Here they are: the best games of the last ten years, as decided by Snackbar staff. Each day this week, we’ll be revealing the next ten games in the list.
Graham Russell: Intelligent Systems rarely does wrong, and this is potentially their magnum opus. Following after Square’s Super Mario RPG, the team went a different path, and we all benefited from it. This was also the first time we saw the full potential of Nintendo’s Treehouse localization team, as the good-for-all-ages humor is a rare thing in games.
Andrew Passafiume: Nobody expected another Mario RPG, not since the original on the SNES, but Paper Mario takes what we knew and loved about that game and improves upon it in every way.
Andrew Passafiume: This is one of the best shooters not just of the decade, but of all time, because of one thing: the multiplayer. The campaign itself is truly excellent, but the multiplayer is what kept everybody coming back for more. Even with the sequel out, many people still play this title, and even prefer it over the sequel.
Shawn Vermette: I give Infinity Ward props for not playing it safe with such a guaranteed hit. Making the changes they did make worked out, and putting in such a controversial scene, in order to make the story more powerful, was also something I admired in this game.
Andrew Passafiume: Very few games actually feel like a big Hollywood blockbuster, but the ones that do (and actually get it right) become some of the most thrilling gaming experiences you will ever have. Uncharted 2 is one of those experiences, as it not only exceeds the original in every way.
Justin Last: Gunfights are entertaining, multiplayer is great regardless of whether you’re playing competitive or cooperative, and it never stops feeling like an action movie. The commercials were right though – I could only play this one while my wife watched.
Chris Ingersoll: Usually when a celestial object is about to collide with a planet, you can take your sweet time before actually dealing with it. While that was technically true in Majora’s Mask, the time limit was still very real and affected your game play accordingly. Being able to give each NPC their own lives was a brilliant touch.
Eric Schabel: A wonderful sequel to Ocarina that introduced gamers to a slightly darker, twisted side of the Zelda universe. I really enjoyed this title, even if the ever-constant time limit did stress me out on occasion. There is no denying the superbly-designed dungeons and overworld that make up Majora’s Mask, and something must also be said of the NPCs, almost all of whom had their own memorable back stories and unique personalities. Using masks to transform was also a blast, especially when it came to swimming around as a Zora.
Graham Russell: Is it fair to have the box count as one game? I’m not sure, but there isn’t a disc out there packed with more goodness and variety. Valve works hard to please the fans with updates and extras, and it shows, because this game isn’t close to fading from view.
Shawn Vermette: The Orange Box had 2.5 full games packed into it, all of which were great games-much as you would expect from Valve. However, the star of the pack wasn’t Half-Life 2 or Team Fortress 2, as many expected. It was Portal. Portal is a physics-based puzzle game, and it housed one of the most humorous stories I’ve enjoyed in awhile.
Andrew Passafiume: Combining a truly brilliant world, an excellently told story, and building an engrossing and incredibly fun shooter around it, BioShock has become an instant classic for many gamers.
Shawn Vermette: Fallout 3 is almost perfectly designed to what interests me in a game. It had great atmosphere, a great story, a huge open world to explore, and great combat. With the VATS system providing a link to previous Fallout games, Fallout 3 became one of my favorite games of all time.
Andrew Passafiume: Bethesda took the Fallout series and changed it for the better, using the amazing engine found in Oblivion to re-create the Wasteland. Fallout 3 manages to blend RPG and shooting elements in a truly compelling title that could very well last you over 100 hours.
Chris Ingersoll: Sadly, this version of Zelda will forever be tainted by how awesome it could have been. The missing dungeons were really obvious, and hunting for the Triforce was a new lesson in tedium. Yet despite that, Wind Waker still delivers the usual Zelda excellence, including one of the most memorable endings ever.
Eric Schabel: People to this day either love or hate the visual style of Wind Waker, but no one denies that it was, in the end, a true Zelda classic. While I really enjoyed Wind Waker, I did have a few gripes, namely the time-consuming sailing segments, the tedious end-game treasure hunt, and the game’s overall brevity. That said, I found Wind Waker’s visuals to be stunning, and I really enjoyed the dungeons, even if there weren’t enough of them.
Andrew Passafiume: Love it or hate it, the MGS series contains one of the most compelling and truly unique stories in gaming history. And with a few key gameplay changes that allows MGS4 to be played both like an action title and like a stealth game, this is one game that makes the PS3 well worth owning.
Graham Russell: Like Super Mario Bros. defined the ’80s and Super Mario 64 was the model for everything after it in the ’90s, Galaxy was just one of those that sets the bar for others to try to clear. It was visually stunning on a technologically inferior system, mechanically refreshing despite years of sequels, and just plain fun.
Andrew Passafiume: Although everyone seems to have their favorite Mario game, when a new game in the main series comes out, it usually becomes an instant classic. Super Mario Galaxy is no exception, as it remains one of the best games in the past ten years and one of the best platformers of all time.
So that’s our list. What did we miss? What did we get wrong? Tell us in the comments!