2010s Community Game of the Decade

Aristophan wrote:

1. Nier: Automata (2017)

For giving me hope.

Woohoo! The hope aspect of the game is also my favorite part. It can be hard to come by sometimes.

I'm going to post my top-ten now to make the deadline, and commentary later...

1. Disco Elysium
2. Mass Effect 3
3. Rayman: Legends
4. Divinity: Original Sin
5. Assassin's Creed Odyssey
6. Wolfenstein: New Colossus
7. Dragon Age: Inquisition
8. PES 2020
9. Civilization V
10. XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Honorable mentions: Transistor, Life is Strange, Slay the Spire, Football Manager 2018

Damn, I totally forgot this deadline was coming up, so this will be pretty off-the cuff, fill-in the details later:

10. Saint's Row 4
9. Shadowrun: Dragonfall
8. Resident Evil 2
7. Crusader Kings 2
6. Prey: Mooncrash
5. Dark Souls
4. Fallout: New Vegas
3. Yakuza 0
2. Nier Automata
1. Witcher 3

It's so neat to see Subnautica showing up pretty frequently on various lists.

Definitely one of my favorites of the generation, but I didn't expect it to have such widespread appeal.

I still struggle between Subnautica and The Long Dark as my all-time favorite survival sim. They're both so well realized in their respective lanes, with Sub feeling more Zen (mostly) and Dark coming up more grim & punitive. Sooo enjoy them both either way.

My Top 10

  1. Overwatch
  2. Witcher 3
  3. Slay the Spire
  4. Subnautica
  5. Spelunky
  6. Terraria
  7. Life is Strange
  8. Dishonored
  9. Portal 2
  10. XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Honorable Mentions

  • FTL
  • XCOM2
  • Battlefield 3/4
  • Minecraft
  • Walking Dead
  • Mass Effect

Like a few others have commented, I was meaning to do a much longer write-up, and may still, but I see my time is almost up, so:

10. Heavy Rain
9. Dark Souls 2
8. Stardew Valley
7. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
6. Until Dawn
5. The Last of Us
4. Telltale's The Walking Dead Season 1
3. Marvel's Spider-Man
2. Life is Strange
1. Mass Effect 2

Honorable mentions to:
--Red Dead Redemption
--Portal 2
--Gone Home
--Dead Space 2
--Uncharted 4
--Dragon Age: Inquisition
--Fallout New Vegas
--Dragon Age 2

I'm halfway through a brief write-up, but I don't think I'm going to have time to finish it today, so it's probably safest to get this in before the buzzer. I'll add descriptions later.

10) Outer Wilds
9) Beat Saber
8) Mass Effect 2
7) The Last of Us
6) Hollow Knight
5) Undertale
4) Zelda: Breath of the Wild
3) Bloodborne
2) Monster Hunter World (+Iceborne)
1) Dark Souls

Short list:


1. Mass Effect 2 - PC
2. Witcher 3 - PC
3. FTL - PC/Mobile
4. Slay the Spire - PC
5. Arizona Sunshine - VR (Vive)
6. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons - PC
7. Gone Home - PC
8. Portal 2 - PC Great co-op
9. Pokemon Go - Mobile
10. Clash of Clans - Mobile

I have two boys, now in high school. Being a husband and father for a while has definitely influenced the types of games I enjoy, as well as the time available to play them. In my younger days I sank hundreds of hours into MMOs and strategy titles in addition to story-driven RPGs, adventure games, and the occasional FPS.

Now there are more mobile and short-session games on the list, and I have missed the boat entirely on some major titles I can only hope to get to some day. All that said I think this list is a good snapshot of my last decade, the games that really resonated or kept me coming back for more.

1. Mass Effect 2 - PC
Even playing HeShep this was still the most immersive, satisfying, must-finish-every-single-quest-and-max-every-single-companion-loyalty-option RPG Bioware ever made, and I played them all.

2. Witcher 3 - PC
I'm still crunching on this as part of the GWJ CRPG club, but it has me completely hooked. If I had more time I'd uncover every question mark on the map. It's gorgeous and fun just to trot around the countryside with Roach until I have to check the map because I got lost again. There's so much fully-fleshed out content, with great voice-acting, even middle-of-nowhere side quests. I'm simply blown away.

3. FTL - PC/Mobile
A quick rogue-like that sucked me in for months. Simple and addicting. It played even better on a tablet than PC.

4. Slay the Spire - PC
Another perfect rogue-like that I'll keep coming back to, especially now that they just added another character. Endlessly replayable with many paths to win.

5. Arizona Sunshine - VR (Vive)
The first full-length, non-gimic VR game I played. Zombies everywhere, sneaking in the dark, jump scares. I was a sweaty mess after every session, but the fun atmosphere and humor as well as the quality weapon and movement mechanics kept me coming back to finally escape to safety.

6. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons - PC
A unique two-character movement system made this a challenging adventure game. The beautiful world and the tragic story kept this in my thoughts long after I finished.

7. Gone Home - PC
I know I wasn't the only one who ran up the stairs at the end of the game dreading what I'd find. The perfect walking simulator with a slowly-revealing story that had me convinced tragedy lurked around the next corner.

8. Portal 2 - PC
I loved the first Portal. It was perfect. Portal 2 allowed me to solve puzzles together with my oldest son. Priceless.

9. Pokemon Go - Mobile
This should probably be higher on the list. We played this together as a family, walking everywhere, even planning trips to parks with lots of gyms. I still play it with my youngest.

10. Clash of Clans - Mobile
When I was between gaming PCs this filled the gap. Clan wars requiring coordination among 20 people is the mobile equivalent of an MMO raid. It was intense and satisfying for the months I did it. And, just like a raiding clan in an MMO, I finally got burned out and had to leave. But I can't deny the ability of a mobile device to deliver a satisfying gaming experience.

Honorable Mentions:
Civ 5/6 - PC
Rock Band series - WiiU
Mass Effect 3 - PC
Tomb Raider - PC
Dragon Age 2 - PC
Superhot VR - Vive
Diablo 3 - PC
Overwatch - PC
XCOM: Enemy Unknown - PC

It's been a real rough month and I haven't had the chance to do write-ups or even really refine the list much, but let's go with:

1. Kentucky Route Zero
2. Mass Effect 2
3. Pyre
4. Gone Home
5. Slay the Spire
6. FTL
7. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery
8. Dragon Age: Inquisition
9. Rocket League
10. Crusader Kings 2

Honourable Mentions:
Hyper Light Drifter
The Witcher 2 & 3
Path of Exile
X-Com: Enemy Unknown
Return of the Obra Dinn
Portal 2

I think ordering this list was harder than picking the ten.

1. Battletech
2. Elite: Dangerous
3. Stellaris
4. Firefall
5. ARK: Survival Evolved
6. Portal 2
7. Fortnite (specifically Fortnite: Save the World, if we're making a distinction between the game modes).
8. Star Wars: The Old Republic
9. Subnautica
10. Minecraft

And an honorable mention to Star Trek Online, which was released on Feb 2, 2010, and helped keep my mind distracted through my cat's chemotherapy and cancer surgery.

Sorry folks, I've been sick, and I'm a bit behind. We all are, so I'm giving us two extra days to post our lists. The polls will close on early Monday morning, my local time. I'll be back with more details later, but it's almost 1am on my end.

Sneaking in under the wire here...

I really wanted to put Outer Wilds on this list, but I worry there's too much recency bias there. What if it doesn't hold up? Given it's structure, it's possible I'll never really want to play it again since I've found everything there is to find in it. In the end, I decided to highlight other games.

Just the list:

1. The Witcher 3
2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
3. XCOM 2
4. Sid Meier’s Civilization 5
5. Stardew Valley
6. Crusader Kings 2
7. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
8. Mass Effect 3
9. Hexcells Infinite
10. FTL: Faster Than Light

More detailed descriptions:


1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015): This might be my favorite game of all-time. I definitely thought it was right when I finished it, but two years on it’s much closer between this and Mass Effect. Regardless of where it sits on my personal all-time list, it’s definitely the standard for open-world story-based RPGs. I think it’s important to stress the ‘story-based’ part of that description, because I don’t actually think it’s in the same genre as something like Breath of the Wild. Skyrim is a bit closer but even there I feel like the focus is more on exploration than on completing quests. Anyway, the most amazing thing about the quests is that they’re really not all that different than the typical CRPG quests, it’s just that CD Project Red put a lot more effort into the quest writing. The way quests would intersect with other quests might be novel, but I couldn’t say for sure. It was also remarkable for how good it looked. I played through the game on a 2013 iMac and still thought it looked great with a decent (~45) framerate. Just an astonishing piece of work. I wish I could say I’m as excited for Cyberpunk, but the choice to go first-person means that I likely won’t be able to play much of it without getting sick.

2. Zelda: BotW (2017): I spent six months playing The Witcher 3 in 2017. I spent six months playing this game in 2018. It was a good two years. I once described this game to a friend as Skyrim but remove all the quest lines. That’s not entirely accurate -- there are quests in this game, but that’s not where the game is. Instead, it’s the exploration, and it’s brilliant. Soft-gating areas via the stamina meter was a fantastic choice, especially since you could almost always find a path up a mountain side that allowed for rest and recovery during the ascent so that even at the start of the game it’s possible to go wherever you want. The most common complaint about the game is the destructible equipment, but even there I feel like it was a good decision (note: not in Master mode -- it feels too punishing there given how much health enemies have). It forced me to use different weapons and find favorites among them that I probably never would have tried if not for the destructibility. Additionally, once I was a few hours in there was never a moment where I didn’t have too many weapons to choose from. Also, the art style … the music … I could gush about a million different things in this game.

3. XCOM2 (2016): Certis made a good point in his list that even though this is the better game, especially with War of the Chosen, XCOM: Enemy Unknown really paved the way for it. After listening, I was very close to swapping this game out for the original reboot, but in the end I couldn’t leave XCOM2 off my list. I thought it was good at launch -- the combat was better than the first but the strategic layer was a bit of a mess. With the War of the Chosen expansion, though, they made it one of the best games ever. The strategic layer is still a bit of a mess, but it’s one in which you’re presented with a ton of different valid options and it’s pretty much impossible to get yourself into a death spiral at this point on anything at or below ‘normal’ difficulty. Even squad-wipes are manageable thanks to all the different options you have to acquiring and leveling soldiers. The addition of the (free!) Tactical Legacy pack, with mini-campaigns and shorter, random tactical battles was just icing on the cake. For XCOM3, I’m hoping that they’ll lean even more heavily into the RPG elements, but honestly I’d be happy if they took what’s already there tactically and changed up the strategic portion.

4. Civ 5 (2010): It’s kinda amazing that this game makes my list given the rocky release that it had. There were good ideas there, to be sure, but it seems like half of them were broken or barely implemented at all. I played something like 20 hours at launch. Patches and the first expansion (Gods & Kings) fixed some of the issues, though added some additional features that seemed incomplete. I put another in 20 hours. The final expansion (Brave New World), though, seemed to fix all the issues I had with the game. It also managed to more fully flesh out the features added in Gods & Kings and added in some new features of its own. I played another 260 hours and I think it’s my favorite Civ iteration. I don’t know if it’s burnout or something else, but I just have not been able to get into Civ VI in the same way.

5. Stardew Valley (2016): One of my favorite games of all time that I initially installed by accident without knowing anything about it. I had actually meant to install Subnautica, which was right below it in the list but clicked on the wrong thing and didn’t notice until I came back to the computer later on. I’ve recently been playing the Switch release, which fixes the only issue I had with the game on PC. As someone with two young kids, I sometimes have to stop playing a game immediately and that sucks when the length of a day in SV is about 15 minutes and there’s no other saving. I still haven’t played Subnautica.

6. Crusader Kings 2 (2012): The original Crusader Kings was a delightfully broken mess, that had a beautiful board-gamey look (which, honestly, I miss from the early Paradox games). I stumbled on it via some long-forgotten forum that I used to waste time on rather than working. Anyway, CK2 is a visual novel, but instead of a japanese high school, it’s set in medieval europe. It’s a roguelike -- or at least a game based on ‘runs’ -- where your run might last 50 hours. It’s a strategy game where you might do absolutely nothing for hours at a time while time in-game passes. It’s as amazing as it is weird and if you haven’t played it you should, especially now that the base game is free.

7. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011): I feel like this game would have rated much higher if not for my #1 and #2 games. That’s not to say it’s not great. And if I were looking at Game of the Decade from a reach/influence lens I might put this one up near the top. As it is, it doesn’t do great in comparisons with games that came after and were likely influenced by it, and that’s ok. I played a bunch of this game when it came out. I played a bunch more of it the next year, and the year after that. And just in the last year or so I’ve put a bunch more time into it after grabbing it for the Switch. There are a bunch of things I could nitpick with this game, but in the end it does exploration in a way that’s only been surpassed by Breath of the Wild, and that alone gets it on my list.

8. Mass Effect 3 (2012): It’s about the journey, not the destination. To be honest, I didn’t have a problem with the ending of ME3. I would have liked it better had they weighed all the choices I’d made over the course of the three games and just given me an ending cinematic, but I feel like the internet mob would have lost their sh*t over that as well, so … whatever. It’s fine. I’m sure ME2 will be on more lists, but I’ve never been able to get over Bioware forcing my character to work for the terrorist group that spent the first game running experiments on my fellow soldiers, killing colleagues and attempting to kill me. So it’s ME3 for me. It’s not my favorite game in the series, and it wouldn’t even be on this list if not for the first game existing, but I feel like some representation of the series has to be here because I almost definitely spent more time in the ME universe over the last decade (mostly ME1) than any other property listed here.

9. Hexcells Infinite (2014): No game of the decade list for me would be complete without a Hexcells game. Infinite gets the nod because it builds upon predecessors and introduces computer generated puzzles, which aren’t as good as the hand-crafted puzzles but are still enjoyable.

10. FTL: Faster Than Light (2012): I struggled to decide what to put here. Hitman (2016) and Dragon Age: Inquisition were the other two games I was considering for the last spot. In the end I went with a game that I played far less of than those other two, but one which I think has had a bigger impact on me. FTL was my introduction to rougelikes. It's not a genre that I love, but there are particular games within the genre that make my GOTY list every year.

Eleima wrote:

Sorry folks, I've been sick, and I'm a bit behind. We all are, so I'm giving us two extra days to post our lists. The polls will close on early Monday morning, my local time. I'll be back with more details later, but it's almost 1am on my end.

Glad to hear it (not the sick part)! I'll need that extra time.

1. Spelunky HD
As close to gaming perfection as it's possible to get. The best game ever made.
A coherent, living world where everything slots together perfectly, a semi-procedural level generation algorithm that punches your "muh hand crafted levels" enemies into submission.
A pitch perfect difficulty where you're constantly teaching yourself through failure and gently pushing yourself to take more and more risks.
It has the perfect "make haste, slowly" pace, a game that occupies just enough of your brain that it's still interesting but you can play it without thinking, almost on autopilot. The perfect game to play while listening to music or podcasts. Just the perfect game.
The perfect game.

2. Blue Revolver
Very rare to see an indie shmup from a western dev that has such a complete understanding of and burning passion for the genre.
One of my favourite shmups of all time. A love letter to all things yagawa.

3. Nex Machina
Probably a good thing that arcade is dead because housemarque would probably never hit these heady heights again, unleeeeeess. The guiding hand of Eugene Jarvis steered and pushed them on to create their magnum opus.
My claim to fame is that they they used a quote from me from their discord channel in the multiplayer trailer. Probably doesn't mean much to anyone else but it's going on my gravestone

4. The Binding Of Isaac
Seemed like everything fell into place at the perfect time here, just as roguelites were becoming popular, Ed had the genius idea of blending zelda dungeons with a top down shooter and liberally sprinkling some roguelite mechanics over the top.
The gorgeous "that'll do" loose and fast hand drawn graphics were brimming with character and really brought the world alive and the decision to sell the game for 4 quid meant that everyone and their ganny snapped it up and it's popularity exploded really quickly.
You could argue that it's a bit too random for it's own good, but the heavy "slot machine", leaning towards RNG making or breaking your run actually made the game for those who truly fell in love.

5. Eschatos
A modern semi bullet hell shmup with a raw old school simplicity, kill everything, get to the end. It's like a souped up remake of silversword. Has a great sense of spectacle without ruining the gameplay, no annoying cutscenes or jarring perspective shifts (debatable), it's all done through the music and the layout of the stages. Feels like you're starring in the best sci fi B-movie albeit played out with your ugly plastic childhood fisher price toys.

6. Black Bird
Basically a remake of fantasy zone channelled through the prism of Yoshiro Kimura's mind who is quoted as saying "I am feeling that Indie Games are beautiful nature of the earth" which is enough to get his photo framed and hung on my bedroom wall.
It's a shmup that I'd have no reservations in recommending to any none shmup playing gamer. It eases in newcomers very gently.
The music is fantastic, the art is sublime, it's a gorgeous, unique little thing, a work of art that just so happens to be an infinitely replayable, very accomplished shmup with deep, wilfully opaque scoring mechanics that'll keep genre veterans happy for a long time.
This game came out at a funny time in my life when a lot of bad things were going on and just being able to escape into this wonderful bronze foiled chocolatey world with beaky fuzzblob and his strange egg friends was a comforting joy that kept my head above water.

7. Dungeons of Dredmor
Perhaps not the best in it's class but I'm using my "important game" card here, it introduced simplified roguelikes to the masses and I think it's a big pivotal game in that regard.

8. Stardew Valley
I think this ruined all other games in the genre for me. Not only was it better than the games it was a homage to, it showed how much better they play with decent mouse and keyboard controls and I don't think I can go back. I'm still very tempted to buy the new harvest moon, but the thought of jumping back into this seems much more appealing.

9. Don't Starve
I loved how this game just threw you into the world and you had to figure everything out for yourself. Very minecraft, but this grabbed me and my imagination far more than that game. You could argue that it doesn't have the best systems once you've figured them all out but just being in that world and finding your feet and learning through play, it was an amazing time for me.
Amazing artstyle and you just get sucked into the world when you're playing.

10. Diablo III
I know this'll be contentious, but I was a late starter when it came to ARPG's and this came at just the right time when I was looking for some comfort gaming, a big pile of sand to bury my head into.
I think I ended up playing torchlight II more, but this got me into the genre, and despite the terrible always online, the auction house and the resultant dodgy difficulty scaling, I'll always be grateful for that.

I feel like I should mention overwatch, the multiplayer fps that got me back into multiplayer fps's's (for a little while) before I remembered why I'd knocked that all on the head.
Throwing my mouse around, trying way too hard, constantly changing character to pick up the slack from all the hanzo's playing shooting gallery at the spawn points, typing passive aggressive suggestions like "the trolley moves faster the more folk are hanging round it".
It was fun while it lasted.

I'm new by the way, someone turned me onto this forum saying it was really chill and friendly! I don't know if they go by the same name so I won't mention them just yet, but they're a gorgeous soul!
I don't currently have a job, I'm hoping that's not a deal breaker!

clippa wrote:

I'm new by the way, someone turned me onto this forum saying it was really chill and friendly! I don't know if they go by the same name so I won't mention them just yet, but they're a gorgeous soul!
I don't currently have a job, I'm hoping that's not a deal breaker!

Certainly not, and welcome!

OK seeing someone else put Spelunky as their GOTD finally spurred me into action

1. Spelunky
This game is kind of magical to me. It succeeds on so many levels.
As an action platformer, it keeps on serving up interesting challenges, despite levels being procedurally generated. Controls are very precise, perfect for the watchful approach you learn to adopt, but also responsive when you want to take an educated risk. Each gadget you find is useful in its own way and interacts seamlessly with other tools and the environment.
As a roguelike, it taught me a lot about what it means to make progress in a game. You always start out with just the 4 hearts, bombs and ropes, and have to make your way through 16 (or more!) perilous levels. And yet over time you notice myself playing smarter, lasting longer, dealing better with the hand you've been dealt.
"Finishing" the game for the first time, after 100s of attempts, rates as one of the great gaming moments of the decade for me.

2. Infinifactory
There could be 3 or 4 Zachtronics games on this list, but Infinifactory is the one I fell most deeply for. I filled a notebook with designs for puzzle solutions, useful components and "special projects". Looking at it now is like trying to decipher the scribblings of a madman.

3. Mass Effect 2
Not the best ME, but the best ME of the decade.

4. Dragon's Dogma
I have a long and complicated history with this game. The original version on 360 corrupted my save file after 60 hours, just as I was getting ready to take on the final boss. After a weeklong mourning period, I played it through again, as a Mystic Knight instead of a ranger. To my surprise it was actually better the second time around, and it turned out that what I thought was the final boss was in fact just the gateway to an incredible "post-game" and one of the great OTT true endings of our time. Then Dark Arisen arrived and it turned out I couldn't use my existing save with this new version of the game. So of course I played it through again, this time as a magic archer. When I think back on the game now, I think of the strange hold it had over me. I think of devotion, enthralment, fear of the dark. Strange creatures glimpsed in flickering torchlight, and some clearly traumatised pawns. A feeling that normal rules didn't apply, and anything might happen in this twisted world.

5. DmC Devil May Cry
It was this or Bayonetta, but DmC is the one I keep coming back to. The animation is incredible. I can still sense the weight of the sword almost flinging Dante off his feet, the thud of the glove, the rush of zipping about a dance floor 10 feet in the air. I must have played it through about 8 times I think, at least once on every difficulty (except Hell), and then again for the definitive version. I've since tried other DMC games but none of them grabbed me like this one.

6. The Swapper
Maybe not the greatest pure puzzle game, although there are some great puzzles within. But the claymation art, the quiet lonely atmosphere, the way the story and mechanics intertwine so profoundly, all these things make it stand out to me. And it's so lean, I've been able to enjoy it several times over thanks to my poor memory for puzzle solutions.

7. Invisible Inc
What I remember most about this game is learning to deal with doors. On a grander scale, it's a machine for creating interesting spatial and logistical puzzles. Conflict is best avoided, and violence feels like failure. Never have I felt so rewarded for strategic thinking in both the long and short term. Like Spelunky, it showed me the value of wisdom acquired through adversity. My first ever win came on one of my worst ever runs in terms of gear drops, and followed several runs where I wiped on the final mission despite vastly superior loadouts. Which to me sums up the game's learning curve.

8. Vanquish
As a console gamer in the early 2010's, there were a lot of limp cover shooters to contend with. In the midst of all that came Vanquish, a shooter that was full of excitement and spectacle, but also a finely judged balance of risk and reward. Mixing ideas from bullet hell and third person shooters it constantly dared you to put yourself in harm's way to charge up your own destructive powers. I'm not sure how well it holds up (in fact, I'm a bit nervous about the remaster coming out this year) but at the time it felt like a statement.

9. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
Best co-op experience of the decade, playing couch co-op with my sister over a christmas holiday period. It's the only game we ever bonded over, despite trying out several others since, and for that it feels like a window onto a better world.

10. Blur
And this is my favourite online experience of the decade. Merely OK as an offline racer, but the online racing in this game was tremendous. Players who tried to turn races into demolition derbies never lasted long. To survive the chaos, you needed controlled aggression and willingness to pay attention to your surroundings. There was never a huge player base, but enough people stuck around to find races for a long time after release (and, sadly, after the demise of Bizarre Creations).

Honourable Mentions (in rough order)

You always remember your first Zach.

XCOM Enemy Unknown
Should probably really be on the list, but I already have Invisible Inc, which is my preferred tactics game.

Dragon Age 2
Could be on the list as a lament. This is the path I wish Bioware had continued to follow. Less epic sagas, more contained and personal stories. Loved those characters, they live on for me.

The Talos Principle
Hits similar notes to The Swapper, but not as neatly.

NFS Hot Pursuit and Forza Horizon
Both of these games captured the exhilaration of a great open world racing game.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
A game I still think about, even though I haven't touched it since 2010. It has real heart.

Nier Automata
I wish I'd known less about this going in, but even knowing what to expect it was still amazing, especially that ending.

Sleeping Dogs
Why don't more games let me live the HK cop fantasy? Loved the combat, characters and the world.

Watch Dogs 2
For the toys! And the fun missions and characters, and the multiplayer. I played a lot of Ubi-games in the 2010s but this was my favourite.

Persona 5
Not always great, but by the end, we'd been on a journey.

Aristophan wrote:

Certainly not, and welcome!

Thanks man! Hoping I can fit in.

Aristophan wrote:

7. Diablo III (2012)
For making the numbers go up.

Ha! Innit?

ComfortZone wrote:

OK seeing someone else put Spelunky as their GOTD finally spurred me into action :)

Yes mate, as hyped as I am for spelunky 2, it does worry me that it's gonna take a game and a half to fill those shoes, nevermind stretch them.
I have faith.

This recent tweet from derek has got me very excited - https://twitter.com/mossmouth/status...

Having lots of "magic hour" moments in Spelunky 2 lately!

That's what I call the period toward the end of development where seemingly small additions/changes have a big impact because there's so much already in the game for them to hook into. Feels really good!

Oh my gosh, phew, I'm finally caught up!!! Thank you to qaraq, Mr Crinkle, mrtomaytohead, Aristophan, Gunner, dejanzie, Alien Love Gardener, EriktheRed, mrlogical, Dyni, JeffreyLSmith, 4dSwissCheese, deftly, billt721, clippa, and ComfortZone for your lists! Really pleased to see The Swapper and Pyre show up on lists, I have to say! I'm working on my own write up, so I'll hop over to that now that I've tallied up the score.
We now have 288 games, and 88 folks have voted, whether they be coffee grinders (WELCOME!!! ) or seasoned, tagged, veterans. I love reading your lists, I apologize that I can't point out every little tidbits, but I truly love, love, love seeing all the great games that we have all treasured so dearly over the years.

We're doing better on the automated survey and now have 54 replies, including my own.

Keep 'em coming, folks!

Eleima wrote:

We're doing better on the automated survey and now have 54 replies, including my own.

Keep 'em coming, folks!

Interesting. I was under the impression that the automated list would have more participants. I think it’s cool that more people posted lists with comments than the automated thing.

deftly wrote:

4. Firefall

You may be the only one with it ranked, but if it hadn't become so jumbled toward the end I would have been right there with you. It started out so great, too.

Here we go! Thank God for the extra 2 days, otherwise there wouldn't have been a writeup.
Get well soon Eleima!

Just the top 25:
1 Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
2 Moss
3 Nier: Automata
4 What Remains of Edith Finch
5 The Walking Dead (Telltale)
6 Life is Strange
7 Beat Saber
8 Journey
9 Abobo's Big Adventure
10 Assassin's Creed: Odyssey

11 Firewatch
12 NieR
13 Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
14 Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
15 Spec Ops: The Line
16 Pinball FX 2
17 Mafia II
18 Cities Skylines
19 Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
20 Transformers: War for / Fall of Cybertron
21 Metroid: Samus Returns
22 Frog Fractions
23 Metro 2033
24 Shadowrun: Dragonfall
25 Quake Champions



1 Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (2017) - My Game of the Year 2018. While not a perfect game, it was a jawdropping experience which also gave me perhaps my most memorable gaming moment of the decade. Gorgeous and daring, it's an experience that has me regularly thinking of it more than 18 months later, and the idea of its upcoming sequel is as close to a system seller as there is for me nowadays.
2 Moss (2018) - My Game of the Year 2019. Gorgeous and delightful throughout. It's not the best "game" on this list by far, but it gave me the strongest dosage of concentrated joy out of all of them.
3 Nier: Automata (2017) - 2019's #2. While I connected with the world of the original NieR better, Automata has the better gameplay and music. The story on its own is at least as strong as NieR, but the various connections it makes to the original truly elevate it. I don't want to place both in the top 10, so Automata gets nominated for being better overall, if not in every aspect.
4 What Remains of Edith Finch (2017) - 2018's #2. The best walking sim I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing by far. If there was any doubt that this might be one of my top experiences of the decade even after the bathtub section, the cannery obliterated it. An astonishing accomplishment.
5 The Walking Dead (Telltale) (2012-2019) - 2013's #1. While The Wolf Among Us and Tales from the Borderlands are Telltale at the peak of their game, The Walking Dead is what established the winning formula for everything to come while also being a spectacular ride all on its own. Labor issues notwithstanding, Telltale's formula of heavy narrative and (very) light puzzles brought adventure games back to the mainstream.
6 Life is Strange (2015) - 2019's #3. A variation on the Telltale formula that features a truly fantastic story with believable what-if scenarios. A great exploration of good intentions causing unintended consequences. I loved the cast of characters they put together and how I never saw several of the twists coming.
7 Beat Saber (2018) - 2019's #14. THE killer app for VR. A light-sabre rhythm game. Not loving this is not loving fun!
8 Journey (2012) - 2019's #4. Stunning, delightful and emotional. It's everything that was promised and while I'm annoyed at myself for having waited so long to play it, I'm also happy to have finally experienced it at a time I could really appreciate it.
9 Abobo's Big Adventure - completed May 2012. A raucous and unapologetic, fan-service filled, nostalgia fueled violent adventure through all of your NES memories. It has to be experienced to be believed!
10 Assassin's Creed: Odyssey (2018) - 2019's #5. I'm still less than 1/3 through the story after more than a year, but I keep coming back for hours at a time - including last night. I am stunned at what Ubisoft has put together here, and I look forward to playing it for a long time to come! It's also my first Assassin's Creed game - what a great one to start with.

11 Firewatch (2016) - 2017's #1. Beautiful, relaxing, and tells a great story that brought up some honest feelings of hurt by the end. My favorite walking sim before Edith Finch stole the show.
12 NieR (2010) - 2018's #4. Flawed, but so much more than the sum of its parts. See NieR: Automata above.
13 Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (2013) - Completed August 2016. My introduction to Ubisoft open-world "clear the markers off the map" games, so the formula was still fresh to me. What got me not only to play it, but to finish it was the amazing neon '80's vision of the post-apocalyptic future. Radical!
14 Call of Juarez: Gunslinger (2013) - 2019's #9. A pretty good first person shooter with some fun mechanics, taken to a new level by overlaying everything with a fantastic and unreliable narrator.
15 Spec Ops: The Line (2012) - 2013's #5. A daring story, especially for 2012, connected to a pretty decent game. I used to sing its praises and still feel it should be experienced.
16 Pinball FX 2 (2010) - a fantastic digital simulation of pinball with lots and lots of tables. Slightly improved upon in 2017 by its upgrade to Pinball FX 3. It's been a game I've come back to time and time again.
17 Mafia II (2010) - Completed September 2016. I've always preferred Mafia to GTA because of the strength of its story and its dedication to creating a sense of place. While I did miss some features of the original (such as public transportation), I still loved immersing myself in the setting and by the end knew most parts of the city as if I'd lived there.
18 Cities Skylines (2015) - the SimCity 4 sequel we've all dreamt of, and in many ways better than the source material.
19 Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (2010) - 2011's #4. A charming mystery adventure that left me a bit misty-eyed at the end.
20 Transformers: War for / Fall of Cybertron (2010/12) - War for completed December 2012, Fall of was 2019's #16. Very good action games with everything that original Transformers fans looked for, including spot on voices and some amazing moments. Metroplex heeds the call of the last prime, and so do I!
21 Metroid: Samus Returns (2017) - 2018's #7. A fantastic remake of Metroid II, with numerous modern quality-of-life improvements. The last hurrah for my relationship with mobile gaming (for the forseeable future at least).
22 Frog Fractions (2012) - completed October 2012. A bonkers mashup of genres and ideas that has to be experienced to be believed. A flash-free re-release is coming to Steam soon! This was the same year as Abobo's Big Adventure; there must have been something in the water that year.
23 Metro 2033 (2010) - 2011's #1. It, and its sequel Last Light, did an amazing job of creating the "real" place of Moscow after the nuclear apocalypse. The shooting wasn't half bad either!
24 Shadowrun: Dragonfall (2014) - 2018's #5. This is not my type of game.....I thought. Actually, it totally is my type of game. I just needed a nudge to recognize it. A strong story in a unique setting with turn-based RPG mechanics.
25 Quake Champions (2017) - 2017's #8. For all of its many flaws, QC still gave me well over 100 hours of gameplay time, and most of it online at a time when I thought I was done being online. Part of that was due to no offline mode until the end of 2018. It's a solid, fast paced arena shooter with a very high skill ceiling marred by free-to-play and games-as-service BS, a lack of features the series has been known for (being able to set up your own servers, for example), and endless wait/loading times for EVERY.LITTLE.THING!!! I still have to give it credit for getting me to put in the time to get respectably good one last time before my reflexes are too gone to stand a chance anymore.

Interestingly, my top 10 consists of three games from 2012, three from 2017 and three from 2018. A single entry from 2015 completes it.
I also worry that my top 10 is heavily influenced by recency bias, as there are very few titles in it that were not in my last two GOTY lists.

All contenders including release year:


2010 Bayonetta
2010 Shatter
2010 Limbo
2010 Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
2010 Metro 2033
2010 Mass Effect 2
2010 Pinball FX2
2010/12 Transformers: War for / Fall of Cybertron
2010 NieR
2010 Last Window: The Secret of Cape West
2010 Mafia 2
2011 Portal 2
2011 Catherine
2011 Saints Row the Third
2012 Journey
2012 Abobo's Big Adventure
2012 Frog Fractions
2012 The Darkness II
2012 Thomas was Alone
2012 The Walking Dead (Telltale)
2012 Crusader Kings 2
2012 Spec Ops: The Line
2013 Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
2013 Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
2013 Gone Home
2013 Killer Instinct
2013 Stanley Parable
2013 The Wolf Among Us
2013 Rocksmith 2014
2014 IL-2 Sturmovik: Stalingrad
2014 Broken Age
2014 Shadowrun: Dragonfall
2014 Tales from the Borderlands
2014 Wolfenstein: The New Order
2015 Cities Skylines
2015 Life is Strange
2016 Firewatch
2016 DooM
2016 Mirror's Edge: Catalyst
2016/19 No Man's Sky
2017 Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
2017 Metroid: Samus Returns
2017 Nier: Automata
2017 Night in the Woods
2017 Rising Storm 2: Vietnam
2017 Quake Champions
2017 What Remains of Edith Finch
2018 Assassin's Creed: Oddyssey
2018 Beat Saber
2018 Moss
2018 Return of the Obra Dinn
2019 Untitled Goose Game
2019 Ring Fit Adventure

Played, but not enough to actually rank:


Rocksmith 2014
IL-2 Sturmovik: Stalingrad
Mass Effect 2
Transformers: Devastation
No Man's Sky

Special mentions:


Broken Age for blowing the doors off of what was possible on Kickstarter.
Minecraft for being the only game I played that was one of the dominating forces in gaming this past decade.

The 2010's were a period of big change personally and in gaming. The personal changes had a huge impact on my gaming time, and as such my yearly completion numbers dropped dramatically from a high in 2010 (89, including lots of short games) to a low in 2016/17 (24 each). That's not to say that it was a negative overall change, but it is a frustrating one from a gaming perspective.

Also interesting is the change in how I game - while the beginning of the decade was marked with a significant percentage of mobile gaming (credits rolled on lots of GameBoy, GBA, DS and a few 3DS games, along with a few PSP titles), I had mostly moved away from that by the second half.
The last mobile game I finished was Metroid: Samus Returns in early 2018; the last I played was a few hours of grinding in Final Fantasy VII (Switch) in 2019 while riding an exercise bike.

The 2010's were also the decade when multiplayer gaming pretty much died for me. While I still played some hours of Unreal Tournament 2004, GRAW 2, Left 4 Dead and Rise of Nations with friends until 2012, that pretty much entirely ceased until I picked up Quake Champions and a bit of Rising Storm 2 in 2017/2018. There was no communication of note with other players though.
Same-room multiplayer has been nearly completely dead from all decade with the exception of an average of 2 nights a year. Mostly this is due to having few friends nearby interested in gaming, and those that are having little to no time to partake in it. ....so I made two boys, and now I have to wait a few years and hope.

On the upside, the second half of 2010's have seen me deep dive into the open world genre, have gotten me to try and enjoy a few new types of games - some of which I would have avoided otherwise - such as Shadowrun: Dragonfall thanks to GWJ's CRPG club.

It was also the decade where I first skipped a Nintendo console (Wii U) since the Virtual Boy, entered the 360/PS3 generation as well as picked up a PS4 and went bonkers in terms of game buying for it. I was able to experience VR and ended up being amazed and delighted even more than I expected to be (see Moss at #2 and Beat Saber at #7).
It was the decade where walking simulators weren't born (Dear Esther was a HL2 mod after all), but became commercial and critical successes and gave me some of my most memorable experiences of the decade (What Remains of Edith Finch at #4 and Firewatch at #11).

It was the decade when the adventure genre came back with a vengeance (Telltale games post Walking Dead, Broken Age, Kentucky Route 0, Life is Strange, Night in the Woods, and many more) and dared to boldly experiment in ways rarely seen since the 1980's/90's. In general storytelling in games became ever more consistently good and increasingly daring in the stories they tell (Hellblade, NieR games, What Remains of Edith Finch, Virginia, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger and others).

Finally, it was the decade of nostalgia - with not only most console manufacturers releasing miniature versions of their old systems (and in the case of TheC64, even a full-size Commodore), high quality clone consoles coming out (Retron 5, Analogue NT mini & Super NT), but also high quality nostalgia fan service featuring in many games coming out (see Abobo's Bid Adventure at #9, Far Cry Blood Dragon at #13, Transformers War for Cybertron/Fall of Cybertron at #20, and Transformers: Devastation - unranked because I have yet to play more than an hour).

Bring on the 2020's during which I hope to catch up on many of the major 2010's releases I missed!

Thanks for the list, AUs_TBirD. Long live nostalgia and adventure games, says I.

As I mentioned earlier in the thread, I’ve been fairly sick and busy this past week, so I do apologize for not finishing this earlier. The list hasn’t changed much in the past two weeks anyhow. There’s little to no secret which games would grace my podium. Nevertheless, here’s my write up for my personal top ten games. Be warned, a lot of the rankings are tied to personal memories, so I may be a little verbose.

The actual top ten

#10… The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim (396 hours)


After spending a lot more time than I probably should have on Oblivion (good old college days!), I had Skyrim preordered. The release date was November 11th, 2011. I remember it particularly well, as my first child was on the way and set to arrive for the beginning of December. I was REALLY hoping to get some time with Skyrim the second it dropped (no pun intended). That wasn’t in the cards, however. A mix up with our internet provider meant they cut our service two months earlier than they should have, and Skyrim absolutely required an internet connection to be activated (I was still buying physical games in those days). And then my son arrived a little earlier than planned, so I was shipped off to the hospital without having played Skyrim. I was bummed. But I made up for that later on, logging nearly 400 hours (standard and special editions). I still remember playing it at my desk while nursing my tiny little kiddo. I didn’t spend nearly as much time as I had in Oblivion, but Bethesda makes such great sandboxes to play in. I built houses, slayed dragons, and absolutely adored the Dragonborn DLC which gave me that taste of Vvardenfell that I so craved (I’ve only done one playthrough of Morrowind and always meant to go back, what a great setting). The only thing I can’t enjoy anymore is the music, now that the composer has been outed as one of the worst kind of predators.

#9… Tales from the Borderlands (12 hours)


I’d enjoyed Borderlands, played it mostly solo, thought Borderlands 2 was a slog to get through (getting kicked back at the start of levels when I’d had to quit midway because of a child waking up was infuriating). But I’d really liked the setting and the art style. And I love adventure games, I’d enjoyed The Walking Dead in the past. I was unprepared for the amazing ride Tales from the Borderlands would offer. Amazing characters voiced by an all-star cast (Laura Bailey! Erin Yvette! Patrick Wharburton!), a smashing soundtrack, and great humor. This was an absolute blast, and I’m constantly checking myself so I don’t rig the GWJ adventure game club poll, because I really, really want to play this game again.

I’d like to give The Wolf Among Us (19hrs) a nod as well, though it didn’t make it in the top ten. TWAU was absolutely amazing, and I’m still hoping for a sequel after all these years. The soundtrack, the colors, the world of Fables… Please let me go back…

#8… Transistor (13 hours)


I’d enjoyed Bastion, like most people, but when Transistor hit… Wow. I was blown away. From the second I was dropped in, completely in media res, I was hooked. The story was compelling, I loved Red, I kept rooting for her and the Boxer, and gameplay wise, I really enjoyed swapping out my skills to uncover the complete dossiers on all the other characters. A great example of narrative driving mechanics, or maybe vice versa. The soundtrack features mind-blowing vocals by Ashley Barrett, set to Darren Korb’s incredible tunes. The pair recently gave a concert in London, and if I hadn’t had to work the next morning, I would’ve totally caught a Eurostar to see them.

I absolutely want to give Pyre (17hrs) a nod, because despite the fiddly magic basketball mechanics, it played like a visual novel. It made me love the characters and tore my heart to shreds (in a good way!) at the end. And I loved it for it.

#7… Dishonored 2 (27 hours)


I was so thrilled to play as Emily. I mean, Corvo’s cool, but Emily is cooler. Some people find this weird, but I play this game as a “ghost with clean hands”. No murders, no one saw me. Granted, this means a lot of quick saving and quick loading. But thankfully, modern hardware is a lot more tolerant of that. As for the world… That steampunk Victorian era is just gorgeous. I was lucky enough to see some of the art they did to prep for the game at a local exhibit, including large clay statues, and it’s just… wow. I love the aesthetic. Frankly, just give me Blink and drop me in the world, and I’m happy. It’s an amazing game.

I also want to acknowledge Dishonored (33 hours) and Dishonored: Death of the Outsider (12 hours) as well. The first for kicking off a spectacular series, and the latter for being a great expansion.

#6… Journey (hard to tell, maybe a dozen two hour playthroughs)


I’d been hearing about Journey, released in 2012, for a long time. But I didn’t own a PS3, so I had to watch from afar as everyone sung its praises. I was definitely interested, but not enough to get a PS3, or rather the expense would’ve been frowned upon by my then husband, and I was trying to keep the peace.

Fast forward to the autumn of 2014: we’ve just moved back to mainland France, and my kids and their father are living with my parents while we’re trying to find a more permanent solution. I’m working in Paris, about an hour away from my three-year-old and 8-month-old kiddos. With my hours, I can’t make it back every night. My marriage is already falling apart, although I haven’t yet come to grips with the gravity of the abuse I’m going through. I’m staying with my sister and decide to buy a bundled copy of Journey, Flower and Flow. I sit down and play Journey on her PS3, and that first playthrough is a lonely one, as the PS3 isn’t hooked up to the internet. And that experience just speaks to me on some primal level. By the end of the game, I’m sitting there, on the living room floor, a mess of snot and sobs.

#5… Dragon Age 2 (92 hours)


I very nearly put Dragon Age: Inquisition (67 hrs) instead, because I love it to bits (and mostly, I love Cullen). But I wasn’t a fan of the open world formula. If I’m being honest with myself, I adore that middle child of the series, the one most everyone hates. I adore that whole story, how it spans a decade, how Hawke is essentially a refugee trying to keep her family safe, but fails spectacularly at it. I love how everyone is somehow broken in some way or another. And I love to hate how every single time I tried to romance someone, be it Anders or Fenris, they took Hawke’s heart and tore it to shreds. I really, really enjoyed this game and need to replay it.

#4… Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds & Edo Blossoms (155 hours at the time of writing)

IMAGE(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/589530/header.jpg )


Yup, I’m doing it again, I’m bundling two games into one spot, because reasons. Anyway, I’ve discovered a passion for visual novels over the past years, and specifically (although not exclusively), otome games. This is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the greatest example of the genre that I’ve played to this day. Fully voiced, gorgeous art, lines that will make you swoon. Of course, the game led me to an anime, and I still need to watch the movies, and of course I’m going to have to compare and contrast all the different materials. *sigh*swoon*

Cinderella Phenomenon (26 hours) could’ve easily taken this spot, and deserves a nod as a great example of the genre: a wonderful entry for newcomers, and completely free on Steam.

#3… Guild Wars 2 (2,214 hours… at time of writing)

IMAGE( https://www.mmogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/ThePlanetarium-610x343.jpg)

I started playing the Guild Wars original trilogy back in May 2010 when Steam released a bundle on sale and I jumped on it, because it “looked cool”. Fast forward several hundred hours, and I’m following the hype for Guild Wars 2. I’m looking at concept art, waiting for the class announcements, excited to play as something else than human. The Sylvari in particularly had my attention. But it’s the summer of 2012, I’m supposed to be working on my Masters in epidemiology, so I decide not to preorder.

Unfortunately, I had overestimated my self-control. A few months later, my resolve has crumbled and I’m running around in Caledon forest as a blue and green Sylvari elementalist with flowing, petal-like red hair, completely wide-eyed. The world is gorgeous. I’m running from one event to the next, every task set in front of me emerging organically. I stumble across a spire rising towards the heavens and decide to climb it (my very first jumping puzzle). I fell for Tyria, hook, line and sinker. Seven years later, I’ve played more than one Sands of this MMORPG. Probably more than I’ve ever played any other game (with the possible exception of the old The Realm Online MMORPG, but it’s impossible to say for sure). I’ve played mostly solo, but some of it with other Goodjers, including Rallick and Oldgoat, MrDevil and Pyxistyx, but mostly with Higgledy more recently. This game never ceases to amaze me, the rich story content just keeps coming, faster than I can keep up with. The places it takes us to feel fully realized. And even today, in 2020, I’m still finding new players, freshly arrived, and just as star eyed as I was. That’s saying something.

#2… Mass Effect 2 (254 hours)


“Where’s Mass Effect?” I hear you ask. Right, I’m getting to that. In 2009, I hadn’t heard of Mass Effect. A friend at the time recommended the first game, and I ended buying it at a discount (the box kinda looked cool). After an amazing ride, I was fully invested and ready to play the second game when it was released on January 26th, 2010. I’d even ordered the Collector’s Edition. I’d pretty much been in blackout mode, so when the game opened and smashed my Shepard, ship and heart into tiny little pieces, I was crushed. I remember sitting in front of the screen, completely shell shocked, as the form of my struggling FemShep faded into the distance and the game’s title appeared (and some part of me wailed, “her last words to Kaidan were ‘Kaidan, go!’ This can’t be happening!”).

Now I’ll be honest, I adored Mass Effect 2, but I did have a few issues with it: the Mako was gone, and the only time they let my FemShep see Kaidan was on Horizon when he (understandably) made it pretty clear he wasn’t handling the whole “come back from the dead and is now with Cerberus” part very well (my FemShep had tried to get some info out of Anderson, but he wouldn’t budge). Also, I ended up accidentally romancing Jacob, and yikes, the less said on that, the better. But there was Garrus, and Tali, and Thane, and Grunt, and the game just flowed really well. Some criticized it as a “corridor shooter”, but I miss those tighter experiences (not all games have to be open worlds). Okay, so the end boss was a bit of a surprise, but the whole suicide mission was amazingly executed, and my heart broke to pieces when I lost Mordin on my first playthrough (everyone else lived, because I made sensible choices, and had done everyone’s loyalty missions, yay me!). Ah Mordin… That face Shepard makes when he delivers his rendition of “Scientist Salarian”

Ultimately, Mass Effect 2 deserves a salute for one of the greatest openings in a video game, with a kick ass follow up (that reveal of the Normandy SR-2!!!! I totally wept) and a ending with a bang (that end run out of the Collector base!!!).

#1… Mass Effect 3 (73 hours)


So obviously I had preordered the Collector’s Edition for ME3, but since I was living on a rock in the middle of the ocean at the time, the parcel took its sweet, sweet time to arrive. So instead of getting to play it in March 2012 like everyone else, I didn’t get to fire it up until May 2012. I was furious. But it was worth the wait. For starters, I never got to experience the ending without the extended cut. I never really got the hate about the ending, to be honest. Sure, I feel it might’ve been more spectacular had Drew Karpyshyn still been at the helm, but who knows. It’s not all about the ending. It’s about being reunited with Kaidan, about using that renegade to interrupt to kill Kai Leng (I don’t care which side of the spectrum you fall on, we ALL use that renegade interrupt). It’s about weeping in the hospital as Thane makes his goodbyes, it’s about that Citadel DLC where you get the entire band back together and fall through the fish tank. And of course, it’s where we all weep for the loss of Mordin.

“It’s been a good ride.” “The best.”

Just for the sake of comparison, my answers on the automated poll are somewhat different:

  1. Mass Effect 3
  2. Mass Effect 2
  3. Dragon Age 2
  4. Dragon Age: Inquisition
  5. Journey
  6. Dishonored
  7. Prey
  8. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
  9. Portal 2
  10. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Honorable mentions

Saints Row: The Third (38 hours)


This game wrote the book on crazy stupid fun.

The Witcher 3 (87 hours)

IMAGE(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/292030/header.jpg )

I spent nearly 90 hours, but I’ve forgotten most of it. I remember horse racing. I liked horse racing.

Crypt of the Necrodancer (several dozen hours, perhaps more)


I did not get along with NecroDancer when I first played it on my PC. Skip ahead to the iPad release, which I only got because it felt like it would play better, and I’ve now racked up dozens, if not hundreds of hours, and my kids love it too.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag (50 hours)


The only Assassin’s Creed game I 100%’d, and what fun I had. Also, shanties.

Prey (28 hours)


In the running for best opening scene for a video game. And scariest game I’ve ever played. But it’s sooooo goooood.

Botanicula (4 hours – time on iPad unaccounted for)


This is also a nod to other Amanita games, including CHUCHEL, Machinarium and the Samorost games. But this was my first, and you never forget your first. I’m so glad to have shared the experience with my eldest, in particular.

Tacoma (3 hours)


I’m also giving Gone Home a nod with this one. What spectacular games.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (8 hours)


An absolutely gorgeous game with a powerful portrayal of a mental health illness. Not for everyone, but important nonetheless.

Bulletstorm (8 hours)


Okay, so Saints Row wrote the book on crazy stupid fun, but so did Bulletstorm. Kicking enemies into spikes never gets old.

Gunpoint (3 hours)


What a smart platformer, with the gadgets, and the jumping. Just a delight.

Thomas Was Alone (4 hours)


An adorable little platformer. I didn’t think blocks could have personalities, but these do.

Mark of the Ninja (13 hours)


This game taught me that rushing in doesn’t work. Loved the aesthetic.

There are so many other games I could mention, but honestly, it gets hard because it’s just been such a great decade for gaming. Embarrassment of riches. I’ll just wrap up with a partial list of all the games I played in the 2010s (partial, because I started tracking in 2012).



  • Numen: Contest of Heroes (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Half-Life 1 (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Terraria (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Symphony (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Legend of Grimrock (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Assassin's Creed: Revelations (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Mass Effect 3 (PC) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Batman: Arkham City (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Torchlight 2 (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • The Walking Dead (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Bunch of Heroes (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • FTL: Faster Than Light (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • The Binding of Isaac (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Offspring Fling (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Botanicula (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Closure (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Saints Row: The Third (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)


  • Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble! (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Secret of the Magic Crystals (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 1 - Launch of the Screaming Narwhal (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Fairway Solitaire (iOS) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Flight Control HD (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 2 - The Siege of Spinner Cay (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 3 - Lair of the Leviathan (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Shank 2 (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 4 - The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Grand Theft Auto (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Grand Theft Auto 2 (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Grand Theft Auto 3 (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Eufloria (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • To The Moon (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • 10000000 (iOS) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
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  • Sam & Max: Season 2 - Episode 2: Moai Better Blues (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Sam & Max: Season 2 - Episode 3: Night of the Raving Dead (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Sam & Max: Season 2 - Episode 4: Chariots of the Dogs (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Night in the Woods (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Sam & Max: Season 2 - Episode 5: What's New Beelzebub? (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • DOOM 3: BFG Edition (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Perception (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Batman - The Telltale Series (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Ladykiller in a Bind (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Assassin's Creed: Chronicles of China (uPlay) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • SUPERHOT (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda (Origin) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Sam & Max: Season 3 - Episode 1: The Penal Zone (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Dishonored: Death of the Outsider (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • The Dream Machine: Chapter 4 (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • The Dream Machine: Chapter 5 (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Doki Doki Literature Club (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Lifeless Planet (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Sam & Max: Season 3 - Episode 2: The Tomb of Sammun-Mak (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Just Cause (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Just Cause 2 (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Sam & Max: Season 3 - Episode 3: They Stole Max's Brain! (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Sam & Max: Season 3 - Episode 4: Beyond the Alley of the Dolls (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)


  • Aquaria (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Sam & Max: Season 3 - Episode 5: The City That Dares Not Sleep (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Along the Edge (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Return to Zork (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Heroine's Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Zork: Grand Inquisitor (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Life is Strange: Before the Storm (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Shadowrun Returns (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Old Man's Journey (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
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  • Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • The Council (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Assassin's Creed: Chronicles of Russia (uPlay) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Journey (Epic) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Mad Max (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
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  • Tavernier (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
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  • The First Tree (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • The Journey Down: Chapter Three (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
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  • Blackwell Convergence (iOS) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • West of Loathing (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)
  • Borderlands 3 (Epic) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Life Is Strange 2 - Episode 1 (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Fran Bow (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • Assassin's Creed: Origins (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
  • We Were Here Together (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/beaten.gif)
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  • Slay the Spire (Steam) IMAGE(http://backloggery.com/images/null.gif)

In an effort to make sure my votes are tallied, here's my list without writeup.
I'll post my writeup when I have a chance to finish it.
Eleima: I put 13 games on the list in case any in my top 10 aren't allowed for whatever reason.
If that's the case, just remove the game and bump up the rest .

The List:
1-Bloodborne - 2015 (PS4)
2-Hollow Knight - 2017 (PC)
3-The Room 3 -2015 (Android)
4-Return of the Obra Dinn -2017 (PC)
5-Journey - 2012 (PS4)
6-Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - 2019 (PC)
7-Batman: Arkham City - 2011(PS3)
8-Persona 4 Golden - 2012 (Vita)
9-Dark Souls 3 - 2016 (PS4)
10-Alice: Madness Returns - 2011 (PC)
11-Warriors Orochi 3: Ultimate - 2014 (PS4)
12-Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen - 2013 (PC)
13-X-Com 2: War of the Chosen - 2017 (PC)

Awesome, thanks Taharka. It's in the spreadsheet now.

Taharka wrote:

10-Alice: Madness Returns - 2011 (PC)

Madness Returns was soooo good. I have the Art of book, and I love every single page!

I'm catching up on actually reading the thread now that I finished my writeup.

Mind Elemental wrote:

1. Total War: Shogun 2 (representing the Total War franchise)

Crud. There's a game I forgot about that could have cracked my top 25 (though not the top 10).

Sonrics wrote:


Whoa! Is this the turn-based stealth action game I've always dreamed of in which you team up with a duck-faced Solid Snake to escape the Umbrella corp train teeming with zombies and leeches?

Sundown wrote:

10. Ghost Trick

Glad to see Ghost Trick getting a mention. While it only got to #19 on my list, that's only because others made more of an impact on me. Ghost Trick deserves far more exposure than it got.

Eleima wrote:

I’d like to give The Wolf Among Us (19hrs) a nod as well, though it didn’t make it in the top ten. TWAU was absolutely amazing, and I’m still hoping for a sequel after all these years. The soundtrack, the colors, the world of Fables… Please let me go back…

I know! And I'm only tentatively excited. After all, we TWAU fans have been burned before... I'll believe it when it's released mindset, for now...

Also, I'm so bummed, I'm a moron, I forgot to mention the spectacular level design of the Dishonored games and the incredible Clockwork Mansion...

I'll say this though - the little whisps of the TWAU soundtrack in that trailer? Yeah....goosebumps

I've been dragging my feet to complete my most long-winded of write ups before admitting to myself that brevity is the soul of wit... which itself has become a lie to convince myself I'd better not spend much more time writing and just get on with it. Ironically, you'll find this post to be quite lengthy despite the disclaimer.

Games are in release order, with the exception of the first entry which coincidentally kicked off the decade and stands as my top game of the last decade.

1 - Mass Effect 2 (2010)
Xbox 360

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 Sheperd's death drift through space and the impact of the late title card. It still cannot be beat.

2 - Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011)
Xbox 360

Human Revolution's success stemmed from knowing it didn't need to surpass the 2000 original. Eidos-Montreal's golden-hued reboot reaffirmed the immersive sim as a genre to watch in the years to follow. It also featured one of the best computer hacking mini-games ever conceived and turned me into an ace hacker turned serial e-mail reader.

3 - The Walking Dead (2012)
Xbox 360

I chose this game mainly because the ending made me cry like a big man baby. I think this game more than any other at the time - including the infamous Broken Age and Kickstarter phenomenon - revived the long dormant adventure game genre.

4 - XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012)
Xbox 360

I credit this game with changing my sleep and game-playing habits for a couple of months in late 2012. I was waking up between 4:30 and 5:00 AM to get in a solid couple hours of alien hunting before sitting down for breakfast with my then fiance and trudging off to work. Days went by like a waking dream as I could think about very little else besides XCOM.

5 - Gone Home (2013)

Some may bristle when I say that Gone Home is not actually a video game. It is a pioneer of the walking simulator genre. There is no beating Gone Home. You simply boot it up and immerse yourself in its grounded, heartfelt coming of age story for 90 minutes. Years later I'm still trying to get my older sister to play it because the atmosphere and the cultural touchstones are so authentic despite the story of this family being so different from our own. A truly remarkable achievement. (edit: wow, that's also IGN's pullquote, the bastards...)

6 - Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls (2014)

Diablo 3 will probably go down as the black sheep of the venerated series, however, this didn't stop me from buying the game several times over across multiple platforms. It's worth noting this would never have happened if Blizzard didn't take the reformative steps they did and released the excellent Reaper of Souls expansion two years later. It is annoyingly imperfect, the writing is awful and it's limping along on its final legs these days but you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who can name an ARPG that feels better in your hands as you demolish legions of wretched demon spawn.

7 - Destiny (2014)

Speaking of which, behold and witness the King of "Game Feel" from the last decade! Destiny has taught me a couple things. 1) Getting this game and a brand new PS4 right after completing a contract is a horrible recipe for a successful job search (let's just say I took an extended vacation), and 2) the many blunders and pig-headed design decisions of a game studio can be forgiven because of incredible core gameplay and the power of even the most rudimentary and awkwardly implemented loot chase compulsions.

My short career as a Youtube content creator also began and ended with Destiny. It was fun while it lasted!

8 - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)

One of the most detailed, coherent, memorable and beautiful role-playing games I have ever played. You want me to write an essay about this? Because I could easily do so except I need the rest of my Sunday afternoon back, thank you kindly.

9 - Nioh (2017)

I say that I'm a fan of Team Ninja but I am precisely a fan of only two of their games: Ninja Gaiden 2 and Nioh. I used to count the days when a new Ninja Gaiden game will be released but I'm no longer so certain I would welcome such a thing now that Nioh has established itself as a sort of eastern, back-of-the-video rental store alternative to the Soulsborne Hard-Ass-Games genre. And it is much better than the last couple Ninja Gaiden games. Let us gird our loins for Nioh 2 in March!

10 - Tekken 7 (2017)

Thank you, Tekken 7, for making me believe I could become a basic boy at playing a fighting game at an OK level... before crushing me underfoot, Korean backdash-style. With old age and lack of patience rapidly setting in, I can say with confidence that this is the last time I'll pour so many hours into a fighting game and I'm perfectly fine with Tekken being my swan song.

Mac's self-indulgent bonus...
My 10 Major Trends & Observations of 2010 - 2019

The Rise of Mobile Gaming
The Rise of Games as a Service
The Intractable Relationship Between Game Design & Commerce
The End of the Indie Gold Rush
The Resilience of the Shooter Genre
The Franchise Reboot Generation
The Return of Virtual Reality
The Rise of Digital
The Age of the Content Creator & Streamer
The Blurring of Lines Between Gaming and Gambling

Thanks for reading!