With the current generation now drawing to a close, each member of the VideoGamer.com team share their own games of the generation. For the sake of making them struggle, they've been restricted to picking just three…

Read Editor-In-Chief Simon Miller's Games of the Generation here.

Editor's Note: The generation was classed as PC, Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii. If we included handhelds, these lists would never have been finished…

From a personal perspective this console generation was the first to truly live up to the phrase. Almost a decade has passed since the original announcement of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, and within this period of time my life has changed beyond recognition. In 2005 I was a booze-fuelled student with ridiculous hair and nothing to do, now I’m a borderline-professional adult with ridiculous hair and too much to do.

Great games provide us with moments - memories that we’ll treasure for the rest of our lives. Plot twists and emotionally explosive moments always jump out and grab you fiercely at the time, but it’s often the subtle slow-burn stuff that seeps down deep and lingers the longest.

Games offer a window into our imagination, and the best games encourage you to take something away with you.

My three games of the generation have all stayed with me in some small way, and for that reason these are also the games that I consistently recommend to strangers are parties. If you play three games from the past generation, play these.

Dark Souls screenshot

Dark Souls

In retrospect I’m horrified that I almost gave From Software’s masterpiece a 6/10. It took me many more hours to understand Dark Souls, and many months before I could find a way to explain my thoughts about the game with much clarity. It’s a myth that Dark Souls is a difficult game - it’s merely a game that doesn’t subscribe to the strict rules and framework that the action-RPG genre religiously seems to follow. Playing Dark Souls for the first time is like playing video games for the first time all over again, which naturally leads to frustration and confusion.

See through that and Dark Souls is an incredible reminder that games always have the capacity to surprise and excite. After two decades of playing hundreds of games, a 2011 release came out of nowhere and made me feel like a wide-eyed child. The mechanical design of Dark Souls made it great fun, but the subtle use of aesthetic and narrative make it one of the greatest games of all time. Lordran is a place, and I feel like I’ve lived there.

Red Dead Redemption screenshot

Red Dead Redemption

Grand Theft Auto gets the mainstream buzz, but Rockstar’s finest work is Red Dead. Believable characters and a great storyline keep the wagon wheels rolling along, but the game’s greatest achievement isn’t even the frankly stellar finale: Red Dead’s sense of place is on par with that of Shadow of the Colossus. Publishers pitch video game immersion as a sort of high-octane buzz, while the reality is always strangely mundane.

There’s something magical about being so absorbed in a game that you start exhibiting boring real-world behaviours, like absentmindedly getting off your horse to stop and watch the sun rise. When playing games like GTA I find myself emulating real-world behaviours in the hope of kick-starting incomparable feeling, but Red Dead is a game that just flawlessly nails it. There’s something about the freedom and expanse of the desert that allows your mind to wander and meld with the world, and I don’t think I’ve ever played anything quite like it.

Portal 2 screenshot

Portal 2

Despite playing and loving the original Portal, I was skeptical about the worth of a sequel - let alone a full-price game. I’ve never been happier to be proven so wrong. Portal 2’s consistency and scope in terms of what it achieved have always been a bit of an inspiration. The scripting, characterisation, and plot are all superb - and I honestly think the visual detail and art direction remain unparalleled. Portal 2 was gripping, hilarious, and - surprisingly - emotionally touching.

Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto are the go-to games when it comes to talking about Hollywood experiences, but for my money Portal 2 is the only game that’s ever truly nailed it, with perhaps the exception of The Last of Us. The story was brilliantly memorable stuff, but Portal 2’s greatest impact was the way it changed how I looked at the world. Painted white walls ceased being boring, giving my imagination something cool to do on even the dullest of dull train rides. Games aren’t just a way for me to pass the time - they’re a way to ensure I keep looking at the world through the eyes of a crazy child.

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User Comments

Latenius's Avatar

Latenius

Portal 2 is one of those games I played only once but can safely say it's one of my favorite games of all time. Can't even explain.


For my top 3 I have to put Red Faction Guerrilla in there, it's the most underrated game of this generation.

Then it's probably some combination of TLOU, TES IV: Obli and Mass Effect.
Posted 09:12 on 23 November 2013
killtubecameron's Avatar

killtubecameron

Im with you 100% there matt awesome list the feeling when playing those games was incredible and still is till this day
Posted 00:16 on 22 November 2013
DASHONFIRE's Avatar

DASHONFIRE

Excellent list Matt! It's painful trying to narrow it down to three games but for me I would have to go: Dark Souls (not many people understand my love for that game but everything you said summed up my feelings towards it perfectly), Demon's Souls and the third is a toss up between Mass Effect 2 and The Last Of Us.
Posted 21:44 on 21 November 2013
MrScottyTay's Avatar

MrScottyTay

wow that last line, never thought about gaming like that, but as a quite recently turned adult at 19 almost 20... that so resonates with me right now it's unreal.
Posted 19:22 on 21 November 2013
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio@ Jam_Sponge

I'll prepare the nudging stick! (Just saw you load up Dark Souls on the ol' PC, so it might not be necessary. Always good to be prepared though.)
Posted 17:44 on 21 November 2013
Jam_Sponge's Avatar

Jam_Sponge@ ryan_morris

No problem at all! Initially you'll hate me for it, but eventually you'll thank me. TIS THE WAY OF DARK SOULS. And yes Reynoldio - I will do such a thing, just a case of sorting it out. If something hasn't appeared in the next week, give me a nudge.
Posted 17:20 on 21 November 2013
pblive's Avatar

pblive

One of you better choose a Mario game or I'll come over there and force feed you mushrooms until you grow twice your size and can break bricks with your head

...or something...
Posted 17:17 on 21 November 2013
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio@ Jam_Sponge

Any chance you guys could do an idiots guide article and/or video about making Dark Souls pretty on PC? My modding experience stretches as far as the editor in Football Manager...
Posted 17:14 on 21 November 2013
yellowsapphire's Avatar

yellowsapphire

Completely agree re Portal 2. Portal was amazing 'pilot' for the concept, but Portal 2 just blew it out of the water. I'd almost say that it re-defined the puzzle genre.

Sad face at the lack of XCOM, though.
Posted 16:29 on 21 November 2013
ryan_morris's Avatar

ryan_morris@ Jam_Sponge

Done and done. Thank you sir!
Posted 16:28 on 21 November 2013
Jam_Sponge's Avatar

Jam_Sponge@ ryan_morris

Demon's Souls is less good, imo. More frustrating, less consistent. Either are suitable, but if you've got a PC I'd go for that - looks amazing once you've tweaked it a bit.
Posted 16:17 on 21 November 2013
sycholect's Avatar

sycholect

Lost Odyssey
Xcom - EU
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

To me Red Dead was dead boring, I couldn't stay awake for that game.
But hey it probably is very dependent on whether you like westerns or not and I hate them.
Posted 15:51 on 21 November 2013
ryan_morris's Avatar

ryan_morris

Matt; your deep and sexy love of Dark Souls has enticed me into giving it a go. I will admit Demon's Souls literally scared me away with it's bleak and frustrating atmosphere. Do you think PC or is the PS3 suitable for Dark Souls?
Posted 15:23 on 21 November 2013
barnes312's Avatar

barnes312

i'm surprised your 3 games were not dark souls, dark souls ng+ and dark souls ng++
Posted 15:22 on 21 November 2013
Jam_Sponge's Avatar

Jam_Sponge@ reynoldio

Man, SO close. XCOM and Viva Pinata were on my shortlist. :D
Posted 14:54 on 21 November 2013

Game Stats

System Requirements
Release Date: 21/04/2011
Developer: Valve
Genre: Puzzle
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 304 6
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