My Favorite Games

I've probably gone through five or six iterations of the list, only to have me feel like the format in which I'm doing so is restrictive. So I've decided to put my favorite games together here and not cap the list. This list isn't intended to be a list of the best games, as that's too subjective, rather is just a list of my favorite.

This is the mental checklist I went through whenever I'd consider adding a game to the list.

  • Would you recommend it?
  • Would you play it again?
  • Could you "geek out" about it if someone started talking about it?
  • Would you feel compelled to argue with someone if they called it a bad game?
  • If you take nostalgic fondness out, would it still be fun today?

I feel pretty strongly about the top 12 being my favorite in that order. The rest I still really think are amazing games and are certainly favorites, they just don't resonate with me the way the games in my top 12.

List items

  • Oh gosh, where to begin. The Legend of Zelda is easily my favorite franchise in games. I have fond childhood memories of watching my cousin play The Legend of Zelda over summer break or trying to figure out how the hell to play Zelda II. A Link to the Past was a bonding experience between my mom and I. Coming off Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask clicked with me in a way no other game ever had done, or has done to this day. It's darker then any other game in the franchise yet still has the definitive Zelda feel to it that makes the series so endearing. It's puzzles beautifully blend in with the story. I could go on and on and still feel like I haven't done the game justice. I could go into stories about the fan site I created for the game, but it's irrelevant. Hands down, my favorite game ever.

  • People think I kid when I tell them that a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle helped make the person I am today, but I'm not. The Secret of Monkey Island was the first adventure game I felt compelled to beat. Even at a young age, I recognized that Monkey Island had a certain polish to it that made it special. Everything about it just felt smart. Having gone back to play it multiple times in recent years, only now can I appreciate how smart the game really is. I'll still proudly slip in insult sword fighting quips to friends in conversation on a regular basis, even if they don't understand the pull.

  • Bioshock came out around a time where all games felt the same and I was looking for new hobbies to pass the time. Morality choices were the hot thing in games at the time and what drew me in was the concept of rescuing/harvesting little sisters. From that point, Bioshock had me on it's hook and never let me off. The environment was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. It felt like a breath of fresh air into the FPS genre. "Would You Kindly" was one of the biggest mind f***s I'd had in gaming in a long while.

  • I can't really say anything about Portal that hasn't already been said, aside from it's easily one of the smartest games I've ever played. No, it wasn't particularly challenging, and no, it didn't push the envelope graphically, but Portal does so much with so little and does it so well. As of this date, I own 4 different versions of Portal on different platforms.

  • It would be fair to say I'm a fan of sandbox games, but really at their core, their setting is all the same. When I first heard about the mere concept of Bully, I was in. Rockstar brilliantly made seemingly juvenile problems feel super weighty. I'm anxiously waiting for a sequel.

  • Just thinking about what to say about Lumines makes me want to go play Lumines. The game was only one of three things I owned on my PSP but was absolutely worth it. I lost many-a-night to Lumines just being engrossed by the games stunning visuals and catchy music.

  • Racer is a fantastic game that surprisingly holds up today. It does an amazing job at giving a sense of speed. The customization aspect of it is super addictive. It's simply just a ton of fun. I'm not a big Star Wars guy today, but I still have the diddy where Sebulba "sings" the Cantina song after every race engrained in my brain.

  • I have a soft spot for Deadly Premonition. What it lacks in polish, it more than makes up for in heart. It's campy, but I couldn't put it down.

  • It's a bit of a stretch to call this a game, but it gets a pass in my book. I was really moved by To the Moon. I may have even gotten a bit choked up at the end about the Platypus. To the Moon also ventures into some pretty deep moral/ethical areas that really made me think.