The GamerSushi Top 20 Games of the Generation


Between gimmicky Wii shovelware, Red Rings of Death and large price points tainted by giant crab battles, this generation started with something akin to a whimper—and that’s being generous. But as the years went on, we were not only treated to one of the longest generations of console gaming, but also the most fruitful. We saw games take great strides in scope and imagination. With dozens of new IPs that hold great promise, some of the most fantastic sequels ever made and new approaches to storytelling, it’s safe to say that gamers are in a better situation now than they were back in 2005, when the Xbox 360 first debuted.

On the even of a new generation, we thought we’d take a look back at this last generation—and perhaps one of the greatest we’ve ever had. Over the course of several weeks, the GamerSushi staff voted on the best experiences of this generation, getting in heated debates, pitting games against each other in vicious battles and nearly ending several friendships. Below are the results.

Thees are our top 20 games of this generation. Enjoy, dudes.

XCOM Enemy Unknown

20. XCOM

Firaxis [2K Games]

Enemy Unknown: Few games are as hardcore and unforgiving as XCOM and this reboot refined the series to make it more accessible while losing none of that toughness. Every turn was fraught with fear and the ability to name your squad after your friends made losing them all the more personal. But no matter how bitter the defeat, the victories never tasted sweeter.

super mario galaxy

19. Super Mario Galaxy

Nintendo [Nintendo]

Who doesn’t remember obsessively shaking the Wii-mote to perform Mario’s spin attack in this system-defining experience? Galaxy was a deep, challenging and exciting Mario game that also showcased some of the Wii’s best graphics. It helped that running around on all those tiny planets felt a bit like what a video game starring The Little Prince might be like.


18. Limbo

Playdead [Microsoft Game Studios]

At a glance it might look like a simple black-and-white platformer, but through the use of German Expressionism-styled artwork, lighting and sound design Limbo creates an incredibly eerie, haunting atmosphere that sticks with you long after you’ve put the controller down. The game takes you from creepy forests to destroyed cities with a “try-and-die” mechanic that can be trying at times, but is ultimately rewarding. When someone asks if video games can be art, the answer is Limbo.

Resident Evil 5

17. Resident Evil 5

Capcom [Capcom]

After a poorly-made demo lowered expectations, Resident Evil 5 turned out to be one of the best co-op experiences of this generation, combining Resident Evil 4’s play style with gorgeously disgusting graphics. The game was full of top-notch set-pieces, and the after-game DLC was equally crucial, inspiring screaming sessions between friends while fighting off waves of enemies.

Fallout 3

16. Fallout 3

Bethesda [Bethesda]

War never changes, but Fallout sure did. Going from a top-down RPG to a FPS open-world that used Oblivion as a model, Bethesda made wandering the wastes even more addicting than ever and still managed to retain the aspects of freedom of choice that made Fallout so popular in the first place.

Dragon Age Origins

15. Dragon Age: Origins

Bioware [Electronic Arts]

One of the saddening trends from this generation has been the move away from the traditional RPG. When Bioware released this spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate, roleplayers everywhere plumbed Ferelden’s depths, betraying friends, felling dragons and twisting their own narratives. Dragon Age: Origins was by no means a perfect RPG, but is easily one of the most sweeping and memorable we’ve had in years.

Dark Souls

14. Dark Souls

From Software [Namco Bandai]

Dark Souls has a reputation for being one of the hardest games of the current generation, but really it just plays with your expectations in ways that make it thrilling, addictive and occasionally infuriating. Patience and curiosity are rewarded as you traverse the menacing, mysterious world of this stellar game.

StarCraft II

13. StarCraft II

Blizzard [Blizzard]

The original Starcraft is maybe the most loved RTS of all time, and it’s expansion Brood War went on to spawn an multi-million dollar eSports industry in Korea, so needless to say the anticipation for the sequel was massive. It took 12 years, but a well put together single player campaign, addictive online play via and an extremely active community of commentators and progamers combined to make Starcraft II one of the most popular properties in all of gaming.

Grand Theft Auto V

12. Grand Theft Auto V

Rockstar Games [Rockstar Games]

After the disappointment of Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar had a lot of ground to make up with Grand Theft Auto V. Thankfully, the newest entry in the series ditched the social calls, created a sprawling Los Santos as gorgeous to look at is it is fun to be in. The addition of heists and three playable main characters put some fresh air into the series, delivering one of Rockstar’s best outings in years.


11. Bioshock

Irrational Games [2K Games]

Bioshock was one of the first and most remarkable games of the generation, creating a lasting impression that has stuck with gamers for years. The chilling moans of lumbering Big Daddies, that creepy feeling you get when you see a Little Sister harvesting a corpse for the first time, and the mind-blowing way Kevin Levine undermines video game tropes with the game’s trend-setting narrative all combine to create one of the most singular experiences of this generation.

Red Dead Redemption

10. Red Dead Redemption

Rockstar Games [Rockstar Games]

John Marston is a rare protagonist in video games: a family man just looking to do what’s right. He’s not a bald-headed space marine, but rather a lone cowboy in a time when the Wild West was in danger of dying out. Red Dead had a touching story, a bleak and beautiful landscape and more side activities then you could shake a stick at. It also had one of the most memorable moments where music and gameplay blended together.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

9. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Ubisoft Montreal [Ubisoft]

Coming one year after Assassin’s Creed 2, Brotherhood put us back in the robes of Ezio Auditore. Brotherhood introduced the biggest change the series has ever seen, the ability to raise your own guild of assassin’s. It also introduced multiplayer to the franchise, a breath of fresh-air in a time when first-person shooter ruled the roost.

Bioshock Infinite

8. Bioshock Infinite

Irrational Games [2K Games]

The long-awaited follow-up to Bioshock from Ken Levine was met with a fervent anticipation that few games can match. Taking you deep into the seemingly idyllic world of Columbia and then twisting your mind in circles before finally blowing it apart at the end, Bioshock Infinite managed to live up to the hype and further cement Levine’s status as a genuine auteur.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

7. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Infinity Ward [Activision]

If this generation belonged to one game, it’s Call of Duty 4. Bringing the historical shooter to the modern age gave it the kick in the pants it needed and it brought us the best campaign in the series to date (who doesn’t remember All Ghillied Up or the AC-130 mission?). The multiplayer also defined the whole generation, applied the RPG notions of experience points and character progression to a FPS-death match setting.

6. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Bethesda [Bethesda]

The first time you find yourself in an open field in Skyrim, with a dragon swooping round in the sky, it’s hard to remember that you’re playing a game at all. Hunt down bandits, explore gorgeous locales, find yourself in the middle of nowhere robbing a cabin—all of these things are right at your fingertips, and what’s more, each fills infused with something akin to magic. With Elder Scrolls V, Bethesda has created one of the most fully realized, fleshed out, engrossing worlds ever to grace our screens.

Walking Dead

5. The Walking Dead

Telltale Games [Telltale Games]

Some of the most heart-pounding moments of the past generation didn’t come while looking down the barrel of a gun, but looking into the eyes of a young girl and deciding whether or not you should tell her a lie. By putting you in the shoes of Lee, Walking Dead constantly gives a series of gut-wrenching, trigger-quick decisions, many of which have long-lasting ramifications. Thanks to episodic releases, the emotion intensified with each installment, leading to one of the generation’s most stunning climaxes.


4. Portal

Valve [Electronic Arts]

You go in one portal, and come out of another one. It’s such a simple concept, but one that is executed to perfection. What at first seemed like just a throw-in on Valve’s Orange Box bundle, Portal became a cultural phenomenon. While the first-person puzzler can be completed in only a few hours, it still remains one of the most refreshing, funny and memorable rides of this past gen.

3. Batman: Arkham City

Rocksteady [Warner Bros.]

Arkham Asylum put a modern take on the Metroidvania template and Arkham City showed us how to take an open-world game to the next level. A dense world, packed with missions, side quests, collectibles, riddles and Easter Eggs, Arkham City raised the bar so high that even Rocksteady might not be able to clear it next time.

Uncharted 2

2. Uncharted 2

Naughty Dog [Sony Computer Entertainment]

It’s easy to forget that Uncharted 2 had such a stellar narrative, full of great characters, real heart and some fantastic banter—when you’re outrunning a tank, or leaping across cars on a mountain path, or gunfighting in a collapsing building or trying to survive on a runaway train, those things seem secondary. But Uncharted 2 manages to combine these generation-defining setpieces with some of gaming’s best writing, leaving a hallmark experience as a result that couldn’t even be matched by its sequel.

Mass Effect 2

1. Mass Effect 2

Bioware [Electronic Arts]

Right from the cold open, Mass Effect 2 grabs you and holds on for the entire length of the game. With tuned up combat, great character moments and more of the sci-fi opera setting that we love, Mass Effect 2 took a universe that was already great and made it even better. It also made a solid argument that story-extending DLC was worth the time and money. Quite the achievement for one game.


And there you have it. How would you rank these games, and this list? What are your favorite experiences of this past generation? How do you rank the generation as a whole? Go!

Written by

I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

15 thoughts on “The GamerSushi Top 20 Games of the Generation”

  1. Solid list Eddy. This generation has been something hasn’t it? Never would I have thought at the beginning of this cycle we’d all be in store for such amazing games! We got not 1, but 2 great Batman games, Red Dead Redemption a game that fulfilled my dream of an open world western video game, a beautiful and engaging space opera in Mass Effect 2, and Uncharted 2 which I cannot describe how awestruck I was during my first playthrough.

    Ive got to say I’m really excited to see what the next generation of consoles brings us.

    (Not sure how coherent this is going to turn out it’s kind of late. sorry if this turns out to be the ramblings of a mad man)

  2. When I saw Fallout 3 at #16, I was really worried I would get to the bottom to see Bioshock Infinite at #1. This is a good, encompassing list, and I’m happy to say I played most of it. My list would certainly include Dishonoured though, and most probably Metro: Last Light.

  3. Yeah, there are definitely some notable exceptions here, which is sort of what happens when you’ve got 5 guys trying to cull each of their generational experiences down to one list. We’ve all played different games and value different games, so it makes it tough.

    The process was actually pretty interesting, and happened in multiple rounds. First we made a list of ANY game that we thought could be talked about as perhaps one of the best of the generation. This list was over 50 games long, which was a problem.

    The first elimination consisted of all of us “endorsing” games that we thought should be in the running to be considered for the list. After we’d all done that (in a massive Google spreadsheet), we immediately cut the games with the least votes, which put us down to about 40 games. The second elimination is where it started getting interesting. We started voting on games we wanted OFF the list, and each of us got a handful of votes. We basically did this until we whittled the list down to 20, and it was in that final 5 eliminations where things got pretty heated.

    I’m pretty disappointed in two exclusions: Halo 3 and Minecraft. Minecraft was one of those generation and platform busting games, reminding me of Harry Potter in the sense that it was for people of all ages and brought gaming to those who might not have ever tried it before. And Halo 3, while the campaign wasn’t much to write home about, sort of set the standard for long-lasting content and multiplayer in console gaming. The problem with Halo is that with Halo 3 and Halo: Reach, votes ended up getting split down the staff and neither game ended up making it. In the end, we opted for 2 Bioshock games and a nod to the Assassin’s Creed franchise over a Halo game.

  4. I think you’re right about Minecraft Eddy, but I also consider it something totally different than any of the games on the list. There isn’t really a beginning or an end, it just exists beautifully. The full story of Mojang and Minecraft documentary is free to watch on Youtube now and I really recommend it.

  5. Yeah, I tried to get Dishonored on the list but I was the only one who had played it. Tough odds lol.
    The Halo thing is rough; I didnt care for Halo 3 but I loved Reach. In the end, the votes were split, like Eddy said.

  6. I thought Demon souls was a much better game than Dark souls. And Resident Evil 5 was fun co-op, but when playing single player was downright annoying. For me I would of included MGS4 and possibly a portable game as well such as Pokemon X/Y or Persona 4 Golden.

  7. I’m actually playing Demon’s Souls right now after first playing in 2011 and never finishing it. I think Dark Souls does a much better job of balancing gameplay. Those bonfires make a big damn difference.

    One thing I will give Demon’s Souls, though, is that the first archstone in the Tower of Latria is a fucking creepy level. Dark Souls never goes for horror, but Demon’s Souls pulls it off with that level.

    As for Halo… I definitely voted against Reach in the later rounds. I might have given Halo 3 a pass even though I didn’t like what little I played, but I actually played through all of Reach and just did not get the hype.

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