The 2000s saw a drastic change in gaming consoles from low-resolution imagery of the 1990s to high-definition games. These new games featured detailed environments which were immersive and interactive and based around detailed storylines and characters. There was an improvement in the use of artificial intelligence as well as the use of more realistic physics.

The console manufacturers that emerged strongly during this period were Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft with their individual systems. Sega, previously a key player in the industry, stepped out of the market in 2002 and returned to its roots as a third party company.

For every entrepreneur it is important to understand how industries develop over time and how they can position themselves for winning this industry.

Top 10 Computer Games Produced in 2000s

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In this article, we look at 1) the history of gaming in the 2000s, and 2) top 10 games from the 2000s.

HISTORY OF GAMING IN THE 2000S

A Decade for Consoles

As improvement appeared in computer hardware and processing power, video games also became more complex and detailed. New technology allowed for better graphics, better ways of telling the story and substantially better gameplay. The entire decade was an important one for the gaming industry and gave it new direction.

The decade began with two surprising events. One was the Sega exit from the market. Reasons cited were the less than expected success of Sega Dreamcast and Sega Saturn. The company went back to publishing games as a third party for the other consoles in the market. The other shakeup was Microsoft’s decision to enter the console market.

The other major player at the time, Sony, released its PlayStation 2 early on in the decade. The system was the first to offer compatibility with games released for its predecessor, the PlayStation. Games were sold on CDs and DVDs but a memory card was required to save the progress. The PlayStation 2 was one of the highest selling consoles of all. By 2001, Microsoft entered the fray with its Xbox. With the release of the massively popular game Halo, Xbox managed to draw users away from its competition. At that point, no console offered integrated online support. This feature was part of the original Xbox design and laid the groundwork for its successor, the Xbox 360.

2005 saw the release of the seventh generation console, the Xbox 360. The product sold out nearly all over the world but saw some production faults which led to extended warranties. Despite this setback, the console remained influential. The same time period saw IBM see the need to have game developers and manufacturers come together and work on common issues and hence the first virtual video game conference was held. The issues discussed included online gaming and its management and distribution. The following year, another key player entered the market with the launch of the Nintendo Wii as well as the PlayStation 3. All these seventh generation consoles have features unique to them. The PS3 had its multimedia capabilities including games on Blu-ray discs and a unified online gaming service. The first console to use motion detection as the main form of input was the Wii. The technology needed some work but had implications for the future of gaming as well as for use in other arenas such as training and education.

The decade progressed to see more and more features added to the consoles. The Blu-Ray vs HDH DVD wars meant a setback for Microsoft as the Xbox already featured HD DVD compatibility, a useless feature when Blu-ray emerged as the format of choice. Internet connectivity became a common feature while it took Microsoft and Sony another decade to match the motion control feature of the Wii.

PC Gaming

PC gaming also continued to grow simultaneously, and the PC vs Console struggle continued. The release of the popular game Half-Life 2 drove PC gaming forward and remains a best-seller with better graphics and gameplay. With the launch of World of Warcraft, there was a shift towards cross platform collaboration where the original disc played on both PCs and MACs, eliminating the need for separate supply. The medium remained the first choice for many popular strategy, simulation and online games. Another extremely popular game of the time was The Sims, which brought in women and casual gamers to the male-dominated hardcore gaming market.

Generally however, the medium was remained in overall decline as the consoles took over with more technically advanced graphics. The console could ensure a standardized visual experience while PC gaming depending on the capabilities of an individual’s hardware.

Controversies

A rise in popularity also meant a rise in controversy. As games became more realistic visually, there was debate on the levels of profanity, violence, pornography and the possibility of gaming becoming an addiction. One controversial matter was the addition of an extra mini game or the Hot Coffee mod in the popular Grand Theft Auto. The game met with severe criticism and the hype led to the game to be re-rated Adults Only. The same game was also under scrutiny for extreme violence. Another controversial game was the Super Columbine Massacre RPG! In which the player could reenact the events in the school shooting at Columbine High School. The game was praised for a statement on free speech but criticized for being in very bad taste.

A Rise in Influence

As video games became more popular and developed more diversified themes, these games slowly became an integral part of popular culture. This influence meant an integration with other mainstream media such as film. One example of this integration was the release of Enter the Matrix, a video game that aimed to connect the events of popular films, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions. Films were often turned into video games but without too much success. This decade saw a rise in popularity of films based on video games such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider which remained the highest grossing video game adaptation for a decade following its 2001 release. Other popular adaptations included the Resident Evil series, Silent Hill, Max Payne, Hitman, House of Dead and Dungeon Siege.

TOP 10 COMPUTER GAMES OF THE 2000S

The rising popularity of gaming in the 2000s went beyond the mode of playing to the release of extremely popular and influential games. Many of these games remain popular to this day. 10 of these games from the 2000s are discussed below in detail.

1. The Sims

The Sims

© Wikimedia commons | Electronic Arts, Inc.

Medium

The Sims was launched as a PC game but versions were later released for all consoles as well as handheld devices, smartphone and tablets

Year of Introduction

February 2000

Total Sales

The total franchise sales till September 2013 were 175 million copies

Follow-up Versions

The PC version saw the release of Sims 2, Sims 3 and Sims 4 in 2004, 2009 and 2013. Other Renditions of the game includes the Sims Online, Sims Stories, MySims, the Sims Carnival, the Sims Medieval and the Sims Social. Console and handheld versions included the Sims Era, the Sims 2 Era, the Sims 3 Era and the Sims FreePlay.

Background

It is a life simulation (sim) game that developed into an extensive series. It was developed by EA Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. It is one of the most successful PC games of all time. By late 2013, the game series had sold more than 175 million copies globally. The game deserves a place in this line up because of the way it drew in casual and female gamers, extending the reach of video games beyond the traditional male dominated circle. The Sims series is what is known as a sandbox game, because there are no clearly defined goals to be achieved. Later expansion packs and console versions brought in some traditional gameplay however.

Gameplay

The player of the game creates virtual people who are called Sims. These Sims are placed into houses, where the player will direct their moods. Sims could be put into houses that had already been constructed or new houses could be built. Each new pack would build on what a player could do with their Sims.

2. Halo

Halo game

© Flickr | ggalvan1800

Medium

The game was originally launched on the Xbox, and is available to play on Windows, Xbox, OS X, Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Xbox One.

Year of Introduction

November 2001

Total Sales

The game and its follow-up versions have sold over 60 million copies globally and the games alone has brought in almost $3.4 billion.

Follow-up Versions

The original series included Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2 and Halo 3. Change in management led to the reclaimer saga that included Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. Spin-off productions include Halo Wars, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, Halo: Spartan Assault and Halo: Spartan Strike. A new version will be released in 2015 as well.

Background

This extremely popular game is a military science fiction first-person shooter franchise. Created by Bungie, it is now managed and developed by 343 Industries, itself a subsidiary of Microsoft Studios. The games were among the best first-person shooter games on consoles. Immersive marketing campaigns led to subsequent versions breaking many sales records. The game’s popularity led to the expansion into other mediums such as novels, graphic novels and other licensed products. The game’s sequel Halo Wars also took the game into a real-time strategy format whereas other versions have been traditional first person shooter ones. The game has had a cultural impact at par with that of Star Wars according to write Brian Bendis, with the collective group of fans for the series referred to as the Halo Nation.

Gameplay

The first-person shooter game is based on an interstellar war that is being waged the Convenant (an alliance of aliens) and the humans. The focus of the franchise stems from the experiences of Master Chief John-117 who is part of a group of supersoldiers and his AI companion Cortana.

3. Metroid Prime

Metroid Prime

© Wikipedia commons | Nintendo

Medium

Metroid Prime is available to play on the GameCube, Wii and Wii U.

Year of Introduction

August 1986 (Franchise Release)

November 2002 (Metroid Prime)

Total Sales

The series sold 17.44 million copies as of September 2012 while Metroid Prime sold more than a million units in the US alone.

Follow-up Versions

Different games in this series include Metroid, Metroid: Other Mm Metroid II: Return of Samus, Metroid Fusion, Super Metroid, Metroid: Zero Mission, Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime Hunters, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Metroid Prime Pinball and  Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.

Background

Metroid is a series of science-fiction action adventure video game series by Nintendo. Metroid Prime was released in 2002 and made the shift to 3D and first-person adventure for the game series. It is the 5th installment in this series and returned after an 8 year gap. The game received universal acclaim and commercial success and won a number of Game of the Year awards.

Gameplay

The game is the first of a three part story line and continues in the same universe as previous versions. The game involves solving puzzles to reveal secrets, platform jumping and shooting enemies with the help of a lock-on mechanism. This is the first game in the series to use the first-person view.

4. World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

© Flickr | SobControllers

Medium

PC

Year of Introduction

November 1994 (Warcraft Series)

November 2004 (World of Warcraft)

Total Sales

This game has grossed over $10 billion as of 2002 and is the highest grossing video game of all time. There are over 100 million user accounts for this game.

Follow-up Versions

Expansions available for the game include The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor.

Background

This game falls in the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) and was created by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the 4th game in the series and the most successful one to date. The game remains one of the most-subscribed MMORPG in the world and holds the Guinness World Record for the same.

Gameplay

A player chooses an avatar to control within the game in a third or a first person view. Actions within the game include exploring, completing quests, fighting monsters and interactions with both non-player characters and other players. A subscription needs to be purchased in order to play.

5. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grand_Theft_Auto

© Wikimedia commons | Rockstar Games / Take-Two Interactive

Medium

The game is available to play on PlayStation 2, MS Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360, OS X, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Fire OS.

Year of Introduction

October 1997 (Series Release)

October 2004 (GTA: San Andreas)

Total Sales

The entire series has been critically and commercially acclaimed and has sold more than 150 million copies globally. San Andreas sold 27 million copies and is the highest selling PS2 game of all time.

Follow-up Versions

There are many titles in the entire series but the two follow-up versions for San Andreas include Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.

Background

This is an open world action adventure game and is the 7th release in the series. the game has been recognized as having far reaching influence within the industry but has also been criticized for its violence and sexual content.

Gameplay

The game uses a third-person perspective and is an open world environment where the player can interact at leisure with the surrounding.

6. League of Legends

League_of_Legends

© Wikimedia commons | Spillik

Medium

PC

Year of Introduction

October 2009

Total Sales

By January 2014, 67 million people play the game per month and 27 million per day.

Follow-up Versions

None

Background

This is a multiplayer online battle arena video game and was published and created by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows as well as Mac OS X. The game remains free to play and is supported by micro-transactions. It was well received at launch and has grown in popularity since becoming the most played game in North America and Europe in terms of hours played. The game is also played within large competitions, one of which is a League of Legends Championship Series. 10 pro teams from each continent participate. Regional competitions are also held which culminate in the World Series.

Gameplay

Players take on the role of a character or a champion with unique abilities to battle as a team against other players or computer controlled champions.

7. Fallout 3

Fallout_3

© Wikimedia commons | KJTEJ

Medium

Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Year of Introduction

October 2008

Total Sales

The game sold an estimated 610,000 units in the first month of release.

Follow-up Versions

The game is part of a series which includes Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout, Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, Fallout 2, and Fallout 3. Fallout 4 will also be released soon.

Background

This is an action role-playing open world game which received critical acclaim and several Game of the Year awards. It was praised for its open-ended gameplay as well as a flexible character leveling system.

Gameplay

The game is set in the future, 200 years after a nuclear apocalypse. The player is an inhabitant of Vault 101, a survival shelter. The player has to find their father who disappears and is assisted by human survivors in the battle against many different enemies.

8. Resident Evil 4

Resident_evil

© Wikimedia commons | Capcom

Medium

The game is available on GameCube, PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, Wii Mobile, iOS, Zeebo, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360.

Year of Introduction

March 1996 (Series Release)

January 2005 (Resident Evil 4)

Total Sales

The games has sold 5.9 million units across all platforms.

Follow-up Versions

The game series has seen many releases including Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Resident Evil Survivor, Resident Evil Code: Veronica, Resident Evil Code: Veronica X, Resident Evil Gaiden, Resident Evil Survivor Code 2: Veronica, Resident Evil Zero, Resident Evil Outbreak, Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil: Deadly Silence, Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, Resident Evil 6 among others.

Background

This is a survival horror game and was released by multiple publishers. The game is known for popularizing a unique “over-the-shoulder” third person perspective. This game is available on iOS and Android and has been critically acclaimed for its cross-platform success and influence over the genre of third person shooter games.

Gameplay

The game follows a US government special agent Leon S Kennedy on a mission to rescue the US President;s daughter from a sinister cult while fighting off violent villagers and mutated monsters.

9. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Zelda_Logo

© Wikimedia commons | Nintendo, Sonarpulse

Medium

The game is available to play on Nintendo 64, GameCube and Wii

Year of Introduction

February 1986 (Series)

April 2007 (Majora’s Mask)

Total Sales

The game sold 314,000 copies in Japan in the first week of sale and 3.36 million copies globally overall.

Follow-up Versions

The game series has seen many releases including The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, A Link to the Past, Link’s Awakening, Ocarina of Time, Four Swords, The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass and A Link Between World’s among others.

Background

The game is an action adventure game and the second one in the series to use 3D graphics. The game is considered darker than the others in the franchise. The game requires an expansion pack for enhanced graphics and more characters. The game has been acclaimed for its graphics and complexity of the story.

Gameplay

The game features dungeon cycles, ocarina songs, character transformations and a three day cycles. Multiple weapons are available with the primary version being a sword.

10. Wii Sports

WiiSports

© Wikimedia commons | Nintendo

Medium

The game is available on Wii

Year of Introduction

November 2006

Total Sales

This remains the highest selling game on the Wii platform. The game sold 45.71 million copies worldwide by 2009. By 2011, the worldwide sales have reached 75.66 million and by 2014, 82.54 million.

Follow-up Versions

Wii Sports Resort and Wii Sports Club

Background

This is a sports game and was included as a pack-in game everywhere but in Japan and South Korea. It is now available on its own. It is a collection of five sports simulations. These demonstrate the motion-sensing ability of the Wii remote, especially for new players. Tennis, Baseball, Bowling, Golf and Boxing are among the 5 games. The game has received critical acclaim and awards and is the second best-selling game of all time.

Gameplay

The Wii Remote allows players to mimic actions for real sports. The games have simplified rules to make it easy to play for new users. The game also has training and fitness modes.

Image credit: Flickr | ggalvan1800 and Flickr | SobControllers under Attribution 2.0 Generic. Wikimedia commons | Electronic Arts, Inc., Wikipedia commons | Nintendo, Wikimedia commons | Rockstar Games / Take-Two InteractiveWikimedia commons | Spillik, Wikimedia commons | KJTEJ, Wikimedia commons | Nintendo, Wikimedia commons | Nintendo, Sonarpulse, Wikimedia commons | Capcom under public domain.

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