Welcome to CVG's Games of the Decade: The decade they eventually called the noughties kicked off with an exceptionally strong gaming field. Just selecting our original squad of five was difficult enough, but narrowing it down to a winner? Talk about tough decisions. Still, that's what they pay us for, even if it's only in beans and dirt.
What a galaxy of gaming goodness made the final five for 2000 and there were so many strong contenders we had to leave out too, games like Thief II or The Sims:
Escape From Monkey Island was a true classic, the pinnacle of point n' click adventure gaming, while Shogun: Total War was a superb first entry from a ground-breaking series which would dominate strategy gaming for the rest of the decade. Deus Ex was rightly hailed as a 'new action playing role-playing benchmark' at PC Zone, while Diablo II is one of the all-time seminal RPGs and we still await it's sequel with baited breath over ten years later.
The Winner: Half-Life Counter-Strike
However there can be only one winner and it's... Half-Life: Counter-Strike. Yup, it may have started out as a simple bedroom Half-Life mod project by Minh 'Gooseman' Le and Jesse 'Cliffe' Cliffe, but Counter-Strike was quickly adopted by Half-Life developers Valve and became quite simply one of the biggest action games ever made, hoovering up more online hours than a server full of free Blu-ray porn.
A simple premise, terrorists versus counter-terrorists set in a variety of mission-based scenarios rapidly evolved into one of the most intense and tactical shooters ever made. Harsh and unforgiving doesn't even cover the half of it, with instant kills abounding and 'dead' players left to spectate on the survivors as each mission played out.
Each round was short but sweet and success bought rewards in the form of more cash, better equipment and bigger guns. Yet there was room for real tactics and strategy and something really compelling about the 'rescue the hostages', 'defuse the nuke' and 'protect the VIP' scenarios, which went way beyond the standard deathmatch experiences of the time.
Hackers and cheaters came close to breaking it, but Valve put in robust protection measures and a thriving community evolved, arguably paving the way for the professional cyber gaming scene. Hugely important and so popular that it demanded a remake in Counter-Strike: Source, CS is still widely played today.
Not just one of the best shooters of the year 2000, but one of the most influential and impressive first-person shooters of all time. Counter-Strike, we salute you and lob an honorary flashbang in your name.
Okay we've told your ours, now you tell us yours! Your top five, overall winner and most importantly, why, in the comments field below please.