Half-Life 2 is Guardian’s game of the decade

Thursday, 17th December 2009 10:06 GMT By Patrick Garratt


The Guardian’s named Half-Life 2 as the best game of the decade. It’s a user vote thingum.

Apparently, “Half-Life 2 is the game of the decade, not just because it’s good, but because it encapsulates so much of what mainstream gaming has been trying to do for the last ten years; the aspiration to create believable, physically accurate worlds, then to make us a part of them.”

Knock yourself out. We really want to stop now.



  1. NiceFellow

    A very good choice in my view.

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Johnny Cullen

    HL2 is a good game, but this video should represent how I feel about the choice of no. 1

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Blerk

    I really liked it. Would I call it the game of the decade? Probably not. But I have no idea how I’d ever narrow my shortlist down to a single title.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. nea

    Maybe I wouldn’t call it Game of the Decade but I could easily sign the statement “because it encapsulates so much of what mainstream gaming has been trying to do for the last ten years; the aspiration to create believable, physically accurate worlds, then to make us a part of them.”

    #4 5 years ago
  5. Dannybuoy

    Screw the Guardian, they thought MW2 was game of the year!

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Len

    Gets my vote, a wondeful wonderful game which blew me away at the time. I like the Arthouse vs. Hollywood analogy, most apt imo.

    Now please give us some info on Eps.3 and not just another measly bit of art Valve!

    #6 5 years ago
  7. Blerk

    Yes, Episode 3 very soon, please. Before I forget what happened in the rest of the game.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. The Hindle

    Yes Ep 3 its been 2 years and we have heard nothing, i think they maybe building a new engine

    #8 5 years ago
  9. DarkElfa


    3 best of the Decade for me.

    #9 5 years ago
  10. NiceFellow

    what would you put in 1 then Johnny?

    #10 5 years ago
  11. mington

    ep 3

    What we know, and what to expect?We know the episode is going to be set in the northern reaches of the world of Half-Life, these will be cold places filled with ice and snow, oh and a Borealis.

    The Borealis is that great ship that disappeared during some experimentation by the same sort of scientists that caused the Resonance Cascade from the original Half-Life. From what we have seen from Portal and the previous Episodes the Borealis is a scientific ship that was involved in teleportation tests at the Aperture Science labs. Something went wrong which led to the ship disappearing completely from its original location. It is only during the events of Episode 2 that we find out that it has returned, this time in the coldest reaches of the world.

    i don’t know if this is just a load of bull, but half life hasn’t done snow yet

    #11 5 years ago
  12. Len

    Like you say, bring on the Borealis and a portal/gravity gun combo!

    And surely they have to be working on a new engine to take this long…?

    #12 5 years ago
  13. Quiiick

    I don’t play PC-games & I don’t play/like MMORPGs but nonetheless “World of Warcraft” is probably #1 game of the decade.

    My personal choice would be among the following games (US release dates):

    Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – Oct 13, 2009
    Killzone 2 – Feb 27, 2009
    Fallout 3 – Oct 28, 2008
    Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – Jun 12, 2008
    Grand Theft Auto IV – Apr 29, 2008
    Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Nov 16, 2007
    Black – Feb 28, 2006
    Resident Evil 4 – Oct 25, 2005 (PS2)
    XIII – Nov 18, 2003
    Final Fantasy X – Dec 17, 2001

    #13 5 years ago
  14. mescalineeyes

    my game of the decade is Silent Hill 2.

    Half-Life 2 I found incredibly overrated and worse than the original, which I loved.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. Gekidami

    Personally i think there were better games then HL2 in the last 10 years. I’ll bet the fact its been rereleased keeps it fresh in peoples memories and thats why they vote for it.
    Silent Hill 2 is a great example; Awesome game but when was the last time people played it? It came out in 2001 and unless you actually go looking for it in your collection you arent going to be playing it. HL2 came out last year in the Orange Box.

    #15 5 years ago
  16. mescalineeyes

    yeah Geki, it’s the same with end-of-the-year best-of lists.

    at least that’s what I tell myself when I don’t see SFIV on one.

    #16 5 years ago
  17. Johnny Cullen

    NF – One of the four.

    Metal Gear Solid 3
    Metal Gear Solid 4
    Grand Theft Auto III
    Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

    #17 5 years ago
  18. Hunam

    Half-Life is better than Half-Life 2. Why cant you all see this?

    #18 5 years ago
  19. Psychotext

    We’ve done this before Hunam… and you’re wrong. :D

    #19 5 years ago
  20. Gekidami

    Half-Life didnt come out in the last decade so it dosnt matter.

    #20 5 years ago
  21. Hunam

    I know, I just always see people claiming HL2 is the best thing ever and whilst it’s a great game, I can never really vault it to the heights everyone else thinks of it because it’s an inferior sequel.

    #21 5 years ago
  22. abbe

    Actually the Orange Box came out in 2007.

    In my opinion Half-life 2 is better in the narrative and the way it actually tells a story and a world in peril, however Half-Life is better in the replayability spectrum because it doesn’t have long travel bits that just kills your soul.

    I have tried to replay HL2 several times but I just can’t do it. I would still say its one of the best games of this decade, probably just after TF2.

    #22 5 years ago
  23. Hunam

    I actually think the story and story telling in HL2 is dire and almost puts me off the game. It’s filled with jokey characters that yabber on about crap for far too long whilst intently looking at you. In EP2 when Aylx gets skewered, I actually just walked off and left her too it, imagine my surprise when those aliens had saved her and she was sitting there waiting for me. Cunts.

    Half-Life 1 uses the technique of having a story that isn’t told to you, but by you. The story is of your adventures in Black Mesa, you’re fights, your interactions with security guards and other crazy stuff. It’s what you tell your friends about the game that defines the story. It has no real narrative but it genius in that it is a string of events relating to a single incident. For a shooter, HL1 story hasn’t been bettered IMO.

    #23 5 years ago
  24. Dr.Ghettoblaster

    Game of the decade………that’s a tough call……

    #24 5 years ago
  25. NiceFellow


    those are good games but not as good as Half Life 2 IMHO – and I guess at least in terms of the voters for this list that’s the majority view.

    My main issue, and what I agree with in their view, is that MGS labours its narrative mechanics, and struggles with unweildy exposition, while Half Life 2 (and Half Life before it) elegantly delivery exposition without cutscenes or recourse to mechanics borrowed from cinema.

    GTA narrative is also always messy, although to be fair Rockstar persist in trying to marry some form of narrative to an open world game, and it never works, although GTA IV probably got a bit closer than most of their efforts.

    The key thing about Valve approach for me is they don’t have cutscenes, they don’t borrow from cinema, everything leverages videogame mechanics and moves seamlessly from action to exposition or even has the two nicely mixed.

    Saying that, I’ll be curious to see how I feel about Uncharted 2 over coming years. I always think it’s a mistake to skew lists like this to recent releases, but although it does use cutscenes, Uncharted 2 is probably the smoothest, best narrative I’ve experienced since Half Life 2 itself.

    #25 5 years ago
  26. Anders

    Good pick. For me, the storytelling was what really made the game. Feels natural and immersive in a way few games released since then have been able to replicate.

    Oh, and yeah – Half-Life 2: Episode 3 plz.

    #26 5 years ago
  27. abot

    HL2 is a great game but I have to go with Deus Ex as my GOTD.

    Deus Ex tells an incredible narrative through a first-person interface years before that started becoming cool. Unique inventory system, great weapons, a thinking mans shooter.

    #27 5 years ago
  28. OlderGamer

    “of the decade”?
    Not in my book.
    I don’t have an answer, and I don’t think there is one. This an opinion based thing. But I think that there are tons of games that are as good if not better then HL2. And, again we would be asking ourself based on what? Metacritic? User reviews? Sales? Breaks new ground? If someone can come up with a scintific fomula for to back such a statement, then I will entertain the notion. Maybe.
    But games that I have enjoyed more then half life in the past decade are:
    The past two Civ games Civ III and Civ IV
    Marvel Vs Capcom 2
    The past 9 years of EAs NCAA/Madden Football
    Rockband 1, 2, TBRB, even Lego RB
    Diablo II
    Phantasy Star Online
    and yes I whole heartedly agree that my biggest game of the past 10yrs, off the top of my head, is World Of Warcraft.
    The game boasts something like 11 or 12 million subscriptions. Thats a heck of a lot of people playing. It has spawned South Park episodes, The Guild web tv, and has more then a few dev/pubs scratching their heads and asking themself if they could somehow copy the game sucesses.
    HL2 is a great game. And this type of subject matter is impossible to define. What works for one person won’t work for everyone. And with a past ten years being filled with great games, why would you want to limit yourself to just one? They should have done a big list and thrown out the numbering system all together. Given 25 games, in no real order. That I would have liked much better.

    #28 5 years ago
  29. DaMan

    exactly, it’s a matter of opinion. how do you name a ‘game of the decade’ out of different genre ones?

    #29 5 years ago
  30. No_PUDding

    ICO, it was the tip of the surf, of a crashing wave of interest in games as a mature medium. Mature in interaction that is.

    The first game that favoured substance over entertainment only. And was universally acknowledged for it. People are actively searching for that in development and playing of games.

    And that’s why it HAS to be a game of the decade. It’s influenced a hugely popular movement in videogames later on in this decade.

    #30 5 years ago
  31. DaMan

    that’s a good point, but it depends on what you want from videogames. then I’d say it’s equally GTA3, WoW and Ico.

    here’re the Edge awards btw:

    #31 5 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.