The last decade was incredibly productive for game developers. The number of video games rose significantly. More and more people decided to try their abilities in playing games. Geography, age and gender ranks have widened, crushing stereotypes. If ten years back, many adults still thought of games as tools for male teenagers to express themselves or rebel, nowadays these adults are entering Fortnite themselves.
When Past Meets Future
Games were improving side by side with the arrival of new technologies. VR and AR games were something unimaginable ten years ago. And let’s not forget that platforms have changed significantly, providing more opportunities for game developers to express their vision. While there were some simple games on mobiles, usually they were primitive, black and white, without any storyline, and of course, they contained no multiplayer mode.
We gathered the most influential games of the last ten years here. Some of them are still on demand, others became the inspiration for more popular games. If you know more games to add on the list, you are welcome to do this in the comments below.
What is your first thought when you think of the most iconic indie game? We can definitely name Limbo, this weird but loveable puzzle adventure, one of the best indie games. Many gamers consider the 2010s as the Indie Game Renaissance period. And we can’t agree more.
Limbo was not the first indie game, but it definitely was one of the most influential. It has outstanding graphics and a short length. The game has thoughtful gameplay and unique vision. Made by Playdead Danish indie studio, it symbolizes the beginning of the era when even small or one-person companies could develop games. With the appearance of powerful computers and new techniques, it became easier to make experiments with games.
At the dawn of Indie Renaissance appeared Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Five Nights at Freddy’s, and Slenderman: The Eight Pages. This period of indie games is not over, and we expect to see more new genres mixed with creative graphics and outstanding mechanics in the nearest future. Limbo is a survival horror and puzzle game.
Indie genre is not only about horror games. It is a manifesto of every game that is different from mainstream production. New mechanics brought by Limbo inspired numerous non-horror games like Super Meat Boy and Spelunky. Limbo is democratic, free of any standards, and unique.
Pokemon Go is considered to be the pioneer of AR games. It appeared back in 2016 catching the world’s attention immediately. The game appeared in the period where everyone was aware of VR headsets, possibly tried simple VR-based games, and were not ready to buy expensive equipment to enjoy any game. Developers refused to waste their time and sources on creating games for virtual reality. Augmented reality, however, was something new, unknown, and looked like it could solve VR problems. You did not have to buy a headset, you could play outside, and you could finally make your mom proud about you leaving the house.
Pokemon Go does not offer you its own world, it creates everything around you. It helps to explore your own city, walk around, stay fit by running hard to catch the Pokemon. The game is free of charge, compact, available on your phone, and it offers you daily walks while you are looking for precious awards. What can be better?
Catching Pokemon is not always safe. Numerous neighbors of Pokemon Go players started to complain over trespassing of their backyards, some church employees even started the holy war with Pokemon catchers. Many Pokemons dwelled in dangerous areas. Developers quickly reacted to all these complaints and fixed tricky situations, but even now, you still have to watch where you are going.
Pokemon Go was the first AR success. It brought new games like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. It helped to create new apps and helpful tools like Measure app from Apple. AR became on-demand in different industries. While some players believe that Pokemon Go is not worth their attention, you can’t argue that AR implementation definitely opens new possibilities for game developers.
Candy Crush Saga
Released back in 2012 by King company, this puzzle game is the most downloadable mobile game in history. The freemium model has never been implemented as successfully as in Candy Crush. Candy Crush became one of the first games developed for the Facebook social network. It allowed many people to play games at any time, wherever they are. With Candy Crush, you can just quit the game and go back anytime you want to play.
The freemium model quickly became popular among players who played the game via their social network profiles. You can share progress with other players or on your page. Your friends may always see your progress and cheer you up. Some players still have one goal to reach the top of leaderboards. Usually, you can do it only by playing regularly.
Candy Crush Saga has adorable, vivid graphics and addictively simple gameplay. You can be captured by the game for hours without actually noticing it. With each your success you receive an award. The model that does not force you to pay anything sounds so well, you don’t even notice how you pay for numerous features.
This model of payment became really popular this decade. Some games use this system to sell new skins, weapons, loot boxes, others may give you extra life or scores. And who knows, maybe Fortnite could never exist without Candy Crush Saga.
We know you were expecting it. Why not? Minecraft is a unique phenomenon, and it still continues to be the one and only. Millions of players enter the game every day. The game is not free of charge, but it does not stop players from being addicted to it. No other game gives the same satisfying feeling of being a master of your own world. Yet, many of them tried.
Minecraft is like a Tetris with a colorful open universe. You can create your own villages, cities, and even worlds. There are numerous worlds that have been already made by players, and many more to come. Some of them are inspired by real-world cities, others let their wild fantasies flow. There is a gigantic international community of Minecraft players.
The game continues to grow into something more than a simple single-player adventure. Developers still release updates, new features, modes, new platforms. It looks like Minecraft became a part of modern culture and will not go anywhere. Multiple designers tried to copy Minecraft and repeat their success. We all remember No Man’s Sky, released in 2016. Perhaps the closest inspired by Minecraft game that reached success was Fortnite with its open-end and opportunities to create. Both of the games look nothing alike. And yet, they have their core similarities. Minecraft is progressing and experimenting with styles, genres, ways of payment. We expect that the game will turn into something incredible in the future.
The series of RPG games named Souls and made by legendary developers FromSoftware offers numerous challenges on the way to glory. While critics still argue whether the game is a piece of art or just a well-packed product for consumers, they agree in one thing – Dark Souls made a huge impact on RPG games of the 2010s. Obviously, some games are made for earning money. It does not mean that they are not worth our attention. Even bestsellers can be really good, that is how they became bestsellers in the first place.
During the last ten years, Dark Souls has been continuing to prove that there is still hope for the video game industry. Developers made the great quality of the game their main priority. Their approach was definitely new to the whole video game market of the 2010s.
Dark Souls series brings the dark fantasy universe to you. It is huge, and you can easily get lost there. There are no linear scenarios, no markers of quests. Dark Souls give the illusion of freewill to players, which was something entirely new back then. You are able to explore everything on your own. This model was quickly adopted by numerous games like The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth where you don’t know anything about your goals and mechanics in general. You are allowed to be mistaken, and you will learn how to play the game occasionally.
The fresh idea of free will was appreciated by everyone. It was something revolutionary. Even FromSoftware came up to this idea, not from the first game in the series. We can’t call them pioneers in this area, as Zelda offered a similar structure of boss battles even earlier. However, they showed the new way in Dark Souls. And Dark Souls series probably influenced The Walking Dead, Journey, The Stanley Parable, and Gone Home, the games with well-developed narratives that left the ending open for players.
League of Legends
The online multiplayer battle arena brought a new type of sports to us. While we always enjoyed watching other people play games, nothing looked as serious as League of Legends. Yes, there were friendly matches in Mortal Kombat and Super Smash Bros, but it was rather a competition among friends with other friends watching them.
In 2011 Sweden hosted the first season of the tournament for League of Legends. The main award was $100 000. It’s unclear whether the prize or the competition itself made League of Legends incredibly popular across the world, but it’s a fact. Hundreds of teams started their training. In 2019 the prize was $2 113 750. The tournament received sponsors like Louis Vuitton and Mastercard. This game helped thousands of players to explain to their parents that they were not JUST playing, they were training to become professionals and earn money.
League of Legends discovers new names of professional players. Some of them prefer to stream their training in-between tournaments and interact with their fans. It turns out that many people want to see how they play and are eager to make donations to support this type of sport.
Now everyone can become an esports professional. And League of Legends is not the only game with open tournaments, but we still owe it big for opening that door. People across the world unite in communities to cheer up their favorite teams or become part of the team themselves. And playing games to earn money has become a real dream job nowadays.
So if you want to become professional e-sportsman to win money and have dedicated fans who hang your photos on their walls, you better be thankful to the League of Legends, and start training. We don’t know if this sport will be included in the Olympics in the future. But we hope it will keep on growing.
Video Games and the Community
Some games can be called legends, other influencers, there are games that were barely noticed by hundreds of people and games that became a total disaster. No matter how successful, video games, in general, became a part of our daily culture. We grew up playing them, and we still wait for many of them to be released in the next few years. They reflected the philosophy of postmodern world, and some of them created a new one.
Video games attract more and more people offering a variety of genres to play. We love the characters, worlds, graphics, mechanics, levels of challenge and competition. The 2010s were generous to us with new opportunities, epic games, and legendary twists. From Esports, Indie Renaissance, freemium, and AR to Fortnite and The Walking Dead, we enjoy all the gifts from the games industry. These games made people across the world closer to each other and communication easier.
The new decade will be full of surprises, new platforms, new technologies. And we are really excited about new games that are on their way. What about you? Which game are you expecting the most? Do you have any suggestions for games that can be added to this list?