30 November 2009


Top 10 videogames of the decade

Everyone seems to be compiling lists of the best games of the decade, ((Apart from Action Button, who are doing the 33 best games of all time. Their list is wrong, of course, but interestingly wrong.)) so here, with minimal special pleading or argumentation, ((Except in footnotes.)) is mine. A link is given if I have previously written about the game in question. Nota bene: this is not just some personal list of games that I happen to have liked during the noughties; this is The One True Objective Trigger Happy™-Endorsed List of the Ten Best Games of the Decade, and any different list is simply wrong, mmkay? ((Especially if it has Bioshock on it. Jesus.))

1  Shadow of the Colossus  Fumito Ueda/SCEI International Production Studio 1, 2006 ((Videogames are the only works in any art or entertainment medium that are routinely referred to by the name of the publishers and/or the hardware format, but not (at least one of) the creators. I suggest we change that — though, since it’s not usually done, credits information available on various sites seems rather sketchy, and I had to guess for a few of the above based on what I thought the job titles meant. Corrections to these attributions welcomed in comments.)) — Don’t look in their eyes.

2  Advance Wars  Tohru Narihiro/Intelligent Systems, 2001Medium tank.

3  Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots  Hideo Kojima/Kojima Productions, 2008 — “Ah, overhead view. Just like old times.”

4  Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater  Hideo Kojima/Konami, 2004The End. ((Yes, two MGS games, one after the other. If you prefer, you can read 3 as taking its place above 4; it was too close for me to call. If you don’t agree with either: suck it, hater.))

5  Halo: Combat Evolved  Jason Jones/Hamilton Chu/Bungie, 2001Wargaming. ((Half-Life 2 is on a lot of these lists, but not mine. Perhaps because Halo is just better; or perhaps because HL2 made me sick.))

6  Animal Crossing: Wild World  Katsuya Eguchi/Hisashi Nogami/Nintendo EAD, 2005Special coffee.

7  Rez  Tetsuya Mizuguchi/United Game Artists, 2001 — But is it art? ((Answer: yes, but not as you know it. Developers are still chasing the shadow of this game, which burst in unannounced from some techno-hippie far future and blew everyone’s minds. (Hello Flower!) ))

8  Warioware, Inc.  Hirofumi Matsuoka/Nintendo R&D1, 2003 — Chop! ((Close call for me between this and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. It was surprising to me how many of this list turned out to be handheld games: this probably has something to do with the increasingly vast budgets necessary for standard console games in the period, and the concomitant creative freedom afforded developers on much more restricted hardware.))

9  Far Cry 2  Clint Hocking/Ubisoft Montreal, 2009Welcome to the jungle. ((This game continues to get better and better in my recollection: it’s the supreme achievement thus far seen in videogames of “sense of place”. Nearly, but not quite, beaten to the “sandbox mayhem” slot by the best GTA game to date, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Considered as part of the shooting-pretend-men-in-the-face-from-a-firstperson-perspective genre, meanwhile, Far Cry 2 makes Modern Warfare 2 look like a cardboard-cutout fairground peashooter. (Splendidly entertaining as a cardboard-cutout fairground peashooter can be.) ))

10  Crazy Taxi  Takashi Nishimura/Hitmaker, 2000 — “That hurt! Pay more attention!” ((The last interesting driving game anyone has produced.))

  • congrats. with rez, mgs4 and shadow of the colossus three of the games that moved me most are on this list. i only miss fl0w and the one game that no one ever knows: ribbit king. best sports game ever. and civ, but that’s another story.

  • ste

    Advance Wars requires no footnote.

  • Great list!

    I’m wondering, how did you choose who to list? Folks like Kojima and Ueda and Hocking are obvious, but why Matsuoka and Jason Jones?

  • EW

    This list, while totally different from anything I would come up with, is inspiring me to go back and check out Far Cry 2. Though I play them a lot with friends, I’m not a big “shooter” fan, as most of the effort for these games seems to go into the multiplayer. On an unrelated note, I’d argue that Burnout Paradise was an interesting driving game.

  • Charles — I picked whoever was credited as “director” or “lead” designer etc, or, failing that, “producer” (sometimes two); I may have got some of them wrong…

  • What’s wrong with Bioshock? I’ve got an unplayed copy on my shelf, waiting while I bounce my way through New Super Mario Bros. Wii. I bought it on the strength of the ‘best game of the year’ reviews, and the cheap second-hand price.

  • Seth

    Agree totally on Advance Wars. I’ve thrown a horrific amount of time at Dual Strike and Dark (sigh) Conflict, but I suspect that replaying the first GBA game would have been more fun. But: no love for Rogue-likes, Mr Poole? Not even my beloved Shiren the Wanderer?

  • Shadow of the Colossus: The final stage of Epic in games, no more games after SoC will be able to contribuite on Epic Narrative after that.

    Thanks a lot but I miss a lot another games, subjective senses I think…

  • To see Shadow of the Colossus peaking this 10 games list was very hilarious, thank you for a moment of sheer laughter! ;)