What’s in a Decade: Gaming Edition

The 2010s were a good time for gaming.

In a world where technological advancements are the new trend of the decade, people tend to take these strides for granted. With the size of devices shrinking and the efficiency skyrocketing, technology is the new way of the world. This generation has seen the birth of efficient smartphones and bluetooth devices, and people tend to forget how powerful these tools are when they slip the Internet into their back pockets. This decade has seen millions of lives changing at the hands of massive upgrades.

However, innovations made within the gaming industry tend to be forgotten. Minecraft, a blocky sandbox game compatible on all devices, was born in 2009, died, and was resurrected for 2019. Surely you’ve seen an eight year old doing Fortnite dances at your local Walmart. Or, perhaps your little sister is in her bedroom playing Roblox on her iPad. While we weren’t looking, the gaming industry has silently exploded into the lives of the common person.

“Games this decade have grown in the essence that they are much bigger in every area,” said Amir Huneidi, a senior at Francis Lewis High School, “The worlds they create are much bigger and the amount of time put into them have changed. The engines these games run on make them look beautiful and, in some cases, hyper-realistic.”

People relate to the beauty of video games for a multitude of reasons. Some use video games as a method of leisure, while others play games competitively.

“Video games appeal to the masses due to how unique they can be,” Amir said. “Some games allow the player to sit back and relax, like Minecraft. Others are hyper intense or story driven, like Battlefield or Call of Duty. This decade, video games saw some of the most interesting and unique stories.”

Players can also make money from gaming, and this decade alone is proof of this new profession.

“A prime example would be the Fortnite event held here in New York at Arthur Ashe Stadium. I believe the winner won $3 million for the tournament. If you’re one of the best gamers, you can earn a lot of money,” Sebastien Chavannes, a student at Saint Francis Preparatory High School, said.

Playing Super Mario Odyssey.

Another notable means of making money would be gaming influencers. Gaming YouTubers have a large platform on the site, with the number one YouTuber (until 2019) being PewDiePie, who now has over 100 million subscribers and is still the individual with the most subscribers.

In addition, it should be noted that some games have begun to adapt towards virtual reality. According to Digital Trends, the journey began with the creation of the Sensorama in 1957 with the intention to give people the illusion of being immersed into a fully 3D world. After decades of trial and error, the gears began to turn with the development of the Oculus prototype in 2010. Now, virtual reality headsets are being pushed to the masses, and the industry is fully embracing these innovations.

Gaming also has a special aspect that not many other forms of communication hold. When a user connects to the Internet through their console or gaming device, they are able to connect with their friends. While older generations cling to their in-person conversations, technology has permitted people to connect with one another from anywhere at any time, and gaming is no exception.

“It’s honestly remarkable how far the gaming industry has gone,” said Sebastien added. “It helped me get closer with my friends. Not only do I get to communicate with them, but we also get to enjoy ourselves by playing a game that we all connect to.”

Not only have the revolutionary changes in the gaming industry resulted in an advanced means of communication, but it has also resulted in creating new bonds.

“While I enjoy playing with the friends I have, sometimes one or two people we don’t know will join our party,” Sebastien said. “One of our regular party members actually happens to be from Arizona. Without having gaming as an outlet that we can all relate to, my friend group would not have been able to connect with our other friends across the world.”

Whether or not you consider yourself a gamer, the industry has undeniably seen a boom in advancements. Remember the days where everybody had a Nintendo DS and communicated via PictoChat? The 2010s saw the release of the Nintendo Switch, a hybrid device between a handheld system and home console. According to the NPD Group, responsible for tracking video game sales, the Nintendo Switch sold more than 8.7 million units, outpacing U.S. sales of all other current-generation systems.

Video games have become an integral part of this generation. With advances made in communication, story-telling, graphics, and general appeal, the gaming industry has flourished throughout this decade. Hopefully, the same will be said about the 2020s.

– by Kate Villacres ’20