Games of the Decade (2001-2010)

This is my list for the top ten games of the past decade.  This wasn't an easy list for me to put together.  Ten years is a lot of time to cover and a lot of games to mull over, and to narrow the decade down to a "Best Ten" or "Favorite Ten" or "Most Important Ten" is something of a fool's errand.  That being said, I went ahead and did it anyway.  These games aren't necessarily the best of their genres, or necessarily the most important or progressive, but they're games that stuck with me for one reason or another, and as such I'm calling them my games of the decade.
What about you?  What were your best/favorite/most important games of the decade?

List items

  • At a point in my life where I wasn't really feeling the draw of RPGs anymore, the original release of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 was like a wake-up call. Intriguing characters, an unconventional modern setting and a unique social life/dungeon crawling dynamic made this game stand out among the pack.

  • Final Fantasy X was the first game I bought for my brand-spanking new PS2. Not only an excellent game in its own right, its quality would help influence my tastes in the coming generation of RPGs. That it's also a visual feast for the platform with a great story is a major plus.

  • The consummate Fire Emblem title and a world-class strategy RPG. An excellent story, fantastic battle scenarios, likable characters, and refined gameplay make this game the best in its genre in the past ten years.

  • A remake of the original Metroid, Zero Mission is the sort of update that the NES classic deserved. It demonstrated that with the right touches, an old game that hadn't aged particularly well could become more than playable once again while adding new features and elements that the original lacked. It's also a blast to play.

  • MGS2 isn't the first Metal Gear Solid title I've actually played. (That goes to Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.) It is a game I first experienced through a roommate in college. Yes, the plot gets bonkers, but it's also a game that showed me how narrative, gameplay, and a self-referential, fourth-wall breaking sense of humor can mix to create a wholly unique experience that remained fresh in its own way when I finally played through it myself years later.

  • An engagingly mature narrative married to well-thought puzzles that utilize the DS hardware to its full potential. The characters of Hotel Dusk are collectively one of the most interesting casts seen in the past decade. It's still a shame that Nintendo chose not to release the game's sequel in North America.

  • Some would say that the rhythm game genre reached its greatest heights of the decade in Harmonix's Rock Band series. I say nay to that, sir. Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan took the concept of the rhythm game in a direction all its own with engaging gameplay, fun songs, and ludicrous yet gripping scenarios. Through the power of cheering, you too, can save the world.

  • I am an unabashed die-hard fan of Koei's Warriors series, and my love for it in all its forms, Dynasty, Samurai, Gundam, and Fist of the North Star, can be traced back to one single game: Dynasty Warriors 3. And since the first day I picked up the controller, I have cut down lots and lots and lots of dudes.

  • An unusual take on the horror game genre at the time of its release, the game depicted insanity in a way that few games before it could match. Lovecraft-inspired horror, interesting combat and puzzles, a few jump scares, and characters losing their minds left and right.

  • I never played the original Fatal Frame. Rather, I watched, entranced in a dark room as one of my college roommates played through every moment, from the mildly creepy, to the shiver-inducing, to the very nearly pants wettening. Fatal Frame may not be the scariest game I have ever played, but it is by far the most frightening game that I have ever experienced.