[PODCAST End of Year 2019] Game of the Year Is Too Easy. How About Game of the Decade?

Through the rest of December and into early January, we're going into hibernation. But every day, we'll have a new podcast for you to listen to, and sometimes, an article to read. You can keep track of everything we're talking about to look back on the past year (and decade) right here.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/g5xx99/game-of-the-year-is-too-easy-how-about-game-of-the-decade

All of these game of the decade by the staff somehow feel perfect for each person.

I’m interested to see what people on Waypoint here have to say their game(s) of the decade are. Whether it be a list or a single game, I kinda want to know what the waters are here.

I expect it to be a lot of Nier: Automata and Breath of the Wild, honestly.

For me, Ghost Trick is just the absolute best of the Ace Attorney absurd storylines with better style, fantastic rotoscoped animation, and characters that you can’t help but fall in love with, including a talking dog.

7 Likes

I sat down and thought about a personal GOTD list a few weeks back and honestly had a far easier time than I expected… for the first 5 games: Dark Souls, Nier: Automata, Granblue Fantasy, Bloodborne, and Destiny 1/2. I don’t think anything can shake any of those loose.

Definitely gets a bit wild after those, though. A lot of incredible games to choose from that would be difficult to narrow down.

2 Likes

I know we’re all busy with the holidays, but there is any way we could get these podcast forum posts up the day they come out? I might want to talk about them on the forums and when all ten dump at the same time, seems like they’re doomed to disappear.

Anyway, my pick is Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It’s the biggest and most ambitious game the 2010s could make just by sheer ridiculous levels of good content, made all the more ridiculous by the DLC. All the attempts to make a game like it have been basically failures in my eyes. Whatever the Game of the 2020s is, it will not be anything like this.

4 Likes

NieR is game of the fucking century. whos got time to decide individual decades, not me

4 Likes

We Know the Devil defined my worldview. In this last decade, I lost my religion, my politics, and my ideological connection to my family. For the longest time (and still, to an extent), it felt like there wasn’t a place for me. We Know the Devil gave me something that is queer, leftist, and probably pagan (I’m not familiar enough to know tbh). It promises through support from found family, we have an opportunity to build something we believe to be right instead of just accepting what we’re told to be right. It’s also about accepting ourselves and surrounding ourselves with others who do. It’s a fairly short and cheap game (especially on sales) so I’d recommend anyone who hasn’t checked it out to do so, much better than listening to me try to explain it :stuck_out_tongue:

Other games I’d mention are Heaven Will Be Mine, Secret Little Haven, and Gone Home. All of these include the same theme of finding a new queer alternative to the old rigid status quo. (though I imagine it’s kinda hard to make queer coming of age media without some degree of that kind of theme)

9 Likes

I LOVE Ghost Trick. Everything about it is charming and funny, and I’m dreading the day that Capcom decides to stop updating it for new versions of IOS. I’m also flabbergasted that was a 2010 game to be honest.

I also love NieR, but there’s too much of the game part of that game that drags it down for me. NieR is probably one of my top ten experiences of the decade media wise, but there were times where I really hated playing it, especially when I wasted an afternoon failing endlessly at hacking minigames only to find out my PC settings were somehow causing the ship to move at half speed.

I think I’m at a weird impasse between two very different games that come from a similar place but each have totally different downfalls. I’m really stuck between MGSV and Kerbal Space Program.

MGSV is a game I expected to hate. I loathed Guns of the Patriots in almost every capacity and I had no intention of playing Phantom Pain until my brother gifted me a copy which I figured was mostly a joke at my expense. MGSV is a joy to play, it rewards creativity and simply shrugs its shoulders in bemusement when you pit its systems against each other. I completed a mission to destroy a vehicle by simply placing my horse in the road and planting C4 strategically where the motorcade would stop. The less said about its story and gender bullshit the better though.

Similarly, Kerbal is a game that gives you limitless possibility with the only restraints being your imagination and the cruel realities of physics. It is one of the rare games that actually forced me to learn things, real things, and put them into action. You cannot brute force your way through it, you can’t cheese a rendezvous in orbit, there are no level skips. Even if you copy someone else’s ship design, you still need to pilot the damn thing. I actually had to learn about orbital mechanics and read how real life astronauts solved problems in order to better fix my in game conundrums. That said, it’s a game where the learning curve is a sheer cliff leading to a bunch of jagged rocks that are also on fire for some reason. The career mode is a joke and it does a poor job of explaining almost anything to you.

Both of those games gave me the most absolute joy in terms of just sheer play. While other games trounce them in terms of emotions or story, those both feel like favorite toys I can return to at any time and tinker with to bring me that same sense of pure fun.

5 Likes

Without a doubt Animal Crossing New Leaf in 2013. I’ve never become so emotionally invested in a video game. For years it was part of my life. I’d carry the 3DS around with me everywhere, picking up ghost data with glimspes into other people’s tiny universes.

8 Likes

I go by games I played in the decade, which puts The 25th Ward at top (it started releasing in 2008), but sticking to games released this decade, my list in progress has at the most top Alan Wake, Deponia Doomsday, Always Sometimes Monsters, The Dark Eye: Memoria, and Chroma Squad.

I was surprised how high I placed Chroma Squad but that game is such a delight in every way imaginable. Alan Wake was not surprising, nor was Always Sometimes Monsters, but I’m sure I have to explain the two Daedalic point and clicks.

Memoria is just an utterly brilliant game about legends and story telling, and it has one of the most ridiculously clever endings I have ever seen in possibly any work of fiction, and it works so well. It’s a fantasy story about a guy trying to save someone he loves from a curse (see Chains of Satinav for more) and he has to solve a question connected to an old story about a woman who entered a hole in the world where the gods aren’t watching. I still think about that ending to this day.

As for Deponia Doomsday, it’s the forth game is an arguably bad comedy point and click series, bad due to studio founder Jan Müller-Michaelis liking edgelord humor too much (Goodbye Deponia’s middle section is a nightmare and Doomsday still has some really terrible moments scattered around, including one downright horrific trans joke bit early on that had me moaning in frustration). I genuinely cannot recommend it to most anyone, but it’s also possibly the most brilliant game I’ve played (it’s actually my number two. It’s an absurdist tragedy taking place after the original trilogy where the hero and the love interest try to get the happy ending they never got, only for things to get worse and worse the longer this goes on. It got me to empathize with Rufus, genuinely one of the most awful video game protagonists ever written, and had me at tears at the end. It’s such a messy game, but the core is this strong, heart crushing story about coming to terms with loss and finding meaning in a seemingly uncaring world.

The worst part is you have to play the other Deponia games to get Doomsday, and that means playing the middle segment of Goodbye Deponia and no human being should ever have to subject themselves to that horror show.

2 Likes

Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Dark Souls are my top 3 in that order, then NieR:Automata. #5 is a harder pick, though I’m leaning towards Kentucky Route Zero (though - and I don’t blame the developers - that’s still unfinished). Persona 5, Final Fantasy XIV, Pyre, and Gravity Rush 2 could also contend for that spot, or perhaps even Outer Wilds.

Interesting to think that five years ago, that list would have been exclusively populated with Western-developed narrative heavy games like The Last of Us or Portal 2. My tastes have changed a lot!

As you can see, I’ve become a total mark for titles that have intricate, fantastical settings that aren’t open world games in a conventional sense. Most of them have very limited systemic interaction (or any other avenue for self-expression) but are dense with authored content. I guess I’m more interested in other people’s imaginations than my own. Never really thought of this way, but looking at that list, I guess a memorable visual style and excellent soundtrack are also mandatory.

3 Likes

I’m with Patrick and Natalie: the games that define my 2010s are the ones that helped me change how I approach games. BotW, Dark Souls, and Outer Wilds are huge games for me in this regard, but I wanna talk about something else.

When I was in my mid-teens, I played a lot of RPGmaker games. I saw a video about Yume Nikki when it randomly gained some global relevancy and it blew my mind wide open. A game made by one person? About exploring weird stuff? And it’s free??? All those games… are not very weighty, and rarely possess a design worth engaging with outside of “well, that’s the engine”, but it was the closest thing to a communal, folksy space I had seen. In a pre-itch world, I had found something like alt-games, and I didn’t even know what that meant yet.

So, I play a game called Space Funeral, released in 2010 (but I got to it a little late). It’s an ambling shitshow of an adventure, with caustic humor as far as the eye can see. Text has a cadence that predicts the disenfranchised tone of twitter users by years. You cry literally all the time in the game. Dracula talks about smoking weed.

I love it deep in my bones, y’all. It is crafted so haphazardly, but Space Funeral presents how it feels to play a lighthearted RPG session with friends. In its own weird weird way, the game has forever changed how I feel about creation and what I choose to love. Because those bloated RPGs it’s lampooning? I like several of them, but deep down, I know what I really want: Japanese noise rock and horses made out of legs.

2 Likes

I ranked all 66 Mecha Games (I Played) of the Decade, but somehow gave very little thought to my actual, non-mech game of the decade. It’s probably just Fallout: New Vegas.

3 Likes

For me, it’s Breath of the Wild, and it’s not particularly close. I think I called it the “game of my life” after I finished playing it, and it is still absolutely that.

There are many things that go into that. I’ve always liked Zelda, beginning with the DS ones, and then the 3DS remakes of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask (especially that one, which is somewhere between #3-5 on my all-time list). I am invested in the story those games tell, no matter how simple it is, and the verbs they use to tell it. And then, with that already going for it, the game just hit my life at the right (well, wrong) time.

And by the that, I mean it hit me in the middle of a, in hindsight, pretty deep depression, during a particularly cold and lonely semester of college when most of my close friends were elsewhere or abroad. Mixed reviews for filling that kind of hole with video games, but the 140 hours I sunk into BOTW over those two months or so did not feel like filling a hole. They felt like discovering a world, learning its peaks and crevices, witnessing moments of immense beauty and melancholy, and in doing so feeling like a version of myself that I liked a little bit more than the one that had enrolled in way too many credits to have something to do with himself that semester.

My clearest memory of that game isn’t even of any of its big moments or setpieces (even though the labyrinths and Eventide are close behind). It was just coming back from a night class around 9pm, settling in for a couple of hours before I went to bed, and combing my way across the Hebra Mountains in the northwest part of the map. There’s nothing essential there. No memories to find, no Divine Beast. Just some shrines and some secrets, but I wanted to find them all, see what was over the next hill or valley, continue this long, soothing, incremental journey. And those couple of hours, out of over a hundred, just stuck with me so deeply they come back to me whenever I think about that game.

And the thing is, that isn’t the way I play games. I’m not a completionist, and I generally lose interest in games once my main tasks are cleared. I don’t play on after endings, and I usually just feel lost without very clear objectives. I’m not really the type of player to spend countless hours playing with systems or combing over the deep details of a world. Breath of the Wild is the one exception, and because of that my relationship with it is funadmentally different than any other game I’ve played (except, maybe, Outer Wilds, which is both the closest thing to it that I’ve played and would be my #2 answer to this question). It made me care about things I don’t usually care about in games. Explore and experiment in ways that felt novel and creative. And it was a source of elation and discovery when I needed it the most.

So yeah. Seems pretty easy to call it my game of the decade.

1 Like

I just want to express how much of a joy it was to hear Natalie’s voice return, even if it was just for an episode or two. She contributes so much to everything she gets involved with on the site. Danielle was also a delight to hear again! Love hearing women’s voices on the podcast and seeing them on the byline.

9 Likes

It could have been a bunch of them… Fallout New Vegas, Monaco, Sunless Sea… But if I really think about it, I would say Analogue: a Hate Story. It’s a pretty simple game about reading text logs to figure out what happened on an old spaceship where society went bad, but it’s pretty significant for me. It’s the one that pointed me to an indie scene of people making smaller and more personal games ; it’s the one where I realized the visuel novel space was full of all kinds of cool things, outside of the two/three series I already knew ; it’s the one that made me interested in stories with feminist and queer themes. Hate Plus, the sequel, still devastates me when thinking of specific character moments and of how fast and insidiously the political shifts happen there (which sadly keeps those games more relevant than ever).

@vehemently : I get giddy just hearing Natalie at the start of the pods, she really brings the spirit of the joyous gamer with her.

4 Likes

I find it hard to decide yet on a Game Of The Decade, but Analogue is definitely on my short-list (as is Disco Elysium, although I think it’s ‘too new’ to judge fairly at the moment).

2 Likes

I made a different kind of list and chose a game for each year to chart the decade (based on when I played them, not release year).

Games of the 2010s
2010 - Xenoblade Chronicles
2011 - Team Fortress 2
2012 - The Walking Dead (Season 1)
2013 - Crusader Kings II
2014 - Desert Golfing
2015 - Undertale
2016 - Dark Souls
2017 - Breath of the Wild
2018 - Nier Automata
2019 - Pathologic 2

But The game of the decade? :clap: UN :clap: DER :clap: TALE :clap:

Undertale is a game I’d been waiting for all my life to answer questions I had about video games. Why are gameplay and narrative always so divided? Why do I always have to bust through fighting monsters? Can’t the monsters have real humanity and interiority?

I’ve played JRPGs all my life and they’re fun games, though they always deal with an abstraction where you just accept some incongruities. You’ll churn through monsters, but don’t think about that. You have the means to revive party members, but only in gameplay sections and then they don’t count normally.

Undertale is a game that changes all that by embodying itself as a game in the narrative. The systems represent something real. And not just clever writing to justify systems, the save system in the game is thematically relevant to the story. Every part of the package elevates Undertale like nothing else I’ve played.

Also that soundtrack SLAPS.

2 Likes

Considering it sounds more fun to have a really good “I told you so” than any sort weighed and measured conclusion.

Kentucky Route Zero

Game of the decade, game of the next decade.

2 Likes

I meditated on this a long time.

And I think it might be Skyrim.

I don’t think Skyrim is as interesting a game as Oblivion is (I could talk about the side content in Oblivion for 1500 words, easy). But I think Bethesda, in hiding a lot of the character sheet numbers (and getting rid of the micromanaging of things like repair hammers), really got two things right that I still find appealing: 1. Skyrim is extremely approachable and 2. Skyrim is extremely flexible.
That “go anywhere, do anything” approach that characterizes Bethesda’s RPGs is really well-realized here thanks to the “you gain levels based on how you play” approach that Bethesda took to the leveling system. Couple this with a gigantic, inviting open world and dragons (my inner five-year old is responsible for most of my editing) and you really have a big ol’ slab of game to chew on. Parts of it don’t hold up all that well, but if I’m at a loss for what to play, I’m always up for another trip to Skyrim.

2 Likes

Skyrim is probably my game of the decade too.

I’ve been really into The Elderscrolls games since Daggerfall. Skyrim manages to keep the open ended, play it your way feel but removes a lot of the unnecessary friction of the earlier games so it is easier to jump in and explore.

I also don’t think my two other games of the decade, The Witcher 3 and Breath of the Wild would exist without Skyrim’s influence.

1 Like