We are in the top ten. Any one of this moments can stand on their own as some of the best in gaming period, but we were blessed enough to get to play them in the past decade. Enjoy.
9. The Spider (Limbo, 2010)
Fear is a hard thing to capture in games. You don’t really feel that level of vulnerability in most games as you do in real life. Even when you are not given any means of fighting, you can still hide. Sometimes games become a type of haunted house, where after a single playthrough, you are as scared as you will even be playing it. Limbo was different. It tapped into a psyche I had not experienced since I was a kid, a type of internal fear of the dark that every child possesses. Wandering those woods, searching for the unknown, you see it. Out of the shadow of a tree comes the monster from under the bed. When that spider chased me, I felt lost, helpless. Vulnerable. I knew this was no haunted house.
8. Walking out of the Vault (Fallout 3, 2008)
A first impression in a game is extremely important. It sets the mood for what the adventure holds and most importantly, it gives the player just enough of a tease to keep them playing. Fallout 3 should take a Noble Prize for first impressions. While any part of the first hour or so of this highly anticipated sequel could be on this list, nothing made my jaw drop quiet like taking my first steps out of Vault 118. Bethesda has mastered the art of giving players a world to survive in rather than force them down any particular path and my God did they get me hyped to start exploring. Pick your jaw up of the floor.
7. Braid’s Final Puzzle (Braid, 2008)
How often do games turn around on you at the last second? Movies have been using this trope for generations, but few times does your concept of what you were doing in the game flip on you at the very end. As you piece together the puzzle that is Braid’s story you are slowly brought into a tragic love story, one which has you play the hopeless romantic. As appealing as it might seem you run face first into a heartbreaking reality at the very end of the game. Suddenly the ability to rewind time, your best tool in the game, becomes the method by which the obsessive truth is shown to you. It becomes your worst enemy.
6. No Russian (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, 2009)
How do you follow up the game that put you on the map? Despite garnering a loyal following from the WWII Call of Duty days, Infinity Ward was still playing second fiddle to Medal of Honor for much of that time. In 2007, they make the wise jump to the modern day with Call of Duty 4 and revolutionize the way we play shooters online. Suddenly they are the rock stars of the industry, keeping old and new fans waiting eagerly for their next installment. What we got was more of the same fantastic gameplay, an even tighter online component, and the most controversial moment of the past generation. Less than a decade removed from the 9/11 attacks, Infinity Ward places you in the shoes of a CIA agent who infiltrated a extremist terrorist cell and tags along to a mass shooting inside a Russian airport. Despite never being forced to fire on innocent people, clearly claiming that you are playing the “good guy” in the scenario, and giving you the chance to skip the entire sequence if you are opposed to it, the backlash was clear. Controversy or not, “No Russian” stands as an example of games pushing the envelope, trying something different, and maybe going a bit too far.
5. Who is Comstock? (Bioshock Infinite, 2013)
From his ivory tower, Comstock is revered as the benevolent patron of Columbia. His power extends throughout your time in the game. Yet, the more you start to understand Elizabeth’s powers, the more you start to wonder who this man really is. Is he really her father? Where does Booker fit into the puzzle? Despite spoiling the majority of endings that are in this list, I will leave this one for you to play through. The understanding of who Comstock is and what his motivations are put some Greek tragedies to shame. It acts as a beautiful social commentary on the American mindset and blows away any preconceptions of what kind of story one might find in a video game.