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The Best Year In Gaming History, According To Metacritic

Asking anyone what they think the best year was for video games can be like opening a can of worms. Of course, the topic will always be debated between individuals that vividly recall a winter spent with a favorite RPG or summer nights with friends crowded around a living room tv, but what does the industry at large say about the best year in gaming? It's easy to look through rose-tinted glasses and remember a favorite title the way you want to remember it, however it's much harder to argue with scores and reviews cemented by critics. 

Spades Challenge conducted a study that looked at 2000 of Metacritic's highest-rated games to determine once and for all when the best year of gaming was (per Game Rant). While some fans might stake their wagers on 2011 for "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim," "Minecraft," and "Dark Souls," or even 2007 for the stellar showing of "Halo 3," "Portal," and "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare," players will have to look a bit further back for the best year in gaming. Here's what's been determined as the best year in gaming based on title review scores.

2003 is the best recorded year of gaming

After surveying the Metacritic scores from 2000 titles, the results were in: 2003 stood as the best year in gaming. Out of the 2000 highest-rated games on Metacritic, 199 of them released in 2003. The next closest contender was 2004 with 168 highly-rated titles. 2003 saw hits like "Grand Theft Auto Vice City" — for which the protagonist's voice actor, the esteemed Ray Liotta, just recently passed away. The year also saw gems like "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker," "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," and "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" — the last of which is currently in the process of being remade. Well, maybe.

All this said, the declaration of "Best Year in Gaming" will always be something that can be contended. Before the early 2000's, and before video games really took off as a mainstream form of home entertainment, game reviews and scoring was far less common. In fact, there are entire generations of titles that remain professionally unscored simply because it's not something the industry was interested in at the time the games released. With that caveat noted, 2003 reigns supreme in our more contemporary history of gaming.