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Published on July 25th, 2013 | by Chris Scott

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Three for Thursday: Most Important Games of this Generation

This generation is quickly coming to a close and so the debate of which games were the best will begin in earnest. While there are a variety of classes to determine best in show, the one the category that stands head and shoulders above everything else, is what games were the most important. Here are the three that come to mind for me.

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3. Minecraft

I struggled to make myself put Minecraft on this list but, like the other two games, its existence has impacted the industry in such a way that it is hard to ignore how important it has been. In a generation where selling multiple million copies of a title is deemed a failure, Minecraft proves that great ideas and stellar support are still the hallmarks of the best games out there and that if executed properly anyone can become a success. Its near universal availability, combined with its easy-to-play style makes it an offering few people can ignore. You might not play Minecraft but you know someone that does. When you consider the small size team that made it versus the game’s resounding success, its obvious that Minecraft is something utterly special.

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2. Gears of War

There are people that love Gears of War, I happen to be one of them, and there are people that hate it, but like Call of Duty 4, it has helped shape this generation, for better or worse. Epic Games didn’t create the concept of cover-based shooters with Gears of War. They simply perfected it. Everybody making a third person shooter with a cover mechanic has borrowed from it, from Naughty Dog’s current hit, The Last of Us, to Capcom’s last two core Resident Evil titles and a ton of other titles in between. That fact alone would be enough to land it in the conversation, but what puts it over the top is the fact that Gears of War was built on the Unreal Engine 3, one of the most utilized engines in all of gaming this gen. Gears was the first game Epic shipped using it signaling to all other developers that, it was ready for prime time.

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1. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Say what you will about what the Call of Duty franchise has become, there is no denying the impact that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare had on the game industry. The campaign was a roller-coaster ride that brought players adrenaline-filled highs and brutal emotional lows. Many developers are still chasing its success, including arguably the makers of Call of Duty themselves. However it wasn’t the campaign that put Call of Duty 4 on this list and made the franchise a cultural phenomenon that every developer continues to pursue. No, that honor belongs to its multiplayer, which re-defined what was expected of games in the online age. Even distinct titles like Halo weren’t immune to the CoD effect.

Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Napoleon1066

    Think I might have put Wii Sports at #2. I would not have thought of Gears, but I see your point.

    • Chris Scott

      I thought about Wii Sports for quite a while and it is certainly not disputable that it was an important game this gen. Without it, Nintendo very well could have been in a much different situation than they are now and we might have never seen the advent of Kinect or PS Move.

  • Don Parsons

    I understand why Gears is there ahead of Uncharted as per mechanics go, but what about the narrative production of Uncharted (2)?

    • Chris Scott

      Uncharted, specifically Uncharted 2, is another one that I thought about but I think it depends on how you want to define important. Uncharted, as a series, is far more important to storytelling in games than Gears is. But for this piece I defined it as overall importance and the fact that Epic uses their first game being shipped on an engine as their benchmark for it being completed and seeing how utilized the Unreal Engine 3 was this gen and Gears was that title, it made my decision pretty easy.

  • Bobby

    Suck my dick they are!

    • Chris Scott

      I’d rather not. 🙂

  • Stealth

    I respect this list. My list might be different

  • Jeremy W. Goodson

    I’ll copy my facebook comment here for discussion, and add an afterthought that I had that Don beat me to in the comments here:

    I definitely agree with 1 and 3. Not so sure about Gears, but I know others would disagree with that. I may have put something like League of Legends for number 2. Then again, if it’s only consoles, LoL couldn’t be on there, I just see it as a “current gen” game that completely reinvigorated the world of e-sports and perfected the MOBA genre.

    Skyrim if LoL was out possibly as well. Possibly Uncharted 2 instead of Gears as well. Although, you’re right about Epic setting the benchmark with the new engine.

    • Chris Scott

      LoL is a great choice and one I think could really be argued due to its importance in the free to play space and in e-sports. I do think some people might argue with your opinion of it perfecting MOBAs but to each their own.

      I refer to Uncharted 2 below in another comment but I do love it as a game. As for Skyrim, I loved it, but ultimately it really was just another Elder Scrolls game and I’m not sure how important it is to the industry as a whole.

      • Jeremy W. Goodson

        Point definitely taken on Skyrim. My only argument would be that it brought in players that even the others in the series didn’t, and definitely set a standard for open-world gaming.

        I had thought of UC2 after I posted on Facebook, but before I read Don’s comment. I was typing it out when I decided to read the other comments here and saw it. Don was just a few steps ahead of me on that one.

        Finally, you’re right about LoL. Perfecting is a strong word, but I would say at least “Set the Bar” for what to expect in the MOBA genre. There are countless games now that have tried to reach for their level of success and polish, and have fallen flat on their faces. Still, for me, that would definitely be on the list for all that it has done in the online space, basically defining MOBA, and you even pointed out, what it’s done for F2P gaming.

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