Blimey that was a slog. This is it. That wasn\'t it. THIS is it. Right here. Right now. Here. You\'re looking at it.
Here they are, in chronological order...
Ocarina\'s dark reflection, Majora\'s Mask stands as one of the greatest and, oddly, \'different\' Zeldas. Ocarina of Time undertook the massive task of cementing the familiar Zelda bluprint in three-dimensions, allowing MM to take the series to new and fascinating places. The Zelda template of elemental temples/boss battles/acquirement/hub-world/etc continues to structure each new game, and why not? It\'s comforting and solid. But this game proved the formula can be mixed up and turned on its head. It has all those familiar elements, but reconfigured so thoroughly and thoughtfully it\'s like seeing Hyrule through the eyes of a schizophrenic. It\'s delicious, surreal, jarring, but still Zelda. And it stays with you.
Shenmue continues to inspire a devout following from a generation of gamers. It painstakingly creates a breathing world that refuses to pander to thrill-seekers. It takes its time to draw you in, and once captured, you\'ll forgive its quirks and downright stubbornness a thousand times over. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and if you weren\'t there at the beginning, Shenmue can be a difficult experience. To the uninitiated it\'s like that three-hour Fellini classic that you know you should like, and by-God you\'re determined to sit through it, but you need to invest the time and energy. If you\'re not \'in the mood\' it\'s not going to grab you with a gimmicky action sequence (and this is the series that invented the QTE in its modern guise!) Give it the time though and it will seep into your veins and touch you on the willy. The concluding chapters WILL come - be patient my friends, be patient.
Super Smash Bros Melee
The best selling Gamecube game. Frantic and dripping with history, with four players you\'re guaranteed to a blast. One could argue against the dubious single-player, but as with Mario Kart, this is a multiplayer experience in the same way Left4Dead is. The merciless beating of Pikachu still satisfies and Nintendo shows again there isn\'t a genre it can\'t casually twist and make its own.
\'But what about Brawl?!\' In the same way Shenmue and Shenmue II are the same, Brawl IS Melee. Brawl\'s comprehensive fan-service is staggering, but elementary faults such as flawed online multiplayer mean it simply doesn\'t surpass its predecessor in any meaningful way, and therefore doesn\'t warrant inclusion - not at the expense of something else. It wouldn\'t sit right on my conscience. I\'m a delicate soul.
Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
The cel-shaded uproar this caused turned out to be the greatest asset of this beautiful game. We take for granted the underlying mechanical quality - it\'s a given (and rightly so considering it\'s a spit-polish of Ocarina\'s template.) Some malign the laborious Triforce shard hunt and the small number of \'proper\' dungeons, but the beauty of this instalment is undeniable. Discovering the sunken Hyrule castle rivals the most surreal moments of Majora\'s Mask and seeing the seven sages rendered in stained glass brings a tear to the eye. For a game that shares so much DNA with Ocarina, the cel-shaded animation refuses to age like its forebear. Yes, treat it dispassionately or get too wound up in timeline logistics and your goal-based brain may well get irritated, the lengthy sailing trips only exacerbating your frustration. The key is to relish the journey - point your compass to the horizon, sit back and breathe in the salty splendour of it all. Just keep an eye out for those Octo-wotsits.
Weaving story and action together so the joins don\'t show, Valve make it look effortless. It\'s as linear as a book, but you\'re always in control. Forget \'sandbox experiences\' and \'self-made narratives\' - let ol\' Gabe take you for a ride. It combines the fun of a playpit with the drive of a thrilling page-turner. And it\'s always one step ahead. I don\'t really have anything else to say. Astonishing.
Resident Evil 4
The series no longer relied on restrictive camera angles or shoddy controls to create tension. Number 4 oozed quality from every pustule. With a host of other titles taking up the survival-horror baton, Capcom shifted focus to action. It converted naysayers, reinvigorated the faithful and created something that its sequel couldn\'t live up to.
More than any other game in the genre, this is the one that shows Nintendo really need to up their game. Okami is one of the best Zeldas you\'ll ever play. Clover\'s gorgeous sumi-e art, story and music disguise the familiarity of the template and the Celestial Brush is the equal of any Zelda MacGuffin. A huge experience that fools you more than once, the \'last\' ending arguably can\'t live up to the magnificence of the rest of the game. Ready at Dawn\'s Wii port lost some elegance in translation, specifically with combat controls, but benefited from 16:9. Regardless of personal preference, there isn\'t a \'bad\' version of this game. We await the DS sequel with baited breath...
Ahh look at de boofles woofles \'ickle boysy-woysy...
Super Mario Galaxy
The reason every gamer must have access to the family Wii. Thoroughly exceptional. It\'s easy to denounce the waggle and pointing aspects as superfluous but they demonstrate perfectly how to augment traditional gameplay with motion control. They\'re unobtrusive and intuitive, evolving naturally from the old-school moveset. The quality here is so high that nit-picking makes you feel like a cock. We\'ll see if the sequel can sustain itself with enough new ideas and concepts to avoid getting repetitive. Expectations will be staggeringly high, but then they were for this. Where else can Mario go?...
Puzzling. Poncy. Pretentious. Well, maybe. But those descriptions are an easy refuge for the impatient. Yes, it\'s thoughtful and uncompromising, but so is Shenmue. And unlike Shenmue you can whip through this in a few hours. As with the others on this list, it\'s the seemingly effortless meld of every aspect - story, visuals, music, control - that makes Braid so special and rewarding. If you\'re in the right frame of mind, it has the power to jolt your preconceptions. Games don\'t just have to be \'fun\'. They can change how you think, or affect you just as a book or film or person or any great art can. Plus they can be fun.
Street Fighter IV
It took your nostalgia, gave it an HD coating, then improved on every aspect \'til it surpassed those feverish treasured memories. That\'s what it did. Deep as you like, but still accessible and attractive to the button-mashers among us, it\'s a consummate lesson in updating a beloved classic. Chun-Li\'s thighs have never looked so lickable.
And that\'s your lot. A diverse collection - I\'m impressed with you all Executive decisions were made with a couple of them - I thought three Zelda games was pushing it, and I refuse to have Melee and Brawl in there when there\'s a tie! So, discuss, debate and vote for your favourite C3 multi-platform Game of the Decade (as opposed to the C3 Nintendo Game of the Decade that\'s coincidentally popped up from nowhere - surely I own this fresh and original concept?!) and we\'ll be done and dusted. If there\'s any game on this list you haven\'t tried then go treat yourself damnit! It\'ll be nothing less than exceptional.
( Edited 08.01.2010 00:34 by dartmonkey )