Shacknews Community Top 100 Games of the Decade #100-76

The Shacknews Chatty community has come together to vote on the Top 100 Games of this decade. Today, we look at #100-76.

11

The year is starting to come to a close and it's been a tremendous year for video games. But while Shacknews prepares to celebrate the Year in Games, as we do every single year, I want to take some time to recognize that the entire decade is coming to an end. A full decade of games is something worth celebrating, but merely looking back at the past ten years in games as a staff feels small scale. For this, we at Shacknews want to do something extra special. So we're taking this week to look at the Top 100 Games of the Decade, but not as voted by us the staff. No, we're looking at the Top 100 Games of the Decade, as voted on by the Shacknews Chatty community.

Chatty has been a proud institution here at Shacknews since the site's inception over 20 years ago. Many have gone on to become developers, programmers, public figures, but most importantly, all of them are video game fans. So over the past few weeks, we've polled the Chatty posters on what they consider to be their best games of the decade. Through a rigorous process, we've put together a full list of 100 games and we'll roll those out over the next five days. We're starting with the first 25 games, continuing with the next 25 tomorrow, the next 20 on Wednesday, another 20 on Thursday, and will end on Friday with the Top 10.

So with no further delay, here's the Shacknews Community Top 100 Games of the Decade.

Super Mario Maker

#100 - Super Mario Maker (2015)

While there were votes for Super Mario Maker 2, it was the Wii U original that wound up making this list instead. While the sequel wound up refining much of the formula, this game established the formula, officially putting 2D Mario platformers in the hands of the players for the first time. And while the Wii U GamePad has been much maligned over the years, it proved to be the perfect creation tool for constructing Mario stages.

Hear it from Chatty:

"It is the second greatest Mario game ever made and truly the most under appreciated achievement of the decade."
-greenbergMD

Titanfall

#99 - Titanfall (2014)

This was the long-awaited project from Respawn Entertainment, their first one for Jason West and Vince Zampella following their storied exit from Activision. It did not disappoint. On the face, it was all about warriors piloting giant mechs. And that's certainly one of the centerpieces of this game. But Titanfall proved to be just as memorable for its infantry play, which is still better than most games out on the market today. The movement proved to be fluid, swift, and a big influence for future first-person shooters.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

#98 - Call of Duty: Black Ops II (2012)

With a new Call of Duty game hitting every single year like clockwork, it's hard to imagine any one of them truly standing out. While there were Call of Duty games that received votes, only one got enough to crack the Top 100. Call of Duty: Black Ops II stands out for taking some big chances. By putting together branching story paths and multiple endings for the campaign while also refining the game's multiplayer and Zombies experiences, Treyarch continued to carve its path as the premier CoD developer. Treyarch continues to explore uncharted territory with Call of Duty to this day, most recently jumping into the battle royale realm with Blackout.

Hear it from Chatty:

"Putting a Call of Duty game this high on the list seems like a misstep to me, but I really can't think of another shooter from this decade that demanded my attention as much as Black Ops II did. It is the last shooter that I was truly competitive at (ranking in the top 10 US for quite a long time) and has driven my interest in CoD games since. I still hold BO2 as the pinnacle of the CoD formula and don't think any title in the series even comes close to topping its success."
-Infobiter

Wasteland 2

#97 - Wasteland 2 (2014)

Early in the decade, the team at inXile Entertainment, led by original Wasteland producer Brian Fargo, thought to themselves, "Wasteland was a really fun game. That'd be cool if there was a sequel." But pitching a sequel to an old-school game from a defunct developer was a bit of a minefield. That's when a new idea called Kickstarter started floating around. So the makers of The Bard's Tale took their pitch to the people and Wasteland 2 became one of the first Kickstarter success stories.

The rest is history for inXile. They put together a brilliant homage to the original Wasteland, one that incorporated fresh ideas like branching story paths, and not only rejuvenated an old franchise, but put themselves on the gaming map. They've since been picked up by Microsoft and now have a third Wasteland set to release next year.

Hear it from Chatty:

"My favorite game of all time came back and might be one of the best crowd-funded experiences of all time."
-johnhead

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

#96 - The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (2013)

One can argue that Nintendo got a little over their heads when they promised a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, one of the greatest adventures ever made. But while A Link Between Worlds didn't hit those heights, it was still an incredible game in its own right. It's a game that utilized all the best aspects of top-down Zelda games while also tossing in some new mechanics and some new story beats that harkened back to the SNES classic. It's one of the best games you can own on the Nintendo 3DS.

Uncharted 4

#95 - Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (2016)

Nathan Drake's fourth adventure proved to be his best one to date. Naughty Dog added even more new set pieces to Nathan's world, while further fleshing out the universe's rich cast of characters. The Uncharted series remains one of the best Indiana Jones-style treasure hunting franchises in gaming and this proved to be a triumph for the early days of the PlayStation 4.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

#94 - Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015)

Okay, if we're talking about Indiana Jones-style treasure hunting franchises, let's talk about Tomb Raider. One of the best stories of the decade was Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics successfully reinventing Lara Croft for a new generation. And while the 2013 reboot was beloved by many, it was the 2015 sequel where she truly hit the ground running. It contains some of the best puzzles of the series, pushes forward Lara's story, and also brings back actual tombs to raid. Tomb Raider set the table, but Rise of the Tomb Raider proved to be the feast.

Firewatch

#93 - Firewatch (2016)

This was the long-awaited debut for Campo Santo, the development studio comprised of the Idle Thumbs crew. It certainly didn't disappoint, introducing a captivating new story, brilliant dialogue, a beautiful setting, and an intriguing mechanic that had the game's main character, Henry, communicate via walkie talkie. Firewatch's story wasn't just a pleasure for fans, it also caught the attention of Valve, who have since picked them up.

Papers Please

#92 - Papers, Please (2013)

One can argue that the indie gaming boom came early in the decade and one of the games to lead that boom was Papers, Please from Lucas Pope. This was a heart wrenching series of tales, seen through the eyes of an immigration officer. While it's tempting to open your heart and help the poor people looking to cross the border, Pope also institutes the idea of your own salary and your own family to support, making morality decisions that much tougher. It's one of the most immersive games to release this decade and one that remains shockingly relevant for current times. Glory to Arstotzka!

Dead Space 2

#91 - Dead Space 2 (2011)

Visceral Games started the decade out with one of the most ambitious sequels in gaming history. With a massive budget and a grander scope in mind, they released this follow-up to Isaac Clarke's original adventure. The Necromorph threat only became greater, which further fed the series' survival horror atmosphere. The setting and the monsters contained within proved to be unforgettable. On top of that, there was even a pretty fun multiplayer mode thrown in here, too.

Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire

#90 - Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (2018)

Last year, Obsidian Entertainment brought players back to the land of Eora. This time, the god Eothas has joined the party, but his awakening has left the surrounding area devastated. And that has left enough of an opening for the god of death, Berath, to pounce on those clinging to life. What makes Pillars of Eternity II so interesting is that it continues building on the best elements of the first game, while also taking into account your decisions from that first game. It feels like a continuation of the adventure that you built, making this feel fresh and personal. It's been a great year for Obsidian RPGs, led by this one…

Hear it from Chatty:

"A wonderful classic yet modern isometric RPG."
-]pm[chem

Pillars of Eternity

#89 - Pillars of Eternity (2015)

...and by this one! The original Pillars of Eternity is another early Kickstarter success, with the team at Obsidian doing their best to create a spiritual successor to games like Baldur's Gate. There are a whopping 11 different classes and all of them feel totally different to the point that they each make Pillars feel like a new experience. It's a rich adventure, filled with interesting characters and a vast world to explore, with lore around every corner. While there was a lot of love for Obsidian prior to this game's release, Pillars of Eternity made them a true powerhouse in the RPG game.

Undertale

#88 - Undertale (2015)

Earthbound clones are plentiful, but Toby Fox's Undertale stands out for more reasons than one. For one thing, the combat system is totally unique to this genre, putting players into more of a bullet hell sequence. But Undertale's characters, along with the option to either fight your way through or go full pacifist makes this game feel truly one-of-a-kind. What started out as an homage to an RPG classic has now become influential in its own right.

Also, that's a great soundtrack.

Hear it from Chatty:

"Choices that matter, like ACTUALLY matter. Incredible soundtrack. Memorable characters. Writing with gravitas that actually keeps you thinking outside the game."
-Wikus Van De Merwe

XCOM 2

#87 - XCOM 2 (2016)

Firaxis took a bold step forward with this sequel to the beloved Enemy Unknown. Humanity isn't just fighting against aliens. Humanity has been squarely defeated by the aliens. This is a tale of resistance, with the forces of XCOM looking to rise up from the ashes and continue the fight against the alien forces that are now entrenched throughout the planet. Beyond its bold story, XCOM 2 offers more of the excellent strategy gameplay, but now with more procedurally generated areas. It's similar, but also totally different than Enemy Unknown and Firaxis should be hailed for opting not to rest on their laurels.

Shovel Knight

#86 - Shovel Knight (2014)

We've talked about Kickstarter success stories, but few are bigger than this one from Yacht Club Games. It started as an idea of an 8-bit throwback that utilized the best elements of games like DuckTales and Mega Man. It's since turned into a huge franchise with its own lore and memorable characters. Shovel Knight took the very best of the old-school platformer and also tossed in a slew of modern gaming mechanics, making it an absolute joy to play. It's also a game that's surprisingly challenging, much in the way that the best games of the past were.

Shovel Knight has since grown into a massive package, one containing four full-length campaigns and a four-player fighter. Nobody could have imagined Shovel Knight would get this big, especially the people at Yacht Club.

Halo: Reach

#85 - Halo: Reach (2010)

The Xbox 360 generation went out with a bang, thanks to Halo: Reach. Still considered to be one of the best Halo games ever made, Reach put together an epic campaign, along with some of the best Halo multiplayer to date. Firefight mode rejuvenated the franchise's multiplayer, one that has yet to be duplicated. There's a reason that Halo: The Master Chief Collection owners wanted this game for so long. Lucky for them, now they have it, because Halo: Reach just got added to the MCC just a few weeks ago.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

#84 - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019)

I'm as stunned as everyone else to see this here, but Respawn's Star Wars game has struck a big chord with fans of the galactic franchise. After a few disappointments with DICE's Star Wars outings, Fallen Order proved to be an excellent single-player Star Wars story, one that features all-new characters, familiar locations, and the kind of intricate combat that one wouldn't normally expect out of a Star Wars game. The Force is with Cal Kestis.

Hear it from Chatty:

"F**king amazing! Combat, pacing, story, ending, environments. So good."
-GoodBoy

The Walking Dead

#83 - Telltale's The Walking Dead (2012)

The house that Sam & Max built offered something a little bit different in 2012. Taking on a Walking Dead franchise that was hitting the peak of its popularity, Telltale created a new story set in the world of the comics, not the television show. The result was one of the best original stories of the decade, with difficult choices that influenced who lived and who died, characters that (in hindsight) we probably shouldn't have gotten too attached to, and two of the very best characters of the decade. The Walking Dead is a franchise where it's too easy to brush off characters because they aren't long for the world or dislike characters because they give in to the savagery of the world they inhabit. Lee and Clementine never lost their humanity, even if the latter eventually lost her childlike innocence. They were written as such down-to-earth characters that it was impossible not to grow attached to either of them and see the horror-filled world through their eyes. It's one of the immersive storytelling experiences of the decade, one we were proud to call the 2012 Game of the Year.

Celeste

#82 - Celeste (2018)

Ever since I first played Matt Thorson's Super Mario Maker stages, I knew he had platforming brilliance in him. And sure enough, we all saw that firsthand when he and his team put together Celeste, one of the most challenging platformers to come along in years. But beyond its difficulty, Celeste also brings along an important story about mental health and preservation of self. It's about Madeline climbing Mount Celeste as a way of facing her inner demons and overcoming her own negativity. It's an adventure worth experiencing, just as long as you have the patience to get through some of the game's more difficult stretches.

Fortnite

#81 - Fortnite (2017)

Fortnite has had a tumultuous life cycle, but the pivot to battle royale made it into one of the most buzzworthy games of the decade. But Fortnite didn't go on to become one of the biggest gaming juggernauts ever seen solely because it stuck to battle royale. No, Epic went well beyond the bare minimum, focusing on making the map, the island, the whole world as a living character in itself. The island itself is subject to change at any time, often drastically, to the point that almost anything can happen whenever you're playing a run-of-the-mill game. The Fortnite island's tendency for change has led to legions of people gathering around Twitch to see what's next and that's a phenomenon that's almost never seen in games now or ever.

Destiny

#80 - Destiny (2014)

All eyes were on Bungie after they left the safety of the Halo franchise to work with Activision. Their project took players into the outer reaches of space, as they explored massive worlds and collected a whole lot of loot. Destiny took a while to get going, but has since established itself as a new normal for Bungie, one they'll hope to make even better as they branch off from former publisher Activision.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

#79 - Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010)

There are certainly plenty of survival horror games out there, but Frictional Games quickly cemented itself as the masters of horror horror. Putting the players in the depths of darkness with no manner of defense, Amnesia tests players psyches like nothing before it. God help you if a monster finds you, because you'll not only be running for your life, but you'll be running through the darkness into who knows what else? Amnesia is a game about making the most of your senses, but by the end, the sense you'll be most familiar with is fear.

Hear it from Chatty:

"Scary as hell, excellent atmosphere."
-GoodBoy

Cities: Skylines

#78 - Cities: Skylines (2015)

After a certain other city-building franchise left players feeling disenchanted, Paradox Interactive and Colossal Order stepped in with their own unique take on the city-builder. It's one that focused much more on basics and the result was the best game in the genre to come along this decade. Much like the game's premise itself, Cities: Skylines continues to expand beyond its city limits, introducing new expansions and new events on a regular basis, allowing players to build multiple metropolises and make them thrive.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

#77 - South Park: The Stick of Truth (2014)

Licensed games are often a path to disappointment and, let's face it, South Park games have had a checkered past. But The Stick of Truth proved to be one of the most faithful licensed games on the market, playing out just like an episode of the Comedy Central show. And it's not just in cutscenes, either. The actual gameplay itself looks like it's pulled right off the television. Add in the show's signature humor, along with actual story twists, and The Stick of Truth becomes yet another winner for Obsidian Entertainment.

Hear it from Chatty:

"I loved how well it captured the feel of a classic South Park episode. It was like a opening a time capsule back to the best days of South Park."
-ThomW

Darkest Dungeon

#76 - Darkest Dungeon (2016)

It's one thing to explore unknown, spooky areas. But that eventually has to take its toll on you, right? It certainly does in Darkest Dungeon, as players engage in RPG combat against frightening monstrosities. But on top of fighting these creatures, players need to make sure their parties aren't overly stressed, otherwise they become prone to negative status effects. It's a clever idea and one that's implemented brilliantly.

Hear it from Chatty:

"The rogue-ish I've played by far the most. The writing, atmosphere, pressure, all of it is just wonderful."
-kallanta


That's it for now. We'll continue with the next 25 games tomorrow! Come back all week as we count down to the Shacknews Community's Top 100 Games of the Decade.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 16, 2019 3:00 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Shacknews Community Top 100 Games of the Decade #100-76

    • reply
      December 16, 2019 3:09 PM

      PoE2 at #90 is pretty low, and PoE at #89 is kinda wtf since it wasn't nearly as good at the second one. But a decade worth of games is a lot, I guess.

      • reply
        December 16, 2019 5:17 PM

        havent played the second one yet. but the first one is great. looking forward to the second one as i hear it's a marked improvement.

      • reply
        December 16, 2019 5:22 PM

        Yeah, PoE2 is an amazing fucking game. I beat it and immediately started a second playthrough and did it again.

        • reply
          December 16, 2019 5:59 PM

          South Park the stick of Truth ahead of both PoE's. I can agree with that. Wasteland 2 is also in the perfect spot, I would have put Torment: ToN just below it but it's workable.

    • reply
      December 16, 2019 3:16 PM

      man ALBW should be like, top 25.

      also Jedi Fallen Order???

      • reply
        December 16, 2019 5:07 PM

        I agree with JFO. I beat the game and I'm not sure it should even be on that list -- much less ahead of actual good games like Tomb Raider and Uncharted 4. The game was a mess. :/

      • reply
        December 16, 2019 6:12 PM

        Yeaaaah that's just wrong, especially considering some of the games lower down

    • reply
      December 16, 2019 3:19 PM

      I feel good that my vote for WL2 so high got it that high. And a call out quote. Ha!

    • reply
      December 16, 2019 4:04 PM

      Worried StarCraft 2 won't make cut.

      • reply
        December 16, 2019 5:15 PM

        I loved the campaign, especially for the Terrans. I miss single player RTS campaigns in general. I used to love playing through C&C and Dawn of War single player. Shit, I used to go pick the new ones up day one from the local game stores.

        • reply
          December 16, 2019 5:16 PM

          Played grey goo? It's a fun campaign

          • reply
            December 16, 2019 5:21 PM

            I got it on a sale awhile back, it might have even been on your recommendation. I will play it over the holiday, thanks for the reminder :)

          • reply
            December 16, 2019 5:36 PM

            Have you ever played infested planet? It’s pretty much just terrans vs endless waves of liquid flowing Zerg that you need to fight your way to the center of and destroy their spawn points, like gauntlet. I had a great time with that game.

            • reply
              December 16, 2019 6:26 PM

              oh cool. Never heard of it. Will definitely check it out.

      • reply
        December 16, 2019 6:36 PM

        I think i had it in my top ten, it's certainly deserves a high spot for the impact it made to esports

    • reply
      December 16, 2019 5:24 PM

      Wow, my number 2 game at 100... that’s a kick in the ass. :(

    • reply
      December 16, 2019 5:33 PM

      Huh, I would have ranked Rise Of The Tomb Raider as the worst of the new series. Curious to see how high the other games rank.

      • reply
        December 16, 2019 5:42 PM

        Really?! It improved on the mechanics of the first game, improved combat, dropped the bad QTE, and told a compelling story.

        • reply
          December 17, 2019 3:02 PM

          Too much shooting for me. Don’t recall liking the story or any of the characters. Although I did like the side quests Croft Manor when Lara was younger.

      • reply
        December 16, 2019 5:59 PM

        Rise > TR > Shadow

        Rise was terrific. Shadow wore me out.

    • rms legacy 10 years mercury mega
      reply
      December 16, 2019 5:47 PM

      Jeez I made a really crappy list. Just in the bottom 10 are ones I completely forgot about

    • reply
      December 16, 2019 5:56 PM

      I think I forgot to mention Celeste. I'm glad to see it made the cut.

    • reply
      December 16, 2019 6:03 PM

      I really want to see CrossCode on this list but I'm worried that its sweet spot was the 100-75 mark.

    • reply
      December 17, 2019 1:30 AM

      is this our list? how many total games? how many total votes?

    • reply
      December 17, 2019 2:08 AM

      It begins!! https://i.imgur.com/NnoGhN1.gif

    • reply
      December 17, 2019 2:32 AM

      THE STICK OF TRUTH!!!! Truth.

    • reply
      December 17, 2019 2:50 AM

      I had Celeste way higher personally, that game is sublime.

    • reply
      December 17, 2019 4:11 AM

      Thanks for quoting me for Undertale... but I'm a bit surprised (and worried) about it being so low on the list.

      Also, Jedi: Fallen Order better than Undertale? Uhhhh... okay guysssss....

    • reply
      December 17, 2019 8:58 AM

      tagged

    • reply
      December 17, 2019 10:11 AM

      Damn, I totally forgot about Papers Please. Would have easily made my top 10

    • reply
      December 17, 2019 1:52 PM

      I WANT THE NEXT 25 OZZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hello, Meet Lola