The 5 Most Influential Games of The Last 20 Years

If you go onto any gaming forum or browse through r/gaming on Reddit you will see people arguing endlessly about which games have had the biggest influence on the gaming world. It is a difficult argument to navigate but it is also an important one. Because at its core gaming is an art. Even if a lot of modern companies have forgotten this, the roots of gaming are based in creativity and passion. And it is the games of the past that have helped inspire the games of today.

So join us as we count down the top 5 most influential games of the last 20 years.

Dark Souls

There are very few games in gaming history that have spawned their own genre. It is an honor reserved only for the best of the best. And no game series is more synonymous with creating its own genre than Dark Souls.

Dark Souls was the spiritual successor to Demon Souls, which launched on the PS3 in 2009. Demon Souls, while an amazing game, was a commercial flop at the time. But when Dark Souls was released it changed the face of gaming forever. Known for its intense difficulty, amazing setting, and deep subtle storytelling. The game was so popular that it has since spawned a number of sequels and pioneered the genre now known as Souls-like.


What started as little more than a basic block building game has spiraled into a gaming empire the likes of which we hadn’t seen since Mario and Sonic. Minecraft is now the most sold game on the planet and has influenced gaming massively. Hundreds of games have been created in a similar vein to Minecraft.

Minecraft has also now spawned a number of spin-off titles such as Minecraft: Story Mode and Minecraft Dungeons. Not only that but you can actually play as Steve in Super Smash Bros, with some of the best cool minecraft skins being available to use during the fights. To this day developers are looking at Minecraft’s success and trying to emulate it with their own games.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

The Call of Duty series is one of the most popular and successful on the planet. Every year it receives a new title and every year it sells millions of copies before the game has even been released. But there is one particular CoD title that changed the world of FPS gaming forever. And that is the first Modern Warfare.

Released back in November of 2007, Modern Warfare was instantly a smash hit. It took the FPS genre into new territory. Up until this point most FPS games focused on Sci-Fi settings or the past. Any modern based shooters were very lackluster. Modern Warfare gave players an immersive and intense modern shooter with an emotional campaign and diverse multiplayer mode. To this day most modern shooters still take inspiration from the original Modern Warfare.

World of Warcraft

Many people wrongly assume WoW was the first MMORPG. But this isn’t true. It was just the most successful one. WoW took everything the other MMORPGs were doing and improved upon it. And while WoW isn’t as popular as it once was, you can still see the influences of it in most of the other popular MMORPGs of our time. It is safe to say that, without WoW, the genre may have died out a long time ago.


No list of influential games would be complete without mentioning Skyrim. This was the culmination of a formula that Bethesda had been working on through Morrowind, Oblivion, and Fallout 3. To this day Skyrim is still one of the most played games on Steam. A lot of recent RPGs have taken inspiration from Skyrim and we have no doubt it inspired a lot of people to follow a career in game development.

Published by Larry Fire

I write an eclectic pop culture blog called THE FIRE WIRE that features articles about books, comics, music, movies, television, gadgets, posters, toys & more!

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