My Favorite Games: An Evolving List

This was very difficult to try and put the games in any type of a ranking order. Here it is; basically my favorite games from the past 30 years.

List items

  • Takes everything that Demon's Souls had accomplished and improved upon it. A deeper more horrific atmosphere to heighten the tension of looming death that was possible around every turn in a brilliantly intertwined world made Dark Souls' environments even more petrifying than its predecessor. Its perfected tweaks combine with prior excellence to make this the greatest dungeon crawler to date.

  • Sci-fi brilliance met with role-playing intelligence to create my favorite story ever told in gaming. Compelling, awe inspiring, and intense-- the story of Commander Shepard will be one that I never forget. I entered the game fumbling in ignorance and exited a champion of every race that spans the Milky Way Galaxy, I was in love.

  • 100+ characters to join your team, six-man group turn-based combat with mix-matching special abilities, RTS-like war battles, and one-on-one duels come together in my favorite JRPG ever to propel you through what is possibly the greatest character-driven story ever told in gaming.

  • Action-RPG...ever heard of it? This was it, this was the action RPG that would start it all for me and many games to follow. I fought through the randomly generated dungeon of Tristram to the fiery depths of Hell to do battle with the devil itself. Do you need to know more?

  • Tactics, fog of war, eerie, masterpiece; these are the words that enter mind when X-COM is given voice.

  • Spells, secrets, mythical foes, gear, demonic pets, and of course Dracula. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is possibly the greatest 2d side-scrolling adventure ever created. Taking the brilliance of the past and smoothly incorporating it with the Castlevania mythos to ingrain its name along side genre defining characteristic for all games to follow. Like the title of "Rogue-like", the term "Metroidvania" lets the player understand the feelings the genre will stir and gives absent but associated context to draw upon past master executions of this genre and style type which was born in Metroid but was perfected here.

  • Baldur's Gate II took everything it learned from the first game and brought forth the apex of group team-based pen and paper RPGs.

  • Deep and methodical; Wizardry 8 was the last entry to a disband development company and thankfully it was their swan song and a masterwork.

  • Legend of Grimrock took old-school dungeon crawling ideas and brought them seamlessly into new-age technologies and game concepts while also maintaining what made and still makes those old-school classics so great. Lite on story and heavy on atmosphere, the Legend of Grimrock played it just right with a healthy balance of puzzles and combat. To top off that beautiful RPG cake, developer Almost Human made one of the most perfect final boss encounters which complemented the principles of the genre and title brilliantly.

  • Minimalistic bliss. Tetris is possibly the most simple concept ever conceived for a puzzle game, but is one of the founding fathers of the genre. Who would have thought that one of the most renown villains of all time would be an "L" shape?

  • Took one of my favorite franchises of all time and brought it into the 3d generation and still managed to retain the brilliant features that made the game Metroid. Beyond keeping the same mentality and immersions as the originals the game also beautifully merged execution and art of carefully realized details. Yes, Samus' bones could be seen pulling the trigger in her gun-arm when X-ray vision was on. The Prime series is simply amazing.

  • After learning from the first Witcher, CD Project RED had made one of the greatest action-RPGs ever created with the second installment. The action was nearly on par with games that had perfected and revolved solely around combat--like Demon's Souls-- while also delivering one of the finest and most erudite narratives to grace any genre in years. Truly a mature game for people seeking intricacy and sophistication.

  • One of the fist of it's kind; especially when it came down to breaking its way into the "mainstream" gaming community. Morrowind supported some breathtaking visuals and a stunning amount of content while retaining a fantastically deep Role-playing game.

  • Old-school and hardcore in a time in desperate need of challenging gamers that have grown older with years and more experienced only to have games that did not follow the trend. Demon's Souls was finally there to answer...and it answered by killing you. Unique online features and interactions coupled with a very flexible character development system make this one of the greatest Action-RPGs ever.

  • Cut the fat off and make a brilliant game through every aspect, this I would aim to guess was the developer's goal when they set out to make Shadow of the Colossus...and they surpassed those standards with flying colors.

  • Shunned as the bastard child of Zelda; the Wind Waker is one of my favorite games to ever grace the Nintendo systems. I simply feel bad for the people who could not get past the "kiddy" vibe of the aesthetic and take part in what could be the best Zelda game ever.

  • Genre defining and superbly crafted: Super Metroid will go down in the annals of history as one of the best 2d side-scrollers of all time. This game brought puzzle solving, secret corridors, and action together in a way never seen before and would influence some great games to follow.

  • What a franchise. Post-apocalyptic America might seem cliche' or over done by today's standards, but back when Fallout debuted the atmosphere and attitude of this game was a breath of fresh air. Oh yeah, and it was a fairly brilliant tactical game.

  • Diablo II took everything from the first game and made it even better. Action dungeon crawling on a much larger scale with deep amounts of loot, skill trees, rune-word systems, and many more classes make this still one of the most active online games to this very day even a decade after its release.

  • If you don't like Mega Man you can just fuck off, go back to being a Nazi or something. (insert NES mega man sound bit)

  • Balance. Guild Wars exuded equal measures to ensure player-skill was the defining outcome to victory and not poorly developed systems that favored different classes which were a mainstay in the MMO genre intended to be played with multiple people and classes, but never seems to find balance. Guild Wars did not suffer from this enigma. Instead, Guild Wars tipped the scales to show it could be done flawlessly.

  • Fantastically unique setting and narrative made this one of the most memorable games to ever be released on the PC. An extremely deep game through story and combat.

  • Easily...without question, A Link to the Past is the game that I have beaten and played through more times than any other game...ever. Dimension shifting, action, vibrant world, secrets every where begging to be discovered, and of course Link, Zelda, and Gannon all come together to make one of the finest games STILL to this very day. There are not many games that you can put in 15 years later and still thoroughly enjoy even after the tech has surpassed the mechanics.

  • Awful interfacing but one of the most satisfying tactical pen and paper RPGs to ever be release, period. If you like games like Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Dragon Age, Planescape, or anything of the sort you should play this intensely difficult and challenging yet rewarding RPG.

  • It might not look like much now and the voice acting may sound quite terrible today, but holy shit did this game scare the crap out of me when I was younger. Resident Evil practically invented survival horror and almost hasn't done it better since the original. The action may have improved, but I doubt the terror I felt when walking through the mansion will ever be relived. Itchy...tasty

  • Jumping, head-stomping, and shroom consumin; Mario Brothers are up there with icons like Jesus and Micheal Jackson. If you don't know what these two guys are all about then I am going to need you to slap yourself...good...again.

  • Dragon Age: Origins brought some classic strategic gameplay and molded it with some strong modern conventions to create one of the greatest group time-stopping tactical experiences which was also immersive and absorbing through its amazingly realized fantasy universe.

  • The game that achieved a thoughtful framed narrative where Dragon Age II's story failed and continued to improve over its predecessor...also something DA2 failed at. Completely under the radar-- with most likely less than .001% of the world population who've actually played it-- it is a shame that this aesthetically beautiful pen and paper four-man group RPG wasn't received as well as it should have been.

  • Simply brimming with beautiful vistas to explore, dungeons to traverse, and interesting tales to become part of-- Skyrim is one of the greatest 'sandbox' RPGs ever made, if not the. This is the type of game that makes you excited for what the Elder Scrolls will have in-store for us next because, even though brilliance can be seen while playing, the mind can't help but imagine what amazing improvements can be made with intelligent gameplay systems of Skyrim.

  • A masterpiece of a game that meshes every medium of art that video games cover into one beautiful package. An old-school point-n-click adventure at heart, but a new-school nod to the past while paving way to the future of the 2d renaissance. Brilliant score, brilliant story, brilliant visuals, brilliance.

  • This game...this game really made me feel like I had missed something special by over looking the original Deus Ex games. In retro spec i can definitely understand how revolutionary that game would have been when it first released because this game's style, attitude, and universe is simply stunning and flexible to a degree of astonishment.

  • World of Diablocraft - You can really tell that basically the only 'new' title Blizzard has worked on in the past decade is World of Warcraft, much of Warcraft's mechanics and feel have worked their way into D3. Like, D3's vibrant new aesthetics that are complemented by animations and sounds that are simply amazing. D3, like D2, really puts the 'action' in action-rpg and it barrows A LOT from it's WoW MMO sibling. It doesn't feel like the dungeon crawler that spawned the franchise, but it does feel like a vastly superior version of D2.

  • Trapdoors, rockets, demons, and sawed-off shotguns all take a vacation on the lovely holiday planet of Mars to make one of the most iconic FPSers ever rendered.

  • Took the idea of Diablo and transformed its rudimentary features to fit its own to create something not completely derivative while also not being completely innovative, but ultimately made a great impression on me.

  • Mass Effect 3 showed that BioWare had been making Mass Effect games for 6+ years by displaying ME3 as a game that brought the best that 1 & 2 had to offer and mashed them into a single experience. It wasn't the best game under BioWare's belt or the best of the trilogy, but the gameplay was spot-on and it was a great send off for the characters you'd came to love, hate, and admire across the previous games.

  • Acclaimed by some and spat upon by others, Mass Effect 2 departed a bit from its roots and streamlined many features and RPG elements to give the game a feeling like that of an RPG version of Gears of War to the effect of a game that felt more like it was about the action than its predecessor. I felt as though it was not more about the action than its predecessor as it was simply better at it.

  • One of the best Tactics Chess-like games ever created. Very difficult and painfully more deep with character creation and profession progression. I seriously spent WAY too long creating samurais and ninjas to fight alongside my Knights, bards, squires, fire mages, red chocobos, and many many other possible class combinations to make every encounter in this game a unique one.

  • Group team-based pen and paper-style RPG at its finest. Extremely well-written story and tactically thought provoking combat situations made me return on more than one occasion to this realm never to be forgotten again.

  • This (now) classic role-playing game has a vast world and it was beautifully detailed. Although the game broke from tradition, with only allowing human teammates, it was still the best entry into the MnM franchise still to this day.

  • What a great collaborative effort of different artistic ideas and their execution into one single fantastic FPS-RPG. Borderlands' style and gameplay are so unique that this franchise is unmistakable when looking through the packed crowd of mediocre FPSers of our current gaming industry. It stands head and shoulders above many others with its artistic style, kabagizillion guns, and interesting characters backed by their individual RPG elements for each. The world and its NPCs were very interesting but the ending was a total letdown. Oh yeah, and the multiplayer with friends is a blast.

  • Mega man X took the greatness of the normal Mega Man conventions-- like elemental bosses and themed stages--and borrowed from games like Metroid to create an up-grade system to enhance your already mega Mega Man.

  • Wow, did this cloak under the radar. What a fantastically stuffed with interesting content action-RPG. Aimed toward my level of challenging difficulty in games and brimming with a rich world with combat that makes you wish enemies would respawn just so you could kill them all over again. The size and scope of an MMO with none of the shallow nature, Divinity II is an awesome RPG if you get past some wonky craftsmanship.

  • This game was the first game I ever remember playing that was like a PC game for a console. Completely inspired by Might and Magic and it completely inspired me to love RPGs for the rest of my days.

  • Diablo "clone" meets sandbox? Hells yeah I want some pudding. I really have no idea what that means. The game was seriously awesome though. A handful of different classes, unique way of combining and using skills, and a rich world detailed and difficult to explore are all things that made Sacred a Diablo "clone" that strangely must have had completely different DNA, because this clone's similarities were only skin deep.

  • Futurist mech combat was nothing new, but Front Mission 3 made great use of appendage destruction, tactical advancement, and huge robot custiomization to etch this game into my memory as one of the finest grid-based tactical games I ever had the privilege of piloting a mech through.

  • Though the franchise would latter dwindle as it became older; the beginning years of Tenchu were amongst some of the finest stealth games had to offer. I don't think I've ever slit this many throats in one game. "Echigoya...where have you hidden?"

  • Everyone is up in arms about Final Fantasy 7, Chrono Trigger, or Secret of Mana as Squaresoft's best title, but I think this was one of Squaresoft's finest games. Sadly it was barely noticed as it was one of the last titles to be seen on Playstation One and was overshadowed by the new release of PS2 several months prior.

  • This game felt like a dark, bloody version of Zelda. Although it was plagued with extremely long and frequent load times, Blood Omen was one of my favorite action adventure games to be created on Playstation or any other system and strangely blurred the line between adventure and RPG with game quirks like armor types, weapons, and a slew of different spells for offensive and functional puzzle solving use.

  • A strange game that found it a place between turn-based combat and action. Story driven and an interesting introduction to the Witcher's universe and its main protagonist Geralt-- The Witcher was a masterful work by first-time developer CD Projekt RED.

  • A fantastic expansion to the George R.R. Martin fantasy universe. The gameplay and aesthetics were only decent, but the story was truly unique and is one of my favorite narratives to ever unfold from any game ever. Fantastic story aside, gameplay and visuals made GoT feel like the poor man's Witcher, but what it lacked in presentation it was rich in substance.

  • High octane and unique, games like Bastion tell me that the contemporary systems of "Arcade" can produce some fantastic and stunning video games. I never got my hands on Limbo, but Bastion is the first game that made me really, really respect the "arcade" game.

  • One of the greatest combat systems ever rendered which also makes you feel like a master of the martial and flow of assault is your tool-- you are Batman!!! The game also took unique elements from the storied Batman franchise and brought them to life and some were re-invented in brilliant ways while giving it a dark tone so sorely needed to breathe true life into the Batman mythos.

  • This game had some of the best villains of all time and broke the "fourth wall" in ways never seen before to create an involving and intimate connection with the player. It also brought about some of the best stealth and covert mechanics ever conceived for the time and paved the way for many other modern classics.

  • This is simply a stupendous RPG. The Summoner franchise is one I would love to see return, but with the company devoted to much more successful titles like Saints Row and Red Faction-- which both involve shooting guns-- I doubt I'll ever see Summoner on store shelves again. Which is a sad day indeed because Summoner was such a far departure from what was standard RPG-fare of the time and created a unique place amongst console games to create what was usually a deep CRPG experience and brought it multiple platforms and did it just as well, if not better, than its computer counterpart.

  • Every pile of bones to every little wall-switch, you had to consider your every movement in Eye of the Beholder. This was one of the first "3d" games I had ever played. For it's time it was a treturous dungeon crawler and the animations were amazing.

  • Click, click, awesome. This game brought sci-fi RTS into the mainstream and landed it roots in the hearts of fans to create one of the greatest RTS ever made. But...you probably already know about this game.

  • Western revenge tale at its finest. The ending blew me away and everything in between was a delight to empty my revolvers at along the way to see it come to conclusion. This game also took an evolutionary step in production and voice acting quality.

  • Nintendo wanted to make an RPG and of course they have to throw in Mario to make it not appear as though they were making a new IP. Thankfully it turned out to be a really great game.

  • Simply fantastic game. Surprise enemy encounters that were normal for JRPGs of the time but with action-based real-time fundamentals that made it standout in the crowd. A cool futuristic tale didn't hurt either.

  • This game continued to capture the feelings that Blood Omen had exuded with the idea of a dark Zelda-like game, but no longer blurred the line between action adventure and RPG in the same way Blood Omen had, but was still a fantastic game that involved puzzle solving and shifting the fabric of space and dimension in a combat intensive soul-drinking good time as a different protagonist Raziel.

  • Amazing universe and compelling RTS. Warhammer's Dark Omen was a fantastic game and brought a fully realized story that was interesting to a fantasy driven real-time strategy.

  • This game caught me by surprise. After a long time away from a game that even resembled Tenchu I decided to give it another shot. Wow, did I judge this book's cover wrong. I expected something shallow and mindless, but was extremely satisfied with the purchase and enjoyed the entire neck-stabbing adventure to the end with a character driven tale about the interconnectivity between the Renaissance, modern day, and the "real truth" behind the origin of mankind.

  • 2d exploration and big bobble-headed 3d turn-based combat come together to make this one of my favorite JRPG ever to leave the shores of the land of the rising sun.

  • This game was on the tongue of every conservative mother in the early 90s. Not only was it extremely graphic for its time but it was also a very good fighting game. Mortal Kombat took Street Fighters place in my heart because of its mature nature and far superior mythology.

  • Okay, so the first Tekken blew me away. The first time I saw Law run up a guy then do the flip in the air and land on them I was literally jaw-dropped. BUT, Tekken 2...Tekken 2 was simply amazing. Vastly superior graphics and the moves got really in depth with more people than simply King with alternate characters who were able to string together special abilities.

  • I used to frequent arcades quite a bit and street fighter is what started it all for me. At least the compulsion aspects of it. This game literally and figuratively drove me to the local arcade to get some face-time with others to I could try my best to kick their ass.

  • The first Twisted Metal was okay, but the second one was pretty amazing. It support button combos similar to special moves in that of a fighting game and was lush with secrets and Easter eggs all over its fantastic levels to do battle.

  • Fantastic modern hack'n slash that takes you to a fantasy realm that allowed you to rip through its villains along with a friend to amplify the enjoyment which was a much welcome feature.

  • Before Guitar Hero and other repetition-memorization games there was PUNCH-OUT!! Remembering bout mechanics and character specials was key to survival and the outlandishly goofy/stereotypical mannerisms of the characters was funny and made combat a blast to take part in when facing monstrous men as your 108 lbs Little Mac would chip away at their health.

  • I absolutely loved this game. I am an ENORMOUS Predator fan and this game probably would not find its way onto too many other people's lists if they were a fan to begin with, but I thought it was a really good RTS nonetheless. Each different race brought it's own unique aspect to gameplay and some missions felt like they were a bit like a Baldur's Gate-type game because you would control an elite small group of Predators to carry-out an entire mission. Simply one of my favorite RTSes ever made.

  • Though I loved each Armored Core game prior to Masters of the Arena, this one found a special place in my heart. Labeled as one of the worst the series has ever received from an anti-critical acclaim, it was my favorite in the franchise. A second disc to be solely an arena mode made me take part in this game long after I had worked my way through the corporation-driven main campaign.

  • Fable is somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me, especially as future installments would continually dumbdown and meander away from the best aspects that made the original such a compelling game and, instead, seemed to focus on aspects that made Fable seem to not know what type of game it wants to be. All of that being said though...I still really enjoy them, but they could be something that is so much more.

  • Top-down murdering and theft at its finest. Sure it didn't have rape scenes or helicopters, but this game was fun as hell. I don't think I've ever had more fun shooting people with little Pacman pellets from a stick gun.

  • This game ran at like...I want to say something like thirty two thousand frames per-second or something like that. I simply loved this game, nothing of the time was its equal. Super fast-paced and eyebleeding awesomeness made this one of my favorite FPSers ever. Oh yeah, and is there a better way to make sense of the use of Tommy Guns and laser beams in the same game than a time traveling storyline?

  • I never owned an N64 but man did I spend a TON of time playing this game with friends. Besides that, the main story was pretty fantastic and shockingly stayed very close to some of the happenings of the movie which was pretty crazy at the time.

  • This game was a pleasant surprise. I had just gotten my wisdom teeth taken out and was going to be out of commission for a few days. I picked-up this game based off of nothing and relied solely on the compulsion of a whim. One of the few times I had ever been rewarded for an "impulse purchase". This was one of the best third-person shooters I have ever played and I thought the story and settings were pretty great.

  • Zelda Mega Man anyone? Yes, please.

  • Zaney two-on-two basketball action. Windmill slams, 1080 spin dunks, and even Bill Clinton could be one of your teammates. NBA JAM was simply a blast and fun to play with friends.

  • Tecmo Bowl was an amazing top-down 2d football game and introduced this style which would create the foundation for all following football games for almost two more decades. I believe Gameday 98 was the last two-dimensional and NFL 2k being the last one I'd ever play all together.

  • Definitely had some issues, but I thoroughly enjoyed this unique tale of modern espionage.