GWJ Community Top Ten Picks of the Decade (2010-2019)

GWJ Community Top Ten Picks of the Decade (2010-2019)


IMAGE(   Eleima

With only 93 goodjers casting their votes for 297 games, the numbers were most definitely not as strong as they were in previous GOTYs. Odds are that is due to the incredibly difficult task of picking ten games to rank over the span of a decade, rather than a reticence of the community to interact. It makes sense when you consider that an astronomical number of games have been released in the last decade (with estimates varying wildly depending on the methodology used). Picking ten games over the stretch of a year is hard enough, but ten years… Seems near impossible, and yet we tried. We tried to single out those ten games, and I want to thank each and every person who participated in this epic Community Game of the Decade endeavor. I’ve kept you all waiting long enough, so I’ll keep this short, and we’ll jump right in…

The top 10 of the Gamers With Jobs Community for the 2010s

#10… XCOM 2 (70 pts - Feb 5th, 2016)


The sequel to 2012's reboot of the series, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, had a lot to live up to. XCOM: Enemy Unknown and its expansion pack Enemy Within had gained critical acclaim, with both reviewers and commenters praising the game's difficulty, replayability, and addictiveness. With the sequel, Firaxis preserved the turn-based tactical mechanics, but set the game 20 years later, in the ashes of an occupied Earth. Their objective was to up the stakes and push the players to act more offensively, which they accomplished by adding timed objectives. Add procedurally generated maps and mod support, and you obtain an excellent game, one which fans have been playing and replaying to their satisfaction. Some of them have even achieved greatness: completing the game in ironman mode and the greatest difficulty, legendary.

“This is how you reboot a classic series. This is how you distill everything that made the original great and get rid of the old, dated, "Oh my god how did we ever put up with that?!" stuff that modern technology makes meaningless. Every choice matters, it's tactically compelling every turn, you have to earn your victory in a way that few other games have ever managed. Capping it off with permadeath soldiers you can make out of your friends, family or colleagues made it an emergent storytelling engine few other games have come close to. They are masterpieces, and single-handedly revived an entire genre. Not many games can say that.” (Sorbicol)

“So many cool things in this game, so much love from the community and Pavonis with Long War. I can't praise this game highly enough, I mean, in my mind it paved the way for more games in its genre like BATTLETECH and so many more in the same style. And the stories that come from the community's playthroughs.” (Bfgp)

“XCOM 2 felt like a good step forward, but the strategic layer just didn't quite have it. Then we got Wrath of the Chosen. Bingo. Strategic decisions. Injuries and fatigue. Bonds. Big baddies upsetting your applecart just when you thought a mission was going smoothly. Played it to death, delved into the workshop for mods, played it to death again. Delved into the workshop again months later, played it to death again. I don't see the pattern changing in the foreseeable future.” (Mr Crinkle)

#9… Life Is Strange (72pts - Jan 15th, 2015-Oct 20th, 2015)


Developed by Dontnod, published by Square Enix, Life Is Strange focuses on 18-year-old Max Caulfield, a photography student who discovers she can rewind time, with certain limits and drawbacks. Using this talent, she influences events around her. In classic adventure game fashion, Life Is Strange featured small fetch quests, puzzle solving and branching dialog choices. While it did receive some criticism for odd slang, poor lip-syncing in earlier episodes and tonal inconsistencies, the game nevertheless went on to receive no fewer than 75 Game of the Year awards and listings in 2015. The endearing characters and compelling storyline were more than enough to earn a place in gamers’ hearts and minds.

“Life is Strange (…) always highlighted the importance of friendship and love and tolerance, and doing your best to be good to the people around you, even when everything seems awful. Especially when everything seems awful. These are lessons we're going to need even more going forward in the world we've been given.” (Redwing)

“Simultaneously the gentlest and most brutal game I’ve played, and one of the realest and rawest and most humane, it’s become an experience very precious to me. Unflinching and unsparing in the issues it deals with, which are grounded, practical matters of how we fail our most vulnerable, and draws a great deal of power as a result.” (SpacePPoliceman)

“This was such a heart wrenching story about fate and consequences. Hoping to make things better by turning back the clock, only to find out that the alternative reality you've created somehow ended up being even worse.” (hookazoid)

#8… Bloodborne (80pts - March 24th,2015)


A third-person action role-playing game developed by FromSoftware, Bloodborne shares many elements with the Souls games (Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls). In a decrepit gothic world, the player battles various enemies, including… of course… bosses! With a small arsenal on their back, (two melee weapons and two secondary weapons!), the Hunter engages in highly dynamic, aggressive combat, which includes parrying. Though some lamented the unreliable firearms, most critics praised the aesthetics and unsettling atmosphere, as well as the rewarding, fast-paced combat.

“Bloodborne is a game I absolutely love, it feels like the game almost could have been made for me specifically. The mechanics are a perfect boiling down of how I played all the Souls games (no shield, parrying not mandatory, just dodge timing), with a world that really gripped me (I go in for dark fantasy and horror a lot anyway), and lore I literally spent hours getting into and untangling. The evolution from gothic horror to cosmic horror and the slow unfold that causes a few raised eyebrows until the big reveal after killing Rom? Perfect.” (Taharka)

“Perhaps no other game that's ever been released carries such a sense of place & atmosphere. It really is like walking through a nightmare with other worldly architecture, twisted monsters that are unlike anything else & some of the best bosses in gaming history.” (Spikeout)

“Its mix of Gothic, Victorian, and steampunk combine to create the most disturbing and memorable world of any game I’ve played. Combat is fast and frenetic, but still weighty and responsive. It just never gets old. I have played all the way through Bloodborne five times now, and tough fights are still exhilarating. The wealth of inventive transforming weapons ensures that I always have fun new toys to play with each time I return.” (Dyni)

#7… Mass Effect 3 (89pts - March 6th, 2012)


Not everyone was pleased with the last game in the Mass Effect trilogy (its final choice in particular), and yet it delivered an epic ending to a powerful and widely loved trilogy. Mass Effect 3 improved on Mass Effect 2’s combat and added a very popular multiplayer component, but what truly held people’s attention was the conclusion to a tale spanning three games. Defeating the Reapers was perhaps the primary objective, but first and foremost, everyone remembers the relationships that had been built along the way, and for some characters, the emotional ending of that relationship. The Citadel DLC added to the sense that the entire game was a huge send off for these beloved characters, Commander Shepard included, a long goodbye of sorts. And we all hate saying goodbye to those we love.

”I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite game of the decade. This was maybe the only easy choice on the entire list. I love this game. I love this series. Maybe I’m screwing up the chances of Mass Effect topping the community list by choosing Mass Effect 3 and leaving 2 out of the points so that I can feature other games instead, but I don’t care, Mass Effect 3 is the game for me.” (zeroKFE)

“I love Mass Effect. I don't think I've ever been as invested in a video game world, and its characters. Garrus is my brother from another mother. I would go through fire for Tali or Wrex. (…) Mass Effect deserves to be on this list, for many reasons. But most of all because of its legendary characters and the journey we made together.” (hookazoid)

“By the time you get towards the end of the game and start having your final conversations with your companions it hits you deep down just how well done the characters are and how much you care about them. Garrus, Wrex, Tali, Liara, Mordin, and Thane were probably the most memorable for me, but many of the others were great too.” (Rykin)

#6… The Last of Us (105pts - June 14th, 2013)


Just another post-apocalyptic third-person game, right? Wrong! Developed by Naughty Dog, this PlayStation exclusive features another outbreak of some life-threatening pathogen (a mutant Cordyceps fungus, in this case), leaving the United States in shambles and most its population either infected or on the run. Twenty years after the outbreak, dour Joel meets teenage Ellie who could just hold the key to a cure. As they set out on their cross-country journey, they form a very powerful bond. This relationship spoke to gamers and critics alike, who spared no praise. To this day, the game is the fifth-highest rated PS3 game on Metacritic, and some have even called it the greatest game of all time. Though there may be a few hyperboles in there, the gorgeous visuals, character development, story and subtext made a strong impression.

“The Last of Us is a lavish, big name production that chose to focus on characterization, theme, and performance, and became a huge success because, I’d argue, a lot of us want exactly that.” (SpacePPoliceman)

“I was hooked in by the story and grim world it took place in but this time I saw more clearly Joel’s motivations. He wasn’t some heartless lunk who saw Ellie as an imposition he was a man who’d been through too much loss in too short a space of time and was terrified of connecting with anyone, especially with Ellie. As Ellie and Joel travelled together it was so clear that he was desperately trying to keep her at an emotional distance. (…) By the end of their journey Joel has been exposed to Ellie’s liberal use of colorful language, her goofy sense of humor and her own raw emotional scars. He has realized that she’s a resourceful and tenacious young woman with a fierce will to survive and that, despite his best efforts, he has grown attached to her.” (Higgledy)

“The story, characters and world were so gripping. The stealth based sections were tense (and sometimes frustrating). I usually do not like crafting / loot hunting in games, but it felt so atmospheric in this game that I loved that too.” (robc)

#5… Dark Souls (129pts - Sep 22nd, 2011)


Another action RPG developed by FromSoftware, this one is the spiritual successor of Demon’s Souls, making it the second installment in the Souls series. In the fictional kingdom of Lordran, a cursed, undead pilgrim sets out to discover the fate of their kind. And as is often the case, there are a few obstacles, a host of enemies and impressive bosses. The combat is centered on melee attacks, defense maneuvering and magical abilities, and provides all you need to make your way through the world. You know the saying, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Caution and learning from past mistakes are the key to progressing on your journey, and that can be oh-so satisfying.

“While Dark Souls is not the first of these games, it added a great interconnected world. Combat is great, challenge is fine, but the star of the show is the exploration and discovery.” (Shadout)

“Just last night I was standing in front of the fog door for the Bell Gargoyles waiting to be summoned. My summoning sign was glowing on the floor and I could occasionally see the apparitions of other players below me fighting their way towards the ladder that led to comparative safety. The bell tolled from other people’s games now and then to signal that they had made it through to the bell tower. In that moment, I felt the very odd yet compelling magic that Dark Souls still offers.” (Higgledy)

What is left to say about this game? I regard it as perhaps the best game ever made. The intertwined world design has yet to be topped, or even replicated, by anyone - even the game's own creators. (…) It goes without saying that the combat in this game is pure joy. The gradual way you acquire mastery over it and your enemies is damn satisfying. If I just took Dark Souls at face value, just the mechanics, levels, bosses etc. it'd still be at my #1 spot on this list, but there's also the thematic elements that work perfectly on almost every level.” (kyrieee)

#4… The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (151pts - Mar 3rd, 2017)


You all may have forgotten, but I sure haven’t. Breath of the Wild placed first in the 2017 Community GOTY, and there was absolutely nothing the other games could do to upstage it. It held up very well in this community GOTD, narrowly missing the podium by only 7 points. In the gorgeous open world of Hyrule, nonlinear gameplay is not only permitted but encouraged. The bestselling Zelda game has won many GOTY awards and been called a masterpiece by many. Breath of the Wild has achieved the incredible task of breaking away from a tried-and-true formula all while retaining the essence of the franchise, and that is a feat that demands admiration.

“Others have said it, but it bears repeating - Breath of the Wild is the purest representation of the possibilities imagined by the very first Legend of Zelda back in 1986. It was largely achieved by taking a razor to what had become the Zelda formula over the years, the Zelda series became more and more puzzle and dungeon oriented, to the point where most of Skyward Sword's overworld felt like an extension of the puzzle dungeons, while Spirit Tracks overworld was quite literally on rails. Breath of the Wild eschews dungeons almost entirely, relegates most puzzles to hidden shrines, and completely opens up the overworld. And it's so much better for it.” (halfwaywrong)

“Playing Breath of the Wild made me feel like a kid again, exploring every new nook and cranny, and filled my imagination at the possibility of it all. And that’s before all the things it accomplished mechanically and how all the systems interconnected and worked together. Of all the games that came out this decade where you could see a mountain off in the distance and go climb it, this one had the best climbing, and some of the best reasons to go all the way over there in the first place. And for that, I think it’s my Game of the Decade.” (Sundown)

“The game that redefined open world. (…) This game is Nintendo giving a masterclass in designing open worlds and the big-N knows they can still do better.” (mrtomaytohead)

#3… The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (158pts - Nov 11th, 2011)


The fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls series has now been released on pretty much every platform under the sun, except maybe your toaster. With an overabundance today, it’s now hard to remember that back in 2011, this was hotly anticipated. Announced with great fanfare, teased and marketed for over a year, Skyrim moved the setting north of the Imperial province. Once again, you wake up as a prisoner, but this time you’re scheduled for execution. Thankfully, a large dragon arrives, wreaking havoc on the small town, and you’re turned loose in this gorgeous, frozen world of tundras and forests. If there’s one thing Bethesda does well, it’s incredibly fun sandboxes where you can do and be anything. Yes, even a sneaky archer who shoots arrows in knees.

“What a world to get lost in. I played Morrowind and Oblivion for dozens of hours, but this one finally clicked with me.” (Sasu)

“The game that burst the bubble of the open world lore driven game structure that caters to your every whim (especially with the player mods available). I really believe this game is probably one of the best due to the mods available.” (Sydhart)

“This is my most played game of the period. I probably spent the same amount of time researching mods and what have you outside of the game as I did directly playing. Add in Lets Plays, and wow we are looking at a Sands level of time. I found it almost Zen like experience at moments, just walking in a direction and seeing what happens. Still playing it today after all this time. Pumped for Skywind.” (Chrispynutt)

#2… The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt (233pts - May 19, 2015)


By the time Wild Hunt was released, gamers knew the name of Geralt of Rivia. With this third installment in the series, CD Projekt aimed to deliver an ambitious action role-playing game on a grand scale. By all accounts, they have succeeded. Critics and gamers have praised the game’s immersion, the attention to detail, the involved narrative, the complex characters and stellar voice acting. Sales reflect this enthusiasm with four million copies sold in the first two weeks of release. And with the Netflix series as popular as it is, Geralt undoubtedly still has quite a few good years left in him yet.

“This might be my favorite game of all-time. (…) Regardless of where it sits on my personal all-time list, it’s definitely the standard for open-world story-based RPGs.” (billt721)

“A majestic open world creation and a technical masterpiece, with some of my favorite video game characters ever.” (kergguz)

“ I absolutely love the story and world in The Witcher 3. I enjoyed the first two also, but 3 takes it to a new level. Geralt is one of my favorite characters in a video game. His no nonsense, down to business attitude appeals to me. I love the voice acting. For someone who is supposed to be so detached, he has a strong sense fairness and justice. The world is so beautiful, even the squalid areas. Turning off the question marks on the map elevates exploration. Combat is good.” (robc)

#1… Mass Effect 2 (287pts - Jan 26th, 2010)


This is how you folks know I didn’t rig the community GOTD, because this is not the game I would have picked for number one. Regardless, it is the community’s choice, and I shall nonetheless have to abide by it… Oh, who am I kidding?! Of *course* I’m thrilled to see a Mass Effect game at the top of the list, you all know it!! Widely heralded as the pinnacle of the trilogy, this installment appeared on 38 lists and placed at the top of 9 of them. Some gamers lamented the “corridor shooter” aspect of it, but others enjoyed the tighter experience, a game focused on characters and narrative. It made us care. And ten years later, that’s what we remember. The anguish of seeing Shepard spaced and the Normandy SR-1 torn to shreds. Building trust between team members who were natural enemies. Tensions running high aboard a ship on a suicide mission. That’s what stays with us.

“I loved how they expanded the cast and each squad member had a unique and interesting loyalty mission were you learned more about that character. Also props to Bioware for letting you import your character and decisions into this game. My paragon fem Shep had a jagged scar and short hair. She romanced Kaidan in the first game but dumped him for Thane. And who can forget the suicide mission at the end where you get punished harshly for making wrong split-second choices? I lost two squadmates and it made the last scene all the more bittersweet.” (Forlorn Hope)

“Mass Effect 2 is my game of the decade because it put the stars back into my eyes for AAA role-playing games. It set a new standard for cinematic excellence and deeply engaging character interactions through strong writing and an expertly crafted dialog and cinema system. ME2 is also a very sentimental pick for me due to the timing of its release just before I embarked on my own new adventure into game development. So not only was this an awesome gaming experience, it was incredibly inspiring at just the right time in my life. And that intro sequence... the hairs still stand on end when I watch Shepard's death drift through space and the impact of the late title card. It still cannot be beat.” (Maclintok)

“Mass Effect was so good. The characters and each of the small stories, especially the DLC was just amazing. The combat worked well and there were interesting things happening with the choices. Liara, Legion, all the non-human party members. Peak BioWare.” (PikaPomelo)

Special categories

The ones that got pushed away

Let us take a moment and reflect on the recent and not so recent winners of GOTYs past which didn’t even get a single vote in our epic Community GOTD: The Legend of Zelda: a Link Between Worlds (2013 GOTY #8), Wasteland 2 (2014 GOTY #9), South Park: The Stick of Truth (2014 GOTY #7), Cities: Skyline (2015 GOTY #6), Mass Effect: Andromeda (2017 GOTY #10), Into the Breach (2018 GOTY #7), Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019 GOTY #4) and The Outer Worlds (2019 GOTY #1).

The community’s favorite multiplayer


It’s a well-known fact. It’s the best league in the world, really. Rocket League ranked 25th, tied with Stardew Valley. With nine goodjers putting in on their lists, one of them at the very top, the 2015 vehicular soccer video game beat Overwatch by only two points. With such a narrow race, it’s a forgone conclusion that our little community will keep playing these games together for the months and perhaps even years to come.

The community’s favorite strategy game


Crusader Kings II very nearly made it into the top ten. In fact, it actually *was* part of the top ten at some point. But when all things were said and done, it tied for eleventh place with Gone Home, earning 66 points. The grand dynasty simulator pulled from genetics, education, culture, religion, politics. Released in 2012, the game now has 15 different expansions packs. Factor in the mods, and there’s enough content to keep any strategy fan happy.

The community’s favorite roguelike


After a successful Kickstarter, FTL: Faster Than Light was initially released on Windows, Linux and MacOS in September 2012, earning a decent following on those platforms. When the iPad version hit in April 2014, that only snowballed. The tablet’s intuitive controls, fine-tuned for the device, made gameplay smooth and pleasant. Which is definitely a good thing, because the game has been called brutally hard, absurdly cruel and punishing. And yet, there is something incredibly Zen about navigating the stars aboard your chosen vessels with your motley crew. Ben Prunty’s award winning soundtrack puts the finishing touches on this truly special game. With 11 goodjers putting FTL in

their top ten (at #1 for two of them!), FTL: Faster Than Light ranked 16th on the Community GOTD.

The “what if” rankings

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my line of work, it’s that you can get very different results if you use different methods to measure data. That doesn’t invalidate the results, of course, it just highlights how important it is to explain what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Thus, everything is transparent (it’s about ethics in epidemiology!). So let’s see what happens if we mix things up.

The “franchise” rankings

One of the issues that folks struggled with was which installment in a series they should pick. Sometimes they picked one game as a stand in for the entire series. At times, folks ranked two games of the same franchise. The idea was to regroup different games : Mass Effect 2 and 3 got bundled up as the ME’s, The Witcher 2 and 3 also got piled in together, and the Souls series included all three Darks Souls, Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Though Mass Effect retained first place with Geralt coming up for second place, the Souls series snatched bronze. The two XCOM games gained a few places, coming it seventh. Another notable distinction concerned the Dragon Age games: with Dragon Age 2 coming in 23rd and Inquisition tying for 45th with 3 other games, their combined powers placed the franchise in 10th place. The two Dishonored games climbed up to 12th place. You’ll find the “revised” top 20 below.

  1. Mass Effect (376pts, 14 first place votes)
  2. The Witcher series (271pts, 11 first place votes)
  3. Souls series (265pts, 9 first place votes)
  4. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (158pts, 8 first place votes)
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (151pts, 4 first place votes)
  6. The Last of Us (105pts, 1 first place vote)
  7. XCOM's (98pts, 1 first place vote)
  8. Red Dead Redemption's (89pts, 2 first place votes)
  9. Nier's (84pts, 3 first place votes)
  10. Dragon Age's (73pts)
  11. Life Is Strange (72pts)
  12. Dishonored's (68pts, 1 first plac
  13. Crusader Kings II (66pts)
  14. Gone Home (66pts, 1 first place vote)
  15. Slay the Spire (65pts)
  16. Fallout's (62pts)
  17. Final Fantasy's (61pts)
  18. FTL: Faster Than Light (60pts, 2 first place votes)
  19. Portal 2 (59pts)
  20. Kerbal Space Program (55pts, 3 first place votes)

The “GOTYs of years past” rankings

Another approach was to restrict ourselves to the GOTYs of years past, narrowing the list to 92 games. Since Community GOTYs have often operated with the “rank games you played this year”, independently of release date, this added games from 2009, namely Minecraft and Bayonetta. There were many commonalities with other methods, but one dark horse made an appearance: Portal 2, which had placed only 17th in the “general election”, shot forth to 3rd place. Dishonored also progressed from 22nd place to 8th place.

  1. Mass Effect 2 (224pts, 8 first place votes)
  2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (187pts, 7 first place votes)
  3. Portal 2 (110pts, 1 first place vote)
  4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (97pts, 4 first place votes)
  5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (93pts, 4 first place votes)
  6. The Last of Us (85pts, 2 first place votes)
  7. Dark Souls (82pts, 2 first place votes)
  8. Dishonored (78pts, 1 first place vote)
  9. Gone Home (75pts, 2 first place votes)
  10. Slay the Spire (72pts)
  11. Nier: Automata (68pts, 3 first place votes)
  12. Life Is Strange (66pts, 1 first place vote)
  13. The Walking Dead (65pts)
  14. FTL (60pts, 1 first place vote)
  15. Red Dead Redemption (60pts, 1 first place vote)
  16. Diablo 3 : Reaper of Souls (58pts)
  17. XCOM 2 (58pts, 1 first place vote)
  18. Dragon Age 2 (55pts)
  19. XCOM: Enemy Unknown / Enemy Within (54pts)
  20. Bastion (53pts, 1 first place vote)
  21. Rocket League (53pts, 2 first place votes)
  22. Dark Souls 3 (51pts)
  23. StarCraft 2 (51pts)
  24. Minecraft (48pts, 1 first place vote)
  25. Bloodborne (48pts, 1 first place vote)
  26. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (48pts, 2 first place votes)
  27. Overwatch (47pts, 2 first place votes)
  28. Mass Effect 3 (47pts, 3 first place votes)
  29. Spider-Man (46pts)
  30. Horizon Zero Dawn (45pts, 1 first place vote)
  31. Journey (45pts)
  32. Hollow Knight (43pts)
  33. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (41pts, 1 first place vote)
  34. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (40pts)
  35. Stardew Valley (40pts, 2 first place votes)
  36. Dark Souls 2 (34pts, 1 first place vote)
  37. Divinity: Original Sin II (33pts, 1 first place vote)
  38. Fallout 4 (33pts, 1 first place vote)
  39. Borderlands 2 (32pts)
  40. Bioshock Infinite (31pts, 1 first place vote)
  41. Civilization 5 (31pts)
  42. Dragon Age: Inquisition (31pts)
  43. Return of the Obra Dinn (30pts)
  44. BattleTech (29pts)
  45. Firewatch (29pts)
  46. Assassin's Creed Odyssey (27pts)
  47. Divinity: Original Sin (27pts)
  48. Control (26pts)
  49. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (26pts)
  50. Saints Row the Third (26pts)
  51. Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons (24pts)
  52. Doom (24pts)
  53. Fire Emblem: Three Houses (24pts)
  54. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (24pts)
  55. Titanfall 2 (24pts)
  56. Pillars of Eternity (22pts)
  57. Bayonetta (21pts)
  58. Mark of the Ninja (21pts)
  59. The Witness (21pts, 1 first place vote)
  60. Persona 5 (20pts, 1 first place vote)
  61. Super Mario Maker (19pts)
  62. Tomb Raider (19pts)
  63. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (18pts)
  64. Outer Wilds (18pts, 1 first place vote)
  65. Prey (18pts)
  66. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (15pts)
  67. God of War (14pts)
  68. Red Dead Redemption 2 (14pts)
  69. Rogue Legacy (13pts)
  70. Dead Cells (11pts)
  71. Super Mario Odyssey (11pts)
  72. Super Smash Bros (11pts)
  73. Cities: Skyline (10pts)
  74. Monster Hunter: World (10pts)
  76. Saints Row IV (9pts)
  77. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (9pts)
  78. Batman: Arkham City (8pts)
  79. The Legend of Zelda: a Link Between Worlds (8pts)
  80. Wasteland 2 (7pts)
  81. Battlefield 3 (6pts)
  82. Battlefield Bad Company 2 (6pts)
  83. Mario Kart 8 (6pts)
  84. Apex Legends (5pts)
  85. Heavy Rain (5pts)
  86. Disco Elysium (4pts)
  87. The Outer Worlds (3pts)
  88. Into the Breach (2pts)
  89. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (2pts)
  90. South Park: The Stick of Truth (2pts)
  91. Mass Effect: Andromeda (0pts)
  92. The Division (0pts)

Lists and graphs

TL;DR version

The Mass Effect franchise rules supreme, taking first and seventh place and leaving a suitably somber Witcher with silver and Bethesda’s fantasy sandbox game with bronze. Different methods yielded similar results, but allowed the Souls series, the Dragon Age games and Portal 2 to share some of the spotlight.

The Top 30

  1. Mass Effect 2 (287pts, 9 first place votes)
  2. The Witcher 3 (233pts, 9 first place votes)
  3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (158pts, 8 first place votes)
  4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (151pts, 4 first place votes)
  5. Dark Souls (129pts, 7 first place votes)
  6. The Last of Us (105pts, 1 first place vote)
  7. Mass Effect 3 (89pts, 5 first place votes)
  8. Bloodborne (80pts, 1 first place vote)
  9. Life Is Strange (72pts)
  10. XCOM 2 (70pts, 1 first place vote)
  11. Crusader Kings II (66pts)
  12. Gone Home (66pts, 1 first place vote)
  13. Slay the Spire (65pts)
  14. Red Dead Redemption (63pts)
  15. Nier: Automata (62pts, 2 first place votes)
  16. FTL: Faster Than Light (60pts, 2 first place votes)
  17. Portal 2 (59pts)
  18. Kerbal Space Program (55pts, 3 first place votes)
  19. The Walking Dead (54pts)
  20. Final Fantasy XIV (50pts)
  21. Fallout: New Vegas (47pts)
  22. Dishonored (47pts)
  23. Dragon Age 2 (46pts)
  24. Diablo 3 (46pts)
  25. Stardew Valley (42pts, 1 first place vote)
  26. Rocket League (42pts, 1 first place vote)
  27. Horizon Zero Dawn (41pts, 1 first place vote)
  28. Overwatch (40pts, 1 first place vote)
  29. Warframe (39pts, 1 first place vote)
  30. Spider-Man (39pts)
  31. Hearthstone (39pts, 1 first place vote)

Graphs galore

As is tradition, you’ll find a few graphs below. Each graph can be zoomed in by right clicking and viewing the image itself.






Once again, ClockworkHouse has my unending gratitude for being an incredibly patient sounding board and proofreader, but I also want to thank the entire community for your amazing support and your enthusiasm every time we do one of these. You are the ones that make this special.


Eleima wrote:

The fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls series has now been released on pretty much every platform under the sun, except maybe your toaster.

What an amazing list of games, whichever way you slice it. I think I personally resonate a bit more with the franchise bundled accounting of things, but the main list feels maybe just a bit more representative of what the community's interests are?

In any case thank you so much for doing all the work to give us this amazing picture of our collective decade in gaming!

Thanks for all your hard work Eleima.

The Last of Us REALLY likes that sixth place spot.

Superb job once again Eleima, that was a great read. Impressive stat breakdown too!

Mass Effect 2 left quite a mark. Could have easily been higher on my own list looking back.

Awesome work with the write-up Eleima! And community for voting and all the commentary regarding the individual games.

I was very interested to see the results of the vote, because going in I had a hypothesis that ran along the lines of reverse-recency bias. I expected the games of yore would be reflected upon with rose-coloured glasses where-as games more recent would fall further down the list due to a notion of "a game this new can't be that high on my list!" (also a compounding factor is any game from 2010 has had ten years of time for someone to play it, versus a game from 2018 which has only had 2 years of time).

I found some interesting results testing this hypothesis on the top-31 list (*assumption*: I'm counting the half-decade as 2010-2014 and 2015-2019 which does give the latter half of the decade an extra year):

  • Games Per Quinquennium
    • 2010-2014: 18
    • 2015-2019: 13

Interesting first pass, definitely more games from earlier in the decade versus later, but insufficient to prove the above hypothesis, there could just be more games lower down the list that pad the quinquennium totals. I also add in the point total for each game and perform a similar summation:

  • Point Totals Per Quinquennium
    • 2010-2014: 1450 pts
    • 2015-2019: 992 pts

Landslide* victory for the prior half of the decade!
*Except there were more games, so let's look at the game-weighted point totals instead:

  • Game-weighted Point Totals Per Quinquennium
    • 2010-2014: 80.6 pts per game
    • 2015-2019: 76.3 pts per game

A virtual deadlock! The conclusion I draw from this exploration is that more of our favourite games were released in the early part of the last decade, which I think is also buoyed a bit by the contributory factor that there's been more time to play these great games, while on the whole the decade has been pretty consistently good for great games!

On a per-decade game-weighted point basis the past 10 years have been fairly smooth with 2010 taking the crown:

Game-weighted Point Total Decade Ranks:

  1. 2010: 132 pts per game
  2. 2011: 98 pts per game
  3. 2015: 96 pts per game
  4. 2017: 85 pts per game
  5. 2013: 65 pts per game
  6. 2019: 65 pts per game
  7. 2012: 60 pts per game
  8. 2016: 51 pts per game
  9. 2014: 39 pts per game
  10. 2018: 39 pts per game

Thanks again to Eleima for tabulating and scoring! None of this would be possible without her!

Awesome! Stats nerds rejoice!!

Awesome work!

Definitely the same #1 I would have voted.

Question, was no other Zelda game voted on to combine with BotW?

Edit: oh I see, Link Between Worlds got votes in the poll format but none in the free top 10s.

I want to give the Mass Effect series a second chance. Should I start at the first one or jump straight to #2? I feel like the introduction to the lore that happens in #1 could be vital. Has #1 aged well?

The gameplay will feel very dated in many ways, but the story and character development is so critical that I can't imagine playing the series without starting at the beginning.

One is really my favourite. Others have more problems with it than I do. If it’s cheap enough perhaps you could give it a try see if you get on with it. Alternatively, I’d say you could watch a Mass Effect 1 ‘the movie’ on Youtube then play ME2.

Just make sure you watch a playthrough with the Jennifer Hale voice.

RawkGWJ wrote:

Has #1 aged well?

It wasn't great back then, so...

Thanks so much for putting this together, Eleima! It's a treat to read

RawkGWJ wrote:

Should I start at the first one or jump straight to #2? I feel like the introduction to the lore that happens in #1 could be vital. Has #1 aged well?

You wouldn't want to start 2 without knowing the story of 1, but woof... the gameplay of 1 has aged very poorly. I would highly suggest a YouTube recap and then jumping into 2.

Rainbow Six: Siege is the best multiplayer game of this decade. This community's failure to properly love and embrace it should be seen as a black mark on the site's legacy. Shame, I say.

Awesome. And if I close my eyes and imagine things, it kinda looks like Dark Souls was number 1.
Nice to see Life is Strange up there too.

zeroKFE wrote:

Just make sure you watch a playthrough with the Jennifer Hale voice.

People should probably have mentioned which edition of Mass Effect they voted on. So we dont mislead people to the wrong one.

Life is Strange is another one that I want to give a second go. I bounced off after only about 30 minutes because I thought it was going to be a high school anime thing, but apparently that’s only in the beginning? I’m pushing 50yo and have a really hard time getting into high school anime settings. When the characters are over sexualized it’s damn near impossible to stomach. How can I see that as anything other than exploitation?

What a behemoth of a post!

Top job as usual, Eleima, and it's endlessly fascinating to parse the decade's data.

Not sure what first 30 minutes of what got played there...

I was shocked and incredibly pleased to see Life is Strange. I guess I should stop thinking of it as this beautiful hidden gem people don't know about.

I'm pretty impressed with the list in general. Since this was a Decade list, I wondered if voting might get too diffuse with all the options, but doesn't feel like it to me. Granted, nothing wild and out of left field, but still, lots of wonderful things there. And, just to keep it 100, I'm glad Skyrim isn't #1.

Incredible work, Eleima, thanks, this is lots of fun. I also feel weirdly touched that I'm blurbing the two games I am certainly most passionate about.


Thanks so much Eleima for all your time and effort!

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

Not sure what first 30 minutes of what got played there...

Yeah, I don't even like Life Is Strange, and I find the description unrecognizable.


High school, yes, but not even remotely oversexualized or anime. And trust me, I've seen some sh*t, I know oversexualized high school anime in all its awfulness.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
SpacePPoliceman wrote:

Not sure what first 30 minutes of what got played there...

Yeah, I don't even like Life Is Strange, and I find the description unrecognizable.


High school, yes, but not even remotely oversexualized or anime. And trust me, I've seen some sh*t, I know oversexualized high school anime in all its awfulness.

Alright. Good. I guess I was looking for enablement, and I got it.

Thanks Eleima!!

Thanks for putting this together!

That is a big jump in points from number 3 to the top 2. It shows how much they really stood out as great games I guess!

I am surprised that Slay the Spire wasn't higher, I saw it on a lot of lists but that might just be my person bias.

Count me in on the camp that bounced off of Mass Effect 1, I tried it way back when and I think I got bogged down and abandoned it in the first big tower quest hub when I just had to run around a bunch of places? My memory is fuzzy. I have thought about trying it again multiple times over the years and this win might push me into doing it. Why is Mass Effect 3 not on Steam? I expected to find the trilogy collection for $20 or something, but they still want $20 just for the first game!

LeapingGnome wrote:

Why is Mass Effect 3 not on Steam? I expected to find the trilogy collection for $20 or something, but they still want $20 just for the first game!

ME3 download is available only through the Origin game platform.

I mentioned this in the other thread but thanks again Eleima! I love that some of my RPG and strategy favorites are on the list.

Oh for Pete’s sake I missed this effort entirely.

Disappointed by the lack of Asssassin’s Creedses, Tomb Raiderses, and Mordorses.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

Not sure what first 30 minutes of what got played there...

He was playing "Strange is Life". It's a very different kind of game...

*Legion* wrote:
SpacePPoliceman wrote:

Not sure what first 30 minutes of what got played there...

He was playing "Strange is Life". It's a very different kind of game...

Well there are kids in class at high school in the very beginning. I probably had an ADHD moment noped out too quickly.

Thanks for doing this Eleima, excellent post! =)

As with almost any "best of" list, but this one in particular, seeing a couple of playstation exclusives with top rankings always makes me a bit sad I don't own one. Maybe next gen...

Also, feels kind of weird to me that Assassin's Creed didn't show up in the franchise list, it's such a thing in my personal mind-space

Also also, I guess I really should play Witcher 3