Crispy Gamer

Game of the Decade: Final Four

Game of the Decade

[Update: Voting on the Final Four is closed. Place your vote for Game of the Decade in the Championship Round now!]

The division voting is finally over, and after more than 22,000 ballots cast, your Final Four have been crowned. None of the races were that close -- the biggest nail-biter, if you can call it that, was Halo vs. Left 4 Dead, which Master Chief won by a margin of more than 600 votes.

All four of the games remaining are eminently worthy of the moniker Game of the Decade. It's a shame any of them have to lose, really. To prepare you for the momentous vote before you, we're going to recap each game's path to the penultimate stage of our competition. And four members of the Game Trust have piped up to make the case for each of the games.

The search for a Game of the Decade is nearing its end. Final Four voting will continue today through 12:00 a.m. Eastern. On Friday: the championship vote.

Here's your bracket. And here are the division brackets if you're poking your head in for the first time. (And if so, welcome!)

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The Final Four
Koopa Division Winner
8. Super Smash Bros. Melee

Alucard Division Winner
3. Half-Life 2

Championship Round

TBD

Chocobo Division Winner
2. World of Warcraft

Bo Jackson Division Winner
1. Halo: Combat Evolved

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World of Warcraft vs. Halo: Combat Evolved

These two games just had to make it, didn't they? Game of the Decade isn't a popularity contest, but these games have such huge, ferocious followings that their fan bases have become cultural phenomena unto themselves.

World of Warcraft marched to the Final Four virtually uncontested. C'mon, Killer 7? Peggle? They didn't stand a chance. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic put up a good fight, kind of like the Green Party nominee in the Oklahoma City district Congressional race puts up a good fight. John Teti expects WoW to continue its triumphant march.

On the other hand, Halo -- perhaps you've heard of it -- is no patsy. The only No. 1 seed remaining in the competition (which admittedly would be more meaningful if the seeds were anything other than an approximate crapshoot), it had to cut through modern classics like Gears of War and Left 4 Dead to get here. Halo not only made Bungie a major force in the gaming world, but as Evan Narcisse points out, it also gave a boost to a little Seattle outfit called "Micro-Soft":

There are whispers in the Crispy offices that this vote will determine the ultimate champion. Here goes:

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Next page: Super Smash Bros. Melee vs. Half-Life 2!

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Super Smash Bros. Melee vs. Half-Life 2

It was the people's-choice game that could. Late to the party, the rest of the Chocobo Division looked Super Smash Bros. Melee up and down. "This charity case doesn't stand a chance," they scoffed. And then SSBM proceeded to kick all kinds of ass. WarioWare, Metroid Prime (the so-called No. 1 seed), Katamari Damacy and Shadow of the Colossus all went down in showdowns that were never in doubt.

We fished a camera down to Kyle Orland's underground fallout shelter, and when we pulled it back up, this video was on it:

Half-Life 2 was always destined for GOTD greatness, which is a good thing, because this genre-redefining FPS easily had the toughest road to the Final Four. Look at some of the games HL2 had to overcome to make it this far: Fallout 3, Batman: Arkham Asylum and BioShock. Every one of those games is solid Game of the Year timber. Also worth noting: There were two Valve games in the final eight, HL2 and Left 4 Dead. Valve does good work. Scott Jones took a moment to list some of the reasons Half-Life 2 is its crown jewel.

But is it good enough to make it into the final round? Time for you to make that call.

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Come back on Friday for the results and your chance to decide the Game of the Decade.

[Update: Voting on the Final Four is closed. Place your vote for Game of the Decade in the Championship Round now!]