It is hard to believe that we are leaving the 2010’s and moving into the 2020’s. It felt like 2010 was yesterday and that everything in between happened in a blur. While a lot of things happened to me personally over the past decade, this post is not about that. Instead, I want to take a look at each decade and point out three games from each year that meant the most to me. It was hard to come up with one game to hold my heart for each year, so with me highlighting three games it makes me feel a little less guilty of not recognizing some of my favorite games. I will be using an arbitrary tier list of Bronze, Silver, and Gold to differentiate my favorites. My taste are way different from others, so please don’t be up in arms if (insert game here) is not on my list. Without further delay, let’s get in to it.

2010 – The Beginning of the Decade

Bronze – Yu Gi Oh! 5D’s Tag Force 5

This may still be one of my favorite Yu Gi Oh! games. I have sunk so many hours into this game and will still play it on occasion. I know that it is follows an outdated ruleset now, but there is some simple pleasure of playing games by old rules.

Silver – Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

This was my second Dragon Quest title after XIII. While I was a little put off of it at first, I came to realize how great of a game this was. The ability to create your team and yourself was new to me as well as inviting other players to join your game. My younger brother and I used this feature countless times and it became the one game that we would play all the time. Here’s hoping that we will get a remastered version one day on the Switch!

Gold – Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver

How do you make my favorite Pokemon generation better? Update everything and add new content to blow the original out of the water. I played SoulSilver and I loved everything about it. From Pokemon following behind you to the added content, these games are almost perfect in my eyes.

Honorable Mentions:
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars
Final Fantasy XIII
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey
Monster Hunter Tri
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Xenoblade Chronicles
Persona 3 Portable
Civilization V
Etrian Odyssey 3: The Drowned City
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

2011 – Fun Times

Bronze – Pokemon Black and White

While HeartGold and SoulSilver are the pinnacle DS Pokemon games to me, Black and White are a close second to me. I was put off by the idea of only using new Pokemon only at first, but I grew to really enjoy that mechanic and I would not mind revisiting the idea in a future title. It allowed me to understand these new Pokemon and break out of my comfort zone of finding mons that I was familiar with. I would not have learned the destructive power of Garbodor if not for this restriction.

Silver – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Oh Skyrim. So many adventures traversing the region and discovering new things. The beauty of Skyrim is that no two play sessions are the same depending on what you are doing. If you get bored of a normal existence, there are a plethora of mods for the game that make it re-playable all over again. And if you never have to worry about this point on how to play the darn thing since its on every console and now appliances!

Gold – Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3

What! A mediocre game beats a game like Skyrim for my personal favorite? Why yes! Even though I only got around to play this in 2014, I hold it high as one of my favorite games of all time. When I first got my PS3, this was the first game that I pick up for it and nearly platinum it (pesky online achievements). I had just graduated from college at the time so I had a lot of free time on my hands while looking for a job. This game got me through a lot of solitary days and reignited my passion for getting good at games (even though this is not a hard game unless you are playing on the hardest difficulty). That is why this is my favorite game that came out in 2011.

Honorable mentions:
Bastion
Radiant Historia
You Don’t Know Jack
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy
L.A. Noire
Sonic Generations
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

2012 – Meh…

Bronze – Pokemon Black 2 and White 2

Black and White 2 had some really good moments and ideas, but for me I still prefer the first games. The inclusion of the Pokemon World Championships was a fun challenge that kicked my butt all the time and made me start thinking strategically and cautious about my teams stats and move set. The story felt weak, but it was nice to see another direct sequel to a generation.

Silver – The Last Story

I have a feeling most people have either played, heard, or remember this title. This was one of the last big games that hit the Wii along with Xenoblade Chronicles and Pandora’s Tower. While Xenoblade got all the attention, I really enjoyed my time with The Last Story (so much that I finished it while I have yet to finish Xenoblade yet). It would be cool to see either a remake or a sequel to this game but chances seem low since its developer, Mistwalker, has not made a console game since.

Gold – Persona 4 Golden

I bought a Vita to play this. Worth it.

Honorable Mentions:
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2
Tales of Graces f
Xenoblade Chronicles
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Liberation Maiden
Guild Wars 2

2013 – The Year of the 3DS

Bronze – Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

2013 marked the year I got my first real job; and the first thing I did with my first paycheck was buy a Nintendo 3DS and two games. This was one of the first games I bought and sunk many hours into. This game helped with me finding my expertise in gaming and made me appreciate playing difficult games. People may dunk on the swimming mechanic and all I can say is “get gud.”

Silver – Fire Emblem Awakening

The second game that I got for my 3DS was this title. This may be the last Fire Emblem game that I truly enjoyed and wouldn’t stop playing till the end. The marriage system was kinda weird at first, but it made more more cautious of support relations in order to build a stronger army. Though if I am to be honest, I do not think every title going forward needs to have forced romance and fan service (I’m looking at you Fire Emblem Fates).

Gold – Animal Crossing New Leaf

Guys, I’m afraid of Animal Crossing New Horizons. If it is going to be anything like New Leaf, my world is going to revolve around me playing it from sunrise to sunset. The mayor mechanic was addictive. For the first time you had almost complete control of how your village looked and operated. With a lot of quality of life updates and thousands of ways to customize your experience, New Leaf has the honor of being the second game that kept me glued to my 3DS.

Honorable Mentions:
Mighty Switch Force! 2
Project X Zone
Shin Megami Tensei IV
Tales of Xillia
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Grand Theft Auto V
Pokemon X and Y
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

2014 – Another Meh Year

Bronze – Bravely Default

This was an interesting RPG to me. I liked the style of the game and the customization options that we available. I made it my job to make the most broken combination that I could think of and I think I came close. I will admit that repetition did kill me at the end and I was ready to be done with it at that point. I have not touched the sequel ever since it came out, so let’s hope that it fixed my issue. Also, I am really looking forward to Bravely Default 2 even though it has a confusing name.

Silver – Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

Do you know what is better than Final Fantasy? The music in Final Fantasy! The soundtrack to all the Final Fantasies have always been one of my favorite aspects, so when you make a game focused all around the music I’m pumped! The second game added more songs, modes, and a good progression system to get you playing for hours on end. I doubt we will see that arcade version of the game anytime soon, but I would be down for a new Theatrhythm anytime (even that Dragon Quest one!).

Gold – Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS

I chose the 3DS version of this game not because I didn’t own a Wii U at the time, but it was the better version to me. Sure you may not have the accessibility of local co-op play with a system, but this experience let you smash wherever you went. Who needs a Gamecube controller when you got Smash Run; the best mode Smash ever made because it felt like Kirby Air Ride! I also enjoyed the stages in the 3DS version more than the Wii U version, but this is all personal taste. It seems redundant to replay this version with Ultimate out now, but don’t tell me that you don’t sneak a round of Smash Run here and there!

Honorable Mentions:
Battleblock Theater
Tomodachi Life
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn
Tales of Xillia 2
Destiny
Tales of Hearts R
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

2015 – GOTY

Bronze – Bloodborne

I didn’t play this game until 2018, but it was worth the wait. I don’t think I could have handled a game like this back in 2015, but 2018 Carlton made this game his. Unlike in Dark Souls (which I played before this) the rule was to be aggressive and act fast to the situation. There is no waiting game in Bloodborn. You find your opening, hit hard, fast, dodge, heal, and then get back in there. Your opponent is not going to wait for you, so why should you?

Silver – The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

It has been a while since a game made me feel emotionally involved with its characters. I recently finished my first playthrough of this game and it left me feeling good and wanting more. The structure of the world may seem confusing at sometimes since the game tries to set up everything that it can while you play. The battle system is now one of my all time favorites and the level of customization is unbelievable. It may take me another three years to finish the second game, but I need to know what happens next and how the story unfolds.

Gold – Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

For how good Trails of Cold Steel is, it was not beating my favorite game of all time. Earlier I mentioned that Animal Crossing had the second most play time on my 3DS. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate takes the cake for the game that I played the most out of almost all the games I own. This game made me into the cocky bastard that I can be sometimes because it made me grow as a gamer. It taught me that experience in the game is not what makes me stronger and better, but the real life experience of improving little by little over time while taking on more difficult opponents. This game also gave me one of my favorite gaming moments when me and my friend took on the hardest monster by ourselves and won. For that, I will always cherish this game and appreciate it for helping me grow. On a side note, this is the game that almost destroyed my original 3DS by destroying the circle pad and the shoulder buttons. Rest easy my friend.

Honorable Mentions:
Dragon Ball Xenoverse
Final Fantasy Type-0
J-Stars Victory VS+
Yu Gi Oh! Legacy of the Duelist
One Piece: Pirate Warrior 3
Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below
Tales of Zestiria
Divinity: Original Sin

2016 – Most Memorable

Bronze – Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

Digimon does not have the same appeal (and marketing) that Pokemon has. It does however have some of the most mature and dark themes that Pokemon wish that it could have. There has not been a Digimon game that kept me invested until I played Cyber Sleuth and it is one of the most underrated games that I know. Combat may be simple and the cutscenes may be cringe at some points, but this game delivers an impressive story and an addictive leveling mechanic that is not hard to understand and get the hang of. If you have a Switch, you have to get the complete edition that includes this title and the sequel. You won’t be disappointed.

Silver – Overwatch

Shooters have never really been my genre. I don’t find a lot of enjoyment in running around and just shooting other people (not because I’m bad at it T_T). That is why I enjoyed Overwatch so much. There is more to the game than just shoot the other team for points. There is cooperation with your teammates to ensure you work together to complete the objective. There are different characters that have different weapons and abilities so teams could look completely different. Overwatch is what I like about teamwork and fun gameplay to make each match a challenge or a walk in the park.

Gold – Pokemon Go

Originally I wasn’t going to consider this a game. But when I thought about the hype and involvement the people around me made when this game came out, I cannot ignore how influential it was in 2016. Everyone was out and about search for Pokemon everywhere. At my job we had a gym right outside, so we had a board and kept it updated on which team owned it. Pokemon Go was not a perfect game when it first launched, but it accomplished its goal in being fun, getting people to interact with one another, and to get our lazy butts off the couch.

Honorable Mentions:
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4
Stardew Valley
Dark Souls 3
Monster Hunter Generations
Pokemon Sun and Moon
Final Fantasy XV

2017 – “My Body Is Ready”

Bronze – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Such a legendary game! The Zelda formula went somewhat back to its roots at being a game about exploring the world and figuring out what to do next. The crazy and amazing things that you can do in this game is mindblowing and I am in the minority that does not mind the weapon durability system. This game would be higher on my list if I actually finished it. I completed one divine beast and then got stuck/lost in the Lost Woods. One day I will pick it back up and get out of there.

Silver – Sonic Mania

I played a lot of the genesis titles back in the day. Having a new Sonic game come out that played like a genesis game gave me full nostalgia and enjoyment. If we ever get a Sonic Mania 2 or something, I hope other new and forgotten characters are able to join the fray.

Gold – Persona 5

While I personally prefer the fourth entry, I cannot deny that this game has a lot of style and personality. I appreciate the new dungeon layout instead of the randomly generated level design previous games had. I also like the inclusion of the series demons being the enemies you fight instead of random masked things. It makes the series feel more like it belongs in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise than previous entries. While I did not fall in love with the game like my wife and friends, I’m hoping Persona 5 Royal fixes the small issues that I had and blows my mind.

Honorable Mentions:
Tales of Berseria
Puyo Puyo Tetris
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadow of Valentia
Tekken 7
Destiny 2
Monster Hunter Stories
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
Gundam Versus
South Park: The Fractured but Whole
Super Mario Odyssey
Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

2018 – Amazing Year

Bronze – Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

I honestly have not gotten far into this title as I would like, but the amount that I have played I’ve been enjoying. I would like to get the definitive edition since it has a full orchestral soundtrack, but my wife will not let me until I finish the PS4 version first -_-

Silver – Monster Hunter World

I was a bit worried at first that the Monster Hunter that I enjoyed would be toned down a bit for more casual play. While that was not the case, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I didn’t find this game as challenging as the previous. The quality of life changes are the best though, and I sometimes feel odd going back to the old play style. I have yet to touch Iceborne yet (mostly because I have burned myself out of Monster Hunter right now), but I have heard that it brings back the challenge of G-rank with other difficult monsters thrown in, so I am looking forward to that.

Gold – Super Smash Bros Ultimate

I remember freaking out when I saw the reveal trailer for this. Ever since, I was obsess with learning who the new fighters were and being blown away when I learned that all the characters from previous titles were in. I am not a competitive Smash player whatsoever and enjoy just having goofy fun times playing with familiar characters. With more characters being added this year and constant updates, it will be hard to play any other Smash game after this one.

Honorable Mentions:
DragonBall FighterZ
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
Dark Souls Remastered
Octopath Traveler
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate
Super Mario Party
Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eevee!
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon

2019 – Still Processing

Bronze – The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

GIVE ME THE ORACLE GAMES IN THIS STYLE PLEASE!!!!! This game was so charming and a blast to replay. Awakening was the first Zelda title that I finished on my own, and has been a favorite of mine. I already talked about my thoughts on the game so if you want to read about it you can find it here.

Silver – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro gave me the same feeling that Bloodborne gave me. Sekiro gave me more chills actually than Bloodborne gave me, so take that as you will. I enjoy all of the combat and mobility at your disposal that all challenges become a game of chess almost. One wrong move can cost you the game, but if you are smart, you can make a comeback and win. I plan on finishing this game this year so by then I will have my full retrospective of it.

Gold – Pokemon Sword and Shield

I was not expecting this game to be so high on my list. A lot of people will criticize the inclusion of this game on any list, but for me there is a special reason why I love these games so much. There will be another post that goes into great detail about why these games mean a great deal to me and I hope you will understand my reasoning (article can be viewed here once it is published).

Honorable Mentions:
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
Jump Force
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Super Mario Maker 2
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Yu Gi Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution
Ring Fit Adventure

So there you go! This past decade had a bunch of really good games with some that I still have not had time to sit and play. This decade is already off to a good start and I can’t wait to see what new experiences are on the way. Let me know if any of the games I mentioned were on your favorite game list and let me know of some titles that I may have missed. Here is to the new year and video games as a whole!

DanamesX