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#76 2020-05-14 18:37:51

Registered: 2020-05-08
Posts: 4

Re: SnS on 2010s: The Top Games of the Decade According To SnS

Slipped one last blurb into mine >.>


#77 2020-05-14 20:32:29

Lightning Edgeboy
From: Chicago
Registered: 2019-08-26
Posts: 147

Re: SnS on 2010s: The Top Games of the Decade According To SnS


These were all in the initial 160 or so pool of "games I really liked" but didn't quite make the top 100. I really like all of these games even if they weren't on the main list!

10 Seconds in Hell
A Night in the Woods (2014)
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
At the Tale's End
Awkward Dimensions Redux
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon
Boa Retina
Boyfriend to Death
Brooklyn Trash King
Celeste Classic
Digital: A Love Story
Donut County
Extreme Meatpunks Forever
Fallen Girl
Flappy Bird
Friendly Bunny Mochi
gay cats go to the weird weird woods
Ghosts in the Shortwave
Hotline Miami
Imperishable Memories
Knytt Stories
Let's Make a Game
Mark of the Ninja
Mochi in Frosting
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
Monster Hug
Monument Valley
Naya's Quest
Polly Clicker
Race the Sun
Shantae and the Pirate's Curse
Sonic Colors
Sonic Generations
Super Mario 3D Land
Super Mario 3D World
The Alliance Alive
The Message
The Stanley Parable
Touhou 15: Legacy of the Lunatic Kingdom
Us Lovely Corpses
Virtue's Last Reward
Waking Mars


Some games from the last decade I couldn't include because I haven't played/finished 'em yet. I'm really excited to play these!

428: Shibuya Scramble
80 Days
A Short Hike
AI: The Somnium Files
Baba Is You
Blazing Chrome
Blue Revolver
Butterfly Soup
DON'T GIVE UP: A Cynical Tale
Deadly Premonition
Device 6
Devil May Cry 5
Dragon's Dogma
Dys: Eternal Space Jail RPG
Final Fantasy XIII
Knytt Underground
Narcissu 10th Anniversary Anthology Project
Night in the Woods (2017)
Odallus: The Dark Call
Rain World
Resident Evil 7
SaGa: Scarlet Grace
Shadows of Adam
Stephen's Sausage Role
Tales of Berseria
The Witcher 3
Touhou Luna Nights
VA-11 Hall-A
WitchSpring 4
Wonderful 101
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Yakuza 0
and a whole bunch Falcom, Zachtronics, and Spiderweb Software games

"If history is to change, let it change! If the world is to be destroyed, so be it! If my fate is to die... I must simply laugh!!"


#78 2020-05-14 21:12:20

Lightning Edgeboy
From: Chicago
Registered: 2019-08-26
Posts: 147

Re: SnS on 2010s: The Top Games of the Decade According To SnS

20. Fairune (2013)

A bite-sized RPG with an amazing aesthetic about exploring a mazey world and poking around for secrets. I group it in my head with Soul Blazer and Helen's Mysterious Castle and old Falcom games. They're all humble games with small stories about thoughtfully exploring a world. I think it helps that I played the original phone version -- that release didn't have an in-game map, so exploring the looping maps is a lot more thoughtful and demanding. I've revisited this game several times since release, and it always brings me joy.

19. Helix (2014)

Brough's fullest action game, and one I've sunk somewhere between 30 and 50 hours into over the years. It's very demanding and also feels amazing, I was always happy to lose over and over in pursuit of my next high score. There's so much nuance packed into the compact ruleset -- I particularly love how the bonus health upgrade is earned, and how chaining more than one together gives you the opportunity to rack up MANY points. Clearing all three levels of this game in one run is one of my proudest videogame accomplishments.

18. Song of Saya (2013, 2003) REDACTED

Eh. This game's important to me, and I wrote a big long blurb for it, but the only way I could comfortably talk about it was to avoid addressing all the really evil parts (the pornographic depictions of rape and other kinds of violence, the heavy sexualization of the title character who's obv designed to look like a child). It felt weasely. If I can't talk about the game in its totality without my skeleton wanting to crawl out of my body, I'd rather avoid canonizing it on the site altogether. Play Fata Morgana instead.

17. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (2011)

It's fitting that a game so often about setting up (or interrupting) rube goldberg machines is also a master of setup and payoff. Many games would fumble an amazing premise like this one. Ghost Trick instead starts strong and then builds beautifully to a transcendent climax.

16. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (2017, 2016)

Ys VIII feels like an <i>old</i> story. One that's been been told and retold for a long time. A lot of Falcom games have that energy, but there's a unique weight to this one in particular. I think folks that have played the game know what I mean.

I think it's because it's an epic, in the classical heroic sense. It's a story about a regular person that you care about, and how they become something larger-than-life. There's a whole lot about Ys VIII that's special, but the singular focus and power of that messiah narrative is the part that really shook me.

15. NieR: Automata (2017)

This game's a feast of tasty themes, but the individual journey that got stuck in my head the most was 9S's whole arc. There's so much interesting toxic masculinity examination stuff there the game doesn't get enough credit for, probably 'cause the high-concept sci-fi ideas and cool meta-turns are much more obvious hooks.

That's the part that stuck out the most to me. But every player is going to have their own aspect of the story that speaks the most to them. Because it's all about facing down the reality that we have no innate purpose, that any meaning in our lives is one we have to make for ourselves. And that's a trial that we, and all the characters in NieR: Automata, have to face and respond to in our own ways. There's almost certainly at least one journey in the story you'll see yourself in.

14. The Beginner's Guide (2015)

This game makes you feel complicit in something dirty and wrong. It's uncomfortably intimate. You're a voyeur seeing something you shouldn't be. I appreciated the story's lessons, but the rawness of their presentation is what got them so deep under my skin.

13. Trails in the Sky SC (2015, 2006)

All the big JRPG story bits land perfectly of course, but it's the handful of intimate human moments that really make this story. The end of chapter 6 is the big one. It's the payoff to a conflict the games built up for two whole games. And yet it's a quiet scene, just two characters you care about talking to one another.

It's a mature conversation. The kind we all have to have in life with the people we care about when things get hard. The kind of conversation we mostly have to figure out how to have on our own, because we're all bad at them, and very little art is adult enough to give us an example to work from.

Trails in the Sky knows how hard things get when we can't communicate our feelings with the people we love. Often it's because we don't understand what we're feeling in the first place. It shows how much WORK it is to be self-aware, to really understand ourselves, and to really talk to and understand the people we love. That maturity is what elevates the games into something truly special.

12. Super Hexagon (2012)

I have never connected with another score attack game as deeply as I did with Super Hexagon. I played an absurd amount of this game; I was in the top 100 players world-wide on the leaderboard at one point. It's just deeply satisfying to me.

11. Ib (2012)

"RPGmaker horror adventure game" is an extremely storied and rich tradition... this is my favorite one. It's been too long since I played it for me to write anything substantive here. But there are moments and settings in this game screwed into my subconscious like a rusted bolt, and their screams at me to place the game high on my list are too loud to ignore.

10. Beeswing (2014)

A game about returning to your hometown after a long time away, and observing all the ways things are different and all the ways things are the same. The game establishes right away that you can leave at any time via the bus stop, at which point the game will end. There's a list of suggested places to revisit, but nothing's mandatory.

So you poke around and explore. You experience amazing hand-crafted textures. You read quietly sad prose, for as long as you feel like doing so. Then you leave, and whatever lessons you take from the experience you arrive at on your own, while riding the bus home in silence.

9. Anatomy (2016)

I got a streamer friend to play this game; we wound up spending about forty five minutes playing the game, then just as long afterwards chatting and unpacking it. It's a just very dense, eerie, well-done, meta-as-hell haunted house story, and some of the scares in it cut me to my core.

8. Game Title and Game Title: The Lost Levels (2012)

These are my favorite Michael Brough games, and the most concentrated example out there of what makes his work special. Instead of requiring dozens of hours to untangle their nuances, the Games Titles are one-off puzzle boxes you can play and finish in an evening. Their concision and tight scope make them very dense with eureka moments, where you suddenly understand a new concept with perfect clarity and it blows the lid off a bunch of puzzles that seemed impossible moments before.

They're very satisfying to complete, and the total lack of pretense ("I ran out of time to give it a name") makes them extra cool and charming to me. Brough makes many perfect games, including these two. The Game Titles are special though, because they make being perfect look effortless.

7. Problem Attic (2013)

I prescriptively wrote in another blurb that language is the best medium for talking about trauma. Problem Attic is a convincing counter-argument.

It's a glitch-logic puzzle platformer where the rules change from room to room. It's challenging, but it mostly stays approachable thanks to the constrained nature of the play space. The rules may be in constant flux, but you're always locked in one room until you solve the puzzle, so it's rarely overwhelming.

There aren't a lot of words contextualizing the play, just abstract visuals and a haunting soundtrack. From the title and rare bits of exposition, it's clear the game takes place in the mind of someone who's wrestling with a lot of trauma (and also gender identity issues). These aren't unusual topics for games to discuss -- what makes Problem Attic special is how it avoids narrativizing them, instead using music and a strong formal language to make you feel certain states of mind very intensely. In seven years the only game I've played that did so as effectively was Yume Nikki (which explicitly inspired Problem Attic).

This game made a very strong impression on me in 2013. It felt inscrutable, larger than life. Revisiting it in 2020 I felt like I had a much stronger understanding of what it was doing... which only really added to my respect for it. In the seven years between playthroughs I've had to untangle trauma knots in my own brain, and the game speaks to me on a much more personal level now. Instead of looking at the game as a mysterious nightmare, now I just feel the relief of knowing someone else feels this way.

6. Trails in the Sky 3rd (2017, 2007)

I think this is the best videogame Falcom is capable of making. Which, of course, makes it an all-time favorite. It has all the same strengths as the preceding Trails games. But there's a darkness to this one, an extra bit of edge I haven't seen in any of their other games. And because of the setting, there's a psychological bent to the map design that isn't present in their other work. It harmonizes well with the darkness.

Trails 3rd takes place after the big JRPG story finishes. It's explicitly about picking up the pieces after a disaster and untangling trauma. It's often episodic, telling small side-stories about characters from the first two games, both major and minor. It's by far the weirdest, most Falcom game I've played, without sacrificing any of the strengths that make them my favorite large studio developer. That makes it my favorite of their games, and a story I cherish.

5. Helen's Mysterious Castle (2014)

This is my favorite RPGmaker game! I can't fully explain why I hold it in such sky-high esteem. It just feels so Right to me. The battles are crunchy and fun, the maps are satisfying mazes, the climax goes hard, the writing and aesthetic are next-level charming -- it's just a really fun nice videogame. It makes me want to make videogames, maybe more than any other game on this list.

It's hard to recognize the humbler masterpieces like this one, where there's no huge emotional catharsis to tearfully relate to friends, or immediate formal hooks to gush about. It's just a game with its own voice that doesn't ask too much of your time, and is perfect at being what it wants to be. In some ways these are my favorite games of all.

4. ZeroRanger (2018)

A handful of games the last decade have combined the language of shmups with other genres, often to great effect. Games like Undertale and NieR: Automata marry the innate drama of shmups with moving and considered stories.

ZeroRanger shows that shumps are capable of weaving narratives just as powerful as the above, without needing to branch out into other genres. It stands on the shoulders of giants like RayForce and RefleX and tells an incredible story, all in the context of enthralling classic arcade action. It's an inspiring triumph, and a game I expect to revisit on and off for the rest of my life.

3. Howling Dogs (2012)

I played this game exactly once and it's stuck in my head ever since, like the dark dream you had as a kid you still vividly remember even now. The lack of a clear narrative means there's no clean catharsis. It lingers like an infected wound.

I love the contrast of lurid flowery prose with its simple terse descriptions of violence. It fits well with the format -- you get in a rhythm of clicking purple links and expecting a new long description, only to be shocked out of it with one short awful sentence.

Twine transformed the last decade. Countless artists twisted its beautiful, straight-forward design language in all sorts of interesting ways. This one cut into my heart the deepest.

2. Dark Souls (2011)

From Software makes some of the best, most well-considered dungeon crawlers out there... but Dark Souls is the only one where you can rest at the bonfire at the bottom of Blighttown and know that you are STUCK there until you find your own way out. In the other From games I've played, you're only ever one death away from being safe at the hub. In Dark Souls, you're on your own. And when you finally do reach your hub after an endless stretch of time spent away, you find that its light has gone out.

1. Undertale (2015)

Undertale cares very deeply for its characters and their story. Every part of the game spirals back into them. It wants us to know who they really are; what they want, what they need, what their hopes and dreams are.

There are many wonderful things about Undertale. But none of them would land the way they do now without the strength of its cast. The game puts them all into hard situations where they're forced to reveal who they really are deep down. To their friends, to us, and to themselves. It inspires them to grow, and we get to watch and experience that growth. Maybe doing so gives us a few tools to help grow ourselves down the line, when things gets hard, because they always do at some point.

The strength of Undertale is that it embodies the power of storytelling. It's really that simple. And that's a freeing idea if you're an artist that really loves Undertale, because that's a power we all have access to.

It's a game of the decade, sure. But while it's unbelievably special, you have the capacity to make something just as wonderful. Maybe you already have, like the friends I've mentioned on my list. Maybe you're going to, and we'll include your work on the next list ten years from now.

You can make it happen, if you want. You just need a little determination.

"If history is to change, let it change! If the world is to be destroyed, so be it! If my fate is to die... I must simply laugh!!"


#79 2020-05-14 23:47:52

Registered: 2019-08-26
Posts: 62

Re: SnS on 2010s: The Top Games of the Decade According To SnS


The full site list will be compiled and posted... someday xD


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