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Alan Wake is Time Magazine's game of the year. No, really

In an age when print is on the run from digital media, Time Magazine and its year-end awards are still noteworthy. The big news today was the publication naming Mark Zuckerberg Person of the Year, because apparently they only heard of Facebook after seeing it in a movie this year, but the periodical also posted their top ten games of the year. And while it’s a fine list, the top slot went to Alan Wake. Seriously?


Above: Alan seems to share my doubt in this screen

Now we gave Alan Wake an 8, which personally I mostly stand by. It certainly wasn’t a perfect game, as for every neat trick it did with gaming narrative, it took about two steps back with a derivative story, awkward dialogue supported by crummy lip-sync, and conspicuous product placement. On top of that you had to buy the real ending as DLC, and don’t even get me started on the Thermoses! I understand Time writer Evan Narcisse writing that Alan Wake’s “biggest triumph lies in turning metaphor into game play,” and that the game’s “meta-awareness and Hitchcockian suspense” are praiseworthy, but out of this year’s crop of games, Alan Wake’s top spot seems a bit off to me. Here’s the full list:

1. Alan Wake
2. Angry Birds
3. Red Dead Redemption
4. Halo: Reach
5. Super Mario Galaxy 2
6. Limbo
7. Super Meat Boy
8. Super Street Fighter IV
9. Starcraft II
10. Mass Effect 2

Above: Of course this is better than Red Dead

Aside from casual iPhone game Angry Birds taking the number two slot (I mean yeesh, that didn’t even come out this year!), it’s actually a pretty good list. You’ve got to applaud Time for including smaller, amazing titles like Super Meat Boy and Limbo while ignoring familiar blockbusters like Black Ops and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. The authors really disappointed readers expecting a safe inventory that perhaps included Kinectimals, Just Dance, and Eyepet on the list instead.

Am I alone here? This strike you as a deserving award for an underrated and forgotten gem, or do you perhaps see it as a group picking the most ambitious game instead of the best? Let us know down below.

Dec 15, 2010

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37 comments

  • zacharyburd - January 7, 2011 4:47 a.m.

    He's entitled to his own opinion. If he enjoyed Alan Wake and Angry Birds the most this year then those are HIS Top Two. You don't have to agree just because their published in TIME magazine. lol
  • opusnocturn - December 20, 2010 6:16 p.m.

    First, have #3 trade places with #1. Then take out number #3 completely, and add Heavy Rain in its place. From there have #10 trade places with #2. There thats better.
  • bigk777 - December 19, 2010 6:58 p.m.

    Angry birds #2 REALLY? It's a good game, but at #2? Nah. Alan Wake was an awesome game, I mean it had great game play and a great story I honestly really liked it, but I would say Red Dead Redemption is #1 because it too had a great story and it was a LONG game I believe it took me 16+ hours to beat and it was fun. I'd say put Alan Wake at the #2 spot and Angry birds at #3. I'm also really surprised there's not a single Call of duty game on that list....
  • AndIThoughtHeSmelledLikePizzaOnTheOutside - December 17, 2010 11:41 a.m.

    I agree. Given that the target audience is not gamers (and may be old people), it is a solid list. Maybe not in terms of gameplay, fun or anything I would use to decide the best games, but as games that are relevant to the future of gaming as far as the general public is concerned, it is ok. And it definitely could be much worse. Besides, if the point of the article is to get non-gamers to read the article and consider it a worthy medium, it makes sense. The intentions are solid, and he knows his audience.
  • D0CCON - December 17, 2010 2:19 a.m.

    I'm fine with the list even though I don't agree with most of it. Consider this from a different perspective, a big, non-gaming magazine is giving good press to videogames. Shouldn't we be excited about this considering how much we are sick of the crap from Fox News and the BBC.
  • RicePuddingUK - December 16, 2010 8:26 a.m.

    Wake was by far one of the best games of the year, It was story-driven, it wasn't some cheap thrill,one-year cycle-in development, multiplayer-game *Cough* Black Ops* It had story, fantastic music (Poets of the fall, I love you) memorable characters, whilst the enemies were repetitive I still had fun blasting them away with my TORCH (Original, think of that Infinity Ward!) However, ME2 should've taken number 1, AW in #2
  • ThatGuyFromTV - December 16, 2010 12:39 a.m.

    I think they just need to rethink the order of the games on the list. They all seem worthy of inclusion on a top 10 list... even Angry Birds. Seriously, that game is addictive as hell.
  • Eaxis - December 16, 2010 12:20 a.m.

    Alan wake, Angry bird and Halo Reach should be off the list.
  • ackbarsoup - December 16, 2010 12:02 a.m.

    Alan Wake was good so I don't see it as a horrible list. It's definitely not my game of the year, but everyone has they're own opinions. And if the publicity means that more copies of Alan Wake are sold, maybe we'll eventually see a sequel that'll finish the damn story!!
  • baaxouh - December 15, 2010 11:37 p.m.

    I agree with the first spot. is actually on my list of best games ever. i felt compelled by the characters, and I really liked the story-telling methods. and the sound track is simply amazing
  • n00b - December 15, 2010 11:29 p.m.

    well if your gona give it to something different than mass effect 2/red dead then i think limbo is more deserving
  • HankVenture - December 15, 2010 11:28 p.m.

    Who reads Time Magazine? Old people. So this is a good thing, old people will see this game played off as "art" and "a movie you play" and maybe, MAYBE then they will get off our nuts.
  • NotBraze - December 15, 2010 11:12 p.m.

    Mass Effect 2 below Alan Wake, Angry Birds, *and* Reach? You've got to be kidding me! Now I love Angry Birds, but No. 2 game of the year? hardly. If the writer of this list did much more than read the Wikipedia articles associated with each game I'd be surprised.
  • Redeater - December 15, 2010 11:06 p.m.

    I have 100% achievements for Alan Wake and both "expansions" (and I use that term loosely) and I still don't think that game came close to Red Dead or Mass Effect 2.
  • y2kpikachu12 - December 15, 2010 11:03 p.m.

    I don't really understand that list. It seems a little off. Also, if they were gonna include Angry Birds, at least make it 10.
  • SuperStingray - December 15, 2010 11:03 p.m.

    It's actually a pretty good list and well justified. Not one I fully agree with- Alan Wake just isn't as memorable as it should be considering what it's trying to pull off.
  • ACIIisgreat - December 15, 2010 11:02 p.m.

    What the hell... Honestly Alan Wake was a fairly decent game but it really shouldnt be on this list AT ALL. I dont see how they can be praised for leaving "blockbusters" off the list. Black Ops is fair enough, But AC Brotherhood is a genuinely great game. ME2 should have been no.#1. And Angry Birds? Urgh.
  • ventanger - December 15, 2010 11 p.m.

    TIME has always been full of shit.
  • mattchew86 - December 15, 2010 10:56 p.m.

    I can't believe Heavy Rain didn't even get a mention. And again, time shows their true colors by showing they don't know what the hell they're talking about 90% of the time.
  • iggzy880 - December 15, 2010 10:43 p.m.

    Mass Effect should be top 3, Alan Wake should be 10 at best, Halo Reach and Red Dead Redemption are both more or less equaled and its so much more about preference there, but personally I liked Halo Reach better.

Showing 1-20 of 37 comments

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