The 20 most important games of the decade – text edition

15. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec

First released in: 2001
Developed by: Polyphony Digital
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment

It’s notable for: Being not just one of the most popular racing games of all time, but one of the most popular games of all time. Gran Turismo 3 was huge and deep, but remained accessible, and ushered in the PS2 with the kind of graphical prowess that everyone was hoping for.

It inspired: Utter awe. GT3 made us more excited than ever for the future of game visuals. Here’s an unmodified screen-grab from IGN’s review, written only nine years ago, to illustrate:

Blah blah blah: “I can’t drive, I don’t know what makes cars work, I don’t know a Corsa from a Chevrolet, but I still love this game.” -George Walter, Editor-in-Chief (UK)

14. Deus Ex

First released in: 2000
Developed by: Ion Storm Inc.
Published by: Eidos Interactive

It’s notable for: Open-ended gameplay which offered choice, something that was rarely offered in the largely linear games of the ‘90s. Like BioShock, Deus Ex took some inspiration from System Shock, but it blended shooter and RPG elements in its own way, and kicked off the decade with something powerfully different.

It inspired: S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl, BioShock , Mass Effect, Borderlands, Fallout 3, and plenty more.

Blah blah blah: “There are some NPCs you’ll never even meet on your first play though – if someone pisses you off you can just shoot them in the face, and by some sort of miracle, the game will adapt the story and change it around you…” -Dave Houghton, Content Editor (UK)

13. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

First released in: 2002
Developed by: Bethesda Game Studios
Published by: Bethesda Softworks

It’s notable for: Its scope and beauty. Morrowind was the GTA III of RPGs, and set the bar high for graphics, freedom, and size.

It inspired: Oblivion, of course, but like Deus Ex, it was a precursor to games like Mass Effect and Borderlands. It also influenced the MMORPG genre – Everquest already existed when Morrowind was released, but Morrowind was what we wished Everquest had been.

Blah blah blah: “Morrowind was one of the first worlds where you got the impression that everything was going to go on and keep moving and people were going to keep living and dying whether you were there or not…it was a world, and it was going to live regardless of you.” -Eric Bratcher, Editor-in-Chief (US)

12. Bejeweled

First released in: 2001
Developed by: PopCap Games
Published by: PopCap Games

It’s notable for: Being downloaded over 150 million times - that’s how accessible and entertaining it is. Bejeweled is perfectly representative of the 2000’s casual revolution: it began as a web game in 2001, and by 2009 had invaded Steam, XBLA, PDAs, iPods, DSiWare, Facebook, and mobile phones.

It inspired: A brave new world of ultra-popular, simple games that are accessible on just about any device with a screen.

Blah blah blah: “Easily the Tetris of this generation.”-Nathan Irvine, Associate Editor (UK)

11. Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training (Brain Age)

First released in: 2005
Developed by: Nintendo
Published by: Nintendo

It’s notable for: Being one of the first examples of Nintendo’s answer to the “casual games” movement, and kicking off their strategy of inclusiveness.

It inspired: It may not have been the inspiration for Nintendo’s current mindset, but it certainly ushered in the age of “WiiSomething,” and was followed with many other “educational” DS and Wii entries.

Blah blah blah: “One of the first games that made the DS relevant to every member of the family…pretty much anyone could be seen stabbing the DS, trying to do maths.” -Matt Cundy, Associate Editor (UK)


  • iKOemos - January 21, 2010 9:29 p.m.

    Haven't I read this already? Nonetheless, a good article and lets hope this decade brings us more epic games.
  • FalconMbuster - January 21, 2010 9:31 p.m.

    This is unnessesary but... I'd like to make a bold statement in Lady Gaga's leotards.
  • FalconMbuster - January 21, 2010 9:52 p.m.

    You know, understanding what the word "important" means makes the #1 the only answer. It wasn't the "best" or "most fun", but I'll be damned if there is a game that has influenced gaming, gaming culture, and main stream society as much as GTA in the last 10 years. Even the storyline, which would be bland by current standards, was influential. It could be adult, it could be "real." You didn't need aliens or an evil overlord to have conflict. The "real world" is bad enough.
  • dante1924 - January 21, 2010 9:55 p.m.

    Thanks for this article! The video wasn't working on my computer for some reason!
  • hey003 - January 21, 2010 10:41 p.m.

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  • Yeager1122 - January 21, 2010 10:45 p.m.

    Did i miss something why did you decide to put up something you already did?
  • RebornKusabi - January 21, 2010 11:12 p.m.

    For the people that are "confused" or "missed something", they basically said in the first damn paragraph that this is a text version (notice the '-text edition' added to the title?) of their previous article (That being "The 20 most important games of the decade"). Stay in school kids! Reading comprehension will get you through your adult life ; )
  • RebornKusabi - January 21, 2010 11:18 p.m.

    ...and when did we get an Ad-Bot (hey003) on this site? Forgive my limited IT schooling (I'm halfway to getting my degree lol), but isn't the reCAPTCHA utility supposed to fight against that? Just curious. reCAPTCHA-godly at ( what?)
  • GameManiac - January 21, 2010 11:49 p.m.

    I can still remember the day I got Gran Turismo 3 and was blown away at how real the graphics were. Great article! I couldn't agree more with many of these games.
  • nik41507 - January 21, 2010 11:51 p.m.

    No No No NO No No I'd say Red Alert 2 influenced RTS. With its amazing cutscenes and gameplay NOOOO THERES AN AD-BOT NOOOOOO
  • oufour - January 22, 2010 12:32 a.m.

    um... why the fuck is wii sports AHEAD of halo 2 and half life 2? on that thought, why the fuck is on their in the first place?
  • flare149 - January 22, 2010 12:37 a.m.

    Good article, although I think God of War should get an honorable mention
  • crumbdunky - January 22, 2010 12:58 a.m.

    U2 wasn't the firs "killer app" for PS3 though, was it? That would go to a game you cruelly ignore here to include the WEAKEST in it's series just to be awkward(MGS2 more important than ANY of the others? You, my ddar sirs, are having a woolly!)and though an apparent desire to look like you haven't played any other games made by kojima. Seriously, I'd say the two best MGS were the last two(hard to knock MGS itself as time has been cruel on it's lookms and we can only imagine the greatness of it today but as a dev who leans so heavily on he available tech i'd say that 3 and 4 go way beyond the first two games and the second was easily the weakest of all four. I'd have stuck MGS4 in the top three, actually, as the best game in the most consistently great series ever committed to consoles.The achievements in tying up the story(and one so very convoluted too!)were manifold and done with a genuine flair for undertanding that the medium ISN'T the same as the films he loves so much. He paces even the ripest dialogue fuelled cutscene indulgences better than anyone else(seriously, we fans know the talky goes too far but it's the pace that fits a games length rather than pretending to cater to a two hour movie frame)has even tried. Interactive movie! The fools cried. We played the game and found something we never thought we would:a game brave and big and bold enough to both stand up to it's illustrious past AND to tie up the myriad wonky looking loose ends that Koj had woven in to the fabric of gaming itself. I didn't think he could top the mastery of MGS3 but Patriots did everything right for me and, though a lot of MG fans will argue otherwise, I take it as his crowning, gaming glory. Seriously, to ignore the things he managed with such amazing style AND anal attention to detail AND in creating some more classic boss battles and characters isn't a great move, imho. The gameplay also gave us iconic moments like the microwave "X" button ordeal where you battle both the game and aging Snakes increasing fragility(a metaphor, also, for mans struggle against what he himself has done to, and wioth, the planet earth itself?)and the sun drenched battle with Liquid harking back to fighting games past. Yes, it had cutscenes that went on too long with too many words BUT the cutscenes were, generally, doing a sterling job of one of the stiffest tasks in gaming-reigning in and wrapping up 20 years of Metal Gear and Hideo's imagination. When you add in the slickest gameplay the series has seen(and I played it as a stealth game from the start nd you have NOT finished without that Big Boss emblem!-so no accustaion that it has become "just an action game" around me thankyou!), amazing , console leading gfx, great script and voice work and yet more tjhoughtful, action heavy boss battl;es with a handful of fraught but brilliant set pieces you have both one of the best, most perfect games ever made and also one of the best tales ever told by the medium of gaming. It's the bringing together of every loose strand of a story as complex as any you'll find anywhere that sits atop the masterful hgame Kojima made in MGS4 like the proudest, sweetest cherry ever plucked from God's own cherry tree. Masterpiece is an overused word but MGS4 fits the hill just as much as any game on your list and a lot more than most. I tshould, at the very least, be in there somewhere.
  • StrayGator - January 22, 2010 1:13 a.m.

    A Crack in Time owes quite a bit to braid, I believe.
  • JustTheBoBreaker - January 22, 2010 1:18 a.m.

    I still can't believe Gran Turismo is that high on the list. Maybe it's just because i didn't really play it,that I don't see why it's so important.
  • Cyberninja - January 22, 2010 1:20 a.m.

    they do have a point about wii sports oufour with out wii sports i dont think the gaming market would have made so much money recently that plus its more fun for everyone i cant stand alot of fps like halo because of all the children trying to curse you out online
  • twewy13 - January 22, 2010 1:51 a.m.

    why halo 2 and not 1?
  • gopikmin - January 22, 2010 2:02 a.m.

    @oufour This is the most important games of the decade, not best. These are the games that revolutionized the industry. I feel WoW should be lower ,but that is because i have not played it much.
  • Defguru7777 - January 22, 2010 2:02 a.m.

    @twewy13 It was the first console game to have truly great online multiplayer. Halo 1 probably didn't do anything to make it "revolutionary." It was still a great game.
  • Nupetarian - January 22, 2010 2:12 a.m.

    Good list!

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