My Favorite Games

This is a list made to outline my very favorite games ever. Obviously this is my personal list, and there's no attempt at objectivity whatsoever.

Also, these are ordered by release date, not by preference.

List items

  • The writing, the characters, the atmosphere of the world, and the way the story unfolds are all way above normal video game standards in FF6. The epic journey that you embark on is paced well and is satisfying in its conclusion in a way that a lot of other games struggle with. Even though everything about this game is great, the cast of characters shines through as it’s strongest point, because every one of them is interesting and endearing in a unique way.

  • Mario RPG was my first experience with the genre, and seeing as how I claim RPGs as my favorite type of game, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this is in my list of top games. Even though it’s sort of silly and dumb, this game is charming in all the right ways. Mario RPG works in a typically complicated genre by being simple and excellent, while still containing enough content to keep players occupied for a good while. Also, any game where Bowser is playable is great in my book.

  • Mario 64 has the scope to match just about any other game of its time, and does it with essentially one character and practically no dialogue. Finding every star in Peach’s castle took you to strange and hostile worlds full of mountains, lakes, volcanoes, deserts, and always danger. The basic gameplay is simple and crisp, and the level design is still top notch compared to any game from any era. I’ve completed this game fully multiple times, and I’ve always enjoyed it.

  • If Goldeneye wasn’t the first FPS I ever played, it was certainly pretty close. That being said, I think the basic design of the game was so good that it didn’t matter whether the actual shooting was super refined, which by today’s standards it isn’t. The levels in Goldeneye were small enough and could be completed on multiple difficulties, so I ended up memorizing the whole game - the idea of varying your mission objectives based on difficulty is a design that I believe is severely underused in gaming.

  • FF7 has some of the highest points in gaming to me. From when you first leave Midgar, to Aeris’ death scene, to your ultimate triumph over Sephiroth, this game is all about memorable moments. In explosive and also subtle and complex ways, the plot of FF7 is one of the most interesting and memorable things I’ve experienced. With a tremendous sense of scope and complex interactions between the game’s characters, this is a game that is incredibly fun to experience the first time, and still carries enough weight below the surface to give returning players something great as well.

  • This is the only Castlevania game that I really ever got into, but I sure did get into it. Beating this game the first time was like an introduction, and I soon found myself playing through the entire game during a weekend, trying to explore every last inch of that castle. I really don’t know what it was specifically about this game in particular, but it grabbed me in a really powerful way, and I just wanted to find more secrets, gain more levels, and then do it all again.

  • With a compelling sci-fi setting and cast of characters, as well as a near limitless amount of entertainment to be found in the multiplayer, Starcraft is a real masterpiece of strategy games. The balance between the three very distinct races is a thing of beauty, and with the inclusion of the map creator and Battle.Net, there were really no boundaries.

  • Experiencing Pokemon for the first time is something I wish I could do again. The sense of excitement and discovery as you explore the world, finding strange creatures with different properties and abilities is just awesome. The concepts that drive Pokemon to greatness are simplistic, but still something you can’t find anywhere else, and of course it is executed extremely well.

  • I have so many things to say about Ocarina that it’s difficult to find a way to put it all together. It boasts a massive and detailed 3D world full of characters, monsters, hidden areas, items, puzzles, and minigames. The back and forth between the overworld and the game’s various dungeons is simply great, but allows the player the freedom to explore at every point, and the puzzles and level design are among the best out there.

  • While Star Wars to me is a lot about the Force and the Jedi, Rogue Squadron exists completely away from that, focusing on the starships and epic space battles of the Star Wars universe. Piloting the iconic ships from the movies across the galaxy in this game is extremely fun and challenging. I still don’t think I got gold medals on all the levels, but it sure wasn’t for lack of trying.

  • I love this game’s style, characters, and combat system, and bad translations aside, the writing and overall plot are also quite good. Really, this is a game that stands out as doing what made JRPGs so great during its time, and even taking it a step further. With a large cast that can change based on how you play, two whole planets worth of content, and a legitimately epic endgame side challenge in the Cave of Trials, Star Ocean 2 is one of my favorite RPGs ever.

  • The first Age of Empires was (probably?) my first RTS, and AOE 2 took everything from that and made it better. I enjoyed the campaign scenarios a good bit, but really had the most fun playing multiplayer games against the AI. Building a fortress of walls and towers and then coming out with a massive force to wipe out your enemies was pure awesome. Also, trebuchets.

  • What stands out to me about Perfect Dark is the multiplayer options available. Up to 4 players, some large number of potential AI “bots” that had a range of behavior options and difficulties, and customizable weapons to find on every map, you could create some pretty wacky games. The gameplay was basically a slightly refined version of Goldeneye, but the multiplayer (also co-op and counter-op campaign modes) gave the experience something really special.

  • Diablo 2 includes a wide variety of classes and character builds, large areas to explore across varying environments, and of course the ever present “loot lust”. The idea that the next monster you break open will spit out something amazing is a powerful motivator, and that constant sense of progression is just plain addictive.

  • Halo had a whole lot going for it when it debuted. A pretty well imagined sci-fi setting, well thought out controls, vehicle combat, and enemies that were varied and interesting to fight (well, most of them). Playing through this game across all difficulties with and without a co-op buddy was a great experience for me, and even though the multiplayer was pretty bare bones, I still got some enjoyment out of it.

  • Smash Bros. Melee took the goofy formula from the 64 version and made it a truly fantastic game. The basic fighting mechanics are so simple, yet have plenty of depth. This is a game that you can always improve at, and at the same time is a great time for people of any skill level.

  • Jedi Outcast is an outstanding portrayal of the Star Wars universe. It has good writing and characters, and great combat. Not only is it a pretty fun FPS, but it evolves into a great 3rd person action game as well, with some of the best lightsaber action in gaming, and using all of your force abilities is extremely cool.

  • Bioware’s writing abilities are famous, and for good reason. KOTOR is a huge game full of characters and dialogue that fit together into a believable and interesting space for your character to explore, and also manipulate. Player choice drives the story forward in great ways, and of course, the game’s big reveal is one of the best moments in any game ever.

  • Ninja Gaiden is the best action game that I have ever played. It’s story may be unintelligible, but that just isn’t the point. Its combat system is fast and challenging, and requires the player to not only learn every move and technique you have, but master using them on the fly. Playing this game on higher than normal difficulties is simultaneously one the most difficult and fun things I have ever done.

  • Following in the path of the first KOTOR, The Sith Lords takes everything that made it great, but decidedly tells a different, and much darker story. The ideas and emotions displayed by much of the cast are so intricate and interesting that I played through this game a stupid number of times just trying to piece together every last bit of information I could squeeze out. It’s fair to say that Kreia is one of my all time favorite characters from anything.

  • RE4 has a great sense of immersion and exploration, and the plot and characters are ridiculous and campy in a great way. The shooting and movement all feel very tactical, and mastering this game makes for an extremely entertaining experience. Successfully controlling a large group of not-zombies with just a pistol and a knife is awesome.

  • God of War is brutal, bloody, and absolutely ridiculous. The combat is fluid and every move Kratos makes has real impact. Even beyond that, God of War has a really well told story of betrayal and revenge, which concludes in a very satisfying way.

  • Guitar Hero was immediately addicting to me, and I would play for hours at a time. It’s probably because it was the first game like it that I played, but there’s something really simple and pure about the first Guitar Hero that I feel like was lost in most of it’s sequels. I never quite got 5 stars on every song on Expert, but this is the closest I’ve ever come to perfecting a rhythm game.

  • I played a whole lot of Oblivion, and really enjoyed the scale of the game: the amount of quests and places to explore, the cool items and spells you could find and create. Then I realized that the levelling system was actually broken, and could be exploited to a large degree. Strangely, that just made me enjoy the game more, and I went on to create a “perfect” character, completing every possible quest in the game and maxing all of my attributes.

  • The cover based shooting of Gears of War is almost magical when you first experience it. You can move fluidly and tactically around a battlefield, taking the right moments to go on the offense, and make it out of the craziest situations. Also, the story of Delta Squad trying to survive in a war-torn post apocalyptic world is very compelling and well done.

  • Twilight Princess has some of the best dungeons and items of any Zelda game. Really, almost everything about this game plays as a bigger, better version of Ocarina of Time, although it is not as revolutionary. With one of the biggest worlds in the franchise, Twilight Princess is not only one of the best Zelda games ever, but one of the best video games period.

  • Bioshock is one of the most atmospheric games I have played. You start the adventure with essentially no idea what is going on, but by the end you have a really strong sense of what that world is about and how all sorts of craziness played out. Your character’s encounter with Andrew Ryan is one of the greatest scenes in any game, and even with limited character interaction the main players are fleshed out and interesting.

  • Brawl, despite being the third in the franchise, steps things up to yet another level. The character roster in this game is bigger, more diverse, and more balanced than Melee, and there are so many ways to play this game that it is hard to ever get tired of it. Brawl is a fantastic fighting game, and one of the best multiplayer experiences I’ve ever had.

  • Dead Space is one of the few games that I played, finished, and immediately played again. The combat in Dead Space is strategic, terrifying, and still pretty fast paced all at once. Exploration and atmosphere also play a big role in this game’s success, and the pacing is absolutely perfect.

  • Nuts & Bolts is probably the most inventive and engaging “platformer” I’ve played. From motorcycles to helicopters, huge monster trucks to nothing but a seat with a spring on the bottom, you could make almost any type of vehicle you could imagine. The mission design of this game fits the gameplay perfectly, in that there were a large number of ways to complete each mission, and there were a large number of extremely varied missions.

  • Arkham Asylum is amazing just based on the fact that it is a game crafted around the world of Batman, and is actually a strong representation of what makes that world great. The fact that the game also features combat and stealth mechanics that are innovative, modern, fitting to the character of Batman, and most importantly fun is just insane.

  • In a series where player choice can shape the narrative, ME2 brings together a tremendous cast of characters and reasons to care about how your decisions affect them. A great combat system, amazing writing, and a universe that is constantly interesting all come together to make this a very memorable experience. On top of all of that, the game ends with a mission that is probably one of the most well made levels ever in a video game.

  • There is a whole lot to Starcraft 2. It’s campaign is interesting, and keeps enough variety throughout to not get boring. It has a very well balanced online multiplayer complete with a very robust league system, and even unranked custom games that can be anything the community can think up. Add extensive post launch support, and SC2 is probably one of the most robust packages you can find, nevermind that it also happens to be an outstanding RTS.

  • Any Civilization game is probably one that you could play until the end of time, but 5 is the one that really grabbed me. The balance of large scale empire building and tactical combat is at a sweet spot here, and fantastic improvements through the game’s expansions have made this a feature rich title that gives more options than you could ever consider in a single game.

  • With a fun and responsive combat system, a beautiful and interesting world, outstanding audio, and some of the best storytelling around through the dynamic narrator, Bastion still manages to be more than the sum of its parts. Every piece of this game is so intricately interwoven into one another that the game just feels complete, and the ending is extremely impactful and satisfying.

  • Incredibly immersive, challenging, and deep in terms of both setting and gameplay, Dark Souls demands a whole lot of the player. The world is huge, the character progression is deep, and the action is intense and terrifying. Exploring the world is probably the game’s strongest draw for me, but even when you’ve completed an entire playthrough, there’s no shortage of reasons to keep playing, be it through a New Game + or starting a new character that will play fundamentally differently.