1. Super Mario World
No explanation needed. The pinnacle of gaming.
2. Halo: Combat Evolved
The day I got my Xbox and Halo I sat down with a friend in my living room and beat the game on co-op in one sitting. I spent about 4 hours a day, every day, playing 4 way splitscreen multiplayer with my best friends in my basement during highschool. Some of my fondest memories of my teenage years are with this game.
3. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
There has never been a game that I have caught myself being immersed in as much as this one. For a console player that rarely got to experience a game like this, it was an absolute treat. Even if when I played this it felt like my Xbox was holding on for dear life.
4. Grand Theft Auto III
As a big fan of the original top-down Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto 2, I knew to expect some pretty extraordinary things when that open world was brought into a 3D gaming space. When it finally released it changed gaming as we knew it and kick started the sandbox era that still continues on today.
5. Metal Gear Solid
Speaking of genre defining games, Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation opened the chapter on truly cinematic gaming experiences. I remember playing through this with a friend and just being blown away by this new level of presentation in games.
6. GoldenEye 007
As an 11 year old when this was released there was really nothing better on the planet Earth than this game. There were regular sleepovers spent playing this game on a sugar induced high. This was my first multiplayer FPS game ever and it was a doozy. There was also a single player but I spent most of the time shooting the hats off of entire armies of henchmen.
7. Space Quest V: The Next Mutation
This was one of the few PC games I owned as a kid. It was stupid fun stumbling around and finding different hilarious ways to fail miserably. I was super good at cheating on that test though.
Yes, most people think this game is a tremendous bore, but I can't get enough of it. There's just a charm I can't describe. The way it's unapologetic about how Japanese it is, the astounding amount of detail put into the world, the varied gameplay elements, the iconic music. This game for me personally lived up to every ounce of hype it had built up to it's release. I have a Dreamcast that I still play this game on.
9. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
Easily the best entry in the franchise (personally I thought it got progressively worse after this one) this was a fantastically designed game. The gameplay had the same Tony Hawk hook but matched with a fluidity that few games can match even today. Everything just felt right. Nothing in this game felt out of place, you never once felt like you were fighting the controls. Pair all of that with a perfectly crafted licensed soundtrack and you have one of the best games of all time.
10. Mass Effect 2
I wanted to include at least one current gen game and I couldn't think of a better one than Mass Effect 2. With Mass Effect 1 Bioware crafted a wonderful universe that pulled you in deep with it's endless pages of Codex files and rich character development. The Mass Effect universe became my new Star Wars, since everything I held so dear about that franchise has long since been whored into oblivion and made unrecognizable. I had an epic space opera to be lost in once again. Except this time I get to decide what happens. Then they released a second game that took all of that and crafted a damn near perfect gaming experience around it. Mass Effect 2 in my eyes is the pinnacle of gaming today.