EDR & The Best Ever Games of the Decade List – Part One

Isn’t it uncanny that the end of the decade corresponds almost exactly with the three month and eleven day anniversary of the creation of EDR? It’s creepy, that’s what it is. I feel the hand of destiny on my shoulder as I embark proudly on the maiden voyage of EDR’s Best Ever Games of the Decade List.

As promised, the countdown begins here. So, what’s the first stop on this hugely exciting ride?

Why, it’s…


So far on EDR, all we’ve really talked about are PC and Xbox games. Quite rightly we’ve ignored Sony’s Blu Ray Expense-O-Matic, but unforgivably we have also turned a cold shoulder to the Wii. What brutes we are. Although perhaps this is understandable – in many ways, the Wii is doing terrible harm to gaming, separating the media savannah into the predatory geeks and the graceful wildebeests who just want to get fit and be told how clever they are by a fictional Japanese doctor. But wait. That’s a terribly simplistic expression of what the Wii is, and it does a dreadful disservice to what the Wii is capable of being, and nowhere is that promise more apparent than Super Mario Galaxy.

Super Mario Galaxy embodies a particular form of game, one that we haven’t discussed a great deal. Of course, people can do obscene speed runs in Galaxy, but that isn’t the point. The possibility of “hardcore”* play cannot alter the fact that Mario, in this incarnation perhaps more than in any other, is all about fun, about playing. The simple mad dash for coins and those little gems that look like sweeties is fun. Chasing a huge angry turtle / dragon around trying to kick him into space is fun. Flying around as a bee is fun, riding a superfast manta ray… fun. Fun, everywhere, all the time.

Mario never makes you work to get to the goodies, and even when it’s difficult (as it often is, especially for a refined gentleman like myself who still can’t quite get used to these peculiar console wotsits), it is always fun, and it always bursts with life. Miyamoto and his comrades deserve enormous respect for the way in which the Mario games, despite their inventively fantastic world and design, are always utterly complete, utterly watertight – what other creation can be recognised by it’s clouds alone?

But where Mario Galaxy goes nuclear are the brilliant ways it breaks the rules. Almost every level throws up something new, something fantastic. The best example is the gravity reversal level. A simple idea which seems screamingly obvious, but executed with such delicate smoothness that it becomes one of the most wonderful moments in a game packed to the knickers with wonderful moments.

Super Mario Galaxy is a game of perfect, near-genius design that grabs you by the inner child and sends wriggly caterpillars of delightful invention scurrying all over you.**

Welcome to EDR’s Games of the Decade, Super Mario Galaxy.


*And oh my, how I abhor that word in this context.

**Cute cartoon caterpillars with big googly eyes and smiley faces. Metaphorical loveable caterpillars. Don’t panic, entomophobes

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