Top Games of the 2000s

Top Games of the 2000s

If you’re under 25, you probably got your first games console shortly before, or shortly after the turn of the millennium, meaning the 2000s saw the release of the games that defined your childhood and youth.

Every decade has its iconic retro games titles. The 1980s had PacMan, Tetris and the first Super Mario games, whilst the 1990s had colossal titles like Street Fighter and Mario Kart. Just like the two decades before it, the 2000s had some incredible titles that will continue to provide hours of fun for years to come. Thanks to the rapid developments in technology, the 2000s saw huge steps up in the size of games, their graphics, physics and their ability to tell multi-layered stories, contributing to the release of huge games like Grand Theft Auto III and Assassins Creed. Here’s a look at some of the best games from that period.

Grand Theft Auto III

Grand Theft Auto had been around for several years before the launch of Grand Theft Auto III, but the franchise really took off after the 2001 launch of the version for Playstation 2. Set in the semi-fictional Liberty City, which is based heavily on New York, Grand Theft Auto III brought unrivalled levels of open-ended game play to a 3D open world in a way that had never been done before. The game brought with it the best bits from the top down versions released for the original Playstation, with the 3D view, cinematic camera angles and better physics of games like Driver.

World of Warcraft

Although not the first, World of Warcraft helped to define what Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG) are. Released in 2004, World of Warcraft grew in popularity very quickly, with over 100 million accounts just over 10 years later. As of 2017, World of Warcraft had earned its creator Blizzard Entertainment over $9 billion, securing its place as one of the highest-grossing franchises ever. The game saw players create their own character for them to explore its vast online world, complete quests and fight monsters, all whilst playing with others online.

Rock Band

During a phase when games companies were looking to appeal to a much broader audience, Rock Band and competitor Guitar Hero were products of their time. It saw players use controllers in the game of drums, guitars and a microphone to rhythmically hit buttons in time with the music, in a similar fashion to the way dance mats worked.

Wii Sports

Anyone who bought a Nintendo Wii got a copy of Wii Sports. This game was a great way for Nintendo to demonstrate the technical capabilities of its new console, using a novel controller system that helped it to make gaming more of a physical activity, and to encourage friends and loved ones to play together. In an era where multiplayer was becoming focused on online play, Wii Sports helped to promote offline multiplayer with competitions in sports like tennis and bowling.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

There were versions before, and even more versions since. But Call of Duty 4 helped to rebuild the genre, taking it away from just a World War II first person shooter, to one that had a modern theme. Using modern weapons, a fictional storyline and some new features, the game became one of the go to first person shooters well into the 2010s. It was also really helped by the multiplayer options on the newly released Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles, which created many more hours of gameplay beyond the single player storyline.


The Halo series helped to drive sales of the Xbox consoles. Another first person shooter, but set in a sci-fi world, with humanity engaged in an interstellar war against an alliance of aliens going by the name of the Covenant. The game features many futuristic weapons such as the Plasma Pistol and the Energy Sword, helping to set it apart from other more conventional themed first person shooters.

This list only scratches the surface of the epic games we spent an entire decade playing, but it represents many of the areas the industry was heading in that time. The move to attract more casual gamers has evolved into the more mobile app based games we see today, and the development of open ended and multiplayer games has exploded in the last 19 years, thanks to the pioneering games of the decade.

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