Guildhall students, alumni name 2011’s top 10 video games

Whiterun tundra panorama from 'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim'

Ten cutting-edge games – ranging from the 3D exploits of Super Mario to the gritty combat of the Call of Duty series to a massive multiplayer experience set in a galaxy far, far away – have made The Guildhall at SMU‘s 2011 list of top video games for the holidays. The list was chosen this year by Guildhall students and alumni specializing in video game art creation, level design and software development.

Portion of a screenshot from 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim leads the 2011 list, followed by The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword at number two. Rounding out the top five are Star Wars: The Old RepublicBatman: Arkham City and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

“The holidays are a huge moneymaker for the video game industry, and with so many great games hitting the market in 2011, we wondered which of those would be at the top of the must-have list,” says René Archambault, the Guildhall’s manager of admissions and alumni affairs. This year’s selections “are filled with beautiful art, astounding gameplay and storylines, and robust programming that brings it all to life,” she says.

Bounty hunter from 'Star Wars: The Old Republic'

Of this year’s top 10, Guildhall alumni have worked on three: Elder Scrolls VStar Wars: The Old Republic, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

According to the international accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the worldwide gaming market will be worth over $48 billion in 2011, making it “one of the most exciting industries in terms of growth numbers,” Archambault says. “The Guildhall at SMU is ecstatic to be a part of this thriving industry and is proud of the more than 400 alumni that add to its success on a daily basis.”

Following are 2011’s top games as selected by Guildhall students and alumni. Descriptions include the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating and the platform or platforms on which the game runs.

1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox Live
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

2. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Platform: Wii
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone age 10 and over)

3. Star Wars: The Old Republic
Platform: Multiplayer online
ESRB Rating: T (Teen – 13 and over)

4. Batman: Arkham City
Platforms: Onlive, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: T (Teen – 13 and over)

5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Wii, Windows, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

6. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

7. Battlefield 3
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

8. Super Mario 3D Land
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

9. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Platform: PlayStation 3
ESRB Rating: T (Teen – 13 and over)

10. Minecraft
Platforms: Android, iOS, Mac OSX, Windows
ESRB Rating: Not rated

(Above, from top: a sweeping tundra panorama from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim; a soldier on a mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3; a bounty hunter from the world of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Alumni of The Guildhall at SMU helped create all three games, all three of which have been named to The Guildhall’s 2011 Top 10 list.)