[After yesterday's honorable mentions for Gamasutra's 'Game Of The Decade', as voted and commented on by hundreds of our readers, we're counting down your Top 12 games of the last ten years, from Wii Sports through The Sims all the way to the top-voted title.]
Gamasutra has just completed its reader-specific Game Of The Decade vote -- allowing the game professionals reading the site to choose their best game of the last 10 years, with in-depth commentary.
Readers responded to the following question - anonymously, if they wished - naming a game released this
decade for any console, handheld, PC or online platform, and why they
believe it outdid any other:
"Gamasutra is asking its users to vote for their 'Game Of The Decade' -- the video game title that they think was the absolute best of the last ten years, from January 2000 to date. Name the game, and then explain why it mattered to you and what differentiates it from the multitude of others released in the last decade?"
The best responses are being compiled into this two-part article. Yesterday, we put together some of the most notable games that didn't make the larger list, both in terms of them just missing the required amount of votes, and those that got particularly compelling write-ups.
And today, we'll be counting down the Top 12 games -- ranked by the most votes -- of the last ten years (as opposed to a Top 10, thanks to a four-way tie for the game in 8th place on the countdown). We're also including many of your comments that helped the chart end up as it did.
Without further ado, here is the full Top 12 -- as voted by Gamasutra readers -- for our Game Of The Decade:
The Nintendo Wii's pack-in game introduced players to the console's motion-sensing controllers, and won over our readers with its innovative gameplay.
Carlos Obregon, Ennoia Creations: "The Game of the Decade has to be a title that impacted in a profound way all of the industry, like Super Mario 64 did making 3D games the newest standard in 1996. There have been great titles but none of them has been groundbreaking as Wii Sports.
"As a traditional gamer I found Wii Sports to be a little simple, but it was the first game that got me gaming with my family and non-gaming friends. The game is also pretty significant because it was a system seller for the Nintendo Wii, a platform that expanded the market.
"And not only that, Wii Sports was also the first game to show that you can innovate in the I/O paradigm that has reign for 35 years, while others were trying to push the hardware paradigm. As the Microsoft´s Natal and Sony's Gem prove, next kinds of controllers are the next gaming frontier."
Anonymous: "Wii Sports. The reason has been explained a lot: it opened the game culture to a wider public in a way no other has done it before. I've thought of Grand Theft Auto Vice City for this title but it failed to open the video game experience to the general public, although it got the status of video games as something very serious."
EA Maxis expanded on the gameplay concepts in its SimCity series with The Sims, putting players in charge of a "digital dollhouse" and the residents within. Numerous sequels and expansions later, our readers agree that the core gameplay remains as compelling as ever.
John Richardson, LiquidBits: "The Sims, for me, defined this decade. I can remember in 2000 picking it up for the first time, completely pessimistic as to how such an idea could actually play out. It seemed like a concept that would be impossible to make fun -- the mundane, often trivial lives of virtual dolls, essentially. But it was very much the opposite.
"The game turned tasks as simple as sleeping or meeting people into a kind of social experiment, merging the postmodern acknowledgment of fictionalizing reality with the emotional human-computer connection that most game designers strive for. It made addicting gameplay out of something simple -- deceptively so, as the mechanics gained complexity as Sims progressed through their lives.
"Everything felt so carefully defined, yet chaotic; the fun came in seeing how far you could (or would) push your little denizens. Beyond the gameplay itself, The Sims ushered in a wave of new gamers into what was in the 90s still a very narrow demographic. For better or worse, it also showed us how a franchise could turn into a genre unto itself, along with a once unique and now much-imitated business model.
"Love it or hate it -- and I know very few who weren't hooked on the original Expansion-less version -- The Sims is important, and has left an indelible mark on gaming."
Jason Withrow, George Brown College: "It's going to have to be The Sims. Will Wright's once-upon-a-time architectural simulation foreshadowed and paved the way for the wider, if fairer weather, audience that exists today.
"While the current environment would not be possible without the developments in smaller, shorter games (which started prior to 2000) and naturally the influence of the Wii and iPhone in more recent years, the initial splash that started the wider social acceptance of games, and proved the rest was economically possible, starred people with floating gems above their heads."
Retro Studios' first-person take on Nintendo's exploration-based adventure series was greeted with cautious optimism from fans when it was originally announced. The series has since earned widespread acclaim -- both from critics and from our readers -- and was a top seller on the GameCube, receiving a subsequent Wii compilation.
Ephriam Knight: "While many developers struggled to bring their 2D franchises to the 3D world of modern gaming, Nintendo raced past in leaps and bounds. This game continued the tradition that Nintendo started when bringing 2D mainstays to the 3D landscape.
"Starting with Super Mario 64, then Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Nintendo continued proving that classic games from the 2D past can be reborn in 3D and still retain their charm and gameplay. This game kept true to the mood and setting set by Super Metroid while bringing in new mechanics specifically needed for traversing a 3D landscape.
"The developers also pushed off the temptation to turn it into just another run of the mill FPS. While many gamers lament the lack of 'dual analog' support for the game, they miss the fact that the game is not about the action, but the puzzle aspects of the weapon system. Any developer looking to resurrect a franchise from older 2D platforms should be looking at Metroid Prime to see how it should be done."
Tim Roberts: "Metroid Prime is still probably the best example of a game that establishes a believable game world through meticulous attention to detail and an interesting blend of FPS, adventure, and platforming that makes it truly unique."
Tyler McCarthy: "It brings in new dynamics to a well defined genre to great success. Never is the player bogged down by only one part of the game. The non linear level design allows the player to work though a stage again but not as repetition but as a new experience with a new upgrade that changes how the room is seen. All of this adds up to a new style of game, one that had not been seen before."