Another decade of gaming has come and gone. The landscape of gaming from 2010 to 2019 had its fair share of drama, innovation, controversies, surprises, disappointments, trends, and many more. One thing's for certain, this medium certainly isn't the same as it was in 09, and I'd thought I'd take a look at how the industry made its mark and changed our perceptions throughout this decade.

How this decade changed storytelling

Before this decade, if you were to ask me if games should prioritize having fun or telling a story, I would have immediately said the former.

In my previous mindset, if a game has a good story and poor gameplay, then it might as well just be a film. This view was shattered when I realized the true potential of interactive storytelling. Telltale's "The Walking Dead," "The Stanley Parable," "Spec Ops The Line," and "Undertale," are phenomenal stories that could not be done justice in a non-interactive medium.

"Portal 2" and "The Stanley Parable" used the interactive nature of gaming to brilliant comic effect. On the other side of the coin, Telltale's "The Walking Dead" and "Spec ops the line" gave me tough moral choices and provoked emotions that I wouldn't really call "fun." Had these been films, I'd simply be an observer, not a participant, and the narrative would not have the same impact.

"Undertale" was no slouch when it came to tickling those funny bones and tugging those heartstrings. The game boasts memorable and quirky characters whose roles and demeanor can vary wildly depending on how you play. Even when I thought I had seen all its tricks, the game still found ways to toy with my emotions.

How this decade broke boarders

This decade gave gamers a level of freedom that wasn't possible before.

Playing "Skyrim" and realizing that those majestic mountains I was looking at weren't just decoration was absolutely amazing. Superhero sandboxes such as "Infamous," "Batman Arkham City," and "Spider-Man" provided fun and exhilarating ways to get around. Invisible walls, loading times, and immersion-breaking glitches were at an unprecedented minimum in these large and expansive worlds with many things to do.

How this decade let gamers choose

Before crowdfunding, gamers didn't really have much of a say in what games got made. If a game you liked didn't sell well, chances of a follow up were slim to none. For the longest time, it seemed that publishers decided that certain genres such as platformers, survival horrors, and graphic adventures were no longer viable. Crowdfunding changed all that. Creators such as Tim Schafer, Koji Igarashi, and more decided that if publishers weren't interested, they could ask fans to bankroll their projects themselves.

Crowdfunding made possible nostalgic throwbacks such as "Broken Age" and "Shovel Knight," and it was also responsible for cult hits such as "A Hat in Time" and "Undertale." Tim Schafer proclaimed that publishers no longer had a stranglehold on what media gets funded, saying "You can choose."

How this decade stumbled

The industry had its fair share of blunders this decade. Critics such as Yahtzee Croshaw regarded micro-transactions and lack of backwards compatibility in consoles as "anti-consumer features." Jim Sterling went as far as to disqualify any game featuring microtransactions from his game of the year lists.

According to the Washington Post, the loot crate system in EA's "Star Wars Battlefront 2" caught attention from lawmakers in Hawaii and Belgium. They asserted that loot crates preyed upon children and should be considered as a form of gambling.

Haruki Satomi of Sega went as far as to admit that the company had "partially betrayed fans" and that their partnership with Atlus made them want to win back their trust. Massive layoffs from companies such as Telltale and Blizzard put many talented people out of work and sparked the debate of forming a gaming union to protect developers. A number of activists on social media formed a movement called the GWU (Game Workers Unite) to fight to unionize the industry.

Here's to another decade

The possibilities in this medium seem boundless. We've only scratched the surface in VR, Major League Gaming, and augmented reality. According to GameInformer, Microsoft is already looking beyond consoles for the future. If publishers and developers learn the right lessons from this decade and try new things, the medium can continue to stimulate, surprise, and innovate.

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