50th Post Special! Games of the Decade!

This is officially my 50th post on Meghan Plays Games! I just want to start this post off by saying a huge thank you to anyone who has ever read, commented, or otherwise supported my content. 50 posts doesn’t seem like much, but I wasn’t even sure this was something I wanted to do regularly, or maintain, so it feels like a big milestone. I’ve really enjoyed writing over the last several months, and engaging with other bloggers in comments and collabs. I’m a couple months away from the 1st year anniversary of this blog, and I’m definitely planning to keep writing into 2020. So thank you again for reading – here’s hoping for a great year of gaming!

I’m taking a brief break from my Dark Souls Diaries to do this 50th post special – I already feel like I’m a bit late on the Game of the Decade train. Obviously the point of my Dark Souls series was to celebrate that game for being my favourite of the last ten years, but ten years is a long time – and I’ve played a lot of fantastic games. I’ve agonized, and narrowed it down to ten picks.

I’m also not going to do a dedicated post for my Game of the Year in 2019, because its an easy pick, and I’ve already talked about it at length in this post, and this one. Surprise – it’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. This past year was a bit disappointing to me in terms of gaming, as there wasn’t a whole lot I was excited about, or impressed by. Sekiro was the only game that really stood out as being Game of the Year-worthy for me personally. I was thrilled when it won GOTY at the Game Awards – unexpected, but extremely well deserved. Anyway, enough rambling, here’s my top ten games of the last decade!

Red Dead Redemption (2010)

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Toss up between Red Dead 1 & 2, but I’ve decided to go with the first game, where it all started. I’ve talked about this game before, but I’m a big fan of Western settings, so being able to play Cowboy GTA was pretty much The Dream™. John Marston is one of my favourite protagonists of all time, and I genuinely think that Red Dead Redemption has one of the most impressive story arcs of the last decade. Its narrative structure was so easy to get invested in, taking each gang member down individually. It builds steadily to the crescendo of John atoning for his past, and trying to start a future with his family. I was in tears by the end; I loved the characters, the map, the sidequests, everything. Despite its slow pace, and occasionally dull missions, this is easily one of my favourite games of the past ten years.

Dark Souls (2011)

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I was very afraid to play Dark Souls. Even by the time I picked it up (years after its release) its difficulty was legendary. If I’m being completely honest, that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to play it – I wanted to prove to myself, and to others, that I was capable of completing a game notorious for its high skill demand. I wanted a fallback for conversations that inevitably cropped up whenever gaming discussions did: Oh you’re a girl who plays games? What do you play? Do you play real games? Yes, I wanted to say, I play Dark Souls. Problem was, the game was really kicking my ass, and I struggled with it for almost a year. I walked away from it several times, when I felt so hopelessly stuck I couldn’t bring myself to play anymore. But I kept coming back to it, with a fresh file after each failure. Eventually, I learned to appreciate its no-holds-barred style, and (slowly) absorbed the lessons it taught me, in caution, patience, and perseverance. I grew to love the game I originally only wanted to play as a personal achievement. Not only did I grow to appreciate Dark Souls, with its incredible level design, boss fights, and intriguing lore, I continued on to play all of the Souls games, including Bloodborne and Sekiro. I proved to myself that I could play these games as well as anyone else, and grew quite attached to their style. So, not only do I play Dark Souls – I love it.

Journey (2012)

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I always waffle on about writing a review for this game, but I don’t think I will. It’s hard to express why I love this game so much, because its fairly simple in its visual presentation and gameplay. But I think the musical score does a lot to elevate this deceptively simple game – it has the power to evoke genuine emotion, directly related to the story/gameplay you’re experiencing on-screen. Its immensely powerful, and I’d never experienced anything quite like it. Flying through the final area, and walking into the light at the top of the mountain still gets me every single time. The game can also feel completely different whether you’re travelling on your own, or with another person. Journey’s unique cooperative mechanic allows you to pair up with a random person to complete the game, and it can add an entirely new layer to an already moving experience. The best word I can use to describe this game is “resonant” because that’s exactly what it is.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf (2013)

This was my first foray into the world of Animal Crossing. I had heard of it before, but never tried it; I’ve since become a huge fan. As with every fan of the game, I love the peaceful, idyllic lifestyle that New Leaf offers. Getting to build your town from scratch, and getting to know your villagers (my ride-or-dies are Eunice, Rod, and Freckles) is probably my favourite part. At some point I realized I was ridiculously invested in these tiny creatures, and would be devastated if they left my town. There’s nothing like a game of Animal Crossing to lift you up when you’re feeling stressed or low – it’s such a lovely, wholesome experience. Who else is counting down to New Horizons?

Bloodborne (2015)

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Speaking of lovely, wholesome experiences – Bloodborne! Just kidding. Bloodborne is brutal, visceral, and took me completely by surprise. I wasn’t anticipating enjoying this game as much as I did, mostly because I was so enthralled by Dark Souls, that I doubted anything could compare. It was also scary to lose the crutch of a shield from the previous Souls games. But Bloodborne quickly became one of my favourites – its oppressive, unrelenting atmosphere, enjoyable combat, and twisting narrative easily make it one of my favourite titles of this decade. On a somewhat related note, it also has one of my favourite quotes of all time, on the Executioner Set: “Acts of goodness are not always wise, and acts of evil are not always foolish, but regardless, we shall always strive to be good.” I recently went back to Bloodborne and finally finished off the playthrough I needed for the Platinum Trophy – look for a post on that in the near future!

Persona 5 (2016)

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Persona 5 was title I only played recently, as I’m not the biggest fan of JRPGs. I’ve never played a game in the franchise before either. But I had so much fun with this game; despite some issues I had with its narrative, and the game generally outstaying its welcome (sooo much unnecessary dialogue), it’s an absolute blast. I loved the characters, the combat, the music – everything gels well together, and the experience was unforgettable. The way that the game is able to incorporate symbolism into the Palaces of the villains was exciting to me – I loved their designs. I’m beyond excited for The Royal to drop this March.

Pokemon Sun and Moon (2016)

I had to include a Pokemon game on this list, and even though I generally consider X/Y to be my favourite, I wanted to name Sun/Moon instead – I feel like it doesn’t get enough love. I think the developers took a bit of a chance, stepping away from the usual Gym Challenge format, and it worked perfectly. The trials, while not necessarily challenging, were extremely enjoyable and well-crafted. The Ghost trial with Mimikyu was my personal favourite. The rival characters in Hau and Gladion were great, and Lusamine was an intriguing villain, with a somewhat unusual motive. I loved being able to fully customize my character, and the general quality of life improvements added in these titles were welcome. Overall, I think Sun and Moon were extremely strong additions to the franchise, and I loved every hour (more than 200 of them… shhhh) I played.

What Remains of Edith Finch (2017)

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What Remains of Edith Finch is one of those games whose stories will stick with me forever. This is one of the best games I’ve ever played, hands down. Its incredible structure, chapter-like, with unique gameplay and art styles for each one, is brilliant. The heartfelt, melancholic tales are incredible to experience for the first time, as you walk through the dream-like Finch house, learning their family history. This game (for me personally) serves as a testament to the importance of history, and story-telling, and I love it all the more for that.

Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018)

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This game was a huge surprise for me – I never expected to love it as much as I do. I played it oh a whim, trying to fill the ‘gaming gap’ between the release of God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2. I loved the gameplay, and the story, but most of all, I loved the characters. Peter Parker was presented perfectly (say that five times fast), as was Mary Jane. It was so easy to get attached to, and invested in the lives of these characters. The extremely fun movement/swinging mechanics were also executed perfectly. I simply adore this game, and all its DLCs (though they weren’t as strong) and I cannot wait for the inevitable sequel down the line.

God of War (2018)

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God of War was another game I originally had no intention of playing, and picked up several weeks after its release. I hadn’t been a fan of the God of War series for years, but when I saw a streamer play through the tutorial area, the combat immediately intrigued me. Kratos and Atreus’ journey through Midgard and beyond grabbed me, and I literally could not stop thinking about the game until I had it completed. The relationship between father and son was so ridiculously endearing, I was in tears by the end. The original score absolutely slaps. The side characters are phenomenal. I kept playing this game to nab the Platinum Trophy, and went back again when they released the NG+ patch. I’ll never forget the thoughts and feelings I had playing this title for the first time – it’s genuinely one of my favourites of all time. I’m sure a sequel is in the works, and I hope director Cory Barlog stays on to see it through – it couldn’t possibly be as brilliant without him. Regardless, fantastic game to round out my favourites of the last decade.

Once again, thank you so much for reading! As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments – either your picks for game(s) of the decade, or what you’re looking forward to in 2020!

Published by

meghanplaysgames

25-year-old hailing from the Northern badlands of Canada. Persistent gamer, avid reader, and fledgling D&D player. I’ve played video games for as long as I can remember, and they’ve always been a big part of my love for the art of storytelling. Just trying to make it in a world where my copy of Disney’s Extreme Skate Adventure no longer works.

15 thoughts on “50th Post Special! Games of the Decade!”

  1. Congrats on the 50th post!

    My games of the decade seemed to be from years 2015,17, or 18. I know people that have made comments along the lines of “games just aren’t as good anymore” and I try not to go into some lengthy rant about how great games STILL are. I’ve been still working on Sekiro and re-started Bloodborne from the beginning, so I have no issue with anyone asserting the influence of From Software games in the last decade. 🎮

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Totally agree – I think games are still getting better, some years just feel better than others. 2018 was the best year (for me personally) in gaming that I’ve experienced in a long time! Good luck with Sekiro and Bloodborne – may the good blood guide your way!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay happy 50th!!!! ❤ And sorry I've been a AWOL lately! It's been a few months of hiatus.

    I'm smiling through this list because so many of them are also my faves from the last 10 years. And it's incredible how diverse games have become–at least, in terms of the range of experiences they offer. Like, God of War is such a different beast to Edith Finch, and their scope and budget are totally different, but they're both phenomenal and emotionally resonant games.

    Still trying to decide what my full top 10 would be, but Hellblade is definitely on there. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not to worry at all! Sometimes life gets in the way of hobbies – I look forward to you starting back up again 🙂

      I’m really glad that indie games are gaining so much traction now – their style and presentation are so different to the AAA titles, but can actually be more powerful for it. I love that a small indie game can mean as much to me as a huge blockbuster title!

      I never played Hellblade, but I know a lot of people who loved it, so I think it would be a great choice.

      Like

  3. The story you shared about Dark Souls reminds me a lot of how I approach any of the more difficult games I play. It takes time to slowly learn the game’s lessons, but once you do it is incredibly rewarding. Are there other games where you’ve felt that same feeling of accomplishment after overcoming a large hurdle, or is that feeling exclusively one you receive from FromSoft games?

    Also, congrats on post 50. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For me personally, I would say it’s more or less exclusive to the FromSoft titles – but I think that’s more a reflection of the games I play, and my style, than FromSoft being The Best™.

      I don’t typically gravitate towards super challenging games just for that reason. Dark Souls was a bit of an exception. Even in games with difficulty options, I usually just play on whatever “normal” is – unless its a game like Spider-Man, where I’m already very comfortable with the combat style (I played that one on the hardest difficulty). The genres I play now I find to have more arbitrary forms of difficulty, like increasing enemy health/decreasing your damage, or whatever else they can do to make the journey challenging (i.e. in God of War). These ‘attrition’ style difficulties I don’t have the patience for honestly.

      FromSoft is the only studio that consistently produces games where I feel like the game itself is teaching me how it wants me to play. I felt it in Sekiro most recently, where I was automatically falling back into a Souls-style of cautious playing and relying on dodges. It beat me out of that after one boss. I’ve finally picked up DMC5 and am struggling a bit with the combat style, but moreso because I’m not used to it, rather than feeling like the game is punishing me for playing sub-optimally.

      I think I’d appreciate the ‘lesson’ style of game design if I branched out into other genres, but since my gaming preferences are fairly limited now (I think I’m pretty basic) I don’t experience it as often.

      Sorry for the novel response – and thank you!:)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I asked the question expecting a detailed answer, so no need to apologize.

        I don’t find a lot of AAA games really do difficulty super well. I also play most games on normal difficulty except when they’re painfully easy. Rise of the Tomb Raider, for example, I played on the highest difficulty. And I don’t even play that many third person shooting games. That is how painfully easy the game was even at its most challenging.

        If you wanted to branch out and play other games that challenge you to learn their systems indies might be the better place to do so.

        I find I get that kind of sensation, usually, in rogue-likes. I don’t know how many of those you’ve dipped your toes into, but they are generally built around the idea of learning through repeated failure. It is baked into the design. Rather than overcoming a single specific challenge you’re tasked with learning the game’s systems and overcoming a random assortment of challenges within that provided ruleset. It makes for a less predictable experience so your understanding of the underlying systems is directly correlated to your success. Though, rogue-likes with permanent progression that slowly improves the power of your character entirely undermine this design. That said, if you’re ever looking for a similar experience to From Soft’s games and want to dip your toes outside your current “comfort zone” of genres then rogue-likes might be a good place to look.

        Sidebar: having played DMC5 late last year – that mirrors my experience. I really wasn’t a fan of how limited and restrained the combat feels in the beginning. Nero, honestly, plays far too basic until you unlock over half of his locked abilities and combos. About halfway through the game you’ll unlock the ability to play as Dante at which point the game hits its stride. He has enough options and combos to have a satisfying flow, while also making more sense of the other systems in the game. I think you’ll find the game gets better and is a lot easier to play well once you get further in. It’s almost like the game wants you to struggle in the earlier stages with how limited everything is.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I would tend to agree. Like I said, most games just tend to make the enemies super tanky, and I don’t have the patience to spend 15 minutes killing each small grunt, so it’s a no from me. I haven’t played any of the Tomb Raider games, but I have heard that about them.

        Since I’m so picky about games, I tend to skip most rogue-likes because of single elements or systems that I dislike. For example, I think I would have enjoyed Dead Cells, but I’m really not a fan of platforming elements anymore, nor do I usually enjoy procedurally generated stuff. Some games I feel like I can appreciate the design while acknowledging that I wouldn’t necessarily enjoy playing them myself. I think I’d be willing to be more open if games weren’t an arm and a leg each nowadays.

        Also sidebar: the cynic in me believes that they made the initial levels like that intentionally, to try to tempt players to get in on the microtransactions for orbs. But maybe I’m just really bad. That’s good to know though – I’m looking forward to getting to the later levels and improving with practice. Excited for Dante. Otherwise, still really enjoying the game so far, especially the music!

        Liked by 1 person

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