Video Games

Polygon’s “100 Best Games of the Decade” Is Worse Than You Could Imagine

Polygon isn’t exactly a bastion of trustworthy and unbiased “gaming journalism,” but you’d expect that they’d actually play some video games before writing about them.

Of course, the title of “best video game” is subjective and everybody has different tastes.

But there’s no way some of these games should have made the list if Polygon actually played them.

Polygon set the bar extremely high by putting genuinely great games at the bottom of their list. Cuphead is only the 95th best game of the decade and Super Mario Maker is only the 96th best game of the decade.

Fair enough, but what games beat Cuphead and Super Mario Maker?

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is the 86th best game of the decade, according to Polygon — narrowly beating out Monster Hunter: World.

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood

Polygon’s reason for ranking the game as one of the best games of the decade is because “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood was perhaps the biggest indication that a mobile game for girls could be successful.”

That’s a pretty awful reason. Just because a game is profitable doesn’t mean it’s one of the best games of the decade. And it certainly shouldn’t be ranked higher than the other great games on the list by any standard.

But an even more baffling entry on this list is Kentucky Route Zero being placed at #4, beating out giants like The Witcher 3, Dark Souls, and League of Legends.

If you haven’t heard of Kentucky Route Zero, it’s the quintessential indie game. It’s a 5-part artsy, minimalistic game that began in 2013. The fifth part isn’t even out yet.

Kentucky Route Zero
Screenshot of Kentucky Route Zero

You can get a better understanding of what kind of game Kentucky Route Zero is by reading Polygon’s description.

“Kentucky Route Zero felt like a guide through this weird decade, helping me understand the ways in which games were evolving away from rigid products into flowing, ongoing, malleable works of art,” Polygon wrote.

“And similarly, its fictional worlds — ravaged by history, and yet oddly hopeful — showed me how to process our real world, which so often is both metaphorically and literally on fire.”

Some harsher critics speculate that the game is a giant scam to milk as much money out of gullible donors as possible. The game is currently funded by fans on Patreon, making $1,767 per month. Might as well throw Yandere Simulator on there as well.

Don’t get me wrong, indie games are cool, but is Kentucky Route Zero really the 4th best game of an entire decade of video games?

Another game that made its way into the top 10 is Pokemon Go at #5 — which is also apparently better than The Witcher 3, Dark Souls, and almost every other game of the decade.

The real tragedy is that the list doesn’t include Pokemon Black and White 2, which were regarded as great Pokemon games.

Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go is fun for what it is and saw a ton of popularity, but is it the 5th best game of the entire decade? As stated before, you can’t claim a game is “best” based on its popularity alone.

You could argue that Pokemon Go was innovative, but Niantic’s Ingress was released in 2013 and included a lot of the mechanics that eventually made their way into Pokemon Go.

Polygon jokingly celebrates the game for normalizing “the tracking and sharing of personal location data, all for the sake of fun.”

I’ll save you the read. Some other strange inclusions in Polygon’s list are:

87. Control

69. The Witness

67. Universal Paperclips

58. Subsurface Circular

42. The Works of Michael Brough

39. Firewatch

29. Florence

20. Journey

18. Her Story

13. Gone Home

It’s fun to point and laugh at Polygon, but this list is seriously irresponsible. Polygon is one of only a few websites dedicated to “gaming journalism,” which means this list is what people in the future are going to reference when looking back at video game history.

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is forever cemented in history as one of the best games of this century, and that’s a tragedy.

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