Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Games of the Decade: 2000 - 2009

It seems everyone is making "Games of the Decade" lists, and it seems they're doing it wrong. They're recentist, they're genre-centric, and dammit, they're not the list that I would make.

So I'm doing my top 50 games of the decade. They're the games I deem most significant, most iconic, and most downright good over the period between January 2000 and December 2009.

Here's my biases: I regard the PC and PSP as broken platforms; a good game on either platform is struggling against technical incompatibilities and bugs on the PC side, and horrible controls and loading times on the PSP end. There's PC games and PSP games on the list but it's worth noting they're not starting from an even footing.

There's also only two Flash games on the list. There've been a hell of a lot of good Flash games in the last 10 years but it's simply hard to put the majority of them side by side with the 50 best retail games of the decade and say that it's better.

The NGage never existed and the iPhone isn't a gaming platform. There have been some indubitably excellent games for the PlayStation 3 but with the exception of PixelJunk Eden, Flower and Linger In Shadows (none of which make the list... just) I haven't played them so you won't see them here.

50 seems like a lot but it's a hard cut to make. I wanted to include one of THQ's wrestling games on the list both for their massive commercial success and the often overlooked quality of the early-2000s titles - but they just didn't make the list. I wanted to include often-neglected gems like DefJam: Fight For NY or Amped 3 - but they're just not in the best 50 games of the decade. So just because a game's missing from the list doesn't mean it isn't high in my regard.

The list will be counting upwards from 50. Games are in order, with #1 being the Game of the Decade. Updates are every Tuesday and Friday at 10 pm Canberra time until the list is done.

Have fun, and Merry Christmas!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I still think the PC is the platform that best supports both the real time strategy and first person shooter genres.

I spend my time fighting the control scheme when I play a FPS on a console, and I've never played a RTS on a console though I shudder at the thought.

-Nick

riken-google said...

I disapprove of your anti-PC bias. It's not like games on consoles are bug free, and PC games are often technically superior in terms of graphics and/or AI. If "other" people are doing "Games of the Decade" lists wrong then so are you by not considering PC games on the same level.

Cam

Greg Tannahill said...

There's plenty of PC games on the list but the alleged superiority of the PC control scheme over consoles is a historical artefact; sit down a non-gamer today with a copy of Halo on the 360, and then with COD4 on the PC, and see which one they come to grips with fastest.

riken-google said...

In your post PC games had technical incompatibilities and bugs while PSP had the control issues. Still consoles have had their share of crappy controls too, just look at how they "dumbed" down Deus Ex 2 to fit the console control scheme.

Anonymous said...

"...but the alleged superiority of the PC control scheme over consoles is a historical artefact; sit down a non-gamer today with a copy of Halo on the 360, and then with COD4 on the PC, and see which one they come to grips with fastest."

This is surprisingly hard to test actually as most people that have no exposure to the control scheme of a first person shooter on any platform have no interest or inclination to learn. My best bet is that they would have trouble with both control schemes.

The speed which a PC player can lock onto a target appear much faster from what I have seen. Console games tend towards providing a larger degree of auto-aim which fuzzes this somewhat. But you are quite right that console first person shooters are very popular, and just because I usually feel like smashing stuff after attempting to play them doesn't mean other people don't find the control scheme fully intuitive.

Mind you I haven't played COD4 yet so maybe the PC control scheme has gone backwards in the name of realism.

Nick

Greg Tannahill said...

"This is surprisingly hard to test actually as most people that have no exposure to the control scheme of a first person shooter on any platform have no interest or inclination to learn."

That's the equivalent of saying it's a closed playerbase; no one new is coming in and with time the current players will die out.

It's patently not true; of course there are new FPS players, and they have to learn somewhere. Their preferences are expressed in the sales figures; consoles are expanding their market share while the already miniscule PC gaming market is declining.

riken-google said...

Miniscule compared to what? PC sales in general? Well that's because most people are not gamers. You really need to consider your bias.

Greg Tannahill said...

Miniscule compared to game sales generally. PC gaming is less than 5% of the gaming market. It's a platform outpaced by all the major consoles, the DS, the PSP, and the iPhone. PC gamers are the equivalent of that strange group who wants to know how come no one makes games for the Dreamcast no more; totally redundant were it not for the ease of direct download sales and the comparitively low cost of developing for the platform.

Greg Tannahill said...

Actually totally redundant is a bit harsh. There's a legion of people with both PCs and credit cards but it seems that their tastes run towards hidden object and match-3 games. It's more accurate to say that hardcore PC gaming is an evolutionary dead-end colonised almost entirely by MMO players, RTS fans, and those who first experienced FPSs prior to 1999, and that it's just not worth developer time to cater to them when they could hit a larger consumer base on the consoles or alternatively develop low-risk high-profit games on a budget for the Mystery Case Files crowd.

riken-google said...

If you're getting your stats on PC game sales from NPD then they don't include online distribution like Steam. Also PC has the highest number of illegally copied games, which are also not part of the normal statistics. It's hard to say accurately exactly how big the "market" for PC games is.