Dala’s Games of the Decade, 2 and 1.

January 19, 2010

Warning: incoherent personal gushing within.

2- Shadow of the Colossus

It’s rare for a game to show subtlety or tact, body counts normally stack into the hundreds or it’s a cuddly bear world full of jelly beans and menacing kittens. Shadow of the Colossus is subtle, you’re kill count doesn’t need all your appendages to count whilst your skill pool is actually quite small, and yet the game is anything but simple.

Essentially a boss rush the idea is to beat down a selection of hulking beasts in an effort to bring a dead bint back to life, because the ominous voice told you to. In the game this is told with a little more feeling but that’s the idea, the real joy of SotC comes from the battles themselves.

The beauty of the colossi fights is that you need to frequently think outside the box, all you know is that you can grab, shoot arrows, and clang your sword menacingly on their toes, but the environment is as much of a tool as any item in Zelda.

Because your horse behaved for itself, the companionship you form with it is undeniably strong.

But once you attach yourself to a colossi the game reaches new heights, as you’re thrown around helplessly praying you’ll hang on, as the music soars and dives with your performance, as every lumbering move of the colossi throws you off balance, and you grab the beasts beard as you’re thrown off, Shadow of the Colossus is rammed with moments of nail biting tension and sky punching victory as you fell a beast after an intense forty minute fight. David and the goliath is a complete understatement, Verne Troyer vs the Hindenburg would be more accurate.

And if these epic memories weren’t enough, the game hits you in a thoughtful manner as well, every colossi defeated seems more sad than a joy, you start to question your motives leading to the memorable climax, it’s an emotional journey as well as a brilliant game.

1-World of Warcraft

Has it really been five years? Five years since gamers started innocently becoming heroes in Azeroth and setting off on a quest to attain loot and glory in gaming’s best developed fantasy setting. Look at it today and it’s hard to imagine these humble beginnings, look at it today and it’s hard to imagine it not having many of its now staple features, look at any other MMO’s statistics and it’s impossible to logically calculate WoW’s success. But at the end of the day WoW has succeeded because it’s a brilliant game and a great RPG.

Everything about Warcraft says quality, when other MMOs were getting away with lackluster visuals and animations Blizzard were fine tuning their engine and tweaking their art direction to create a timeless experience, whilst other MMOs were grind fests Warcraft eliminated this with constant and intelligently paced quest lines and a constant influx of useful loot, and whenever another MMO had a good idea since, Blizzard added it into WoW to keep it on top. WoW is as relevant today in the face of the Warhammers and Star Treks as it was to Everquest 2 in 2005.

Regular Expansions help keep WoW relevant, whilst patch content stretches them out over a long time.

Ultimately it’s Blizzard’s attention to detail that propels Warcraft into many gamers hearts, every corner of the world has memorable locations that feel correct, as opposed to Lord of the Ring’s field bears, whilst the visual look is still strikingly cohesive and character animations display an artistic joviality often missing from video games. The music too is sublime; with over a day’s worth of some of the best music in the industry, WoW is both a visual and an audible tour de force (except for the constant grunting). The endless pop culture references will keep us laughing as well, and the new appreciation of cinematic design makes the end game events even more exciting.

But then there are the MMO aspects that propel it beyond the realms of normal games, get into a guild and the game becomes an unforgettable experience, you will forge friendships, competition with other players, and sample your own stories that you can share again and again with other people, unforgettable experiences in an unforgettable world.

Some of the boss fights look spectacular.

Sure it has problems but when a game can lure in 11.5 million subscribers, be featured in numerous sitcoms, have a South Park episode dedicated to it, spin off novels, mangas and board games about it, endless cosplay, and almost single handedly spawn gaming rehab clinics then it’s got to be doing something right (ish).

Warcraft’s reach extends beyond its gaming roots and this alone would be enough reason to celebrate it, but the fact it’s also a lovingly crafted piece of virtual entertainment and one that will remain relevant and talked about into the next decade and beyond makes it the only choice as game of the decade.

This is a slap dash description of this brilliant game, it would be possible to write a university thesis on how important and enjoyable an experience it is and still have things to say, all that remains to be said is that it’s a great game, and one that will stay with you for many years to come.

The cataclysm will reshape the world, marking the biggest change to Warcraft since its release.



  1. A worthy winner.

  2. Not a single strategy game in your games of the decade….not impressed 😛

    I’d have put the Orange Box higher myself. Good to see Mario Kart DS in there, college made that game.

    As much as I think its a pile of doggy doo on a stick, Warcraft probably deserves its place as number one simply for changing the way people think about MMO’s and gaming in general.

    • Thanks for the comment ^_^

      Only reason Orange Box isn’t higher is because in my opinion, whisper it, Half Life 2 is over-rated.

      In truth, the order is a little tentative to an extent, whilst writing the Resi 4 entry I considered it going higher, whilst writing Galaxy I considered it being higher, thinking about how TF 2 has evolved maybe it should be higher, L4D2 is ultimately only L4D2 so maybe it should be lower? At the end of the day these are the ten games from the last gen that, if someone asked me what games they should play from the years 2000-2009, I’d say these ten (and Rock Band 2).

      Anyway, no strat games sorry, there wasn’t really a ‘Starcraft’ this gen, but unless Starcraft 2 gives its players swine flu, I think it’s in with a chance of being one of the best games ever. Ever ever.

      • I’ve found most of Half Life overrated, never been pulled in to play it through. But I can see why including it drags down Tf2 and Portal.

        From the strategy department I think there is only 2-3 really chances.

        Civilisation 4 – (Come on you knew I was going to say this.) Smooth yet deep probably the best turn based game ever. Joint 2nd on steam/metascore with enough mods to keep you playing for years. I’m not counting any bastard off spring like console versions or Colonization.

        I’m going to be lazy and lump Total War together. But to be picky on which it’d would be Rome, for introducing the modern series. 3d battles on a scale and detail never before seen, so much so it featured on TV multiple times.

        The other would probably be Company of Heroes, I never gave the game the time it deserved but in terms of bringing actual strategy to RTS (rather than build orders and unit spamming)in a way that previously had been left to the ‘here are your units get on with it’ style game. I think it deserves an honourable mention, the other two are probably better though.

  3. I might play WoW when Cataclysm is released and I am at Uni. Heh. I’m surprised at lack of RTS as well.

    • Has RTS performed well at ONMix?

      Also I know I kick your arse at Red Alert but I’m yet to play an RTS that really feels approachable by the masses by simply embracing fun, how annoying does failing at an RTS feel? Needless complications and superiority complex’s are always a black spot for the genre. I know how I’d make an RTS were I given the power and the team, but that’s for another day.

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