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Games with personal meaning...

These aren't necessarily my favorite games as much as they are games that hold a place in my heart for one reason or another. Some of these games are downright bad, but they are of some importance to me. The games are in no particular order... AT ALL. It's a video game scrapbook of sorts. Remembering and writing all this stuff from my life has proven therapeutic, and I would recommend anyone that feels a emotional attachment to gaming make their own list!

List items

  • By far one of my favorite games ever. When I was younger I rented this from Blockbuster and played it through in a few days. I returned it and went back a few weeks later to rent it again and they took it out of their inventory. I was CRUSHED. I spent the next several weeks harassing my local Babbages on a daily basis to see if anyone traded one in. FINALLY I found a copy something like 30 miles away at some mom and pop used game store. I BEGGED my Dad to take me there and once he caved I was the happiest kid EVER. I read that strategy guide in the car ride home cover-to-cover. Also, it was a great memory of me and my Dad hanging out.

  • I was the first of my friends to beat all the Star Road stages, and they all thought I was so awesome... and I felt awesome too... for about two weeks when everyone else beat them too.

  • My local Blockbuster was having a tournament and if you owned a SNES the game to play was this one. After picking this one up at a Toys R Us I practiced and practiced until I went in to compete. I NAILED it! I beat all the best scores so far and I stayed there to watch the other kids come in and fail one after another to beat my score. Then the last kid to come in (who was a hunchback, not that it's bad or anything, it just sticks out, ya know?) sat down, got all zen and whooped my score. I was so bummed out. Had I won I would have gone to a state competition in central Illinois. Totally lame.

  • Not only is this game great (duh) but because of this game I will forever know the old number to Nintendo's Hint Hotline. It is just burned in because my buddy and I were trying to find the cape, and everytime you would dial it would be busy. Of course, my friend's phone didn't have redial on it so I would just hang up, and dial again. Over and over and over. The number you ask? 1 (206) 885-7529. I should try dialing it...


  • I went through this wierd phase where any time I was anywhere and saw this cabinet, I would HAVE to get the high score. I never really played this game much until I was 18 or so, but something hit me. I held the high score at my friend's work (Nero's Pizza in Algonquin, IL if you want some good pizza) for a LONG time. But they moved the machine and along with it my score.

  • No real story here, I just really like this game. The Zombie Island DLC is 50% off so I bought it, pretty stoked about that.

  • When I was living in Northern California I bought my first HDTV. I was working at Sears at the time and got a GREAT deal. My girlfriend and I planned a trip to San Fransisco (about 4 hours south of where I was) to see Gogol Bordello play, and I thought to myself, "Hey, this is a great chance to stop at a Best Buy and use my Best Buy credit card to buy a PS3. It took a bit of convising but I was able to stop and scoop one up. So the day after we got back I went down to my Gamestop (we had a Gamestop but no fucking Best Buy) and got this for under $20. I have always been a Mac user (I learned Final Cut in college on a Mac and never looked back) so I never really played any modern PC games. Also, until this point I really haven't played any FPS games since Doom. Half-Life 2 blew my socks right off my ass! I played through all the episodes before even TOUCHING Portal. I sat down to play Portal after dinner one night, and kept telling myself "one more room". Yeah, that was a L-O-N-G night.

  • I feel at this point that if you had a PSOne then this game effected you somehow. I played the SHIT out of this game. This was one of the elite few games that I would fake sick to stay home and play this. I would wake up in the middle of the night, thinking about this game and I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep, so I would pick up my controller and play through the wee morning hours.

  • The opening cinematic of this game still gives me goosebumps. The music is so good. This game also has my favorite skill system (Junctioning and GFs) in a FF game. This time around, I didn't have to fake sick to play this, I would just ditch my last few classes and some home.

  • This game really introduced me to the idea that games can be art. I always could see the art in other games, but this one felt like a watercolor storybook the whole time. Really powerful game.

  • This game is the reason I still own my DS. I was working at Gamestop part-time for a year or so, and one of the guys who I worked with was raving about this game. I popped it in my DS on my next smoke break and was HOOKED. The song list is the real star here. I hated half these songs in real life, but I really got into them here. I really wish more of these games would come out.

  • I tried in the days before RE4 to get into the RE series, but shitty tank controls kept me away. But when RE4 came out I bought it for my Gamecube and played it through a dozen times. Then when it came out on PS2, I bought it am played through it some more. The Wii one, well, I played it. I have since gone back and played the first RE and muscled through the controls and overall I really like it.

  • I have really fond memories of playing this game with my friend Megan. We would sit around, smoke cigarettes, and play Dr. Mario until our eyes stung. My girlfriend and I now play the WiiWare Dr. Mario, where curse words are yelled loudly. I attribute this to the fact that neither of us smoke (sadly) anymore.

  • Yo, I was 12 when this game came out and it said "nudity" on the back of the box. There was boobs in this game, and I was a young boy. Put it together.

  • This game scared me in the way that I wanted RE4 to. There was often feelings of genuine fear while exploring the USS Ishimura, mostly because of the superb sound design,

  • To be honest, I can't remember if it's from Doom or Doom II but there was a level in the game where the elevator doors open up in front of you and there is just a mess of monsters surrounded by explosive barrels. My buddy and I would play that part over and over and over again, just watching demons turn to mush.

  • Ball-Crushingly hard at times, but still really fun, Adventure Island was a game I couldn't play when my mom was home. I would yell curse words at the TV almost all the time. Somehow though, this game based on memorization and reflex turned into one of my go to games as a kid.

  • I had heard of this game in passing for a few years after it's initial release and thought to myself how BORING it sounds. Then I met a girl while in college in Florida who said it was her favorite game and she would really like to show it to me. Fine. We went down to Gamestop and picked up a copy. Within a week, I had bought a GameBoy Advance, tracked down a E-Reader and cards on e-Bay, and was playing that game several times daily.

  • When Guitar Hero first came out, I loved it. But within ten minutes of playing it I knew that I wanted drums damnit. I missed out on the first Rock Band, but when Rock Band 2 came out I wasn't gonna pass it up. Man, I wore out 2 drum sets within a few months. EA replaced them both, which was really nice. I don't have many friends that like to play games like I do so the party function of Rock Band never got to me, but I will sit around and rock out by my lonesome and not feel bad about it at all.

  • I don't really know why, but the first time I played Mass Effect I couldn't get through it. I think it was that the gameplay in the first game was too simple, or something, I don't know. The point is, I didn't finish it. A few years later, I GameFly'd it for a second go around. I remember popping the disc in and telling myself to really pay attention to the story and all the Codex stuff. I did. And once that universe had me, it had me good. I have read Drew Karpyshyn's books, played through both games more than once, and am trying to "S" rank ME2. Im coming for you Vinny!

  • I played the 360 version of this and liked it, but I did most of my Civ playing on my iPhone of all places. As I said before, I've never been a PC gamer, so the other Civ games never got on my radar. But Civ Rev was a random buy on the App Store and I played it and played it and played it. Good stuff.

  • I bought this game the day it released because of Giant Bomb. I played through it a few times, got all the challenge rooms, and loved every minute of it. Then, Giant Bomb started the Achievement tracking system and "S" Ranks came to be. Mother Fucker. I had one achievement left in this game, and it was to get to level 50. That was a bitch, but I am quite proud of my "S" rank.

  • I had a hard time deciding which Burnout game to put on here, Burnout Revenge or this one. I ultimately went with Paradise because of the sheer size of the game. Along with it's DLC (which I haven't purchased all of) there is a TON of game here. I am not a big racing game guy at all, but there is something really satisfying about running fools off the road.

  • As I mentioned before, while I was living in Eureka, California, I bought my PS3, went to Gamestop and bought The Orange Box. While there, I pre-ordered GTA IV. Having played lots of San Andreas, I was excited about this game, but as more and more media was coming out pre-release, I started to count the days before it's launch. This is one of only a few things in my life I have ever gone to a midnight release of. The game certainly didn't disappoint.

  • After playing Half-Life 2, I had a real hunger for story-driven FPS games. I went and rented BioShock while I was on vacation at my parents' house. I didn't really leave the basement much. And this I swear to you, right after the whole "Would you Kindly?" reveal, my mom opened the basement door, and asked "Josh? Would you kindly pick up your sister from school?". The way that game got you sucked into it's world was excellent, and really unforgettable. I was left wanting more, which BioShock 2 delivered.

  • This game was the first time that GameFly actually shipped me out a game on the week of it's release. I played through the single player, anxious to get back into Rapture. And while I agree with most reviews on the game that Rapture doesn't have the same impact the second time around, I still found the unexplored parts of Rapture really interesting. Also, I actually enjoyed the competitive multiplayer, which I hardly ever do because people are cocksuckers.

  • I never played Alien Hominid even though I really wanted to. So when I saw this on XBox Live, I grabbed the demo, and had a blast. My girlfriend saw the game from the other room and seemed into it, so I bought it. We still play this game from time to time, trying to get missed achievements.

  • This and Lumines are my chill out games. If I just wanna sit back and relax, I pop this on and zone out. The music and the flow of the game seems to match with my pulse, and I just play. Also, this was the first downloadable game I bought on a console.

  • This was the "Dark Zelda" I was looking for in Twilight Princess. This game starts out MAD slow, but once it ramps up, and you start collecting all the weapons, it turns into a really great game with great puzzles and level design. I just wish that the story could have been even a little bit compelling.

  • Without question this is the best game on the iPhone. Plus, a sweet, sweet ending.

  • I played the first Assassin's Creed and LOVED it for about 6 hours or so. Then I HATED it. But like most people I really saw the great potential in the gameplay, and when AC2 came out I was really excited that such glowing reviews were coming out. I bought this game with some money I had on a Sears gift card as a part of a class-action suit. When I worked at Sears as a commission only salesman, we were often not given lunch breaks, and we were paid on a draw vs. commission scale. All that stuff was BULLSHIT, so there was a suit settled and I got a decent amount of money from it.

  • Man, for a "family" game, this game makes me swear more than any other game ever. I'll miss by one goddamn peg and scream swears I didn't know I had in me.

  • Back before the Interweb was as widespread as it is today, demos weren't downloaded, they were distributed on a disc. The local Circuit City gave out demo discs for this game a month or so before it's release, and my friend and I went and grabbed one. All that was playable was the Warehouse level with your choice of either Tony Hawk (lame) or Kareem Campbell, and only one song that played: Goldfinger's "Superman". We played that demo day in and day out for months. The game was released, but we were all satisfied playing the free demo over and over again. It got to the point where we would be handing the controller off to see who could get the most points in 2 minutes, and whoever won did so by a margin of just a few thousand points. Man, good times...

  • I was unemployed when this game came out, and good thing too. I never got any of the DLC, which bums me out, but I'll get there. This was the game that led me to GiantBomb, and for that, I am grateful.

  • I never beat this game, but it is still one of my favorites. It was like a dream come true for a zombie movie guy like myself. Throwing teddy bears at zombies up against the second floor railing, and watching them fall was one of the best things ever. That and the parking garage. I need this game again. So good.

  • My first real exposure to the great Nolan North. Nuff said.

  • They really took the first game and ran with it. So good. This was released the week that my girlfriend's best friend from California was visiting here in Chicago. Since my girlfriend isn't a native here, I was the tour guide. But any chance I got to sit and play, I took. And when we were at the Shedd Aquarium looking at cool shit, I was thinking about playing this. I got into trouble though...

  • My friend Jon isn't too much of a gamer, but the games he does like he plays all the time. This is one of them. We could pop this into his NES and play game after game after game, almost always ending with him creaming me. The few times I beat him though... sweetest taste of victory ever. Smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, and playing Baseball Stars 2. Good times.

  • My Grandpa was always a early adopter of technology. He bought the first pocket calculator for hundreds of dollars. Also, he bought a NES when I was a wee lad, and along with it, he bought Casino Kid (awesome game) and Gun.Smoke. Besides the usual dollar I would get for visiting my grandparents, I would find excuses to stay the night in their apartment so I could stay up and play this. I with this would release on Virtual Console...

  • This was the first game that my girlfriend and I played through together start to finish. Not without lot and lots of cursing though.

  • I first bought a GameCube when I moved to Florida for college, and this was the first game I gt for it. Since I moved into my apartment a month before classes started, it allowed me to lay in bed with my ashtray and my Wavebird and play the fuck out of this game.

  • Once my family got a NES this was my go to game. My dad was a Mario guy, but Zelda was more my speed. I remember going to the library and finding a old issue of Nintendo Power with a game map in it and redrawing it to bring it home and play.

  • My friend Joe had this game on his NES, but it was hooked up in his parents' bedroom so they could regulate his playtime. Whenever he was granted time to play, he could call me and I would run over to his house and we would play this. We always got our asses kicked though...

  • This was one of my local arcade quarter-suckers. None of my buddies were into this game, so I would go it alone, never getting past the second stage.

  • I was always a basement dweller when I lived with my parents. We moved when I was 12 and there was this small room in the basement with no windows that became my bedroom. I got a used Dreamcast some time after it's release, and this and Crazy Taxi came home with me. Crazy Taxi was you know, Crazy Taxi, but Because of the lack of windows in my room, I would play Shenmue through the night and not even realize it. It's too bad Shenmue 2 wasn't so good...

  • Not a lot of peeps know about this game, but it was great. Well, great when I was 9. My family had a Apple IIGS, so we had Accolade Golf and, well, Accolade golf. My friend Joey's dad however, had a IBM something-or-other, and this game. If you haven't played this game, you must. It has aged horribly, but in a hilarious way.

  • My ex-girlfriend was a big DDR player when I met her, and I thought she was a dork because of it. One day I let her drag me to the local arcade in Winter Park and she had me play with her. I was hooked, and we went on a DDR bender for almost 2 years. There was even this "hand DDR' game that I can't remember the name of that was awesome. We bought the fancy DDR mats and everything. Once Guitar Hero came out my rhythm game need was filled, so DDR faded away. I would still like to go to a arcade and play it some though...

  • This was the only NES game that my whole family could play. My dad and I could play Mario together, but Mom can't do it. We would spend a night every once in a while playing this, until we memorized all the puzzles. Fun game though.

  • I doubt there are many gamers out there that wouldn't have this game on their list. I was the first of my friends to get this, and would have people over almost every weekend to play and eat chicken nuggets and french fries. The smell of Jewel brand chicken nuggets in the oven remind me of this game big time.

  • I was at my friend Jon's house and went through his NES games and found this gem in a shoebox. He said he had hardly played it and it sucked, which prompted me to blow off the cart and pop it in. We played that game for something like 4 hours, had a blast, and never played it again. You grab women by their ankles and see how far you can throw them in this game...WHAT!?

  • I was probably 5 when I tried playing this game. I played it a bunch, but I never got very far, mostly because I was a damn kid. But it certainly holds a place in my heart.

  • I had so much fun "playing" this game as a kid. I never really did anything other than fuck around with the blob until I was out of jellybeans, then hit the reset button and start all over.

  • So simple yet so much fun. My ex-girlfriend insisted that we buy this game, and I couldn't understand what was so cool about this game. It took about 30 seconds for me to figure it out once we got home. That game is bananas! It was a real bonding thing with me and her, which was nice too.

  • There is this small resturaunt chain in Chicagoland called Hackney's. Fucking great burgers (Dark rye instead of a bun. Trust me.), bricks (literally) of baked onion rings, and most importantly, a tiny "arcade". The room was about 20 x 6 and had a change machine, a Neo Geo cabinet, Cruisin' USA, and The Simpsons. As soon as we would walk in the door I would ask my parents for quarters, and disappear until the food got to the table. This game will forever smell like onion rings to me. Mmmmmmmmmmm...

  • Another game that I identify with my dad. He would play this game loads, and I would sit and watch as he would slowly progress with each sitting, eventually getting to the upside-down stage, and losing each time. I could never beat that either.

  • This is the first game that me and my current girlfriend played all the way through together. She gets SUPER nervous and has mini panic attacks when we are surround by "zombies", which cracks me up. But she kept on playing to the end and enjoyed it.

  • I never actually owned this game. When the N64 was out, they had a kiosk at the local Circuit City, and my friend Dave and myself would walk the 45 minute walk from my parents' house to there to play.

  • Really, it's the arcade version of this game that I have fond memories of. When I was 15-16, I worked at a small theme park called Santa's Village, and they had this in one of their arcades. I would go play this before, after, and sometimes during my shift all the time. Fucking Offspring is ruined for me though...

  • This is the only "game" that I can play with my mom, and she always kicks my ass.

  • At the Gameworks near my house there was a "special edition" of this game that made it richeous. You and one other person get into the machine, sit on a bench and get strapped in. There are 2 screens, one in front of you and one behind you. The bench you are on swings back and forth VERY QUICKLY between both screens. Plus they had other neat effects like rumble and wind gusts. Crazy fun.

  • My dad was one of the guys who would memorize the ghost patterns when he was a teenager, so he is crazy good at this game. I suck at it, but I would watch him play it all the time as a kid.

  • Isn't this game on everyone's list? My friend Joey and I would play this game every time I went to his house, and somehow we never managed to beat Mike Tyson. Fucker.

  • When I went to Florida for college, I bought a Gamecube and got Windwaker and this. I was so immersed in this world and was really amazed by the overall world. One of the best games I have ever played.