Valve's first-person action-puzzler remains a memorable experience for its fans, both for its innovative gameplay mechanics and for its infectious sense of humor.
Anonymous: "It's an experience that can't be explained in a book and it can't be shown as a movie. You must participate in what is going on to really understand it, and the 2 hours it lasts is an absolutely perfect length for a game."
Martin Brenner, EGOSOFT: "These are the reasons: - Takes a novel idea and consequently exploits it in all directions - Doesn't try to reinvent the (engine) wheel and is rock stable - Extremely polished gameplay - Perfect tutorial and learning curve - Surreal creepy atmosphere - Ingenious voice acting with emotional impact - Subtly developed story cleverly using environmental detail and voice acting - Great ambient soundtrack
"There are many games which got several of these right, but I cannot see one thing which Portal did wrong. This isn't a random success, but was carefully engineered from the experience of the experimental indie game."
Anonymous: "The story, gameplay, humor is simply a delight, and it's short enough for everyone to have time to play it through in these days of so many new titles. One of the very few games in history leaving me with a big grin (and actually laughing out loud) on my face upon viewing the closing credits -- and of course hearing the song."
Kim Pallister, Intel: "It was novel, polished, fun, had something to say, and was developed by a small team, and I think these traits capture so much of what the industry seems to be striving for."
Anonymous: "The biggest contribution I feel they gave to the canon of gaming is making players question their obedience and the role of authority, similar to Milgram's psychological experiment. I seriously considered giving the nomination to BioShock since it predates Portal, but I feel that the connection between the player and GLADos far exceeds the implied control by Atlas/Fontaine.
"In the past decade, I don't know if there's been a more poignant phrase in video gaming than 'You euthanised your faithful companion cube more quickly than any test subject on record. Congratulations.'"
Bungie's landmark first-person shooter was immensely popular when it launched alongside Microsoft's Xbox console in 2001, and players worldwide continue to be enamored with the franchise's highly replayable multiplayer modes.
Craig McWherter: "Great story, well-developed characters, compelling (for the time) squad AI, awesome soundtrack, graphically pleasing, and just plain old fun first-person shooter frenzy. Adult enough to keep me interested but friendly enough to let my son join me for some alien butt-kicking.
"Who can forget the first time they heard, 'It's the demon! Run!' And it cemented the Xbox as a genuine contender for video game playing mindshare."
Ryan Schaefer, Electronic Arts: "Halo was a brand new title when the original Xbox launched and it has arguably become the hottest property in gaming since. It may single-handedly be responsible for the console's success and it still to this day is one of the biggest franchises across any platform.
"As big as it has become (spawning toys, anime spin offs and even underwear), it all started with the original game. The original Halo featured some of the best level design for multiplayer matches and started many trends in the genre such as regenerating health and limiting the number of guns you can hold. It also is one of the few FPS games where vehicles actually work extraordinarily well.
"Halo: Combat Evolved has launched competitive, professional console gaming to new heights and is the staple in leagues such Major League Gaming. In closing, I feel that the original Halo was as close to perfect as a game has ever come; even the bugs in the game added to the experience rather than detracted. The game took on a life of its own and spawned gameplay that even the developers did not intend. The series today enjoys a large following and it is not without reason."
Daniel Hettrick: "Short answer: Because I enjoyed the hell out of this game. Longer answer: It was a solid title that really pulled together some of the best elements of the FPS genre, introduced new characters into the pop culture collective, and made a significant impact on the entire industry.
"Fun weapons. Great graphics. Compelling soundtrack. Easy learning curve. Decent variety of vehicles and aircraft. Having the choice of driving or taking the gunner's seat was a nice touch. Engaging characters in the Master Chief and Cortana. Good story. Consider that without this game the original Xbox console would have had a MUCH slower start which would mean a radically different landscape in the entire gaming market today.
"The bottom line is that it was simply too much fun to put on the Mjolnir armor and go kick some butt as the Master Chief. I so thoroughly enjoyed playing the character that I was actually angry when I was forced to play as the Arbiter for parts of Halo 2."
Kale Menges: "There were so many incredible games that came out over the past two decades, but few games had the effect of Halo, something the spread beyond the game and out into the world itself. Look at what the game has established that has outlived the game itself. Community, game design, and establishing Microsoft as a video game industry behemoth.
"Halo proved just how 'hard-core' first person shooters on a console could be and introduced an entirely new audience to the idea of a 'LAN party'. The Halo community became (and remains) the backbone for Microsoft's online gaming service, Xbox Live, and I dare you to question the impact that this has had not only within our industry, but pop culture around the world.
"I'm not sure who gets all the credit, be it Bungie or Microsoft or somewhere between, but this game single-handedly redefined gaming in the western hemisphere and established so many of the standards and conventions that we're still clinging to as an entire industry. This game changed everything and gave us (and the world) a glimpse of just how big and how cool the future of video games could be."