The Most Influential Game Of The Decade (The Jimquisition)


[character shouts in fear] [“Born Depressed” by Drill Queen] Hi there, gang! It’s the year 2020! [magical twinkling sound] Yeah, it’s 2020. Hooray. It started with the promise of war, And… it’s the primer for the cosmic cook-off that is this planet’s ultimate future, so… Let’s… look back at the last decade! Mm? I don’t normally like to do retrospective things outside of the year. I try and, you know, do a retrospective of the decade within it. Although people do like to point out, smugly, that 2021 is the start of the decade because zeroes. Don’t listen to them. This is the start of the new decade. But there’s not a lot to look forward to. So we’re gonna look back a little bit more just cling on to the past and we will deal with the upcoming decade. [murmurs] What the fuck is that? Oh! Oh. It’s a camera… …plastic… mount… With the glasses on and against the carpet, it looked like a poo. [quietly] But it wasn’t. What was the most influential game of the decade known as the 2010s? Or the 10s? Or the “Taugnties”? Or the “Tensies”? Or the “Teensies”? Craig! Craig, are these fucking real? …WHAT?! Anyway, that 2010 decade has all wrapped up and if we get that World War 3 everyone’s talking about, we might not have much of a 2020s, so let’s look back on the decade that was and enjoy a little bit more retrospective. Let’s just keep looking back. Keep looking back, the past can’t hurt you, it already happened. Only the future will kill you. There’s been a lot of talk about the best games of the decade, the worst games of the decade, and the most influential games. We’ve done plenty of good and bad talk here so today, I want to look at those games that have had the most influence, that informed future game design, inspired the games developed in their wake, or otherwise had some major impact on the medium. But “influence” is a broad church it doesn’t necessarily have to mean the most popular game. It doesn’t even need to be a good game at all to have been the most influential. Is the most influential game simply the best game? The most popular game? The one that inspired many copies? The one that gained the most pop culture traction? Or is it the worst game? The one that inspired the most mockery, the one that served as a warning to other developers. I’ve seen it argued that The Witcher 3, for example, is one of the most influential games of the decade, but is that really true? The Witcher 3 is one of the past decade’s most critically-acclaimed games, that much is true. It’s a game that has been played by millions, with an active player base still going strong today even breaking concurrent player records recently, following The Witcher series on Netflix. But, was The Witcher 3 influential across the game industry? When we look around at the state of the industry since tThe Witcher 3’s 2015 release, it doesn’t look like much of its quality has been aped by the mainstream market. Where The Witcher 3 uses an open world to tell not one, but dozens of fully-written, single-player story-driven quests, its peers in the “AAA” space have used open worlds to release barely finished, threadbare “live service” games with a strong emphasis on social interactions among players. Where The Witcher 3 boasted full DLC expansions like Blood and Wine, most comparable games still rely on microtransactions, which are easier to implement and stand to make more money potentially. You know, depending on how many players they can target and hoodwink. The Witcher 3 is a great game, and rightly beloved by its large audience, but one of the reasons it stands out most today is that it didn’t see too many pretenders to its throne. In the latter half of the 2010s, most game publishers in the mainstream area were too busy hopping aboard the “live service” gravy train. In fact, it could be argued that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was far more influential than The Witcher 3. Hear me out! While games in a post-Witcher 3 world moved away more and more from Witcher-like experiences, Skyrim released right at the start of the 2010s when the “live service” gravy train was but a mere push-trolley, and it was followed by games trying to chomp its flavor. With good cause, too! Despite what Bethesda has become these days, Skyrim was a true game changer way back when it released in 2011. A game of that size, scale, and ambition at the time turned quite a few heads. We take it for granted now, but Skyrim at the time was remarkable for its depth and scale and sheer volume of stuff to do. And games that followed took quite a few cues from Bethesda’s work. Dragon’s Dogma, for instance, was an explicit attempt by Capcom to design a Skyrim-like game. Dragon Age: Inquisition married BioWare’s typical approach to RPG design with Bethesda’s large-scale world building. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild owes many of its shifts away from a traditional Zelda experience to the groundwork Skyrim laid down. Almost a decade on and it can be hard to realize exactly what an impact Skyrim, long since overexposed thanks to endless re-releases, made on the RPG genre and game design as a whole. To say nothing of the effect it had on media at the time. In fact, it became referenced to a ridiculous degree, as famously emphasized by Adam Kovic of Machinima when he notoriously said Far Cry 3 was “Like Skyrim with guns.” As mocked as that statement became, it provides a snapshot of an era when Skyrim was THE thing other games got measured against. But when it comes to inspiring copycats and increasingly strained comparisons, Dark Souls may have Skyrim beat. Now, Dark Souls was not the first game of what would become known as Soulsborne series following, as it did, 2009’s Demon’s Souls which was a bloody great game by the way. But! While Demon’s Souls was both an excellent game and a cult hit, it wasn’t until Dark Souls that FromSoftware’s cyclical experience and challenging, methodical gameplay went mainstream. Now Dark Souls is an incredible videogame and remains among my most-played titles today. It also did what Doom did back in the 90s and inspired a wave of follow-ups from other studios trying to get in on that hot new action. The Soulslike has become a full subgenre, and while the name may change one day the way Doom Clone did, although maybe not, we still have Metroidvanias and Roguelikes, the hallmarks a clearly defined. Games that emphasize careful combat with a need to balance stamina limits between offense and defense, checkpoints that respawn defeated enemies in exchange for healing the player, leaving something behind upon death that can be lost unless retrieved, and a general sense of tough but fair challenge. These are all part of a typical Soulslike, which range from worthy successors to weak pretenders. Lords of the Fallen, the Surge series, Nioh, Code Vein, Salt & Sanctuary, Blasphemous, Ashen, Dead Cells, Hollow Knight, they’re all either full on Soulslike or owe a significant portion of their design to FromSoftware. The series has inspired endless memes as well, and reached a point where things like “Praise the Sun” and “You Died” are known even by people who don’t play the game. And as for drawing comparisons, well it’s reached a point where “The Dark Souls of (insert genre here)” has become a thoroughly beaten horse. It has, in fact, become the… Dark Souls of comparisons… ugh forget it. Of course, it’s not just the “AAA” space that can boast influential games. One of the standouts this decade was, of course, Undertale. Toby Fox’s inventively-charming RPG played not just with its genre but with videogames as a medium, and had a lot to say about the people who play them. In the indie space, Undertale did inspire a few games to follow in its wake. Such as the incredible Pony Island. And the sheer dedication of its fanbase, the endless jokes and memes and pop culture insinuation, that can all make a case for its influential nature. Undertale certainly had enough clout to get Sans into Super Smash Bros, kinda, while AEW star Kenny Omega strolled onto TNT’s Wednesday Night Dynamite fully decked out in cosplay gear using Megalovania as his entrance theme. And Kenny, if you’re watching, can I be on your television program? Ha ha ha! Only joking, I know you’re not watching this. Now, influence is not automatically positive as we established at the beginning. Gríma Wormtongue influenced Théoden King, Jagi influenced Shin, and semi-poisonous hallucinogens influenced the Cats movie. The game industry is full of bullshit, and that bullshit doesn’t come from just anywhere. So-called “AAA” game publishers have demonstrated time and time again that if one shitty idea gains traction, they’ll copy it. Over and over and over. Many unpopular or annoying videogame practices started with a single game. For example, 2011’s LA Noire is commonly noted to be the first game boasting a season pass featuring as it did a Rockstar Pass promising new playable missions, as well as a pair of outfits and a challenge mode. Around the same time, 2011’s Mortal Kombat dabbled with the concept, because of course it did. Publisher Warner Brothers is a bag of dicks. From there, the concept of the season pass has taken off to ludicrous degrees, with most mainstream games offering some way for the audience to pay for content that literally doesn’t exist yet. Once publishers realized they could get you to pre-order DLC and most people wouldn’t question it, they realized they could get away with anything. Now even full-priced games have much of the content planned for long after purchase. And as we head into a new decade, the idea that what you buy at launch is just a taste that can be fleshed out with additional purchases has become a widespread, sadly normalized, thing. Two games from Electronic Arts can be credited as testing the waters and getting away with one of my biggest and most infamous bugbears, good ol’ microtransactions in premium priced games. Dubbed “fee to pay” by myself, $60 titles with ongoing, psychologically manipulative micropayments were dabbled with by Mass Effect 3 in 2012 and Dead Space 3 in 2013. EA experimenting in the first game and solidifying in the second. Microsoft would then normalize the concept for a new generation, with Xbox One launch titles like Ryse: Son of Rome and Crimson Dragon glomming onto microtransactions immediately to set the tone going forward. This toxic stew of greed-fueled games from EA and Microsoft took the popular model of free-to-play games and exploited it for full-priced, big-budget titles. And once they got away with it, their filth spread across the entire industry. Now microtransactions are fucking everywhere, and they’re here to stay. Thanks, EA! Thanks, Microsoft! [mutters] Ya bunch of sperm. Then there are loot boxes, oh yes. Like microtransactions, they started on mobile and are fucking everywhere now, but one game absolutely made ’em popular. That game is, of course, Overwatch. As I’ve said before, Overwatch is to loot boxes what Resident Evil is to survival horror. It didn’t originate, but it was THE perpetuator. Team Fortress 2 introduced the loot box concept to mainstream games way back in 2010, and in the time between then and Overwatch’s 2016 release, roughly ten games implemented loot boxes in some capacity. After Overwatch’s release where loot boxes proved successful, and people actually defended them at the time, over 22 games featured lootboxes in just over a year. Those who still go to bat for Blizzard like to claim FIFA was far more influential in terms of introducing gambling to games, even coining the term “Wilson Box” to describe lootboxes, so-named after EA’s robotic CEO Android Wilson. A term contrived to create an intrinsic link between lootboxes and Electronic Arts, instead of Activision Blizzard. But all signs point to Overwatch as the game that truly inspired publishers to push that poison onto the general public. But if Overwatch made them normal and a cool thing to do in the game industry, it can be argued that Star Wars Battlefront II, a grossly erroneous overstep from EA, had a grand part to play in damaging their credibility. After using loot boxes to bring pay-to-win mechanics to Star Wars, the fan backlash was massive to the point where legislators got involved, and more serious talks were had about the socioeconomic impact of videogame monetization. EA chose to be amazingly avaricious even by its own standards and absolutely chose the wrong game to do it with. A Star Wars game! A game even non-gaming reporters at mainstream outlets could understand because Star Wars. So of course they fucking reported on it! And now we have gambling commissions across the world looking at lootboxes and saying “You know what?” “That looks an awful lot like gambling.” While loot boxes are still popular, especially in the mobile market’s underbelly, they became untenable for all but the most shameless of companies. Between them, Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront II had major influence on the decade’s most controversial money-making tactic. And then there’s Fortnite. You see, while we can sit here and talk about the games most familiar and popular titles among long-term game players, we cannot understate the sheer mass appeal of Epic Games’ Fortnite, which is so mainstream it makes what I call a mainstream game look positive niche. I mean, they unveiled content for The Rise of Skywalker in Fortnite! Content that should have, y’know, BEEN in Rise of the Skywalker but instead was sectioned off for a shameless publicity stunt. What a fucking mess of a film. What a fucking m- and I don’t need your hot takes, by the way, about how it’s actually good. I realize we’re in the backlash to the backlash phase, the back-backlash now to Rise of the Skywalker reactions. But it’s st- uh, ugh. It’s a bad film. Anyway, Fortnite has turned dance moves into real-life fads, especially the ones it stole. Practically fucking everybody knows what Fortnite is, millions have played it from those deeply into videogames to the lightest casual player, and it makes more than enough money per day to make the average person violently sick. As well as that, it popularized the battle pass which looks set to be the hot new thing and may lead to in-game premium subscriptions as seen with Fallout 76’s Fallout 1st debacle. [yells aside] A hundred dollars a year subscription for Fallout 76?! [yells aside] Fucking what?! Licky licky WHAT?! Fortnite’s crossed over with The Avengers, Batman, Stranger Things, the fucking NFL. It will have crossed over with fucking Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em by the time this sentence is finished! And the Battle Royale genre absolutely exploded thanks to it. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds may have had the first taste of mass appeal in the genre, and mods in open worlds games like DayZ and Rust may have originated it, but Fortnite blew everything out of the water and inspired dozens upon dozens of knockoffs, as well as battle royale modes in series like Call of Duty and Fallout. But if you roll your hipster eyes at Fortnite being called the most influential game of the 2010s, you’ll pull them out your fucking head when I say, with some confidence, what the most influential game actually was. And that game is… Clash of Clans. When we get down to the wire, whether we talk about critically-acclaimed games like The Witcher 3, inspirational, genre-creators like Dark Souls, or mass market smashes like Fortnite, there’s no getting away from the fact that a freemium strategy game on mobile was more than likely the most influential thing over the course of this decade following its 2012 release. I know for a bloody fact it’s hugely influential because, as I’ve noted in past videos, Clash of Clans has consistently been one of three games that industry executives reference. In fact, to some executives, the ones that come from other industries outside of games, Clash of Clans is one of only three games that they even acknowledge exists, alongside Call of Duty and Candy Crush. These three games are the unholy trinity of greed-fueled publishers. A trinity I’ve handily abbreviated to C-C-COD-COC. In its own market, Clash of Clans inspired hundreds of mobile strategy games that aped not just its gameplay but its art style. Look at all these icons! Outside of that market, the sheer wealth its microtransactions accumulated did not go unseen by “AAA” publishers, hungry for some of that sweet Do Re Mi. One of the reasons given by Visceral Games for Dead Space 3’s fee-to-pay bullshit was the popularity of freemium models on mobile, and Clash of Clans has been THE gold standard for most of the decade. In 2015 the game was raking in 1.5 million dollars a day. By 2018 it had generated more revenue than any other mobile app, ever. Its freemium model was copied by big budget publishers who saw no reason to actually make their games free. Its success has spawned legions of knock-offs. Like Fortnite, almost everyone knows what it is. Maybe Fortnite would have exerted more influential if it’d released earlier in the 2010s, but over the course of the past ten years, Clash of Clans has exerted more influence over the people pulling the levers of the game industry, and that’s the sad fact. No matter what brilliant games you like. No matter their quality, their cultural traction, their fandom or their respect, none of them were as important in shaping this generation as Clash of fucking Clans. So enjoy thinking about that. Oh yeah Minecraft’s come out this decade and all. …that was pretty popular. Eagle-eyed viewers may have spotted that there wasn’t really any mention of Nintendo and no, it’s not because I’m biased. It’s a similar reason to The Witcher 3, really. But more so, because Nintendo tends to exist in its own little bubble doing its own little thing. And I feel that’s been consistent of them for the past two decades, really. They get on with their own thing. I mean, last generation they inspired a lot of motion control stuff. But it didn’t really take off. So even then, they influenced the fad, but maybe not the whole decade. But that was the decade before the one we’re even looking at, so… Don’t even get me off-topic ya cheeky goose. [mutters] I don’t know what I meant by that. Um… But all things considered, one thing I can say in Nintendo’s favor and you can take this to the bank, is the Switch was easily my favorite system this past decade. Easy. Maybe one of my, well, ONE of my favorite systems ever. Possibly my favorite one. We would- well you know, I’d have to test it in a lab, to fully commit to it, but yeah, of the decade? Easy, bang-up job. Love the Switch. Can play Resident Evil 4 on it. You know, what other system could do that? Thank God for me. [“Stress” by Jim’s Big Ego]

100 thoughts on “The Most Influential Game Of The Decade (The Jimquisition)

  1. When Jim called us cheeky gooses and didn't know why, I half expected Justin to add in (Because you secretly loved Untitled Goose Game) to go along with the random screenshots.

    The past can't hurt you? What about the hole in every person's bank account that paid to see Rise of Skywalker? A constant reminder that you actually paid money for that trash, every time you look at the bank statement. Even without the horrid memory of the film itself, just thinking about what you could have bought with that money instead. Such as a tide pod for lunch, or a hammer and nail to give yourself a garage lobotomy. Both would be cheaper and leave a better taste in your mouth.

  2. GTA 5 Online – "hahah so we arent even gonna acknowledge my existence… am i that op of a game…? we just pretend i dont exist…? ignore the biggest cock on the block..? and im still flaccid..!" 🤣

    GTA 6 Online – "dont worry gta 5.. ILL MAKE EM REMEMBER SOON ENOUGH.. BELIEVE THAT…"

    GTA 7 – "HAHAHA cant wait till my turn.."

    we know its goat'd on all systems.. its in the top 10 of all systems.. every month.. every year.. since release…
    why did u not even mention it? lmao u put cod above gta online… it poops on the whole genera by its self.. 🤣🤦‍♀️

    its change the gaming on many things…
    i think u done goof this time .. though i still agree with mostly everything else… except for not having fortnite as top or in competition..
    the game literally step out of GAMING and effected culture itself..

  3. Also the decade that sadly made "Early Access" popular & apparently also inspired non-early access games to launch broken & buggy like crazy.

  4. I was saying this at the beginning of the video. That the mobile market was the true genesis of our modern AAA gaming market.

  5. the 2010-2020 have been the most disgusting years so far. From a great year that made gaming history of (2007/8) to lootboxes, MXT, greed, DLC and anything that is shit. Not to mention gamer gate, SJW and the mainstream of a hobby that I enjoyed to have as "my own" while normies were shitting on it.

  6. I find it very fitting that in this hyper capitalist neoliberal decade, CoC is the most influential. Sounds about right, sadly

  7. I get the just popping minecraft in the end there asa joke but it seems remis to not mention how it popularised and normalised what would become early access, which would then go on to influence the trend of AAA games coming out unfinished and broken

  8. You are right – sad that it seems like only the predatory ideas were really influential.

    But you could have also mentioned something about procedural generation… that concept seemed to be very ingluential the last decade

  9. In the negative influences you forgot GTA5/Online helping push the "LIVE SERVICE" ideal forward trying to make every single player game series into a live service cash cow

  10. The sad thing is that Clash of Clans is actually a lot better balanced than most of these $60 AAA games with microtransactions.

    Sure there’s the obvious fact that troops or structures can have stat upgrades that give you an advantage over someone with the same defenses but at a lower level, but there is a level cap to the amount of upgrades you earn until you decide to upgrade the level of your town hall, and you can’t attack someone with a drastically lower level town hall. At most, you can attack someone 1-2 town hall levels lower and even that’s heavily discouraged (unless you don’t mind losing more resources than earning). Even then, if you suck shit at attacking or base building, your entire base or attack will fail hard, no matter how much money you dump in the game. Despite the amount of shit Clash gets, it’s not as bad as it’s made out to be (hell the screenshots Jim used from Clash show me that the amount of troops/types of troops being used are drastically exaggerated, or that’s a fine example of an attack that will end in complete failure).

    The only parts of CoC that I can say are shit is the wait times to build your stuff but aside of that, it’s nowhere near as bad as something you see in a game like the EA Battlefront 2 before the microtransactions were removed. Games like that force you to buy upgrades so you have a fighting chance against the enemy, and the matchmaking was so ass that they didn’t bother to try and at least pair people with similar players, so you were very likely to encounter someone with a MASSIVE advantage against you.

  11. Dark souls came out in 2011, and today in 2020 I still see articles with the now popular "Dark Souls of…" titles.
    It also, like you said, created a whole new subgenre in the modern age of videogames, if that is not influential then I don't know what is.

  12. Let's wait for the nuclear fire shower, meanwhile I'll keep waiting every monday the new Jimquisition

    I thought time would make it better, but the pain caused by Dead Space 3 is still here, how one of the best action horror games ever fell so hard and low, it's worse than resident evil 5/6, at least in thos you don't get to pay to be able to grind

  13. i'm already missing those old days when i was playing games to enjoy it and myself and not like today where i have to literally grind most of the games even if i didn't like it just to finish it or keeping up with friends. and i have to grind it just so that no fuckers call me normie or what we call it now noob player cause i don't have cool skins.

  14. I think my favourite games of this decade is GTA 5 and RDR2. I liked that both games don't make players feel grounded.

  15. Battle Royale is just taking the idea of a free-for-all deathmatch and ruining it . It's taking a good concept that already works in making it actively worse. I think Hank Hill paraphrased it best when was discussing the concept of Christian rock. "don't you see that you're not making Christianity better you're just making rock and roll worse!" And that to me is the same way to some of the invention of the Battle Royale. it did not make the concept of a multiplayer match better all it did was make the idea of a free-for-all deathmatch worse.

  16. One could look at some of the best games in two rather important criteria, how memorable it was to be playing it, or how much one has played it.

  17. Here's a thing. I am the last person to play Devil's Advocate here especially for someone like Bethesda/Zenimax, but even when your game/service has $10 a month subscription model, you'll still end up shelling out $120 every year. Now given the fact that monthly subscription fees are rarely as low as $10 per month, suddenly paying $100 for a year subscription doesn't sound as egregious now does it? Now you could make a very reasonable argument that you can just cancel the monthly subscription long before 12th month's up while the yearly subscription does not offer you that option, which is a good point there – you may put down those torches and pitchforks now. The real reason why Bethesda/Zenimax's offer is particulary egregious (at least for me) is the fact that you may as well get more value out of a $100 worth pile of horse manure from your local farm. Especially given the way how they have been treating their paying customers so far – I'm suprised that they still somehow got away with clusterfuck upon clusterfuck and STILL didn't go fucking bankrupt. On that matter I agree with Jim, you'll be much better off taking those $100 and giving them somewhere else, like Humblebundle or something – yes their $12 a month subscription will leave you handing out $144 a year, but at least you get a metric fuckton of games on top of a good feeling based on knowledge that some of that cash will go towards various charities and whatnot…

  18. I don't spend money on it but Clash Of Clans is THE perfect game to play while taking a dump. It feels ironic even.

  19. The future of this industry looks really bleak, there'll be good games going forward but definitely not near as many as there have been until a few years ago. Gotta hold onto the game library i've built because certainly they'll try to somehow swindle the old games out of our hands when they see we don't wanna put up with their greed.

  20. One of the most influential games of the decade is… hear me out… Star Citizen.

    Again not the first crowd funded game, but the one that took it to the mainstream.

    Some brilliant games were made through crowd funding, the Divinity Original Sin games being my favorite, but one cam argue that overhyped and under-delivering of SC is the more emblemic experience.

  21. I'm glad someone mentioned mass effect 3's awful loot boxes. They have always gone under the radar due to Overwatch but they where some of the first.

  22. "skyrim was a gamechanger" yeah, forget Morrowind, or other better Elder Scroll games. God damn sometimes your perspectives are a-holistic garbage.

  23. You can't really put Undertale on that list because it's a collection of elements from other games with a great story. Yume Nikki, Earthbound and Irisu Syndrome were the actual influence for games like Pony Island but Undertale showed there's an audience for it.

  24. How can you have a 20-minute long video about the most influential games of the 2010s and not even mention Minecraft once?

  25. /sigh. After working at ea from 2008-2012 all they saw sad clash of clans and call of duty… And then the rise OF FIFA.

  26. All you have to do is thank gamers for supporting this. Game publishers wouldn't make them if it wasn't for us. So next time you see an idiot in COD running around with unicorn skins on their gun, that's the person who ruined gaming.

  27. Mobile games are the future of games. Sad but true. It's all about tricking little Timmy into spending all of his parent's money on Gacha gambling and extra lives in Candy Crush.

  28. I bought hardly any AAA games last year (actually only 1). The state of the game industry is really in trouble in my mind. I buy in favor of older titles (before online bullshit) or indie titles last year.

  29. i would've thought the most "influential" game was some loot box nonsense…whichever popularized it and caused all the outrage. i've never played anything inspired or even feeling influenced by witcher 3. i have played about 5 dark souls clones. if anything, Skyrim is the RPG that influenced the fuck out of everything with 10M sold day 1. it turned MGS5 into open world bleck cuz "that's the games kids play these days". -best souls clone i've played is darksiders 3, worst is nioh. i still can't figure out why people like nioh, everything about that game is bad. jedi fallen order would be the third but it's more of a sekiro clone…if that's even possible considering they came out the same year. the similarities are too similar, however, for me to think they both had that unique idea (the deflection mechanic all combat is balanced around).

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