My Personal Favourite Games

Keep in mind, these are not in my opinion the BEST games. Actually, some of these I would never ever suggest to friends. Still great games though. Disclaimer: I have an area dedicated to what I call "hanger-on" games. These are games that, if i'm in the right mood, i'd be ready to put in my Top 20. But only if i'm in the right mood.

List items

  • There aren't many games i'd call "perfect", especially not among my favourites, but Silent Hill 2 just does everything right in terms of design reflecting tone. On detached reflection, I feel like I could talk my head off about the weird-ass imagery. In the moment though, I simply felt more hopeless and desperate than I've ever felt before in a game.

  • A game I cherished in my childhood that aged far more gracefully than I thought it would. Beautiful world, tight controls, and a difficulty that always pushed me that little bit further than I thought I could handle.

  • "Elegance through simplicity" and all that, and the team behind Shadow of the Colossus captured that brilliantly here. Light touches of story and a sublime atmosphere set the scene for some basic but super compelling gameplay.

  • Dark Souls manages to take things I don't like about games, things I might even call "bad game mechanics", and turn it into something addictive and endlessly entertaining. A true visionary accomplishment, and a perfect of Demon Souls' fresh new look at design.

  • With Psychonauts, Schafer and company used their collective writing and design talents to create a gameworld filled to the brim with invention and personality. It's a game that oozes style and comedy in equal measure.

  • Fallout 3 introduced me to a style of gameplay that has very quickly become one of my favourites. But it wasn't until patrolling the Mojave that I realised just how WELL that genre can be done, and just how wonderfully written this series could be. Also, how much I wished for a nuclear winter.

  • Some might argue Mass Effect 1 was the series high, and I wouldn't try to argue too hard about that, but for me Mass Effect 2 takes all of the political intrigue and character development I loved about the first game and wraps it in a more focused package. Plus, no Mako, so it gets points on that.

  • Before Bioshock, Irrational made this little guy, and on working my way backwards from that series to play it I found myself engrossed. While some of the streamlining of the latter Levine games is absent, the systems and atmosphere in place for System Shock 2 have aged tremendously.

  • After not really connecting at all with the Uncharted series, Naughty Dog blew me away with a game that made me remember why I loved them in the PS1/PS2 era. An amazing handle of pacing and fluidity from area-to-area; once you get past that initial hump, the game just becomes this blur of high-intensity drama and amazing character-building.

  • I have no history with the Resident Evil series, but hopping into this with the Wii Edition was the most fun i've ever had with the system, and an excellent introduction to a genre I did not have an affinity for.

  • You know how people have fond memories of staying up all night playing Starcraft or DOTA or World of Warcraft in college? XCOM is that for me. Just since getting the PC version, i've dumped over 100 hours into the game in just over a month. It has some deeply unfair mechanics and can be too luck-based, but fuck; I love this game so much.

  • Probably the best-written game of all-time?

  • Hey man, I know what you're saying. "This game does not seem in any way special, why would this be one of your favourite games?" I'm not saying I can really dispute that, but somehow i've come back to this game time and time again. An addictive system without the need for the fluff of a narrative.

  • It's a damn shame that this game never found a wider audience, because it's such a well-realised world and such a cool system of mechanics. Everything sort of clicked together, and not once did I feel like I had hit a slog. Still waiting on that sequel!

  • Easily my favourite stop on the Metal Gear Solid train; one of the most effective bildungsromans i've seen in a game, wrapped around unique survivalist gameplay and the least frustrating stealth of the series so far.

  • Along with the Jak and Sly games, Ratchet & Clank is a mainstay for my childhood favourites. With Up Your Arsenal, the team managed to finally strike that balance between challenging combat and fast-paced fun that the first two didn't quite manage.

  • An addictive, well-balanced multiplayer shooter that manages to do so many things and still be brimming with personality. I've dumped like 600 hours into this game, and i'm only kind of ashamed to say that.

  • I wasn't somebody going insane for Portal back in the day. I liked it, I liked the world, but when it was over I was done with it. But Valve came back with a sequel that blows its predecessor out of the water, taking wild design-turns that really surprised me.

  • Everything about this game screams immersion to me. I could and did spend days just wandering the wastes, picking up quests and exploring the strange crevices of Pripyat. Shame about the Defend-Your-Camp missions.

  • Step One: Write a cast of wholly-lovable characters. Step Two: Design your entire game around the threat of their bloody deaths. Can't wait to delve into more entries in this series, but I'll always miss my gang of misfits and vaganbonds. Especially you, Donnel.