Friday, 1 January 2010

The all time most awesome games of the decade

The Faux Bot will no doubt do his usual fantastic job in giving his games of the year, and to avoid starting some kind of flame war I'm going to take a slightly different tack and give you my games of the decade, and yes I am old enough to include all 18 rated titles of the last 10 years. Let's get this shindig started - be forewarned all ye who enter here, these are in no particular order as they are all as awesome as each other.

These are chosen by me and are solely my opinions. Anyone who doesn't like them please feel free to download and deface this picture of me [all credit to Paul Robertson, I just changed the hair colour and added a beard].


So here we go.


HALF-LIFE 2 (+EPISODES)/PORTAL/COUNTER STRIKE:SOURCE/DAY OF DEFEAT:SOURCE/TEAM FORTRESS 2 [PC/X360/PS3]

I fear this is probably not going to be a particularly popular choice, but HL2 (and its episodes) is my favourite game ever. With next year heralding the third (and final) episode of the series I'm already just as excited as I am by all the furore concerning SSF4, and in case anyone didn't know, the first game is being reworked in the source engine. It's due for release some time before I reach pension age.

I've included Portal with this as one game release, this is due to episode 3 being on the horizon and the Aperture Science ship being the central setting of it it kind of makes sense to include Portal. Also, anyone who pays for the PC version of HL2 gets CS:S and DOD:S included with the purchase, so they are included as well. If I were to rank the order then CounterStrike would have to be the game of the decade ahead of HL2 purely because it is the single greatest multiplayer FPS there is, and in the years since the release of the original nothing has managed to surpass it. Similarly you get Team Fortress 2 as part of The Orange Box deal, and for me was not just something tacked on at the end but a very fast-paced, addictive multiplayer shooter.

I could continue to write about how amazing these games are but I have many many more to get through so will just leave their names here and hopefully get those who haven't tried it to give it a go. Portal is also quite cheap on XBL Marketplace, with the addition of several extra challenge maps which makes it an even better deal.


CASTLE CRASHERS [PC/X360/PS3]



The Behemoth struck gold when they created the characters for Castle Crashers, when Final Fight met the medieval. With four player online co-op, duels and a track and field inspired mini-game, it is absolutely not surprising that over 1 million units have been sold on XBOX Live alone. The game world is vast and provides endless reasons for replay, the largest driving force is to level up your knight (my choice is the necromancer) to beat your friends. When other games become a grind to level up or I want a break from being the Citizen Kane of shooting things in the face (thanks Charlston), I can always return to Castle Crashers. That for me makes it one of my top games of the decade.




BRAID [PC,X360,PS3]


This game is pure genius. The allegory of the atomic testing at Los Alamos (the Manhattan project), to the three intertwined narratives, to the nautical flags that spell out [levels separated by capitalisation] No, You are (standing into/approaching) danger, Stop instantly, Stop carrying out your intentions, You should stop, I have something important to communicate. However, most people will enjoy the hours purely spent solving the puzzles, and picking up keys. Possibly contemplating the commentary on how people will fail to be who they could be if they have never made a mistake, probably not.

In short it is the most layered, and intelligent game I have ever played. It is a shining star in hopefully what the future of vidya gamez holds. If you have not played this game, or if you have and thought that it was a story of a man searching for a princess then play it again, with the extra knowledge that there are more levels of story than the obvious.

*SPOILER ALERT* The princess is the bomb, and the cake is a lie *END SPOILER*



STREET FIGHTER 4 [PC/X360/PS3]

This game is the reason I'm here annoying the hell out of you all. If it wasn't for bop playing it and finding out I had it this summary of the decade would never have happened. I know that some of you may hold this against bop and maybe Street Fighter/Capcom, but I've never known a game bring quite so many people together as this has. It signalled a return to the glory days of fighting games, which had become stale and immensely over-complicated (can you imagine trying to teach somebody to air parry cancelling into FADC against Chun Li's SF4 ultra? Ryu's Metsu? That could have been a reality!) and niche. That the game is easy to pick up is, however, not indicative of any lack of depth, with the Focus Attack/Cancel mechanic Capcom have, in my opinion, finally come up with the best armour/linking of any generation of fighting game. Of course there are some issues with the game. My largest gripe is that reversals are far too easy to pull off (while I'm working hard with Gen, hitting 2 1-frame [that's 1/60th of a second window in which to press the correct button] links in succession, following with a bit of a combo, then on the 15th hit missing a 1-frame link only to be hit by a dragon punch that my opponent has been mashing out the whole time, which is then cancelled into ultra) is really, REALLY frustrating [not to mention pretty damaging to my character]. That online all of the links, non-basic combos are nigh on impossible to pull off with Gen, C. Viper, El Fuerte and some of the other dexterity-requiring characters, but the netcode is getting better and better each time and hopefully with the next iteration some GGPO code will be included to mask a lot of it, by no means perfect but it'd be a start.



BIOSHOCK [PC/X360/PS3]


Would you kindly shut the hell up if you think this shouldn't be here.



LEFT 4 DEAD [PC/X360]

Some games need to be played with friends; drunk; on expert. This is one of them, the sheer difficulty of getting through the expert difficulty setting (without cheating) with three of your closest pals is the drawing factor that will keep you coming back to play through 50 or 60 times to get it done, then come back again to play against another team online. The AI Director (the computer code responsible for mixing up the zombie placements, amount, horde events, what special infected spawn where and when etc.) is some of the most intelligent code ever devised and it is cruel enough that if you have more than half your stamina approaching the safe room at the end of a level it will throw all hell at you so that you end up limping in closing the door a hair's breadth from having a hunter (a particularly nasty member of the aforementioned 'special infected') land on your face and kill you. It is the intensity of it all that makes it fun and made me play through it again and again. I've never actually finished it on expert - I've only got to the finale before all of us being wiped out and people giving up. If you've not played it then feel free to message me and we can form a team and I'll show you how great it can be.



ROCK BAND 2/DJ HERO [X360/PS3/Wii]

The last decade has seen a huge rise in the number of 'casual gamers'. Nothing has been more at the forefront of this than the rhythm game. The idea is simple, you get all these songs you love and you get to play a plastic paddle/sing/drum/scratch along to it. This inclusion isn't necessarily the two named, these are merely my favourite two - it is intended to be the whole genre. Despite my real dislike for anything Guitar Hero after World Tour (5, Band Hero etc.). You may or may not like these but they have been instrumental in bringing our joys and passions to the masses and hopefully will, with the development of games like Bioshock and Braid, allow for games to be seen as art in a similar vain to film and writing. There are some problems with games, the last taboo of gaming is tragedy, but when a developer with the balls to do something about it comes along and fixes it then we may truly be on the forefront of what we can do. But that is a separate post entirely.


NEW SUPER MARIO BROTHERS [Wii]

I have a slight confession to make, I had intended to put Super Mario 64 into this slot [it was released mid-90s on the N64, but appeared on the Wii's Virtual Console in 2003 and was going to be the link to include what is one of the best games ever made], but then over this Christmas holiday I had a quick go of the New Super Mario Bros Wii, in 4 player co-op and was utterly blown away. It took me back to playing Super Mario Brothers on the SNES, except I had 3 friends around me and we were all loving the hell out of it. Its fun, colourful and utterly fantastic. A complete departure from the seriousness of most of the other games on this list, but it is a return to the 2D SMBs we all know and love so much. It will make you feel 10 years old again.



FLOWER [PS3]


Many of you will not have seen this, but it is well worth a look. It is a very hard game to pin down to any particular genre. The general synopsis is that whatever level you are playing is the dream of a flower as it sits on a windowsill in some city apartment. As you play through the city becomes more colourful until you complete it and the city is replaced by a beautiful mountainscape. I guess its a Real Time Strategy, but without the war, and with flowers. The controls are also quite novel in that you guide a petal through the colourful dreamscape by tilting the Dual Shock controller and pressing a button creates a gust of wind to push you along at an accelerated rate for a short period of time. The aim then is to guide your petal into other flowers in the area to create an explosion of colour and brighten the world. It sounds completely crazy, but it is beautiful, addictive and utterly relaxing. This, coupled with Braid, makes me hope that this amount of thought goes into every game created from this point forward, and that more independent studios (and some larger ones) will brave such projects.



DARWINIA [PC/X360 to appear]

Another small time project from another independent studio, but this RTS game has you try to rid an electronic world of viruses. Like Command and Conquer on mesh. This can be picked up on Steam for about a fiver, so at that price you simply cannot go wrong.



DEVELOPER OF THE DECADE:
Valve [Duh!]

Of course you all saw this coming. But they are my leaders of the video game world. With their Steam system which allows digital distribution of games, and provides the dedicated servers and anti-cheat systems that the users love so much, to their games which continue to astound as well as their support for independent developers by providing the Steam store and their Source engine development kit for free. They also offer short university based courses for how to use the engine and are allegedly working on a linux port of all their software. They are doing things that other developers dare not. Oh, and did I mention that they created half-life 2 and counterstrike?


INDEPENDENT STUDIO OF THE DECADE: Zombie Cow Studios

The guys that gave us Gibbage, Ben There Dan That and Time Gentlemen Please continue to give us amazing games for roughly the price of two pints of beer. You can pick up the complete set for under a tenner on Steam, or you can go get Ben There, Dan That free from their website. The latter two are clever point and click affairs while the first involves side on shooting. Try them out, its the New Year, so you've more than likely already had so much to drink that you are fed up of the sight/smell of it so can go without the two pints that will allow you to get them.


FACIAL HAIR OF THE DECADE: Dr. Zed [Borderlands]

Because its TOTALLY not Dr. Ned with a strap on moustache.


I'm going to leave off DLC of the decade and character of the decade in the hope that some of you might suggest your favourites in the comments. So there it is, my personal run down of what games have been awesome in the last 10 years and had the most influence/brought the most joy to me. Disagree? Make it known.

7 comments:

The Faux Bot said...

Fucking hell, man. You just pretty much reminded me of every reason why I love videogames. Thank you sir.

samboy said...

Viva pinata?

Where is it?!

Its not there!

I am deeply disappointed now....

Boooo!

:)

cr0nt said...

@samboy, well then, download and deface the picture of me. Maybe dress me up as a pinata.

The Faux Bot said...

Neglected to mention how good a point you make about Street Fighter too bro, not only did it bring us together but it brought together us with Dai and Rich too. It's a beautiful game in every sense of the word. Here's to the next tourney.

cr0nt said...

@TFB whenever that may be, hopefully soon so that we can get it done before Super so I can get into the training room on it when it's launched. Figure out what they have done to Gen to bork him. We all know he is the best character and terribly overpowered. And his avatar gear will forever adorn my avatar, if they release the white or pink one ^_^

Bojack85 said...

You count frames in street fighter? Im gonna start calling u Rain Man. Thats a compliment cos hes my favourite autistic savant.

cr0nt said...

@bojack Well, I can read frame data for characters, to figure out if certain moves will combo, and how hard it will be to pull them off in a high-tension match. Abel's kick dash leaves him 1 frame in which to hit standing fierce because of the startup time. Its also how I noticed that some of Gen's chains still work, like crouching jab, strong, strong, fierce (not tried it but it will work if you don't get pushed back too far)

I'll make sure to give you a good warning when its 10 minutes to wapner.

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