20 Games That Changed Our Lives In The Last Decade

20 Games That Changed Our Lives In The Last Decade

In the 2010s, new video game genres arrived. Fandoms rose and fell. E-sports came into their own, countless indie
games proved their worth, and blockbuster releases became bigger and more impressive
than ever. Over the past decade, gaming changed forever. These are the titles that paved the way.​ A game doesn’t have to be complicated to be
fun. Just look at Clash of Clans for proof. Supercell’s mobile strategy game isn’t as
deep as games like StarCraft 2 or Command and Conquer, but that’s part of the game’s
charm. Clash of Clans is simple enough that anyone,
even people who don’t consider themselves gamers, can boot it up and start having fun. Clash of Clans’ easy startup is a big reason
why many people spent the 2010s glued to their phones. Some of those people went on to try more “hardcore”
strategy games. Others didn’t. That’s okay. As long as more people are playing games,
we all win. Of course, not all change is good. Clash of Clans is the highest-earning game
on the iOS app store, having made more than $6.4 billion in microtransactions. Tired of seeing in-game purchases pop up in
your games? You have Clash of Clans, and its mobile sibling
Candy Crush, which also arrived in 2012, to thank. While FromSoftware’s Demon’s Souls is technically
the first Souls game, it’s the follow-up, Dark Souls, that pushed the punishing formula
into the mainstream. Building on a well-established action-RPG
formula, Dark Souls wowed players with its ingenious looping levels, dark and moody atmosphere,
and alluringly opaque lore. Yes, Dark Souls is hard, but the real draw
is that, with practice and patience, you get better. Overcoming the Dark Souls foe that you’ve
spent hours and hours studying, battling, and being destroyed by, is one of gaming’s
most sincere pleasures. That you get to do it while exploring an expertly
realized world? All the better. In fact, Dark Souls proved so popular that
a whole host of imitators followed. Not only did FromSoftware make two sequels
and similar titles like Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, but other companies have
given us “Souls-likes” like Nioh, Code Vein, Ashen, and more. When an entire genre is named after a single
franchise, you know it’s done something right. It used to be that MMORPGs like World of Warcraft
were where you’d go to team up with other players and grind for weapons. Destiny brought that same experience to action
games. By providing a satisfying shooting experience,
regular updates, and a never-ending supply of guns, Destiny transformed nightly gaming
sessions into a full-time job. Bungie’s newest franchise proved that, as
long as players have enough things to do, they’ll never put your game down. Destiny’s formula has been refined and improved
by games like Warframe, The Division 2, and Destiny’s own sequel, but it’s the original
game that started the trend. Ignore the shoddy dialogue, the nonsensical
plot, or the sometimes infuriating design decisions. The rise of games-as-a-service started right
here. Before Five Nights at Freddy’s, Scott Cawthon
was ready to quit game development. Fortunately, he decided to take one last shot. After one critic complained that his “cute”
characters looked scary, Cawthon decided to see what would happen if he tried to make
something truly horrifying. Boy, did it pay off. First came the jump scares, which provided
fodder for YouTubers to make fools of themselves and rake in the clicks doing so. Next came the intentionally ambiguous lore,
which spawned countless fan theories and kept fans engaged. Finally, Cawthon’s quick and unpredictable
release schedule, nine games in five years, many of which arrived as a complete surprise,
kept the momentum going. Now, there are multiple Freddy’s spin-off
novels. McFarlane Toys’ Freddy’s merchandise is the
company’s best-selling product line ever. And there’s even a theme park attraction and
a movie on the way. From game industry burn-out to head of a one-man
media empire? That’s not just impressive. It’s the best feel-good story of the 2010s. Only a few games become legitimate cultural
phenomena and Fortnite is fortunate enough to number among them. Fortnite made the “Battle Royale” genre a
household name. It has been played by everyone from Drake
to Ellen, and it attracts more viewers than most prime-time TV shows. Need more proof? Turn on the TV or head to a public event and
see how much time passes before you see someone flossing. Spoiler: it won’t be long. “Let’s floss come on baby show em what
ya got! Let’s move! I wanna see some movement! I’m not seeing enough movement!” That’s not bad for a game that started as
a PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds knock-off tacked on to a completely unrelated survival
game, which, incredibly, is still in early access. But Fortnite was never just about the battle
royale. Fortnite is a social space. It’s a place to express yourself creatively. It’s a spectator sport, an interactive story,
the birthplace of a new business, and more. It changed the gaming world forever. By this point, nobody needs to argue that
games are art. They’re creative endeavors. Of course they’re art. Still, in 2013, some people weren’t convinced. Gone Home helped change their minds. It doesn’t have much in the way of action,
since you just walk around a house and look at the things you find, but that doesn’t make
its story any less emotional or its world any less compelling. Gone Home is a masterclass in environmental
storytelling, using everyday objects to weave a powerful narrative, and helped pave the
way for other narrative adventures like The Stanley Parable, Firewatch, and What Remains
of Edith Finch. While some critics derisively call Gone Home
and its ilk “walking simulators,” this genre just provided a new format through which games
can tell stories. Hearthstone, Blizzard’s card-based, free-to-play
World of Warcraft spin-off, was a hit almost immediately. It’s easy to see why. Strategically, Hearthstone is easy to learn,
but hard to master. Keeping track of the meta and devising expert
strategies can get complex, but it doesn’t take much to jump in and play. As such, Hearthstone was instrumental to the
rise of game streaming as a legitimate form of entertainment, and it remains one of the
most-watched games on Twitch today. It’s spectacularly easy to follow. Unlike most other competitive titles, Hearthstone
doesn’t jump between cameras or require any pre-knowledge of the mechanics. Everything you need to know is right there
on the screen. That makes Hearthstone an excellent e-sport:
Not only can you learn new tricks by watching experts, but if you want to give it a try,
there’s no barrier to entry. Heck, you don’t even need a computer; Hearthstone
plays great on mobile, too. Braving online multiplayer with random people
can be a harrowing experience. Your opponents want to grind you into dust. Your teammates rely on you for victory. Make a mistake and you haven’t just lost the
game for your team: you’ve given complete strangers an excuse to bombard you with abuse
over your headset. It doesn’t have to be that way. In Journey, it’s not. Multiplayer is the heart of the Journey experience,
and yet it’s remarkably stripped down. You can’t really talk to other people. You can only communicate via an ambiguous
chime. You collaborate instead of compete in a shared
journey to reach a distant mountain. As you venture together through Journey’s
painterly landscapes, you never even learn each others’ names. It doesn’t matter. Somehow, Journey forges everlasting bonds
between players, creating an emotional experience you’ll never forget. Multiplayer games are capable of much more,
and Journey shows the way forward. Sony’s big prestige games like the Uncharted
franchise or God of War follow a simple pattern. Flashy action scenes and high-tech setpieces
pull you into the world, while the story itself unfolds via cinematic cutscenes. It’s a winning formula, and The Last of Us
doesn’t stray from that pattern. You can argue that The Last of Us’ narrative
isn’t interactive enough, or that the post-apocalyptic plotline isn’t that original, but you can’t
deny that the story is expertly told. In large part, that’s because of Troy Baker
and Ashley Johnson, whose winning performances make Joel and Ellie feel more real than any
video game characters before or since. But it’s also just a well-made piece piece
of entertainment. At times, The Last of Us might feel like more
of a theme park ride than a game, but that doesn’t matter. It’ll probably make you cry anyway. “I’m having feelings again! Like some sort of 14-year-old kid! You remember feelings, right?” “I have feelings every single day of my life.” Nintendo gets a lot of flack for recycling
the same old formulas, but Breath of the Wild didn’t just refine the Zelda formula: it upended
the franchise entirely. Bite-sized shrines replaced long, winding
dungeons. Strictly defined puzzles gave way to open-ended
situations with multiple solutions. Before, you were constricted by design, but
in Breath of the Wild, you’re only limited by your imagination. Most importantly, Breath of the Wild moved
the series’ focus from puzzle-solving to exploration. There are secrets hidden everywhere, so you’re
always rewarded for taking risks. Breath of the Wild’s various systems interact
in surprising ways, encouraging you to experiment with different combos and strategies. Heck, just traversing Hyrule’s varied terrain
is fun. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild revitalized
Nintendo’s best franchise and completely changed the way we look at gaming worlds. Minecraft is the best-selling video game of
all time. Over 112 million people play Minecraft every
month. It launched the careers of countless YouTubers
and streamers, spawned its own myths and urban legends, and made game modding a legit and
profitable career. Even better, Minecraft did all that by celebrating
creativity, not competition. While Minecraft’s survival aspects spawned
countless clones, its biggest strength is that it encourages people to express themselves. Want to make a house, or a castle, or a spaceship? What about a magical kingdom, or a working
computer, or the entire planet Earth? You can do all of it and more, one block at
a time. Ultimately, Minecraft’s biggest strength is
its players’ imaginations. Minecraft gives you the tools, but it’s up
to players to make their own fun. Blizzard has always been at the forefront
of the esports scene, but Overwatch pushed everything to a new level. Not intentionally, of course. Overwatch wasn’t initially developed with
esports in mind, and players flocked to it because of its colorful characters and satisfying
gameplay, not its competitive potential. Once Overwatch was a hit, though, all bets
were off. Blizzard didn’t just organize competitions. It put together an entire league that was
structured after regular professional sports clubs. In the Overwatch League, cities have their
own teams to root for. Players receive guaranteed annual salaries
and can be traded, just like in the NFL and MLB. It’s a whole new way of doing esports. “The world needs us now, more than ever. Are you with me?” The most infamous horror game of the ’10s
isn’t even a full game. It’s just a “playable teaser.” When P.T. dropped on Aug. 12, 2014, nobody
knew what it was. All they knew was that it was scary as hell. Simply walking through a series of hallways
doesn’t sound frightening at first, but when it’s brought to you by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo
del Toro, you better believe that things get weird fast. And then, of course, everything blew up. The game that P.T. was supposed to tease,
Silent Hills, was cancelled as the relationship between Kojima and his publisher, Konami,
fell apart. Eventually, Konami pulled P.T. from the PlayStation
Store entirely. Now, unless it’s already installed on your
PlayStation 4, it’s impossible to play. That lack of access only cemented P.T.’s legacy,
by transforming P.T. into a digital ghost story. It’s an urban legend – something you’ll hear
about but never experience for yourself. For a horror game, we can’t think of a more
fitting legacy. With Pokémon Go, Niantic delivered on a very
specific fantasy: For the first time ever, you could head outside and capture Pokémon
in the real world. In a little more than 60 days, Pokémon Go
was downloaded 500 million times, and made over $500 million dollars. Players spent countless hours trekking from
Pokestop to Pokestop. Some even trespassed on private property and
walked off of cliffs in their attempts to catch ’em all. “And I was like, ‘Oh, like, they’re
kinda- that’s not smart.’” Along the way, Pokémon Go also proved the
viability of both augmented reality gaming and location-based social play. Pokémon was the perfect property to bring
AR to the masses, and it showed that AR can work. The next big thing is just a matter of time. Big, open-world, go-anywhere, do-anything-style
RPGs had been done before. Heck, Skyrim developer Bethesda made plenty
of them. However, they’d never been this big or this
open, with quite so many places to go or things to do. Skyrim doesn’t just send you on a quest. It drops you into the middle of a fully realized
fantasy world and sends you out to make your own adventures. It’s the kind of game that you can spend hundreds,
if not thousands, of hours playing, but that’s only half the story. Skyrim is also the single-best showcase for
the power of gaming’s modding community. Basic Skyrim is very good. With fan-made mods, it’s great, and hilarious,
and terrifying, and everything in-between. Thanks to modders, there’s more Skyrim out
there than you could possibly enjoy, and it’s never looked better. If this sort of RPG appeals to you at all,
Skyrim might be the last game you’ll ever need. Can one man change the world? Stardew Valley makes a pretty good case. Over the course of four years, Eric Barone,
better known as Concerned Ape, crafted Stardew Valley from the ground-up. He did everything. The programming. The art. The music. The writing. All of it. All of that hard work paid off. Stardew Valley might be inspired by the Harvest
Moon series, but it transcends its source material in almost every way. In Stardew Valley, running a successful farm
is just the beginning. You can also dive into dungeons to fight monsters
and gather loot, romance local villagers, discover the village’s secrets, help solve
your neighbors’ problems, and bring hope back to a struggling rural community. It’s charming, addictive, and undeniably special,
not to mention a fitting tribute to human ingenuity. Barone built something great from scratch. When you boot up Stardew Valley, you’re encouraged
to do the exact same thing. As we head into the 2020s, the 2D platformer
is alive and well, and we have Super Meat Boy to thank. A decade and a half after Super Mario Bros.
and similar games transitioned to 3D, Super Meat Boy showed that there’s still life in
one of gaming’s oldest genres. It also helped establish the speed-running
scene, re-ignited peoples’ passions for retro-style games, and proved that players wouldn’t shy
away from a ridiculous challenge a year before Dark Souls arrived. Most importantly, however, Super Meat Boy
was also instrumental in kicking off the indie game boom of the early 2010s. As documented in Indie Game: The Movie, nobody
knew back in those days if indie games could compete against triple-A titles. Because of Super Meat Boy and its peers, there
are now more indie games than we could ever hope to play. That’s not great for those of us short on
spare time, but it’s great for everyone who wants an alternative to ultra-polished, AAA
fare. It doesn’t seem like taking a genre that’s
all about killing and using it to make a game that encourages pacifism should work, but
Undertale managed it. Toby Fox’s indie RPG, which evokes 16-bit
role-playing games like Earthbound and Super Mario RPG, is charming, heartfelt, and wildly
innovative. Still, Undertale’s enduring legacy won’t be
the game itself. It’ll be the community that Undertale created. Undertale memes, and fan art, and videos are
all over the internet. When there’s a poll for the best games of
all time, you can rest assured that Undertale’s fans will flock to the voting booth to do
their part. Undertale fans are loud and passionate, and
while they’re not always as friendly as Undertale’s pacifist undertones would have you believe,
they’re a testament to how art can bring a group of disparate people together. It’s Undertale’s world. We’re just living in it. By taking the point-and-click adventure games
of the ’90s, chucking out the obtuse puzzles, and doubling down on story, Telltale Games
did something special: it made a video game that made you care. Sure, The Walking Dead brand probably helped
it get attention, but by the end of the series’ first installment, players were invested in
Clem’s journey all by itself. And that’s despite the fact that The Walking
Dead isn’t really any different from a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. Choice, or, in some cases, the mere illusion
of choice, was enough to draw players into the narrative. Once they were invested, Telltale knew that
they’d form deep emotional bonds with The Walking Dead’s characters, and used that to
craft one of the most harrowing and heartbreaking stories video games have ever seen. The Telltale studio may be gone, but we’ll
never forget how The Walking Dead made us feel. In many ways, The Witcher 3 is like a mash-up
of all the biggest trends of the ’10s. Do you like exploring big open worlds? The Witcher 3 has one of the biggest, and
it’s chock full of interesting secrets to uncover. Do you play games for their stories? The Witcher 3 forces you to make some excruciating
choices, and it always delivers satisfying, if usually unpleasant, narrative pay-offs. It has meticulous combat. It has gorgeous graphics. It even has a Hearthstone-style collectible
card game. And yet, somehow, The Witcher 3 also manages
to be more than the sum of its parts. If you like video games, The Witcher 3 has
something you’re sure to like. All that, and The Witcher 3 made protagonist
Geralt a star. Sure, the Witcher from Rivia had appeared
in games before, but The Witcher 3 made him into an icon that stands alongside the likes
of Mario, Sonic, Master Chief, and Solid Snake. Netflix’s Witcher series might be based on
the original novels, not the game, but a television show would never exist without the Wild Hunt’s
wild success. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more SVG videos about your favorite
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Comments (13)

  1. The walking dead season1 ending was a classic…. I’m glad I played it alone because I was crying more than Clementine was lol

  2. RDR, RDR2, GTA, Borderlands, Far Cry 5

  3. Imagine how much money gta 6 would make when it comes out

  4. Where do you get your information from borderlands started this not destiny??? Maybe you should do more research???

  5. >Destiny brought that same experience to shooting games
    Borderlands would like a word with you

  6. Please don't say everybody I absolutely hate fortnite I would rather throw my damn Xbox out the window???

  7. Come on this list got to get better I hate gone home that game is boring ???

  8. I hate breath of the wild it's not a true Zelda game just stupid

  9. I hate Minecraft and fortnite ???? oh yeah I got to throw in breath of the wild????

  10. Super meat boy is so stupid I'm not really impressed with this list

  11. I hate The tall tale games I hate them all

  12. This list was not impressive

  13. I do agree with The Witcher three

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