If you've read Eurogamer for more than a few months, you're probably aware that we traditionally end the year with our rundown of the writers' top 50 games of the preceding 12 months. As we always point out, it's a list of games the editorial staff and freelance contributors have played and selected as their favourites, and it's assembled based on their orders of preference. It's meant to illustrate what we've played and liked, and give us a forum to exchange views about them with one another on the site. It's a list of some of the best games of the year, but it's not a definitive order by any measure.
However, this is a subtle distinction, and so every year when we do the list we're encouraged by a vocal majority to climb a wall of poo. Last year, even EA Sports president Peter Moore forgot to read the label and went off on one about FIFA 09 not making the 50. It's one thing when PersonStumblingInFromAnotherForum52 breaks the swearing policy because more of the staff liked platformers than games that were about shooting Nazis in the face, but when the head of a major multinational corporation calls you out because you admitted to what you'd spent the year playing then you tend to question your premise.
Still, we swore we'd give it another go, and the opportunity came around sooner than expected. In September we celebrated our 10-year anniversary as a company, and decided to put together a Lifetime Top 10, voted for in much the same way: a reflection of our choices and experiences over a decade, writ large, rather than a list of the 10 best games of the decade, which would surely be wrong and meaningless. However, even with a careful disclaimer, this resulted in a comments thread that made us all cry.
But a curious thing happened. At the same time as the Lifetime Top 10, we also did a series of blogs where we all paid tribute to games we really liked at greater length. Part retrospective, part personal tribute, they took in a lot of the same games and a few others that meant something to us, and... the response was almost universally positive. If you stop trying to put things in order, it turns out people like reading about games again, even if you have the temerity to admit you like one!
So this year we're going to do things a bit differently. We still have loads of games we want to write about, either because we want to make sure you didn't miss out on them, or because you already love them and we want to bask in the reasons why. But we're not going to put them in a list. Instead we've nominated a healthy number behind closed doors and I've invited most of our lovely contributors to revisit them in a series of posts between now and the end of the year, starting today with FIFA 10 (hi Peter!) and of course Demon's Souls. We'll also have Ellie's traditional festive roundup of the year's news and a few other bits and pieces.
Once we're done with those, we'll name a single title as the Eurogamer Game of the Year, as voted for by the core editorial staff and our regular contributors. This is what would traditionally have held the number one position in our old list. We'll also publish your Top 50 Games of 2009, based on the thousands of votes we've received in the last two weeks and including many of your comments, because with a sample size that hefty you can derive a great deal from the collective judgement. (Plus, we don't mind if you flame yourselves.) Hopefully the result of these efforts in combination will be just as much interesting insight, debate and entertainment as the old format, and less of the confusion and anger that used to spoil an otherwise lovely time of year for gaming.
As always, we'll be paying attention to your responses, and I know that there will be those of you who think it's a shame to say goodbye to the Top 50. So do I. February will be the 10-year anniversary of my joining Eurogamer, and I've presided over a lot of these lists in the past, and have always been the person staying up over Christmas gluing all the words together, so they are close to my heart. But enough's enough. There's got to be a happy alternative. Wait and see how this year pans out, and if you end up hating it let us know and we'll look at it again in another 12 months.
In the meantime, thanks for all your support throughout the year and we hope you enjoy the next two weeks of content while we recharge. See you in 2010.