My All-Time Favorites

It's hard to make a list like this. It is hard to figure just how much I still like those games that I haven't played for nearly 20 years. Another reason it's hard: the good games that I've played very recently (Dark Souls, Bioshock Infinite, etc) still stand out, and the impression they made still feels stronger than some older games. Lastly, there are the games that I had forgotten about, but after looking at many lists of games, I was reminded just how much I loved them. What should I do with these? I feel that some of these may have fallen a bit on the list just due to the fact that I had forgotten that they even exist.

After this consideration, I decided to compare the newer games that I liked to the way I remember I felt about the older games at the time that I played them. I still remember the way I felt while playing some of these older games, and for that, many older games kept a very high ranking in the list.

Lastly, this is not a list of what games I think are the best or most well made. There are some games in this list that would not make my list if I had played them now, but the impression that they left on me when I played them is still strong in my mind.

Note 1: #1 is a tie. Yeah, I know I should just make a decision, but I just can't. There are very specific reasons why each is my #1.

Note 2: Many games in the back half of the list are games that I enjoyed playing with my wife or were so old that I just can't really remember how good they are, but I still have fond memories of them.

Note 3: In some cases I put an entire franchise in one position, but in other's I separate individual entries into their own position. To me, if a new entry in the series isn't significantly different from the others then it can be considered on its own. Case in point: each of the Final Fantasy games are very different from another. However, as much as I love the Halo series, there isn't that much of a difference between each entry. So, I combine some franchises together, and if there is clearly one entry that I enjoyed more than the others, I only note that one (see Mass Effect 2).

Note 4: This list is still growing. As I play more games and I remember some gems that I'd forgotten about, the list will continue to grow.

List items

  • As a child, games were just for fun. I didn't expect much out of games outside of an interesting challenge, and some fun with friends. I never expected them to have a meaningful and lengthy story, a deep and complicated battle system, and moments that made my middle school self's jaw drop (see, the end of the world halfway through the game). FF VI was the game that turned this expectation upside down.

    I first saw this game at a friend's house and laughed at him for playing a game where the character's sword swings never even touched the enemies on the screen. Of course I was in middle school and had no money to my name, so when he was finished with the game, I took up his offer to borrow it without a complaint. I didn't know what I was in for.

    When did it hook me? I know the exact date, time, place, and moment in the game. It was Christmas Eve 1994. It was close to mid-night and after my family had gone to sleep. It was in my bedroom with my newly acquired TV I got from my dead aunt's leftover belongings. And, the moment in the game, was the scene in the room at the top of the tower, in Zozo, when you learn the secret of the Espers and Terra's true identity. I had completely forgotten that it was Christmas. At that moment, I didn't care at all about what presents I was going to receive the next day. I was completely consumed by this gaming moment.

    This is the game that made me a gamer for life. Because of this game, I haven't been able to stop playing video games even after several attempts (the longest was two years off). But, even then, I would listen to this game's sound track and picture the game in my mind.

    This game proved to me that the video game medium was more than just games, it was an art and a vehicle for telling incredible stories. There is nothing more that I can say about this game other than it is the best I've ever played... along with #2.

  • After FFVI, I was completely consumed with thoughts of what FFVII would be. I read every article in video game magazines. The day it came out, I skipped school and went to the mall to pick it up. I live in, what was at that time, a very small town. The mall didn't have it.... I made the decision right there and then - probably the fastest decision I have ever made in my life – I was going to drive two hours to Salt Lake City to get it that day. I took off in my Mercury Tracer, that looked like a yellow M&M, and drove as fast as I could to SLC. Along the way, I was passing by another mall, when the marquee for the mall caught my eye, "Final Fantasy VII Here!". I cut across three lanes of traffic without looking (something I do regret now, looking back), and exited the highway. I ran in, bought the game and got the Cloud t-shirt.

    I went home and didn't stop playing this game all day and all night. My friends came over that day to see it, but when they left, I didn't follow them, I just sat there and kept playing.

    I did everything you possible can in FFVII. I played it through from the beginning to the end so many times in high school that I can't even count. I was completely consumed by it for a very long time (well into college).

    The only reason it isn't above FFVI on this list is because it isn't something I go back to like I do with FFVI (I play that almost annually).

    I love the world of FFVII. I love the characters. I loved thinking about and trying to understand the complicated, yet flawed, plot. This game was my life for nearly a decade, I can never forget it.

  • Like most kids in the mid-90's, I bought some roller blades. I wasn't good at them. In fact the day that my friend's older brother offered to pull us as we hung on to the back of his Mom's mini-van as he drove it, just might be the only reason I discovered this game as a kid (it hadn’t been on my radar at the time). We got going about 30 mph and I crashed and slid for a while. I got road rash really bad and for the rest of the summer it hurt to go outside in the sun. So, I sat in my cool basement where my SNES was at, and a friend of mine let me borrow this game that I had never heard of, Super Metroid. I played the shit out of that game that summer. There is a reason that the Metroid formula of game play and map progression is still used in gaming to this day; it is addictively fun.

    From walking into the ruined space colony at the beginning to be met by a disappearing dragon, to the very end when you are rescued by the last Metroid and kill Mother Brain with her own powers, Super Metroid is the most creative and surprisingly playable adventure/action game of, not only its time, but of all time.

  • Once I heard the good news that this game was going to be the Castlevania version of Super Metriod, I knew I needed it. I went out on release day, picked it up, took it to my sister's house so I could play it with my brother-in-law, and after we sunk a few hours into it we got hungry and went in the kitchen to fix something. When we got back to the living room, I found to my horror that my nephew (age two at the time) had tried to take the game out and put it back in. The disc was only half in and when he closed the waffle-iron lid of the PS1, he cracked the disc. I didn't even react. I was in shock. So, we ran back to the mall to get another copy. We were lucky; there was one last copy left.

    This is another game that I come back to every few years. I think I own it on almost all of the systems it is available for and I still keep playing it over and over. Although Konami has released a few gems cut from the same stone, this one is, objectively speaking, is still the best.

    Outside of the agreeably terrible voice acting, there is nothing negative I can say about this game. Love it!

  • Now we come to the first game on this list that after my first sit down with it, probably wouldn't have made the list. But, after each subsequent play-through, I grew more and more fond of it and it quickly ran up the list.

    This game surprised me after I discovered its depth. From the seemingly empty environments, to its sparse, yet meaningful, plot, to the haunting soundtrack, to the challenging and tricky, almost puzzle-like, encounters with the colossi, this game is a masterpiece. There is good reason why this game is the first one gamers point to whenever anyone tries to argue that video games are not art.

    A masterpiece without a doubt!

  • I played this game later than most. I had heard it was a great game, but I didn't know why. It didn't take long to find out. Putting the frustrating controls aside, the graphics, the characters, the crazy plot, the boss battles, and of course that sequence when you first meet the cyborg ninja, oh man, were like drugs to a younger me, and were second to none at the time.

    I still think about this game even today. I haven't played it for years, but the impression it made 15 years ago is still strong.

  • Ah Resident Evil. I played each of these games for the scares, but the controls were so bad, that I never really went back to any of them. Then came RE4. Now there was a Resident Evil that had the scares and the controls were bearable, at the time, revolutionary.

    I played through this game from start to finish more times than I can even remember. I'm not a fan of the horror genre in games or movies, but this game hooked me and I couldn't get away for the longest time.

    It was a happy moment when my nephew told me a year ago that this was his favorite game of all time. It still resonates ten years after it was released.

  • Before you judge, let me just say, yes, you're right, I did back Laura up into a corner so I could look at her pixilated, oversize bosom. I mean, I was in middle school for crying out loud.

    However, once I was over my first viewing of polygonal boobies, I really got into this game. I didn’t have money at the time to purchase a PS, so my friend and I would pitch in each weekend to rent one and play a little more of this game. I actually had a PS memory card before I had a PS.

    I have played very few games since then that give you the same sense of discovery that the original Tomb Raider did (even all other games in the franchise). I still have fond memories of finding Midas' tomb and stepping on to the open palm of his statue, only to discover that the developers went to the trouble of animating Laura turning to gold and dying.

    Also, the moment the T-Rex first jumps out and I cried out, in both horror and elation at the same time, "This is the coolest game ever!"

    Yeah, and many more cool discoveries that I will always remember. Even the anniversary edition that came out years later provided a good romp through my nostalgia.

  • I was very skeptical going into this game. By the time this came out, the Metroid franchise had easily become my second favorite (second only to FF). But, boy did Rare pull through on their promise to make the first polygonal Metorid game. This game had everything you needed from a Metroid game; the iconic music, amazing boss battles, the map progression system based on item discover, and of course the Metroids.

    The final boss fight with Prime, could possibly be the best boss fight I have ever experienced. It was super challenging, very lengthy, and required you to push every button on that Game Cube controller in ways that were actually a physical challenge.

    I hope Nintendo can think of a meaningful way to revive this once wonderful franchise.

  • Half-Life 2 is considered by many to be one of the greatest and most influential video games of all time. I can’t find any reason to argue.

    Like a few other games on this list, I came to this game later than others. Even though it came out in 2004, I didn’t I played it until 2007. However, Half-Life 2 is a game that transcends time and stands out as both a masterpiece and a history marker for gaming. Even in 2007 when other games had iterated on its innovations, I still found it unique and compellingly interesting. I love the story, but it was the game play and messing around with the physics engine that really caught me.

    Dare I mention it here? Where is Half-Life 3??? Will it ever happen?

  • This could have been it. It may not have dethroned FFVI or FFVII as the best Final Fantasy game of all time, but it would have had a fighting chance if it wasn’t for a few things that held it back. What makes it more frustrating, both of these things are almost completely unnecessary in the game, or could have been easily changed. These two items are:

    1. Vaan is a piece of shit and there is absolutely no reason for him to be in the game let alone the main character (pant pant). Okay, I’ve calmed down… a little. The Basch-Ashe story and dynamic was possibly the best main character relationship in franchise history (even better than FF X's Tidus-Yuna combination). But to my endless frustration, someone at Square doesn't know how proper story telling is done and put a whinny, ugly, uninteresting, irrelevant, twit in the main role. I have no idea what they were thinking.... What could they have been thinking????

    2. If they had used Basch and Ashe as the main characters, then they should also have used Gabranth as the main antagonist. It could easily have been the best story in FF history. They were so close, but dropped the ball royally.

    With those two major misses aside, I couldn't stop playing this game. The world was beautiful, the "coding" of the battle system was very interesting, the hidden enemies were fun to discover, and kept bringing me back over and over.

    I had to wind my way through a crowd of kids and mothers at the mall on Halloween to get this game the day it came out, but it was well worth it. Also, skipping class to come home and play, gave me my only "C" in college. haha

    I'm still holding out for a remake that loses Vaan and puts Gabranth as the main antagonist. It should have been the best ever...

  • In 90 minutes, this game tells the struggle and triumph of a lifetime. Most movies can't do that.

    The art is second to none. The music is touching and perfect. The lack of any dialogue let's you interpret the developer's rendition of the journey of life as your own. The dark, lonely moments are balanced by the light, high moments.

    However, even with all these elements, it was the emotions I felt when I met other players in the world and I helped them get through the journey, and they helped me get through the journey. Then the heartache at the end when those newly made "friends" were suddenly gone was emotionally impacting in a way that I did not expect. Maybe the first and only time that I ever had tears from a game.

    Another masterpiece that will have a special place in my heart for a long time. I still play this again whenever I'm feeling down.

  • My wife and I played this game more than anything else. We would play it all night long, just the two of us, until the early morning when we finally pulled ourselves away to sleep.

    We had the tracks so well memorized that our friends would stop coming over to play with us because they never stood a chance against us.

    This game is just pure fun!

  • Even though I gave The Last of Us my personal game of the year in 2013, it is Bioshock Infinite that I keep coming back to and I've discovered other reasons why I now like it a tad bit more.

    It was the part when Booker rescues Elizabeth from the scientists, pulls the needle from her back, she turns to Booker and says, "I'm going to kill Comstock.", Booker responds, "No, you're not.", and she opens the tare and you can see the tornado coming through again, and she responds to Booker, "and you and which army is going to stop me?"

    Also, the part when you meet Elizabeth in the future and hear all the things that they did to turn her evil.

    Also, also, the part where I was completely confused by who the Luteces were and why they kept appearing and then disappearing all the time - oh wait, that's the whole game.

    Also, also, also, the entire mind-twisting ending (especially the heart-wrenching death of Songbird) could be one of the best endings in video game history.

    The more I think about this game, the more I want to play it again. Maybe this should be higher in my list!?

  • After my first play through I felt that I didn't like this game more that the original Dark Souls. However, after the DLC came out and I kept playing it for another year after its original release, it grew on me so much that I can now say that it's my favorite in the series. Although the incredible level design of the original is gone here, the game play, variety, graphics, art, story, and nearly everything else is better with the third iteration. Strangely this is the also the first time in the series that I did much PVP, and I enjoyed it a lot. I watched some streamers and learned from what they were doing and jumped into the foray to have a little fun myself.

    Now my friends get tired of hearing me compare everything to Dark Souls 3 and my endless gushing of just how great it is. If only they would try it themselves.

  • I played Fallout 3 late. I played it just before I played Fallout: New Vegas. In fact, I played them back-to-back the first time. Because of this, I do have good memories of Fallout 3, but it was the second game I played that left the stronger impression on me at that time. This place on my list is shared by both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, but it is the later that I chose to show here.

    Fallout: New Vegas takes the game play of Fallout 3 to the Wild West, adds even more craziness (the super mutant rehabilitation center in the mountains was so funny that I couldn't get over it). Also, when you discover the secret of New Vegas and who is controlling it, it is an unexpectedly, haunting moment. And, depending on what decision you make at this moment drastically changes your understanding of the player (you).

    I want Fallout 4 more than anything.

  • I knew about Dark Souls and Demon's Souls, but all I had heard was that they were very difficult. It wasn't until 2013 that I finally downloaded Demon's Souls and gave it a chance (it's in this list later on so I will leave what happens next to that entry). The short story is that I was so impressed that I had to try Dark Souls. At first I didn't really like it as much, but the more I played, the more it pulled me in. I'm not sure where my opinion of the game flipped, but somewhere along the way, the game had completely won me over.

    The challenge is addicting. The setting is eerie and dark. The story is sparse, yet tragic and deep. The secrets are sometimes difficult to decipher, but rewards are meaningful to the game play. The bosses are distinctive and require your full attention and thoughtful engagement in order to beat. The environments are detailed and the level design adds depth/challenge to many of the encounters. The enemies and NPCs are well envisioned and animations are spot-on.

    There is nearly nothing negative that you can say about this game. With the Dark Souls Wiki by your side, you can get lost for a very long time in the world of Dark Souls with nearly endless possibilities to progress your character.

    Patience is a virtue here, but the rewards that Dark Souls offers are worth it.

  • Oh man did I play the hell out of this game. My brother-in-law and I played this game so much that my sister started to regret inviting me over to their place. This was the first FPS that I had ever played and I still think back on it with fondness. The reality is that I probably couldn't return to it at this point, but that's okay; I'll hang on to those good memories and live happily. Four player split screen never had a better moment (other than Mario Kart maybe).

  • The first 20 minutes of The Last of Us is so powerful, it's like taking a swift, strong punch to the gut. The next two to three hours are a little slow and may lose some players. But, everything after that contains some of the most interesting and unique moments that I've experienced in a game. The directions it takes and the difficult content that the developers chose to explore in this masterpiece, kept me glued to my TV anxious to see what would happen next.

    From the gritty, uncomfortable attempted rape of Ellie to the camera hold on Joel as he slowly looks off screen to see why Ellie didn't come over to be lifted up onto yet another ledge (something that happens over and over in the game). The first is something new for video games and something only the bravest developer could attempt without it turning completely wrong. The later is something you could only pull off in a game where you build the players anticipation of the regular, and then break that anticipation with cinematic effect at just the most difficult moment in the story.

    When I first played the game, I was a little disappointed with and confused by the sudden ending, but just like the ending to The Sopranos, the more I thought about it afterwards, the more I realized it was the perfect ending to a story that, unapologetically, pushed the characters through some of the most difficult situations in any video game ever. Joel could only lie to protect Ellie. Joel could only lie to appease his fear of losing yet another daughter - because that is essentially what Ellie had become to him by the end.

    Yet another masterpiece in video game story telling!

  • This is for the entire franchise. My favorite of the franchise is Halo 2 for its story, and Halo 3 for its game play.

    I arrived very lat to Halo. I started playing these games about a year after Halo 3 and I played them all back-to-back-to-back. I learned very quickly why everyone loves the Halo franchise. I loved them too. The adrenaline rush that you get after surviving a perfectly planned wave of enemies is second to none in video games. The games are very beautiful and the controls are spot on.

    Halo 4 was also a great entry and even brought back memories of Metroid Prime – I playfully refer to Halo 4 as Halo Prime. It makes me wish that 343 Games would go back to Nintendo and make a new Metriod instead of Halo 5. But, the Halo fan in me, longs deeply for Halo 5 also.

    One of the most celebrated franchises in video game history is also one of my favorite. Love'm.

  • We haven't talked about my childhood for a while now. Well, this one was one of the biggest influences on a younger me. I first played this in the arcade. While my mom was shopping at the mall, I would hang out at the arcade and waste all the quarters I had losing to older players and then stand there watching the better players disappoint other arcade patrons. I absorbed all of the moves, stage secrets, character fatalities, and strategies to beat the bosses.

    Once the game came out on the SNES, my parents wouldn't let me buy it since they watched the nightly news. I bought it anyways and hid it in my room. Whenever my parents came to my room, I would rip the cartridge from the SNES and put in Super Mario World before they saw. Eventually, I just gave up and told them that it was a different game; they weren't the wiser.

    The art had a large impact on me too. I would take concept art, stage art, and character art to school to make my own interpretations in art class. I made up my own stage backgrounds, weapons, and new characters in art class.

    I still love this game's style and art, and I believe they haven't been able to replicate its distinctiveness to this day in the MK universe. A sad thought.

  • The rain. Yep, it was the rain at the beginning of the game that pulled me in. I'd never seen anything like that in a video game before this.

    Although the groundbreaking graphics pulled me in, it was the lengthy story and awesome item collection game play that kept me and pushed me to complete it several times over.

    I returned to this game a year ago. I was surprised to find it to be more difficult than I had remembered, but I still managed to beat it again and enjoy it.

  • I loved the original Mass Effect for its beautiful graphics and unique story telling process. But, it was its predecessor that stood out as one of the best games ever made.

    Because I know you want to know, Mordin was my favorite character. However Thane was a close second.

    I loved the gritty, throwback feel to the scifi. Coming off of the travesty that was the Star Wars prequels, it was good to see someone that understood what made the original Star Wars and Star Trek: The Next Generation so great. They took these aspects and filled a new world with unique characters, enthralling personal narratives, and an overarching plot that unfortunately led to one of the dumbest endings to one of the greatest games of all time (think terminator). Even with that one downer, Mass Effect 2 impressed me.

  • The anger opera that is God of War really consumed me in college. I would sometimes catch myself daydreaming that I was Kratos killing Ares during a discussion on Greek and Roman philosophy in college. I think I learned the more important lesson; it takes an extremely angry man with big swords to take down an evil God - philosophy.

  • I'm a huge MGS fan. The original is my favorite, MGS2 confused me and made me angry, but MGS3 made up for that frustration. It was beautiful, well written, and had the best boss encounters since the original. Kojima made up for his stupid MGS2 mess-up with this third installment.

    My favorite part: The End. No, not the end of the game, but the boss named The End. An hour long boss fight that I'd later find out that you can completely bypass if you wanted to.

  • Skyrim just has so much that I couldn't do it all. I did a lot and enjoyed nearly every moment of it, but I just couldn't do it all. And that is the best part. The game just never runs out of things for you to do.

    My favorite part: the skeleton dragon in the cave. I think I leaked a little in my pants when I saw that thing come out of the ground and come running towards me.

    I want to go back for another round of this game. Maybe this time I can do it all...

    Also, I loved collecting all of the sweet rolls in the world and loading them into my house.

  • What? Donkey Kong Country in front of Super Mario World? What is this idiot thinking?

    I guess you can blame it on nostalgia. Yes, I'm a Dounkey Kong Country fan. I played this game a lot and beat it over and over again.

    My favorite part is the snow level and just how beautiful that level was. Ever since then, whenever I see a snow storm in the mountains, I remember this level and I'm taken back to my childhood again.

    Good memories.

  • MGSV is the best sandbox, open world game since Fallout 3. And I think it might be better. It's gameplay and controls are expansive, but quickly become intuitive (unlike it's predecessors). There is just so much to do that I couldn't stop playing.

    I will admit MGSV is a flawed game. The boss fights are not good and really felt lacking compared to the great boss fights in other games in the series. There just wasn't enough story - at least not as much as I'd come to expect from MGS (I like the MGS stories and cut scenes). Last and final gripe is that Kojima missed one of the greatest opportunities to pull one over on his fans. ***Spoiler*** He should have had David Hayter voice the actual Big Boss at the end of the game. That would have made up for the really bad voice work by Keifer Sutherland.

    Other than these gripes, this game is just so much freaking fun to play. I've watched videos on line of others playing through the game and am just struck by how different their approach to playing it was.

    Can I get a MGS1 remake in this engine? My childhood self would nerd out to death if that happened.

    One of the best games ever made.

  • I was very hesitant to play this game. All I had heard was how hard it was. At that time, rouge games weren't in the main stream as they are now and to hear that a game was very difficult was just a turn-off for me. However, after the success of Dark Souls, I figured I should give this series a try. I started with this before I went to Dark Souls as I thought it had some kind of connection. I later found out that that's not true, but I'm still glad I played it as you can see it made it on my all-time favorites list.

    It started slow as I didn't understand how to play these games, but I stuck to it because I had paid for both this and Dark Souls at the same time and I wanted to make good on my spent money. I'm glad I did stick with it. All the crazy enemies, environments, level design specific to increase the difficulty of each encounter, the art style (sometimes better than Dark Souls), the mysterious characters and story, and of course the discovery of some secret item or weapon that vastly increases your abilities in the game felt so great.

    I'll admit, I used the online wiki, but I still really enjoyed the game all the same. In fact, I think I may have enjoyed it more than I otherwise would have if I hadn't used the wiki.

  • Oh I loved this one. I loved getting together with my friends at school to find out what secrets they had discovered, then run home to see if I could reproduce their discoveries.

    The game is so long, so spot on perfect, and it is the best Mario game ever.

  • I'm wrapping all of the Street Fighters together here. However it was the SNES installments of Street Fighter II Turbo that I enjoyed the most.

    Even though I haven't played this game for over ten years, I still won an impromptu Street Fight IV tournament at my friend’s house - just spam those fireballs and dragon punches as Ryu and Akuma.

  • This is essentially the first two games together here, but I have to give a slight edge to #2, for no other reason than I remember it better than the first.

    I love the endless amount of items that you can find, showing these items to your friends and hearing their jealous reactions, and then going together to find more. That's what makes Borderlands so good; the co-op. If it wasn't for the wonderful co-op play, this game would be much farther down my list. Loved getting together with my friends and just treating it like an arcade shooter and spit out all kinds of idiotic ramblings as we mowed down numberless enemies in the arenas and stages of the game.

    I miss those moments and was sourly disappointed that Destiny wasn't able to deliver on that. I did have fund playing co-op Destiny with friends, but it just didn't feel as good or fun as Borderlands.

    I can't wait to see what Borderlands has in store for the next generation.

  • I was living in Japan for the first time when this game came out. However, I wasn't in a situation where I could play video games. So, I had to wait four long months before I moved back to America where I could pick up the US version and play it.

    The throwback to a "cuter" art style was welcome. I actually picked up a art book in Japan and starred at it often until I could get home and play it. Once I did get back to America, I picked this and Metal Gear Solid up at the same time. I played this first, not knowing that MGS was the better game, but I still enjoyed this a lot.

    I loved everything about it (except for the card games) and the ending really stuck with me. I just loved the cliche heroics of the story and characters.

    It would be nice to see SquareEnix take a gamble, ditch the emo, anime styles of modern FF, and give us a gem like this one once again.

  • This game brought back so many positive memories. Just little things like going into the lost woods, or hearing the chimes of a classic Zelda tune, or finding the master sword, it all brought back great memories of the original games and how they felt while I was young. As I grow older, it is less likely that a game will pull me in and make me feel the fantasy that it's selling. However, this game did it. In fact, I can remember the moment that it sunk it's hooks into me. I had reached the top right hand corner of the map and I saw a maze off in the distance. I glided out to that maze and after dropping into it, I heard the music start up and I began the long process of trying to get to the center. I loved it. This game is pure childhood nostalgia and I love nearly every moment of it - it wasn't for the rain, this would be a perfect game.

  • I have great memories of FFX. And, that is probably where it will stay; as a good memory. I tried to revisit this game when the HD version came out, but it has not aged well at all. It's nearly unplayable by today's standards. Or, it could just be the limited amount of gaming time I have as an adult prevents me from being patient for this games awful pacing issues.

    Even with that, the memories are strong. I remember a fast, challenging battle system, unique environment, and a great ending.

    I like what I remember, and have no desire to go back again.

  • I loved the original Portal, but it was Portal 2 that kept me coming back over and over again. I loved Stephen Merchant's performance, the puzzles were superb, the graphics were stunning, and the quirky dialogue had me laughing until I was almost crying.

    Valve are a group of geniuses. I just wished they cranked out masterpieces like this more often.

  • I never finished the original RE - it was too hard, but I did play this one through over and over again.

    The fact that there was essentially two games in one, lost of hidden stuff, great atmosphere, and crazy enemies made this game like cocaine for a high school gamer like I was.

    Not as good as RE4, but I agree, a remake would be really great to see.

  • I didn't get a PS3 until several years after this game's release, and even then I didn't get around to playing this until about 2011 or 2012 (I can't quite remember). But, as expected it blew my mind. There were a few too many cut scenes for me, but it wasn't too bad. I really liked the big action scenes, the return to Shadow Moses, and the part where Snake is walking through the irradiated corridor.

    I tried to play through the game again on the hard difficulty, but it was just a bit too much at places.

  • I played this game right after I picked up Smashing Pumpkin's Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness album. I had the album playing in the background while I played Chrono Trigger. Now, whenever I play anything from that album (more often than you'd think; it's one of my all-time favorite albums), I can envision this game and it brings back a lot of good memories.

    When I played this in middle school I don't think I grasped at the time just how good it really was. I enjoyed it a lot, but it didn't have the impact that FFVI had, and I never could beat the end boss at that time.

    I've never returned to Chrono Trigger since, even though I own it on PSN, but someday I would like to. I've read that it holds up well and still worth a play. I'm a little afraid to revisit old JRPGs due to them not holding up well (see FFX), but after all the gushing for this game that I've heard over the years, it might be worth it. I'll play some Smashing Pumpkins in the background as I play it.

  • This is Assassin's Creed 2 and Brotherhood. The two best of the series.

    These games really hooked me. From the smooth killing action to the climbing of historical buildings sequences, I enjoyed the game play a lot.

    I even got into the strange back lore and finding all of the hidden secrets in the game.

    The characters and stories were great too. It's too bad that Ubisoft let this franchise slip into irrelevance...

  • I never have been a fan of zombie games and the horror genre in general (please ignore RE4 in my top ten), but The Walking Dead really sucked me in. It wasn't the zombies at all, it was the wonderful writing, the twists in the story, the choices you for forced to make that would decide whether someone was going to live or die, the touching relationship between the two main protagonists, and the simple art aesthetic. There were moments in this game that very few other game stories can even come close to meeting as far as emotion and tension are concerned.

    Once it was over, I was done with it too. I was emotionally spent by the end and had no desire to relive the events again. But, for that one ride that I took with it, it will always be kept in my favorites of all time.

  • I played the first two Gran Turismo games and enjoyed them. But, it was number 3 that pulled me in. I played this game more than maybe any other PS2 game (FFXII might be a close second). And this is a game that I kept coming back to from time to time.

    The series lost me with its lengthy delays between installments - I never played another one again after this. Even with my lack of interest in the series now, this one still sticks in my mind as one of my all-time favorites.

    I still remember crashing into walls over and over again because I was distracted by the great graphic design on the courses.

  • I actually played this game after I played Half-Life 2 - I never had a powerful computer as a kid. So, I just had to see what everyone was saying was the first FPS with a meaningful plot. I was surprised that even in the year 2007, this game stood up well and pulled me in. I loved every teeth-grinding moment.

  • It played slightly better than Goldeneye, but just didn't pack the same punch.

    However, the multi-player mode was awesome and made for some good times.

  • I had no idea what I was getting into with this game. I didn't own an Xbox (didn't have that kind of extra cash back then), so I never played Morrowind. However, once the 360 came out, I did have extra cash and nothing else worth playing on the 360, so I picked this up.

    I was very pleased with what I got.

    I spent hundreds of hours in Oblivion and although I never really liked going into Oblivion itself, I really enjoyed the sense of discover and my first romp through an open world game.

    Although Fallout and Skyrim would clearly out-do Oblivion in the open world genre, I still have a lot of fond memories of the discoveries that I made in this game.

  • Ah, the original. Just like Tomb Raider, I had to play this when I had the money to rent a PS1. However, as soon as I had a PS1, I had moved on, but the memories of the original still come back to me from time to time. Not as good as RE2 or RE4, but still left a major impression on me at a young age.

  • I don't remember which version I liked the most - it may have been TM2 - but I loved this series. Couch co-op in the mid-90's with my buddies was some of the best times of my life. This game was a big one.

  • Flat out the best podcast game ever. Turn the sound up just enough to enjoy the great sound design and music, but let your mind focus on the content of the podcast as you mindlessly play each level over and over again just so you can beat it on harder levels to open more and more unique stages.

    I loved the art style. I loved the challenge of many of the stages. I loved this game a lot. Where the hell is Monsters 2?!

  • I remember getting this one Christmas, when I was in high school, and really enjoying it. In fact it started one of my holiday gaming habits. I ate one of those chocolate oranges while I played this game. The game was so good and memorable, that each holiday I always buy another one of those chocolate oranges to eat while I play games. It has become a great tradition.

    I really want to go back and try this one again. Was this ever re-released?

  • I started playing B3 in November 2013 for the first time. It quickly became the only thing that I played. I loved it…. And, it made me angrier than any other game ever has.

    What I loved: I was so pulled in by it that it was nearly the only thing that I played for the last two months of 2013. I’ve found very few things more satisfying than getting a knife kill on a veteran player with a kill streak. However, that feeling may only be matched by the feeling of pure joy I get when I kill someone that is trying to get me, five times in a row!!!

    What made me hate it: Well, I’m just not the best at it, and when I find myself pitted against a group of players that play the game better than me, the frustration mounts to a level that makes my wife ask me to shut the game off before I have a heart attack. I’m not usually like this; I’m normally calm and joking when I play a game. But, B3 gets the best of me sometimes and I find myself throwing tantrums like I haven’t since I was in diapers.

    Oh, but I love this game!!!

    No, it made me so angry that I had to ban myself from it… What has it done to me?

  • I came to this game one year late (2008 was a bit of a hole for me as I had some "life events" then). Either way, I got really sick during the 2009 holidays and I downloaded this game off of some sale on XBLA.

    It was a great investment that helped the time pass as I tried to get back to health. It was the perfect remedy, because I really haven't gotten too sick since then - currently writing this in 2015 (strange).

    Either way, I dug the visuals, the many things you could do in the game, the story, the interactions you could have with the NPCs, and I was a bit bummed by the ending, but oh well.

    The way I played through this game was telling of my own personality.

    My first wife (in the game) was killed... So, I waited after that until I could get the best wife in the game; the undead beauty. Then I secretly married a second, “fun” wife in the prostitute city in the South. This surprised me because I’ve never cheating on my real-life wife, and I wouldn’t be the type to seek out a “fun” time with another girl. A strange, yet mildly alarming reveal. It’s probably the ease at which the game allows you to make these infidelities that caused me to explore that avenue.

    I played as the hero in the game, but I was especially cruel to those that crossed me.

    I greedily collected a lot of money, but I was still generous to those that really needed a helping hand.

    All in all, I was surprised that this game exposed both outward and hidden sides of my personality. I like being a good person, but every once in a while I do have a slight dark side that sneaks out.

  • I nearly forgot about this game. I took this game to school with me, hidden at the bottom of my backpack, and pulled it out during lunch because I just couldn't go without playing it.

    I'm willing to bet a lot of money that it doesn't hold up now, but as a 8th grader in the early 90's, it was without a doubt one of my favorites.

  • Although I enjoy them, I wouldn't exactly call myself a huge fan of Nintendo's main lineup. Metroid is my favorite, but I also enjoy the Mario series too, but not to the point that you see each entry on this list (Mario World really is the only 2D Mario that I like enough to include on this personal list). However, Galaxy really caught me. It was the uniqueness of the level design mixed with the challenge and variety of the levels that just kept me captivated.

    There were just so many never-before-seen moments in this game that I really fell into it and enjoyed nearly every moment.

    There really isn't anything negative I can say about this game other than it doesn't have Luigi as the main playable character (yes, I just outed myself as a Luigi sympathizer - mwahahahaha).

  • Although it's not as good as Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, this addition to the "Souls" series is genius. I played through nearly everything - until I got to some bosses in the lower chalice dungeons that I just couldn't get.

    Even after moving on to The Witcher 3, I came right back because Bloodborne's combat is just so smooth and precise. It made Witcher's combat system feel like an uncontrollable abomination and I quick gave up on it and ran back to Bloodborne.

    The settings, atmosphere, enemies, bosses, and story were all disturbing (in a good way) and pulled me in. There just isn't anything else out there like the Souls series and although it doesn't have it in the title, this is definitely one of those games.

    I can't wait for Dark Souls 3.

  • This very well may be the first online game I ever played. It was actually intimidating. I didn't know whether I should talk to the other people play or whether I should just shut up and follow directions from a bunch of adolescent dimwits. To be honest, I still struggle with this question to this day even though I'm used to playing online.

    Either way, this game had so much to offer and in a day when open world just wasn't that common, this was a revelation. I enjoyed the few times that I got to play co-op online with my buddies, but even if I was playing alone, it was still just as fun. What a great summertime game to play when it was just too hot to go outside.

    Will we ever see anything like it again?

  • I played this game after I beat Super Metriod. Super Metroid was probably my favorite game at the time and I found this in a bin of used GB carts in the mall toy store. I picked it up and couldn't put it down until I'd beat it. I was young an impressionable and I thought the ending was so freaking cool. I played it over and over to see the ending.

    I bought a used cart years later as an adult to try and go back to this one, but the battery had died and I couldn't save.

    Maybe someday there will be an easy way to replay this.

  • I'm coming out of the closet on this one; I love the Mario Party series. Or, at least at one time I did (a lot). I haven't played one for years, but my wife and our friends played these all the time on the Game Cube during college. I was always Luigi.

    Why did I pick #5? I just have good memories of the stages for 5. I think it had a stage that reminded me of Christmas pastries from when I was a kid. No better reason than nostalgia.

  • Someone please help me get away from this game!

    I can't put this game down...........

    I've played it a million times and I've only come in first twice.....

    I can't stop playing this game.......

    Please help.

  • The remake of one of my all-time favorite games? Yes, please.

    This game does everything right. In my mind, as of the end of 2019, it is the official benchmark for how a remake should be done. It stayed true to the spirit of the original while improving everything: controls, level design, music, art, graphics, everything....

    I'm much more easily scared these days and rarely play horror games anymore, but I gave this one a try anyway and I was not disappointed.

  • I had never played another Far Cry game before this. It didn't matter. This game was just a fun, stupid romp through 80's action movie nostalgia. I don't know if I've ever laughed this hard to a game.

    Also, the whole last hour of the game is just pure neon stupid action fun. It hit all the right cords with me and it made the list.

  • I never played Bomberman during its hay day in the 90's. I game to it in the mid-00's on the Game Cube and DS. However, the DS version quickly became our game of choice later at night after most of the guests had left my friend's college parties. We would play that thing for several more hours until the sun was almost coming up.

    I have a lot of good memories playing this with my wife too.

  • I would never consider myself an adrenaline shooter fan, even though there are several on this list, but I just had to play Gears of War after I heard how good the graphics were and there really wasn't anything else on the 360, at the time, that was showing off the "next-gen" power of those consoles.

    Yes, the graphics blew me away. But, it was the fresh game play experience that pulled me in. Also, adding a little RE4 to this game really made it a pleasing experience too.

    I wonder that CliffyB is up to these days? Retired?

  • As a short prologue to MGSV, this game sure had a lot. Also, those new controls were heaven-sent. This was the first game I played on the PS4 and I was blown away by the visuals.

    Just so much fun to run around and take out the soldiers on the base in different ways. However, this is where my only gripe with the game came in. Maybe it's just me, but the things with Paz didn't bother me too much (I never listened to all the tapes, so maybe I missed the most offensive stuff), but killing US Marines just seemed really wrong to me. Yeah, maybe this is supposed to be a rouge unit or something like that, but their still 18-20 something year old guys doing what they're commanded. Just felt wrong killing US soldiers.

    Oddly, didn't feel the same thing killing Russian soldiers in MGSV:PP. I guess that's the way I've been brainwashed growing up in the Cold War in the US.

  • This was my 2018 GOTY. I played a lot of this game on the Switch. It was the perfect game for both hand held and on TV. The smooth controls, great animation, and pleasing art style are what won me over at first, but once I started discovering its depth, I was completely won over. One of the best modern plat-former games made.

  • I love the simplicity of Galaga. Even after it lost its popularity in the arcades, I'd still find myself wasting a few quarters on it while I waited for an opening to MK2.

    I own several version of this game on home consoles and play them occasionally. It's still a great game that you can come back to from time to time and still enjoy the hell out of it.

    It also brings back fond memories of going to the local Pizza Hut, when it was still a classic pizza joint with an arcade, and playing a few rounds between slices of pizza.

    A timeless classic.

  • This game was pitched as a downloadable Metriodvania. Although it didn't play as well as either of its inspirations, and the story wasn't anything to whoop and holler over, it really was a refreshing game.

    I'm sorry to say that I don't remember too much of it anymore, but I do remember really enjoying it. I should revisit it again once I find where my 360 went to...

  • I never played Heavy Rain. I really can’t remember why I bought this. It didn't really pull me in at first. But, I’ll be damned to hell forever, eating nothing but worms if I wasn't telling the truth about that homeless sequence being one of the best story sequences in any video game that I’ve ever played. I’ve never been put in a situation like this in a game before, and I’ve never had a single situation in a game affect me like this one did. There were other good moments in the game too, but each one seemed to fall apart in the middle somewhere. The Navajo Ghost section started with a lot of potential, but went stupid at some point, And the expedition to the Korean military base started well, and had its moments, but ultimately caved in because of the game play. But damn, that homeless sequence was nearly perfect and stuck with me even after I played it a second time with different results.

  • Cartoonish characters? Check. Immature, anime humor? Double check. Short, ten hour length? Checkers. All the things that normally keep me from liking a game? Yes, many accounted for! So, why the hell did I like this game??? Have you played this game? It is awesome! Yeah, it's a little short, but the fact that I felt it was too short is only a testament to how much I wanted more by the end. Even the anime-like humor was mostly bearable and entertaining - I’m embarrassed to admit that I found myself chuckling from time to time. The story was unique, and although I'll admit the cartoonish look to the characters distracted slightly from the plot, I still enjoyed it a lot. Give it a chance.

  • I don't really remember the first Guitar Hero, and I doubt if I played the third one much, but Guitar Hero 2 was yet another mainstay in my college days. My wife and I would play it constantly in our apartment, and when we went to friend's apartments, we would play for hours on end.

    I really doubt it if I could revisit this series, but the times I had were really great and I have fond memories of them.

  • Ah Monkey Ball. I got so damn good at this game. This is another game that my wife and I mastered and then we would go outplay all our college friends at their game get-togethers.

  • This game came from out of left field. My wife and I really got into this game and it brought us to tears several times as we laughed our way through each play through.

  • My friend and I rented this on a whim when I was in middle school. Although I read EGM religiously back then, for some reason I was in the dark about this game's existence until we stumbled across it one weekend in middle school. We played this thing to completion, and I'm not sure, but this may have been my first ever all-night gaming experience as a kid. We just couldn't put the controls down as we took on each boss.

    I came back to this game years later on the Virtual Console, but it just didn't seem to have the same magic that it did when I was younger. Maybe it was the perfect game for its time, or maybe I've just moved on to other types of games. I really don't know the answer, but just like other games on this list, I'll keep my good memories and keep it on my list.

  • This was just so much fun to zone out and play this game. Also fun to play while listening to podcasts. Really great level design, difficult challenges, and an amazing aesthetic really make this game stand out.

  • The arcade version was at the pool hall when I was in high school. While my friends beat college kids and tried to show off to the college girls, my dumb ass was playing this game. Not sure why, but I kept coming back. I put in a disproportionately large amount of money into this.

    I should have chased the college girls...

  • Moody atmosphere. Legitimate jump scares on iOS. Very creative companion app that was actually fun to read and was well incorporated into the late game. I really liked this one, and I don’t particularly like scary games.

  • I have no idea what version of Lode Runner it was that I had on my Apple IIE in the 80's, but it was the best. I've tired other versions since, but they just aren't as good. I had no clue what the game was about, but I played that game so much that I think it actually stunted my posture because I was always leaning up to the screen to keep a closer look at what was happening in the game.

    I'm sure this is probably a steaming pile of poo by today's standards, but to a small kid in the 80's it was like a drug.

  • I barely remembered this one. I don't remember too much about it other than I absolutely loved it. My friend and I played this thing all the time when I was in elementary. I doubt if we ever beat it - that didn't happen very often back then, but I still remember us enjoying it a lot.

  • It's all about those combos. And, "next gen" graphics. And, misguided nostalgia.

    I did like this game as a kid.

  • Back in the middle school days I was able to scrape together enough money to pick up a Genesis. I had enough left over to get this and some other game (can't remember what it was). My buddy and I played this so much that we discovered a play that would let us win a game by over 100 points without the opponent scoring any. We spammed this play for days trying to see just how high we could get the score.

    I'm ashamed to admit just how much time we sunk into this game.