The MOBA fad, survival zombie crafting early access, battle royale, games as a service, lootboxes, season passes, excessive use of FOMO, locking content ransom behind a preorder, selling to the Chinese, needing a chart to know which version of the game to buy, censorship, Scam Citizen, predatory microtrans—wait a minute, hold on…

Boy, the past ten years kinda sucked, didn’t they?

Not all of it was that bad though, despite the radical market shifts, monetization schemes, and a steep decline in originality, Sure, this decade paled in comparison to the glory of the early 00s, but there’s stuff to be salvaged from it.

Unlike the 1999-2009 period, where I had the luxury of time and the advantage of cheap console and PC video games, I found myself severely constrained of time and resources for the largest part of this decade—things that come with adulthood, I suppose, as well as circumstances of a force majeure nature.

These past ten years were like a pendulum, there were periods of time where I had an  free time but not the resources to invest in video games, and vice-versa. With the radical changes that I went through in my life over the past ten years, such as financial situation, work, real life responsibilities, the collapse of my country, tragedies, and other life-changing events, there was so much that I missed when it came to video games, for better or worse. 

Between 2010 and 2013 I had a severe lack of time, but had the resources to get new video games, 2013-2014 saw me without access to my desktop computer, and I wasn’t in a position to invest in video games until much later (the whole “WoW Gold” shtick changed much of that). In a way, not having the money/resources to spend on video games for most of the decade saved me from some terrible games. Th—thanks, Socialism?

Anyways, here we are, at the end of a decade and the beginning of another (inb4 “ackshually, the decade starts in 2021”), I find it opportune to avail myself of the relative lull of the holiday season to look back on the past ten years of gaming.

This won’t be a “top games of the decade” kinda list, given how specific my video game taste can be and with all the stuff that I didn’t got to play in mind (plus my insurmountable backlog) I feel like it wouldn’t be fair and objective; either way, top lists are lame, to be honest.

Instead, I will go through some of the most notable games that I crossed paths with over the past ten years, some good, some bad, and some worse, in no particular order.

If a game is missing on this list it means that I either haven’t played it yet (most likely) or it slipped my mind (also possible).

World of Warcraft (3.x-8.x)

The elephant in the room. The game that I, for better or worse, have sunk the most amount of time in my life. It’s success may have been detrimental to the MMO genre in the long run, and the game is a far cry of what it used to be, but it’s still there.

It is rather interesting to me to look back at how much my antics in that game evolved through time. By 2010 I was engaging in GDKP runs on Icecrown Citadel; Cataclysm was the apex of casual gameplay for me, as my work at the time prohibited me from committing much time to video games—or anything else for that matter, this would spill over to Mists of Pandaria as well.

It wasn’t until the last months of the messy Warlords of Draenor expansion that I saw myself return to a fraction of the tryhard that I was back in Burning Crusade. The implementation of WoW token granted me self-sustenance in the game, being able to play it for free was the reason that I stuck with it, as I had no money to get anything else at the time.

Just like back in my college days, WoW became an (arguably unhealthy) haven from real life, the only place where I saw some respite as I offered all that I could to my mother and her fight against cancer.

I got hooked up with a group of Ukrainians that had a business selling carries, the very early days of my WoW gold farming shenanigans. I rapidly started to make more money for 3 hours of my time than I my job at the time during those months.

Legion effectively killed that business venture, but I was more than ready to spread my own wings when it came to gold farming. Never in my wildest dreams would I had foreseen that the collapse of Venezuela, coupled with my gold making ways, would yield more money than a regular job.

The “WoW Gold > Venezuelan Bolivar” thing went viral and well, the rest is history.

Sylvanas, watch out!

Battle for Azeroth? well, it’s been a shitshow and I haven’t played retail in over a year now. I may revisit the game during the anniversary event in these holidays just to play with a few friends, though.

Laughs were had, friends were made, and even though the game has severely declined in quality, there’s always the memories.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

This game came to my life to wash the stain that was Ninja Theory’s DmC, a cuhrayzee dopamine fix that helped me heal and overcome what at the time was, the death of one of my most favorite franchises of all time. 

Great soundtrack, solid gameplay, and the memes, Jack, the DNA of the soul. Who would’ve thought back when MGS4 launched that Raiden would’ve gone to star on a game this enjoyable?

I certainly didn’t.

Pokemon X/Y

This was the first Pokemon game that I had a legitimate copy of since Pokemon Silver back in the day. The third if I count my old copy of Pokemon Blue.

It wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it was a game I bought as a pair for the sole purpose of playing it with my brother (He chose Y, so I went with X). It was the first game that we played together in a while, after his brain surgery and after a turnout point of change in my life.

Helping him fill his Pokedex, moving his older Pokemon via the Bank app, and generally having fun made it worth it. 

p.s, Totodile is the best starter ever, don’t @ me.

Mario Kart 7

A similar case to Pokemon X/Y, it’s a game I got to play a lot with my younger cousins. The original Mario Kart was my second SNES game ever, and the series has been a staple source of fun throughout the years—a generational passing of the torch, if you will.

Having fun while playing video games is the whole point of it, isn’t it? Can’t go wrong with Bing Bing Wahoo Vrooooom.

I’d mention Mario Kart 8 as well, but I only played it through irregular means, perhaps in the near future, who knows…

Devil May Cry 5

DMC IS BACK BABY!

It’s everything I had been waiting for since Devil May Cry 4 was released.

Devil May Cry is one of my most beloved franchises, even if I can’t pull all of those cuhrayzee moves you see on videos. DmC’s announcement at the start of the decade really felt like the death of the franchise, and it pretty much was.

Then along came the Capcom redemption arc.

me irl, no Monster drink tho

Eleven years, man. Eleven long years… I was hours away from finally playing it on it’s release date, had my pre-download ready and everything—then along came the Venezuelan Blackouts that crippled the country earlier this year.

I eventually was able to sit down and play it at last after those turbulent days. Although it shames me to admit that I haven’t cleared it on Dante Must Die difficulty not because of a lack of skill, but because of a lack of time.

I wanted to write about it but what else can I say that hasn’t been said about it before? Besides, I’m heavily biased towards it to the point that I’ll never get tired of it. 

I will seriously cosplay as boomer Dante and record myself mowing the lawn when I’m out of this country, for real.

Also, Vergil DLC when?

NieR Automata

I came for the booty (no pun intended), stayed for the feels. Getting it to run on my computer sure took some work and the aid of some third party tools, although it wasn’t a 100% smooth experience.

A proper replay of this game is one of the things on my backlog, I started a replay back in February, but things got in the way and I haven’t resumed it, might as well start fresh again once I’m able to play it again.

These type of action games are my jam, if you haven’t noticed that by now, lol.

Warframe

The first time I played it was back in 2013 when I saw it fly through my Steam homepage, the game was barely over a gigabyte back then, and very, very simpler to what it is today.

It’s pretty, and those early nvidia PhisX only effects were pretty cool if you were to ask me back then. Sure, while its developers have hit a few bumps on the road, it remains a very solid game that does plenty of things right.

When the trading of platinum currency became a thing, I got a renewed interest in the game, being able to get some of the microtransation stuff without spending a dime (not like I could’ve done it due to my country’s currency controls) gave me a “self-sustaining” game, much like WoW with its tokens; currency controls and lack of money sure dictated much of my video gaming antics through these past ten years.

The way things are right now with my time and real-life responsibilities, I don’t see myself playing it again anytime soon, I haven’t played it in some time and I gave away much of my cool mods when I quit, plus, I do intent to lessen my backlog and Warframe would be detrimental to that goal.

Diablo III

wew, lad.

This is probably the first time where I publicly admit that I fell into Blizzard’s “sub for a year to WoW and get Diablo 3 and a fancy horse mount” scheme.

Never again, though.

I, along with some friends, eagerly awaited for the release of this game for the longest time only to get slapped by the terrible launch and the antics of ActiBlizz, or NuBlizz, if you prefer to call them that way. Seriously, that Real Life Auction House was a mess.

Ironically, it was thanks to the RMAH that I was able to get the expansion when it launched, as by the time of its launch I was well into the first radical shift of my life when it came to adult finances and wasn’t able to purchase it through regular means. I sold my character’s gear through it and was able to get enough Blizzard balance to get the expansion for free—sucks for whoever ended up buying those items, since the expansion made them all worthless.

Diablo III’s endgame loop is fundamentally flawed and Blizzard never found a way to fix it outside of making large numerical values to abilities and set items, to the point that they became absurd in a Venezuelan hyperinflation kinda way. For a game that was sold with billions of possible skill combinations and builds, it sure forced you to play a single spec per class to climb the ranks.

Still, fun was had at the start of every season that I ended up playing—that’s when the game shined briefly.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

I was immensely hyped about this game because Deus Ex was my jam back in the day. Invisible War sure wasn’t as good, but it was my gateway to one of my favorite bands: Kidneythieves.

A shame that the franchise seems to be frozen after Mankind Divided.

The Soulsborne series

Ah, yes, the Dark Souls of Dark Souls.

Just like a lot of people, I got initially interested by Demon’s Souls through those early /v/ threads before the game was launched in North America, “omg it’s so hard” and all that stuff.

I eventually got my hands on a copy of Demon’s Souls, but I’m afraid that I didn’t go too far with it, and once I escape from Venezuela I don’t see myself bringing it with me, then again, my backlog is too uncontrollable enough as it is.

Dark Souls, however, was a different tale, got myself a copy on Xbox 360 and beat it, DS2 and DS3 on PC. Bloodborne is on the backlog, some day perhaps.

Sekiro

This game really slapped my shit until I got gud and beat it, one of the most pleasant games in recent times for me.

I went in expecting nothing and was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable the game turned out to be. The only downside is that there’s not much when it comes to customization when compared to other Soulsborne games, but it’s offset by the more action-y focus of the game.

There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with beating a boss after dying to it over and over, even more so than other Souls games to me for some reason.

Worth replaying? Definitely, but I got a buncha stuff to play first before I consider picking it up again.

Path of Exile

The Diablo III killer that didn’t needed to kill Diablo III because Diablo III killed itself.

I tried to get into it several times, but for some reason I just couldn’t. It’s not a flaw of the game itself, it’s just that—I don’t know. It’s not a bad game if you want a good aRPG, pretty much your best option right now, aside from the ‘totally not required but they’re required in the long run’ stash microtransactions.

Skyrim

I’ve only bought it once, no DLC.

I won’t but it again, ever.

Stop trying, Todd.

Final Fantasy XIII

The only Final Fantasy game that I’ve bought but never finished.

You know the tale of this game; I got bored before I was able to reach the ‘open world’ portion of the game, tried finishing it again 2016 and I got bored even faster than the first time.

Final Fantasy XIV

If you had asked me, back when this game’s first version launched, if I was ever going to play it, I would’ve laughed at you.

Seven years later there I was, playing it as one of the numerous “WoW refugees”, a good MMO fix that excels in presentation, music, and structure while lacking in others and being held back by spaghetti code.

#TheGoodLife

As I’ve said in the past, even if you don’t like Final Fantasy or MMOs, the soundtrack is worth listening to, it’s by far, the best feature of the game.

Final Fantasy XV

I was eighteen years old when this game was originally announced as Versus XIII, back in 2006. 

Look at all that happened around the world during it’s long and drawn out—a lot sure happened on my life during those ten years of development, and it still shipped as an incomplete game.

I didn’t played it until the PC version launched in 2018 and it still was an incomplete game. It didn’t run that good on my computer and it launched during some of the worst days of my life, but at last, the game that was first announced when I was eighteen years old was being played by thirty year old me.

It certainly wasn’t all that it could’ve been, and I knew what I was getting myself into, it had to be played though.

XCOM

I sold out my Team Fortress 2 Bill’s hat to get this game for ten bux on a Steam sale, and was very worth it. A friend gave me a copy of XCOM 2 last Christmas and I still haven’t found the time to sit down and play it, much to my shame and embarrassment.

Marvel Heroes

Another aRPG fix for me after Diablo III.

It had potential for sure, but it was marred by steep and scalping microtransactions and the fact that most of the characters lacked originality in their gameplay, often being reskins of one another.

As if the dev team’ problems weren’t enough, the mouse gave the coup de grace to this game, and is no longer playable.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Only a real connoisseur of the lore will understand.

Monster Hunter World

My first foray into the Monster Hunter franchise (yeah, yeah). I can see why some fans of the series may not agree with some of the changes World bought to the mix, but as a fresh newcomer, it wasn’t that bad.

Sadly, it’s another game that I haven’t played to its fullest due to time constrains, I gotta be dad, mom, and brother at the same time.

Resident Evil 2 Remake

Resident Evil 2 (and 3) were some of the first PlayStation games that I had, I played the hell out of them when I was young.

Of course I wasn’t going to miss on this one.

The Capcom redemption arc sure paid off with this one, I don’t know what got into them but I sure hope that it’s a permanent thing and they don’t get too cocky in the long run—I don’t wanna go back to the Capcom of the early 2010s.

Halo Reach & Halo 4

Putting these two together since I bought them relatively close to each other.

When I was younger I wasn’t able to jump into the whole Xbox Live thing, as such, I missed Halo 2 and Halo 3’s multiplayer days. Halo Reach was my first experience in that world, and while I got my ass kicked all the way to space, I had fun.

Halo 4 was a relatively similar experience. Now that Reach is out on PC I find myself getting rekt once more. I guess some things never change.

The WoW-killer weird MMO phase

I sure spend a lot of time playing MMOs over the past ten years, most of it was with the same group of friends that met together in Ragnarok Online back in 2004.

Just because I’m the self-claimed “Best Venezuelan WoW player NA” doesn’t mean that I am, or that I played WoW nonstop all the time. There were times when I took a much-needed break, and tried other games. There were times where I joined my friends and got my MMO fix from other sources—when I had the income for that back then that is. 

Here’s some of them

Aion: Given to me by someone who wanted someone to play it with, that didn’t lasted much.

RIFT: “We’re not in Azeroth anymore, suckers!” boy, that was messy.

Tortanic: I can’t believe I gave Bioware and EA money for this.

DC Universe Online: Rather unique, actually had fun with it, it was the City of Heroes that I never got to enjoy.

Guild Wars 2: Another venture that I was coerced by my group of friends, did some things good, messed in many others. Lost interest the moment I had no one to play it with.

Neverwinter: A similar scenario to the above-mentioned. The map maker had some interesting tools to play with, and there was fun to be had in the game overall. Don’t know the state of it these days.

Tree of Savior: The “Ragnarok Online sequel” that ended up disappointing me more than the actual RO sequel did.

It’s been five years since we last played a game together, a series of events split our merry band of lads apart, permanently, I’m afraid.

Destiny

I always had a peculiar fascination with this game ever since it was launched, and the Bungie brand had lots to do with it.

As soon as it was announced I found myself fond of the look and feel of the game’s setting. My only gameplay experience with it was during the game’s brief open beta on Xbox 360. I completely missed the first game in its entirely and lost interest in it since I had no way to play it—I had bigger fish to fry anyways.

When Destiny 2 was first announced for PC I finally found my chance to jump into it. Dumped some of my WoW gold into it only to get disappointed almost instantly, which also led to the first video game ‘review‘ that I’ve written.

I didn’t touched the game again until recently, and boy, it sure improved. It still has its flaws, but I’ve been finding myself enjoying this looty shooty game at last as of late.

Other notable mentions

Here’s some other games worth giving a shoutout.

Dragon Age II: A game so disappointingly bland that it made me never give money to Bioware again.

Dragon Ball FighterZ: I only know how to pull one combo, but that didn’t stopped me from having fun with the boys.

Doom (2016): In this age of remakes, reboots, and remasters well, it could’ve been really bad.

Batman Arkham games: I had fun.

Mad Max: I got this one as a gift back in 2015. For a “Batman Arkham” clone, it wasn’t all that bad.

Spiderman: Batman, with webs.

Papers, Please: Boy, I sure loved getting back from my job processing visas so I could play a game where I processed visas. It hits too close to home nowadays…

Depression Quest: The game that, according to some, gave us GamerGate and Trump.

God of War III: Also known as “God of Love” or “Baldy’s game” back in the day to circumvent Venezuela’s ban on violent games that nobody cares for these days since there’s more pressing matters.

Mortal Kombat 9: MK was my jam when I was a kid, MK9 revived it for me only for MKX and MK11 to kill it again.

Killer Instinct (2013): It took me six years, but I was finally able to play this game, I’m terribad at it though.

Borderlands 1 & 2: Insufferably bad writing that I endured only because I had friends to shoot stuff at with.

Darksiders 1 & 2: Not great, not terrible.

Enter the Gungeon: Deepest lore.

OUYA: If you bought it they ouya a new console.

Stadia: We want the Reddit audience.

A decade of Backlogs

The abyss, the infinite void, if you stare at it it’ll stare back at you. The beast of a thousand maws, the hungering terror—The Eternal Backlog.

It exists inside all of us, and it’s hunger knows no bounds. Those that manage to tame it ascend beyond the limitations of the human flesh to become something greater, or so I’ve been told.

The decade, growing older, all that happened, and all the new responsibilities that come with age do not help with the issue of the backlog. Still, I have high hopes that starting next year I will be able to take control of my life and seize time, which should lead into me finally crossing games of that ever growing list.

Megaman 11 is definitely one of the first in the list. I got it for my brother and he enjoyed it back and forth. There’s some that I wish to replay, others that I need to finish. Witcher, Bayonetta, and Vanquish are some of the ones that I’m ashamed to admit that are in the backlog.

My backlog goes all the way back to 2009 (even further) and I think I will have to use some of that spreadsheet and office skills of mine to organize this behemoth once I can start wrangling it.

In any case, if 2020 ends up being a lukewarm year for games well, I’ll have plenty of stuff from the past years to play then.

And the GOTY goes to...

Yes, Devil May Cry 5 is my Game of the Year, of the Decade even.

No, this choice wasn’t as rigged as a Venezuelan election.

You can act surprised now.

I’m sure I missed quite a few games in this post that were worth mentioning. We’ll see what the future brings—it can’t be that bad, can it?

See you on the next decade!

-Kal

Categories: Video Games

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