This list is very obviously wrong
November 8, 2019 11:28 AM   Subscribe

As a part of their "Decade in Review", Polygon has published their list of the 100 best games from 2010-2019 (link goes to the bottom half).

A number of influential, defining games across all genres made the list, including favorites like Gone Home, Her Story, and Pokemon GO. There are some obvious blind spots (among the missing: Horizon Zero Dawn, anything from the Borderlands series, the entire LEGO genre), but if you're looking for good content that you've missed, you won't go wrong checking this out.
posted by hanov3r (48 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I appreciate Polygon so damn much for creating a "Jump to the Top 10" link.
posted by Fizz at 11:40 AM on November 8 [8 favorites]

Also for including pics of all the games in the preview so you can go WAIT WHERE THE HELL IS HORIZON ZERO DAWN without having to comb the list
posted by dw at 11:43 AM on November 8 [6 favorites]

"Best Game" strikes me as silly. It's like a ranking of the "Best Food." How can Minecraft be "better" than Gone Home? The only thing they have in common is they run on Windows. There is nothing at all alike in the experience for the player.

I know that at the end of the day this is a list designed to generate clicks, and I'm sure it'll do that. But beyond that, this seems like a big waste of time. At least break things out by genre.
posted by Frayed Knot at 11:43 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]

ctrl + f "Binding of Isaac" = phrase not found.


This list is bullshit.
posted by Fizz at 11:44 AM on November 8 [5 favorites]

Well, that's a list of a hundred games with numbers beside them. Job well done.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:49 AM on November 8 [12 favorites]

(stares loyally into the distance waiting for the last Act of Kentucky Route Zero to materialize, someday...)
posted by rather be jorting at 11:52 AM on November 8 [9 favorites]

Any numbered list of "X 'best' arts" is fundamentally folly, especially in an art medium that delivers so many disparate experiences. I really believe such lists are just the lowest-hanging fruit in terms of getting clicks and generating comments. I'd put "top 10-100 arts" lists in the top ten of attention-commanding lists.
posted by GoblinHoney at 11:57 AM on November 8

It's like a ranking of the "Best Food."

Best Foods is just the West Coast version of Hellmann's, and it's honestly low-rank mayo compared to any that you can easily make yourself.
posted by explosion at 11:59 AM on November 8 [17 favorites]

The games list is fine and all, but if you really want to start some fights you have to check out The best movies of the decade, according to us.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 12:02 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]

The games list is fine and all, but if you really want to start some fights you have to check out The best movies of the decade, according to us.

I thought it was a decent enough set of lists, given that it's coming from a site with a very pop-culture bias, except for the one guy who put Solo on his.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:05 PM on November 8

I'm just glad to see "Slay the Spire" on this list, as it's relentlessly addictive and replayable and the team is so, so open about how they fix and patch things.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:16 PM on November 8 [5 favorites]

I knew 5 of the top 10 and of those, I have played zero and my eldest has played them all.

I am getting old.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 12:53 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I was ready to be all argumentative and "oh you think you know what the best game ever is?" and scrolled down and...

Well, I can't really argue with Minecraft.

So many people played it and still play it, across so many ages and social groups, it made basically a whole new genre, and for better or worse made buying a game in "beta" a thing, and probably made low res "retro" graphics mainstream. That's basically all their criteria right there, and is contender for first place in every single one of them.

It almost seems to obvious a choice, like Minecraft doesn't need to be on your best games list because Minecraft is Minecraft. Whether any person or particular group of people like it is utterly irrelevant to its significance. It does not have to care.
posted by Zalzidrax at 12:57 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]

ctrl + f "notch"

0 results

Good list.
posted by Tevin at 12:58 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


No borderlands. You is worng!
posted by evilDoug at 1:02 PM on November 8

Huh, by my count I have played 29 of these, but only one of the top ten. (Two if you count firing up The Witcher 3, heaving an enormous sigh at the bathtub Geralt opening cut scene and then closing the game and never going back to it).
posted by firechicago at 1:17 PM on November 8

posted by Kafkaesque at 1:36 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen way too low on the list.
posted by Splunge at 1:46 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Hitman, The Binding of Isaac, West of Loathing, Shenzhen I/O (and every other Zachtronics game), Hadean Lands, Counterfeit Monkey, Prey, Pyre, Candy Box, Antichamber, Obduction, Soma, Desktop Dungeons, The Walking Dead season 1
posted by painquale at 2:26 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]

painquale, at least one of those IS on the list. TWD is #91.
posted by hanov3r at 2:30 PM on November 8

Certainly a very niche pick, but one of my top of the decades pick would be Verdun. It had enough of the Arma feel of death around every corner, plus with the over-the-top gameplay of WWI to give a great sense of concern whenever you were on the attack. You jump out of the trench and are often just mown down by a MG, and really need coordination with gas, smoke, and arty to actually take and hold trenches.
posted by Carillon at 2:41 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]

Wow, I found out about a bunch of what look to be quite excellent games I didn't know about thanks to this list.

My only quibble is that I feel like they could have broken out TWD Season 1 into its own entry and moved it much, much higher in the rankings: there are many videos of people crying -- sobbing , even -- as the final few minutes of that game play out, and it definitely made me put the controller down and go hug my family when I finished.

I keep telling my kids -- age 9 and 12 -- that we are truly blessed to live in this era of games. So many genres, so much wonderful work being done by both indie artists and big multimillion dollar studios. Some are bold, ambitious efforts that fall short of the creators' hopes but are still worth a few minutes of your time. Some are so good that I'm like "We need to put a copy of this in a vault deep underground so that aliens or future species who discover the remains of our civilization get to play it." (Can't believe how far we've come from the days of Combat on the Atari 2600 -- which, despite its primitiveness, was intense enough to lead to me and my friends getting into actual fistfights over the outcome of matches :-D )

Thanks for sharing this link on MeFi, hanov3r, because otherwise I would have totally ignored it despite its appearance in my various news feeds.
posted by lord_wolf at 3:32 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]

posted by hanov3r at 3:35 PM on November 8 [11 favorites]

posted by LMGM at 3:57 PM on November 8

Kim Kardashian Hollywood is a brave choice, but given how many goddamn thinkpieces it inspired it probably justifies being on the list.
posted by Merus at 4:13 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]

Who is notch? We all know Hatsune Miku invented Minecraft.

Binding of Isaac is a game that deserves a number beside it. I am glad universal paperclip made it in the list.

Pony Island is a pretty good game that maybe deserves a number.

Minecraft Earth is unfortunately not very good at all.
posted by jonnay at 4:22 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]

BABA IS YOU was robbed.
posted by JHarris at 4:42 PM on November 8 [6 favorites]

No Crusader Kings 2? Instead a bunch of garbage games with boss fights. Is there any game that has ever been improved by its boss fights? No. The answer is no.
posted by surlyben at 5:34 PM on November 8

There's that one Prince of Persia where there's a boss fight at the end but the only way to win the boss fight is to just ignore the boss and run away. That was neat.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:46 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]

I realize these lists are highly subjective, but if your list doesn't have Portal 2 in the top 10, you should just start over and try again.
posted by justkevin at 6:14 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]

delighted to see odyssey so high and dishonored 2 even higher, disgusted to see overwatch immediately afterwards, EMOTIONALLY FULLY ERECT AND THROBBING to see witcher 3 higher than ovw and fortnite.

a wild ride.

posted by poffin boffin at 8:11 PM on November 8

also honestly where is fallout 76 aka the game that keeps on giving to everyone who has not bought it and is simply enjoying the suffering it engenders
posted by poffin boffin at 8:34 PM on November 8

Fallout 76 is like the Dark Brotherhood questline in Oblivion: yes it hurts people, but they're bad people. Mostly.
posted by um at 9:59 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]

I took a break in my Rocket League session to say Rocket League is too low. Now I'm off to play more Rocket League.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:06 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]

Apparently, Polygon doesn’t much like strategy games. Or hardcore simulations.

I’d be interested to see this list tallied by genre.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:39 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]

Am I blind or is Grand Theft Auto 5 not even in the top 100? I see GTA Online there but not the base game itself.
posted by Enmokusei at 3:41 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]

The list has all of the same problems that these lists usually do but it was heartwarming to see so many little gems acknowledged here. Firewatch, Journey, Her Story, Obra Dinn, Edith Finch, Undertale... even Virginia (which barely made the cut but I'm glad it did). They often get overlooked in favor of the big triple-A titles or the latest battle royale shoot-other-12-year-olds-in-the-face-em-up, but it's these little crafted stories full of heart that have kept me coming back to computer games well into middle age.

It's also a good reminder that even in this age of games as a billion-dollar industry, small teams or even one passionate person can still make huge contributions. Two of my favorites here -- Papers, Please and Return of the Obra Dinn -- were essentially made by one guy, Lucas Pope. Every aspect of Stardew Valley -- art, music, writing -- was done by Eric Barone over the course of seven years. Though both teams grew over the years, Spelunky is basically Derek Yu, and The Witness is basically Jonathan Blow. Kentucky Route Zero is three guys. One of the more glaring omissions here is the hugely influential Dwarf Fortress, which Tarn and Zach Adams have been working on for the better part of twenty years now. In the indie game industry, one or two people with passion and time can still change the world. I love that.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 1:30 PM on November 9 [3 favorites]

(On review I realize that women are sorely underrepresented here, as in so many places, and that's something we really need to fix. Their contributions are all over the list though. Journey might not exist without Jenova Chen, but it wouldn't exist without Kellee Santiago and Robin Hunicke either. Portal wouldn't exist without Kim Swift. Gone Home wouldn't be Gone Home without Karla Zimonja's art, and Her Story wouldn't be Her Story without Viva Seifert (the eponymous 'her' who brought the character to life). I'm sure there are other significant contributors on this list I'm not remembering.

Many many women out there are telling amazing stories in indie games -- Emily Short, Erin Robinson, Porpentine, Zoë Quinn, Christine Love... it'd be great to see a list like this devoted entirely to their work. Hopefully it won't be long before we see more of them higher on lists like these.)
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 1:48 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]

I agree that Minecraft is a better game in lots of ways, but The Witness is the Most Perfect Game and my favorite of the decade.
posted by straight at 4:15 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]

I'd love to make a list like this, but about extremely unexpected moments in games.

Like, the moment in The Witness when (is it okay to spoil it now it's been out for years) when you discover that the line puzzles aren't only on screens, but also in the environment itself, and in fact finding them and tracing their routes is just as much of the game as the "normal" puzzles.

Or that moment in Baba Is You where you find out that the level select screen is itself a puzzle, and when you solve it you end up going to weird places.

I don't know if there's 100 moments like those in all of gaming, but those are the kinds of things that keep me playing after all this time.
posted by JHarris at 5:48 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]

And now anyone reading this who hasn't played them can never have those experiences you enjoyed so much, JHarris. Sucks to be me reading this thread before I'd played Baba is You.
posted by straight at 8:54 PM on November 9 [3 favorites]

I really believe such lists are just the lowest-hanging fruit in terms of getting clicks and generating comments.

True. But I've read a zillion articles like this and almost always come away with at least one promising game I hadn't noticed before or now want to reconsider trying it. If not from the article then from the comments.

Lists like this seem like the best way to get people talking about more games than just what came out this month.
posted by straight at 9:03 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]

Bunch of people all mad about Horizon Zero Dawn not making the cut when it wasn't even the best 'open world game with a serious monster hunting component and a bunch of weird ancient robots' released in the month it came out.

Breath of the Wild made overall number two. Not long after I got Breath of the Wild I was doing some little mission that involved lighting a bunch of torches on the side of a hill and it started raining so I had to go rest until that let up. I spent five or ten minutes surveying the furthest visible areas, marking points of interest, planning routes, prioritizing things based on what was close or far away or currently on fire, until finally the rain let up and a rainbow appeared over the town I was in.
posted by fomhar at 6:11 AM on November 10

Divinity Original Sin 2 is not on here which indeed confirms that this list is very, very wrong. Neither is Overcooked 2. This list is bad and they should feel bad.
posted by VyanSelei at 3:04 PM on November 10

Also, Stardew Valley was refreshingly and surprisingly an excellent game. Skryim, game of the year in 2011. Come on people.
posted by VyanSelei at 3:06 PM on November 10

And now anyone reading this who hasn't played them can never have those experiences you enjoyed so much, JHarris. Sucks to be me reading this thread before I'd played Baba is You.

Heh heh heh! I was holding back, Baba Is You gets much weirder than that before it's over.
posted by JHarris at 9:23 PM on November 10

That is to say: the quantity of weird and awesome things in Baba Is You only begins with the bit I mentioned above. It goes far beyond that, to amazing places. What I said is a spoiler, and I apologize for that, but it is really minor compared to what follows, and you can bet I'm not going to spoil any of that.
posted by JHarris at 9:56 PM on November 10

Yeah, I'm not really mad about that, I'm really more upset about someone missing out on that wonderful experience in The Witness. I can't see how unexpectedly blurting that out would ever be a nice thing to do.

And in general, it seems like your idea of listing unexpected moments in games is fundamentally unsound. If you enjoy the surprise of those moments enough to make a list of them, why would you want to make a list that takes that experience away from anyone who reads it? And if the surprise is no big deal, why bother with the list?

If someone adds a surprise to the list you haven't seen, well, oops, you don't get to enjoy that one. But if nobody adds anything you haven't already seen, what good does the list do you?
posted by straight at 2:33 AM on November 11

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