Top 10 Games of the Decade

 I sincerely believe that while technical achievement and graphical eye candy are all well and good, the thing that stands out succinctly best is when a game is genuinely fun. As artsy as I do enjoy my titles as well, I would enjoy being shown something that just may blow my socks off. But if a game is crazy-awesome in the way it treats me to a good time, then odds are I really won’t be complaining. That being said, I feel I’ve made a succinct introduction to my top 10 games of the last ten years.

10. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando



There are two types of people who owned Playstation 2 consoles; those who like Jak & Daxter and the people who like Ratchet & Clank. I have what I like to call an unhealthy obsession with Ratchet and Clank games. I’m pretty sure because under all the sensible humor and Monty Python-esque science fiction, there’s some genuinely stellar gameplay under there. As memorable as the autochthonous apotheosis in the series goes, Going Commando takes the Platforming genre and merges it seamlessly with the elements seen more prevalently in a role-playing game. For 2003, that was a pretty bold move and it paid off pretty well for Insomniac who, if you haven’t noticed, is still fu*king making Ratchet and Clank games. The ability to level up weapons as well as the replay value afforded by the mini-games there in simply took hold as one of the few must-have platform titles since Mario had been on the scene for a bit under a score by then.


9. Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan



There are games that you can import and end up blowing a lot of money on a rather terrible gaming experience. Ouendan is not one of those. Probably one of the few titles I’ve ravenously attempted to import after having a brief taste of it on a friend’s DS at the time, I still carry it with me to this day. Not only is the game accessible and easy to understand, I’m firmly convinced that the kick ass soundtrack easily supplants the OST of the Americanized version of the game: Elite Beat Agents. Since I’ve always loved seeing how different cultures approach games, particularly the Japanese, this game was an introduction to a love affair that’s only been rivaled so far by the game’s sequel. Notable as the Japanese are for certain wackiness in their games, each song has an individualized story that the Ouendan must arrive on the scene and help the main character through. Few games will make me shell out the money to import and in the last ten years, this and it’s sequel were the only two.


8. Metroid Fusion



Samus Aran taught me that girls, under their soft, pink exteriors possess the hearts of badasses, provided of course they are raised by the Chozo. Metroid Fusion taught me that, despite the awesome Metroid Prime possessed being the first 3D Metroid title, Metroid was still first and foremost a 2D side-scrolling franchise and a fantastic one at that. From the moment you dock on the station to the X parasite forming the dastardly SA-X to hunt you down, the game consistently remain fun throughout. Never feeling like a rehash or just something done for the sake of slapping the Metroid name on it, Fusion stands as one of the last great Gameboy Advance titles.

7. Geometry Wars 2



While the first Geometry Wars proved to be the must-play title when it was released, Geometry Wars 2 shattered it by improving all the qualities of the original exponentially. Abandoning the singular retro for the sake of rebuilding the game from the ground up, there is a significant improvement to the mechanics without it feeling like Bizarre Creations was trying to reinvent the wheel. Complete with six modes instead of the original two of the game’s predecessor, there is the constantly one reason or another to go back and play the game. Most importantly though is the persistent high score board for each game mode, glaringly present every single time you play, reminding you of where you stand amongst your friends. I guarantee a fair share of the people who will read this list will own GW2 and even more will have at least tried it once, coaxed into it by an excited friend.

6. God of War: Chains of Olympus



If someone told me that a God of War title would not only be made for the PSP, but actually had the potential to be well done, I would’ve slapped them in the face and sicked the dogs on them (or the bees, or the dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you). Thankfully, the remarkable fact is that the game does exist and not only is it well done; it is kittens-in-a-trebuchet fun. The controls are tight and perfect just like anything that’s fun in life should be and the story overall drags you back in. While not the longest of the God of War titles, it certainly kept vehement Kratos fans busy for a while and still sticks out in my mind as one of the better in the series. Granted, this isn’t saying much as all three major titles in the franchise have been Wookiee-tearing-your-goddamn-arms-off incredible and anyone who disagrees should have a word with Kratos. Thanks.

5. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty



Probably one of the best games of its day if for no other reason than the sheer fact that it is exactly, in most respects, like the original. A prime example of a postmodern game in that, “postmodernism refers to a cultural, intellectual, or artistic state lacking a clear central hierarchy or organizing principle and embodying extreme complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity, interconnectedness or interreferentiality, in a way that is often indistinguishable from a parody of itself. It has given rise to charges of fraudulence.” Essentially, the game forces you to play the events of Metal Gear Solid because Hideo Kojima, in his infinite artistic wisdom, believes that is what equated to a sequel in his mind. Since many gamers took it with critically high praise, there is still a large divergence in the community as to whether or not this game is basically a middle-finger from Hideo Kojima to gamers everywhere.

4. Grand Theft Auto III



Not the best game ever created as far as narrative goes, this was when Grand Theft Auto games were still essentially light-hearted romps with the occasional bouts of ultra-violence on the part of the player. Being one of the first games to create a three-dimensional sandbox world where, upon completion of the introduction, players are able to run wild there is still a significant amount of content to see here even to this day. As far as the lack of noir style that many gangster titles have been synonymous with over the years, the GTA series has never taken itself all too seriously which is one of the qualities that keeps it at its very basic level a damn fun time.

3. Halo



Not Halo 2, which had an incomplete ending. Not Halo 3, which while splendid felt as though something was missing. Not ODST which had that slick, cool jazz feeling to it. The original, unabated Halo. While the game didn’t descend from heaven in the way many fanboys would have you believe, it is still amazing in that it showed gamers things they hadn’t seen before. The ability to carry two weapons instead of lugging ten machine guns, a shotgun and a rocket launcher or two across a map was a change of pace in that choosing what weapon you were using actually began to matter. Additionally, a sassy AI which has been reproduced more times doing lascivious things across the internet is an image all too deeply burned into my memory. But think of a game which has had as much machinima made about it, had as fan-damn-tastic multiplayer and become a franchise that has more than once kept Microsoft’s consoles above water and all answers still lead back to Halo.

2. Eternal Darkness



Dear Silicon Knights,

Stop screwing around with this Too Human bullsh*t and get to work on a next-gen Eternal Darkness!

Love,
Drew

1. Portal



Everything in the Orange Box is an incredibly stellar buy and if you didn’t purchase it in the past decade, you’re not exactly swinging any home runs in the awesome department. As everyone who has played it is aware, Portal is not exactly capable of standing up to say, Dragon Age: Origins regarding length of gameplay. But for what you get, it is a succinctly crafted package that never once leaves you wondering what is going on or wandering helplessly until you bump into an invisible wall. Portal is a complete gaming experience that can be sat down and played by anyone in about three to six hours and that is what makes it so great. Being a classic example of why shorter games are fun, it delivers exactly what it promises to while staying within a relative length, never overstaying its welcome. Being a puzzle title, I have a natural affinity for it, but as a game it otherwise stands head and shoulders above the rest of it’s contemporaries as far as I’m concerned. Now if I could just see a sequel before this decade ends, that would be pretty good…unless that gets in the way of the next Half-Life, in which case, get back to work Gabe! 
11 Comments
12 Comments
Posted by AndrewG009

 I sincerely believe that while technical achievement and graphical eye candy are all well and good, the thing that stands out succinctly best is when a game is genuinely fun. As artsy as I do enjoy my titles as well, I would enjoy being shown something that just may blow my socks off. But if a game is crazy-awesome in the way it treats me to a good time, then odds are I really won’t be complaining. That being said, I feel I’ve made a succinct introduction to my top 10 games of the last ten years.

10. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando



There are two types of people who owned Playstation 2 consoles; those who like Jak & Daxter and the people who like Ratchet & Clank. I have what I like to call an unhealthy obsession with Ratchet and Clank games. I’m pretty sure because under all the sensible humor and Monty Python-esque science fiction, there’s some genuinely stellar gameplay under there. As memorable as the autochthonous apotheosis in the series goes, Going Commando takes the Platforming genre and merges it seamlessly with the elements seen more prevalently in a role-playing game. For 2003, that was a pretty bold move and it paid off pretty well for Insomniac who, if you haven’t noticed, is still fu*king making Ratchet and Clank games. The ability to level up weapons as well as the replay value afforded by the mini-games there in simply took hold as one of the few must-have platform titles since Mario had been on the scene for a bit under a score by then.


9. Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan



There are games that you can import and end up blowing a lot of money on a rather terrible gaming experience. Ouendan is not one of those. Probably one of the few titles I’ve ravenously attempted to import after having a brief taste of it on a friend’s DS at the time, I still carry it with me to this day. Not only is the game accessible and easy to understand, I’m firmly convinced that the kick ass soundtrack easily supplants the OST of the Americanized version of the game: Elite Beat Agents. Since I’ve always loved seeing how different cultures approach games, particularly the Japanese, this game was an introduction to a love affair that’s only been rivaled so far by the game’s sequel. Notable as the Japanese are for certain wackiness in their games, each song has an individualized story that the Ouendan must arrive on the scene and help the main character through. Few games will make me shell out the money to import and in the last ten years, this and it’s sequel were the only two.


8. Metroid Fusion



Samus Aran taught me that girls, under their soft, pink exteriors possess the hearts of badasses, provided of course they are raised by the Chozo. Metroid Fusion taught me that, despite the awesome Metroid Prime possessed being the first 3D Metroid title, Metroid was still first and foremost a 2D side-scrolling franchise and a fantastic one at that. From the moment you dock on the station to the X parasite forming the dastardly SA-X to hunt you down, the game consistently remain fun throughout. Never feeling like a rehash or just something done for the sake of slapping the Metroid name on it, Fusion stands as one of the last great Gameboy Advance titles.

7. Geometry Wars 2



While the first Geometry Wars proved to be the must-play title when it was released, Geometry Wars 2 shattered it by improving all the qualities of the original exponentially. Abandoning the singular retro for the sake of rebuilding the game from the ground up, there is a significant improvement to the mechanics without it feeling like Bizarre Creations was trying to reinvent the wheel. Complete with six modes instead of the original two of the game’s predecessor, there is the constantly one reason or another to go back and play the game. Most importantly though is the persistent high score board for each game mode, glaringly present every single time you play, reminding you of where you stand amongst your friends. I guarantee a fair share of the people who will read this list will own GW2 and even more will have at least tried it once, coaxed into it by an excited friend.

6. God of War: Chains of Olympus



If someone told me that a God of War title would not only be made for the PSP, but actually had the potential to be well done, I would’ve slapped them in the face and sicked the dogs on them (or the bees, or the dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you). Thankfully, the remarkable fact is that the game does exist and not only is it well done; it is kittens-in-a-trebuchet fun. The controls are tight and perfect just like anything that’s fun in life should be and the story overall drags you back in. While not the longest of the God of War titles, it certainly kept vehement Kratos fans busy for a while and still sticks out in my mind as one of the better in the series. Granted, this isn’t saying much as all three major titles in the franchise have been Wookiee-tearing-your-goddamn-arms-off incredible and anyone who disagrees should have a word with Kratos. Thanks.

5. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty



Probably one of the best games of its day if for no other reason than the sheer fact that it is exactly, in most respects, like the original. A prime example of a postmodern game in that, “postmodernism refers to a cultural, intellectual, or artistic state lacking a clear central hierarchy or organizing principle and embodying extreme complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity, interconnectedness or interreferentiality, in a way that is often indistinguishable from a parody of itself. It has given rise to charges of fraudulence.” Essentially, the game forces you to play the events of Metal Gear Solid because Hideo Kojima, in his infinite artistic wisdom, believes that is what equated to a sequel in his mind. Since many gamers took it with critically high praise, there is still a large divergence in the community as to whether or not this game is basically a middle-finger from Hideo Kojima to gamers everywhere.

4. Grand Theft Auto III



Not the best game ever created as far as narrative goes, this was when Grand Theft Auto games were still essentially light-hearted romps with the occasional bouts of ultra-violence on the part of the player. Being one of the first games to create a three-dimensional sandbox world where, upon completion of the introduction, players are able to run wild there is still a significant amount of content to see here even to this day. As far as the lack of noir style that many gangster titles have been synonymous with over the years, the GTA series has never taken itself all too seriously which is one of the qualities that keeps it at its very basic level a damn fun time.

3. Halo



Not Halo 2, which had an incomplete ending. Not Halo 3, which while splendid felt as though something was missing. Not ODST which had that slick, cool jazz feeling to it. The original, unabated Halo. While the game didn’t descend from heaven in the way many fanboys would have you believe, it is still amazing in that it showed gamers things they hadn’t seen before. The ability to carry two weapons instead of lugging ten machine guns, a shotgun and a rocket launcher or two across a map was a change of pace in that choosing what weapon you were using actually began to matter. Additionally, a sassy AI which has been reproduced more times doing lascivious things across the internet is an image all too deeply burned into my memory. But think of a game which has had as much machinima made about it, had as fan-damn-tastic multiplayer and become a franchise that has more than once kept Microsoft’s consoles above water and all answers still lead back to Halo.

2. Eternal Darkness



Dear Silicon Knights,

Stop screwing around with this Too Human bullsh*t and get to work on a next-gen Eternal Darkness!

Love,
Drew

1. Portal



Everything in the Orange Box is an incredibly stellar buy and if you didn’t purchase it in the past decade, you’re not exactly swinging any home runs in the awesome department. As everyone who has played it is aware, Portal is not exactly capable of standing up to say, Dragon Age: Origins regarding length of gameplay. But for what you get, it is a succinctly crafted package that never once leaves you wondering what is going on or wandering helplessly until you bump into an invisible wall. Portal is a complete gaming experience that can be sat down and played by anyone in about three to six hours and that is what makes it so great. Being a classic example of why shorter games are fun, it delivers exactly what it promises to while staying within a relative length, never overstaying its welcome. Being a puzzle title, I have a natural affinity for it, but as a game it otherwise stands head and shoulders above the rest of it’s contemporaries as far as I’m concerned. Now if I could just see a sequel before this decade ends, that would be pretty good…unless that gets in the way of the next Half-Life, in which case, get back to work Gabe! 
Posted by AgentJ

Fascinating list

Edited by Meowayne

Not a bad list at all. Some questionable choices, but very little duh in there. 
 
Its convenient that there was a thread identical to this not long ago, so I can just put that list here! 
 

 

My ten "games of the decade".

10. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

I don't feel quite comfortable including this, as it is still very fresh in my mind. But there are very few games in the past ten years (all included in this list) that did "video game storytelling" so well and so right, offering a narrative that is not only well written, but also very well told interactively(!), engaging the player. After Portal, this is certainly the best written and most well-crafted story this console generation, so it should deserve this spot.

9. Half-Life 2

If you think about this, Half-Life 2 is pretty mediocre for a first-person action title; it only has "good" gameplay with "good" writing and "nice" interactive storytelling and player engagement. However, this still makes it about four thousand times better than any other action title in the last ten years.

8. Wii Sports Resort

Wii Sports Resort might just be the perfect videogame.

7. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Objectively, this title doesn't deserve a spot in this list, because If I'm really honest, it is not that much better than most of what we see this gen, and the videogame storytelling is very weak (the movie storytelling is quite excellent though). But it is simply incredible what this game felt like back in the day. Not necessarily worth going back to, but still one of the few games that impressed me emotionally.

6. Final Fantasy IX

For me the weakest of the PSX Final Fantasies, but it's the only one released in this decade, and still better than every (J)RPG that came after.

5. Braid

There is potential in Braid that could have upped its position - mainly the fact that exposition and interaction were too much divided, to much set apart from one another. Still one of the best games I have ever played, and it has the second best ending of every videogame 2000 - 2009.

4. World of Goo

There are games that only after you've beat them you come to realize what a brilliant experience it has been. World of Goo isn't one of them. It is adorable, clever, atmospheric and very intelligent in its storytelling from the first to the last minute, and you will fall in love with it the moment you start.

3. Portal

Portal is perfect. A showcase of how to create video game worlds, characters, stories and interaction. A brilliant idea set to brilliant gameplay mechanics embedded in brilliant writing. If you need one game to restore your faith in the medium, this is it.

2. Shadow of the Colossus

A breathtaking piece of art from start to finish. Few games have perfected the concept of "Audiovisual interactive experience" as much as Shadow of the Colossus.

1. Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill 2 features horrible writing and voice acting on top of clunky gameplay mechanics. But that doesn't matter. In Silent Hill 2, every room - no, every frame even is part of the larger picture and serves the telling of the story that will stay with you. What Team Silent did in terms of covert, interactive, visual storytelling is absolutely remarkable and has not been recreated in this quality since.

Posted by XxBarretxX

cansomeone explain to me in a PM how to make a list response like @Meowayne:

Posted by GunstarRed

Why Going Commando over Up your arsenal or a Crack in time?... I absolutely adore all the Ratchet & Clank games but cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would place it higher than other games in the series. 
 

Posted by ArbitraryWater

This is perhaps the weirdest Game of the Decade list I have ever seen. Take that as a compliment.

Posted by AndrewG009
@marioncobretti: I suppose it's the nostalgia I have of the game playing in favor of it. Back when I was at military school in the barrens of Wisconsin, my roommate and I would play it endlessly on the weekends. Even today,  we still hang out and play through it occasionally. Memories weigh more than opinionated quality in some instances, but the entire series is nonetheless amazing. 
 
@ArbitraryWater: I will. Thanks.
Posted by Captain_Insano

Strange list. Not one that I agree with but cool that it is so unique.

Posted by JJOR64

I never got the chance to play through Eternal Darkness.  I really want to though.  It would be awesome if they ported it to Wii.

Posted by rjayb89
Posted by Emandudeguyperson

Outstanding list.