Last week I shared my 2019 list of games that I feel are worthy of your attention and play-time. I wanted to look back a bit further and review the best games of the decade.
I’m reflecting on games that have fundamentally changed the gaming industry, culture, & community.
Also, this list may include games that I myself have not played or are fond of, yet still recognize are important and worthy of noting.
Dark Souls (2011)
The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim (2011)
The Last of Us (2013)
Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
The Witness (2016)
Pokemon Go (2016)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)
God of War (2018)
Death Stranding (2019)
I’m sure I’ve missed some and this list is far from comprehensive, I could easily expand it, but looking back at the decade in gaming, I think this list is pretty reflective of the state of gaming/play as we move into the next decade.
It’s that time of year where everyone shares their favorite games. Here is a list of games released in 2019 that I’ve enjoyed playing and think are worth your time.
Note: I am avoiding using a numbered system because these games are all worthy of attention and also, ranking is bullshit. My preference in this moment will change in a few days because my moods are fickle and things change. Good gaming ya’ll.
I’m late to the party, but the good thing is that there’s plenty of food to devour. That’s how I feel having been gifted a console (PS4) so late into it’s life-cycle. We already know that the PS5 (PSV?) has been announced for December 2020. So why now?
There are a ton of advantages with jumping into a console so late in it’s life-cycle. Here are just a few of them:
Discounts on console/bundled deals.
Games are cheaper (used games easily acquired)
GOTY editions (bundled DLC game packages at low prices)
Bugs/updates have been worked out for major game releases
Those are just a few of the reasons to jump into a gaming console at the end of it’s life. You just save a ton of money and have a lot of media to consume.
There are certainly trade-offs, as the number of games that are being released for the older generation start to taper off as release of the latest approaches. But for me, this isn’t really a deal-breaker. I did this with the Xbox 360 and here I am at the tail end of Sony’s Playstation 4.
Games as services is not something I am quite fond of, but it seems to be the future. Lately it seems, all you have to do is to blink and you’ll discover a game developer announcing an exclusive launcher for their flagship games.
Whether it’s Rockstar with their announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2 or Ubisoft with the latest Assassin’s Creed. If you want to buy a game, you have to install their launcher and live inside of their ecosystem. And we know that they’re going to offer all kinds of lootboxes (surprise-mechanics) and additional DLC that are exclusive to their platform.
I hate that I currently have 7 launcher/platforms on my PC:
Epic Game Store
And Google Stadia is around the corner (I am eagerly awaiting this to fail).
The only shining bit of light I can see is how Microsoft has approached this trend of games as a service with their Xbox Game Pass.
For about $6/month I can have unlimited access to a gallery of games that I am able to immediately download to my PC. I’m not streaming them, so I do not have to fuss with latency or connection speeds. And I’m not paying full price for a game I will lose interest with or does not run well on my aging graphics card (GTX 950).
I wanted to play the new Obsidian game, Outer Worlds, but I also didn’t want to drop $60, so I started my free trial and I have to say, I’m quite pleased with this decision and I’m going to keep my subscription active.
The only small annoyance I have is that the Xbox Game Pass app from the Windows Store is a bit sluggish at times, but it’s also a beta app that will likely receive more updates as the service develops. It’s still only a few months into this being available for PC, so I’m not too worried. It’s a very small thing.
If you’re looking for a convenient way to play games on your PC at a fairly affordable cost, you should take advantage of the $1 first month trial and see if it’s right for you.
Returning to a game you haven’t picked up in months can be a frustrating experience. Outside of feeling disconnected from the narrative of whatever game you’re attempting to hop back inside of, you have also likely forgotten a number of other aspects of the game: controls, attack patterns of bosses, and where you are in the game (literally, somewhere on a giant map unsure of your next step).
I wish more video games took a page from television serials and provided a “Previously on…” kind of recap. Dragon Quest XI, which I’m currently playing does just this and it’s a brilliant addition to an already stand-out game. I am glad the developers recognized that in a game that is potentially 120+ hours long, that it might be useful to have a short recap while your game is loading, explaining that your character was last on this island battling this evil demon and your next goal is to find maguffin A so you can restore order to the blah blah blah.
What often happens to me when I return to an older game is that I start a brand new save, so that I can re-familiarize myself with the game’s narrative/controls and then once I feel like I’ve recalled enough of the game, I will hop back into my older save which has more progress.
I do also wish that outside of a “Previously on…” type of feature, that more games would allow you to replay the introduction/tutorial because that would basically solve the problem of not knowing how to play the game after so many months (or even years) of inactivity.
So I apologize but this next post is going to be a deep in the weeds, very “you need to understand the meta of the game” kind of post. And if you’re not a fan of the roguelike game Binding of Isaac, well then what I’m about to say isn’t going to mean much. Though maybe you can at least appreciate the dedication and the sense of accomplishment for what I’ve just done in this game.
I finally unlocked the D6 by defeating Isaac in the Cathedral using ???. This is not easy. I’ve been trying to do this for months and months and I’ve failed again and again and again. The reason being that unlike most other dungeon runs, you have a very limited number of hits that you can take and the ability to replenish your life is also at a premium.
The Binding of Isaac is my “forever game”. There’s something about htis game that has just taken root inside of my soul and it’s the game I keep on going back to. I may pick up other games but I always return to this one.
I should also note that this is a game that keeps on giving, there have been at least 3 major expansions DLCs, one of which will be released later this Winter. And I’ve only scratched the surface. I still have some characters to unlock and a number of secret endings that I’ve yet to see. It will be a sad day indeed when I’ve unlocked everything this game has to offer.