My Favorite Games
subject to change*
subject to change*
Making your way through your custom town, talking to your charismatic villagers, planting flowers, decorating your house, catching bugs and fish and... paying taxes? Animal Crossing: New Leaf makes the mundane fun. It transports you from the dark and depressing reality of real life to the joyful and lovable world of Animal Crossing, where everyone knows your name! Truly, I've never had an experience like I've had, and still have, playing New Leaf! Just leaving the game on and listening to the amazing music is worth it! It is more than a game and transcends what dictates art and what doesn't. It's simply an experience unlike any other, one that has helped me through the toughest of times.
Majora's Mask is unlike any other Zelda game, and that's why it's amazing. Instead of focusing on innovative gameplay, the game breaks the mold of genre tropes and spends its time telling an interactive story about the essence of sadness and coping. Each dungeon, character, side quest, mask and item has a point; the game is tightly packed. In it's entirety, this Ocarina of Time sequel is much less a game than a deep and depressing thematic narrative that leaves players with more questions than answers.
Grim Fandango is simply poetic. Not in the sense of one of Olivia Ofrenda's pieces, more so in that everything has a reason to exist in this Cinco de Mayo-inspired story. In an odyssey to find purpose, the complex character of Manuel "Manny" Calavera (and the player themselves) explore highly detailed and fleshed-out environments where the dead walk and talk heavily about political and spiritual topics, all of which consist of that familiar comedic touch that LucasArts excels in. This 1998 video-game changed the genre of adventure games, and wholeheartedly deserves to be placed with the great literature and film classics!
Summertime - three months of solace where memories of years past swirl in my mind. Most important, the nostalgia of Super Mario Sunshine pops into my head and I'm left remembering all that was good about the tropical masterpiece. The soundtrack is not only the best of any video game, but one of the best of any artistic medium. The platforming, while not the best thing about the game, is a fun way of traversing the amazing locations of Isle Delfino. I understand it's not perfect and that Galaxy is the superior game to most, but Super Mario Sunshine left such a mark on myself that calling any other Mario game superior is just not possible.
Myst is like a really, really good book. Traversing through the pre-rendered environments with the crashing of waves, melodies of birds and deep moaning of trees coming together creates a point-and-click game that puts ambiance and environment in the forefront. This is elevated even higher by the fantastic, original story conceived by the Miller brothers, which makes the player solve intricate puzzles that require a pencil and notebook. Even though a PC game from 1993, Myst is one of the most engaging video games I have ever played.
Set in the expansive Star Wars universe, BioWare's 2003 masterpiece explores the themes and ideals presented by the Jedi and Sith even deeper than that of the films. Taking advantage of it's timeline placement, Knights of the Old Republic tells its own story, and concurrently, creates its own universe, one that can stand outside the films it's based on. Possessing great and fleshed-out characters, the story, which in itself is pretty simplistic, forces the player to choose from difficult decisions and ultimately affect the balance of the in-game galaxy. Knights of the Old Republic offers more freedom than many other RPG's, especially those at the time of its release, and it's for this reason it's impact is still felt to this very day.
A picture can say a thousand words, and so can Team Ico's 2005 masterpiece. The game sends players on a captivating adventure that explores the human soul - it's untimely death and eventual rebirth. A calm yet unsettling environment at the forefront, Shadow of the Colossus is a hauntingly beautiful tragedy that questions the essence of good and evil.
Sometimes, games don't need to have a good story or have thoughtful and deep characters who change throughout the course of the playthrough. Racing games are some of the most fun you could have with a game; competing with friends and family and ultimately hating each player (then loving them again). Mario Kart 8 (Deluxe) is exactly this and more. As the music swells while your cart traverses through the beautifully crafted environments, you can't help but wear a smile on your face, even when you're losing! With tight controls and a good cast of characters (well, for the most part), this 2014 racer is one hell of a competition!
The little pit-pats of Link's feet as he traverses Koholint Island, vibrant colors of every single area and the cutest character design of any game are just a little piece of the grand puzzle that makes this remake of the 1993 classic Link's Awakening the best title in the Zelda franchise. It's exceptional length (about fifteen hours at most) and tightly packed map make exploring this game feel justified and not annoying. And while you join Link on his little journey, the music that accompanies the both of you fills you with a warmth that takes hold of you and makes you want to keep playing this delightful, wonderful adventure!
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