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MajorMitch

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@ntm: Ha, Oddjob was cheap! Mario 64 really wowed me too, and in the long run it's certainly the better game and the one I like better too. It probably looked more impressive too. But at the time, there's was something extra special to me about GoldenEye due to the fact that it was the first real FPS I played, and it was on a console no less. I think that made it stick with me in a wholly different way. (Side note: Mario 64 is also an all-time fav that I will write about someday as well.)

@lestephan: Honestly, I think I probably remember the campaign a little more fondly than the multiplayer too, but both were hugely important factors in my fondness for GoldenEye. The campaign objectives are something that shooters still don't really do (outside of direct follow-ups like Perfect Dark), and they gave that game a unique vibe that I appreciated. I actually thought other FPS campaigns were boring for a while after GoldenEye/Perfect Dark because the campaigns had much less dynamic objectives. Eventually I found other things to appreciate in FPS campaigns, but I still miss the objectives idea.

It's interesting the trajectory of how visuals of the N64/PS1 era were received. At the time I think a lot of people thought they were impressive for just seeing stuff in "3D" for the first time, but there were also people like you who weren't that impressed. Then as time went on and those visuals didn't hold up, more people seem to admit that, yeah, that era just didn't look that great, haha. Especially coming off the SNES which had great art that could have gotten even better had they stuck with it like you say. But I think we're almost circling back around in a weird way; I for one have always had fondness for that N64/PS1 era and what it represents, and understanding the limitations they had at the time makes me appreciate what they were able to do even more. And even their sparseness and abstraction can have a place, where everything isn't "realistic" and high fidelity. It was certainly an interesting time for games if nothing else!

@wollywoo: I think you're on to something about GoldenEye landing as a more "Mature" game for people who had mostly been on consoles to that point. Especially for Nintendo kids (like me) who grew up with the NES/SNES, the leap to a 3D game where you shot other human beings (a lot of them too as you point out!) was a big jump in that way. So it stood out, even if the graphics/controls were rough, and have aged even worse.

Oh man, I definitely agree that part of the joy for me with the campaign was that level of mastery. I too played levels over and over just to get better at it, and once I could beat a level on the highest setting, I still enjoyed running them because of how good that mastery felt. (Not that I was ever all "that" good, but mastery by my standards at least.) You point out Control, which was definitely one of (maybe the) toughest level in the game due to how hard it was to protect Natalya. I remember trying and failing that level so many times on the highest difficulty, experimenting with the best places to stand to protect her, and eventually figuring it out and beating that level was one of those early gaming feats I remember being proud of. I enjoy overcoming things like that in games I like, so that was a good feeling for me at the time. Fun stuff :)

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MajorMitch

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@slag: Thanks! The early 90s would definitely have better representation if I had access to more consoles and games (including the PC) during those years. I really only had the SNES (and a little Genesis) for a while, and that can only go so far. Many of those years would almost certainly bump up a few spots if I had access to more back then. But it is what it is, and in a subjective list like this that's fine, and also why I tried to be fully transparent about such things. I certainly don't claim to be an equal judge of all years. I am happy that at least some of those early years (in my case 1992 and 1994) ended up in the top half after my adjustments, so they weren't a total wash.

The cutoffs of 1998 and 2003 emerged purely from looking at the data, not any theorizing or anything. When I first started making this list, I had no inflation at all, which heavily favored later years. Then I started messing with where and how to account for that, and no matter how I sliced it, 1998 and 2003 were always big jumps in depth. Even the final list has those years at the top, so they still weren't handicapped all that much, haha. I tried all sorts of other approaches, but those were the 2 years that made the most sense when looking at how it affected the results.

If I were to make a guess as to how that happened, I'd say both of those years were a couple years into their respective console generations, when they really started finding their footing (I think the middle of generations are often the most exciting times). And then perhaps those generations were the 2 where games kind of 'exploded' the most, at least for me. I think making cutoffs at console launch years would handicap those years, because launch years often have less impressive games (especially nowadays). I also think that, based on all the data I looked at and experiments I tried, that the quality and quantity of games I play has not drastically changed that much in the generations since 2003. While yes, the indie scene exploded and there are a lot more games in the 2010s, I specifically can only play so many. And that number has stayed relatively flat. If anything it has gone down in recent years. The late 90s to early 00s is where I personally expanded my reach a lot I think.

And yes, comparing head to heads for every year did take a LOT of hours, haha. I originally started just having a ladder that years moved up, but once I realized the comparison is not transitive, I had to do them all. At that point I basically ranked all my 1 seeds, then all my 2 seeds, etc. So I had 5 lists of 29 games, and once those were in order the head to head results were already there. Giving them a numerical score would have also taken a long time too, haha, as I would have had to come up with a scoring method that was consistent across time. I think I eventually realized with this project that there are a million ways I could do it, they would all take a lot of time, and none of them would be perfect. As a perfectionist that was a hump to get over, but I got to a place I was happy with. And that's why I tried to make the process transparent, it is messy! :)

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MajorMitch

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MajorMitch

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BioShock is a good video game.

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MajorMitch

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@nodima: Thanks for sharing this story. Our experiences around the games we play I think can affect our memory of them as much as anything. That's worth remembering.

And, I mean, Glenn's pretty cool too :)

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MajorMitch

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@csl316: I always wondered how Cross would have been viewed had it not been in the same franchise/universe as Trigger, but rather its own standalone game. It was very different, and at the time people wanted to make the comparison, and judged it for being different. But I often liked it for its differences, not in spite of them. And I agree about the visuals, soundtrack, combat, story, etc.

@zeik: That's always been more or less my take. The execution of Cross may not always be "perfect." But it's still extremely good, and much more unique and willing to take risks than Trigger, which I found pretty straightforward by comparison. Cross is definitely ballsy, like you say, haha. Trigger is also a very good game, but I agree it's not nearly as interesting to me as Cross.

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MajorMitch

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@slag: I totally get the whole "time and place" thing, I think it affects our enjoyment of games more than we realize. And maybe ITB caught me at the right time and place, idk. I used to have less access to games as you say, so I just kind of ran with whatever I had. I also had a stubbornness that made me want to see any game through, haha. Nowadays there are so many games, and I have access to so many of them, that I've become quicker to move on from a game if I'm not feeling it, even if it's for a finicky reason. I think it's all valid, if playing on M+KB bugs you for example, that's legit. For the record, ITB is on Switch though, I've played it a lot when traveling :)

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MajorMitch

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@slag: Thanks Slag! I'd argue this decade had a lot of great games; lots of smart, polished, and novel games. A good number of them resonated with me a lot, I agree with you that these are some fantastic games! :)

Into the Breach is an interesting one. It's the first run-based game I got super into (I didn't even care for their previous game FTL all that much), but man, it hooked me good. I think it's just an impeccably designed game (which I'd like to write a longer dedicated piece about someday, if I ever find the time). I feel like most people were more lukewarm about it, sounds like you included. But it's one of those games that I feel like I can play infinitely, with different mechs, and see different scenarios each time. It admittedly probably fits right into my logic brain just the right way too to make it something that stands out to me more than most people, but I also think it's a great game. Definitely an all-time top 10 game for me, maybe even top 5.

Pokemon X/Y is likely very much a time and place thing for me, especially since I've really cooled on Pokemon over the Sun/Moon and Sword/Shield generations since. I've been a fair-weather Pokemon fan since the start, and will admit that my brother being a super fan of Pokemon (he's a couple years younger than me and was exactly the right age for Red/Blue when it came out) has probably kept my finger on the pulse more than I would have otherwise. But after being kind of bored with the campaigns for a few generations, X/Y is where it all came together for me to dive into the competitive side of the game. And I think once you jump through the admittedly tedious hoops to research and build a competitive team, the actual fights themselves are very, very thrilling. There's a hidden depth to Pokemon that's never revealed during the campaign (you kind of have to go looking for it), and X/Y is where that depth was revealed to me in full. I got really into the whole process... even if I don't know that I ever want to do it again, haha.

I have no idea what Pokemon would be like for someone like yourself coming in without any prior knowledge or nostalgia, haha. I might just seem old and clunky... or more likely just seem like a kids game (which it is, at least without the competitive part). So I'm not sure I'd even recommend it to be honest :)

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MajorMitch

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Edited By MajorMitch

Another cool list! Every decade has tons of great games, but I will always hold a sweet spot for the early 2000s, that Cube/PS2/Xbox era. As you mentioned, I feel like after the N64/PS1 era had the rough launch of the 3D/polygonal shift, with some great games that don't always hold up, that early 2000s period seemed to just find solid footing with 3D game design. In many ways I think we're still riding a lot of the same design trends in today's games. It also helps for me personally that I was in high school and college through the 2000s, which were formative years full of strong memories. Many of my absolute favorite games came out at that time, most notably Metroid Prime and RE4, and I remember those years fondly.

Anyway, lots of great games here!

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MajorMitch

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@slag: That's awesome that you have those mp groups, and I totally agree that things like Discord have made it so much easier to stay connected with gaming friends who don't live near you. I think online connectivity in general was a big theme in gaming this decade, and apps like Discord have filled out important parts of that. I personally struggle with the time aspect of multiplayer games, but I definitely think it was a great decade for those experiences!