My Top 10 Video Games of the Decade: 2010-2019

Shovel Knight. Image Credit: Yacht Club Games

I’ve spent the last few years recapping my ten favorite games of the year. These lists are fun to assemble, even though I usually don’t get them out until well into the new year, and most of the games on them tend to be over 20 years old.

This list, however, is a little different.  This time, I’ll be covering my ten favorite games of the decade. It’s still well into the new year, however, so that aspect of the list has stayed the same.

Now, listen. I play a lot of old games, so to tell the truth, I haven’t played a lot of games from 2010-2019, especially if they aren’t Nintendo games or indie games (or remakes/HD remasters/compilations of older games, which don’t count). Your favorite games from the last decade, or what you feel are the most thought-provoking, intellectual, or important, aren’t on this list. There’s no Dark Souls, no Undertale, no Papers Please, and no The Last of Us. Don’t get discouraged! I don’t think they’re bad or unimportant. I simply haven’t played them. But, this is the best of the best of what I have played, and even though I’m not actually qualified to put this sort of list together based on the quantity of games played, I’m still doing it because it sounded like fun. Let’s get started!

Go on….

Brian Still Hasn’t Beat Pools of Darkness, Part Five – Whoops! Brian Beat Pools of Darkness!

Featured Image - Brian Still Hasn't Beat Pools of Darkness, Part 5

[Hey, this entry is part of a series. Read all about my Pools of Darkness experience here.]

Screenshot - Boat

WELP

I beat Pools of Darkness. But what happened to the blog series?

Well, the short version is that, and I’m a little embarrassed to say, I got so into the game that I couldn’t keep up with writing about it. I took a lot of notes throughout, but apparently this was the attempt in which I figured out all the puzzles and tough fights and sticking points, and no other games got in the way of finally finishing this thing. Before I knew it, all of Bane’s lieutenants were defeated, the Realms were restored, and my party, having experienced a taxing wealth of adventures, boarded a boat across the Great Sea to paradise like Frodo & Co. at the end of Lord of the Rings. The blog was intended to be my accountability piece, the extra incentive to see the game through to the end, but it turns out I didn’t need it!

The long version is that, by introducing what would have been a fairly long-running blog series to my already 1,004-item long to-do list, I found myself—once AGAIN—trying to do too much with my life. Instead of working on those 1,004 projects already in progress, I started another one. I always do this, and I have a whole blog about this realization and maybe finally getting my life in order that is next on the docket.

So, what happened in the rest of the game? I’ll share the highlights. It’s a long read, so I hope you like computer roleplaying games!

Go on….

Brian Still Hasn’t Beat Pools of Darkness, Part Four – Dragon’s Lair

The monsters rejoice for the party has been destroyed.

We had a lot more trouble with the fire giant mage’s cave than I was expecting, so I decided it was once again time to leave the Realms in undeniable peril and spend some time irresponsibly leveling up. Nevermind the clouds of dragons ready to descend and level everything in sight—we headed west for experience and mediocre loot.

Go on….

Brian Still Hasn’t Beat Pools of Darkness, Part Three – Another Giant Mess

Bane briefs his lieutenants

[Hey. This is part 3 in a series. You can find Part 1 here, and Part 2 here!]

The last big sidequest I wanted to complete before accepting that box social invitation from the hill giant shaman involved…well, more giants. I can’t seem to get away from these guys. This time, we were investigating a fortress called Taydome’s Keep in the plains of Thar. An enchantment had been placed on the keep that bewitched any giants within, placing them under the command of some half-baked wizard named Kimarr, who was feuding with another wizard named Quil, and had taken our good pal Sasha hostage. Kimarr had bent a good number of hill, cloud, and fire giants to his will, along with some ogres. Since they were reluctant servants to Kimarr, we were hesitant to fight them (well, all of us except for Veda), and tried to make our way through the keep as stealthily as possible to avoid the patrols.

Go on….

Brian Still Hasn’t Beat Pools of Darkness, Part Two – Ignoring the Plight of the Realms for Some Sweet XP

[Hey. This is part 2 in a series. If you wanna read part 1, you can check that out here.]

[Be forewarned: I’m real bad at remembering to take screenshots, so you may have to use your imagination until (and if) I get my act together. I stole some from MobyGames.com so you would at least have a lil’ something to look at.]

Elminster hurled us back through the portal, but it deposited us in unfamiliar territory. Fortunately, our party members vaguely recognized the geography as an area far to the east of Phlan, so we gathered our bearings and headed west. What the heck, Elminster? Why’d you throw us so far off course?! Ah well. 

There are a number of sidequests I normally do at the beginning of Pools of Darkness, but this is the first time I’ve used the class-change feature, and our party is currently stuck with a level 1 thief in Scholtz II. I wanted to level this guy up as much as possible in a fairly controlled environment so as not to get caught unprepared in a deep dungeon with a low-level character. Also, a character can only gain experience points up to one point below the amount needed to gain two levels, so I needed to be able to train frequently to get the most out of my experience, otherwise the points just go to waste.

Go on….

Brian Still Hasn’t Beat Pools of Darkness

Pools of Darkness Title Screen

It all started as an innocent computer game purchase from Babbage’s in 1993. It has grown into a monster that eludes me to this day.

I have what practically amounts to a wrecked semi’s worth of video games at my disposal, and none of them have achieved White Whale status quite like Pools of Darkness. It’s the fourth and final game in Strategic Simulations, Inc.’s original “Gold Box” series of Dungeons and Dragons PC games, preceded by Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, and Secret of the Silver Blades. I’ve beaten all three of those games. Multiple times. Not Pools of Darkness.

Go on….

My Top 10 Video Games of “2018”

Funny quote from Earthbound

With 2018 being my first full year as a father, the value of shorter games that I could play to completion in just a few hours became greater than ever. While binging a 5-10 hour game over a weekend is a perfectly cromulent option, I only have 45 minutes to an hour to play games, most days. That being said, I can drag a 5-10 hour game out for a week or two and perceive what most would consider a short game as a full, meaty experience. Naturally, you’re going to see a nice variety of these shorter games in this year’s top 10. They are the perfect length for my current lifestyle, seeing as I rarely finish a game thinking, “What? That’s it?”

However, I also filled a good portion of my 2018 gaming time with some lengthy roleplaying affairs. I have to approach games like this as a long-term commitment that might take six months or more, and to be prepared to take numerous breaks from them in order to enjoy a shorter experience along the way. A couple of these games captured enough of my imagination and attention to make the list, however.

This write-up took much longer to compile than usual—waiting five months later than usual to wrap it up and allowing my memories of these games to deteriorate didn’t help. So, what made the list in 2018? I better hurry up and tell you before I forget everything!

As always, the games on this list didn’t have to be released in 2018 (hence the quotation marks in the title), just that I either beat them or played the majority of them in 2018.

Go on….