The People's Game of the Decade

Read this blog post for context.

Reminder of scoring system used:

No Caption Provided

Format:

#[Rank] ['(T)' if tied with another game] - [Game Name (including version/expansions)]

Total Points: [total points across every list used using the above points/rank]

Highest Position: [highest spot game appeared on anyone's list] ([number of times it appeared at that position if more than once])

Example:

#125(T) - Street Fighter IV (Super, Arcade Edition, & Ultra)

Total Points: 23

Highest Position: 6th

List items

  • #100 - Super Meat Boy

    Total Points: 30

    Highest Position: 2nd

    "Difficult games aren’t only hard to play, they’re hard to make correctly. Frustrating is not the same as fun, and if a game is too challenging it could deter players that would otherwise be happy customers. Super Meat Boy is the perfect example of a game that makes difficulty fun. It’s one of the best-feeling platformers on the market, with fluid and tight controls that combine with good level design to make the player feel as though the only thing standing between themselves and victory is their own skill."

    -Sam Carpenter, The Young Folks'

    "It’s hard as hell to complete these levels, and no matter how punishing things may seem in the moment, the game’s ultimate celebration of that effort is what makes it so fulfilling."

    -Steven Scaife, Slant

    "The joy of this game certainly stems from its challenges, but its greatest trick is the way that it keeps convincing you that one more try will finally be enough to catch that carrot it constantly dangles in front of you over a pit of fire and spikes."

    -Matthew Byrd, Den of Geek

    [Devour: this is the game that taught me how to play with a fightstick because that's all I could use to play it when I broke my right thumb.]

  • #99 - Dragon's Dogma (including Dark Arisen)

    Total Points: 30

    Highest Position: 1st

    "Dragon's Dogma is what western open-world RPGs like The Witcher 3 and Skyrim look like in another dimension, and it may be a better dimension than the one we live in."

    -Connor Sheridan, GamesRadar+

    "DD has its' flaws and fair detractors, but love is blind (as proven by the affection system in game) and it really connected with me on a level a game hasn't since I was a kid. The combat, the dynamic nature of the world, the general Berserk-esque aesthetic, the super weird story and twists."

    -Slag, Giant Bomb user

    "The wind is pushing me

    Into the clouds again

    I feel the blood in my veins

    Time is running free

    I feel like letting go

    Just like the Dangan!"

    -Into Free ~Dangan by B'z

    [Devour: Austin Walker would be proud.]

  • #98 - Mario Kart 8 (including Deluxe)

    Total Points: 31

    Highest Position: 9th

    "Best played with friends but offering a good challenge at the 200cc difficulty level, [Mario Kart 8] is the ultimate party game."

    -John Saavedra, Den of Geek

    [Devour: Mario Kart 8 is the only game whose top position on anyone's list was below 7th.]

  • #96(T) - Superhot & Superhot VR

    Total Points: 31

    Highest Position: 4th

    "Superhot’s shootouts make its case better than its narrative layers ever could. Its methodical take on shooter combat forces you to linger on the consequences of your actions without saying a word. And that’s all it needed to be."

    -Suriel Vazquez, Paste

    "SUPERHOT is like a Matrix fight scene where you are simultaneously choreographer and lead actor."

    -Scott Tailford, WhatCulture

    "Superhot wasn’t made for VR, but it makes the transition so seamlessly that it’s now one of the go-to games to demonstrate virtual reality’s capabilities."

    -Simone de Rochefort, Polygon

    "Super. Hot. Super. Hot. Super. Hot."

    -Superhot

  • #96(T) - The Last Guardian

    Total Points: 31

    Highest Position: 4th

    "It is one-of-a-kind; it is about the unspoken power of loyalty, determination, and caring. Everyone should play The Last Guardian."

    -Steve Gaynor, Fullbright

    "The Last Guardian is a poignant reminder of our dependence upon nature and other species."

    -Garrett Martin, Paste

  • #95 - Fez

    Total Points: 32

    Highest Position: 2nd

    "[Fez's] trick is very simple, but has deep implications. It defines everything about the game. It constantly changes the way you think. Playing the game, you perform this trick all the time, and yet every time you do it you still do a little internal gasp as it reorders your perceptions. It's impossible, but it's real. It's magic."

    -Oli Welsh, Eurogamer

    "A combinations of cool perspective based platforming puzzles and layers of mysteries to unravel. It has a ton of memorable moments, and is one of the prettiest best pixel art games of the decade."

    -TheMasterDS, Giant Bomb user

    [Devour: I like the part where you jump and spin, but not where the game becomes Myst.]

  • #94 - Devil May Cry 5

    Total Points: 32

    Highest Position: 1st

    "It's buttery smooth, frenetic, and a reminder that sometimes all you need is to smack some monsters around. "

    -Brittany Vincent, Thrillist

    "The greatest action game of all time." - TechnoSyndrome, Giant Bomb user

    "Hilarious, ridiculous, incredibly fun.

    So it is written."

    -Lazyaza, Giant Bomb user

    [Devour: Pull my Devil Trigger.]

  • #93 - Bayonetta 2

    Total Points: 33

    Highest Position: 7th

    "It’s impossible not to feel cool while playing this game. Lead character Bayonetta is a captivating badass, and her variety of witchcraft attacks never gets old."

    -Chelsea Stark, Polygon

    "Combat feels like a bullet-and-sword ballet as Bayonetta dances around the battlefield, interspersed with eye candy like the Umbra witch's demon hair transformations and charming dialogue. It's a nonstop thrill ride with action oozing out of every pore, and a great example of a female character who doesn’t ever need a man’s assistance to come out on top."

    -Brittany Vincent, Thrillist

  • #92 - Return of the Obra Dinn

    Total Points: 33

    Highest Position: 6th

    "It’s a delightfully complex, chronologically fragmented puzzle box that demands intellectual focus and player imagination. It’s a clever whodunit that’s best played with a handy notebook, in which its fabulously convoluted secrets can be recorded and unraveled."

    -Simone de Rochefort, Polygon

    "[An] intellectually curious and singular creation, the type of experience that highlights the true power of the interactive medium."

    -Josh West, GamesRadar+

    "Return of the Obra Dinn reminds me of geometry, with all its theorems and proofs, where the goal is to figure out the relationship between all the figures and elements of the equation until a conclusion can be drawn. Often it requires holding several pieces of partial information in suspension, following the trail of thought until even just one tiny, solid sliver of detail unlocks a key to the whole cypher. The tension is addicting, each victory a triumph no matter how small…It’s like a game of murder sudoku, with a stylish, almost swashbuckling, flair."

    -Holly Green, Paste

  • #91 - Cuphead

    Total Points: 34

    Highest Position: 7th

    "As difficult as [Cuphead is,] the game rarely feels capricious. You’ll usually understand what you have to do, and the struggle is just being able to pull it off. As frustrating as it can be to fight the same enemy two dozen times before finally winning, it only makes the satisfaction of pulling it off that much more powerful."

    -Garrett Martin, Paste

    "Cuphead's 1930s animation-inspired art style is extraordinary, an early Walt Disney fever dream that looks unlike anything else released this decade."

    -Bernard Boo, Den of Geek

    "Never will cease to amaze me as to what is now possible to make in games today."

    -Slag, Giant Bomb user

  • #89(T) - Terraria

    Total Points: 35

    Highest Position: 1st

    "I’m willing to bet plenty of people reading this wrote Terraria off as nothing more than “2D Minecraft” years ago, but it’s so much more than that. While it’s not an unfair comparison outright, Terraria more than distinguishes itself with a copious amount of RPG elements, intense boss fights, and loads of customization options to flex your personal playstyle on every new world. Couple that with some top-notch developer support that has consistently added new content since release, and Terraria deserves to stand tall all on its own."

    -IGN

    [Devour: This is the only game with only a quote from a website instead of writers or users because everyone who had it in their lists didn't write about it.]

  • #89(T) - Fallout 4

    Total Points: 35

    Highest Position: 1st

    "While it doesn't exactly top its predecessor as an all-time great game, Fallout 4 gets most of Fallout 3's innovations right, and has a twisting, entertaining story to boot."

    -John Saavedra, Den of Geek

    "With a better crafting system, more characters to interact with, the introduction of settlements, and hundreds of quests and side quests to jump into, Fallout 4 proved to be a solid entry for one of gaming's most beloved franchises."

    -Ozzie Mejia, ShackNews

    "My top game of the decade, I keep coming back to it, and I can't get enough of it."

    -Zubatov, Giant Bomb user

  • #88 - Deus Ex: Human Revolution

    Total Points: 36

    Highest Position: 3rd

    "Like the very best sci-fi, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is about ethics and consequences; this is a game that asks what it is to be human."

    -Ryan Aston, Slant

    [Devour: I would complain about not having more quotes for Deus Ex, but I didn't ask for this.]

  • #87 - Alan Wake

    Total Points: 36

    Highest Position: 1st

    "Remedy’s inspired homage to Twin Peaks and The Twilight Zone gets the pacing and presentation of a TV show just right. Its core metafictional concept (writer Alan Wake wars with his own inner darkness in a world created by his words) is bolstered by fantastic atmosphere, memorable secondary characters and the cliffhanger twists of a great TV mystery."

    -Garrett Martin, Paste

  • #86 - Spec Ops: The Line

    Total Points: 37

    Highest Position: 4th

    "In Spec Ops: The Line the real cowards are the players, content to ignore real wars for false ones, spending their money on yearly installments of war games that aim to entertain rather than inform, to dull rather than comment on any aspect of reality. We tell ourselves we want to honor the troops, but what Spec Ops: The Line makes so clear is that our interest isn’t in any sort of reality at all. We just want an escape from the dangers of mundanity, no matter what the cost."

    -Richard Clark, Paste

    "Spec Ops: The Line never permits players to rest easily in the distance or abstraction of a long-range war or the novelty of a video game. Players can only focus on the beauty of a blood-orange sandstorm for so long before it dissipates, revealing the gruesome consequences of your violence within it."

    -Aaron Riccio, Slant

    "Man the story in this one goes some places and it has my respect for that. Just amazed this thing exists. Even more stunned it's in the Spec Ops franchise of all things."

    -Slag, Giant Bomb user

    [Devour: Do you feel like a hero yet?]

  • #84(T) - Inside

    Total Points: 37

    Highest Position: 3rd

    "Inside is simple and devastating, gradually warping into something more complex and stranger still."

    -Josh West, GamesRadar+

    "Immaculately authored and coiffured by six long years of development, Inside has some of the most memorable moments that the genre has yet seen. The game may only have a few tricks in its repertoire, but its success at those is difficult to overstate."

    -Steven Wright, Slant

    "With minimal colour, no tutorials and no dialogue, Inside is happy to let you figure things out for yourself, but it’s so brilliantly put together that doing so is never demoralising – even if the ending will leave you with more questions than answers."

    -Matt Tate, Stuff

  • #84(T) - Divinity: Original Sin II

    Total Points: 37

    Highest Position: 3rd

    "Overflowing with dense RPG systems and mechanics, bursting to the seams with a plethora of choices that all led to meaningful consequences, defined by witty and sharp writing that really sold the world and the characters living in it, and packed full of content that could keep you busy for dozens upon dozens of hours."

    -Shubhankar Parijat, GamingBolt

    " The entire adventure is wonderfully written and voiced, including all the bizarre animals you meet along the way ... so long as you have the requisite skills, of course."

    -Russ Frushtick, Polygon

    "The idea of playing a videogame (sic) D&D co-op always seemed like a theoretical impossible idea to me. To basically have it realized and have 3 ppl to play with was such an incredible thing"

    -Slag, Giant Bomb user

  • #83 - Night in the Woods

    Total Points: 37

    Highest Position: 2nd

    "While a lot of games in the 2010’s tugged at our heartstrings, it was this game that drilled down to the extremely real sensation of feeling trapped in a world ravaged by a generation prior to our own and unsure of how to move forward in that world. Night in the Woods doesn’t have an answer to that conflict, instead being what I’ve called it before: a comforting hug reminding you that you’re not alone in this mess of a world – we have each other."

    -Travis Hymas, The Young Folks'

    "The genius of Night in the Woods is that it grounds its heavy themes not in the worn down characters of Raymond Carver, but in the queer anarchist punks of its lead character’s generation. The game is a rare look at characters who balance all of the burdens above with a love for retro videogames (sic) and band practice and drinking in the woods while some blowhard from high school plays acoustic guitar."

    -Salvatore Pane, Paste

    "I grew up in a Rust Belt city and a lot of the post-industrial decay of Possum Springs is depressingly familiar. I don't know about the ending being the greatest, but the characters are the real draw here."

    -Luneshot, Giant Bomb user

  • #82 - Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

    Total Points: 38

    Highest Position: 6th

    "Uncharted 4 isn’t as revelatory as its predecessors were when they redefined the action-adventure genre on the PS3, but it’s a game that’s polished to an ungodly extent and puts story first, boasting a cast of characters that feel like real people."

    -Bernard Boo, Den of Geek

    "Naughty Dog’s finest achievement was in making Uncharted’s story really sing, where previous games have languished in absurd stakes and ridiculous antagonists. The studio clearly learned a lot from The Last of Us and used that human element to tell the final Uncharted story, which is easily the most emotionally resonant (and fun) tale in the series."

    -Jordan Oloman, Green Man Gaming

    "From start to finish, Uncharted 4 is everything I could've asked for in a conclusion to Nathan Drake's story. The action parts are fun, but it's the quiet, character moments where the game truly shines."

    -Marino, Giant Bomb moderator

  • #81 - Death Stranding

    Total Points: 39

    Highest Position: 5th

    "[Death Stranding] feels suspiciously like a mixtape of the 2010's in video games and culture."

    -Tim Rogers, Kotaku

    "[Death Stranding] is astounding in its scope and in its ambitions, weaving apocalyptic sci-fi tropes with creepy ghosts and a tale of conspiracy, while creating interactive drama from relatively simple activities."

    -Colin Campbell, Polygon

    "Death Stranding is an admirable experiment for big-budget game design, playing like one long, bizarre, and startlingly persuasive argument that the journey is fulfilling in its own right."

    -Steven Scaife, Slant

  • #80 - League of Legends

    Total Points: 40

    Highest Position: 1st

    "League checks all the boxes for me as game of the decade: Super popular, vibrant esports scene, and fun as hell."

    -Eric Berger, Ars Technica

    "Not many games can claim to be an entire industry in and of themselves, but League of Legends can. This game was technically released in 2009, but it's a living, breathing game and it's hard to argue it didn't dominate in this decade."

    -Mark Serrels, CNET

    "Riot Games also, like it or not, changed the video game landscape with its free-to-play, live service model for League of Legends that is still going strong to this day."

    -Logan Moore, DualShockers

    [Devour: It came out in 2009, but if Early Access was a thing back then, it would have been it. Can you even count that as the same game, the one that you bought at retail in a box?]

  • #79 - Rainbow Six Siege

    Total Points: 41

    Highest Position: 2nd

    "Destroying a target by blowing the ground out from under them will never get old."

    -Scott Tailford, WhatCulture

    "It is one of the most satisfying and distinct shooters on the market, and thanks to its continued support, Rainbow Six Siege has become one of the best shooters this decade."

    -Michael Ruiz, DualShockers

    "From the balanced tactical gameplay to the destructible environments, the game is calibrated perfectly and breathes new life into the Rainbow Six franchise in a creative, clever way."

    -Bernard Boo, Den of Geek

    "OpFor Eliminated. Mission Successful."

  • #78 - Dishonored

    Total Points: 43

    Highest Position: 4th (2)

    "Much like their 2017 gem Prey, Arkane Studios are the masters of restraint. Nothing exists in Dishonored that shouldn’t[...] It’s an artistic tale of politics and chaos, and one that’s damn fun to play, however you choose."

    -Joe Spagnoli, The Boar

    "While its narrative about betrayal and revenge is familiar, the game is enticing for the autonomy it offers players. Dishonored is very much a gamer’s game."

    -Jeremy Winslow, Slant

    [Devour: Blinking: the Game.]

  • #77 - Rainbow Six Siege

    Total Points: 43

    Highest Position: 2nd (2)

    "It’s a hardcore flight simulator and a hardcore engineering simulator and a decent little management game, all rolled into one. If humanity does actually get to Mars in the coming decades, I have no doubt that a significant portion of the team will have gotten started in this game."

    -Charlie Hall, Polygon

    "[Kerbal] was a phenomenal effort, one that showed the power of unconventional games that chose to do its own thing rather than tread old ground."

    -Ozzie Mejia, ShackNews

    "Help I've fallen and I keep falling."

    -Luneshot, Giant Bomb user

    "OH MY GOD! VINNY!!! YOU KILLED HIM!!!!"

    -Austin Walker, Waypoint/Vice

  • #76 - FTL: Faster Than Light

    Total Points: 44

    Highest Position: 4th

    "FTL is unmatched, for me, as a game about calmness amid the storm. It's so easy to get sucked in, flustered, worked up by a tricky skirmish - to forget you can just stop and literally pause, for a minute or a lifetime, to get your bearings and catch your breath. But if you can stay calm there is almost always a way out, and then when you do work your way through it you're back, floating, alone, at peace. You can take all the time in the world to just sit there and drink it all in, to revel in the emptiness, or you can dash on to the next point on the map and throw yourself through it again."

    -Chris Tapsell, EuroGamer

    "FTL: Faster Than Light is a relentless exercise in damage control."

    -Josh West, GamesRadar+

    "My favorite aspect of the outer space roguelike FTL is that it’s a story-generating engine. The many permutations of game-dictated events and your accumulated decisions allow for a rewarding variety of experience. Everyone I’ve talked to about FTL, regardless of whether they’ve “beaten” it, has wanted to walk me through their most nail-biting, heartbreaking, or holy-crap-that-was-lucky runs. The light story elements that are present in FTL are a distant shadow of the stories players generate through the game mechanics. That’s what finely-tuned game systems do: They let us author our own experiences."

    -J. P. Grant, Paste

    "Somehow you've died during the introduction training exercise. Feel free to try again but this doesn't bode well for your mission."

  • #75 - Super Mario 3D World

    Total Points: 44

    Highest Position: 4th (3)

    "Super Mario 3D World captures Mario games at their best, with its variety, memorable bosses (Meowser!), and perfect platforming..."

    -Chelsea Stark, Polygon

    "[Super Mario 3D World] perfectly captures the platforming bliss of the original games while adding a dash of 3D elegance that does not compromise the spirit of the title."

    -Matthew Byrd, Den of Geek

    "Super Mario 3D World is, without a doubt, one of the best Mario games ever made, and I would still buy a Wii U for this game alone."

    -Kuzpo, Giant Bomb user

    "Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat."

    -Patrick Klepek, Waypoint/Vice

  • #74 - Deadly Premonition

    Total Points: 44

    Highest Position: 1st

    "Deadly Premonition can best be described as an homage to Twin Peaks. Everything about the game is a love letter to the 1990s TV series."

    -Justin Carreiro, The Young Folks'

    "A quirky, heartwarming game with an attention to detail few games had at the time, despite having a budget a fraction the size of a triple a game."

    -TechnoSyndrome, Giant Bomb user

  • #73 - XCOM 2 (including War of the Chosen)

    Total Points: 46

    Highest Position: 4th

    "XCOM 2: War of the Chosen — released in 2017 — is the definitive modern version of the game. It adds interesting boss characters, allies, and an overarching narrative that’s the absolute best in the franchise’s history."

    -Charlie Hall, Polygon

    "Beyond its bold story, XCOM 2 offers more of the excellent strategy gameplay, but now with more procedurally generated areas. It's similar, but also totally different than Enemy Unknown and Firaxis should be hailed for opting not to rest on their laurels."

    -Ozzie Mejia, ShackNews

    "ANOTHER CULT CLASSIC BROUGHT TO MODERN DAY, XCOM2 MAKES IT TO THIS LIST DUE TO FIRAXIS STREAMLINING THE CORE GAMEPLAY OF A TACTICAL SQUAD RPG FOR A FASTER BUT NO LESS ENGAGING AND EXCITING FLOW"

    -toasterwarriorlunchbox, Giant Bomb user

  • #72 - Fire Emblem: Three Houses

    Total Points: 46

    Highest Position: 3rd

    "Fire Emblem: Awakening is perhaps the game that, ahem, reawakened the tactical role-playing franchise, but it is Fire Emblem: Three Houses that represents a masterful culmination of the series."

    -Petrana Radulovic, Polygon

    "With class consciousness as a narrative backdrop, Three Houses is less of a straight-forward story than an impressionistic look at a large crew of characters united by tradition, obligation, and the need to save society as they know it—maybe while reforming it. It’s a smart, charming, sometimes brutal experience, and one whose 80 hours length per house guarantees I’ll never fully experience it."

    - Garrett Martin, Paste

    "Three Houses, through its spectacular world-building and engaging simulation aspects, got me to care about its insanely huge cast of diverse characters more than Fire Emblem ever has."

    -MajorMitch, Giant Bomb user

  • #71 - Diablo III (including Reaper of Souls)

    Total Points: 46

    Highest Position: 2nd

    "No game has had quite the same journey as Diablo 3. Praised on release as the next evolution of dungeon crawlers, it was then hated for its real-money auction house. Finally, Diablo 3’s first expansion, Reaper of Souls, managed to transform the game from the controversial mess it had become into something great."

    -Austen Goslin, Polygon

    "Sure, there's amazing, multi-layered lore. And yeah, there's perfectly macabre levels. But Diablo is really all about the satisfaction of collecting a hoard of loot so large you need to open an interdimensional portal just to store it all."

    -Rachel Weber, GamesRadar+

    "EVEN WITH THE META BEING SUPER FUCKED, RELEASE DIABLO 3 HAD A CADENCE AND SPECTACLE THAT I CONSIDER A PARADIGM SHIFT FOR ACTION RPGS. IT ONLY GOT BETTER OVER TIME, AND I CONSIDER MODERN D3 TO BE THE GOLD STANDARD OF HOW AN ARPG SHOULD PLAY AND FEEL"

    -toasterwarriorlunchbox, Giant Bomb user

  • #70 - Resident Evil 2 Remake

    Total Points: 47

    Highest Position: 4th (2)

    "More than just a slick graphics update, this Resident Evil adventure felt more like playing a different game entirely: a challenging, terrifying, and wholly addictive experience that had you playing through multiple times to complete more scenarios"

    -Brittany Vincent, Thrillist

    "The peak of horror shooters and the RE franchise. Except for that one bit in 5 where Chris punches a rock."

    -Lazyaza, Giant Bomb user

    "If the 2010s were the decade that remakes and remasters became a standard practice, I can’t think of a better argument in their favor than Resident Evil 2. It gave such a big face lift to the original that it feels like a brand new, highly polished, modern game."

    -MajorMitch, Giant Bomb user

  • #69 - Batman: Arkham City

    Total Points: 48

    Highest Position: 4th

    "Marvelous interpretation of the Caped Crusader, stalking the Gotham night as the City is overrun by a menagerie of villains lead by a deliciously maniacal Joker. Beautifully atmospheric, underpinned by tremendous fisticuffs and an inventive Gotham labyrinth."

    -Tom Higgins, Telegraph

    "The brooding, gothic quality that oozed out of Arkham Asylum’s pores is expanded and shot through with a new revelation: Batman’s ominous metropolis is the true star of Rocksteady’s excellent franchise."

    -Kyle Lemmon, Slant

    "Arkham City is a damn good game, a must-have for any lifelong Batman fan such as me."

    -Kuzpo, Giant Bomb user

  • #68 - Into the Breach

    Total Points: 48

    Highest Position: 1st

    "As of today, I have played... 1891 hours of [Into the Breach]. It's my easy game of the decade, and I personally think is the best and most elegantly designed game... that I've ever played."

    -Danielle Riendeau, Fanbyte

    "In a flawless tactical game, mechas can be placed in the line of fire to protect a building, or they can be used to crush buildings for tactical advantage. In short, their largeness matters."

    -Clayton Ashley, Polygon

    "Into the Breach is as close to a “perfect” video game as I can imagine. One of its best traits is how it distills its ideas down to their purest essence; nothing is frivolous or wasted, and every move has clear and meaningful consequences."

    -MajorMitch, Giant Bomb user

    "Select one pilot to continue the fight in your next timeline."

  • #67 - Xenoblade Chronicles

    Total Points: 49

    Highest Position: 2nd

    "Monolith Soft’s ambitious epic is boundlessly beautiful, challenging, emotionally gripping, and most distinguishably of all, effortlessly transporting."

    -Mike LeChevallier, Slant

    "The genuinely diverse cast on show on the surface aren’t anything to write glowingly about. But it’s their interactions, their trust in one another and at times the simple banter they share with each other that gave this “main party” such a welcome levity of humanity and more importantly, reason to care. Both in their triumphs, but also in their own personal failure-come-redemptions."

    -Jordan Helm, Hardcore Gamer

    "From start to finish, Xenoblade Chronicles never lets up. The story is constantly wanting to move forward, but always gave me time to explore the massively amazing titan world at my own pace."

    -Kristin Swalley, Hardcore Gamer

    "It's Reyn Time"

    -Reyn, all the time

  • #66 - Binding of Isaac (Original, Rebirth, Afterbirth, etc.)

    Total Points: 49

    Highest Position: 2nd (2)

    "Everyone will likely have their opinions on Binding of Isaac's story or its… more undesirable content. But there's no denying that as an action-RPG roguelike, this is one of the better ones to release this decade."

    -Ozzie Mejia, ShackNews

    "The game is full of hopelessly dated memes and endless toilet humor.

    Look, I don’t love that this is my favorite game of the decade, but sometimes a game chooses you."

    -Aaron Zimmerman, Ars Technica"

    "Poop Poop Pee Poop."

    -Edmund McMillan, probably

  • #64(T) - Control

    Total Points: 50

    Highest Position: 3rd

    "The beauty in the Oldest House’s built-up and ever-changing Brutalist architecture is that everything can be broken down and torn out. Main character Jesse Faden has powers that allow her to telekinetically pick up and throw nearly anything in the area, which is a thrilling juxtaposition to the pristine, bold lines of the building."

    -Nicole Carpenter, Polygon

    "In Control, Remedy Entertainment was able to deliver a stunning action game that constantly works to twist expectation and bend genre convention, delivering something truly special in the process."

    -Josh West, GamesRadar+

    "Remedy has worked hard to unite the mysterious and the mundane since at least Alan Wake, and Control is an almost ideal distillation of that theme."

    -Garrett Martin, Paste

  • #64(T) - Pokemon Go

    Total Points: 50

    Highest Position: 3rd

    "Perhaps 'a distraction' is the perfect way to describe it. These days, no matter where you are or what you're doing, you tend to have your mobile on you and that means GO is only a loading screen away. Need an excuse to do some exercise? Go and play Pokémon GO. Need to have something to do while you're standing waiting for transport? Organise your Pokémon in Pokémon GO. Feeling awkward in the presence of someone you're not comfortable with? Whip out and talk about Pokémon GO - you know they're playing it, too. Importantly, the gameplay itself is good enough to make you want to keep on top of it, so loading it up so often never feels like a chore."

    -Ryan Craddock, NintendoLife

    "Pokemon Go didn't just usher in technology into people's lives in a way we hadn't seen, it popularised a brand new genre, and gave everyone a dose of Pokemon nostalgia right when the series needed it"

    -Alex Walker, Kotaku

    "Pokemon Go is the ultimate real-life walking sim."

    -Mark Serrels, CNET

  • #63 - Life is Strange

    Total Points: 50

    Highest Position: 3rd (2)

    "Where Life Is Strange transcends the sum of its parts is in its ability to tap into such a universal teenage need to be able to step back and take every decision, every word unsaid, every stupid argument with a loved one, every reckless act with a friend who’s a bad influence, everything about being a teenager that one regrets later, and rewind to take the unexamined path. Max Caulfield’s specific experience as a kid attending a fairly exclusive boarding school may not be universal, but the experience of being a teenager who still hasn’t figured out what kind of person she wants to be in the world yet is nigh-ubiquitous."

    -Justin Clark, Slant

    "More so than any other choice-based adventure game of its ilk, the decisions you make in Life Is Strange weigh heavy on you -- not only because you'll become invested in the game's likable cast of confused adolescents but how relatable the dilemmas are. Few games have tackled issues of sexuality, depression, drug abuse, and privilege as well as Life Is Strange."

    -John Saavedra, Den of Geek

    "Ready for the mosh pit, shaka brah."

    -Max

  • #62 - Crusader Kings II

    Total Points: 50

    Highest Position: 2nd

    "Its breadth of possibilities makes it one of the best story generators in all gaming, and it’ll be fascinating to see if the recently announced sequel can rule the next decade as harmoniously as its predecessor did this one."

    -Robert Zak, TechRadar

  • #61 - Bayonetta

    Total Points: 51

    Highest Position: 4th

    "Video game action rarely feels as smooth, satisfying, and strange as it does in Bayonetta."

    -Connor Sheridan, GamesRadar+

    "Bayonetta’s universe is one in which men are completely disempowered, impotent against a race of Amazonian women who rule the world. The clever subversion of the typically male-dominated action genre is complemented by stunningly deep, addictive, and rewarding action mechanics, many utilizing Bayonetta’s own hair as a weapon."

    -Ryan Aston, Slant

    "You ever get too exicted to play a game that you don't keep going? That's [the Bayonetta] series for me."

    -Slag, Giant Bomb user

    [Devour: same Slag, same. I bought Bayonetta 2 day one and haven't opened it yet.]

  • #60 - Dragon Quest XI (includes Switch version)

    Total Points: 51

    Highest Position: 3rd

    "[Dragon Quest XI's] pure JRPG elements blend well with its modern aesthetics and sensibilities to form an adventure that captures the genre’s very spirit, while also subverting some familiar tropes regarding the hero of legend that will surprise you. It’s a meticulously well-crafted nod to a time gone by as well as a look at what could be."

    -Matthew Byrd, Den of Geek

    "A throwback to how JRPGs used to be and boy is that nice to see in proper modern HD 3d. I'd love to play more of these. Maybe the rest of the world doesn't agree but I still think semi-linear turn based JRPGs make fun games today too."

    -Slag, Giant Bomb user

  • #59 - Rocket League

    Total Points: 52

    Highest Position: 7th (2)

    "Accessibility is an important factor in Rocket League’s success, with a dedicated player base that engages both casually and competitively."

    -Nicole Carpenter, Polygon

    "Once you start slamming shots home with explosions and crowd-cheers accompanying each blast; dribbling past opponents or drifting up the walls to catch an incoming shot, it's a sense of fist-pumping victory few sports titles ever nail."

    -Scott Tailford, WhatCulture

    "Rocket League has zero bullshit. You are a car, there is the ball, put it in the net. Have a boost meter while you’re at it."

    -Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica

  • #58 - Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

    Total Points: 52

    Highest Position: 2nd

    "Essentially an ever-expanding spiral of 'rock, paper, scissors' attacks and counter-attacks, you'll go from being smushed into the pavement, to deflecting several blows in quick succession, following up with a stupidly satisfying finishing move, before sheathing your blade and moving on."

    -Chris Tailford, WhatCulture

    "Sekiro isn’t just another Soulsborne game. It’s a high-octane action title that challenges you to master its more subtle mechanics while never taking its foot off the gas. It’s much closer to Ninja Gaiden Black and Devil May Cry than other FromSoftware titles, and it proves that there is so much more to this particular style of action RPG than a few design conventions."

    -Matthew Byrd, Den of Geek

    "[From Software] focused in on tight, responsive swordplay centered around parrying, and the result is quite possibly my favorite melee combat in any game I’ve played. Its boss fights are truly incredible gameplay moments that will stick with for a long time."

    -MajorMitch, Giant Bomb user

  • #57 - Horizon: Zero Dawn

    Total Points: 54

    Highest Position: 4th

    "Horizon is beautiful to look at, its setting is vivid and strikingly beautiful, its narrative is grand in scope and immaculate in its execution, and it plays host to an excellent combat system that, thanks to incredible and varied enemy design, never fails to be thrilling."

    -Shubhankar Parijat, GamingBolt

    "The world is genuinely stunning, a place that wants simply to be soaked in—observed and inhabited. It is our planet in miniature. It’s the globe shrunk down and captured in a videogame (sic) console. Sweep the in-game camera around a landscape and it’s almost possible to smell the air or feel the warmth of the sun."

    -Reid McCarter, AV Club

    "Young redheaded orphan Aloy and her kin are just as beautifully realized as the world around them, their believable and sympathetic characterization driving the narrative as Aloy discovers the dark reasons for the state of this world and attempts to find her place within it. As the narrative builds to an unusually affecting and optimistic conclusion, Horizon: Zero Dawn’s brand of post-apocalyptic sci-fi comes to feel like a necessary corrective to the troubles of our present day."

    -Ryan Aston, Slant

  • #55(T) - Starcraft II (includes all versions)

    Total Points: 54

    Highest Position: 1st

    "This is Blizzard at the height of its power, and it is glorious."

    -Rachel Weber, GamesRadar+

    "While the game's campaign should not be missed, it's really the sequel's improved multiplayer component that's solidified StarCraft II's place as one of the best of the decade. This is indeed a RTS masterpiece and every bit the sequel that fans had long hoped for."

    -Matthew Byrd, Den of Geek

    "StarCraft II's multiplayer dominated large parts of my decade, as I eagerly read patch notes, watched the pros, and spent hundreds of hours battling online. For someone who rarely plays multiplayer games at all, it’s hard to overstate how much of a mark StarCraft II left on me."

    -MajorMitch, Giant Bomb user

    "Hell, it's about time."

  • #55(T) - Saints Row: The Third

    Total Points: 54

    Highest Position: 1st

    "I’m hard pressed to call a game that allows you to control the size of your wiener “nuanced,” but here we are. Sure, what started as a response to Grand Theft Auto’s success turned into something much more interesting and, at times, progressive."

    -John Warren, Fanbyte

    "Grand Theft Auto may be the definitive experience for open-world destruction and chaos held together by an intriguing narrative thread, but Saints Row: The Third excelled at combining humor, exciting missions, and kooky character customization for a fun twist on the typical GTA model. "

    -Brittany Vincent, Thrillist

    "Saints Row 3 is just stupid and trashy and funny as fuck and I hope some day Volition can make something just as good if not better."

    -Lazyaza, Giant Bomb user

    "Strap it on"

  • #54 - Animal Crossing: New Leaf

    Total Points: 55

    Highest Position: 1st

    "New Leaf gave us the customization and control over our towns in ways never imagined. It serves as a feel-good game, a welcome escape from reality."

    -Julia Lee, Polygon

    "The nicest thing about Animal Crossing: New Leaf is—depending on your real-life schedule, your emotional wherewithal, your ego’s appetite—the game conforms. It will read you like a fortune-teller and uncannily predict your needs and desires. The game, for you, might score a 2 or a 10. Because, see, the thing about paradise is, it’s whatever you want it to be."

    -Jenn Frank, Paste

    "I put over 180 hours into New Leaf and I'm more than ready to do it all over again with New Horizons."

    -Marino, Giant Bomb moderator

    [Devour: March 20th cannot come fast enough.]

  • #53 - Prey

    Total Points: 55

    Highest Position: 1st (2)

    "I would argue 2017's Prey is one of the most criminally underrated games of this generation, and it pains me to think we may not get another one because of this."

    -Jez Corden, Windows Central

  • #52 - Spider-Man

    Total Points: 56

    Highest Position: 3rd (2)

    "It blends more than 50 years of Spider history together, molds it around a thrilling recreation of Spider-Man’s trademark motion and fighting styles, and puts you in control of the whole thing. All together that makes this one of the most mechanically, narratively, and nostalgically satisfying big budget games of the decade, and the best Spider-Man game yet."

    -Garrett Martin, Paste

    "[Insomniac] breathes new life into Peter Parker's familiar story with warm charm, inventive interpretation, and devastating relationships twists."

    -Leon Hurley, GamesRadar+

    "As breathtaking and awesomely kinetic as it feels for Spider-Man to swing through Manhattan before taking out bad guys in a wild death-defying mid-air dance, the game’s most daring feat is when the acrobatics take a sidestep to poignancy and humanity. The inherent coolness of being Spider-Man never overwhelms the portrayal of every character as human beings trying desperately to accept or transcend their problems, their sworn duty, even their mortality, and Peter Parker showing nearly infinite empathy in coping with his and their mistakes. Spider-Man, the webslinger, is cool. Spider-Man, friend of an entire city, is phenomenal."

    -Justin Clark, Slant

  • #51 - Monster Hunter: World (including Iceborne)

    Total Points: 57

    Highest Position: 1st

    "Monster Hunter: World takes everything great about the franchise and polishes it up, while sanding down the rough, archaic bits that have scared away newcomers."

    -Patrick Gill, Polygon

    " By removing barriers to entry and streamlining the compelling gameplay loop that drives the series – hunt, craft, hunt, craft – it brought Monster Hunter into the modern era without sacrificing what makes it special."

    -Austin Wood, GamesRadar+

    "Monster Hunter World has destroyed all other similar service-based RPGs for me."

    -Jez Corden, Windows Central

    [Devour: I would die for Meowscular Chef.]

  • #50 - Destiny 2

    Total Points: 58

    Highest Position: 2nd

    "Bungie nailed Destiny’s gunplay from the start, but it took months, if not years, for Destiny 2 to figure the rest out.

    More than two years after launch, Destiny 2 now looks the complete package, providing a steady stream of content and player-focused updates that increases the purity of Destiny’s mesmeric appeal of shoot-collect-upgrade."

    - Michael McWhertor, Polygon

    "Destiny 2 is both hauntingly reminiscent of its predecessor and superior in almost every way."

    -Austin Wood, GamesRadar+

    "Dog bottom."

    -Abby Russell, Giant Bomb

  • #49 - Kentucky Route Zero

    Total Points: 60

    Highest Position: 1st

    "Kentucky Route Zero felt like a guide through this weird decade, helping me understand the ways in which games were evolving away from rigid products into flowing, ongoing, malleable works of art. And similarly, its fictional worlds — ravaged by history, and yet oddly hopeful — showed me how to process our real world, which so often is both metaphorically and literally on fire."

    -Chris Plante, Polygon

    "Interdimensional Appalachian bureaucracy class struggle simulator anthology."

    -Brian David Gilbert, Polygon

    "It is one of the clearest and most substantial creative visions of the decade, a lens in which you might be able to see the shift in the state of play for the industry"

    -Josh West, GamesRadar+

  • #48 - The Walking Dead (Season 1)

    Total Points: 64

    Highest Position: 1st

    "The Walking Dead finished its first season with a dramatic high that left many players in a state of emotional turmoil."

    -Colin Campbell, Polygon

    "Has there ever been a more effective storytelling tool than "Clementine will remember that"? Through those four words, Telltale was able to realign moral compasses with relative ease."

    -Josh West, GamesRadar+

    "[The first season] will always serve as a reminder that in their prime, Telltale were the masters of the video game story."

    -joe423, Giant Bomb User

  • #46(T) - Destiny

    Total Points: 65

    Highest Position: 1st

    "On the 15th anniversary of the launch of the Sega Dreamcast, Destiny was Phantasy Star Online reborn"

    -Tim Rogers, Kotaku

    "Playing Destiny in the two years after it came out back in September 2014 was a punishing experience, but it was always a memorable one. And Destiny was at its most memorable when people came together to play in unintended ways. Things like the loot cave told the story Destiny so sorely missed."

    -Wesley Yin-Poole, Eurogamer

    "While Destiny started off a little aimless and shallow, even in the bad times its gunplay was so good, and its world was so intriguing, that players managed to find their own fun. It wasn't until the release of The Taken King that Destiny really made its mark. That's when everyone – including Bungie – realised Destiny's true power."

    -Austin Wood, GamesRadar+

    [Note: I did not combine Destiny 1 & 2 because the vast majority of lists had them separate. The few that talked about each game as a series gave equal points to both game.]

  • #46(T) - Fortnite

    Total Points: 65

    Highest Position: 1st

    "It's growing harder and harder to remember Fortnite's origins. Not just those early days before its battle royale mode launched when it was another game entirely, but even those early seasons and, as the weeks pass since its previous island setting was slurped into another dimension, bits of that too. Because change is the only constant in Fortnite, a game happy to knock down and rebuild everything it's made out of as quickly as a missile to one of its late-game towers, put up in seconds by players bunkering down for the next shootout."

    -Tom Phillips, Eurogamer

    "The easy way to talk about Fortnite Battle Royale is to simply gesture toward its elevated place in the culture. Fortnite clothes are in Target. Fortnite costumes are a staple of Halloween. Sports stars celebrate victories with Fortnite dance moves. Fortnite has turned livestreamers into household names."

    -Austen Goslin, Polygon

    "Fortnite changed the games industry. You can argue until blue in the face whether that's for better or for worse, but there's no denying that Epic Games' battle royale experiment has been transformative."

    -Josh West, GamesRadar+

    "I will say hearing them not shy away from Minecraft comparisons seems kind of dirty to me in the sense of a small development team [made a hit game] and her comes the guys who make the engine that powers every game ever going 'WE'RE GONNA MAKE A GAME LIKE THAT TOO'"-

    Jeff Gerstmann, Giant Bomb (2011)

  • #45 - DOTA 2

    Total Points: 67

    Highest Position: 1st (2)

    "It's insanely complex with a sharp learning curve. But if you know, then you know. In terms of depth and balance, Dota 2 is about as good as a competitive video game gets."

    -Mark Serrels, CNET

    "[N]othing eclipses the high of a great DOTA match. The balancing and viable combinations in this game is a sheer wonder to behold."

    -Slag, Giant Bomb user

  • #44 - Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

    Total Points: 68

    Highest Position: 1st

    "MGR has some of my favorite boss battles in gaming, complete with some of the most satisfying combat I've ever experienced in the genre. I love it, and hope, that somehow, some way, we get another one some day."

    -Jez Corden, Windows Central

    "MGR, HOWEVER, HAS ITS OWN STYLE AND GIMMICKS THAT TRULY ELEVATE IT AS A WONDER IN THE GENRE"

    -toasterwarriorlunchbox, Giant Bomb user

    "To this day, I can't tell how much of the story was trying to be Metal Gear serious, or if there was some amount of self-parody in there. "Nanomachines, son." It's just, it's perfect. Whenever I see people wondering if a Metal Gear game could work without Kojima at the helm, I just think they didn't play REVENGEANCE."

    -MooseyMcMan, Giant Bomb moderator

    "Memes. The DNA of the soul."

    -Monsoon

  • #43 - Celeste

    Total Points: 69

    Highest Position: 2nd

    "With its vibrant, charming pixel art and a nonjudgmental assist mode, Celeste brings a refreshing earnestness to an often nihilistic genre. Perhaps Celeste will be the precursor to a kinder, gentler era of masocore game design."

    -Emily Heller, Polygon

    "The story is wonderful, filled with lovable characters and a central, queer-coded message of self-acceptance and the acceptance of mental health issues."

    -Jade King, Trusted Reviews

    "Not only is it a fantastic platformer with plenty of juicy, challenging levels, it paints mental health issues in a way that makes them seem conquerable, and helped me realize that my own issues were something I could actually address instead of just deal with. Mental mountains are just as valid as physical ones, and both can be climbed."

    -Kellen Beck, Mashable

    *adorable blip bloops*

    -Madeline

  • #42 - Hollow Knight

    Total Points: 69

    Highest Position: 2nd (2)

    "Hollow Knight is a work of genius in every sense of the word."

    -Shubhankar Parijat, GamingBolt

    "While you start powerless, welding a single nail as a sword, the breadth and utility of new abilities earned through each challenging boss fight separate this from many other exploration games. Combat is precise, and Hollow Knight’s toughness has made many compare it favorably to Souls games."

    -Chelsea Stark, Polygon

    "Like the games that have influenced it, Hollow Knight is challenging and rewards you for carefully plotted boss runs and a whole lot of patience. Put in the time with this dark yet remarkably charming title and you won’t be disappointed."

    -Jade King, Trusted Reviews

    "..."

    -Bug Knight

  • #41 - Super Mario Maker 1 & 2

    Total Points: 70

    Highest Position: 3rd

    "While the Wii U GamePad has been much maligned over the years, it proved to be the perfect creation tool for constructing Mario stages."

    -Ozzie Mejia, ShackNews

    "This seemingly simple concept — a game in which you create, share and play custom Mario levels — turned into a viral sensation almost overnight, with players gleefully racing to beat the most creative and sadistically difficult levels they could find. The Super Mario Maker livestreaming scene became a hobby within itself, as thousands tuned in to watch Mario pros try to clear the most obscenely hard stages that the internet could invent."

    -Mike Andronico, Tom's Guide

    "The reason I include [Mario Maker] on this list is what it represents: this is the first time we've seen an fully sanctioned level creator of one of gaming's biggest mascots. And, in true Nintendo fashion, they made something as mundane as building stages joyful, quirky, and interactive."

    -Snoman Gaming

    "GRRRrrrrrr WHAT WHAT!"

    -DMX Goomba

    [Note: I combined these games because nearly every other lists did. It was that, or having both games on this list with similar positions. Which is silly.

    Also fuck anyone who hates on Wii U gamepad, it was the best feeling controller of the last decade. Fight me.]

  • #40 - Bastion

    Total Points: 72

    Highest Position: 1st

    "The art, music, and use of voiced narration were unlike anything else I’d ever experienced in a game. The sheer cohesion of it all knocked me flat. The story unfurled in such a way as to retroactively validate just about any reading of it you could conjure up..."

    -Nathan Grayson, Kotaku

    "With nothing more than a few sentences here and there Supergiant breathed life into its world and told a story of conflict, community and tolerance. It whispered enough of that story to feel real but deliberately left gaps that kindled my imagination. Its refusal to tell you everything felt as unique as the mode by which Bastion told its story, and more importantly, it opened up a world beyond known tropes - no cops and robbers, no cowboys, no knights. Just a boy and his hammer."

    -Malindy Hetfeld, Eurogamer

    "Bastion finds itself on that ever-so-small list of games that left me short of breath and covered in goosebumps as the narrative conclusion drew nigh. What gives Bastion its potency isn’t its (admittedly simple) story or its (admittedly simple) gameplay, but its masterful synthesis of the two."

    -Brendan Keogh, Paste

    "I set my sail

    Fly, the wind will take me

    Back to my home

    Sweet home Lie on my back

    Clouds are making way for me

    I coming home

    Sweet home"

  • #39 - Hitman

    Total Points: 73

    Highest Position: 3rd (2)

    "[2016’s Hitman] was a return to everything that made Blood Money great, complete with a ton of interface and usability improvements."

    -Steve Gaynor, Fullbright

    "A clockwork Sandbox murder puzzle is a super fun thing it turns out once you know how to use it"

    -Slag, Giant Bomb user

    "Did you see what Shiekh Zanzibar did?! That guy's fucking CRAZY!!"

    -Fashion Show Guest after witnessing Shiek Zanzibar just bury an axe into a guard's head.

  • #38 - The Witness

    Total Points: 73

    Highest Position: 1st

    "Jonathan Blow’s game is an astounding achievement in game design and alternative storytelling, one that offers delight and frustration to its players."

    -Ross Miller, Polygon

    "And while this love letter to the power of knowledge and science might come off a tad smug in its hyper-rationalist worldview, the cumulative effect of its swaths of mind-melting riddles ultimately serves as a complete portrait of its creator himself: beguiling and enigmatic but thoroughly appealing nonetheless."

    -Steven Wright, Slant

    "The Witness takes what people remember about Myst 30 years ago, and drives them up a wall with challenging mystique, but y’know, more calmly than I just described."

    -Evan Griffin, The Young Folks'

    [Devour: You know I didn't tamper with the results because this game hasn't been mysteriously removed from this list.]

  • #37 - PUBG

    Total Points: 74

    Highest Position: 2nd (2)

    "[PUBG] is an adrenaline factory that makes the multiplayer shooter status quo look like the trashed-up laser tag place that someone opened up in a closed-down furniture store"

    -Jeff Gerstmann, Giant Bomb

    "The extreme pressure of Battlegrounds elevates the multiplayer shooter to a previously unknown level of tension and catharsis, and spawned the entire battle royale genre that quickly took over all of gaming."

    -Garrett Martin, Paste

    "Fortnite definitely won the test of time and the speed and pacing means Apex is probably my favourite battle royale out of the traditional shooters. But all the best experiences early on, through all the losses, came through PUBG."

    -Alex Walker, Kotaku

    "Winner Winner Chicken Dinner"

  • #36 - Outer Wilds

    Total Points: 76

    Highest Position: 2nd

    "Outer Wilds is a challenging scientific adventure, but also a place of wonder and beauty."

    -Colin Campbell, Polygon

    "The game is often confused with The Outer Worlds, Obsidian's recent, easygoing sci-fi satire. I find this ironic, as while Obsidian's game harkens back to the loot-sodden vistas of Fallout: New Vegas, a decade before, Outer Wilds feels like the one developers should spend the next 10 years learning from. If progression must be the rule, let's take this as our starting point."

    -Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, Eurogamer

    "Outer Wilds is about the search for truth; a pursuit which, at the end of this particular decade, feels more important than ever. Knowledge is power in this handcrafted cosmos, where the discovery and application of information represents the only viable path to progress." -Alex Avard, GamesRadar+

    [Devour: Let me tell you, it's hard to get good pull quotes when you don't want to know anything about this game going in.]

  • #35 - Hotline Miami

    Total Points: 79

    Highest Position: 1st

    "As a piece of acerbic, brutal criticism it is unparalleled, but as a result of it the conversation about violence in games - namely the fact that there is too much of it, and that it is, for whatever reason, still far too much fun - is over. Hotline Miami's parable is a masterwork, but it's also one I never want to play again."

    -Chris Tapsell, Eurogamer

    "Every room is a Rubik's Cube of violence, as you figure out the right moves you need to make so you can bash, shoot, and slice through grunts with mesmeric ease."

    -Ben Tyrer, GamesRadar+

    "Hotline Miami is a fever dream of violence and retro gaming, pulling together the tropes of the medium’s innocent infancy and turning them into something altogether darker. Jonatan Soderstrom and Dennis Wedin didn’t simply make a classic game; they burrowed their way into the deepest recesses of gaming’s unconscious, and the result feels like a nightmare you just had but only half-remember."

    -Calum Marsh, Slant

    "Question number one: Do you like hurting other people?"

  • #34 - XCOM: Enemy [Unknown/Within]

    Total Points: 80

    Highest Position: 2nd

    "XCOM: Enemy Unknown is the model for how to successfully reboot a legacy franchise. Firaxis Games navigated the pitfalls of nostalgia by retooling the X-COM brand entirely, taking the fundamental ideals of its namesake and overhauled everything around them. The result is a modern masterpiece of the turn-based strategy genre; Enemy Unknown set a new benchmark for strategy games that few have even come close to clearing in the years since its release."

    -Josh West, GamesRadar+

    "The rewarding sensation one receives after successfully commanding a squad out of a heated skirmish with strange intergalactic warriors is unparalleled in modern games. These tense battles eventually lead the player to actually form an emotional bond with your team members, which makes their inevitable demise that much more crushing"

    -Kyle Lemmon, Slant

    "The real achievement of Enemy Unknown is how it takes a niche and if we’re being honest, dorky turn-based-strategy and makes it cool. X-COM has the style, the verve and the sense of drama of something like Modern Warfare of The Last of Us. The animations, the use of cinematic camera angles, the way it introduces each enemy you encounter like a wrestler strutting to the ring. It has a splendid sense of occasion, and it makes you desperate to fight the good fight, no matter how much you’re going to get the shit kicked out of you along the way."

    -Rick Lane, bit-tech

    "Overwatch, aye-aye"

  • #33 - Gone Home

    Total Points: 80

    Highest Position: 1st

    "Gone Home prefers quiet contemplation over head-on action, a focus that marks how far game design has changed over the last decade."

    -Nicole Carpenter, Polygon

    "What appears to be the setup for a horror game is instead misdirection for a powerful coming-of-age story; Kaitlin’s house is indeed haunted, but by the sadness and longing of its inhabitants instead of the supernatural."

    -Ryan Aston, Slant

    "Will Wright once said, “games are not the right medium to tell stories…videogames (sic) are more about story possibilities.” Gone Home challenges such notions, not only by telling a wonderful story but by setting players free in the game world and trusting them to uncover it. By refusing to tell us what to do in the game, it communicates a self-confidence that most games lack. The result is an unforgettable story that’s intensely personal but universally powerful. To play Gone Home is to grow deeply invested in the lives of a family we’ll never know but in which we can all see different aspects of our own families and our own selves."

    -Drew Dixon, Paste

  • #32 - Civilization V (including expansions)

    Total Points: 81

    Highest Position: 1st

    "Civilization V set a whole new bar for this type of strategy game, one that Firaxis continues to aim for with each subsequent release."

    -Ozzie Mejia, ShackNews

    "Anyone who has played multiplayer Civ knows how enthralling it can get, how the hours in your evening can just melt away into nothingness."

    -Joe423, Giant Bomb User

    "The base Civilization V kicked off the decade, and then two excellent expansions continued to improve upon one of the best iterations of one of my favorite franchises. When all was said and done, Civ V proved to be a hearty, robust package with tons of smart tweaks to the classic formula, which made it easy to justify the dozens (hundreds?) of hours I spent playing it."

    -MajorMitch, Giant Bomb user

    “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”

    ― Mark Twain

  • #31 - Disco Elysium

    Total Points: 82

    Highest Position: 1st

    "If only every game could contain just a kernel of Disco Elysium's cerebral smarts."

    -Alex Avard, GamesRadar+

    "Disco Elysium couples this complex character creation with some of the smartest, funniest, and most incisive writing we’ve seen in gaming."

    -Rick Lane, bit-tech

    "Elysium Disc"

    -Google Translate when getting a list off of a Netherlands website.

  • #30 - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (including Wii U/3DS)

    Total Points: 84

    Highest Position: 1st

    "Nintendo’s latest violent ode to nostalgia might have more pure content than any other game we’ve seen this decade. It’s got this many characters, and that many stages, and all those other characters who pop up as trophies and spirits (whatever those are). Music? This baby’s got every song you’ve ever heard in a videogame squeezed up inside of it. If you get stressed out when faced with a decision, a fully unlocked Smash Bros. Ultimate character selection screen will probably turn your hair white. Of course a game isn’t good because there’s a lot of it—it’s good because it’s, you know, good."

    -Garrett Martin, Paste

    "Conventional logic says that a game as enormous as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate should be collapsing under its own weight like a dying star. It feels like the Mr. Creosote of video games, a title almost disgustingly distended with content."

    -Justin Clark, Slant

    "The game’s absurd roster of stars is simply shocking, but it's the way that Ultimate arguably perfects its already incredible controls and features that make it a damn good fighting game. This game proves that the Smash Bros. concept can really be so much more."

    -Matthew Byrd, Den of Geek

    "[Smash Ultimate] is a combination of so many of the Smash Brother"

    -Vinny "Vinesauce"

    "Everyone is Here!"

    -Sakurai, threatening us.

  • #29 - Journey

    Total Points: 88

    Highest Position: 5th (2)

    "To reduce Journey to its incredible component parts — the stunning vistas, the evocative orchestral score, the seamless and wordless integration of other human players as companions — is to miss the desert for the dunes. It is a brilliant gestalt, a transcendent fusion of game design disciplines that demonstrates the power of interactivity to move the spirit."

    -Samit Sarker, Polygon

    "Journey is a piece of art, combining a moving soundtrack with an emotional nuisance that doesn’t even need words.The concept is so simple but speaks volumes."

    -Vic Hood, TechRadar

    "If anyone questions the potency of games as an art medium, I still to this day direct them first to Journey. Not only because it’s accessible and objectively gorgeous to behold, but because Journey shows everything right and wrong about our presumptions of what games are capable of."

    -Jess Joho, Mashable

  • #28 - Nier

    Total Points: 89

    Highest Position: 2nd (4)

    "Not a lot of people played Nier, but those who saw past its rough edges became passionate evangelists, and its best ideas—about the power of games to change themselves, to subvert and toy with audience expectations and resist the urge to just be one thing—filtered outward."

    -Julie Muncy, WIRED

    "A masterclass in making the player feel like shit."

    -TechnoSyndrome, Giant Bomb user

    "Weiss, you dumbass! Start making sense, you rotten book, or you're gonna be sorry! Maybe I'll rip your pages out, one-by-one! Or maybe I'll put you in the goddamn furnace! How can someone with such a big, smart brain get hypnotized like a little bitch, huh?! "Oh, Shadowlord! I love you, Shadowlord! Come over here and give Weiss a big sloppy kiss, Shadowlord!" Now pull your head out of your goddamn ass and start fucking helping us!"

    -Kaine

  • #27 - Stardew Valley

    Total Points: 105

    Highest Position: 2nd

    "The game has a gentle “fuck capitalism” undertone that feels like a distillation of a certain millennial exhaustion." "While not revolutionary, Stardew Valley is a perfect gem of a farming and relationship sim."

    -Simone de Rochefort, Polygon

    "Stardew Valley is pure happiness distilled into an indie title that also happens to be a farming game."

    -Andy Golder, Buzzfeed

  • #26 - Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 5

    Total Points: 109

    Highest Position: 2nd

    "The Persona series finally grew up in 2017, transcending its roots as a maudlin supernatural-themed high school simulator to become an absorbing allegory about young men and women becoming painfully aware of their place in society."

    -Justin Clark, Slant

    "The visuals are as stylish as anything I've seen in a Japanese RPG and the turn-based battle system is smooth, refined and truly satisfying when you learn to master it."

    -Alasdair Duncan, Pedestrian TV

    "While there are a few nasty little scenes that undermine the game's messages, if you can look past them game is fantastic. It makes the dungeons more than simple mazes, actually making them engaging for me to play. Plus, it's fantastic to hang out in Tokyo, especially with all the music and style brought to bear here."

    -TheMasterDS, Giant Bomb user

    [Devour: Out of the 100 games on this list, this would be my choice. Don't get me wrong, there are parts about the game's story that make me positively furious, especially since none of them are getting fixed in Royale (#GiveMePlayableShiho), but everything else about the game is just so so good. And what could be more 2010's than a problematic favourite?]

  • #25 - Yakuza 0

    Total Points: 115

    Highest Position: 3rd (6)

    "The decade began with the Yakuza series’ future uncertain in the West. It ended with its future more bright than ever. Yakuza 0 encapsulates everything to love about the series complete with its most thrilling and touching story."

    -Edder, Giant Bomb User

    "Yakuza 0 is a thrilling crime drama with absolutely incredible characterisation that goes so many different places and drags so many different emotions out of you that it's incredibly hard to put it down until you've seen everything."

    -joe423, Giant Bomb User

    "There are very very few media properties that can seamlessly blend comedy and tragedy/high drama but yakuza tone switches effortlessly and organically."

    -Slag, Giant Bomb user

    "Fantastic drama, hilarious comedy, and a game I've felt the need to watch dozens of people react to so I can re-experience that first-time joy again."

    -TechnoSyndrome, Giant Bomb user

  • #24 - Overwatch

    Total Points: 116

    Highest Position: 3rd

    "Overwatch is cooperative deck-building dovetailing into competitive first-person shooter basketball action. Overwatch shows the power of diversity and flexibility both of game genre and team composition. It teaches playes to complement one another."

    -Tim Rogers, Kotaku

    "Inclusivity and positivity hide behind some intelligent, pared-down game choices and in doing so, Blizzard has spun an engaging fantasy around this idea that if we all just try, then that’s good enough. Maybe it doesn’t matter if I’m the best player, as long as I try to be better."

    -Nico Deyo, Paste

    "While it has stumbled when exploring different nationalities and cultures in the past, it’s hard to find a property as inclusive as Overwatch in the modern zeitgeist. Male, female and openly queer characters are a welcome sight, especially for a game in the AAA space."

    -Jade King, Trusted Reviews

    "Too HOT for you?!"

    -Me, spamming Torbjorn's voice line.

  • #23 - Titanfall 2

    Total Points: 120

    Highest Position: 1st (2)

    "Titanfall 2 is packed with great first-person shooter ideas. Players are bombarded with creativity from the start: fighting through a ‘video game level factory,’ using a stopwatch to control timelines, hopping across space planes in your very own giant robot."

    -Clayton Ashley, Polygon

    "Between its wildly inventive and impeccably designed single-player campaign, and its high-energy, effortlessly-impressive multiplayer offering, Titanfall 2 stands as a true giant of the generation."

    -Josh West, GamesRadar+

    "Titanfall 2 cuts out all the extraneous business that can plague modern day action games, resulting in one of the tightest, tautest, tensest first-person shooters in recent memory, with a solid helping of mind-bending mechanical tomfoolery on the side."

    -Garrett Martin, Paste

    "Press X to time travel."

  • #22 - Final Fantasy XIV (including expansions)

    Total Points: 132

    Highest Position: 1st (3)

    "From the ashes of the smoldering wreck that was the original Final Fantasy XIV, A Realm Reborn is a both a bold reconstruction and a return to basics. Every expansion Square Enix released for the game was a triumph over the last, creating a package that will keep new players busy for hundreds of hours. It’s a perfect celebration of the franchise."

    -Josh Warren, Fanbyte

    "Over the last four years, [Final Fantasy XIV] has seen the best content to ever be introduced, from the Gothic fantasy of Heavensward to the more traditional, colorful fantasy of Shadowbringers. The latter in particular has offered the best Final Fantasy story in over twenty years, containing a masterful villain you can somewhat sympathize with, and relatable themes."

    -Adam Beck, Hardcore Gamer

    [Devour: I finally hopped onto the FFXIV hype train last September and, just having played for a couple of months, I can already say this is the best MMO of the decade hands down. And I've played a *lot* of MMO's this decade (miss you Wildstar xoxo).

    Also, this game was very far down the list for most of the data collection process, which was disappointing. Then on the last day when I went through all the giant bomb lists I missed it surged up the list. It was actually pretty exciting to see!]

  • #21 - Super Mario Galaxy 2

    Total Points: 134

    Highest Position: 1st (2)

    "Super Mario Galaxy 2 is an absolute joyride, an exhibition of unbridled creativity and design ingenuity, bursting with gleeful charm and a love for the craft the way only Mario games can be."

    -Shubhankar Parijat, GamingBolt

    "Like the first one, Super Mario Galaxy 2 packed all of the charm and childlike wonder expected from a Mario game into an innovative and fitfully challenging platformer, with novel gravity effects and spherical levels creating the most fleshed out Mario universe yet."

    -Garrett Martin, Paste

    "The original Super Mario Galaxy was revolutionary, and full of intergalactic weirdness, but its sequel was the better game. Super Mario Galaxy 2 explodes with ideas and energy. It is a video game that just drowns you in joy."

    -Mark Serrels, CNET

    "Hey remember when they dropped the Galaxy part and just remade that level in SM64 and it was the best part of this game?"

    -Me, professional blowhard

  • #20 - Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

    Total Points: 142

    Highest Position: 1st

    "Hideo Kojima didn’t get to properly complete his swan song, and it shows. But The Phantom Pain is the most enjoyable Metal Gear to play, even with its sundry faults, mainly around story and multiplayer modes."

    -Michael McWhertor, Polygon

    "Despite these issues, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain features the finest distillment of Tactical Espionage Action of the entire series. When this game sings, it belts out incredible mission after incredible mission."

    -John Warren, Fanbyte

    "Where else could you lay down an inflatable version of yourself, electrocute a group of guards with an exposed telephone wire, balloon-lift a tank out your way and finish by flying a detachable rocket fist into your final target? Exactly."

    -Scott Tailford, WhatCulture

  • #19 - Spelunky HD

    Total Points: 143

    Highest Position: 1st (4)

    "[Spelunky] changed how I looked at video games [...] and I don't know a higher compliment than I can give than that."

    -Patrick Klepek, Professional Youtuber

    "It's routinely unfair, but it's always honest - every death is your own fault, the solution always clear. You start again immediately because you know how to do it this time, and you die again because the combination changed slightly this time."

    -Jon Hicks, Eurogamer

    "This uncompromising and darkly comedic 2D platformer has some of the most dynamic consequences you can fall prey to, or take advantage of once you learn the ropes."

    -Jed Pressgrove, Slant

    "I should never have angered that shopkeeper..."

  • #18 - Red Dead Redemption II

    Total Points: 145

    Highest Position: 1st

    Safe to say, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the weirdest, slowest, most confounding big-budget game of this decade — if not any decade.”

    -Chris Plante, Polygon

    "Every tree in Red Dead Redemption 2 feels like it's been hand planted, fertilised, and watered each day until it's exactly the right size, as ordained by the technical wizards at Rockstar."

    -Alex Avard, GamesRadar+

    "Frankly, Red Dead Redemption II – or should we say, Ultimate Wild West Simulator 2018 – is my personal favourite video game in all history."

    -Kuzpo, Giant Bomb user

  • #17 - Grand Theft Auto V (including Online)

    Total Points: 153

    Highest Position: 1st (2)

    "It’s GTA to the extreme- chaotic, bombastic, overflowing with mechanical and systemic depth, and covered in a shining coat of polish, all of which applies in equal measure to both, its equally sizeable single player and online components."

    -Shubhankar Parijat, Gamingbolt

    "Grand Theft Auto V is the game that just won’t die."

    -Logan Moore, DualShockers

    "Grand Theft Auto V is the day to Grand Theft Auto IV's night. Narratively, it's of the exact same caliber as Red Dead Redemption, and gameplay-wise, easily the most enjoyable and freedom-filled game in the modern open-world genre."

    -Kuzpo, Giant Bomb user

    [Devour: I might not like GTA, but I respect how much the modding community and GTO has made it a comedy factory of a game.]

  • #16 - Fallout: New Vegas

    Total Points: 158

    Highest Position: 1st (3)

    "The combat is janky, there are bugs galore, and the graphics haven’t held up. But the strength of the writing, and characters like Joshua Graham and Mr. House, make any struggle more than worth the patience."

    -Cass Marshall, Polygon

    "At its worst, it’s a buggy mess with some serious “gotta hear both sides” bullshit peppered in. At its best, it’s a funny, bizarre, and wildly entertaining gallup through the Wild West Wasteland."

    - John Warren, Fanbyte

    "Obsidian took Fallout 3 and made it better in every way. Bethesda should have learned something from this, unfortunately, they didn't."

    -sahest, Giant Bomb user

    "It was early in the morning when he rode into the town

    He came riding from the south side, slowly lookin' all around

    He's an outlaw loose and runnin, came a whisper from each lip

    And he's here to do some business with a big iron on his hip,

    Big iron on his hip"

    -Michael Martin Murphey

  • #15 - Super Mario Odyssey

    Total Points: 163

    Highest Position: 1st (2)

    "[The] travel-guide presentation of the in-game map suggests that Super Mario Odyssey aims to serve as a kind of vacation. The game’s collectible Power Moons reinforce this leisurely emphasis, as you’re as likely to get a reward from performing agile acrobatics as from paying close attention to that dog wandering along a sandy beach. This freedom elevates Super Mario Odyssey, making it not just a game, but a colorful, creative playground."

    -Aaron Riccio, Slant

    "Whether you’re rounding up sheep in the desert or bouncing off taxis among the kinda creepy humanoids that occupy New Donk City, Super Mario Odyssey is Nintendo at its inventive best."

    -Matt Tate, Stuff

    "Bicker about what makes up a “core” Mario game all you want. All I know is that Super Mario Odyssey is one of the two or three best games to ever have that lovable little guy’s name in the title."

    -Garrett Martin, Paste

    "It's time to jump up in the air

    Jump up, don't be scared

    Jump up and your cares will soar away

    And if the dark clouds start to swirl

    Don't fear, don't shed a tear 'cause

    I'll be your 1-Up girl"

    [Devour: Odyssey beating Galaxy 2 is proof there is still justice in this world.]

  • #14 - Red Dead Redemption

    Total Points: 176

    Highest Position: 1st

    "[...A] morality tale about the cycle of violence disguised as a Western shooter"

    -Andy Golder, Buzzfeed

    "[Red Dead Redemption] was one of [Rockstar's] most personal works yet; one which offered poignant ruminations on regret and retribution, while again raising the high bars we had come to expect from its open-world power fantasies"

    -Alex Avard, GamesRadar+

    "Far less limiting than GTA’s urban metropolises, which—because so much of those cities’ interior spaces were inaccessible—always felt constructed out of paper houses, Red Dead Redemption’s settings are fully, thrillingly alive, their functioning ecosystems, sudden dramatic occurrences, and operative economy all helping to create a sense of participating in a universe that operates independent of (rather than revolves around) you."

    -Nick Schager, Slant

  • #13 - DOOM (2016)

    Total Points: 184

    Highest Position: 1st

    "Doom recognizes the debt it owes to the past, and the reverence with which the original is held. And so it plays freely with self-referential jokes, while also extending the franchise into newly outrageous frontiers of bad taste."

    -Colin Campbell, Polygon

    "There’s something deeply sublime about the last kill in any given room in 2016’s DOOM. A moment where you feel your heart beating fast for the first time, only noticing it because the game has given you space to feel it, briefly. This repeats for hours and never overstays its welcome."

    -Josh Warren, Fanbyte

    "I had fallen out of love with first person shooters in the last 5 years or so, but Doom merged new gameplay mechanics with the trademark heavy metal style of the good old id Software in a way that captured my attention unlike any FPS in years."

    -Asif Khan, ShackNews

    "In the first age, in the first battle, when the shadows first lengthened, one stood. Burned by the embers of Armageddon, his soul blistered by the fires of Hell and tainted beyond ascension, he chose the path of perpetual torment. In his ravenous hatred he found no peace; and with boiling blood he scoured the Umbral Plains seeking vengeance against the dark lords who had wronged him. He wore the crown of the Night Sentinels, and those that tasted the bite of his sword named him... the Doom Slayer."

    -UAC REPORT FILE H8UM66S

    [Devour: March 20th cannot come fast enough.]

  • #12 - God of War (2018)

    Total Points: 224

    Highest Position: 2nd (2)

    "God of War’s scope and ambition are as impressive as its gorgeous presentation. This return to the PlayStation combat series took a raunchy franchise and turned it into a mature rumination about family."

    -Dave Tach, Polygon

    ""Don't be sorry. Be better." Kratos' stern advice could well have been the motto for Santa Monica's approach to rebooting one of gaming's most contentious icons."

    -Alex Avard, GamesRadar+

    "The water level recedes multiple times over the course of the game, each time exposing new islets and interconnecting pathways to existing ones, much as Kratos’s taciturn surface is gradually stripped away to reveal his deeper nature. There’s a double meaning to everything, especially the more visceral combat, which forces players to think about how to best engage foes, but about what they’re teaching their in-game son. This collection of mythic stories is made more relatable, not more mundane, through the lens of parenthood."

    - Aaron Riccio, Slant

    "Perhaps the most fascinating thing about Sony’s soft reboot of God Of War is that it wouldn’t have been nearly as effective if protagonist Kratos hadn’t been such an obnoxious sociopath in the earlier games."

    -GameCentral staff

    "Boy."

    - Kratos, God of War (2018)

  • #11 - Undertale

    Total Points: 229

    Highest Position: 1st (4)

    "Undertale is a special game, the likes of which come along only once in a great while. It’s a look into a parallel universe—one where videogames have realized a bit more of their potential than, say, the AAA industry has in our world. It’s a game that can make you laugh while teary-eyed, where both competing emotions are natural and genuine. It’s fun, it’s sweet; it’s an experience that will stay with you long after you’ve put the game away."

    -Bryce Duzan, Paste

    "Ideas are worth more than polygons, photorealism and marketing campaigns. Undertale is nothing but a bag of pixels cut with an ax, overturned on a huge black table and then reassembled in an unconventional way, with the most extravagant of aesthetic tastes."

    -Tommaso Todd Montagnoli, everyeye.it

    "Moments of sheer emotional honesty stud its cartoon exterior. Entertainment experiences so lush with feelings seldom exist in this world and, when they do, they often annoy persons less open to themselves. Undertale is perhaps the only game that can summarize this decade in which many teenagers decided that being good, open-minded, and compassionate was, in fact, pretty cool."

    -Tim Rogers, Kotaku

    "Despite everything, it's still you."

    [Devour: Undertale would be the other game on this list I'd pick for game of the decade, especially on days where thinking about Persona 5 just makes me angry.]

  • #10 - Minecraft

    Total Points: 231

    Highest Position: 1st (6)

    "When our descendants look back upon us and upon our time, they will see many images: of tyrants and cruelty, of waste and stupidity. But they will also see Minecraft, within which the next generation, perhaps, will begin to learn how to build a better world."

    -Colin Campbell, Polygon

    "Progression in Minecraft takes investment, patience, research and a reliance on the knowledge and efforts of others"

    -Richard Clark, Paste

    "One of the most played games in history is also one of the most written-about, so what more is there to say about Minecraft?"

    -Samurel Axon, Ars Technica

    "The best game Hatsune Miku ever made."

    -Simone de Rochefort, Polygon

  • #9 - Portal 2

    Total Points: 247

    Highest Position: 1st

    "Portal 2, however, is one of those games where you eagerly await every new batch of dialogue because you know it'll delight you"

    -Andy Golder, Buzzfeed

    "Portal 2 is a superbly crafted, joyous experience, a loving tribute to creative design, problem solving, and the remarkable flexibility of the human mind."

    -Kirk Hamilton, Paste

    "Portal 2 swept up every design award under the sun back in 2011, and it is an essential game when it comes to interpreting a virtual space."

    -Scott Tailford, WhatCulture

  • #8 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

    Total Points: 259

    Highest Position: 1st (3)

    "When I play Skyrim I am in it, like I'm in no other game of its kind. Instead of trying to play how the game wants me to play, within the confines of its invisible walls or closed doors or uncanny animations, I am off the rails. Free. Free to really, truly play."

    -Chris Tapsell, Eurogamer

    "At the risk of fanboy-induced hyperbole, there really is nothing that comes close to approaching Skyrim as a game whose scope, design and presentation sets a new bar for the action-RPG genre."

    -Adam Volk, Paste

    "Bethesda’s epic fantasy pushed the boundaries of open-world RPGs, allowing players to immerse themselves in a colorful world of peculiar characters and sheer adventure.

    Sure, in hindsight Skyrim has some issues with bugs and glitches, but that’s part of the charm."

    -Vic Hood, TechRadar

    "Teach the kids with Skyrim!"

    -Brian David Gilbert, Unraveled (Polygon)

  • #7 - Bloodborne

    Total Points: 266

    Highest Position: 1st (5)

    "Bloodborne doesn’t break boundaries in the way of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls; instead, it refines their elements to a razor-sharp edge while delivering grotesqueries of a refreshingly different sort."

    -Michael McWhertor, Polygon

    "It’s exhilarating and terrifying, a game that showcases the developer’s knack for building worlds we want to discover even if it kills us. It’s From’s finest hour."

    -John Warren, Fanbyte

    "It’s a deeply challenging game set in a fantastically realized gothic nightmare, an adventure of the highest quality for those willing to undergo the game’s trial by fire."

    -Javy Gwaltney, Paste

    "Outplayed."

    -PerfidiousSinn, Giant Bomb user, after an enemy clipped through the ground and died.

  • #6 - The Last of Us

    Total Points: 328

    Highest Position: 1st (3)

    "The 2010s were the age of “prestige television," and The Last of Us was, in many ways, the bellwether of AAA “prestige games.” High production values, self-serious, but earning its sense of gravitas..."

    -Steve Gaynor, Fullbright

    "The Last of Us remains the only game to make me grieve for characters I never met, mourn a world I never saw, and root for this broken man and his live cargo."

    -Vikki Blake, Eurogamer

    "The Last of Us is game developer Naughty Dog working at the absolute peak of its powers."

    -Mark Serrels, CNET

  • #5 - NieR:Automata

    Total Points: 330

    Highest Position: 1st (6)

    "Nier: Automata is the game I most often find myself wanting to play instead of the many fine-but-forgettable shooters and open-world distractions that land on my desk. I think about it every week partly because its soundtrack is my favorite writing music, partly because its toys litter my desk, and mostly because it’s just that good. Yes, you have to beat it five times, but in hindsight, I wish I had a reason to play it another five hundred."

    -Chris Plante, Polygon

    "The actions of the game’s androids and robots frighten, sadden, and disturb us more than the actions of any other enemy one can face in any other game because, fundamentally, these beings are us, fumbling violently around existence with only the most vague concept of what life, love, sex, murder, religion, and death mean in the grand scheme of things. It’s a game that revels in the destruction of one’s enemies, and also forces players to recognize their own role in creating them, and the imperative of understanding them to truly move forward, a pensiveness framed by one of the most glorious, eclectic scores ever composed. There has never been a game quite like NieR Automata, and until the day there’s more than one Yoko Taro, there’s not likely to be another."

    -Justin Clark, Slant

    "Platinum and Yoko Taro are an expert pair here, harmoniously bringing together dozens of eclectic sources from philosophy to anime to history to real-life war to silly, over-the-top fight sequences into one cohesive whole where not a single part feels unnecessary, and all contribute to the larger message. It is a timely story about our priorities as a society and our continued relevance in an increasingly automated world, told in a clever way that makes meaning out of about four different genres worth of mechanics and yet could still be called elegant."

    -Michelle Ehrhardt, Paste

    "NieR:Automata t-shirt! NieR:Automata t-shirt! NieR:Automata t-shirt! NieR:Automata t-shirt! NieR:Automata t-shirt! SHIT SQUARE ENIX!!!"

    -Yoko Taro while rolling on the ground

  • #4 - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

    Total Points: 488

    Highest Position: 1st (10)

    "There are many more layers which come together to make The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt a classic, but it's the world which sparkles for me. No other fantasy I've played has felt so mucky and rich, so real."

    -Robert Purchese, Eurogamer

    "The Witcher 3 excels at discovery. Around every corner of its stunning fantasy world lies a new adventure; a new story thread to pull; a new character to befriend, bemoan, or betray; a new decision to deliberate over; a new romance to pursue; or a new vista to watch the sun sink into."

    -Sam Loveridge, GamesRadar+

    "Whereas some games put the emphasis on discovering new and ever-more-powerful loot, Wild Hunt is too focused to be distracted by shiny objects. Its best content is in the narrative, and there’s arguably a greater variety of monster-hunting quests than weapons to collect. Simply put, there’s a richness to the folklore- or fairy-tale-inspired monster hunts—a house undone by tragedy and betrayal, a vengeful wrath summoned up by injustice—that compels players to scout out every inch of the game’s territory"

    -Aaron Riccio, Slant

    [*Insert image of Geralt in the bathtub here*]

  • #3 - Mass Effect 2

    Total Points: 541

    Highest Position: 1st (6)

    "Mass Effect 2 knew exactly what it needed to retain from its predecessor, what it needed to shed, and what it needed to improve upon to deliver an experience we would never forget."

    -Shubhankar Parijat, GamingBolt

    "BioWare figured out the formula. Focus on your supporting cast (even the annoying ones). Tighten the gameplay (even at the expense of reverse retconning the concept of ammunition). Up the stakes (even at the expense of a compelling singular villain)."

    -John Warren, Fanbyte

    "BioWare's brilliant writing drove one of the most affecting RPG experiences of all time, and it delivered some of the most unforgettable characters in the genre in the process."

    -Heather Wald, GamesRadar+

    "Can it wait for a bit? I'm in the middle of some calibrations."

    -Garrus Vakarian

  • #2 - Dark Souls

    Total Points: 551

    Highest Position: 1st (11)

    "[Everything] I love and dread about the game seems to resolve itself into a question of temperature. The huddled damp of Firelink Shrine. The shivering darkness of New Londo. The ashpiles of the Kiln, where long-ago-melted iron pillars stream sideways like windblown icicles. Even Anor Londo, the heavenly citadel on which the sun never quite sets, is a frigid place, its god rays brightening the marble but failing to pierce the skin."

    -Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, Eurogamer

    "The Dark Souls of Dark Souls."

    -Brian David Gilbert, Polygon

    "Instead of ponderous text or cut-scenes Dark Souls tells its story of degradation by showing instead of telling. Some say Dark Souls treats players with indifference or outright contempt, but in truth it respects us, our abilities and our intelligence more than most other games."

    -Garrett Martin, Paste

    "It's the Dark Souls of..."

    -Vinny Caravella, Giant Bomb, inventing a nightmare phrase that spawned a decade of discourse.

  • #1 - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

    Total Points: 873

    Highest Position: 1st (*28*)

    "[Breath of the Wild] is about what you can do, and the things you haven't thought of, instead of the things you can't do. It offers a sandbox so large and vibrant, an approach that could have only ever come from the unique way Nintendo looks at video games, and it'll probably only be surpassed when Breath of the Wild 2 comes out."

    -Alex Walker, Kotaku

    "The scale of this vaguely inconsequential sidequest is breathtaking. But it’s just that: a sidequest. Such ingenious adventures are scattered throughout Hyrule. It is this richness, this effortless beauty, that unquestionably makes Breath of the Wild the greatest game of the decade, and perhaps of all time."

    -James Temperton, Wired

    "Link helps people on his journey, even make new friends, but his only true company is a horse. There is no fairy fluttering around his shoulders, no imp hiding in his shadow or annoying owl that refuses to shut up. He's alone in Breath of the Wild and this loneliness breeds a feeling of emptiness, but it's not an emptiness created by a lack of game content. It's an emptiness born from the realisation that you are travelling a ruined kingdom teetering on the edge of vanishing completely."

    -Lottie Lynn, Eurogamer

    "But courage need not be remembered, for it's never forgotten."

    -Zelda, Breath of the Wild, the People's Game of the Decade