My Top 10 Games of All Time

This isn't a list of what I believe to be the greatest games of all time, that I believe everyone should play, or anything like that (there are far too many excellent games out there that I've never played for me to do that). This is a list of the games that I enjoyed the most, and meant the most to me at the time I played them. There could be some others that might compete that I played at friends', but I've chosen to keep this list to games that I own or at least have owned.
Caveat: This list was composed in 2009 therefore no games released after 2009 appear, and, on the basis that I believe it requires time to truly determine a game's greatness, no games from 2009 have been included either (although after playing Mass Effect 2 I was sorely tempted to include it).

List items

  • The big one. This had to be number 1, this is my first game (I'd played kids adventure games and some educational puzzle game, but this is my first proper videogame). I first played it on some shareware disc that my dad had and loved it, I played those shareware levels over and over. My dad, being the irresponsible, caring father that he is, saw how much I loved it and went out and bought the full game for me (which was rated 15 in the UK) when I was about 6 or 7 years old. It took me years until I was able to finish it without using the cheats, but I've always loved it and go back to it about every year and it's still fucking awesome!

  • I've been a huge Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember, but having been largely disappointed by all Star Wars games up to this point (see Rebel Assault) hearing the original KotOR was not only a good Star Wars game, but a great game in its own right, was of huge interest to me (especially the element of player decisions having an affect on the story, which I'd always desired but never found in the games I'd played). Upon playing the game I found way more depth and interest than I'd ever expected, let alone found in my usual games (primarily FPS with a smattering of RTS, fighting and sports games) and immediately fell in love with the RPG genre.

  • OK so I've mentioned that as a kid I pretty much just played a lot, but this is THE one, the best (or at least my favourite) first-person shooter I've ever played. I understand some people disliked the story, personally I thought it was good and even quite liked the cliffhanger ending. While the campaign was a little on the short side it was incredibly fun playing through it again and again on co-op trying to complete it on legendary. Everything I've just said would make Halo 2 a pretty damn good game, but it's the multiplayer that truly made it great, some of the best memories of my life, some of the most fun I've had is playing the Halo 2 multiplayer on system link with 7 friends.

  • Firstly it's Fahrenheit. OK so let's get this game's flaws out of the way first: The camera's cinematic quality, while it does add to the feel of the game, can get in the way quite a lot and be very irritating when you're in an intense scene and you can't see where you're going because the camera is in front of you; the story goes a little haywire towards the end and feels like it needs a bit more explanation for what the Hell is going on; the two sequences which flash back seemed arbitrarily difficult due to the confusing camera angles and less than precise controls.

    Now that that's out of the way I'll tell you why none of it matters: Fahrenheit features one of the best, most gripping and compelling stories I've ever seen in a videogame, it's the only time I've ever really wanted everyone I know (and pretty much everyone else) to play a game so I could share the experience. The story is strengthened by the fact all of the characters are fully-fledged with different personalities and motives, not one one of them seems like a cliche, they all feel real; the fact that you spend the game switching between four different player characters, whose every decision can impact upon another character (which also leads to replayability to see how different decisions would play out for each character). The game's primary protagonist is easily identifiable as he is a true everyman who is as scared and confused by the events as the player. Finally we come to the gameplay, which primarily utilises two different mechanics, moving the analogue sticks to mimic the motion you want the character to perform and directional use of analogue sticks in QTEs for action sequences.

  • Brilliant side-scrolling platformer with as much emphasis on puzzles, which are consistently fun and intersting, as on action. A wide variety of races from the friendly Mudokens (of whom Abe, the protagonist, is one) who you must save to the hostile Sligs who'll gun you down on sight unless you can get them out of the way first, or you've psychically controlled their minds. Each race has a different and unique personality, which the player must understand to manipulate. The cutscenes succeed in being funny and still investing you in the story and Abe himself is immensely lovable despite, or perhaps because of, his awkward appearance. The level design is beautiful and always relevant to the gameplay, and truly makes the Oddworld come to life. The only real problem I remember having with this the sparseness of save points resulting in frustrating repetition of some areas just as you think you've got past them. Oh yeah, and this game features the funniest deaths you'll ever witness.

  • OK so this may not be one of the greatest games of all time, or even close to it, but for me this game will always be one of my favourites, I may never want to play it again, but it meant a lot to me at the time. I'd always loved the Worms games and this was basically a 3d incarnation of those (before such a thing actually existed). It was also on the PS, my gaming platform of choice at the time, as opposed to the PC Worms games, the game has great humour, brilliantly voiced by the excellent Rik Mayall; being on the PlayStation meant its multi-player was more accessible than the Worms games, but the real reason I have such a soft spot for this game is because I finished before my other two friends who owned it, Ben Walton and David Cooper, both of whom had owned it far longer than I and were much more heavily into games than I was at the time, but I finished the last level, which they were stuck on, before them; I am embarrassed to say this is an achievement of which I am still proud.

  • I've always been a big fan of the GTA series from the start (which I think proves violent video games do not produce violent people since I was 7 in 1998) every single one of the games holds a place in my heart, but I think it really says something that GTAIV is the only GTA I've ever played all the way through without once feeling the need to cheat to get past a frustrating mission, or just to make cars fly, or felt the need to randomly go on killing sprees, perhaps all it says is that I've grown up, but I think it says more: I think it says that the GTA series has evolved beyond wacky, cartoon, crime antics, albeit with great stories and characters, into a truly gripping, believable crime-drama, videogame equivalent of The Wire, Goodfellas, or The Sopranos. Niko Bellic is a truly great character, he's both believable and likeable, and I totally understood his situation and felt for him, he was complex, he felt guilt and remorse for his deplorable actions, but knew that he had to keep doing them for him and Roman to survive and stay out of trouble; at the same time he's filled with rage at being betrayed by a friend leading to one of the most awful experiences of his life. Libetry City itself is beautifully designed, striking a perfect balance between the GTA style and the game's grittier tone, and the world is very well realised from it cybercafes to the phonecalls of passersby whihc you can listen in to. Gameplay is probably the weakest aspect being just a natural progression of GTA gameplay, although it is always adequate, and the driving is greatly improved and feels really good, there aren't any truly oustanding gameplay features. Oh yeah and GTAIV, like all those that preceded it is very funny, cutting edge satire.

  • The only fighting game I've truly loved (although I've enjoyed quite a few). I spent hours as a kid learning combos for all the different characters and finished the arcade mode with every character. I could almost always beat my friends (it was one of the few games I could, i wouldn't describe myself as good at games, I just enjoy them) and also had quite a few ways to grief them. I haven't really kept up with the Tekken series since Tekken 3, but since this game I've always had a fondness for its crazy characters and its epicly insane stories.

  • Easily the best single-player FPS on the Xbox, with a truly great story, fun, interesting gameplay variations from shooting to hand to hand combat to stealth (one of the first times I really enjoyed stealth), brilliant voice acting, especially by Vin Diesel who also had a role in the game's production, not to mention some of the best graphics around at the time. I loved this game so much I bought Dark Athena when it came out just to play it again!

  • OK, I realise Mass Effect suffered from a lot of technical issues, and a couple of gameplay issues to boot: Texture pop; long load times poorly masked by elevator rides (although there was some entertaining inter-character dialogue in some of those elevators); the length and frequency of times you had to use the Mako with its janky handling; the monotony of many of the side-missions with their cookie-cutter bases; all of these things mar, but fail to entirely spoil an otherwise brilliant RPG, and I can forgive the game all of its faults because of its gripping story with brilliant characters, which totally engrossed me so that I couldn't put the game down. Much of the games brilliance lies in the innovative dialogue wheel which allows the player to pick the type of response they want to make in real time, rather than scrolling through full lines of dialogue like every other RPG. All of the characters seem believable and genuine, even the villain is redeemable, depending on how you choose to play. The multiple choices and paths through the game along with the different relationships the Shepard can have with her (or his if you choose) crew have made come back to this game time after time.