The greatest games I've never played

Video games are an interesting medium. The interactivity allows stories that couldn't be told in film or literature, but even games with linear narratives can feel special just because of the connection you feel with the protagonist. Even without controlling them, watching a player controlled character in a Let's Play or a walkthrough feels different than watching the protagonist in a movie.

With the advent of internet video and the rise of Let's Plays I've been exposed to a lot of games that I may never play, but still hold a special place for me. These games shine so brightly, that even as a passenger rather than the driver I feel a special connection with them. This is a list of the greatest video games I've never played.

Links to LPs

List items

  • If you haven't watched Backflips 'n Bioforge you really owe it to yourself to. An amazing mixture of awkward, surreal, and legitimately interesting. Though I don't have as much to say about it as the other games on this list, BioForge is the prefect example of a game I'd never play, but loved to watch.

    Experienced via Unprofessional Fridays and Backflips 'n BioForge

  • Blade Runner is my absolute favorite movie ever made, so it's nosurprise that I find Westwood's 97 adventure game fantastic as well. Blade Runner 97 takes many of the concepts found in both the movie and Philip K. Dick's original story, and executes them in ways only a video game could. At the start of the game it is randomly decided whether several characters (including the protagonist) are Replicants or not, which is a fantastic execution on Blade Runner's core questions about what it means to be human or not, as well as adding a ton of replay value. The game also (wisely) tells its own story with a unique cast of characters, only intersecting with the cast of the movie where it makes sense and even getting the original actors to reprise their roles in most cases. Fantastic atmosphere, and an amazing experience even as merely a viewer, rather than a player.

    Experienced via Scorchy's screenshot LP:

  • Technically I haven't even seen all of this game, having only watched the Game Center CX episode, but Clock Tower's oppressive atmosphere and intriguing backstory had me hooked. A shame every title since has failed to live up to the amazing original.

    Experienced via the Game Center CX episode.

  • If I added THIS game, would that mean anything to you?

    Experienced via the Giant Bomb East Quick Looks/Playdates.

  • Okay, so this one's a weird one. I think Final Fantasy X is dumb, but at the same time I love it. Why? The TippingForties LP of it. A group of three guys (who introduced a fourth member for later LPs) do a hilarious MST3K of the entire game, and it's one of my favorite Let's Plays ever. As a result, ̶T̶i̶d̶u̶s̶ Rüsty and the rest of the FFX cast are special to me, even though I think they're a bunch of idiots. Still, I've watched a lot of games get ripped apart by LPers but very few become legitimately endearing to me, so FFX must've done something right.

    Experienced via the Tipping Forties' LP:

  • Harvester is a surreal adventure game that plays with the idea that video games make people violent in some very interesting ways, but is also flat out hilarious at times. The entire game has an amazing atmosphere that I've never felt in another video game, and it has one of my favorite endings to any video game ever.

    Experienced via Vlaphor's hybrid screenshot/video LP:

  • I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is a re-imagining of Harlan Ellison's classic short story of the same name (which I would highly recommend reading by the way). While very different from the short story, the game changes/fleshes out the characters, giving them nuance and depth, and some of the backstories to the characters are truly horrific. While the cop-out happy ending Ellison didn't want to originally do is disappointing, overall I Have No Mouth has some amazing atmosphere, and builds an utterly fascinating, depressing world. I also want to make a special mention of ForgottenGameTunes' re-orchestration of the game's soundtrack, replacing the original midi instruments with much higher quality ones. While the music as it appeared in the original game was good, the primitiveness of the midi held it back, and the reorchestrated versions really show how good that soundtrack actually is. Give it a listen:

    Experienced via Vlaphor's screenshot LP:

  • Illbleed is just flat out hilarious, and that's about all I have to say about it.

    Experienced via GameInformer's Super Replay:

  • Killer7 is considered by many to be Suda51's greatest work, and for good reason. Unlike later titles that felt like they were being crazy just to live up to expectations, everything in Killer7 feels very deliberate. The weird off-kilter moments or random gore all feel like they serve a purpose, rather than being there just to appeal to a certain crowd. While I couldn't necessarily tell you the meaning to every part of Killer7, I was still fascinated throughout.

    Experienced via ChipCheezum's LP:

  • I honestly think this game is genius. The way it handles conversation, how it leaves the protagonist as a completely open slate for the player to put themselves into, the branching nature of the story lending itself so well to learning new things every playthrough and using that knowledge for subsequent runs, everything about this game is legitimately well thought out and ahead of its time. I went so far as to create and write the wiki page for it, simply because I think it deserved to be noticed by more people. I've avoided talking in specifics in the hopes anyone who reads this will be curious to find out what the hell I'm even talking about.

    Experienced via supergreatfriend's (currently on-going) LP:

  • Like Clock Tower, I've only experienced an abridged version of Out of This World via Game Center CX. Out of This World portrays an atmospheric alien world, and is entirely told without a single written or spoken word. I recently bought the Steam version, and plan to eventually experience the game for myself.

    Experienced via the Game Center CX episode.

  • Okay, so Shadow of Destiny has some pretty bad voice acting at times, the puzzles are silly, and the time travel logic is inconsistent. Still, I'm a sucker for time travel stories, and Shadow of Destiny's core plot is fantastic. The game also has that mid-budget Japanese PS2 game atmosphere that I just find utterly fascinating, and while most of the cast is pretty rough, Charles Martinet is stellar as Homunculus. (Yes, Charles Martinet, of "It's a me, Mario" fame)

    Experienced via Retsupurae's "Wrongpurae":

  • Not playing Persona 4 is my secret shame, as I constantly sing the praises of it to anyone I know that likes JRPGs. While I have gone back and played Persona 3, I've yet to get around to experiencing 4 for myself despite owning both the PS2 original and buying a Vita almost entirely to play Golden. I shouldn't have to explain why this game is so great to anyone on this site, nor what video series I watched of it.

  • While a lot of people have played Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid games, a lot less have played Snatcher, including myself. Though Snather isn't particularly deep, and it derives quite a bit from popular sci-fi movies, it's still an enjoyable romp that holds up as a story better than most of the games Kojima wrote later. Snatcher inspired me to play Policenauts (which I adore), but I've yet to get around to Kojima's first adventure game.

    Experienced via slowbeef's (video) LP:

  • (At this point in the list I'm going to talk about games I originally experienced via LPs or other video series, and then went on to play on my own. At the moment only one game fits this criteria, but perhaps one day more of the games on this list will join it.)

    I love Deadly Premonition. What starts out as a laughable quirky Japanese game turns into a legitimately well written character story, and integrates the fact that it's a video game into its narrative in one of the smartest ways I've ever seen in a game. This game is so good that I don't like the Director's Cut, due to the way it defines some of the answers I'd come up with on my own to the original game's unanswered questions. Playing it on my own, the exploration of the town and its sidequests became a huge reason I adore this game, so I'd recommend anyone who simply watched the Endurance Runs to play it on their own.

    Originally experienced via the Jeff/Vinny and Ryan/Brad Endurance Runs.