Last week, Microsoft announced they'd be discontinuing the Xbox 360 after 10 years of dedicated service.
To celebrate, I thought I'd pick some of our favourites.Rather than just a general list of games that were good, I've picked my favourite game year by year. 10 years, 10 games, 10 strong recommendations. We've even snuck 10 runner-up games too. Let's go.
2005: Condemned, Criminal Origins
Condemned is still one of the scariest games I've ever played.
You're an FBI agent investigating a serial killer on the loose as the city comes apart around you, the law agencies are breaking down and the city's homeless population are being driven mad by something, turning them into bloodthirsty psychos.
You solve the mystery of the serial killer through your two primary areas of expertise: FBI police gadgets and hitting homeless people with bits of pipe. A masterpiece.
2006: Gears of War
Chainsaw-guns, muscles, and fist-bumps: Gears of War's bro-culture came to personify Microsoft's Xbox Live service, but Dom and Marcus's love story is actually one of the best third-person shooters of the generation.
The weapons are glorious, the level design is fun and the mechanics are great. Some people frown about the active reload, "roadie run" and other slightly odd decisions, but this isn't supposed to be super-accurate combat - it's an abstraction of combat, layered with testosterone.
The co-op is decent, too, letting you take down the alien menace with your friends.
Test Drive Unlimited
A man chooses, a slave obeys. 2007 was a big year for the 360, with Halo 3 and even Call of Duty 4 launching, but nothing could quite match up to 2k's Bioshock.
A spiritual successor to System Shock, Bioshock tells the story of a man, a lighthouse and a 1920's themed underwater city that went to hell before you arrived, and is going to get much worse before it gets better.
In your adventures, you'll get to listen to audio diaries and try to discover some of what led to the downfall of Rapture but also fighting through villainous splicers with an armful of 1920's weaponry and a stack of magical abilities. What sort of abilities? How about being able to burn your enemies, blow them over or just set a swarm of bees on them? Oh yes.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Braid wins here not because it's the best game - that was probably GTA 4, but because culturally it's the most important. The actual content of the game itself is decent, but brief - it's a 2D platformer where you try to save the girl, with a few twists and turns and the ability to mess with time.
It's very bloody good, and does a lot with very little - there's a reason it made Jonathan Blow basically all of the money.
What's really impressive about Braid though is it basically jumpstarted the modern indie market. Console's had never really supported indie games before, if you ignore the PlayStation's flirtation with Net Yaroze, and this is the game that opened the floodgates on the great Xbox Live gold rush. Braid is potentially one of the most culturally important games on the Xbox 360, and that's worth raising a glass to.