eatthepen: My best gaming memories of the 00s are heroic raid progression on Siege of Orgrimmar in the winter of 2013-14. Outside of that WoW ranges from the banal to the exploitative to the extremely racist, and Pandaria is in some ways the worst the racism got, but there is nothing like the methodical, detailed and careful communal attention required by progression raiding and I was lucky to be raiding with not just good players but excellent people. Shoutouts to Jeroen, Saradir, Shev, Caelnir and the rest of Raven Knights. And Cameron Diaz.






Rainiac: MegaMan meets Gradius, with presentation that wouldn't feel out of place in a Touhou title. The final boss is an exercise in patience, and finally defeating her was very satisfying. Being able to play through the game again as the final boss is a nice bonus.






FreezingInferno: A flashy and fun little roguelike with a good sense of action and an enjoyable way to kill time.






Rhete: Explosions: The game. If you're not using the character with the air strike you're playing this wrong. Great mindless fun.






Nate: While having a system that calls back to Strange Journey, it was interesting to see a seemingly dlc pack idea turned into a full game and was a crossover that was done differently than I think anyone expected.






Polly: Recency bias may have put this game onto my list, but that in no way takes away from just how brilliantly put together everything about OneShot is. From its warm tale of a poor soul thrust into being the savior of a world they don't even know to the meta shenanigans that go above and beyond, there's honestly not much I can think of that would improve this already stellar narrative-focused experience.






Beepner: I don't mean to get all after school special here, but if a silly little game about freerunning to dubstep while delivering pizza can also have a message about anti-bullying and acceptance and stick with me long after I've played it, then maybe folks can use the medium to tell whatever kind of story they want to regardless of budget or marketability. We don't have to get caught up on trilinear vertex shading or getting the most "poggers" on Twitch.






Psychic_Heist: That's right, I'm kicking my games of the decade list off with "Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite", so hold on to your ass. And speaking of ass, uh yeah, I know, we all know, this game looks like ass. But once you get over your shallow standard of "me-want-games-purty," you will find one of the most satisfying fighting games that Capcom has released since, well, "Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3." The fast switch-in-and-switch-out tag mechanics, the reduced team size from 3v3 to 2v2, and the variety of play styles you can doodle someone's noodle with by bringing back the infinity stones from "Marvel Super Heroes" -- brings a surprisingly tight fighting game experience that has deliciously fun depth the more you put into it.

A rough gem that has it where it counts.






Carmichael Micaalus: Magicka's strength lies in multiplayer. It can be a real good time, but you also need to understand that 'Friendly' Fire is not simply something the game has, but is honestly a core mechanic of the game. And that's fine, but I do need to be in the right mindset for such play.






lieronet: I have a weakness for idle games, and this is by far the most sophisticated example I've come across. Guide your kitten civilization from subsistence farming to a galactic civilization that has mastered of time itself. Like all clicker games, it's a game of maximizing outputs, but Kittens makes it very difficult to determine how to go about that. Systems on systems, bonuses on bonuses, and a list of resources that threatens to scroll off the screen means it's far more engaging than simply determining which building gives you the most cookies on your investment. This game is absolutely incredible, and I never want to touch it again as long as I live ah fuck.






Pauncho Smith: Actually a pretty competent puzzle game.........Don't look at me like that.






John: A collection of abstract first-person Unity games! I really connected with the subtle adolescent angst of its perspective.






Peaches the Rayven: In the decade that has Assassin's Creed 2 and Brotherhood, I know this is more of Peaches being contrary.

But I think a smaller Assassin's Creed installment actually works on a certain level. I like the mechanic that while you're running across rooftops or slinking in alleyways, that the baddies are always on the lookout for someone who... I dunno... LOOKS LIKE A FREAKING MURDERER, so there's not just the incentive to lay low but also you can disguise yourself as a normal person. You think some of the other stabby-sleeve characters would try it from time to time, instead of always wearing the Murderer Hoodies.

I don't like the quicktime, and it's maybe a little short and easy, but I'd say that means it doesn't overstay its welcome and they don't bother trying to make us get emotionally invested in the bland pile of anti-character that is Desmond.






Zeloz: It's a game I've admittedly not played entirely through, and honestly? I don't expect it to be better than the original Metroid II, even! The original stands as one of my favorite GB games, and probably my favorite Metroid game, and this work doesn't seem interested in delivering what that game had to offer. And, yeah, it comes off as a Zero Mission 2 of sorts at first blush, but it works in elements from some of the other entries in the series (like Prime's soundfont, to debatable effect) to give it a flavor all its' own. And while you could say that approach makes it less innovative or interesting than even the Nintendo-sanctioned remake for 3DS - with it's radically reconfigured fighting mechanics - I still find myself much more interested in this fan work. Honestly, that's mostly because this game's free and the other isn't, but, I mean, the game is also pretty emblematic of this decade of games in a few ways. Chief of which is just how it came to be after a long dev cycle, against all odds allegedly. This decade is pockmarked with sudden appearances from games that were rumored to have died in Development Hell: Versus XIII became Final Fantasy XV, Nioh and The Last Guardian moved up a generation, and Shenmue III... wait, were people actually anticipating Shenmue III before its announcement? Regardless, I'm genuinely glad AM2R came out. A small-ish creation with a limited dev team suddenly turning up after being presumed dead. Hell, maybe I'll give my decade-old OCs languishing in my mind a proper, readable novel one day. Hey, this fangame came out! Most anything's possible.






(Game mod, requires copy of Ocarina of Time)

eatthepen: Ocarina of Time is a system of locks and keys arranged in a carefully-curated order. The randomiser shakes up that order and makes every possible loot location feel like a free pull in a gacha game. The software is an incredibly complex accomplishment to make such a simple but effective change to the format and I suspect I'm going to be playing ZOoTR for many years to come.






Remnant: The "New" Super Mario Bros. series stopped being innately appealing after the Wii installment, but this one has a very personal edge. My son and I have "game time" every night before bed: 15 minutes or so of something on my phone or his 2DS. This was a game that he got for his birthday and he wanted us to "100% it" together. So we did. And I loved every minute. This was also the year that we went through his first experience of Chrono Trigger together. It's a magical time.






FreezingInferno: It's breezy and bite-sized but it has some good action platforming a la Mega Man and a unique art style.






Peaches the Rayven: What is it with me and fluffy dating sims?

This one normally wouldn't be too notable, except that it does try to teach something important, something that I, as a socially awkward and lonely type, should have learned long ago - consent.

The plot follows a young woman who is alone at home but somehow summons a quartet of cute, friendly demons who just want a bit of lust energy to feed off of - and respect that your character's shyness means they'll have to work for it!

Getting to know their different personalities over the course of the weekend the game takes place in is fun, but the real meat comes from the final 'hentai' scene which presents the player with the option of changing, proceeding, or stopping at several points. It may seem odd that this fiction asks this, when naturally the most lewd encounter is just agreeing to whatever is proposed... but I like the idea of mixing up some chaste and some intimate options, it was cute and reminded me of my own bumbling first times.






Carmichael Micaalus: A beat 'em up with many a character to choose from. I am a person of simple pleasures.






Ghosty: Find Mr. Midnight! The visual style of this game is great. I like this game a lot. It has some little issues with the puzzles, like most point-and-click adventure games do, but I like it for what it is. Strangely hopeful, for the dark and Gothic thing that it is.






LastZimOnEarth: While it is flawed in ways that betray the remake's PS2 origins, I still really appreciate how Kiwami works as an extended epilogue to Yakuza 0 and more Majima is always welcome as far as I'm concerned.






Rainiac: Tetris re-envisioned as a madcap party game. The single player is perfectly serviceable, but the multiplayer is where this really shines, particularly when Mario Kart-style items are thrown into the mix and the players have to adapt accordingly.






Iffy: A real disappointment. It was fun to play, but this game felt incomplete and the empty DLC characters aren't fixing it.






Beepner: A trashy grindhouse-aesthetic version of Resident Evil 4 with great macabre visual style and a lovable but dumber than a sack of rocks protagonist.






lieronet: When the netplay actually works, this is a very fun game to play with friends.






Nate: While there are certainly worse games that came out this decade, specifically Celeste, no game was more fun to break. This is the 2010's Sonic 06, it brings me nothing but joy to break the game and watch the glitches fly.






Atamine634: I had one playthrough and it didn't land well with me, but I've since learned it's a game meant for multiple playthroughs and my admiration for its execution has grown.






FreezingInferno: Artsy and evocative puzzle-solving that really opens up once you unlock the expanded challenges within it.






Rhete: An absolutely adorable Zelda inspired puzzle game. The twist is that while there are three items you can get, only any two are actually required finish the game. Intentionally skipping one of the three items forces you to find alternate solutions to puzzles, which makes replaying the game several times stay a fresh experience.






John: Perfectly captures the innate comedy of budding adolescent desire.






Peaches the Rayven: So why would you play a mobile game that's based on a board game? Much less one that was designed specifically to have you and your friends squabbling over little cardboard tiles?

I won't say this game captures that, but to be honest, swiping those little virtual tiles one by one around my phone screen just felt a lot better to me, having now played both and probably sank more hours into the mobile app version.

The premise of this game is that your spaceship is also cargo - so you have to race to piece it together one part at a time, which includes stuff like engines and lasers but also some stranger things like alien life support - and then see who managed to actually make it to the ending of your trucking route.

The major improvement to this is that there is a campaign mode, which does a good job of teaching you the basics and then adding on more and more kinds of tiles until you can juggle what your ship needs or what kind of strategy you are trying to build on. It's grindy, but also kind of satisfying when you see yourself improving. The AI isn't stellar, but when there's no direct competition you'd hardly notice (sometimes you want your opponent to blunder into Space Pirates before you do!)






AustinCHowe: Racing games are in a weird place. In a world where Ridge Racer is dead, I may as well find some other ludic autos to bump around in. What makes FH (4 is the only one I've played) unique for me is that, as compared to an obsessive tuner game based exclusively on events like Gran Torismo, this is a game that genuinely invites casual play through that now tried and true chestnut, the open world structure. Maybe that's because its UI for doing game events is so butt-ugly, but whereas Ridge Racer 7, the nearly perfect arcade racing game, satisfies my fantasy of drifting accurately at over 200MPH, Forza Horizon 4 more accurately reflects how I thought about driving when my own actual car was in better shape. Relax! Take a load off and come drive. You can whip out a sports car if you want to, but it's usually easier and more pleasurable to, as Regular Car Reviews would say, "make the slow car go fast than make the fast car go fast." As such, combined with the offroading and other elements, games like Ridge Racer and Gran Torismo feel like racing game. Forza Horizon (4), to me, is just a game about driving and that itself being pleasurable.






Nate: So, one of the few illegal games out there that you can own. I mean, what's better than feeling edgy for owning a thing that's illegal to sell?






DoorCurtain: I loved the Wind Waker! Before Breath of the Wild, it felt like the truest vision of a 3D Zelda where exploration was the prime focus due to the Great Sea, even if the sea could feel pretty barren. The narrative of moving on from the loss of an older vision of something considered great was also done real well, and gave this game's version of Ganondorf some real tragedy that has never been matched in any subsequent installments. The reason this game isn't higher on the list is because the remake changed the art style from the original significantly, which I wasn't a fan of, even though I liked the other changes like being able to unlock faster sailing.






Rainiac: Clever turn-based strategy game with an innovative combat system centred around emotions. The choices you make in each battle greatly affects how each game plays out. With over 20 different explorers to unlock and dozens of potential scenarios to play through, there's a lot of replay value.






Beepner: I appreciate Luftrauser's Atari 2600 aesthetic and likewise seemingly never ending escalation of difficulty, chaos, and carnage. And like the arcade-y action it draws inspiration from, it eventually gets to be "too much" and I have to put it down indefinitely. Fun weapons and ship customization though.






Rhete: I really enjoyed the story in this game, it's about a group of people who knew that the world was going to end, and their last ditch efforts to save it. I almost always ignore text and audio logs in games, but in this one I sought them out as much as I could. Ancient ruins actually felt like they should, as the game would forgo combat for a while and just let you explore and absorb the story.






eatthepen: Not a lot to say about this, just good tunes, slick design, vibrant aesthetics and a well-tuned learning process. As satisfying as it's possible for a one-button rhythm game to be.






LastZimOnEarth: I'm not really much of a mobile game person but this game development simulator is one that I go back to every few years or so. The sense of accomplishment I feel when my made-up dev team manages to make a game that really takes the world by storm is the kind that I could only dream of in real life.






Zeloz: I never really got into this one much when it was new, mostly because I was expecting a simple rogue-type game without a lot of quirks. Thinking back on it now, though, I can appreciate the ways its equip system and combat freshened up the genre. You can equip your party members! Like, onto you! Kinda. And getting through dungeons require more understanding the game systems than just getting good RNG. Perhaps one day I'll give it another go, but it remains in my mind as one of the more interesting games Nippon Ichi's published.






FreezingInferno: A pretty cute exploratory platformer that can get a little retro-referential, but is still pretty solid.






TenguGemini: This is literally just Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon's Trap, but with a new coat of paint. It is maybe my favorite remake?






John: Sometimes you just have to let go.






lieronet: See my review for Bastion. I remember liking Bastion more, as the turn-planning thing didn't really vibe with me, but dang is the game pretty.






Nate: I wish this game had succeeded because what worked, especially the co-op aspect of an adventure game, was pretty fun. But, because it didn't do well, we're stuck with an interesting tech demo.






Psychic_Heist: "To My Ex-Lover Overwatch,

It was good yeah? The first time we laid eyes on each other and you introduced me to some of the coolest people I had the pleasure of being all decade. I could manipulate time, swing a big fucking hammer, boost constitution with DJ beats, go apeshit, deflect hundreds of bullets with my sword, use my mecha as a bomb - just to name a few.

Oh the time we spent together was magical and exciting. But I feel like our relationship was starting to get unhealthy. You were beginning to demand more from me, and I just couldn't provide the time for you. So instead of our relationship growing toxic and resentful, I had to break it off. Trust me, it's better this way.

Thank you for the great memories we shared together. My heart will always have a soft spot for you.

Best Wishes,

PH"






Remnant: At it's best, the LEGO games walk the line between shameless homage and riffing parody and this was no exception. As a fan of the original book and the Peter Jackson movies, this was a treat to go through with my son.






eatthepen: It's nice to play a game about growing things. It's nice to play a game about climbing things. It's nice to play a game about being nice. I really appreciated the simple acts of moving about the world that this game is built around, and I'd love to see more games take up its climbing system.






Atamine634: Temmie Chang of Undertale fame dropped a small preview of a story she wants to tell in RPG Maker and I'm excited to see the fruits of her efforts.






DoorCurtain: The most delightfully broken Dragon Quest game in the series. You can learn so many overpowered abilities from classes that don't require any MP! Annihilating the game's difficulty just by changing around classes whenever appropriate was incredibly fun. I even beat the final boss in less than 4 minutes, with AI partners! Dragon Quest VI also had a very meticulous overworld that felt like one giant puzzle to solve, with numerous barriers that could only be crossed under very specific circumstances you had to solve riddles to bypass. Also, Ashlynn is a top tier Dragon Quest wife (ironically, Dragon Quest V released on DS before the 2010s, so the actual Dragon Quest wife game is disqualified).






FreezingInferno: It's a rhythm game but also a Turbo Tunnel like. What's not to love?






Rhete: This is basically the 3D Contra game that never materialized. Shooting robots into bits remains fun the entire time, and the bosses are huge and over the top. The story is pretty good as well, though I didn't like how you can suddenly find yourself at a bad ending depending on how much your teammates like you.






eatthepen: This game takes a long time to get going. It doesn't really work as Final Fantasy fanservice, or as Final Fantasy for kids, and taken in its own right the first half of the game is kinda sluggish and flat. Then, at about the three-quarter mark, the entire world just melts and the game launches into a scathing deconstruction of the Final Fantasy brand and its fans that's a feast for an attentive game critic. A fascinating product to have emerged from Square Enix late in the period of FFXV's development.






John: A powerful visceral puzzle language married to an affecting story, my favorite of the decade's batch of mid-budget cinematic platformers.






Carmichael Micaalus: Top down racing game with simple graphics and nice music.






Atamine634: Never finished a full run, but I loved the inventiveness of combining rouge-like elements with internet creepy-pastas.






Iffy: I feel like this game COULD be really good if some time and effort were invested in it, but it's okay for what it is.






Nate: The shortest game on the list, but no less one of the most impactful.

You have 10 seconds until the world ends with someone you love before everything fades away, and you have to decide how to share it with them.

Also, literally 10 seconds, so act fast.

The anxiety you feel making choices is heightened because you do not get an extension, everything you do will be wiped away, and who knows if there's even an afterlife.

The striking nothingness of this reality contrasts against our need as humans to make sense of things, to give weight to our decisions so they "mean" something, and this central conflict makes this game fascinating to me.

Even as you quickly click through all the choices trying to get the "best ending" there is not one to be found. For someone who suffers from social anxiety like I do and worry every thing they post, every thing they say, every decision they make could push people away and leave them alone again, playing this game, and games like it actually helps because sometimes the only person who hasn't forgiven you is yourself and double guessing your mistakes only hurt you. You deprive yourself of the experience of the moment instead of, you know, experiencing it.

Because we only have so much time before we all die, and you could be wasting it trying to get the best ending instead of just being yourself.

Short games can be more impactful than long games since the experience is easily repeatable and you can experiment with what it has to offer, and having a game whose thesis is "nothing is going to matter in 10 seconds" can create a very calm and emotional experience that maybe makes you a better person.

Also, there aren't that many games from this decade I've played that start with Q, so that's a bonus point.






FreezingInferno: It's like old Nintendo games with weird twists and goals attached. Feels like a spiritual successor to WarioWare in a lot of ways. The second's better since the first has NES black box games which are kind of jank, so that's why it's here.






LastZimOnEarth: A really cute RPG Maker game that revolves around the gay romance between a bespectacled cargo spaceship captain and a four-eyed alien that end up marooned on a deserted planet. I really like how the game demonstrates the equality in their relationship by forcing the two characters to use their special abilities to get past obstacles that take the force of simple yet effective puzzles.






Rainiac: The best wrasslin' game released this decade. You feel the impact of every move you manage to pull off, even if the controls can take some getting used to compared to the more simplistic controls of, say, 2K Games' numerous WWE titles. An exhaustive create-a-wrestler system ensures that the only limit to your enjoyment will be the scope of your imagination.






Peaches the Rayven: There are at least a few games that try to put you on a spaceship - mostly, what they get right is dogfighting or tactics sprawling across galaxies with planets and stars as strategic linchpins, maybe they add bonding with your alien cohorts as a side mechanic.

That's all well and good, but this is probably the only game that gets your favorite sci-fi tv show right - you need a group of friends, each one taking up a different battlestation. That's not the multiplayer mode - you need almost one person for each part of the ship. Do you fly your spacecraft dangerously close to the enemy, load and fire the star torpedoes with deadly accuracy, manage the damage control teams as they scramble to keep your oxygen inside your ship, or are you the captain - who may or may not even get a screen? We played with the captain usually just in a chair, hollering orders and trying to control the chaos.

This game was popular at my old university (Like a few other weirdos, I hung out at the gaming club long after I graduated). It took a few borrowed laptops to get the experience right, but we would have hours of fun taking turns trying each kind of station, laughing even as we bungled our way to certain doom. Or maybe not laughing, maybe shouting to be heard over each other I had a tendency to hit the 'Red Alert' alarm for no reason (ha ha!).

Somehow, it got the feel of the chaos of a ship's bridge down just right. Shame it takes so much equipment to run, or so many players to get the feel right, but it was worth it and deserves recognition for what it did.






Ghosty: Simple but fun arcadey gameplay, lovely art and style! Something you don't see much of these days. Naturally, R├ęglisse is the best!






jetstorm4: A later Wii game that's different from the other Trauma Center games for the multiple gameplay segments and the more down to earth (but still weird) story than the other games. A real fun time to work your way through in whatever order of story you wish.






FreezingInferno: The licensed game is way better than the movie. Wow. A Wayforward exploratory platformer that isn't the greatest thing they've ever done, but still has its charms.






eatthepen: A game about happy, loving boys and girls going on an adventure to spread happiness and love... and getting put through the wringer along the way. This game is believable in direct proportion to your faith in humanity, and deeply rewarding if, despite everything, your faith remains high.






Iffy: Disappointing in a lot of ways coming off of IV, but I did put a lot of hours into it and had tons of fun with multiplayer.






Rainiac: A side-scrolling shooter starring a musclebound fish that carries a machine gun. The Stop-Choose a Powerup-Resume nature of the gameplay draws comparisons with Wario Ware, and the pace speeds up and slows down just when it should.






Nate: You know, this was an interesting kinda RTS game, I'm sad we haven't gotten a third one yet.






Atamine634: A short but memorable horror shooter that has great mood and presentation.






Carmichael Micaalus: Pretty much the pinnacle of match-3 style games. Easy to pick up, easy to set down.






Carmichael Micaalus: The Torchlight series is my main exposure to Diablo-style games; the second game being moddable helped make it far more approachable for me, and the cartoony style of graphics is a style I just love in games.






LastZimOnEarth: Probably the only game that's on my list purely on the basis of having a great story because frankly, as a game, it's not very good. Suffering from constant framerate drops during combat that are borderline unbearable, some annoying crashing and even the occasional game-breaking bug, there is a constant jankiness to the game in a lot of areas that make it easy to dismiss on first impressions. And even disregarding that, the game's systems are pretty much ripped off from Final Fantasy XIII. Yet looking beyond those problems, I found an impressively dense narrative filled with some of the most nuanced and fascinating characters I've seen in any game. The story manages to have a lot of moving parts that come together beautifully in ways that justify the game's 40-50+ hour play time.






Psychic_Heist: It was a long wait for its arrival, but when I finally got my hands-on SC II, I was locked in and bound only to it for a long stretch. It was everything I could ever want from a sequel to one of the most prolific real-time strategy games of all time, and it was a very rewarding game experience the more dedicated and practiced I got with it.

I could never play SC II on a high level, but I always appreciated how the game would still accommodate and push my luddite way of thinking. It also goes without saying that Blizzards talent with cinematic presentation was firing off on all cylinders here, and we got a campaign with gorgeous cut scenes (in-game and out) with a western and rockabilly flair that would make any loud, dumb, summer popcorn movie feel inept.

Let it also be noted that SC II was the first game to introduce me to the eSports scene. The standard of those productions was set so high that to this day I can't find another eSports community to quite match it.

People grow, and people change. By the time "Heart of the Swarm" came around, the direction in which SC II was heading was something I couldn't really vibe with. However, the time spent, and the memories made from my experience with "Wings of Liberty" are some of the most cherished I have in this hobby.






John: Gorgeous and overly edgy RPGMaker adventure with a crunchy custom battle system... this kind of game is my lifeblood.






DoorCurtain: You ever wonder what a platformer where you have no limbs and can't jump would be like? Snake Pass is for you, starring, well, a danger Noodle. You move the control stick left and right to slither around, press a shoulder button to go forward (use the former technique to keep going), press a face button to *lift* your head, and the left stick to *aim* your head. Navigate the world by coiling your snakey body around poles and tightening your grip with a shoulder button. Really, the feeling of mastering the mere act of "moving around" is worth it alone.






Zeloz: I played a couple of hours of this when I was bored on Steam, and was pleasantly surprised. The world with and without the goggles the titular character looks through is whimsical in a very storybook-ish way, and the item puzzles managed to stump me for a bit without feeling frustrating or arbitrary. I keep meaning to revisit the game, but for now it remains the best hour-and-a-half I've sunk into a random Humble Bundle get.






Nate: A short and sweet game by a small publisher that you should revisit right now.






jetstorm4: Probably Square-Enix's most important game for the 2010s and the moment I think they realized what many look for from them. While many don't like where this game goes gameplay-wise at the end, I like the twist this particular story takes, and appreciate some of the inconsistencies for the sake of tension and overall dread the game always felt to me it had from the beginning. I mean, if you can't see the subtitle's hint from the beginning...






Atamine634: I have a soft spot for the Assassin's Creed series since I grew up with it in high school. I love the virtual tourism the series provides and the last AC I played was one of my favorites for the sheer size and detail of Renaissance-era Rome you get to explore.






Nate: It's more fun with multiple people and just shows off how big of a geek Suda51 is.






jetstorm4: This game is just loads of fun, a good time for just the wackiest things your collections of Miis to do is just a lot. Giving them oddly creepy voices with generated speech while watching them worship a Virtual Boy is just part of the weirdness this game has. The Song maker is worth the price of admission.






Psychic_Heist: When I submitted my top 3 games of the 2019 year to the Sockscast, for my number one "Tekken 7", I proclaimed that it was the fighting game of the decade. Now that I've chewed on it, and looked over and assessed this list, I realize I may have been a bit too excited in saying that, and will walk that statement back a bit.

Still, "Tekken 7" is fucking phenomenal.

After "Tekken 3," the Tekken series had to experiment with its fighting engine to remain fresh, and in that experimentation, we had entries that hit high, and also, pretty loooww. With "Tekken 7," Namco learned from its past mistakes and perfected its flagship 3D fighting game franchise. I cannot express how freaking good it feels to play this game and how each of the 40 plus character roster brings something to the table.






Atamine634: I admire it for being the post-Team Silent game that actually tried to do its own thing and I'm a sucker for good environments to get lost in. It's probably the easiest Silent Hill to get lost around the town and I think that deserves some credit.






DoorCurtain: Ever wanna play budget Punch Out, but with swords, and a bunch of regular enemies with designated boss levels? Sakura Samurai is a very interesting idea I was sad to see Nintendo abandon. Paying close attention to enemy tells, their sword trails, and the camera movements all work together to create a feeling of a samurai observing his surroundings to calculate his next move. Also, you can throw frogs at people.






Rainiac: A turn-based strategy game infused with the kind of humour Behemoth has become infamous for at this point. The core gameplay is competently put together, it's just a shame the online multiplayer feels like a bit of a tacked-on afterthought.






John: The closing sequence of this story has stuck in my brain for years.






Rhete: This is an odd game because I feel it could've been so much better, but I really enjoyed it for what it was. The story is light and breezy, with tons of fanservice, and the strategy gameplay is a weird mix of busted and extremely fun to exploit. My primary strategy was having everyone gather around my primary mage, Poona, and kiss her repeatedly (because yes, this is a game where your units can kiss each other in battle to gain power, take THAT Fire Emblem) to have her drop huge AOE attacks nearly every turn. My primary memory of this game though, is the finale where your entire squad breaks into four teams, and thus you're suddenly tasked with using every single character you've accrued along the way. It was difficult as hell and I only just barely survived the fourth round, having absolutely no idea if the game was saving between each one or if death was going to mean restarting the entire thing over.






eatthepen: It took me a long time to understand what was going on in this VN, but once I understood it I learned some things about myself. I'd probably have got on board sooner if I understood any of the references or genre tropes. One of a very small number of games I actually go back and replay specific sections of as a way of coping with specific moods.






Iffy: I felt like this was a bit of a low decade for fighting games, but I felt this was the best of the ones I played. Introduced a lot of new characters while many games were cutting back their rosters for no reason.






eatthepen: I wish this had been the indie platformer that everyone tried to chase the success of rather than Meat Boy. Imagine if the last eight years had been defined by 'how much can video games make you cry about a rectangle' instead of the invention (renaissance?) of masocore.






John: Puzzling out the constantly changing rules for the blades' movements would be purely delightful if not for the game's visceral hook. Also a fun speedrun game weirdly enough!






AustinCHowe: The Phantom Pain - I'm just gonna come right out and say it. If you don't like Metal Gear or Hideo Kojima, just don't touch this. It's not a good entry point, and it's not the series strongest showing either, (it's 4, you know it's 4,) but if you like Metal Gear, or if you like me *love* Metal Gear than I'm not sure how this could fall flat. To me, it doesn't. The writing of women sucks and I expected that going in, but yet again, the twists that were commented upon as being cartoonish and silly really resonated for me, even knowing the twists ahead of time, because the game did such a good job at making the whole picture. An element that has received particular criticism is the ending, which is unfortunate as I believe it belies a misunderstanding of the game's structure. Take the dive into MGSV and you will be thrown into an amoral quagmire where you are constantly fighting for shreds of human decency that have long since left the building. The way this thing brings together the themes of the previous Metal Gear games, coming at them from the perspective of The Villains makes this an unforgettable one for me. I'm sorry to have to tell the truth, but this is one of the best games I've ever played.






Zeloz: The writing isn't that great, and it gets pretty grindy when you can't rely on your max-level friends loaning their Servants, but it did kinda make Fate/ an acceptable topic of discussion in public? Anyway, we got Mash and Gudako out of it, and gacha games kinda live or die on how cute their girls are, so that alone makes it a historically relevant advancement in mobile games and mythology preservation.






Peaches the Rayven: You can keep your Minecraft, this is my buildy survival game.

It's a deceptively simple premise: hunt and gather food from the surreal landscape so that you... well, you know. But it quickly gets more twisted. There's the grizzly Meat Effigy, which can resurrect you when you die, and Pigmen whom you can recruit. These myriad creative goals for carving out a niche in this world come all wrapped up in the Edward Gorey-esque visual style.

The trial-and-error can be a bit frustrating, for example does wooden armor give you enough protection against something like the towering Tallbird? But that aside, the game does tend to hold your hand just enough by giving you crafting recipes and allowing you to build out your branching tree of available items.

While the cast of characters, both as real and surreal as the rest of the game, seem like icing on a cake, their subtle changes in abilities mean a big change in your strategy, such as utilizing Wendy's ghost sister. And I like the tweaked improvements in the multiplayer version, such as giving a craft recipe so that you can remake character's signature items, like a lighter for the pyromaniac Wendy.

It is a game where you must embrace failure, but it also gives a great sense of wanting to try again and again.






Iffy: Charming little action RPG--not great, but still a lot of fun to play with cute art and music.






DoorCurtain: I've heard legends of this game, hushed whispers on the farthest reaches of the internet, about how this game was basically perfect in how it teaches you everything you need without any heads up display. I finally played it, on Nintendo 3DS, and they were right, almost everything in the game feels intuitive despite the lack of overt direction. It didn't set me on fire like for other people but man, what a cool laser gun you get to mess with. I thought the ending was real tense, too.






eatthepen: Every few months between the ages of about 8 and 30, I got the thought 'What if someone made, like, an adventure game that plays like pinball'. I don't know how many people have tried to do this along the way, but Yoku's Island Express definitely succeeds and now instead of that old thought I now just think 'I'm really glad Yoku's Island Express exists' and go back and replay some of it.






DoorCurtain: I was never a big WarioWare person, instead I just wondered why Wario Land, one of my favorite platforming series, just kind of fell off the map after 2008. So on a whim, I dropped money on this compilation released a few years ago and had a grand ol' wacky weird time. The microgames are endearing as hell and have amazing variety. Wario also got to be a villain in the story mode, which is hilariously embodied as being the head of a shady game dev jam. Recognizing famous game and anime voice actors as Wario's employees was a huge treat too. Oh yeah, everyone's voice acted! It was awesome getting to hear Charles Martinet cut loose with his extended take on Wario, with, like, actual sentences!






John: A puzzle game where the whole challenge is figuring out how to navigate a series of spaces. Mucks with your perception in a really unique way!






Nate: The perfect party game that you remember and go "oh man, I should've suggested that" after the party is dead.






Beepner: It's great that the West finally got to experience the "Tsumi" half of the Persona 2 story, if you hadn't already played the fan translation. This version adds some battle improvements like pre-dialed fusion spells and Eternal Punishment's option to turn off the battle animations (trust me, it speeds things up A LOT).






Remnant: There was a stretch where I was kind of "over" the whole Kingdom Hearts...thing. The third full-entry was nowhere in sight and the post-KHII spin-offs weren't grabbing me the way Chain of Memories did between KH and KHII. But then this game--which should have been called "Kingdom Hearts Zero" because that's what it was and that's how essential it was to the plot, especially by the time we get to III--brought me right back in. The battle and progression systems were great, and the story is the only one aside from the first Kingdom Hearts that has some ability to stand on its own.






AustinCHowe: King of Fighters is the best 2D fighting system of any I've played, and XIII was my favorite iteration upon that system. I could talk about this game for days. Upfront on negatives: lots of stages full of really offensive racial stereotypes that are totally worth avoiding by just picking one of the good stages. (There are a lot of really good ones.) However: the soundtrack manages to strike the classic KoF balance of excitement and finesse. The smaller selection of characters compared to the current KoFXIV gives it a significantly more balanced tier list. Budget issues caused creative and good ideas to be implemented into old characters, giving every single character in the game for the most part a unique flavor that makes it worth having the entire cast in your back pocket. This is just a fantastic competitive fighting game with very few design flaws, most of which are overstated. Play King of Fighters XIII.






Carmichael Micaalus: Good use of colour in this game. Fun to explore, figure out puzzles, and fight bosses.






Ghosty: I have put at least 250 hours into this game. There's something strangely therapeutic about this game. It feels so chill and so hectic at the same time! I like the journey towards the final boss more than the final boss though. Thankfully, that is most of the game. But this is a game I have been able to play even when I feel so crap that other games have been too demanding to enjoy.












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