Welcome to day two of our completely calm and rational deliberation to narrow down a list of over 150 games to our top 50 games of the 2010-2019 decade! Yesterday was wild! We yeeted Street Fighter V into the abyss with great fanfare. We got in our feelings about horror games and immersive sims. We poured one out for the interactive fiction that won’t see the final list.
Today we have some real barnburners on the pod. I argue Transistor, not Bastion, should be the Supergiant game that makes it through (although Hades might be best when it’s all said and done). Hotline Miami is a hot topic (bienvenido, indeed). DOOM is a no-brainer for the crew. The Mario debate gets completely buckwild.
As we motor down the frozen highway toward creating the definitive list of the top 50 games of the decade, we’re eliminating some really, really good games from the final group. Here’s the day two pod with a direct download link here!
As mentioned, we eliminated some extremely great games from our top 50 in these first two episodes. Here are three I’m particularly sad about.
No Man’s Sky
If there’s an award for Comeback Kid of the Century, No Man’s Sky would get it in a walk. Hello Games overcame ridiculous odds to even release a 1.0, and though that vanilla version wasn’t what everyone had hoped it would be, the game was eventually patched and expanded to greatness. In 2019, No Man’s Sky is as close to a multiplayer spacefaring sandbox as you can possibly ask of a team, big or small.
The effectively infinite sprawl of No Man’s Sky is as impressive now as it was when the game first came out, but the additions of more NPCs to flesh out a lived-in universe, customization options for your fleet of ships, building options that give players a base of operations, and true multiplayer experiences round out a wildly impressive two year span. What players have done with this game are incredible, too, hinting at a future comparable to the Minecrafts and EVE Onlines of the world.
Why it didn’t make the cut: breadth of scope and recency bias
It’s not fair to No Man’s Sky to judge it against 2019’s Outer Wilds. It’s not. They’re two completely different games. Still, those of us who fell in love with the latter found it to be a much more compelling overall package than the former. No Man’s Sky’s breadth of features is staggering, but is also ultimately what makes the game feel a little more hollow than we’d like. Still, in our unofficial shadow rankings, this game barely missed the cut. What a good one.
This brilliant, pulsating, moving version of Tetris (yes, I said moving) is one of 2018’s best games. Tetris Effect is going to worm its way into “best ever” conversations years down the line. We loved it at Fanbyte both on screen and in VR. merritt distills it perfectly in our deliberations, “if you remove human feeling from considerations, Tetris would be the best game ever made.” This version is particularly good.
Why it didn’t make the cut: an old-fashioned disagreement
The crew was split on this but not split on a few other puzzlers that ultimately made the top 50. So yeah! Sometimes that’s how it goes! No one’s happy! It’s fine!
Red Dead Redemption
Rockstar’s finest foray didn’t make our top 50. I get it. Our crew is largely constructed of folks who, like me, are incredibly tired of the developer’s whole deal. Grand Theft Auto V was easy to eliminate from our overall top 50. We’re just not collectively enamored. And that’s okay! What did shock me is no one really shared my love of John Marston’s swan song in 2010’s spectacular Red Dead Redemption. Red Dead doesn’t exist to hold up a mirror to SOCIETY or to outdo itself every five minutes, it exists to tell the tale of a man not long for the world he helped build.
I wasn’t as moved by 2018’s visually impressive but deeply flawed sequel, but John’s last ride was a beautiful one–maybe the last truly interesting thing Rockstar will make.
Why it didn’t make the cut: it didn’t get the votes, baby
We had to make room for Saints Row the Third.