Take-Two Interactive Software (Nasdaq: TTWO) used to be a one-trick pony. The company would live and die by the release schedule of its Grand Theft Auto cash cow, and so did the stock.

That's all in the past now. Take-Two hasn't published a new GTA title since 2009, but a growing stable of other game franchises has served admirably in its absence. Fiscal 2011 just ended with a 49% annual revenue jump to $1.14 billion, which isn't too far from the GTA-boosted 2010's $1.16 billion.

What's more, Take-Two not only turned a GAAP profit in 2011 but also reported $135 million in positive cash from operations. By contrast, the company burned $123 million in effigy to the operating gods last year.

That's what surprise hits like Red Dead Redemption can do for you, with an assist from Take-Two's impressive range of sports titles and -- all right, already -- a boxed set of the entire GTA4 saga.

And don't forget that the stock jumped more than 10% on May 17 as positively glowing reviews for the new L.A. Noire title hit the Interwebs. Oh, and Duke Nukem Forever is finally hitting store shelves after 14 years in development hell, and Take-Two should reap plenty of sales from pent-up demand and plain curiosity. No joke. There should be gold in them thar hills next quarter, son.

All told, Take-Two shares have gained 55% over the last year and left all-comers in the dust. Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) clocked a still-impressive 45% gain while Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI) has trailed the S&P 500 with its meager 11% climb, and THQ (Nasdaq: THQI) actually lost 30%.

Mobile finger-twitchers and epic online role-playing games may be reshaping the video game industry, but Take-Two is proving that traditional console titles of high quality still make plenty of money. That's why our Rule Breakers team recently tapped Take-Two as one of their best buys of the moment. To learn more, grab a 100% free, no-strings-attached trial pass and check that recommendation out for yourself.

Old ponies can indeed learn new tricks.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.