My Top 250 Games

Note:

1-5 are absolute entries. They are ordered by preference.

6-25 are in no order other than being in that group, or "tier".

26-50 are in no order other than being in that tier (worse than 1-25, better than 51-75 group)

This pattern repeats for every group of 25 entries. Lists are not absolute and are subject to change.

List items

  • A deep, rich, fulfilling fantasy that remains unparalleled to this day.

  • Linear game design done right. No, done perfectly.

  • The right balance of style, sleaze, self-awareness, and strategy that makes for a solid shooter, engrossing pulp, and an attention to detail that rewards return players. Furthermore, it develops a rich character out of a cliched archetype.

  • CS 1.5 and CS: Source are my favourite of the franchise, but I love 1.6 and GO as well. The franchise counts as a "game" to me because they're all essentially the same. The formula is so air-tight with uber-precise balancing and game/level design that it can only get worse with change. A healthy customization community giving birth to some of the best maps ever (fy_iceworld, de_rats) elevates the game, and the community, as something unseen anywhere else.

  • An awe-inspiring game both in its sheer scope and it's brilliantly nuanced story that is told with minimal dialogue and set-pieces. It's a story about helplessness, and it's a game where the bosses also serve as the dungeon and the challenge is both in solving their puzzle, as well as finding your confidence as a player - it's a psychological experience and a challenge of willpower. Endlessly frustrating, endlessly rewarding.

  • Double. Barrelled. Shotgun.

  • Falls deeper into the madness and tragedy of Max Payne and explores even more intimate and dramatic elements of his persona and motivations. A powerful sequel.

  • I never much cared for Kojima's rambling cutscenes and nonsensical plot and characters, but he has always had an amazing ability to leave me with an impression of emotion. Anyone who has played MGS3 might not remember the convoluted details of the story, but they will certainly remember the masterful final boss battle that robs you of the classic sense of achievement for a sense of melancholy. The "Subsistence" version also makes a lot of excellent improvements on the game design.

  • I never got into the deep mythology of the Warcraft universe, but I still was constantly captivated by the breadth and detail of the world. In the early "vanilla" days of WoW exploring new regions and finding unexpected situations was most of the fun. Even without the story, the level of immersion created by Blizzard was staggering and the detail of the social system made it feel like a living, united world. I had not played an MMO before, and haven't since because none have captured that spark of life that WoW has.

  • Mature, elegant storytelling that doesn't forget to paint the atmosphere on thick. One of the most inventive, original, and eerie titles I have ever played remains one of the most fully realized game experiences ever. A Lovecraftian sci-fi fantasy that was hard to not play again, and again, and again.

  • Instagib. Low gravity. Flak Cannon. M-m-m-monster kill!

  • Aside from the brain-splitting screech that comes out of Baby Mario's horrid mouth whenever he is separated from Yoshi, Super Mario World 2 remains one of the boldest entries in the main Mario franchise offering a vastly different take on gameplay (which makes Mario Bros. 2 look practically ordinary by comparison). Even it's visual style is beautiful, which unfortunately didn't translate to Yoshi's Story.

  • Not having played much of the first two games, Fallout 3's immerse first-person take on a post-apocalyptic world felt massively satisfying in its dedication to its theme. Scavenging and laying low are the keys to the game, evaluating your situation and being careful about who you trust. The authentic feel of the wasteland journey is coupled with an endless supply of hugely memorable characters who stand out because they aren't trying to be tough or gritty, but because they are eccentric, as you'd expect given the circumstances. Fallout 3 looks and feels grungy, but also finds fun in the end of the world.

  • The darkest Zelda has all of the problems and rewards that come with such a title. Mostly rewards. It's controversial gameplay system isn't for everyone but the looping clock puts on ominous tone over the whole game. Watching an evil moon slowly close in on a town of dour, doomed people whom you get to know, yet they never really get to know you gets under the players skin and leaves a creepy impression that no other Zelda game has ever achieved.

  • A surprisingly deep fighter with a unique approach to gameplay, a brilliant cast, and staple N64 multiplayer.

  • Defines the concept of silent protagonist and introduced a generation of games to the idea of smart level design.

  • The result of ambition and dedication, 1942 not only finally made millions of dreams come true with its large servers, larger maps, and endless supply of vehicles and weaponry, but its mod support allowed for brilliant total conversions keeping the game alive for far longer than it had any right to. The sheer size and complexity of each map ensured that no two matches would ever be even remotely alike.

  • Building on the solid-gold concept of Goldeneye 007, Rare reminded us "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but added on, "just tweak it". Perfect Dark felt more refined, detailed, and impressive than 007, even today it holds up in many ways Goldeneye cannot. Perfect Dark's early implementation of bots and other then-ambitious concepts like disarming enemies and subduing enemies showed a masterclass studio in top form.

  • Call of Duty's immersion exceeded its competition, but it was the pacing that really sealed the deal. Switching between militaries to show the war on a wider, more complete scale, Call of Duty would alternate between intense urban operations, to rural areas, to quieter infiltration, to the sheer spectacle and anarchy of major battles such as Stalingrad. Operating as both terrific entertainment and terrific history, Call of Duty was an early success in capturing the history and brutality of war.

  • While it's a bit archaic now, the morality system of KotOR was unheard of for its time. The complexity of your decisions and the wide, far reaching ramifications rippled through the game and left an impression of true power to the player. I still feel like my actions in KotOR have more effect on the world of the game than most games today, who all try to shove the same concept down our throats.

  • There was nothing else like Portal, and there still is nothing quite like it. It's nerdy, logic based humor provided good fun for the smart puzzles that made the game both accessible and engrossing. The masterstroke, however, was the brilliantly paced reveal of a true story and larger world behind the extremely simple puzzle concept.

  • I'm not much of a racing fan but the simple thrill of Burnout 3 and it's detailed crash physics made it a blast to play and it's well designed controls and tracks made it more than a simple gimmick.