Today I am going to slow things down a bit and keep it light with a list of my all-time favorite video games. Let me emphasize that this list is a list of my favorite games, not an attempt to comprehensively list the best games of all time. If you are interested in that sort of thing then check out these sites: here for a full spectrum report, and here for a top 100. What does it take for a game to make my list? I had to have played the hell out of it. I’m talking countless hours. It had to be fun, innovative in some way, and memorable.
10. Resident Evil 5
This game makes my list because it is so unique. It's a cooperative horror game in the most complete sense. You can play through the entire story with someone else, in fact, that is how it was designed to be done. The best part? The second player is every bit as important to the story as the first, they participate instead of just being a silent, tag-along witness. You add that to the beautifully rendered, brilliantly dark, wonderfully gory, and captivatingly horrible world of an Umbrella-ravaged African nation, and you get a masterpiece.
9. Call of Duty: Black Ops
This shooter makes this list only because it is the most recent in the Call of Duty franchise. It seems like each new game is my new favorite first-person-shooter. Historically, I suppose, it was the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare that began the trend of playing online FPS for me, but when I look back at that game, and even its sequel, it just didn’t hold my attention like this new one has. I think I might just be a sucker for the ability to stamp my customized emblem and clan letters onto my gun.
Blizzard did it again with this title, and it is a completely different kind of game then their ultra-successful World of Warcraft and Diablo games. It is a futuristic RTS that was all about macro and micro managing interspecies battles. I was part of a pretty powerful Zerg-Zerg partnership in my day that was quite fearsome.
7. Fallout 2
War. War never changes. This game was an apocalyptic RPG gore-filled turn-based action game with an immense world filled to bursting with a winning combination of black humor, allusion, and social satire. Fallout 3 was a worthy next-gen revival, but I have to give it up to Fallout 2 as the better game for its time.
I know a lot of people will argue with this one, people seem to like Super Mario Bros. World more, and I really can’t argue with them, that is an amazing game as well. I just like this one better. There is a simplicity to the design, an elegance to the gameplay, and a consistency to the length and layout of each of the levels that appeals to me. Maybe I just like the raccoon tail more than the cape.
5. Diablo II
It was dark, gritty, and bloody. It was a clickfest dungeon-crawl about grabbing loot and grinding out levels. And it was horribly addictive. This game paved the way for blizzard's success with World of Warcraft. I remember tying up the phone line for hours on end just waiting for that golden unique to drop.
4. Socom II: US Navy SEALs
When it comes to sheer hours of gameplay, this game might just take the cake. The game itself wasn’t for everyone, it was slow paced by today’s standards, it was a much more strategic shooter than a quick twitch one. The main reason this game makes my list is its online interactions. I joined a clan called Deadly Tactics and I formed my first online friendships with people that I had never met in real life. My brothers and some other friends of mine even took a trip up to North Carolina to meet up with some of the clan in real life, but that is a story for another day.
3. GoldenEye 007
The shooter that defined all shooters. While some would offer up Doom for this category, I would argue that Doom was much more influential to the Horror genre than the FPS multiplayer variety. Goldeneye started it all for me. I still remember the day I brought my N64 console into class for game day and my friend and I put on a clinic, putting all our big-talking classmates to shame.
2. World of Warcraft
I think it has been well documented, this game is like crack. It becomes everything to the people who play it. It can usurp the real world, it can become the only thing you care about. How in the world does it do that, you ask? It is pure genius. It is a fantasy world inhabited by real people, and it is amazingly fun. I am currently abstaining from this game, because it can become a black hole that sucks all your free time into it. That’s not to say I will never go back, it is a living thing, and it is almost unfair to compare it to any other game when it has become so much more than a game. Until we colonize Mars, The World of Warcraft is the only planet that human beings leave earth to live on.
1. Chrono Trigger
This game has a unique, special place in my mind. To me, this game was like reading my first fantasy series. I was immersed in a story with characters I cared profoundly about. The game was masterful, enchanting, beautiful, and its soundtrack was all that and more. I have never seen its like again. Please, please, please, somebody find a way to get the rights to this game and make a worthy next-gen revival. If you have a Wii or a Nintendo DS and you have never played this game then do yourself a favor and download it right now.
Honorable Mentions: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Doom, Mortal Kombat 3, Fallout 3, Bioshock
Let me also point out that my list is colored by my selection of consoles over the years. I was a Nintendo guy, so I didn’t play much SEGA. From there, I went to Playstation. I have played some Xbox games, and while some were pretty good (Fable, Halo 2) I chose my side when Playstation 3 came out against Xbox 360 (I couldn’t afford both) and I haven’t looked back.
Feel free to leave a comment with your top games!
P.S. Check out my friend Dani's blog on fitness and food, but be warned, it will make you hungry!