Smells like ‘teens spirit.
Another year… another ten. This year, Eurogamer celebrated its 20th anniversary and we took a look back at the games and events that have shaped the life of the site. The milestones keep coming. Hard to believe, but the year 2020 now looms – and with it what feels like the end of one era and the start of another. Before that year ends we’ll have played such mythical releases as Cyberpunk 2077, a new Half-Life and a remake of Final Fantasy 7, and we’ll have a new generation of consoles sat under our TVs.
At moments like this it’s customary to look back on the last 10 years and what they brought us. We’ll be doing just that all this week with a look at Eurogamer’s games of the decade. This time, we’ve taken a slightly different approach. We haven’t attempted to rank the best games of the last 10 years. We haven’t even put them together in a single list. What you will find, across the next six days, is a series of individual articles on 30 games that really stood out for us – games that have defined the current era of gaming and the last 10 years of our lives.
In drawing up the list of 30 games, we weren’t trying to be definitive, so apologies if your favourite isn’t there. Some of our own favourite and most-played games didn’t make the cut. It also wasn’t purely about quality – there are dozens of brilliant games released over the last 10 years which, it can be argued, are better than some of those we did pick.
Rather, we were looking to balance the games’ quality with their significance and passion for them among our writers – because, as I’m sure you all know, sometimes you love a game that isn’t necessarily a classic, or important, or even very good. Sometimes, by some weird alchemy, those are the games that matter the most. We’ve also been mindful to balance famous, canonical greats with a few entries that are lesser known, surprising, or even forgotten. There’s only one game from 2019 in there, perhaps because hindsight hasn’t come into full focus on the last 12 months yet.
Mostly, we’ve sought to reflect the extraordinary diversification of video games over the last 10 years. While it’s true that technology hasn’t made such great strides as it did in previous decades – a 2010 game doesn’t always look all that different from a 2019 game, at first glance – the games and the context they’re played in have changed beyond recognition. Even as a certain kind of mainstream, AAA action game has settled into an all-too-comfortable rut, there has been an explosion of invention elsewhere. New genres and massive hits emerged from all quarters: indies, the mod scene, mobile gaming. It’s amazing to read Polygon’s list of nine new genres from the last 10 years and realise how much gaming has changed over the decade.
We hope you enjoy the series as we add to it through the week. As they’re published, all the articles will be collected at the Games of the Decade archive page – starting with our first entry on the mighty Dark Souls.