Best of the Decade: Video Games


Clara Hopkins

The 2010s was definitely the decade of video games: improving graphics, technology, experimenting with gameplay styles and storylines defined this decade as the most creative for video games in history. Within the decade, there are some obvious standouts, games that truly defined this time period. Park City High School students took this opportunity to rank their favorite games of the decade into a top ten list. 


  1. Skate 3 (2010)

Skate 3 is a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, resulting in an experience that just lets you mess around and have fun without needing any attachment to characters or storylines. Hilarious videos and commentary have come out of this game, and players can just go hours playing with the amount of content this game holds. The glitches aren’t a burden in this game – it’s what makes it funny. Senior Matias Gonzales named this as his top game of the decade, and so did 13% of voters in an online poll. 


  1. Undertale (2015)

If you don’t know what Undertale is, you’ll at least recognize the memes that have come out of it. Sans, Papyrus, Flowey, and Mettaton are all iconic characters in this game, and some instantly recognizable music has come out of it too. But under the memes and the jokes, Undertale has a story that hooks players, commenting on the ethicality of ruthless killing in video games, and lets the player choose to what route they want to take. What makes this 16-bit game even more impressive is that it was created and composed entirely by one guy, Toby Fox. Jada Smith, a senior, concludes, “Even though it’s a meme, it’s a really good game.”


  1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)

The Legend of Zelda franchise has been around since 1986 and has had around 40 installments, but 2017’s Breath of the Wild completely pushed the limits on how to keep a series interesting while still having the core values at the center. This free roaming game is not only beautiful, immersive, and challenging, but the attention to detail is spot on. Junior Gemma Feltovich, senior Megan Stucker, and sophomore Keller Hopkins all agree that this game is one of the best of the decade. 


  1. Red Dead Redemption 1 & 2 (2010, 2018)

The first Red Dead Redemption was revolutionary in 2010; made by Rockstar Games, it was one of the most expensive video games ever made, shipped over 17 million copies, and was hailed as game of the year by many publishing companies. The bar was already set high, but somehow Red Dead Redemption 2, released in 2018, still managed to top that. It had the second biggest launch ever for a game release, and managed to exceed the lifetime sales of Red Dead Redemption in just two weeks. Other than statistics, this game is immersive, the characters are likable and create a strong sense of motivation for the player to want the best for them, the graphics are stunning, the main storyline is incredible, the gameplay is smooth, and the possibilities for things to do are nearly endless. PCHS students ranked Red Dead 1 and 2 as number seven on the list.


  1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)

Skyrim is the fifth game in Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls series, yet it is the most popular by far. This game pioneered the open world game with extreme detail; there’s over 330 full books in Skyrim alone, solely dedicated to deepening the lore of the world. Along with being fondly remembered as a beloved game, it’s also reaped some pretty great memes still relevant in 2019. Skyrim is a classic in gaming history, and PCHS students feel like it deserves a spot on this list. 


  1. Fortnite (2017)

The 2017 battle royale phenomenon, Fortnite, rightfully deserves it’s spot on the list. It completely took over popular culture for 2017 and continued to stay relevant throughout the rest of the decade. Although the main part of this game is the battle royale mode, Fortnite really made its mark on the world with its customization features. Unique skins, pixaxes, and gliders were among some of what you could buy for your player, but the real prize were the dances. In 2019, anyone could place a Fortnite dance if they saw it. Although many students were reluctant to admit that they liked the game, they still would admit that it made such a huge impact on the 10s that it couldn’t not be included. Sophomore Reina Bohm said, “Everyone still plays [Fortnite], so it’s kind of obvious.” Senior Matias Gonzales agrees, “It was a big part of 2018.”


  1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018)

Super Smash Bros Ultimate is the crossover game of crossover games; over 70 of iconic Nintendo characters including Mario, Pikachu, Link, Snake, Isabelle, and of course, Wii Fit Trainer, and many more are all grouped together in one game. Super Smash is one of the best games to absolutely destroy your friends in, and that’s what makes it so fun. We also have a club here at school dedicated to playing it! PCHS students voted this game as number fourth of the decade. 


  1. Grand Theft Auto V (2013)

Grand Theft Auto V is another game that has a better multiplayer mode than a story mode, complete with an almost carbon-copy map of a town in Southern California. Even though this is a game about violence, drugs, and crime, players can really just make it whatever they want. It can be a customization game, for cars and clothes, a game to take seriously by running a drug business, or just a place you can mess around online with your friends. GTA V has a massive range and masters it all almost perfectly… and when it doesn’t, it’s still pretty funny. This game racked up 22% on the online poll for PCHS students. 


  1. Mario Kart 8 (2014)

Not only is this game iconic for its other iterations in the past, the 2014 Mario Kart exceeds all previous expectations for a great racing game. It has over 48 racing tracks to play on, including some fan favorites like Rainbow Road. But most importantly, this game is fun for playing with friends… for the same reasons as Super Smash Bros. To destroy them. Park City High School students put Mario Kart 8 in second place.


  1. Minecraft (2009)

Minecraft won by a landslide with 123 votes, 65% of everyone who voted in the online survey. Although Minecraft came out in 2009, it definitely includes a spot on this list for the incredible cultural impact it had in the 10s. Not only did it inspire memes, music videos, another video game (Minecraft Story Mode by Telltale Games), and countless other videos online, but it’s also a game notorious for its relaxing music and peaceful gameplay. Minecraft is still popular and culturally relevant in 2019, ten years later. I would go on, but Minecraft really just speaks for itself. PCHS students like senior Tori Kenton, senior Jada Smith, sophomore Reina Bohm, senior Zach Lund, and junior Gemma Feltvoch, along with more than 60% of online voters, feel that Minecraft was the number one game of this decade and will continue its legacy through more decades to come. 


Honorable mentions:

  • Destiny 1 & 2

Although these games were not on the original survey, many people wrote in either Destiny 1 or 2 in the “other” category. That shows that Destiny is a game that people will go out of their way to mention. 

  • Overwatch & Rocket League 

These games are on the list for their impact on eSports, which proved to be a fast-growing industry in the 10s.

  • The Sims 4

Who doesn’t love a good Sims game? No matter if you like to nuture your sims or torture them, the Sims 4 at least deserves a mention.

  • Detroit: Become Human & Until Dawn

Both of these games really pushed the limits on how far games can go for realism, and at the same time make a good, playable game with a compelling storyline. These two games used real actors and motion capture for the best experience possible, and made a great game while they were at it.