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Top 10 Video Games of the Decade

December 27, 2009

Saying the year "2010" out loud is bizarre, especially since we still don’t ride around in flying cars. But where science has failed us, video games have not. The past decade has been gaming's greatest: ten solid years filled with spectacular technological feats, record-setting sales and, of course, awesome, awesome games. Some, however, are more awesome than others. Taking quality, influence, sales and general greatness into account, here are our picks for the top ten titles released between 2000 and 2009:

10. Super Mario Galaxy

 

Platform: Nintendo Wii

Release Date: 2007

Think the Wii can’t crank out great graphics? Then you haven't played Super Mario Galaxy. Mario's best game since the influential Super Mario 64, this interstellar adventure remains far and away the top-rated title for Nintendo's hit console. It's the perfect marriage of form and function, a gorgeous, gravity-defying whirlwind that offers a fresh take on classic platforming in a cozy, well-worn package. A sequel is due out next year.

9. Half-Life 2

 

Platform: PC / Xbox 360, Playstation 3

Release Date: 2004 / 2007

Considered by many to be the greatest first-person shooter of all time, 2004's stunning Half-Life 2 raised the bar in terms of storytelling, graphical fidelity and sheer immersion. But it turned out that was just the beginning. By continuing the tale with two top notch episodes, it became one of the first major single-player games to truly embrace expandable content. Even more impressively, it took to the consoles in the decade's greatest deal, The Orange Box, which included a riveting multiplayer game along with the award-winning first-person puzzler, Portal.

8. Wii Fit

 

Platform: Wii

Release Date: 2007

Often imitated but never duplicated, Nintendo's expensive exercise game was a risky, bold decision. But as so often is the case, it paid off big time. With its revolutionary Balance Board, mass appeal and healthy outlook, Wii Fit demolished gamer stereotypes, completely reshaping what it meant to own a game console. Consumers responded almost immediately, making it one of the best-selling games ever despite its high price point.

7. Bejeweled

 

Platform: PC

Release Date: 2001

If the 1990's were all about Tetris, the 2000's were all about Bejeweled. PopCap's influential puzzle game was one of the decade's biggest enterprises, spawning countless clones and helping establish the immensely lucrative "casual games" market. Its seemingly simple gameplay -- swap gems to make matches and clear the board -- has been tweaked and twisted into a multitude of genres across every platform. And with a smash Facebook game and hit iPhone app leading the way, it's showing no signs of slowing down.

6. Wii Sports

 

Platform: Wii

Release Date: 2006

Where there's a Wii, there's a Wii Sports. Bundled with the console, the impressive suite of athletic mini-games is officially the best-selling video game ever, proving so popular it's become synonymous with the Wii itself. And well it should: it's the perfect showpiece for the system's motion-sensing controllers, simple to understand but still a blast to play. Though some will blame it for the deluge of poorly-made mini-game collections that continue to plague the Wii, its astounding impact on pop culture is irrefutable evidence of Nintendo's uncanny ability to connect with consumers.

5. Halo

 

Platform: Xbox

Release Date: 2001

Prior to Master Chief's debut effort, first-person shooters were considered PC-only affairs. Halo's groundbreaking controls, stellar graphics and amazing scripting changed that thinking in a heartbeat. It was an instant classic, but more importantly, it paved the way for all-decade greats like Modern Warfare, BioShock, Left 4 Dead and of course its own very own sequels. We'll see another one of those next year in Halo: Reach.

4. Guitar Hero

 

Platform: Playstation 2

Release Date: 2005

Five years ago, all those plastic peripherals current lining your living room were little more than a glint in the eye of developer Harmonix, who shook the world with this innovative video game jam session. The original Guitar Hero might not boast the online modes, downloadable content or array of instruments that its myriad sequels and competitors would enjoy, but its basic gameplay -- press buttons and strum along in time with colored notes flying down the screen -- remains largely unchanged. And for good reason: it flat-out rocks.

3. The Sims

 

Platform: PC

Release Date: 2000

Move over, Barbie. When it comes to popular dolls, nothing compares to the digital denizens of this landmark simulation game. The Sims managed to do the near impossible by making the simulation genre accessible. Credited with spanning the gender gap by appealing equally to both men and women, it kept everyone up late looking after the copious needs and wants of tiny computer people. The result? It's the best-selling PC game of all time.

2. World of Warcraft

 

Platform: PC

Release Date: 2004

It's hard to believe there was life before World of Warcraft. And to many, there actually wasn't. Blizzard's massively-multiplayer game has been a pop culture staple since its release, turning otherwise pleasant people into sleep-deprived lunatics itching for just one more raid. Other games have tried to steal them away, but in six years, none have come remotely close to snagging more than a handful of WoW players. Currently there are about 12 million out there, making Warcraft roughly the size of Greece. Not bad for a video game.

1. Grand Theft Auto III

 

Platform: Playstation 2

Release Date: 2001

Some have called the past decade "chaotic," while others have called it a "technological breakthrough." Either version serves as an apt description of Rockstar's career-defining Grand Theft Auto III, the greatest game of the past ten years. The dirty, unforgiving nature of Liberty City forever altered the gaming landscape, introducing gamers to the concept of 'open-world' design while permanently raising the bar for mature storytelling. That also made it a magnet for controversy, inciting the kind of stunned outrage that was once reserved for rock and roll. San Andreas might have sold more copies and GTA IV might have enjoyed a bigger launch week, but no game can hold a candle to this revolutionary rebel.

Source: Yahoo Games

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