My Top 5 games of the last decade.

Props to The Escapist's feature on the Bioware founder's top 5 games of the decade for getting me thinking about this. I've been wanting to stretch out and do something a little less serious for a while.

5. Morrowind (2002)
In all honesty, I think Oblivion has the clearly superior combat style, but Morrowind wins for shear openness of world. Oblivion's world always felt somewhat homogeneous and confined for my taste. Morrowind also has more after market mods than you can shake a stick at, while it's graphics, with the horrible exception of faces which seems to be Bethesda's kryptonite, have aged well enough that you can still stand to look at them.

4. Dragon Age (2009)
I still have some reservations in the ways in which Bioware has decided to attach a bottle rocket to the difficulty curve of their toolset, but in all other ways Dragon Age is the consummate Bioware game. A great story with segmented storyline bits to tackle at your discretion, a decent but not overbearing character customization routine, character backgrounds that have in game effects, and combat that makes you simultaneously reminisce about tabletop D&D and want to kill every member of your party personally. Add to that the full spectrum of romance options, and I find myself a wee bit giddy to be honest.

3. Dwarf Fortress (2006)
They may be @ signs, but they're your @ signs... kinda. Dwarf Fortress is probably one of the best management sims ever made, if you don't mind things actually being difficult for a change. It's obvious from the first time you play DF, and have to wait as it runs a world building simulation, that these guys are serious about good, detailed, simulation. It's not perfect, but it is a refreshing change of pace from some of the more shallow simulations, like Spore.

2. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (2006)
I think I summed up my thoughts earlier on here at SoaGCure. I don't have much to add to that, other than I think it's a little tragic that Western RPG developers seem to have completely missed what it could have taught them.

1. Portal (2007)
Portal is about as close to perfection as any game could possibly be. They refined down their core mechanics into a heavily distilled package of fun. Then in complete understanding of just how far outside the norm they were they made sure to give the players a significant tutorial. That the tutorial was entertaining in it's own right sets it apart from the many, many, terrifically boring tutorials littering gaming culture. It's only knock is that it is short, but then that could just be a byproduct of the distillation process.



  1. posts have supposedly been eaten here, so I'm testing it.

  2. Interesting list. I think I'd have extreme difficulty picking 5 games over the last decade. Although I come pretty close to agreeing with you on Portal and I know Okami would be on my list.

  3. Yeah, even now I have a few games that I'm tempted to try and rework into the list... Diablo 2 for instance, while I may not have played it hardly, I know damn well how influential it was on rpgs going forwards. Shadows of the Collussus was a whole new angle on games being cinematic and evocative, and I think even if we haven't seen too many boss only games since, it has had a huge impact. And unfortunately I can go on, so I'm trying to resist creating an "honorable mentions section..."

  4. I actually had typed out a huge post but your forum commentor ate it...so i'll make it smaller. For me:
    5:StarTrek - Next Generation: Birth of the Federation and Starfleet Command tie it up. (2000-2002)

    4. Everquest2-2003-2005

    3. Morrowind - 2001-2003, agree massive world

    2. Wow-never got into it at 1st, later, I played alot with a build I am creating FOA with and leveled 5 level 60's. Quit many times, finally came back 2 yrs ago sis/bro in law got me back into it now that its mainstream. Still bored but it did change the genre.

    1. SWG-Loved lived it, gotta have it. Open world, roleplay, then NGE'd, my life, my family, my 500 man guild all gone. Still miss the glory days i had playing it.

  5. One of my buddies, Zwei2stein, plays Dwarf Fortress and posts me pics of random ASCII stuff and somehow thinks he can entice me to play it. Or just to annoy me. I just do not get it what it is all about!

    And now you say its great... hmmm!

    I like Morrowind, but I would pick Fallout 3 as the best "Bethesda" game so far. The skill system with minor skills pushing major skills, rewarding silly activities with high multiplicators and so on is IMO one of the most goddamn awful game system/mechanics ever.

    My top 5:

    1. Guild Wars - played it for 4 years
    2. Ultima Online - my first MMO love, shaped my idea of a virtual world. Lost to the EQ-scheme in the long run, which makes me still sad.
    3. Panzer General 1 / for Win95 - the right mix between depth and accessibility. Really cool wargame.
    4. Mount & Blade - awesome medieval knight sim! Check it out for free at www.taleworlds.com
    5. Heroes of Might and Magic series - very cool fantasy strategy, I like to include the re-make "King's Bounty" there, too.

    (6.) Star Fleet Command III - basically, the more complex non-MMO version of STO. ;)
    The reason why I shove money in the throat of a company that I am highly suspicious of, Cryptic.

  6. I also admit being guilty of extending the latest decade generously to almost two decades... sorry, but I am getting old, and so are my favorite games. :)

  7. Hearts of Iron 2
    Civ 4
    Combat Mission:Barbarossa to Berlin, but I think came out in the 90s?
    Everquest: Ruins of Kunark
    Can't think of a 5th, so I'll say Bridge Base Online