Every year brings with it its collection of lists of top N games; I mostly enjoy reading them, though I have misgivings about their existence, but I’m not very well positioned to create one myself.
This year is special in that it has also brought ‘games of the decade’. About which I have fewer misgivings: while part of me finds that sort of ranking ridiculous, at least the passage of time gives some amount of distance. And there’s also the pleasure of being reminded of an old friend that you haven’t thought about for a while.
But I don’t really want to write one of those, either, for various reasons. Instead, I’ll present you with a different list, or rather three different lists. I’m not going to say anything about the games here, though many of them are good candidates for me to replay and say more about in the future. I’m sure there are many other games created over the decade that are as good or better than these, and even other games that I’ve played over the decade that are as good or better; there are not, however, other games that I’ve played that have grabbed me in such a deep and direct fashion.
First: games that have lodged into my soul. These are games where I shudder when I see them, that filter up from my brain at unexpected moments.
Next, games that delight: games that bring a smile to my face just thinking of them.
And finally, a trio of games that, in their own ways, try to push onto both of the above lists.
This post has not been revised since publication.