5 Legendary Video Games of the 2010s
The decade was ripe with fresh gaming titles which have become classics
The 2010s have come and gone, and for gamers, there’s not much to complain about. The decade was ripe with fresh content, from original thrillers to sequels, and everything in between, there shan’t be a gamer left dissatisfied with the decade’s gaming content come the 2020s.
The tail end of 2019 left no stone unturned about the future of gaming. From the announcement of the ninth generation gaming consoles, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, to the upcoming titles such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs Legion, which already appear to be future classics, the claim that gaming is heading into the wrong direction is simply laughable.
But enough about the future. Let’s dive into a nostalgia trip, and take a look at five legendary video games that came out during the decade. Whether you love these games or hate ‘em, there’s no denying their classic and epic nature.
5) inFAMOUS 2 (2011)
When this commonly-forgotten gem dropped in 2011, fans of the inFAMOUS series knew it was going to be good. The first game, which released in 2009, was promising, but often kept gamers in the dark with its always-gritty nature and plot holes. However, inFAMOUS 2 closed those holes and patched any doubts we had about the series; in essence, inFAMOUS 2 is a masterpiece.
Play as Cole MacGrath, the serious and motivated bike-messenger-turned-superhero (or villain, depending on how you play). Blast foes with electricity and discover your diverse abilities, which now include ice (good) or fire (evil). Upgrade your abilities, throw cars, climb towers, and much more.
inFAMOUS 2 has a much lighter and chill tone than the first did, with its New Orleans-esque theme, laid back characters such as Zeke Dunbar, and increase in interactivity (destroy scaffolding and collapse gas tanks to your heart’s content). If you haven’t played this absolute classic, what are you waiting for?
4) Watch Dogs (2014)
A more controversial inclusion on this list, Watch Dogs inundated us with the dangers of technology, the connectivity of the world we’ve created. In an era where technology is everywhere, as the 2010s is, Watch Dogs allows us to question the reliability of this technology, and the ones who control it.
Take on Aiden Pearce, as he attempts to bridge the gap between technology and person once again. His firm grasp on technology allows the player to hack every traffic light, draw bridge and security camera in the city of Chicago, and even cause blackouts, cutting the power to the whole (or a portion) of the city.
The reason I say ‘controversial’ is due to the game’s initial criticism. Many claimed the game was graphically downgraded during its development, and hated the main protagonist, Aiden Pearce, as well as the overall plot. Their claims became weak, however, when the second game dropped, whose plot and characters were cheesy and underdeveloped in comparison. It becomes clear at this point that Watch Dogs is the superior game, along with its plot and characters. It has earned a spot in 2010s gaming lore.
3) Batman: Arkham City (2011)
Ah, what don’t we love about Batman: Arkham City? We love its compelling boss battles, conquests and combat system. We love its characters, its plot, and we love traversing the city of Gotham (well, a walled-off section at least).
Play as freakin’ Batman, as he vows to uncover the mysteries behind Arkham City, a walled-off section of Gotham now housing the city’s most dangerous criminals. Meet allies and battle villains along the way, while gliding, kicking and punching your way to victory. But Batman is never truly victorious, is he?
Batman: Arkham City was revolutionary for its time, and certainly remains a classic to this day. The game proved instrumental in continuing the Arkham series, with two more (not as good) games to follow. Its attention to detail, especially on the aging seventh-generation consoles (PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360) shows Rocksteady’s commitment to crafting an epic Batman game, and indeed they succeeded.
2) Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
As the end of the 2010s decade is nigh (at the time of this article’s release, at least), quite a few similar articles have been released, ranking or listing the top games of the decade. I was indeed surprised that quite a few of them did not include Grand Theft Auto V. The reason for this is most likely the controversy that surrounded the game, but we all know that it’s not a Grand Theft Auto (or Rockstar) game without some controversy. Plus, it’s a masterpiece of a game, so of course it has earned its spot on this list.
Grand Theft Auto V follows three main protagonists, all of which have their own unique stories, and are completely controllable. The player can freely switch between them at any time (except for a few points in the story), a revolutionary concept not yet seen before. Partake in the journey these three criminals embark upon, as they reclaim their status in the criminal world.
Grand Theft Auto V has controversy because of its realism. Rockstar’s devotion to staying true to the underworld that is society, while maintaining the parody aspect that GTA V does, simply makes it a beast of a game. Combining this with the intricate plot which connects the three protagonists’ stories in a solid way, as well as the impressive open-world recreation of Southern California—including Los Angeles and its surrounding northern rural area, mountain ranges and diverse wildlife — leaves a gamer with no doubt about this classic.
1) Minecraft (2011)
Before going any further, it is worth mentioning that if one Googles ‘Minecraft release date’, the monolithic search engine will show a date of May 17, 2009. 2009, of course, does not fall within the 2010s decade, so you may be yelling “Chris, why on Earth would you include this on the list of 2010s games?”
The answer is simple: Minecraft was not released on May 17, 2009. That is merely when it was published as an experimental release on an unpopular TIGSource forums. The official release of the game, the day it exited its beta phase and was credited as a full game, was November 18, 2011. Thus, Minecraft is a 2010s game, and its embedding into today’s common culture earns it the top spot on this list.
What can one do in Minecraft? Build a city? Craft items? Mine ores in caves? Survive the night? Combat monsters and enemies? Yep, all that and more. Minecraft allows the player to decide what to do next. Feel like gathering food and tools to survive against monsters in the dark forest? You can do that. Do you feel in a creative mood, insisting on building an enchanted metropolis inundated with modern skyscrapers, subway systems, and residential, commercial and industrial elements? Yep, you can do that. Minecraft is simply about what you want to do, and it can be achieved, albeit in a blocky style.
As mentioned, the game has found its way into common culture, with its main character Steve becoming a staple and an icon of the 2010s decade itself. From YouTube playthroughs to dank memes, the game’s presence is there. Thus, Minecraft is the top legendary classic video game of the 2010s decade.
A Top 5 list obviously cannot contain every great game of the decade. Thus, many other releases during the decade deserve honorable mentions. Some of these iconic games include L.A. Noire, which revolutionized facial motion-capture in gaming, Fortnite (yes, we all hate it, but there’s no denying it has become a staple of late 2010s gaming culture), 2018’s Spider-Man, which brought us back to the good-old days of the classic 2004 game Spider-Man 2, Cities: Skylines and its revolutionary 3D city-building engine, and Detroit: Become Human and its iconic branching storyline.
Many normies look upon gaming as a nerd’s tool, a way for a person (specifically a male) to escape the drag of normal life, and go live in their own antisocial and lonely bubble. To them, I say they couldn’t be any further from the truth. Video games do not at all indicate a person is antisocial or alone. They are a multi-billion dollar industry, merely another form of entertain–ment. People sit down and play a video game because it is, as mentioned, a form of entertainment. It is fun and enjoyable, plain and simple.
Whether you are a hardcore gamer, lore geek, casual gamer, or not a gamer at all, it is undeniable that the 2010s decade was ripe with fresh entertainment and media content, from movies to television shows to, of course, video games. On to the next decade we go.
Chris is a writer and publisher who travels America, and loves doing it. He also loves pizza, video games, and sports, and can tell you a thing or two about each. Follow him on Medium to be informed of new articles.