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Gamasutra's Games of the Decade: Honorable Mentions

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Gamasutra's Games of the Decade: Honorable Mentions

December 29, 2009 Article Start Page 1 of 5 Next
 

[Ahead of tomorrow's list of Gamasutra's 'Game Of The Decade', as voted and commented on by hundreds of our readers, we're publishing some of the most-voted on titles that didn't quite make the Top 12 list, from Katamari Damacy to Vagrant Story and beyond.]

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. First up, we're putting 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.

Following that, we'll be counting down the Top 12 games 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), including many of your comments that helped the chart end up as it did. Without further ado, here are the honorable mentions for the Game Of The Decade:

Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (PC, 2000)

This epic PC RPG from the creators of Mass Effect and NeverWinter Nights debuted early in the decade, but it connected with much of our audience thanks to epic size and carefully plotted RPG goodness. 

Chris Herborth, Arcane Dragon: "Possibly the best CRPG ever developed, it was the crowning achievement of BioWare's 2D development era. A huge amount of incredibly engaging story (something like 300 hours worth) and character development, it innovated many of the NPC-interaction features that people take for granted these days (like romances)."

Pallav Nawani, IronCode: "It was a role playing experience like none other. I had played some very good games (Nox, Diablo 2, Soulbringer etc) before playing Baldur's Gate 2. But when I started playing BG2, all the other games paled into insignificance. The voice acting was top notch, the writing was tight, the plot absorbing.

"And when you reached Ust Natha, it felt amazingly real. The city of drow was very well imagined and their culture was displayed beautifully by the events that happened there. The combat was so much fun, and the music was great. I still listen to BG2's music now and then. The NPC interactions were beautifully detailed & remain unmatched to this day. And after all that, the ending was suitably epic. No wonder I played this games for 3 months straight... something I never did before, nor after."

BioShock (Multiplatform, 2007)

The 2K Boston/Australia, Ken Levine-led first-person action game just missed out on a spot in the overall Top 12, and respondents praised its fully functioning, beautifully crafted game world.

Anonymous: "I've never seen such a beautiful art style used so effectively in a game before. Half my time was just spent staring at the beauty of Rapture. In a world with too many goddamned FPS clones.... Bioshock stands out as an FPS that retains fast paced shoot em up gameplay with a brilliant moral narrative, new kinds of AI and a beautiful art style."

Luis Guimarães: "Simply was bored of games from a long time and Bioshock brought the magic back like in the old days of Castlevania SotN and Super Mario World. The game plays well and smooth, is immersive and allows for skill, exploration and clever play."

Burnout Paradise (Multiplatform, 2008)

Criterion's fully formed open-world racing game attracted some notable eloquent fans, thanks to its expansive nature.

Marc Bell, UNSW: "There are very few games that - while performing a task in the world or just exploring for kicks - I will stop and look about and wonder, how the hell does this exist? Games where the comparisons between previous entries in the genre and it are so far apart that I sit and wonder at what I am experiencing. Reflect on how far gaming has come in such a short time.

"Burnout Paradise in one such game. Whether it's speeding down a highway at what seems like light speed weaving in and out of traffic whilst AI cars smash, bounce and swarm like wasps, flipping high off a ledge and careering through a sign sending splinters and poles in all directions. Or doing exactly the same thing down one of any number of other streets because, let's face it, Burnout Paradise isn't about a leisurely drive admiring the scenery. It's all about speed and the thousands of things it throws at you while your eyeballs redden and dry from a lack of blinking.

"But there are times when you can stop and ponder the big questions. Going online and teaming up with people all over the world to complete tasks is by comparison a very relaxed affair. Complete your task and go park up on a ledge under a tree and enjoy the show below as everyone else attempts to finish it as well. Watching such activities is almost like observing a ballet, the participants of metal and tires leaping over and through each other as music plays in the background.

"Burnout Paradise is the game that made me look at games in a different way. It may not have easily taken my vote for the best in the last 10 years, but it certainly wasn't a tough decision either. There simply wasn't any other game that gave me the sense of wonder and bewilderment similar to - before this last decade - the first time I played Test Drive II on the Commodore 64 and slowly began to realise that, wow, haven't we come a damn long way."

Diablo II (PC, 2000)

Just sneaking into the decade, the all-time classic third-person action title perfected addictive looting and powering up in ways that would be magnified in a certain Blizzard MMO, years later:

Anonymous: "The character class variation, the skill tree depth, and the variety of dropped items made it very VERY replayable... and it had great co-op play, not just PVP."

Baptiste Villain, MonteCristo: "Released in 2000, and now, 10 years after: - still the best hack n slash, the only reference in the genre, - still receiving updates and support, - no single error in any feature of the game."


Article Start Page 1 of 5 Next

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Comments


Greg Wohlwend
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BG2 :)

Mike Boxleiter
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If Deus Ex isn't in the top 12 I'm gonna get all crybaby all over the place. I'm really surprised Bioshock didn't get in, I thought it was pretty much the top game of '07 as far as critical praise goes.

Jonathon Walsh
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I'd attribute Bioshock's honorable mention status to the disappointing ending story and some under-developed mechanics (like ammo creation). It was a great game but I'd expect a contender for the Game of the Decade to not have such glaring flaws.

Sjors Jansen
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So cool to see Vagrant Story mentioned! :D



Hey is it maybe possible to post all the reader submissions? Just dump them on a page. Or would that be bad journalism?



...wonder if Rez will get mentioned.. It's ART man :)

Simon Carless
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Sjors - the vast majority of the reader nominations that were cogent and not in the Top 12 were posted - we actually spent some time today adding all of the comments on Pages 4 and 5 of the article.

Sjors Jansen
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@Simon:



Ahaha ...but cogent is such a difficult word.



My reason for asking is that I'm pretty sure I'm going to be familiair with the top 12 games. And since imho the gamasutra readers are pretty respectable folk, I was wondering if maybe somebody was really moved by a game I never heard of.



I already sifted through the comments section of the related articles but it's still the pretty straightforward Deus ex praising galore. :)



I definitely appreciate pages 4 & 5 though, thanks.

Rob Bergstrom
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Cheers, Jon Folkers. Cheers.

Greg Wondra
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'Bout damn time Vagrant Story got some love! Can't believe that game isn't way more popular....

Rod Keller
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Lists that try and state the "best" game drive me crazy. I'll never understand what criteria goes into choosing these games. Is each game judged in individual catagories and the best is the highest scoring? Does being an huge influence to a genre rise you above others? Most selling copies? Or is it just a vote where people say what game they think is best?, in which case, it's just a matter of mass favoritism.

Simon Carless
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Rod: to be clear, this 'Honorable Mentions' is simply 'the best write-ups and the games with the most votes that didn't make the Top 12'. Tomorrow's Top 12 is simply the games that got the largest amount of votes, at which point it does appear to be a popularity contest, yes.

Carl Chavez
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I sympathize with Jon Folker, although I've taken the opposite route. I decided to start valuing quality over quantity. I've spent less money on video games in 2009 than on any year since, oh, 1991 or so. No matter how may "good" games there may be, there are enough "great" games in existence that I can focus my game-playing time on those few games. This year, rather than buying and playing a bunch of overhyped games that I would never put into "Game of the Decade" consideration, I replayed Civilization IV (mainly with the Fall From Heaven 2 mod), X-COM, ToME, Mount & Blade, and Pokémon Platinum. That's why Civilization IV was my personal pick for GotD, even though my actual pick was WoW (a game I don't even like playing!). Any game that can hold my constant attention for over five years has got to be a contender!

Dylan Woodbury
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Wait, so Uncharted 2 isn't in the top 10 of 2009, but it's in the honorable mentions for the 2000s! Try some consistency, unless I'm missing something?...

Rod Keller
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I think I'd just rather it Gamasutra's Popular Games Awards then. I've seen *best* thrown willy nilly in too many lists.

Jesse Divnich
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Sims, Half-Life 2, World of WarCraft. Any game that can stand the test of time gets my vote.

Daniel Martinez
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Zone of Enders 1 and 2 withstand the test of time pretty well. I still pick those up every couple years and play them through from start to finish all over again.

Nicolas Godement-Berline
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My vote had gone for FIFA 2010. Pretty surprised not to see it mentionned anywhere, even though I am aware gamasutra.com mainly has North-American readers. If anything, it's one of EA's best selling titles (maybe even the best selling?).

Jason Ferguson
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A big w00t for Vagrant Story and Puzzle Quest. Good list.


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