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Golden Joysticks Awards' ultimate list of ultimate winners: 1983 - 2016

2010 - Mass Effect 2

Boasting one of the highest Xbox 360 Metacritic ratings of all time (95% +), Mass Effect 2 from Canadian RPG overlords BioWare is widely considered the best of a highly impressive series. Deep character customisation, adult storytelling, intriguing themes, romance and a beautiful galaxy to explore cemented Commander Shepard's place in the pantheon.

2011 - Portal 2

Who would have thought a first-person physics puzzler would win such a legion of plaudits? Yet the quirky, mind-bending darkly hilarious Portal 2 did just that. Of course it helped that it came from Valve, who seem incapable of making a bad game. The Aperture Science facility sprang back into sinister life, with GLaDOS surely ranking as one of the most intriguing and nuanced villains ever.

2012 - The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

The fifth instalment of the classic RPG series was bigger, better and indeed much snowier than ever before, weaving Viking and Norse legends and casting you as a dragon slayer sent to protect the realm from the evils of Alduin the World-Eater. As the Dragonborn, you journeyed across its enchanting snowy landscapes reciting runes, slaying dragons, wielding magic and blowing NPCs halfway across the map with a cheery 'Fus Ro Dah!'

2013 - Grand Theft Auto 5

After a long break of nearly five years, Rockstar returned with the admirable GTA 5, but boy, was the wait worth it. Now playing as three characters instead of one, including the lovably monstrous Trevor, the mix of sandbox play, detailed heists, high satire and a soundtrack to die for made this the ultimate in a long line of criminal capers.

2014 - Dark Souls 2

The sequel to From Software's action-RPG may have featured fearsome levels of difficulty, but gamers rapidly became eager gluttons for punishment. Harsh - but fair - treatment proved an attraction rather than a turn-off, and Souls 2's beautiful world, unforgiving denizens and intricate mechanics made this one of the most compelling and challenging of all Joystick winners.

2015 - The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

Most moral choices in RPGs are decisions between black and white, good and evil. CD Projekt Red taught us to embrace the grey and in the name of all that is good, earn some coin while slaying monsters. Saved you, pay me. 

2016 - Dark Souls 3

The game everyone and thing apparently wants to be when it grows up. It's design, world and challenge are legendary, giving the RPG a status among gamers and developers alike.