The 10 Best Casual Games of the Decade (2000-2009)

Games Lists

They’re called casual games because they have relatively straightforward rules and don’t typically require the brow-furrowed commitment of so-called hardcore game titles. But don’t be fooled. Just because a game might only last three minutes doesn’t mean that you won’t find yourself glued to that 3 1/2-inch iPhone screen for hours at a time. We asked our games editor Jason Killingsworth to come up with the 10 Best Casual Games of the Decade. All 10 are pretty easy to learn, but there’s a mind-boggling amount of creativity behind their ostensible simplicity.—Josh Jackson


10. Farmville

We know, we know…you still haven’t told anyone that you spend at least an hour every day tending a little plot of cartoon farmland that exists in your Facebook account. Or how sometimes you’ll just space out, admiring the gorgeous symmetry of those rows of cyber veggies and corn you planted. It’s okay, when you’re ready to come clean, our wall is waiting.


9. World of Goo

We’re tempted to limit our summary of 2D Boy’s whimsical physics puzzle game to two words—Goo Balls—but there’s so much more to love here. The gameplay is so enjoyable that World of Goo’s cheeky art style and endearing story seem like brightly colored icing on an already delicious cupcake.


8. flOw

Originally created as part of a thesis research project at the University of Southern California, flOw lets you steer a single celled organism around some primordial sea, feeding on other odd-looking creatures. The game’s themes of life and survival strike an altogether unexpected emotional chord.


7. Zen Bound

One of the freshest games to take advantage of the iPhone and iPod Touch’s multi-touch screen, Zen Bound has you wrapping a length of string around wooden figurines carved into various animal and geometric shapes while Finnish downtempo electronic artist Ghost Monkey’s soundtrack tickles your eardrums.


6. Canabalt

Forrest Gump, with his penchant for running, had nothing on the little pixilated protagonist of Canabalt. There’s only one control in the game: click to jump between rooftops and over obstacles as your character makes his daring escape amid a sci-fi apocalypse. This game may look straight-up Atari but you’ll be playing it long after your Xbox 720 is rotting in a landfill.

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