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.
Shawn Vermette: Halo revolutionized the shooter on consoles, but Halo 2 took it even farther and turned the Xbox into a viable platform. Its multiplayer and revolutionary online play was so enjoyable that it was the most played game on Xbox Live for nearly 5 years.
Chris Rasco: Halo 2 was the most anticipated sequel to any game I’d ever played and the birthplace of the midnight launch. We played it until our hands hurt and our thumbs were numb and then we played a few more rounds. One of the best multiplayer experiences out there.
Andrew Passafiume: Although some may fault the single player campaign for having an incoherent story, this game improves upon the multiplayer in every way and brings a fantastic new co-op mode to the table.
Graham Russell: This one probably isn’t on a lot of hardcore gamers’ lists, but it absolutely defined the decade. This was what started the casual revolution that led through Bejeweled and Diner Dash to today’s Facebook offerings like FarmVille. You know what, on second thought, I hate this game.
Shawn Vermette: The Sims was the first simulation game to put you in control of every aspect of a person’s life. From their house to their family, from their personalities to their every day activities. You could play god with your sims’ lives, making them happy or miserable. As the first such game to do so and do it enjoyably and addictively, the Sims deserves its spot among the top games of the decade.
Eric Schabel: Possibly the greatest Resident Evil game to date—which is saying a lot, if you happen to be a fan. After years of clunky “tank” controls and mindless zombie hordes, RE4 finally updated the survival horror formula with a new over-the-shoulder perspective and quick, somewhat less mindless enemies to go along with a host of new nasty creatures. Oh, and don’t forget the gorgeous graphics, which still impress. The Wii edition is perhaps the best example of how to retro-fit an old game with pointer controls.
Andrew Passafiume: Changing almost everything for the better, RE4 takes everything from the series we knew and takes in a new, much better direction.
Chris Ingersoll: Say what you will about Suda51 and his studio’s offerings, but they’re always out there. NMH was a blast to play; even the parts that were intentionally boring were amusing (although I’m not sorry to hear that there won’t be an overworld in the fast-approaching sequel). When your hero is a beam-katana-swinging, pro-wrestling-loving otaku assassin, you certainly know your audience!
Andrew Passafiume: A completely over-the-top action game in every sense of the term, NMH is an incredibly slick and satisfying Wii exclusive. Travis Touchdown is still one of the coolest protagonists I’ve seen in any game.
Eric Schabel: I think I spent more time playing Melee than I have playing any other game ever, including a slew of MMORPGs. I played Melee with my close friends about three times a week for at least five years, and I always had a blast. At competitive levels of play, there is no doubt that Melee is as good as it gets; people still play it regularly today, and many continue to prefer Melee over its successor, Brawl.
Chris Ingersoll: I’m a little surprised to see this get the nod over Brawl, but in the end it really doesn’t matter. The Smash Brothers series is just pure awesome no matter which version you’re playing. Melee in particular got me through a good chunk of some epic unemployment (which spanned ALL of 2002, plus a few months on either end) when my funds were technically nonexistent.
Chris Ingersoll: I don’t think I’ve ever quite forgiven Namco for giving me this awesome game and then not bringing any of its sequels to my consoles of choice. But then again I don’t have them tainting my memories of this one either, so I guess it’s a wash.
Graham Russell: The later games added customization…and I love customization. They still didn’t stack up to this one, and I guess they never will, since it would take a herculean effort to get me back into a fighting game.
Chris Ingersoll: Stepping back into the ring after 10 years without missing a beat was an amazing accomplishment. The Wii motion controls really work well here, and although there’s only one new character (plus one secret character), the ones who reappear are all brilliant. But for me, the real selling point is Title Defense mode.
Andrew Passafiume: Don’t let the simple gameplay mechanics fool you, Punch-Out!! is a game that requires precise timing and pattern memorization that makes this a pretty challenging game later on. It’s truly addictive, despite its simplicity.
Chris Ingersoll: I love everything about this game: the characters, the concept (a world of sky pirates! How awesome is that?!), the story, discoveries, bounties… everything. Well, maybe not the frequency of the random encounters. Other than that, though, there are few RPG experiences that are original enough to be as truly memorable as Skies.
Andrew Passafiume: With a great cast of characters and a truly inventive world, Skies of Arcadia is one of the best RPGs to come out in the past ten years. Gameplay wise, the game is nothing special, but it manages to combine a lot of elements we were familiar with to make a truly memorable experience in the end.
Chris Ingersoll: For me, the separation of attack type (physical/special) from its element was a revolutionary step in the evolution of Pokemon (and yeah, I used that word intentionally). That completely changed the way many ‘mon played on both offense and defense. Having true WiFi play (unlike the LeafGreen/FireRed’s sad attempt at wireless on the GBA) was also a huge bonus, although the implementation of the touch screen was a little ham-handed.
Eric Schabel: It’s simple: if you enjoy Pokemon games, you will enjoy Diamond and Pearl. Even after playing the hell out of previous Pokemon titles, I found myself addicted all over again with this iteration. It’s a drug, and I’m ready for my next hit already.