Decade-Defining Video Games
Updated: Sep 15
Brad shares his all-time favorite video games from each decade of his millennial existence.
1. Decade 1 (0-10 years old)
Duck Hunt – Nintendo
No disrespect to the legendary Nintendo game “Super Mario Bros.”, but Duck Hunt is by far the most nostalgic and memorable game that defined my early years. A literal take and (IMO) the creator of the “first-person shooter” concept, my young self would eagerly stand in front of my massively large box TV with the NES Zapper light gun waiting for the moment to touch the gun to the screen and fire at each flying duck. The enjoyment would only grow when seeing my nameless but loyal hunting dog, simply known as “Dog”, flush the ducks out and retrieve any fallen ones. Its legacy speaks for itself.
Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball – Super Nintendo
Growing up I was a big baseball fan. I played Little League and being a lefty, it was only natural that my favorite player was none other than home run hitting, backward hat-wearing Ken Griffey Jr. I always felt he made baseball look “cool” and fun to the average kid with his effortless talent and genuine smile. Once I got my hands on this game, I couldn’t wait to play as him and hit long bombs myself. Interestingly enough, the game only has a Major League Baseball license (not a Major League Baseball Players Association license), meaning that the game has real stadiums and real teams, but not real players (except Ken Griffey Jr.). I played this simple arcade-style baseball game so much I was better at knowing all of the fictitious player rosters than their real-world counterparts. It was that good of a game!
2. Decade 2 (10-20 years old)
GoldenEye 007 – Nintendo 64
This may not seem like a surprise to many, but GoldenEye 007 was the N64 game that defined a generation. Once I got it, all of my friends wanted to come over and play each day after school. Whether we would be working together to beat the single-player campaign filled with undeniable betrayal (still angry at you Trevelyan!) or the generation-defining multiplayer (where we would quickly scroll to pick Oddjob to gain an advantage in our deathmatches via split-screen), GoldenEye ruled the day for several years.
Halo: Combat Evolved – Xbox
Bottom line: this was a game that converted this kid from a loyal Nintendo follower to an Xbox console owner. For those who didn’t know, Halo: CE was released as a launch game for Microsoft's original Xbox console on November 15, 2001. I was fortunate enough to have got an original Xbox on launch day (as my birthday is in November – thanks mom and dad!). Little did I know how Master Chief would become such an iconic figure for me and in the Xbox community over the last 20 years. I’ve owned every Halo game thus far and can’t wait for Halo Infinite to come out (to play on my Series X)!
3. Decade 3 (20-30 years old)
Guitar Hero – Xbox 360
The game that defined my high school and college years, Guitar Hero is the closest I have ever felt to knowing how to play an instrument or feeling like a Rockstar! The ability to have a guitar controller, rock out to your favorite songs and hit that Star power to get those bonus points was truly revolutionary in the gaming industry. I’ve got my old Xbox 360 and guitars stored away and look forward to pulling them back out to relive the glory days soon!
Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag – Xbox One
Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag was a game a stumbled into as part of the bundle I bought was upgrading to the Xbox One. I tend to gravitate towards games that are more developed with an online multiplayer focus, but given this was included, I figured why not take it for a stroll. WOW. I was not expecting such an immersive and in-depth free-world single-player campaign. True to its core, Black Flag allowed me to explore the world of pirates through the main storyline filled with many optional side campaigns. I probably spent almost a year playing this game and it is, to this day, the only game I can say I have completed 100% (every single quest). This was such a transformative playthrough for me!
4. Decade 4 (30 to Today)
Fortnite – Xbox Series X
I took a bit of a hiatus from playing video games and have recently been back actively playing for the last 3-4 years. When arriving back on the scene, I was lucky enough to link up with Bruno and land a Founders edition (beta) of Fortnite. I think we spent almost an entire year playing the PvE mode as this was the only game style available at the time (it's still fantastic!). Flash forward to now, and Fortnite has become in many ways the standard for the modern-day game. Massively popularizing the “Battle Royale” mode along with continual innovation, weekly challenges, the battle pass, map changes, and more recently licensed cosmetic items, Fortnite has become the go-to game for me.
5. Bonus: Travel Edition
Pokémon (Red) – Gameboy/Gameboy Color
Bonus Content! I’ll keep this one short and sweet. I played that game many times over and can proudly say I caught all 150. The game still works on my original GameBoy, and the Elite 4 got nothin' on this Pokémon Master!