With the end of 2019, the 2010s also finally came to a close. And now that I've looked back on all the great games of 2019, it's time to take a look back at the decade as a whole and talk about the titles that really stood out as the very best of the best. It may have been a long 10 years, with lots of changes in the gaming world, but it was chock full of gaming experiences that were absolutely second to none. While it may have pained me to narrow so many fantastic games down to only a dozen, I have done exactly that, just for you. Here are my picks for the 12 best games of the 2010s:
Happy Birthday, Xbox 360! Believe it or not, today marks the 12th anniversary of the launch of the Xbox 360. Despite a somewhat lengthy initial period of supply shortages, followed almost immediately be several years of technical issues (including drives that would occasionally render game discs permanently unplayable, and, especially, the infamous "red ring of death"), the year-long head start the 360 enjoyed over the competition helped it to become arguably the most popular home console of a generation.
Of course, it wasn't the earlier availability alone that made it such a stunning success. Questionable decisions from Sony and Nintendo with their own PlayStation 3 and Wii consoles, in addition to early commitments by Microsoft to bring scores of fantastic games to the 360, made it the obvious choice for enthusiastic gamers around the world. In fact, not only did Microsoft manage to score several popular third-party franchises that had previously only appeared on the competition's hardware, but they also arranged publishing deals which resulted in the creation of brand new and amazing titles you could only experience on the Xbox 360. Speaking of amazing games, we went ahead and included a few examples of those below. So, read on for a look at 12 of the finest reasons to have ever owned an Xbox 360.
Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360) (Rockstar Games, 2010)
Game Changers is a semi-regular column featuring games which have had a significant impact on me over the years. Games that were so incredibly stunning and awe-inspiring, they changed my conception of what a game could be at the time. Previously, I have written about Out Run, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Street Fighter Alpha 3.
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the Wild West. Growing up, one of my favorite things to do (whenever I wasn't playing games or practicing spinning toy pop-guns like a gunslinger) was kick back and watch some great Westerns on TV. "Back to the Future, part III", "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr", "Tombstone", the legendary Clint Eastwood "Man with No Name" trilogy ("A Fistful of Dollars", "For a Few Dollars More", and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"), and of course, the John Wayne classics like "Rio Bravo", "El Dorado", and "True Grit" (to name more than a few). These films (and one show) are some of the finest examples the genre has to offer. They are far from the only cinematic representations available, however.
When it comes to games, the options are much less prevalent. When I was young, there were really only two Western games that I found to be any good, Sunset Riders and Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters. Both were multiplayer Arcade titles from Konami and both were really great games. They also both came out in the early '90s and quickly received multiple home console ports.
I acquired them (for my Sega Genesis and Sega CD, respectively) pretty much as soon as I found out about them. I spent a lot of time playing both of them and they still remain two of my favorite games to this day. But the early '90s was a fairly long time ago. Gaming changed a good bit as the years marched on.
Tons of great new games came and went but almost none of them featured an Old West setting. The incredibly few that did were either not available on the platforms I owned or were just not very good. I started to think I might never play a great modern Western game. But finally, in 2010, Rockstar Games released perhaps the greatest Wild West game of all time, Red Dead Redemption.