So before beginning this list of the decade I need to clarify what constitutes a game of the decade for me. It’s not the accolades the game has received but instead the games on this list have two major deciding factors to them: first, they must have been played and purchased the year that they came out. Second, they must have been beaten by me at some point in this decade. Yes, I do realize that the second requirement is rather lax, but often times I pick up a game, put it down, and beat it later. The first requirement is to keep the list grounded and keep me from picking games that I bought later and were released this decade, while the second requirement allows me to not restrict myself to the point that this list is completely barren. So, with those caveats out of the way, it’s time to begin our romp through the 2010s with my favorite videogames of the decade!
2010- Fallout: New Vegas
Starting off this list we have already one of my all time favorite video games period. Fallout 3 may have introduced me to the Fallout series, but New Vegas made me stay for the series up until I dropped off with Fallout 4. Even to this day I boot up and play Fallout: New Vegas more than I honestly should as that game manages to kill any productivity that I seem to have. I originally pre-ordered Fallout: New Vegas back before it had come out, I adored 3 at the time and wanted to get use out of my newish PS3 so I preordered New Vegas for that system instead of the 360. While the PS3 version is considered the worst version of Fallout: New Vegas by far due to console soft-locking and crashes galore, I still managed to beat the game on PS3 an ungodly amount of times before eventually grabbing the 360 version, the Steam version, and now the GoG version as well. What New Vegas does for me is gives me a feel of what Fallout 3 could have been. No more karma controlling what ending you get; stats in your character actually mattering for dialogue options; your choices as a character actually shaping and changing the Mojave Wasteland. In the end, Fallout: New Vegas, even in its base game, is something that I wholeheartedly enjoy and find myself coming back to even after all these years. A great way to start out the decade I say. It may be a horribly buggy mess, but I love it all the same.
2011- Sonic Generations
Break out the onion rings and grab yourself a chili dog as it’s time for one of my all time favorite Sonic the Hedgehog games. Sonic Generations marks not only the blue blur’s 20th anniversary but marks a great time to be had all around and would birth an extensive modding community that is still somewhat active even today. Sonic Generations was a game both myself and my friend Sivartz played the ever-living heck out of on the Xbox 360. Both of us were juniors in high school when the game had first come out and we absolutely loved the game from start to finish. From racing in the story, to racing against each other online for the best times overall in Time Attack Sonic Generations, while being a short game, gave each of us hours of entertainment. This would also be the first Sonic game that I would complete 100% since Sonic the Hedgehog 2 back on the Sega Genesis. Bringing back Classic Sonic as his own playable character was definitely an interesting experience and seeing Classic Sonic go through modern stages was a treat to be sure. While personally I would play the Modern Sonic stages more I still enjoyed my romp with Classic Sonic. The console version of Sonic Generations chose what I believe were some of most iconic levels and stages from each of the previous mainline Sonic games and the biggest missed opportunity that SEGA had with Generations was not doing official level DLC for the game at all. I would have loved to see Mystic Cave Zone, Ice Cap Zone, Egg Fleet, Starlight Carnival, heck even Eggman Land in Sonic Generations. Luckily with the robust modding community that has formed for Generations it definitely will be remembered for quite a while.
2012- Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II
Alright, so I feel as though I have some explaining to do. For this list I made it a requirement that the game I had to choose for that specific year had to both a) be played that year and b) have been beaten by me. For the second stipulation it could have been beaten next year, but the end is still the same I personally had to beat the game and view the credits for it to be counted. Thus, this left 2012 in an awkward position. Partly due to the fact that this was the first year I officially started my YouTube channel and thus my focus was on playing games for the channel itself rather than newer games. While I purchased games like Kirby’s Dream Collection, I didn’t beat every game within it so I couldn’t count it. I also didn’t grab Xenoblade Chronicles until years later. So, after looking through every game that had launched in 2012, twice, I realized that the only game that would technically count would be Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II. That’s not to say that I disliked this game entirely, as it definitely was a step up from Sonic 4 Episode I. The stages were rather interesting, and it brought back my favorite Sonic villain besides Eggman: Metal Sonic. That and it gave Metal Sonic a theme that would be ingrained within my brain for years to come and would be remixed thousands of times. On the other hand, it brought back Sonic 2 Special Stages and somehow made them worse, and the music, besides Metal Sonic’s theme, for the most part still sounds rather bland to outright awful to me. So, hey the good with the bad. So congratulations Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, you may not appear on many people’s Game of the Decade List, but even winning by default is still a win I suppose.
2013- Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon
Moving onto something that I love dearly, it’s the Luigi’s Mansion franchise making an appearance on this list! Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, or Luigi’s Mansion 2 for everyone else, was the game I made sure to get a Nintendo 3DS for. My best friend sold me his Ambassador Nintendo 3DS in 2012 and I was just waiting for Luigi’s Mansion 2 to come out for it. Mega Man Legends 3, may it rest in peace, was the game that I originally wanted a 3DS for, but after it was cancelled I did not know if I wanted one anymore. Then Luigi’s Mansion’s sequel got announced and I was back on the 3DS hype train! I grabbed the game at launch and played the ever living crap out of it. My final thoughts: it was okay, and could have been better in some areas, but was still nice to play and I absolutely love the personality and charm the game had. The added gameplay mechanics and different mansions made things seems visually interesting and different, but the sheer amount of mission padding made the game a slog at times, and the ghost variety was definitely better in the first game on the GameCube. Still, Dark Moon was fun to play, and the Scare Scrapper multiplayer mode was a welcome addition to the game as a whole. So, rock on Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, I may not play you too often, but I still greatly enjoyed ya when you first came out.
2014- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
And now for the only appearance of Super Smash Bros. on this list. While I do love Ultimate more than Smash 4, I will not lie that the hype for Smash 4 was big for me. From all the new characters that were revealed to the DLC characters as well, Smash 4 would also be how I met most of my current online friends that I talk to daily. The online mode was loads better than Smash Bros. Brawl, and it was just fun to mess around with altogether. This one feels like I am cheating though as I didn’t technically “beat” this game, as everything is unlocked from the start and all you really have to do is fight against other opponents, but the Wii U version in my case at least got quite a bit of use and the friendships I forged with Smash 4 are definitely something that I cherish. I don’t have much else to say, but thank you Smash 4 for giving me loads of new friends that I enjoy being around.
2015- Fallout Shelter
So, 2015 was another one of those years where I ended up completely ignoring most games that released in the year and Fallout Shelter ends up being the only game I really was able to “beat” and poured a bunch of hours into. Bethesda’s foray into mobile gaming was definitely something that I had sampled when going to E3 in 2015 but I never realized how addicting it could end up being. I ended up pouring hours upon hours into the game until I was so overpowered that I could craft MIRV Fatman Launchers for everyone on the first floor of my Vault alone. Were it not for the fact that the game hadn’t launched its quest modes and my save file did not transfer when I got a new cellphone I’d probably still be playing the game to this day. I tried starting over with the Switch version but the want to start over everything I had was not something that sounded appealing to me. Helped that I didn’t even spend a dime on the game when I played it on my Droid MAXX back in 2015 so hey, congrats Fallout Shelter you kept me entertained while I messed with my channel in 2015, and you are probably still more entertaining than Fallout 76 so there’s that as well.
2016- Ape Escape 2 HD
While the first half of the decade involved me playing new games when I could, the later half of the 2010s definitely had me returning to older games, older games that were either HD ports or Remasters of their original game. Starting this trend, we have Ape Escape 2 HD. Being the first release of an Ape Escape game since 2011’s horrible Ape Escape Move Ape Escape 2 HD was released for the PS4. Updated to run at 1080p and 60 FPS the game is still the fun Ape Escape 2 from back in 2003. Catch monkeys in a net and use various gadgets to capture said monkeys in said net with a little bit of platforming thrown in between. Difference this time though: it’s the PAL dub for those in North American regions. For the longest time I always wondered why Ape Escape 2 HD was the PAL dub, but recently it finally clicked in my head thanks to a YouTube comment on my channel: Ubisoft helped published the North American version in the United States and there was possibly some licensing shenanigans that were occurring that left the North American version off the PS4. Either way Ape Escape 2 is still fun to play, even if I prefer Ape Escape 3, and maybe one day the other Ape Escape games will get released or some sort of remaster will happen with the franchise. You’d think Japan Studios’ first game franchise would be treated a little bit better by Sony, but oh well.
2017- Metroid: Samus Returns
Now this is definitely a rare one for me. Metroid is a series that I love from an outsider’s perspective, but it takes me forever to really finish them because I am absolutely atrocious at them. Took me years to beat Super Metroid, and the same goes for the Prime Trilogy. But even then I still grabbed Metroid: Samus Returns at launch for the Nintendo 3DS in 2017 and was instantly hooked. This was a rare game for me in that once I beat the game, I instantly went into a second playthrough that I did for my YouTube channel. That is something that never occurs for me as usually when I beat a game I feel burnt out and decide that I want to play something else instead. It’s why it was so bizarre to me that I ended up playing through Samus Returns immediately after completing my first playthrough in late December 2017. Samus Returns did a perfect set of quality of life updates to Metroid II: Return of Samus and I honestly love the major mechanic that Metroid: Samus Returns added: the counter move. Yes, it can make the game easier, but I don’t see that as a bad thing since I’m quite terrible at video games that are not named Ape Escape or Ratchet & Clank. The counter move was easy to activate, easy to mess with, and was consistent in its application. Without it I doubt I could have enjoyed let alone beat Samus Returns. Something about Samus Returns just feels right to me and I’d love for a remake of Fusion like what Samus Returns was originally pitched as. Either way it’s a game that fills me with the most excitement on this list so far, besides New Vegas, and that should say something.
2018- Spyro: Reignited Trilogy- Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage!
Continuing the remake train, we have the Spyro: Reignited Trilogy burning up my recommendations and playtime in 2018. Specifically, though I enjoyed the Reignited Trilogy for what it was, out of all three games presented in it I have to give it to Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! As being my favorite of the bunch. Spyro 1 to me always slogs around the Beast Makers home world, while Spyro 3 pads out some missions a bit; these gripes I have also carry over into the Reignited Trilogy, but in Spyro 3’s case I think it’s the worst of the bunch simply from a voice acting perspective. Again, this is just personal choice, but I preferred the original Sorceress voice from the first game rather than the one presented in the Reignited Trilogy, and her design is something I just can’t seem to get over. Spyro 1 definitely received the most quality of life updates though and is placed second on the list between the three, as the amount of new designs that went into the game alongside the update to Gnasty Gnorc are great. But what Ripto’s Rage HD does though is take the original Ripto’s Rage and gives it nicer visuals and stellar voice acting which is what I mainly wanted from that game since I don’t have too many criticisms for Spyro 2 to begin with. Gregg Berger’s Ripto sounds just as menacing as it did back when I was a child, the design of the characters is great and feels natural, and the updated levels still sounds great be it with the original tracks composed by Stewart Copeland or the updated tracks made for the Reignited Trilogy.
2019- Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
And now rounding off the decade we have one of my all time favorite kart racers, updated for modern play with online matchmaking and customization galore. Calling Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled just a remaster I don’t think does this game any justice at all. The amount of minute detail that is placed within this game shows that Beenox really knew what they were doing regarding this remaster. Yes, the microtransaction issue is still there, but honestly I blame Activision more on that and at this point am not surprised by it in the slightest. But the amount of free content updates this game has received since launch have been absolutely mind-numbing. Whoever thought we’d see Rilla Roo again in a Crash Bandicoot game? Sure, he’s butt-ugly but hey at least he exists again. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled was something I expected to like from the get-go, but the amount of what I liked exceeded even what I initially thought. Beenox has shown that they not only care about the original Crash Team Racing, but also that they are listening to player feedback. Updates like the ability to change a driver’s style is something that opens up the game even more as players are no longer locked to using specific characters that use a driving style that they might not like or want to learn how to use. Combine that with the gorgeous soundtrack, addition of new and returning tracks and characters from Nitro Kart and Tag-Team Racing and you get what I consider to be the best Kart Racer of the generation. So good job Beenox, and hope 2020 brings more fun to Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled.
The 2010s were definitely a busy time for me; be it finishing high school, earning my bachelor’s degree, starting and almost finishing my master’s degree, and starting a long running YouTube channel. Throughout all of it there have been ups and many downs, but the one thing that has remained consistent is my love of video games. So as the 2010s close and we enter the realm of the 2020s let’s hope that the great games will continue to come. Thank you all for reading, and why not post your favorite games of the decade in the comments. Have a great new year everyone!