1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I’ve said a lot on this game already, so seriously, watch the video series below, but I will say here that no game in my adult life has filled me with as much wonder and pure joy than this game. There were times playing this game where I thought “I could play this for 12 more hours straight and not get bored.” It’s a triumph of video game design and if you’ll allow the pun, breathed new life into the franchise.
Again, I’ll direct you to the video below, but suffice it to say Journey was a one-on-a-kind game and is an experience you can complete in just over an hour but will stick with you forever.
3. God of War
Ahem, video again on this one, but I’ll say here that this game was far better that it had any right to be. It completely transformed the series from something I was embarrassed to play in front of my wife to one that I look at as the pinnacle of the medium.
4. The Last of Us
Amazingly I don’t have a video on this one yet, but The Last of Us is a dark and horrifying tale of two people struggling to survive extraordinary circumstances in a world with very little hope or humanity left. It was a gorgeous story told through a gameplay loop that was truly addicting.
5. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Back on my video run here, but MGS5 is a beautiful mess of a game and while the story is rough, the gameplay on tap here is absolutely perfect. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed controlling a character as I did Big Boss in this game.
6. Portal 2
Portal 2 is one of those games I would love to play again, but I don’t have a way to do it. This game has more clever puzzles than the first game, it has a lot more of them, but almost more importantly, it has a wildly compelling story with spectacular characters who drag you through. The final moments of this game, which I won’t spoil here, stick with me to this day.
7. FTL: Faster Than Light
I sunk so many hours into this game it’s frankly ridiculous. I only ever “beat” the game a couple times, but the strategy + luck combo this game provided kept me coming back for “just one more try” over…and over…and over again.
8. Mass Effect 2
This game has everything: space, aliens, great combat, a compelling story, choices that matter. This is an all time classic and deserves all the accolades it has received over the years.
Another very short game on this list, Firewatch can also be played in one or two extended sittings if you’d like, and it compels you to do so right off the bat. This game tackles guilt in a way no other game has and it’s a story that I constantly think about. Oh, and how about that art style?
10. Horizon Zero Dawn
Closing out the list is a game that came out just a few days before Breath of the Wild. When this released I was amazed by it. It’s open world gameplay was fresh and exciting, and it told a story that wasn’t amazing but definitely got its hooks in me. Breath of the Wild of course took the crown for best game of that year…and the decade, but I will not soon forget my time in this wonderful game.
Other Amazing Games
A decade is a long time and there are far more that 10 games I’d like to call out, so here are a few other games that knocked my socks off.
- Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
- Titanfall 2
- Everybody’s Golf
- LA Noir
And if you were looking for mobile games, my favorites on iOS were:
- Desert Golf
- Simple Rockets
- Monument Valley
- Alto’s Odyssey
- Super Mario Run
- Mikey Hooks
- Plants Vs Zombies