Aughts in play

The decade ends so of course there are countless, boring "Best of the Decade" lists. Problem is, video games are difficult things, even to categorize. Was it fun? Was it groundbreaking? Do you just go console-only? What about the PC and arcades? Ah, screw it: If you could play it, it was up for consideration. So here, in no particular order, are the 10 best games to drop in the '00s.

Dance Dance Revolution Extreme (2002)
Konami (arcade)

It was easy to spot a DDR player at the arcade, just look for a sweat-drenched T-shirt. The game was such a cardio workout that schools began adding it into their physical education programs. Better than running laps, no?

Katamari Damacy
Namco (PS2)

The King of All Cosmos goes on a drinking binge, destroys stars in space, and sends his son to re-create them using a super sticky ball that picks up any type of trash? I think the designers were on a drinking binge when they created the game, but it's so off-the-wall it just works.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Nintendo (Gamecube, Wii)

Nintendo pulled double duty here. While both signaling the Gamecube's swan song, and heralding the Wii, Twilight Princess also has the distinction as being recognized as the best Zelda game ever made.

Grand Theft Auto 3
Rockstar Games (PS2)

With this, Rockstar Games made virtual killing, mugging, and stealing living room-friendly. A truly open world, you could do the story missions, or just run around making Liberty City your playground of carnage. Were you looking for something groundbreaking and controversial at the same time? GTA3 gave it up.

Half-Life 2
Valve (PC)

Considered the best first-person shooter ever made by many hardcore gamers. Half-Life 2 puts you back into the boots of silent protagonist Gordon Freeman. The control, physics and overall playability of the game still beats back current challengers for the FPS throne. Whenever Valve decides to finally release the Episode 3 expansion pack, the Internet may break in half with the rush of rabid fans.

Guitar Hero
Harmonix/Red Octane (PS2)

Like DDR did previously, Guitar Hero takes the formula of simulating a musical act.  Putting video game systems into homes that wouldn't normally have one, no actual guitar skills were required to rock a party all night, a party that would, no doubt, finish with "Free Bird" in the wee hours.

Super Smash Brothers Brawl
Nintendo (Wii)

Nintendo strikes again, bringing the fighting game for people who don't feel like getting their head ripped off in Mortal Kombat.  Featuring the stars of most of Nintendo's various franchises, up to four friends could easily blow the whole evening brawling in front of the Wii.

World of Warcraft
Blizzard (PC)

You know you've got a bonafide cultural phenomenon when there's a South Park episode based on a computer game. Though Everquest gets brownie points for introducing the term MMORPG into the public consciousness, WoW became a juggernaut on a scale that hasn't been seen before. Hell, even Mr. T agreed.

Shadow of the Colossus
Sony Computer Entertainment (PS2)

The best game you've probably never heard of. Shadow of the Colossus was the spiritual successor (and possible prequel) to Ico, another game you've probably never played.  A true shame, because, while it was low on action, this was really high art masquerading as a video game.

Halo: Combat Evolved
Bungie (Xbox)

There may be better first-person shooters out there (hell, it's not the best one on this list), but what Halo did, was finally make an excellent FPS on home console system.  Halo almost single-handedly made Microsoft's Xbox a viable system to own.  So, Master Chief, we salute you.

Bryant Franks plays them as they lay. Send comments to [email protected]
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