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2010's, Game of the Decade

Super Mario Galaxy 2 3 3.75%
Dark Souls 10 12.50%
Journey 0 0%
The Last of Us 14 17.50%
DKC: Tropical Freeze 6 7.50%
The Witcher 3 6 7.50%
Doom (2016) 0 0%
Breath of the Wild 39 48.75%
Super Smash Bros Ultimate 1 1.25%
Resident Evil 2 (Remake) 1 1.25%
Mano777 said:
S.Peelman said:

Breath of the Wild would probably win such a contest on most sites.

I don't know, dark souls won game of the century for the popular vote at the golden joystick awards, which I think is exaggerated, I would vote for half life 2 for the source engine

S.Peelman said:

In any case. It's not "just because Nintendo fans". The game didn't sell 35M+ for nothing.

in this poll donkey kong has more votes than witcher 3 which sold a lot more, zelda 7x more votes, this would hardly happen on others multiplatform sites, in fact maybe witcher 3 would have more votes even on sites like nintendolife and nintendo everything. I'm not criticizing It's just an observation because I find the results of the polls very intriguing

Last edited by Mano777 - on 28 December 2023

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Well deserved winner.
So no chance of getting threads for 2020-present since the decade isn't over? That's a shame if so, would've been fun to see how it turned out.
At any rate, this whole series of threads has been great fun, thanks so much Liquid laser for all the effort you put in to run it!

Deserved win of course. I mean, multiple games would deserve this kind of title but in reality I always to prefer to remember any decade with a plethora of markee games instead of the one that subjectively topples everyone else.

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Mano777 said:
Mano777 said:

I don't know, dark souls won game of the century for the popular vote at the golden joystick awards, which I think is exaggerated, I would vote for half life 2 for the source engine

S.Peelman said:

In any case. It's not "just because Nintendo fans". The game didn't sell 35M+ for nothing.

in this poll donkey kong has more votes than witcher 3 which sold a lot more, zelda 7x more votes, this would hardly happen on others multiplatform sites, in fact maybe witcher 3 would have more votes even on sites like nintendolife and nintendo everything. I'm not criticizing It's just an observation because I find the results of the polls very intriguing

There is no doubt VG has a strong Nintendo community.  


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Since it doesn't seem like there'll be any threads for the 2020s I'm gonna go ahead and leave my answers here for now.


Very underrated year in my book with a lot of incredible games, but that's probably also since it has some lesser known games I love on top of the big titles of the year. Case in point my game of the year is Black Mesa with OMORI as the runner up. My full top 5:

  1. Black Mesa
  2. OMORI
  3. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  4. DOOM: Eternal
  5. Hades

Also a shoutout to Last of Us Part II. I played the climax of that game during an actual thunderstorm and that's an experience I won't soon be forgetting.

I haven't even played FF7 Remake yet due to my damnable patience, and if that lives up to my expectations this year might actually compete with 2017 as the GOAT.


A somewhat slower year overall which makes Metroid Dread the easy choice for me (and like 90 % of the site apparently). Also shoutout to Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy which is almost as good as the racoon would have you believe. My top 5 for the year:

  1. Metroid Dread
  2. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
  3. Tales of Arise
  4. NieR Replicant ver.√1.5
  5. Psychonauts 2


Now we're getting to the years where I haven't played enough to fill out a top 5. Anyways my choice is God of War: Ragnarök, but I can understand why Elden Ring was the more popular choice since I do consider that a pretty big step forward for FromSoft while I actually consider Ragnarök a small step down from God of War (2018), but that mostly just speaks to just how incredible 2018 was. Top 3 for the year:

  1. God of War: Ragnarök
  2. Elden Ring
  3. Kirby and the Forgotten Land


Seems like there's been a pattern of absolutely packed years every third year since 2017. I've still only played half the game I want to this year but for now my choice has to be The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. For now my runner-up is Hogwarts Legacy which I'm still in the middle off, hard to rank a game in the midst of it of course, but I'm absolutely engrossed in it at the moment so something would have to go fairly wrong for it to not land among my favorites. My top 3 for the year would be:

  1. Tears of the Kingdom
  2. Hogwarts Legacy (in progress)
  3. The Talos Principle II

2020s Game of the Decade (so far)

Tears of the Kingdom is actually the one I've ranked highest on my top 50, but on the spot right now I think I'd say Black Mesa. The greatest remake ever of an already excellent game. Either way we have a really strong list of games after only 4 years. My top 10 for the decade so far:

  1. Black Mesa
  2. Tears of the Kingdom
  3. OMORI
  4. God of War: Ragnarök
  5. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  6. Hogwarts Legacy
  7. DOOM: Eternal
  8. Metroid Dread
  9. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
  10. Elden Ring

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curl-6 said:

Well deserved winner.
So no chance of getting threads for 2020-present since the decade isn't over? That's a shame if so, would've been fun to see how it turned out.
At any rate, this whole series of threads has been great fun, thanks so much Liquid laser for all the effort you put in to run it!

Yeah, I had planned from the beginning to stop at 2019.  One reason I did these threads is to see how tastes have changed or stayed the same over time.  Sometimes, the biggest game of the year really was the kind of game that has an enduring quality, like Final Fantasy VII or Ocarina of Time.  However, Dark Souls was not considered the #1 game at the end of 2011, but looking back it's easy to see how monumental it was.

I like to see which games can stand up to the test of time.

Yeah if I were to vote on the 2020s so far I think I'd go with Doom Eternal for 2020, Monster Hunter Rise for 2021, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 for 2022, and Tears of the Kingdom for this year.

curl-6 said:

Yeah if I were to vote on the 2020s so far I think I'd go with Doom Eternal for 2020, Monster Hunter Rise for 2021, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 for 2022, and Tears of the Kingdom for this year.

To think we're achieving the 4th year of this decade ...

Yeah, I should go check my games from this decade that I've played that would rank among my top. I think this far my list would comprise of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, TOTK, AI The Somnium Files Nirvana and Octopath Traveler 2.

Honestly, what a freaking great start of a decade we're having !

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For me, I’d go…

2020 - Ori and the Will of the Wisps
2021 - Metroid Dread
2022 - Chained Echoes
2023 - The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Seeing as it's what we're doing this evening, I'll add my favorites of the 2020s by year.


1. The Last of Us Part II
2. Spiritfarer
3. Kentucky Route Zero (Act V)
4. Hades
5. Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin
6. ScourgeBringer
7. There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension
8. Streets of Rage 4
9. Mission: It's Complicated
10. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
11. The Pathless
12. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
13. Milk Inside a Bag of Milk Inside a Bag of Milk..


1. Returnal
2. It Takes Two
3. Unsighted
4. Chicory: A Colorful Tale
5. Psychonauts 2
6. She Dreams Elsewhere
7. Unpacking
8. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
9. The Artful Escape
10. Deathloop
11. Deltarune (Chapter 2)
12. Jack Jeanne
13. Metroid Dread
14. Kena: Bridge of Spirits


1. Perfect Tides
2. Butterfly Soup 2
3. Immortality
4. Freedom Planet 2
5. Pentiment
6. Norco
7. God of War: Ragnarok
8. Never Awake
9. Return to Monkey Island
10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge
11. Elden Ring
12. Xenoblade Chronicles 3
13. Splatoon 3
14. Wayward Strand
15. Cult of the Lamb
16. Power Wash Simulator


1. Misericorde
2. A Space for the Unbound
3. Cocoon
4. The Talos Principle II
5. Jusant
6. Baldur's Gate III
7. Pizza Tower
8. Sea of Stars
9. Street Fighter 6
10. Thirsty Suitors
11. Dredge
12. Humanity
13. The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog
14. Super Mario Bros. Wonder

My Top 10 Favorites of the 2020s

1. The Last of Us Part II
2. Perfect Tides
3. Butterfly Soup 2
4. Misericorde
5. Spiritfarer
6. Kentucky Route Zero (Act V)
7. Immortality
8. Freedom Planet 2
9. Pentiment
10. Hades

The main theme you'll see in my top choices here is my evolving love of visual novels and point-and-click games. I've found several visual novels in particular in recent years with a writing quality and humanity I would describe as unparalleled in this medium and Perfect Tides in particular has become my go-to example of how to successfully weave meaningful player involvement into a game's narrative without taking away the protagonist's independent identity. Beyond game play design matters, another reason why Perfect Tides' story feels so uniquely relatable I think has much to do with the strong likelihood of it being either an autobiographical or semi-autobiographical portrayal of a chapter in creator Meredith Gran's life. I wish there were more autobiographical games. There's no more accurate way of capturing the fullness of a human experience than relaying one's own.

Butterfly Soup 2 is a very close runner-up. It's obviously Brianna Lei's sequel to my favorite yuri novel of all time and it's pretty much just as good really. I do have to say "pretty  much" because the humor, while still highly prevalent and enjoyable, is a bit more sparing here. The sequel was clearly written from a place of greater distance from actually being in high school and has a more reflective air about it. Which has its own merits. In this entry, we get to meet and know the girls' parents a lot more extensively, take a family trip to Taiwan (the top highlight for me!), and explore the relationship between the over-achieving Noelle and class clown Akarsha, among other things.

The game also explores Min's non-binary gender identity in a way that was educational for me and actually helpful in getting me past some of my hitherto misgivings about the whole concept functioning mainly as a form of lesbian social erasure. If I can take just a moment to expand on that, seeing a significant percentage of prominent lesbians (like She-Ra and the Princesses of Power creator ND Stevenson, formerly named Noelle Stevenson, or Elliot Page, formerly known as Ellen Page, who voiced and provided character actions for Jodie in Beyond: Two Souls and more recently created the graphic novel Nimona that inspired this year's hit animated film of the same name, just as two examples that come to mind right off the top of my head) switch to using they/them or male pronouns, thus erasing their identity as lesbians from public record, tends to feel like a loss to me because there are so few. Without telling anyone how to live their lives...

...the fact that the game chooses to let Min retain her lesbian identity and female pronouns permanently without identifying as female...

...was genuinely helpful to me because that's something I didn't even know was possible (call it ignorance). Frankly, in 2022 (the game's year of release), I fully expected that any new game with "LGBTQ themes" would inevitably include the topic of gender identity and land firmly in what I'll call the woke column in terms of its attitude toward questions of discrimination in general. What I didn't expect was the sensitivity Butterfly Soup 2 would show toward other concerns as well, like lesbian social erasure, like loneliness, like prejudice against people of all different ethnic and religious backgrounds (not just the ones we all know we're supposed to sympathize with), and like exactly how it feels to be on the receiving end of a bigotry accusation as someone who, say, was in fact wrong but obviously meant no harm. The fact that Brianna Lei took the time to understand and delve into these details and nuances of social relations at length enables this franchise to retain its natural feminist and progressive aura without feeling like an annoyingly preachy, condescending drudgery for those of us capable of moral imperfection, but rather as a project of genuine compassion (not virtue signaling). And hijinks. Much and much hilarious hijinks that feel far more organic than those in most games. Differences of opinion between Lei's worldview and my own are there, but they enrich rather than inhibit my experience with the game by providing me with certain, often helpful new points of view I hadn't considered before.

But people here by now will know that The Last of Us Part II is my favorite video game not just of the 2020s, but of all time, and the fact is that it's only become more so with the passage of time. The margin by which that's the case is getting wider, not smaller. Specifically, real-world events in recent months have added an entirely new salience to the fact that the game was made to be primarily a commentary on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (A simple fact that, upon acknowledgment, instantly demolishes the idiotic accusations of "wokeness" that detractors all but invariably lob at this game. By now we know exactly what wokeness looks like in the context of that conflict. It looks something like this, or like this. What I call wokeness is, to sum that up, a vengeful, racist, hate-driven worldview in its own right that does not at all reflect the heart and soul of this game that is about testing, and ideally moving beyond, the natural boundaries of one's empathy.)

TLOU2 is an extremely polarizing game. In fact, by many metrics, it appears to have been the most controversial video game of all time. Over on the Metacritic user reviews, for example, it's amassed both the most positive reviews of any video game in their catalogue and also the most negative ones, both by an exponential margin. Not so many middling takes, by contrast. People feel strongly about this game; more so than probably any other game ever made. The main thing that separates the lovers from the haters though seems to be the question of whether video games should give us what we want...or what we need. Does a game need to be generally enjoyable to impact you more than anything else ever has before? Most of The Last of Us Part II is a miserable slog, on purpose. It's not miserable because the developers didn't care what they were making, it's miserable for a reason: because it's an honest game about hate, and hate, and its consequences, are not fun. To be on either end of.

Before I get to that though I guess first I should touch on Part II's structure. I don't really want to spend a lot of time discussing the design of this game because it's generally similar to that of the original, but I do want to take a moment to point out that Part II was originally going to be an open world game mostly taking place in Jackson, but ultimately had to be streamlined to establish the best possible pacing of events. That's the exact opposite of the decision-making process we typically see in this medium today. So many open world games today are clearly only designed that way so that they'll sell better, not because they work better as a result. In short, Naughty Dog did not sell out. Where so many games today start you out on a linear training ground before opening up access to most everything, this one almost reverses that template, reserving an open world area as a kind of breather section toward the start of the game before tightening things back up to escalate tension, and adrenaline. In this way, it flows like a good book, launching with a strong attention-getting opening chapter before pressing on to a main body that creates waxing and waning degrees of conflict, seeming to breathe at an variety of different paces but in general escalating over time, before finally advancing to a thought-provoking conclusion that leaves you wanting to go through the whole experience again because so much has been put in a new perspective along the way. The addition of flashbacks to the main game here are the best new design addition. By adding in more context steadily and at the right points in time, Part II continually changes the player's perspective on events and deepens their connection to the characters who define it. This is a huge part of what separates it from Part I in emotional resonance for me and establishes it as the overall superior entry.

But now let's get to what you're really here for: the story discussion. I'll just spoiler tag that.


You know what, if you're reading this part of the post, you've almost certainly played the game before and know the basics of the story already, so I won't waste your time excessively describing the story. Instead, I'm going to devote this section to describing how I read some of its themes and what I've found most compelling about it:

Ellie is this game's main character, at least as gauged by the amount of time we spend involved in her story, and the overarching challenge she struggles with is a real mental illness called survivor guilt. She never really got over surviving the loss of Riley through her immunity in the first game and, while not suicidal (per se), has ever since felt that she has no right to live anymore. She says at the end of the first game that she's "waiting for [her] turn" to sacrifice her life for someone else like Riley did for her...and so when she forces Joel to reveal the truth about the events at the hospital years later, it drastically exacerbates her sense of guilt for living. I mean quite literally it is the case here that the whole world is cursed because she exists. And yet ending her life now wouldn't make a difference. How would that knowledge make you feel? For some time thereafter, she hates Joel because, at the root, she hates herself. And so when she decides later on that she wants to try to forgive Joel for taking her choice away from her, in many ways it's also her starting down a path toward forgiving herself. She's decided that she wants to try and see the value in herself that Joel does. Then the very next day Joel is murdered...because she survived the hospital. And no one else can know that she's the reason. That development catastrophically disrupts her personal recovery process. She has no guide back to a sense of worth anymore. She needs some kind of closure very, very badly and burying Joel ain't gonna cut it. Ellie makes selfish decisions, but she is not a selfish person. She's someone who is at the end of herself, trying to find herself. What lessons will she learn from Joel? His love? Or his bitterness, distrust, and hate?

I've played through this game quite a few times now and it's the ending that I've rethought the most. Early on, I used to imagine a happy ending for Ellie being hinted at because that's what I wanted to imagine. The more times I see and experience those final moments of the game though, the more I recognize that as baseless, wishful thinking and that Ellie is, in reality, just arriving back from Santa Barbara and is walking off in the game's final seconds into an uncertain future, alone. As open as I like to posit myself as being, back in 2020, I couldn't really handle that being the case because...ya know, there's a lot of Ellie in me and her worst fear, like mine, is winding up alone in the world. And yet exactly that situation is the note on which her journey concludes, her ultimate fate undecided. Her favorite band's set list hints at her narrative progression over the course of the game. The possibilities for her future though are also hinted Abby's story. Unlike Ellie, Abby manages to get her desired revenge, but, discovering that it doesn't offer her the closure she seeks, winds up feeling compelled to go down a new path driven by empathy that her father, she genuinely believes, would be proud of.

It's interesting to me that, given Ellie's sense of guilt over surviving things others didn't, that she'd wind up paired with someone who "like[s] coming from a long line of survivors". Dina is someone who also offers Ellie the drive to go on. She's my favorite character in the game, along with her approximate analogy in Abby's storyline, Owen. "What kind of psycho picks Joel's corpse over [Dina, Jesse Jr. and the farmhouse]" in the end, one critic has opined. Someone clearly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder is the answer. Much like how Abby spends years choosing vengeance over the love Owen wants to give her, Ellie too loses the ability to believe that her new life at the farmhouse can offer her closure, as we see in her journal entries. Ellie's loss of her relationship with Dina hits very close to home for me, as someone who has often struggled to find someone willing to deal with all my own mental-emotional baggage.

Maybe I empathize more with Ellie's pathos than I should. Most people like Abby a lot better in this game because she emerges, by some metrics, as the better person by the game's conclusion. I'm often sympathetic to villainous characters in games and other media though because you kinda know they're going to lose in the end and everybody's rooting for them to. Losers love villains I guess because, in that way, you might say we relate to them, or at least to their fate. (Try not to cut yourself on this EDGE!) Rarely though do games dare to present the world from their perspective and insist that we experience it for ourselves, and when they bother it's typically only within a narrative set-up that presents them as clearly the lesser of two evils that are in conflict. Ellie is not the lesser evil here. But perhaps she deserves sympathy anyway.

As I neared the end of my first playthrough, I kept anticipating a resolution between Ellie and Abby. Perhaps even Ellie would be persuaded to join the Fireflies. I kind of appreciate that the game opts against that kind of a simple, comforting conclusion and instead chooses a more plausible one. It may not be as consoling, but one thing is for sure: the creators of this game are not bullshitting you about the consequences of your actions. And that lack of bullshit only makes things like the visit to the museum of natural history, the date at the aquarium, and the farmhouse (my favorite scenes in the game) feel even more impactful than they otherwise might. I'm getting married in February (you'll never guess the date ), speaking of the farmhouse scene. Here's to keeping that relationship as close to the idyllic way Dina and Ellie initially have it there as possible and not at all like how it ends for them.

Many games, and lots of other media as well, offer us lectures against hate. This game offers a story about the reasons people choose hate over love, about the complex journey out of the illusion that it brings healing and toward a different path. It forces us to experience the suffering of Ellie and Abby and others and to do many things we don't want to do in order that we might feel conflicted, torn between our compassion for these characters and our compassion for others until finally it all begins blurring together and we ourselves see that we all need to forgive. Forgive both others and ourselves. Is that fun? No, its hard and it's painful! But it's worth it. And for conveying that with more power and earnestness than any other video game in existence, I regard The Last of Us Part II as the best video game ever made. Here's to the upcoming remaster!

So that is my abbreviated take on the 2020s in gaming. Sorry it wasn't too brief in truth, but with my favorite game ever in the mix, brevity could not do justice to my sentiments.

Last edited by Jaicee - on 30 December 2023