Video games and consoles are constantly evolving, and the world has come a long way from the pixelated games on Atari and the original Nintendo that many of us grew up with. Some of the big names are still big, such as Nintendo and Sony, while others are still rather new to the market, such as Microsoft. Competition is still high but no matter what your one true console is, you’ve probably played some of the most influential games of the generation just past.
Wii Sports on Nintendo Wii
Image via Flickr by MIKI Yoshihito
Wii Sports, although generally available in a purchase bundle, quickly became one of the most popular games for newcomers to the console. The idea of motion gaming spread on like wildfire and caused Microsoft to release the Kinect, while Sony developed the Move. Motion gaming is a large part of today’s gaming world, and we all have Wii Sports to thank. Or, rather, we all have Wii Sports to place the blame on.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on All Platforms
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Available on Windows, Mac, Xbox, Wii, PS3, and even the Nintendo DS, the fourth installment of the already popular COD series hit big. This was the first entry into the Modern Warfare series, and since then, the Call of Duty has seen an annual update. Modern Warfare received a sequel. Modern Warfare is considered the benchmark of most modern day first person shooters.
World of Warcraft on Windows and OS X
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World of Warcraft changed the game for MMORPGs, and it’s still a huge contender. The original took over the world and had everyone creating unique orcs or dwarves and joining guilds with their friends. It paved the way for many online games and hit so big that fans were scrambling to upgrade their Internet connection so they wouldn’t have their service interrupted.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on Windows, Xbox, and PS3
Oblivion was another huge computer coup, although it’s also available on actual consoles. This was the RPG generation, and for a long time, Oblivion reigned over all other contenders. The only reason it was cast aside was because the sequel, Skyrim, finally released in 2011.
Grand Theft Auto IV on Windows, Xbox, and PS3
The controversial, widely loved GTA series hit huge from the get-go, but 2008’s GTA IV pushed the boundaries even further. In addition to allowing players to go online and play in a multi-player world, it took place in Liberty City and featured Niko Bellic. The plot, as per the usual, revolved around crime. It was a fantastic game, and it was considered the top open world game for a long time. Red Dead Redemption took that honor, though, a game that I still dust off to play quite often.
Angry Birds on All Platforms
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Angry Birds is personally responsible for everything that’s wrong with mobile gaming today. While the game itself isn’t wholly to blame, it popularized in-app purchases. You know how you have to pay more money after finishing a level in certain games? You can thank Angry Birds, and its parent company Rovio. The worst part about all of that? It spawned multiple sequels, and I think that I bought every single one of them.
LittleBigPlanet on PS3, PS Vita, and PSP
Image via Flickr by Mike Babcock
LittleBigPlanet offered a bold, unique promise: complete creative control. When it released for thePlaystation 3, it sold quite well, especially series with no previous entries to fall back on. LittleBigPlanet definitely delivered: the game allowed you to fully customize your sackboy character, and you could create your own levels. You could also put your own images in the game, though I never really figured out how. It’s a level of customization that hasn’t really been rivaled in the console world by any other platformer.
Gears of War on Windows and Xbox
Gears of War was a product of the hype machine, and boy, did it deliver. The concept of using cover was a new one at the time, and Gears of War made heavy use of it. It was so successful that it spawned several sequels, the most recent being Gears of War: Judgment. Many games, like Kane and Lynch, Army of Two, Vanquish, Binary Domain, and countless others ripped the technique off.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots on PS3
Snake is a perennial fan favorite, but Metal Gear Solid 4 is still one of the best installments by far. In many ways, it made the PS3 a worthy purchase, if only for the film-like quality of the game play. Though it was often rumored that it was coming to the Xbox 360, it never did. The franchise continues in 2014 with the release of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, a prequel to Metal Gear Solid V.
Rock Band 2 on Wii, Xbox, and PS3
After Guitar Hero’s success, there was a falling out of sorts, leading the original developers of Guitar Hero to branch off and develop their own game. While the first game found a bit of success, the second was a smash hit, releasing across both current and past generation systems. Rock Band 2 also let you transfer songs over from the first game, so any content you had previously purchased would still be usable. The sequel, Rock Band 3, was another smash success, and added the keyboard to the mix.
These games helped define a generation of both consoles and gamers. What games can you play over and over?