Crispy Gamer

Game of the Decade: Championship Round

Game of the Decade

[Update: The Game of the Decade has been named! Click here for tribute to the winner and a look back at how we got here.]

This is why we can't have nice things! Late Thursday night, a cordial Final Four vote devolved into a crazy maelstrom of weird voting spikes and last-minute turnarounds. Was there skulduggery afoot? As it happens, yes. Incredibly clumsy skulduggery.

Here's how the polls stood at midnight after an enormous 11th-hour comeback by Halo and a similarly huge groundswell for SSBM:

Halo: Combat Evolved 5,366; World of Warcraft 5,058.

Super Smash Bros. Melee 4,322; Half-Life 2 3,417.

We checked the voting logs to see if games had gotten multiple votes from a single IP address. Now, more than one vote from an IP is not inherently bad. Maybe you have a bunch of people voting in one office, or family members voting from the same home. That's fine. But when it gets into big numbers, it smells fishy. And when we looked over the voting logs, the numbers got big real fast. Somebody at IP XXX.225.83.119 voted for Super Smash Bros. a whopping 1,692 times. Not to be outdone, a gremlin at XXX.233.205.51 cast 2,228 rapid-fire ballots for Halo -- all by his lonesome!

So obviously, those votes are disqualified, obliterating the supposed winners' margin of victory. But of course, we wondered, what if there had been ballot-stuffing on both sides? We dug a little more and decided to check how many unique IPs voted for each game.

World of Warcraft vs. Halo
Unique IPs for WoW: 4,843
Unique IPs for Halo: 2,117

Super Smash Bros. Melee vs. Half-Life 2
Unique IPs for SSMB: 1,454
Unique IPs for HL2: 3,258

After we saw those numbers, we had little doubt about the true winners. Not only do Super Smash Bros. Melee and Halo lose, they lose in the most disgraceful fashion, their fan bases besmirched by cheaters in their midst. For shame.

It's also worth noting how honest the WoW and HL2 voters were -- their numbers are squeaky clean! Gold stars all around. (Oh, and in case you're wondering, this is the first evidence we've had of tampering; all the earlier polls were legit.)

Whew. Let's put that ugliness aside. Ladies and gentlemen, we present your Game of the Decade championship round.

<!-- FINAL FOUR -->

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

Alucard Division Winner
3. Half-Life 2

Championship Round

Half-Life 2
World of Warcraft

Chocobo Division Winner
2. World of Warcraft

Bo Jackson Division Winner
1. Halo: Combat Evolved

<!-- /FINAL FOUR -->

This is it. Ten years, 64 games, more than 35,000 ballots cast, and two worthy finalists. When this (closely monitored!) poll closes on Sunday night at midnight Eastern, you will have your Game of the Decade. There's nothing left to do but vote.


Good luck and godspeed to both of these great games. Check back Monday for a glowing tribute to the GOTD winner.

[Update: The Game of the Decade has been named! Click here for tribute to the winner and a look back at how we got here.]


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