The results are in for this decade’s “Greatest Game Series of the Decade” contest, dreamed up by Gamestop and held “people’s choice”-style on their website. Site members were able to log in and vote for their favourites out of 64 game series, which progressed through brackets until just two remained. Here, according to the Gamestop community, are the greatest series of the last ten years:
Semifinalist: The Legend of Zelda
Let’s face it. If The Legend of Zelda—one of the first series in the gaming world and a series that has been loved, bought, re-mastered and re-imagined for almost 30 years—didn’t make it to the top eight, it would’ve incited some kind of revolt. These games have always had something for everyone: puzzles, adventure, maps to explore, lovely art and music. They even beat out the incredible Civilization series to do it.
Semifinalist: Batman: Arkham
It’s hard to make people take a man in a bat costume seriously. It’s hard to use the macabre Gotham City as the setting for a game people will play in their down time. But the Batman: Arkham series did exactly that, getting 64.5% of the vote against Max Payne.
Semifinalist: Metal Gear Solid
Most people these days, when they began playing video games, were the age at which hiding in cardboard boxes was just as amusing as gaming. Metal Gear Solid gave us both at the same time, beating the Battlefield series with 62.9% of the vote.
Semifinalist: Assassin’s Creed
The first game’s novel open-world mechanics. The second game’s detail and beautiful attention to Renaissance Italian architecture and culture. The mere trailers for “Brotherhood” and “Revelations.” These games, when they’re not asking you to collect works of art, are works of art themselves.
Anyone who has played the Fallout series and claims they’ve never woken up singing “I don’t want to set the world on fire” is lying. Besides the unique 40s and 50s feel of the latest two games, the entire series is a great exploration of the post-apocalyptic genre and a worthy member of this competition’s quarterfinalists, beating out Assassin’s Creed by only .02% of the vote (51.1% to 49.9%).
Quarterfinalist: Mass Effect
With complicated plots, great world-building, plenty of action and revolutionary mechanics based on choices that you the player make, it’s no wonder that Mass Effect earned a place in the semi-finals. It definitely gave its opponent for the finals a run for its money, earning 47% of the vote as opposed to Fallout’s clear minority of 37.7%.
Finalist: Grand Theft Auto
This penultimate winner raised some questions: namely, how did Grand Theft Auto make it to the finals? Even over all the series that came before it in this list? But this is where we see the true root of what people love about games: games are fun. And a series as fun as Grand Theft Auto is going to make it all the way to the top on that value alone, let alone anything else it has going for it (which is quite a bit).
Winner: The Elder Scrolls
Narrowly winning the entire competition with 52.5% of the vote against Grand Theft Auto was the Elder Scrolls series, no doubt championed by “Skyrim,” which ironically had to beat Fallout in the quarterfinals to get into the finals. Looks like Bethesda has another accolade under its belt, surprising no one.