Gaming Age’s Games of the Decade: #40 – #21


Games of the Decade

What were our favourite games of the past decade? Here’s the first half of our Top 40 list — which, we’ll admit, is by no means definitive. Our staff ballots including more than 100 different games, which speaks to the incredible diversity of both the games released over the last ten years, and of our collective opinions of all of them all. Check back tomorrow for the top half of our list!


40. Destiny: If you had asked me what game I put the most hours into over the past decade it would surely be Destiny. I was hooked from the moment I played the beta and it soon became my weekly gaming obsession with a group of friends. It wasn’t unusual for me to log on and play several nights a week and that’s mostly due to the amazing stuff the game gets right: especially the core shooting mechanics. It also helps that the game is beautiful and there always seemed like something new to do. Sure, the expansions helped out over the course of several years, but even if I ran the same Strike 100 times over, I never got sick of the grind. The story could have been better, sure, but the presentation and gameplay was (and still is) top-notch. (CM)


39. Dead Rising 3: I’ve put a dumb amount of time into Dead Rising 3 on the Xbox One, searching out collectibles and blueprints, attempting to clear Nightmare mode, and to see just how many zombies I could kill in one continuous combo. It’s a game that I didn’t think I would enjoy based on its initial lackluster reveal, but it quickly became my favorite in the series. (DC)


38. Monster Hunter: World: As someone who fell in love with Monster Hunter a little late, around Monster Hunter Tri for reference, I learned to deal with the somewhat clunky controls, obtuse mechanics, and oftentimes frustrating camera. That said, Monster Hunter: World was also exactly what the series needed, and makes going back to the older style of games really, really tough at this point. While it can still be a little obtuse, it’s basically become my default version of Monster Hunter to play, and the Iceborne expansion just made that exponentially more true. (DC)


37. The Pinball Arcade: So The Pinball Arcade as we once knew it is no longer a thing, what with the licenses for Bally/Williams being stripped away and now serviced via Zen Pinball. But the sheer number of quality tables that were available on the service was outstanding, a number of which I still own and play today. It is literally the next best thing to the real thing, and gave a lot of people the opportunity to play near-perfect representations of tables they’d never see in a wild. (DC)


36. Axiom Verge: It’s still incredible to me over 4 years later that one man, Thomas Happ, created one of my favorite games of all time. From soundtrack to 8 bit inspired graphics, Axiom Verge hits all the check boxes for me. This is the bar for the Metroidvania genre (as constantly referenced in my other reviews) and I now own it for four systems, most recently the Switch. Yet another game in which I’m still hoping for a sequel. If you haven’t checked out Axiom Verge you’re doing yourself a disservice and what are you waiting for? One; its available on nearly every system imaginable (hello Vita and WiiU) and two; it’s on sale like every other week (not really, but you get the point). (PR)


35. Rocket League: There’s a lot of fun packed into Rocket League. Great controls, addictive gameplay, and varied modes make for one of the most enjoyable, most unique soccer (?) games of the decade. (MP)


34. Xenoblade Chronicles: One of my favorite JRPGs from the past decade was the amazingly original Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii. Not only did it feature a crazy premise (you live atop a gigantic robotic god creature that has since died), but it also offered up a fun battle system and a cast of fun characters to boot. The vistas and unique areas that you’d come across as the hours blew by were jaw dropping and the music awe inspiring. I’m beyond psyched to play the remake that’s on the way to the Switch next year! (CM)


33. What Remains of Edith Finch: For all the flak that so-called walking simulators get, when they’re done well they can tell incredible stories. What Remains of Edith Finch is, as far as I’m concerned, the very height of the genre. It follows the titular character as she explores her family’s abandoned house, and, with it, all the awful misfortune that has befallen everyone in her family tree. Yet, somehow, despite the heavy subject matter, it never allows itself to wallow in sadness — in part, I think, because of how incredible whole thing looks. Every story gets its own unique set of visuals, and the gameplay varies from story to story just enough that you always feel like you’re experiencing something new. Even as it ends on the most depressing note imaginable, it still finds a way to come off as hopeful and life-affirming. Pretty neat trick, if you ask me. (MP)


32. Uncharted 4: I absolutely adore the Uncharted series. It’s sort of the video game equivalent of an Indiana Jones movie with lots of plot twists, treasures to discover, and ancient civilizations to uncover. Uncharted 4 was the perfect way to end Nathan Drake’s adventures and also a wonderful nod to fans of the series. The beginning of the game offers up several payoffs to those who played the original trilogy and the developers weren’t afraid to slowly dole out the story instead of going in guns blazing. The semi-open world levels were super fun to explore and the graphics are insanely detailed. The addition of stealthier gameplay heightened the experience for me and the game ends on a perfect note. Naughty Dog can do no wrong! (CM)


31. Pokemon Go: Your mom has always wanted you to put down the video games and go outside. Ninatic Labs’ reskinning of their inaugural title Ingress with the Pokémon IP was the right combination to finally make your mom happy. Simple gameplay which can be picked up by anyone, drove many to wander the streets and sometimes put themselves in physical danger to live up to the creed of “Gotta Catch’em All.” (SY)


30. Hotline Miami: Beneath this ultra-violent shooter is the craziest, most tripped out, bloodiest puzzle game you’ll ever play. (MP)


29. Diablo III: Hands down my most played game of the decade. I have well over 1000 hours in the PC version of the game, and I’ve played through dozens if not hundreds of hours across Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 and more recently on the Switch. I know that most people were down on the look of the game compared to its predecessor, I remember the launch being rough, difficulty being severely unbalanced, and yes the real-money auction house wasn’t a great thing. But when it comes to really turning a game around and making it into something grand, Diablo III is hard to beat. (DC)



27. Minecraft / 28. Fortnite: While the quality of the games is arguable, as everything is subjective, what’s not is their influence on games as a whole. Minecraft created an entire genre of gaming overnight, with a model that was far less story or gameplay driven than it was powered by creativity. Even conservative game makers Nintendo got in on the “we give you the tools, you create” bandwagon with Mario Maker — handing the keys of their landmark franchise to the players. But first person shooter games, even those with map creation suites, never really prioritized the Minecraft model — until recently. First seen as a knockoff of PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds, Fortnite built a fervent fanbase on the back of player-driven creation and interactivity with a free-to-play revenue model. Which, of course, inspired an army of copycats and inspired other related franchises. Like it or not, Minecraft and Fortnite are two of the most important games of the decade. Not by subjective rating, but by sheer objective influence on the rest of the industry. (TB)


26. Let it Die: Sony at the end of the year will send internet connected users of their platform a recap of their year of play. In 2018, my top played game was Grasshopper Manufacture’s F2P Rogue-like Let it Die, clocking in at a whooping 818 hours. Tasked to climb an ever-changing tower, you collect materials, blueprints to build/enhance weapons and armor to further climb the tower. The game’s core loop is like a warm bowl of soup on a cold winter day, easy to pick up and play for both short and long sessions. (SY)


25. The Walking Dead: Season 1: By the end of the decade, Telltale Games may have oversaturated the market with their brand of narrative adventure games to the point that it put them out of business, but in 2012, the first season of The Walking Dead revitalized the genre in a way that no one could have imagined. The episodic nature of the game kept the story humming at a brisk pace, the characters were well-written, and the game forced you to make some truly agonizing, heart-breaking decisions that stayed with you long after you made them. (MP)


24. Resident Evil 7: After going full on action game with Resident Evil 5 and 6, Capcom took a much-needed step back to its roots with Resident Evil 7. Survival horror is the name of the game and this title really delivered on the thrills. Moving to a first person view the graphics have never been more detailed and the environments so scary to explore. By restricting the game to a smaller venue (basically a house and its grounds) the narrative was more focused, its characters more memorable, and the scares and creep out factor were heightened. Classic tropes, like the item box and mixing herbs together, are back and you can even play this in VR – if you dare! (CM)


23. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: Is there any better couch-competitive multiplayer game out there? Sure some might spout of a Smash Bros. title, but Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the epitome of easy to pick-up and play fun with friends and family. You don’t have to be good at the game to have a fun time, and this entry even allows you to turn on assist mode for those younger players to help them stay on the road. This Switch game includes all of the Wii U content (32 tracks) plus a completely revamped battle arena with several modes of play to keep you coming back for more. With beautiful graphics, a wonderful soundtrack, and spot-on controls, this one is an instant classic and a go-to whenever I have people over. It never gets old! (CM)


22. Super Mario Galaxy 2: While the rise of the Wii was incredible, now in 2019 being a fan of the system is like saying a bad word, which is sad as there was some really great titles on the Wii. Many of those great games also haven’t made their way to any other systems and unfortunately at the moment that means you need a Wii to play Super Mario Galaxy 2 (which I dare say is the best Mario title of the past decade). The motion controls still work in my opinion and it builds on everything introduced in the first Galaxy title. Mario Odyssey is a close runner up, but Galaxy 2 just brought back more of that childhood glee, like playing Super Mario World for the first time. Nintendo likes to rerelease games (especially Mario titles) so there’s still hope for a Switch version, but is dusting off the Wii really such a horrible thing? (PR)


21. Batman: Arkham City: How do you take one of the best titles of the first decade of the 2000s and make it better. It’s easy you make it bigger. Taking the game from a small island to a larger conveniently abandoned portion of Gotham City, the game finally makes good on idea of traversing like Batman, letting you grapnel and glide across the rooftops. Combat is still extremely satisfying and new gadgets and moves further make a seasoned players feel like they are one of the most impressive martial artist of the DC Universe. (SY)