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The Most Influential Games of the Decade

Looking back on the last 10 years.

Dec 31, 2019

A lot has changed over the past 10 years. During this time in 2009, Minecraft was a fresh-release in everyone's mind, the Battle Royale genre was yet to be born, and everyone was gaming on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. With so many major shake-ups over the last decade, there have been plenty of significant milestones in the gaming industry. Let's look back on what the Kidzworld gaming team thinks are the most influential games of the last decade. 

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Though there's plenty of debate to be had over the PlayStation 3 Uncharted games vs the PlayStation 4 releases, it's undeniable that Uncharted 4 was the most popular release in the franchise. After familiarizing themselves with the ins-and-outs of the PS4 with The Last of Us: Remastered, Naughty Dog delivered a spectacular send-off for Nathan Drake and introduced an entirely new audience to the jaw-dropping action and top tier visuals of the Uncharted franchise. This game isn't afraid to pump the brakes and encourages players to take a deep breath and appreciate your surroundings before putting the pedal to the metal and launching you into an explosive, edge-of-your-seat car chase. 

Nathan Drake's final adventure showed more fans than ever before how impressive the Uncharted franchise can be.Nathan Drake's final adventure showed more fans than ever before how impressive the Uncharted franchise can be.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The beloved Zelda series was in a dire need of some freshening up. Though each game maintained that Nintendo-charm about it, there was no denying that the formula began to grow a little too familiar. Then Breath of the Wild released and totally changed the trajectory for the entire franchise. The deceptively linear spaces of the previous entries were replaced by a gargantuan, living, breathing environment that truly becomes a hero's playground. It'll be a while until we see the follow-up to this game but we'll be eagerly awaiting as everyone wonders to themselves, where can Zelda go next?

Pardon the pun, but Breath of the Wild felt like a breath of fresh air for the Zelda series. We're all eagerly awaiting where the series will go next.Pardon the pun, but Breath of the Wild felt like a breath of fresh air for the Zelda series. We're all eagerly awaiting where the series will go next.

Minecraft

This game just barely made the cut, as it was released in 2009, but that's still within the 10-year window and we can't ignore this game's rise to stardom. What started out as a small indie-game quickly ballooned into one of the most successful franchises in any medium. Ask anyone, gamer or not, and they can likely describe the look of Minecraft. This low-poly masterpiece puts players into wide-open worlds where any material can be harvested and placed in front of you. Even if you haven't lost a late night or two to an intense Minecraft-session you could easily lose hours just watching other's creations online. 

Though it's a decade old, Minecraft is still getting updates to this day.Though it's a decade old, Minecraft is still getting updates to this day.

Fortnite

Even if PUBG was the original Battle Royale game to really make a splash, Fortnite took that concept and ran it into the endzone. This 1 vs 100 mode took traditional 3rd-person-shooter controls and mashed them up with the mining concepts of the aforementioned Minecraft. The culture of Fortnite was so popular that the game's dance-moves made their way into everything from school classrooms to NFL touchdown celebrations. It's impossible to talk about this console generation without paying at least a small tribute to the shockwaves left behind by this free-to-play behemoth.

Love it or hate it, Fortnite is a series that changed the gaming landscape.Love it or hate it, Fortnite is a series that changed the gaming landscape.

Five Nights at Freddy's

We've seen some amazing horror games over the last 10 years but Five Nights at Freddy's is an excellent example of what a talented developer can do when they set their mind to a project. After working on children's games that critics dubbed as "creepy," Scott Cawthon decided to lean into the skills he'd already had and release a terrifying little game full of surprises. The original game puts the player in the seat of a security guard working the night shift at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, as you flip through cameras and balance electricity between lights and protective doors to ensure your safety through each night of your dangerous new job. The gameplay is simple but the world spawned from this creation kept players hooked on the story through several sequels. 

Beyond the first release, this series has gone in some surprising directions.Beyond the first release, this series has gone in some surprising directions.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Like many others, Skyrim was my first foray into RPG’s. Even though it is the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim captured the imaginations of both seasoned RPG fans and newcomers with its breathtaking Nordic kingdom to explore, fun combat encounters with so many ways to play, and numerous side quests that seem to never end. Skyrim is still to this day my most played game of all time, and for good reason. The guilds you could join cater to nearly every playstyle, and for a long time, there was simply no better open world to explore. The expansions, Dawnguard and Dragonborn brought even more variety and quests to the already sprawling journey. You could play so many different kinds of characters, and while some of the radiant quests that you could repeat until the end of time could get a bit tiresome after a while, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an adventure that every gamer should at least try to embark on. And, at this point, it has been ported to every modern gaming platform ever. Other than the PC version, the Switch is my favorite way to play. Can you beat portable dragon slaying?

Skyrim is still a beautiful place, all these years later.Skyrim is still a beautiful place, all these years later.

Destiny

Destiny from the outset was more than an ambitious undertaking from veteran game developer Bungie. Responsible for the widely successful Halo series that basically put the Xbox on the map, Bungie wanted to stick to their sci-fi shooter roots, while also adding in a lot more fantasy elements. Instead of having a campaign mode, and multiplayer be separate, Destiny would attempt to meld each experience into one cohesive whole. Not only that, but it would combine both the fast-paced action they were known for, with customizable RPG systems where you could tailor your character to whatever playstyle you wanted. You could partake in missions alone, with friends, and even group up with a party of 6 players for massive, challenging Raid missions that test the mettle of even the most seasoned Guardians. It has had its ups and downs, with the original releases of Destiny and Destiny 2 being only a shadow of what was initially promised. But Bungie persevered, and Destiny, as it stands, is an absolute landmark in the multiplayer shooter space. Destiny 2: New Light brought the game into free to play, and the amount of content you can engage in is staggering. Borderlands laid the foundations of the RPG shooter, but Destiny carried it into the multiplayer space and beyond. It seems like every other shooter nowadays is adding in RPG mechanics to its gameplay, but Destiny is still the best place to blast aliens, collect epic gear, and team up with your friends in adventures across the solar system. Destiny was my first experience with any kind of MMO type game, and some of my most fond memories of gaming in this generation was being partied up and blasting aliens with friends.  

Destiny combines incredible combat and customization with a rich world and fun activities to discover. Destiny combines incredible combat and customization with a rich world and fun activities to discover.

Pokémon GO

I wholly believe that the closest we have come to world peace was the Summer of 2016 when Pokémon GO launched. It seemed like absolutely everybody was playing this game, with crowds of people both young and old outside hunting for the rarest of monsters. It was a far from perfect experience, you couldn’t even trade or battle players yet, but the memory I have of walking around a lakeshore for hours looking for water-type Pokémon is one I will not soon forget. It turned our real world into a video game, with parks and businesses bustling with activity. It was an experience like no other, and even though the huge popularity wouldn’t last, the game still has a sizable fanbase today and is a much better experience now than when it first launched. I’m grateful for Pokémon GO, and I wonder if anything could ever come close to providing the level of community that that game did again. 

Seeing Pokémon in real life (through your phone) made the game come alive. Seeing Pokémon in real life (through your phone) made the game come alive.

Dark Souls

You can’t take five steps in any direction nowadays and not trip over a game that was inspired by Dark Souls. Demon's Souls kicked off the huge phenomenon now known as the “Soulsborne” genre of Action-RPGs, but Dark Souls is where the fervor took off to the stratosphere. Some say the main appeal behind Dark Souls is the punishing difficulty, and while that is very attractive to many, I think the reason this game series ended up becoming as popular as it did was due to the wonder and mystery that these games thrived on. It came in a time where lengthy tutorials and handholding were the norms, and there is nothing wrong with those things. But, for those players who wanted to figure out the satisfaction of uncovering secrets, defeating huge bosses, and leveling their character by themselves, Dark Souls has set the benchmark for an entire generation of Action-RPGs. The recent Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order owes so much of its design to Dark Souls, and I could go on and on about the rest. 

There are some moments of peace in Dark Souls, some.There are some moments of peace in Dark Souls, some.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

The horror genre in games had been in a bit of a weird place in 2010 when the first Amnesia launched on PC. Survival-Horror games like Resident Evil had begun to lose their way a bit and lacked the accessibility to capture a widespread audience. Whereas in most horror games up until Amnesia, you usually had some way to fight the frightening beasts of the night that hunted you in other games, but simply taking away any kind of combat system and locking you into a first-person perspective, Amnesia made the whole horror experience so much scarier than before. I remember waking up my family late at night because the sound design alone was so terrifying, I was afraid to turn the next corner for fear of hearing the beasts coming after me. It was so immersive for the time, completely transporting you to the dark castle the game takes place in as you uncover the secrets of both the castle and the main character, Daniel’s, place in it. Daniel would slowly become more unsettled as you did, making each encounter feel even scarier than the last. This game didn’t just have a huge effect on other games like Slender, Outlast and the eventual P.T. that came afterward, but was a huge inspiration for the massive boom in Let’s Plays and gaming content on YouTube. If you weren’t playing Amnesia, chances are you had watched someone do so, and that trend hasn’t stopped almost 10 years after its release.

Amnesia leaves you with a spooky castle, and little more than a lantern to keep you company.Amnesia leaves you with a spooky castle, and little more than a lantern to keep you company.
Share Your Thoughts

What do you think? What are your favorite games of the 2010's? Let us know below!

 

By: Max Cannon and Noah Friscopp