Monday, March 8, 2010
The Most Important Games of the Decade - 1
So I had promised this to Wade at the turn of the new year/decade, but I'm a deadbeat. Excited Common Sense Dancing Readers, we're going to take a fascinating journey down memory lane and take a look at The Most Important Games of the Decade!
This list will cover the games that I feel have had the biggest effect on the industry and the way we play over the last ten years. And so...
THE MOST IMPORTANT GAMES OF THE DECADE - 1
Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)
Although the GTA series had been around in the 1990s as a top down game, this transformational 3D, 3rd person-shooter/driving iteration seemed to come out of nowhere in the fall of 2001, a vision of the series finally realized by the hardware leap to the PlayStation 2 generation. GTA3, simply put, was a phenomenon. Its open world “sandbox”, do-anything gameplay was a break-through in game design, allowing players multiple ways to complete certain missions.
The game seemed to reward your inner most dark desires as the silent criminal anti-hero. The oft-cited example of picking up a hooker and then running her over and getting your money back was great for gaining nationwide shock-publicity, not unlike what Mortal Kombat did years earlier. There was something thrilling about realizing you could run over or mug pedestrians, or steal a police car for the first time.
In what became a trademark of the series, Liberty City itself was a main character, living with quirky radio DJs and pedestrians with multiple lines of dialogue. Little touches like fire trucks and ambulances showing up to pertinent emergency scenes made the world feel alive. And then, of course, you could steal said emergency vehicles and go on a ironic rampage or a good guy vigilante mission.
How many hours did you spend putzing around the world rather than playing the game’s actual missions? Not only was the game fun as hell, the story was well written and voice acted with memorable characters. It had crime noir elements, yet also a keen sense of humor with social satire sneaking into every radio station.
GTA3 combined with Metal Gear Solid 2 and Final Fantasy X to deliver the most powerful holiday lineup seen for a console at that time, and helped the PS2 leapfrog over the fledgling Xbox and Gamecube and never look back, completely dominating the entire generation. Additionally, it marked an important shift to western-designed games for console from the Japan-dominated 1990s.