Decade

SotC3Recently, for work, I had to write up a Top Ten Games of the Decade. Top Tens are my gaming phobia. I won’t normally be drawn on my favourites because it would tear the fabric of my soul to leave something out. Top ten over a decade though is not so bad. Also it was for work so it’s not really my top ten, is it? It’s the top ten of the publication, representing the gaming public’s favourite and most influential titles, as researched by me. The research was interesting though. I realised fairly quickly that ‘The Noughties’, as they are obnoxiously known, wasn’t actually that great a decade gaming-wise. What I mean is that in most Top Tens of all time you’ll find that about eight of the ten games are from the previous two decades. There have been some great titles though. Of course few of my personal faves made it into the article as mine are mostly JRPGs and arty games. That’s not to say I wrote the article completely dispassionately.

I got my family, Dan and Max, to write out their top tens and I wrote out mine and then we argued the cases for and against each one. It was actually very useful and I was convinced by quite a few passionately fought campaigns. I don’t have Dan’s list any more as he wrote it on a kid’s magnetic magic board but he did manage to talk me into including Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time in the final cut. The argument that struck me was that this was the game that introduced forgiveness into gameplay, that let you take back a mistake and try again, with its time reversal. It seems now so normal for games to be quite forgiving but that’s definitely a quality nurtured in this last decade. He also convinced me to replace Ratchet and Clank with Jak and Daxter – a game that had, if you recall, no loading screens. However, in the end, neither made the final list. A shame but well that’s the problem with top tens isn’t it? There are only ten slots.

I did hang on to Max’s list. Do remember he’s seven years old. I think he may be some kind of mad genius:

LBP31. Magna Carta 2
2. Kingdom Hearts 358/2
3. Little Big Planet
4. Street Fighter IV
5. Shadow Hearts: From the New World
6. Final Fantasy XII
7. Eye Pet
8. Tales of Vesperia
9. Star Ocean: The Last Hope
10. My Sims Agents

Here’s the list I would have of my own favourites. As long as I wasn’t expected to justify them, these would be my top ten of the last decade:

Eternal Sonata21. Okami
2. Ico
3. Dark Chronicle
4. Bioshock
5. Portal
6. Beyond Good & Evil
7. Final Fantasy IX
8. Fallout 3
9. Eternal Sonata
10. Metropolismania

It’s a new year now though and a new decade begins. Let’s see what ‘The Teenies’, as they’ll be obnoxiously known, will bring.


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10 responses to “Decade”

  1. Simon avatar
    Simon

    I can see no Nintendo games in your ten – fair enough! Wii Sports Super Resort will dominate the next decade.

  2. Laura avatar

    I’d really struggle to make a top ten list. I think could just about make one as long as I wouldn’t have to order them. I’d love to know Max’s reasons behind the choices he made. His reviews are brill, they always make me chuckle 🙂

  3. Markatansky avatar

    I’ve always had difficulty just trying to think of what my favourite game is, let alone what my top ten would be. I always just settled for Link to the Past which I’ve always looked upon as the best game I’ve ever played anyway so it pretty much fits the bill.

    I’d hate to try and squeeze another 9 games on the end there though. O.o

  4. Markatansky avatar

    Damn, Link to the Past is the 90’s isn’t it? >:C

  5. Celeste avatar
    Celeste

    “As long as I wasn’t expected to justify them…”. I hear ya.

    Some great choices there, and you did have arguably one of the toughest jobs in the history of the world. And that’s a long history.

    Ico and BioShock definitely stood out for me. Silent Hill 2 would also have made it into my list.

  6. John.B avatar

    The issue I have is that for me gaming has changed beyond all recognition, and games which changed gaming forever today look pathetic and have aged badly. Case in point Phantasy Star Online, which pushed ahead on online action co-op gameplay…tested new ideas and the likes of L4D, Borderlands and even yes WoW have a lot to thank it for but now it’s a shambles and wouldn’t make my list despite it being at the time glorious.

    As such do I then stop looking for games which pushed the boundaries technically? Just ones I liked? In which case I feel like I’m splitting hairs limiting it to ten, as I’ll just nitpick to place games. How do I really say that the technical genius of Half Life 2 is two places better than the post modern masterpiece that is MGS 2?

    It’s too difficult a question. Can’t we just say here’s a big list of fucking awesome games that came up in the last 10 years? I guess that doesn’t bring attention like a top ten though.

  7. Kirsten avatar
    Kirsten

    Exactly and that’s why I am so phobic about writing them! Dan and I also argued the case as to whether my article for work should be a list of the best in terms of fun? In terms of accomplishment? Importance? Popularity? What’s your definition of best? I think for the article for work which was for a mainstream publication I really had to try and find 10 games that fulfilled more than one of these criteria each. That is the list I would use if I had to justify my answers to someone else. Above though are just my favourites. Favourite and best, I believe, are pretty different.

  8. Simon avatar
    Simon

    I do believe there’s good value in the debate. To an extent, we should encourage ourselves to attempt to objectively assess the merit and contribution of games in the last ten years, because we end up thinking about what we really want and demand from the best games. But, ironically, actually deciding which games belong in a top ten and in what order can quickly become a frustrating task.

    For the record, I think I’d sling MGS2 and Half-Life 2 in there like John.B. I think I’d hold Ico up above Shadow of the Colossus. Deciding which Grand Theft Auto titles to include would be difficult.

  9. John.B avatar

    “To an extent, we should encourage ourselves to attempt to objectively assess the merit and contribution of games in the last ten years, because we end up thinking about what we really want and demand from the best games.”

    But as you said documenting them is frustrating and for good reason, because what we look for and demand from the best games changes from year to year never mind over ten years. Therefore the best games from 2000 fall flat in 2010, making the listing a patently unfair procedure on games which aren’t bad but simply not timeless in the way a Super Mario Bros or Half Life 2 is.

  10. Kirsten avatar
    Kirsten

    I’m not sure games will ever be timeless again. Maybe that age has passed altogether.

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