, and still is, talking about.BastionBatman: Arkham CityBattlefield 3Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3Deus Ex: Human RevolutionElder Scrolls V: SkyrimGears of War 3Infinity Blade 2LA NoireLimboMinecraftPortal 2Super Mario Land 3DSword and Sorcery EPUncharted 3Witcher 2Zelda: Skyward SwordAnd now… the AwardsThese are Geek.com’s 2011 game awards. Here we’ll congratulate 2011’s most notable games in a number of seemingly random, but actually expertly-conceived and delicately-balanced, categories.Best Game in App Form2011 was the year that gaming apps came into their own. Apple’s own pick for App Store Game of the Year was Tiny Tower, a building management sim. Our pick is a better building management sim. It comes from a niche Japanese studio specializing in this type of game and that has produced such works as Game Dev Story. Kairosoft makes games the old-fashioned way by eschewing Zynga-esque algorithms and metrics in favor of games that feel like they’re made by hand. Tiny Tower may have epitomized app gaming in 2011 with its management sim gameplay, pixel art aesthetic, and microtransaction-based business model, but that didn’t stop our pick from being the better game to play…Winner: Mega Mall Story Biggest DisappointmentThis is probably our most subjective award because of its reliance on individual expectations, but even with us doing our best to curtail those thoughts, this game still let us down. It had a huge amount of hype behind it, an unprecedented level of press coverage over the years, and clamoring from long time gamers who loved the previous release. Unfortunately the end result was, well, a hot mess. It was offensive, childish, and just not fun…Winner: Duke Nuke ForeverCall of Duty Modern Warfare 3 vs. Battlefield 3… FIGHTIn the battle of the top-tier warfare shooters it was once again EA vs. Activision, squad-based vs. machine gun mayhem, and vehicles vs. killstreaks. MW3 ran away with the monetary win with over $1B in sales, but that doesn’t matter so much for us. In the end one game just beat out the other thanks to its depth, incredible graphics, and its sheer size, while the other was little more than a competent improvement on the previous version…Winner: Battlefield 3Sleeper HitOur Games of 2011 list shows just how packed the year was with top-notch releases, but one gem flew under the radar. An entry in a long-running franchise, this year’s edition kept up the high-fidelity visuals and impressive cinematics of its predecessor. A major shift to the narrative allowed players to take control of multiple characters, greatly increasing the game’s depth in adventure and fighting. Ever more mini-games and collectibles will keep the perfectionists going at this game even into 2012…Winner: Yakuza 4 Best Handheld Game (non-app)With all the focus on app gaming on phones and tablets, it’s easy to forget that some fine work is still being done on other mobile platforms. There was very little to talk about on the PSP this year, but the DS had some good games and the 3DS managed to score a few as well. Top games included Street Fighter 3D and Ocarina of Time 3D, but the our pick was a really big hit for mobile, non-iOS/Android gaming and it was also something the 3DS really, really needed…Winner: Super Mario Land 3DBest DownloadableDownloadables games may be small, but they can still have great graphics, awesome voiceovers, and tell a complete story. This year’s best downloadable game blew us away with its gameplay, visuals, and simple appeal. It was a pleasure from start to finish and we wish there were more games like it…Winner: Bastion Best Rogue-likeRogue-likes are the Rodney Dangerfield of game genres — they just don’t get any respect. Our favorite RL of 2011 wasn’t a RL by conventional standards, but it’s close enough for our purposes and the changes it made from the genre’s standard helped make it attractive to a wider audience. Plus it was super affordable from day one…Winner: Dungeons of DredmorBest Game without BloodshedIt’s a sad statement on gaming, but we actually had a hard time coming up with a winner for 2011’s best carnage-free game. We’ve thought long and hard, and after discounting a few nearly violence-free games, like Portal 2 and Sword and Sworcery EP, our list was much shorter than we would have liked. Some of the ones that came to mind include the overly-complex Space Chem and a number of other puzzlers, but we’re going to give this award to a lauded, yet under-appreciated racing game…Winner: Forza 4 Best Game from a Previous YearWe’re now in an age where games are ongoing products. Post-release content updates, major gameplay changes, and close attention to the community are quickly becoming standards for core games. One game, hailing from 2007, exemplified how to keep the flame alive. Tons of new content, deep interactions with the modding and eSports communities, and even a graceful transition to the free-to-play model make the 2011 version almost unrecognizable from its (orange) boxed release…Winner: Team Fortress 2 Best Indie2011 had a number of excellent indie games, enough though even having this category makes us a bit uncomfortable (thanks to the incredibly diverse pool of games under this umbrella). Games like Atom Zombie Smasher, Jamestown, and Frozen Synapse all deserve kudos, but since we count games by their official release date there is a clear winner that cannot be overlooked. It’s a game that transcended the title of indie, yet still managed to exemplify everything we love about these games…Winner: MinecraftMost Overrated GameLong-time PC gaming fans could not wait for this game. Since its original release it had attained legendary status, and maintained it even after its sequel was a horrific flop. This game was said to be donning the mantle of the original and that it would be the fascinatingly complex, multi-threaded FPS we’ve all been waiting for. It was, to some extent, but it was also wooden, tedious, and often hard to follow. It’s still a good game, but it probably didn’t deserve all the praise, or play time, that it got…Winner: Deus Ex: Human RevolutionThe SnubsThese are solid games that, for any number of reasons won’t be getting a proper award from us this year. They are all somewhat notable games that we found to be worth playing, but since their release they’ve been forget, cast aside onto the pile of shame that builds up when we’re spending every waking moment playing holiday season mega-hits. All too often these games were under-marketed, released at the same time as more important games, or just plain released too early in the year for them to seem important now. For this self-contradicting non-award we’ll break our single game rule and mention multiple titles…Winners: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Crysis 2, Dead Space 2, Mass Effect 2, Killzone 3, RageBest Non-sequelThis is, in our humble estimation, the second most important category. We need new games to keep the industry moving and to prevent the publishers from just pushing for a new Call of Duty every few months and Pokemon Turquoise, or whatever is the next color in the crayon box. This year’s winner stood on its own two feet without the help of a big name brand or years of history. And the best part — it looks like it will be updated time and time again rather than spawning a whole shelf full of sequels.Winner: Minecraft Game of the YearThe all-important Geek.com GOTY award goes to… actually it was a split decision by Geek.com’s voters. There were a number of games that are viable candidates for the title, most notably Uncharted 3, Batman: Arkham City, and Minecraft, but if you were looking for the one game that defined 2011, the game that simply had to be played, the game that had the most impact on us as gamers, there was an undeniable winner…Winner: Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimThat’s it! Here’s looking forward to a great year of gaming in 2012.Blake Ellison and Matthew Humphries contributed to this article.