Arkham City

Superhero games don't have the most illustrious history. Sure, there have been exceptions to the rule, but prior to Rocksteady Studio's groundbreaking "Batman: Arkham Asylum," the majority of comic book adaptations were absolute garbage. That sounds like a cruel comment, but have you looked at older Batman games, for instance? I would rather stab myself in the eye with a pencil.

So, it was no small task when the developer decided to follow up "Asylum" with a sequel. Though the team had managed to create a Batman title that treated the property with respect, could they make a game that was actually better than its predecessor? Thankfully, "Arkham City" did precisely that, and in doing so, is arguably the best superhero game ever created.

Here's just five ways "Arkham City" changed the comic-book videogame landscape forever.

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Spider-Man

Last week, we showed you the teaser trailer for Activision and Beenox's upcoming "Amazing Spider-Man" game. As is custom among teasers, the video didn't reveal a whole lot, but Saturday night during the Spike Video Game Awards, a full-length trailer for the movie tie-in game premiered. There's robots, Oscorp, and of course a web-slinging Spidey, so be sure to check the trailer out below.

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Saturday night, industry luminaries gathered in Los Angeles to celebrate the best that videogames had to offer for 2011. Whether you love or loathe the somewhat campy Spike Video Game Awards, the show does provide a chance to honor some of the year's best titles, as well as revealing new games via world premiere trailers.

"Batman: Arkham City" held its own within the crowd of nominees, taking home four awards across multiple categories.

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Batman

An age-old tradition exists within the realm of licensed games: take an already established franchise, adapt that into a movie, then adapt that movie into a game. The "matryoshka doll effect" of an adaptation within an adaptation often leads to less-than-stellar results; the developers are essentially attempting to emulate a copy of a copy.

The adaptation problem rings ever true in the realm of comic-book titles, as so many licensed games are really just timely movie tie-ins. Warner Bros.' Montreal studio are hoping to change all that, though, taking the lessons learned from "Batman: Arkham City" and applying that mindset to their upcoming DC superhero titles.

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Arkham

If you can't get enough "Batman: Arkham City," Warner Bros. Interactive and NetherRealm Studios are serving up some butt-kicking combat on your iOS device. Out now on the iTunes App Store, "Batman: Arkham City Lockdown" doesn't look like an exact port of this year's hit game, but more like a fighting game set in the titular prison-city.

According to today's press release, the game is based on the "Arkham" franchise (obviously), but the focus appears to be "one-on-one" combat. I haven't had a chance to play the game yet, but given NetherRealm's pedigree ("Mortal Kombat"), I'm optimistic that the game might actually play well. Well, if it can get past the touch-screen hurdle.

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Spider-Man

I want "The Amazing Spider-Man" (the movie) to be great, I really do. Along those same lines, hope fills my heart that in some magical moment of brilliance, the associated videogame from Activision and Beenox will actually work as an enjoyable representation of the property. Of course, that's still up in the air right now, as the only details surrounding the title are gleaned from concept art.

Thankfully, that's about to change on Saturday night. Activision has announced that a world premiere trailer will air during the Spike Video Games Awards on December 10. In the meantime, we get a – albeit very brief – glimpse at the game today, thanks to a brand-new teaser trailer (via HeroHQ).

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Arkham City

There's a chance "Batman: Arkham City" could take the Game of the Year honor during Spike's Video Game Awards show this Saturday; I'm still betting it's "Skyrim," though. In the meantime, why not spend some time flying high above the Arkham City skyline dressed in your favorite Batman duds? The previously announced "Arkham City Skins Pack" is now available, and what better way to spend your holidays than dressed as a mentally unstable man in tights?

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Pinball

Last week, we told you about all-new Marvel tables added to Zen Studios' "Zen Pinball" (iOS) and "Zen Pinball THD" (Tegra-powered Android). If you happened upon that article, you likely gained the impression that I am quite fond of Marvel pinball games, and I suppose that's true, if by "fond" you mean "play way too much." Zen makes some awfully addictive games, and while I'm having a good time with Captain America on iOS, it's still not quite as comfortable as the console versions.

Luckily, Marvel and Zen Studios have not sat on their laurels, and fans of "Pinball FX 2" and "Marvel Pinball" can look forward to smacking the paddles with new content next week.

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Marvel

Zen Studios knows how to make a pinball videogame. It's no easy task – creating digital games that somehow maintain the feel of analog tables, but Zen has proven more than capable over the past few years with a stable of enjoyable games. Personally, Xbox Live game "Pinball FX 2" has eaten away hours of my life, thanks in no small part to the incredibly satisfying leaderboard system and the inclusion of some amazingly executed Marvel-themed tables.

Now, a selection of those Marvel tables are coming to iOS and Android devices via downloadable content.

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Catwoman

Live action recreations of videogames can sometimes come off as a little hokey, but that's not to say YouTube isn't full of some real gems. Hell, the live action Skyrim ad that showed up a couple months ago just may be my favorite commercial of the year. But what if someone tried to bring the intense, flowing combat of "Batman: Arkham City" to the real world? Doing justice to the source material would require some real martial arts mastery, and luckily, Thousand Pounds Action Company pulls it off splendidly.

Having already brought "Street Fighter" combat to life, Thousand Pounds set their focus on a video that translated the moves of Catwoman, a la "Arkham City." This could have turned out rather lame, but the fight choreography is absolutely spot-on.

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Cover Artist

Splash Page welcomes Ed Tadem to our cover artist family (our custom-designed theme up top). Currently working on the forthcoming "Avengers" animated series, Tadem's work can also be seen in the "Jackie Karma" issues of Image's "'76," and in "Pop Gun, Volume 1." Ed Tadem can be found online at EdTadem.com.
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