The Ten Best Games of the Decade

How do you decide on the best games that have defined the medium this generation?

As part of the Spike VGA awards, Entertainment Weekly has drawn up a list of the ten best video games of the last decade and asked readers to vote on the greatest, to be revealed at the awards show next weekend.

Here’s EW’s list of the ten best games between 2002 and now:
Batman: Arkham City
Bioshock
Half Life 2
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Mass Effect 2
Portal
Red Dead Redemption
Shadow of the Colossus
Wii Sports
World of Warcraft

The list certainly looks to focus on games that have had some sort of significant influence on the industry. That would be why Wii Sports is there, at least. Regardless of what you think of it, Wii Sports was a popular title for families to play together – from immediate family members to extended relatives. I’ve played Wii Sports with my grandparents, my aunt, my mum, people who would otherwise never touch a game controller. So it’s deserving in that regard.

If we look at this list and ask the question ‘which of these games best represents the medium as a whole?’ we might find it a bit difficult to answer. Is it Mass Effect 2, an example of fine storytelling and characterization? Red Dead Redemption, for being a beautifully realized open world with a very powerful emotional force behind it? My instinct is to go for Portal, an example of solid problem solving gameplay with one of gaming’s most memorable antagonists.

But the more I read this list, the more I reconsider that. I haven’t played a few of these games, but I can see the case for most of them. This is an example of a vote where I genuinely can’t see the outcome.

Maybe you can, though? What’s the best game of the decade?

Better question: what doesn’t belong here? I imagine a few people would be hesitant about Wii Sports. I’m not too sure about Arkham City, personally. If a Batman game was going to be on this list, I’d be happier with Arkham Asylum, which felt a lot more focused than City.

Alternately, what’s missing from this list? Are there any games that you adore and were surprised to find absent here?

2 comments

  1. That’s a pretty good list, but I’d argue that if we’re talking modern gaming Angry Birds should be included.

  2. To be honest, that’s a pretty freaking good list.

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