November 10, 2021
We discuss the top five games from each decade, the most important, genre defining or iconic titles that changed the face of gaming through history. In 'Part 4' we look at The Noughties.
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WASSUP…! ’The Noughties’, finally a decade that we can all remember. A time of ‘Juicy’ velour tracksuits and low rise jeans, Emo’s and MySpace, Paris Hilton and ‘J to tha Lo’, and who can forget…My name is, What?, My name is, Who?, My name is…. Blazin’ Squad. We pretended to be Captain Kirk with our flip phones, got addicted to Reality TV, chose poignant screen names on MSN Messenger and lost our shizzle over a little wizard boy.
So what about the video game industry in the 00’s? Nintendo sold it’s 100 millionth GameBoy, PS2 and 3’s were released, Microsoft entered the fray with the Xbox and for the more active amongst us the Nintendo Wii was launched in 2006. The transition from 2D-based games into fully immersive 3D environments, that began in the 90’s, was polished in the 00’s and resulted in ‘gaming’ becoming at the forefront of popular culture.
But what were we playing as we were sipping our blue alcho-pops (or “playin’ the game and having a Bud” for our older readers) and which games have lasted the test of time and made it to our list of greatest ever video games?
As usual, in no particular order:
1. WII SPORTS (2006) Nintendo
The game that launched with the Wii was designed to introduce and demonstrate the motion-sensing capabilities of the Wii remote. Children and grandparents could play the game together and it appealed to a consumer who wouldn’t normally have been interested in gaming or the genre. Tennis, baseball, bowling, golf and boxing were played with motion-based gameplay and simplified rules to make it accessible to all ages.
The mass appeal of this game was what made the Wii console a success and the gameplay alone makes it a worthy member of this list. Hands up how many people broke a lamp because they did not properly equip the safety strap…?
2. HALO: COMBAT EVOLVED (2001) Bungie
The game and franchise that is accredited with modernising the FPS genre and influencing most other games of this type since. Bungie put equal amounts of emphasis on the narrative and developing the Halo universe as the gameplay. The campaign mode contained one of the most thrilling final missions of all time and the multiplayer “Blood Gulch” battles helped define the Xbox for a generation.
But perhaps most importantly, Halo has become the title that all other games of this type are measured against, the term “Halo killer” is used when describing a game that aspires to be better than Halo…but rarely is.
3. THE SIMS (2000) Maxis
The title that introduced ‘casual gaming’ as a genre has gone on as a franchise to sell 200 million copies worldwide on every platform available. A “virtual doll house” was the term used by designer Will Wright when describing his idea for the game after he lost his home during the 1991 Oakland fires.
A sandbox game that lacks clearly defined goals, the player is tasked with creating people and families, building their home environments and looking after their needs and emotions. ‘The Sims’ is credited with selling the most expansion packs for any game and is one of the most important genre defining titles in the history of gaming.
4. GRAND THEFT AUTO III (2001) Rockstar North
The game that defined the open-world “sandbox’ genre and put Rockstar on the map. This third-person action game has not been without controversy, killing civilians and gunning down cops in your role as a criminal was always going to make the headlines.
Part of its charm was that you don’t need to complete missions, you can free-roam around Liberty City ‘borrowing’ the odd car and as long as you obey the law you will go unnoticed. This was the first 3D version of the game is considered to be the landmark game of the GTA franchise has made over $9 billion and sold over 345 million units worldwide.
5. WORLD OF WARCRAFT (2004) Blizzard
Massively multiplayer online games, or MMO’s, were around before World of Warcraft but this game revolutionised the genre and created a worldwide phenomenon with over 100 million user accounts and a $9.23 billion revenue.
One of the reasons for its success is the games’ unique lore, Blizzard constantly updated worlds, characters and gameplay to keep its fanbase satisfied and engrossed. A diverse community of players are rewarded for effort and the customisation addictive gameplay keeps them coming back for more.
Ok, so why weren’t these titles on the list:
1. GEARS OF WAR: although it popularised the idea of cover in shooter gameplay it didn’t come up with the idea, that was ‘Kill Switch’.
2. CALL OF DUTY: We did ponder this one, the success of the franchise cannot be denied, but… Halo!
3. GUITAR HERO: It was certainly one of the most influential games of the decade but just didn’t quite make it as there was too much competition.
4. CAVE STORY: The title that paved the way for indie games, this one was difficult not to include in our ‘Top 5’ and to be honest it probably should have been there, but what to take out!
'Part 5' coming soon!
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