Everything Telltale Games did in 2006- What a turnabout. After a shitty first entry, the sequel to Bone added some real meat to the gameplay and resulted in a satisfying adventure. Sam and Max have been even better.
Elite Beat Agents- EBA/Ouendan is the best handheld game since WarioWare. This is the kind of game the DS was made for.
Viva Pinata- I only bought it because I'm a Rare devotee and expected it to just be decent, but it's their best game in years. Shame it's not selling well.
Saints Row- It may be wrong to many, but I enjoyed this game much more than any GTA. It fixed a lot of gripes I've had with the series, and I got totally sucked in. Here's hoping Rockstar takes some advice from this game.
Tomb Raider Legend- A bit on the short side, but very fun, atmospheric, and involving. The first Tomb Raider I ever played to the end.
Kirby Squeak Squad- I was hesitant to play this after seeing many so-so reviews, but it's turned out to be great. It got the essence of Super Star's gameplay much better than the GBA titles, and has a ton of unlockables.
Daxter- The best PSP title of 2006, and better than any of its PS2 brethren. Pure platforming goodness.
Dead Rising- Clunky, frustrating controls and game structure. There are glimpses of something great in this, but it never gets to come all the way out.
Gears of War- Maybe it's just because FPSs aren't my favorite, but other than the pretty graphics, I saw nothing special about this game. Give me Unreal Tournament any day, Epic.
Rayman Raving Rabbids- Michel Ancel finally came back to the Rayman franchise. This was the chance for another classic platformer. But then he played the Wii and decided to make a Mario Party clone.
Children of Mana- It wouldn't be hard to make another Mana game that actually played like Secret of Mana and Seiken Densetsu 3. It also wouldn't be hard to make it online. So how come they don't?
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess & Kingdom Hearts II- Neither of these blew away my expectations or went under them. They just delivered the goods, and I had fun.