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The Three Most Memorable Videogames of the "Noughties"!

The Instance podcast recently discussed an article on Gamasutra about the best games of the decade (defined as "2000-2009", for you decade purists out there). No surprise (at least, not to me), World of Warcraft was on top. Anyway, listening to them discuss their picks & thoughts on the article inspired me to write up my own little list ... (fanfare) The Three Most Memorable Videogames of the "Noughties". Now this list is culled from games I've played (and I tend to favor RPGs) - not the entire universe of games released during those 10 years.

1. World of Warcraft (PC): Absolutely no surprise there. I can't think of a game that's provided me with constant delight, for such a long time. I've played the game since shortly after its debut in 2004, and have gone from being a hardcore "raider" to a solo casual player, and ended up somewhat in the middle. I've experienced great fun with the various guilds I've been a part of, and experienced frustration & heartbreak because of the various guilds I've been a part of (for any WoW players that may be listening - my guild imploded just before we were about to face Ragnaros for the first time in Molten Core. It was several weeks before we recovered). Apart from Blizzard, I really need to thank my wife for her resigned patience in allowing me to play! For those who followed my occasional WoW posts back in the day, here is what my main character looks like now.

Trailer to Wrath of the Lich King


2. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn & Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal (PC): Sequels to the original Baldur's Gate (1998), the BG2 series to me represents the pinnacle of "epic" storytelling in an RPG. The original BG was epic in it's own right - taking the player from cruelly orphaned waif to a child of an evil God. The sequels took that character's development further, and crucially wove permanent "world events" into the plot, so that the player became a baron (and had to deal with bandits and the like), or had a statue erected in honor of the party's defeat of a local gnoll menace, and so on. The culmination of the trilogy left the player with a choice - to abandon mortal friends and become a God, or renounce godhood and continue to live with friends. I always chose to become a God, for some reason.

The trailer to Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn


The opening to Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal

3. Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2): GTA III was my introduction to console gaming. I had never experienced the "sandbox" environment before, and it was absolutely delightful to be able to wander around - and crucially, interact with - an entire city. The hook that kept me coming back again, and again, was the stellar soundtrack, especially the talk radio. This was also the first GTA game to feature the controls & interface that we're now used to.

GTA Vice City was an equally delightful romp around an 80's Miami. It was the first GTA that really brought out (some might say "caracture-ized") the pop-culture of the environment it was set in. While I think it lacked the humor of GTA III, I can honestly say that my favorite GTA moment was a slo-mo stunt jump on a motorbike with REO Speedwagon belting out "Keep On Lovin' You" on the game's radio. You just had to be there, I guess.

GTA: San Andreas was pretty boring to me. The game forced the player to needlessly micromanage the main character ... feeling hungry? Go to a restaurant. But don't eat too much, cos you won't be able to run as fast. So then you've got to hit the gym, but don't work out too much, or else ... Aargh! I gave up about 20% of the way in. I just couldn't deal with it!

GTA IV is awesome. A return to form, definitely. It's funny too ... just not as funny as GTA III!

By the way, you know you've hit pop culture gold when you're parodied on The Chappelle Show, and SNL!

Trailer for Grand Theft Auto III

Trailer for Grand Theft Auto Vice City


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