10 years ago, at a long-dead trade show called ECTS, Eurogamer thrust up its first webpages and started filling them up. As somebody who has been here almost from day one (I joined the team in February 2000), I know that I could not have conceived of the site you're now reading, more than 3500 reviews later, from the creaky beige box hooked up to dual-bond ISDN in the days of the millennium bug, 5ive and Gerard Houllier. Far, far more importantly though, I certainly couldn't have conceived of some of the games we'd be playing, or the manner in which we'd be playing them, a decade after I took a job that's come to define me.
But this isn't just an introduction about how little foresight I have and the fact I don't go out much. It's to explain that as we arrive at our 10th birthday, the best way we can think to celebrate it (that we can put on the website, anyway) is to salute the very best games of the time we've been alive. After exhaustive polling of the entire Eurogamer staff - including editorial, tech, management, some old flames and even the salespeople - each of whom was allowed to nominate 10 games in order of preference, I've compiled a list of our 10 favourites based on weighted votes, and invited Eurogamer's foremost editors of past and present to comment on our selections. Say hello to the usual quartet of Ellie Gibson, Oli Welsh, Johnny Minkley and myself, but also welcome back Rob Fahey, Kristan Reed, and launch editor John "Gestalt" Bye.
(What's more, say hello to yourself, because last week we polled you for your favourites. If you'd like to see whether you did any better than us, be sure to check out the Editor's blog for the Readers' Top 50 list.)
Before we begin our countdown, however, a brief disclaimer. As with our Top 50 lists every Christmas, I'd be the first to admit the list that follows is anything but definitive. It does, however, reflect the tastes and preferences of more than 20 passionate gamers over a huge period of time, many of whom have been paid to play as much of everything under the sun during the period covered. If your first instinct is to call bullshit on the list, more power to you, but for the rest of you, I simply hope you enjoy being reminded about what are at the very least some of the games of the decade, and that you find some of our recollections and considerations insightful.
4th September 2009
P.S. Ever the spoilt brats, we couldn't stop at doing just one big celebratory games feature on our 10th birthday, so do be sure to check elsewhere on the site for individual blogs from each of the seven-strong panel, who, in addition to their comments for the top 10, were invited to write a longer post about any game they like from the last 10 years that happened to have a profound effect on them. Congratulations in particular to Ellie for choosing Fruit Mystery, the mad idiot.
10. RedLynx Trials 2: Special Edition / Trials HD
RedLynx / PC, Xbox 360
Tom Bramwell: There's a danger with best-of lists that they end up biased towards the flavour of the moment, and to some degree Trials' position in our top 10 games of the last 10 years probably does reflect that. But I kind of like that, too. I think when you look further down the list you'll be surprised at how wide our eyes were cast anyway, but in 10 years' time, if there still is an internet and someone looks at this list, realising that we all fell so completely in love with this little indie treasure in 2008/2009 will probably raise a smile rather than a frown.
Kristan Reed: Ever since Mr Chips came up with the remarkably addictive Kikstart 1&2 in the late '80s, I've hankered after a simple, side-scrolling, hazard-strewn, obstacle-course racing game. That's possibly the most laboured genre description you'll ever see, but Trials basically is Kikstart in all but name. Simply barrelling across a course from left to right without falling off is somehow the best fun, and yet almost ruinously frustrating. The ability to instantly reset Trackmania-style is undoubtedly the game's key saving grace, inspiring a degree of OCD devotion that turns a quick go into a 3 hour session in the blink of an eye. On top of that, has any game inspired such a slavish obsession to online leaderboards? If any game demonstrates how vital and how relevant downloadable games are to the current landscape, Trials is it.
Johnny Minkley: Finally completed the final stage of Hard in Trials HD this week. The final attempt took me over 28 minutes, hundreds of attempts and I was sweating like a LAN party by the time my driver limped over the line. The learning curve is savage, the infinite failure crushing, but the pain of defeat is rewarded with an incredible sense of achievement that seems to have faded from games over the past decade as they've become more "accessible". It's also the best leaderboard-focused game I've played in years. I just wish I'd never added Tom to my friends list.
Rob Fahey: I walked into a friend's flat the other day and discovered him and his flatmate sat on opposite ends of the sofa, not speaking to one another - a state which had persisted for over two hours, ever since my friend discovered that his flatmate had spent his afternoon off work methodically destroying each of his times in Trials HD. This game destroys friendships. It destroys lives. Forewarned is forearmed.