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Each week on Backloggd, the game logging site, I post some sort of Top 10 list. To better elaborate on my choices, I am posting the top three on this blog with slightly more detail.
This week’s topic was to go broad rather than deep. I curated the top ten games released for the entire decade of the 2010s.
I've crafted the most challenging list. I started a list of 25 games before winding up with ten. The first four were easy, but the rest changed several times before shakily landing. I'll explain the top three, but I encourage you to see and judge the list thoroughly.
Obviously, this is incredibly subjective. But my list is correct.
I've developed as a gamer into more of a narrative-focused person. But, in my heart, I will always be a farming sim kid. I grew up on the best game of all time, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life. I was raised by games that encouraged romance, business-savvy, and of course, four seasons. The same was true for burgeoning Game Dev Eric Barone (ConcernedApe) as he was crafting Stardew Valley.
This game is a love letter to the farming sim, and, up until now, it is the one that has captured the experience better than any other farming sim has managed to do. From the characters to the playstyle to the continuous content release window, it's hard to imagine a better farming sim experience than this game.
For those of you who know me, I have my annual Stardew Valley play session, where I will start a new session and play for around 100 hours. And I've done it every year since 2015. I was a Day-One-er, and I haven't looked back since.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
It's been said enough, but Breath of the Wild changed the name of the game. It set apart a new era of gaming for me, at least. It wasn't the first open-world game, but it changed it all for gaming for the remainder of the decade. I still hear people talking about how this or that game is 'like Breath of the Wild.' And I still see YouTube videos popping up with '38 Things You Still Don't Know About Breath of the Wild.'
The truth of this game is that it was perhaps the most polished Nintendo game we had gotten in years, and it added upon an existing universe and model that people were familiar enough with to make it an immediate purchase. Add into the mix that the additions were actual improvements to the experience? Yeah - that's a big win. I might go so far as to say this game is one of the most defining games ever made, but that will have to wait for that list to get curated.
Sure, it might be cliche at this point, but Toby Fox's Undertale simply cannot be overstated in terms of the indie narrative experience. The tropes and subverted expectations were enough to shift the gaming landscape. But then Toby went and shifted the music scene. And the pixel art scene. And the battle mechanic scene. And the narrative scene. Toby took the idea of indie gaming and turned it upside down, doing for indie games what Breath of the Wild did for AAA titles.
Things just haven't been the same since Undertale entered the world. Whether it is a game you love, hate, or love to hate, it defines the narrative experience present in gaming. Plus, it's just a great game. It took the bullet-hell gameplay and made it more intuitive and enjoyable while allowing for the more challenging affair of Sans and Undyne the Undying. Plus - as I mention ad nauseam - it was literally given to the Pope (twice).
And that wraps up my top three picks from the whole decade of the 2010s. If you’ve never played these top three, would you consider it now that they’ve been brought to your attention? What would be your top picks from this decade?
I hope you enjoy these lists and look forward to bringing another to your feed next week.
July 13th, 2022