Game of the Year / Guest Post

Guest Post: Amanda James’ (@drawswithpaws) Games of the Decade

Amanda is a local artist and friend, and was kind enough to write up her ten favorite games of the decade! Check her work out on and then commission some of your own here:



I only just started gaming as I was finishing high school. My only experiences prior to that were playing games like Mario Party, Pokémon Stadium, and CTR at my friends’ houses during sleepovers. I consider myself somewhere between a Casual and a Core gamer. A great deal of my gaming experiences come from watching my husband play single-player games that I’m interested in, but don’t think I’d personally enjoy playing. This list is almost entirely games that I personally played, that I feel shaped the kind of gamer I’ve come to be.

10. Monster Hunter: World


I initially picked this one up because it looked like Capcom had simplified what used to be a very exclusive RPG for me, the casual gamer. Also I could play with my pals. Win-win. I did not expect enjoy the grind of hunting monsters, solo or co-op, for sexy and badass weapons and gear. I’ve easily put over 100 hours into this game and its expansion. It put Capcom back on the map.

9. Pokémon Go

Pokemon Go Community Day.jpg

This game (particularly the first few weeks) brought me closer to friends and strangers than I’d have believed possible. I’ve always enjoyed the Pokemon franchise, and I can’t believe how many hundreds of miles the game has had me walk to collect them all. I made new friends because of this game. I still check in on a daily basis to see what I can catch. I’ve played about half of the Pokemon games on handheld systems (am currently 60+ hours into Sword), but this mobile entry is in a league of its own.

8. Super Mario Odyssey


I was the kid who played around Peach’s Castle in Mario 64 at doctor’s offices and Walmart demo stands. I loved that I could run around in a 3D space (I am not a lover of side-scrolling platformers) even though I had no idea what was going on. When Odyssey was shown off at E3 a few years ago, I thought, I might play that for a bit. I played it all the way through. It was gorgeous, smooth, and the motion controls made the combat less of a chore and more of a puzzle. I never thought I’d beat a Mario game before that.

7. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning


Written in part by one of my favorite authors, this game took the best of what all the RPGs Bioware and Bethesda had to offer and blended it beautifully into something new. I tell my customers that it’s like Skyrim, Fable, and Dragon Age had a baby. It’s a shame it didn’t do better at launch, because the studio went under. The art was colorful and unique, and it was one of the first RPGs I knew of that allowed you to respec not just ability points, but your entire class at any time.

6. Fantasy Life


I’m still pretty salty this hasn’t gotten a sequel. This charming little 3DS RPG reignited my love for RuneScape in a big way. I’d never played with classes before, and I’m soooo glad I started as a blacksmith. I played for about 60-70 hours, and dragged several friends along for the ride.

5. The Last of Us


This is the only game on this list I watched, rather than played, but my partner *was not* allowed to play a second if I wasn’t home to watch. The story was flawless, and the graphics still hold up more than 6 years later. If you have not played this game, go buy a PS4 right now. You’re missing out.

4. Borderlands 2


Watching Bloodwing explode the heads of bandits in the first game was how I got into first-person shooters, but Borderlands 2 was miles ahead of it’s predecessor. Handsome Jack was the epitome of love-to-hate-him villains. I’ve played and beaten the campaign more times than I can remember, and I’m usually loathe to replay a game I’ve beaten.

3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild


The top 3 are basically all tied, but the other 2 got a little more play time out of me. I have trouble focusing in sandbox RPGs, but BOTW made that … not a bad thing. From the moment you begin, the watercolors and and vibrant hues make you feel like you’re in a storybook or living painting. I loved every minute of my time-wasting activities, including fishing and jumping off cliffs for fun while the princess held off our oppressor. I loved finding Korok seeds and fighting dragons while parachuting over a mountain. It was a delight, and I can’t wait for the sequel.

2. Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Friends of mine might be surprised this isn’t at the top of the list, but as I said, it’s basically a tie between the top three. I put more play time into ACNL than any other game ever, and I can’t even begin to describe the hype I have for New Horizons. Animal Crossing in general has always been one of my favorite things about gaming, because while you chill and catch bugs, you can spend actual years discovering all the hidden goodies in these games. Your character actually tans in the summer if you spend enough the outside. It’s stupid/awesome stuff like that which makes me giggle gleefully every time I start the game up. Anyone who has ever asked me for a suggestion on their Nintendo system has promptly been pointed to this series.

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

What not to gush about? Geralt was the first video game character real enough for me develop feelings for. I’d never played the other games in this series, but not once did I feel shamed for playing out of sequence. I put this above Animal Crossing only because the story and side-quests were so beautifully fleshed out, that it felt like adventuring for real. This game was a gift to our generation.

Thanks for reading, if you did!

Honorable Mentions:

God of War
Uncharted 2
Dragon Age Inquisition
Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4
Horizon Zero Dawn
Stardew Valley
Dragon Quest Builders 2


nauticalfox                                                                                     nauticalfox

If you click the circle fox… you get to see Amanda’s cool art on her Instagram!

If you click the square fox… you get to visit her Facebook store!


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