Entertainment Weekly has teamed up with Spike TV to celebrate the videogames that defined the last 10 years in games to commemorate the 10th annual Spike Video Game Awards hosted by Samuel L. Jackson. Those games are, in the order in which they released, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Half-Life 2, World of Warcraft, Shadow of the Colossus, Wii Sports, BioShock, Portal, Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption and Batman: Arkham City.
“In the past 10 years, videogames moved decisively into the mainstream of popular culture. The societal impact of major franchises like Call of Duty, or Halo, or Grand Theft Auto arguably supersedes the effect of comparable movie franchises. If anything, Hollywood is more and more taking its cues from videogames,” writes Darren Franich. “At the same time, this was an era in which the whole medium of videogames splintered in several intriguing new directions. The Wii, Nintendo’s left-turn evolutionary device, helped to usher in a casual-gamer revolution. The steady growth of the smartphone market turned everyone into a gamer… and, at the same time, ushered in the popular decline of the Great Big Epic Videogame. The advance of the downloadable market created a boomlet in eccentric indie videogames: This was the era of Braid, Limbo, and Journey. That same advance may point the way towards a serialized form of gaming: This year’s episodic Walking Dead adaptation from Telltale Games, or the weekly release of “Spartan Ops” on Halo 4.”
“In attempting to put together a list of the 10 best games of the last decade, the EW brain trust looked at games that pushed the medium forward. Some popular choices fell by the wayside — there are a lot of great games hovering at No. 11 on this list. In the end, we picked 10 games that represent an industry simultaneously hitting its peak while staring down a brave, scary, fascinating new era,” he continued. “The winner will be announced on December 7 during the VGA’s.”