Today marks the first day of the last month of this decade, which is a pretty intimidating thought. I can’t speak for everyone, but it seems as if it’s both flown by and taken forever at the same time for me. I think that when we’re able to look back at the 2000’s in around ten or twenty years, this is really going to be the decade of progression in technology. It’s not only been the decade where the internet grew up to become a big boy, but it’s also when digital entertainment such as video games became a viable industry giving Hollywood heavy competition.
So not unlike my previous post picking my favorite movies of this past decade, I wanted to share what I thought have been the best five video games of the past ten years. Like I’ve said before, these don’t necessarily mean that they are the best. Just that they are for whatever reasons, the ones that I enjoyed the most. Your mileage may vary, and you’re welcome to tell me how or why in the comments.
5. New Super Mario Bros (DS) – If I were doing this same list for the 90’s, I’d likely pick Super Mario 3 for NES as my favorite. After some of the SNES Mario games, there hadn’t really been a true sequel to the series that kept it to it’s simplistic 2D roots. New Mario did that and made it felt like the series hadn’t ever left. I’ve still not tried the Wii sequel to this game, but I imagine I’ll be replaying it time and time again like I have the DS version.
4. The Sims (PC) – Before going any further with this, I should state that I am specifically talking about the original Sims released back in 2000. In no way do I care for any of the thousand add-ons, sequels, and spin offs. The original Sims was awesome because it was a simple concept that you could take in whatever direction you wanted, not the one that developers pushed you in.
3. Mass Effect (360) – I’ve never been a huge fan of Japanese RPG’s. I often find myself quickly stopping to care about lengthy stories that drag on and on, and I’ve just never really had that much fun with turn based battle. That said, I still love RPG’s. Which you’d think would be a paradox, but games like this come around every so often that keep me into the genre. Mass Effect is equal parts Zelda, Halo, and Final Fantasy, without really looking like any of the above. It’s easily accessible, but deep enough to keep you involved for hours.
2. Metroid Prime Trilogy (Gamecube / Wii) – There are so many factors you can talk about when describing why this series was so great. The graphics have always been ahead of their time, even on relatively underpowered systems. The puzzles in each game are some of the toughest and most satisfying out of any adventure game. The exploration aspect is unlike any other game, even compared to any of the Grand Theft Auto games. The art direction is fantastic.
There are tons of different things you can point out, and each of those equal an immensely satisfying whole. Metroid Prime 3 on Wii was the best of the series because of the awesome Wii control it gave you, which in my opinion is still the best use of the Wii Remote yet. Here’s hoping this series isn’t done and can come back sometime in the Wii’s lifetime.
1. Rock Band (Multi) – I really didn’t even have to debate picking this as my favorite game of the decade. It honestly is my favorite, but this pick sums up the fact that music games really owned the past ten years. Guitar Hero started the trend, but it was really just an appetizer for the completely unique fun that Rock Band offers. I really can’t think of another game (aside from the recent Left 4 Dead series perhaps) in which four players work with each other to accomplish such a satisfying goal.
And of course, that fun transcends from just the screen alone. Rock Band has broken the mold of what you’d consider to be a video game by offering you just as much fun in your physical living room as what you’re seeing on screen. I’ve had far more fun with Rock Band than any other game, perhaps ever, and I don’t hesitate whatsoever in picking it as my favorite.
Honorable Mention: James Bond: Nightfire (Gamecube) – This probably seems a little silly, but I can’t forget this game at all. While most of our peers our age were busy playing the original Halo, my friends and I simply could not get enough of this game. The single player mode of this game was pretty typical and forgettable, but I can’t imagine how many hours of our lives we lost to multiplayer. Specifically, 2 vs 2 Capture The Flag. The maps and weapons were simple enough that we had the whole thing down to a perfectly balanced and ridiculously fun science. My friends and I played this game for hours on just about every Monday night for nearly a year, and I’d give anything to do it all over again.