There are great changes on the horizon for gaming. Whether these changes are shaped like a cloud or a wisp of steam, the old console cycle model is on the wane. Add to that the recent announcement of the PS4, and now seems like a good time for a look back at some of the classic titles that have defined modern gaming.

For the purposes of this list, the term “modern gaming” is defined as “post-retro” gaming, i.e. gaming since the beginning of the fifth console generation in 1994. The list is not intended to be a comprehensive rundown of every single important game of the last nineteen years or so – it has only ten slots, after all – nor are all of the games listed necessarily the “best” games of this era. What this list is intended to do is provide an overview of some of the definitive titles of the modern gaming era, be that in their perfection of a particular mechanic, or in their overall approach to game design.

You’ll also a notice a distinct lack of very recent games here. Don’t read anything derogatory into this – the term “classic” implies a certain gestation period for a game’s cultural impact to be mulled over, something that, say, Skyrim simply hasn’t had yet.

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This article was first posted on March 13, 2013