Most Influential

The games which have had the most impact on me over the years.

List items

  • My first RPG and my favourite game of all time. Not only did it introduce me to the genre but also anime and manga via its unique comic-style cutscenes, which in turn kicked-off a brief Japanophile phase. That ended pretty quickly, mercifully, but a great number of entertainment choices and general interests may never have happened if it weren't for PSIV.

  • Civilization games helped trigger my interest in world history, particularly the rise and fall of old empires. It's probably no coincidence that turn-based strategy is also the only subset of the genre which I care much about.

  • My taste for electronic music started here. If it weren't for Wipeout XL introducing my ears to Fluke, The Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, Future Sound of London, among others, I may have never abandoned the radio in favour of deeper musical discoveries, electronic or otherwise.

  • Suikoden as a whole is responsible for my interest in political intrigue and Shakespearean character politics and personal tragedies as a single combined, cohesive storytelling device. Suikoden III and V arguably may have done it better, or at least had the benefit of superior localization efforts - but Suikoden II came first.

  • Post-apocalyptic fiction never really appealed to me until Fallout 2. Now it's hard to get enough, and even harder to like the rest as much as I like Fallout. Maybe it's the aesthetic, maybe it's Ron Perlman. Who can tell?

    New Vegas is my favourite game in the Fallout series partially because of its close connection to Fallout 2.

  • Building on Phantasy Star IV's foundation, the Persona series has further cemented Japanese games as a contributor to my overall entertainment habits in addition to sparking my curiosity regarding ancient mythologies and the occult. Sure, I played the preceding three titles and various other SMT stuff over the years; Persona 4 just happens to be my favourite of the bunch.

  • Resource gathering, alliance building, tech researching... but with arcade-style combat. There still isn't much like it almost two decades later and the gaming world is lesser for it. Star Control 2 did a lot for my interest in astronomy thanks to all the planetary data and such, a trait carried on today by games like Mass Effect.

  • If you ever owned a Mac, chances are you're at least slightly familiar with Escape Velocity. Nova is by far the best, the original never really catching my attention. This is the platform's Elite, its Privateer, or its Freelancer. A Windows version also exists. The extremely easy plugin-style modding was my introduction to mods both as a user and a creator.

    One of these days, someone at Ambrosia Software will take a look at their calendar, see the number "2016," and realize that it's probably in their best interest to put this on Steam at a price somewhat lower than the $30 they've been asking since launch. C'mon guys.

  • This one is still pretty fresh off the vine as I write this so it's hard to predict with any accuracy how it'll influence me going forward, but it definitely hit hard enough to feel like it belongs on this list. Many of the core successes here in characterization, voice performances, sound design, and musical curation have likely hit a new high bar for me personally that a ton of games will have trouble clearing, so that alone should be worth something.

    Time travel stories are also infamously difficult to write, so to see Life is Strange both draw inspiration from several related films while actually doing it better than any of them is no small feat. Maybe some of that is my own bias created by the spectacular character work, but whatever the case it's another high bar that's going to be hard not to let retroactively diminish a ton of older works in the genre.