With the coming of the new year, I like to look back at games that have really changed my world. The games that I will always remember and the games that manage to stand the test of time, well I can’t say for sure which will and which won’t but I can say that I have a personal top 10 of all time…..for now anyway, I am sure I will change it up within the next week or so.
10. Banjo Kazooie
Everytime I have recommended this game, my friends will just write it off as childish or stupid. But they are missing the point, the game is Super Mario 64 with more personality, a wider variety of gameplay and some of the most endearing and fun characters in gaming. The graphics are fantastic for its time, the levels are varied, and it controls flawlessly. The game, isn’t just for kids however, as some of the challenges can be rather tricky. Not to mention that there are tons of secrets to unlock, easter eggs to find and a satisfying final boss battle. While I think that Mario 64 got boring, Banjo just didn’t stop with the fun. Sure Mario 64 did it all first but Banjo perfected it. And thus it gets the number 10 spot on my list.
9. Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistance
The first Metal Gear Solid rocked, the second was good, and the third was fantastic, but its the Subsistance release that brings it to a new level. It changes the perspective to a third person view and makes it play so much better overall. There was a fantastic camouflage system, some unique ways of dispatching foes, the ability to eat animals. Combine all that with some of the smartest AI ever, and then include a fantastic story set during the Cold War. It feels like you are playing an interactive spy movie, and it is so satisfying. Id recommend this game even if you haven’t played the others.
8. Super Mario Bros. 3
I grew up in the N64 and PS1 era so its strange going back and playing older stuff sometimes. However, there is one game that always stands the test of time for me, and that is Super Mario Bros. 3. It takes everything that the first Super Mario Bros. did and cranks it up to 11 with new powers, varied levels, and secrets secrets secrets. There is so much to do and see and there is plenty of challenge to be had, it still stands as my personal favorite NES game.
7. Uncharted 2
I am a huge Indiana Jones fan and this is as close to Indiana Jones as a video game gets. While I enjoyed the first and third games in the series, its the second that sticks with me the most. It constantly throws our hero Nathan Drake into some of the most ludicrious situations and its up to the player to get him out of it. The story is tight, the controls are fluent, and the graphics are mind blowing. I am positive that I have completed the main story at least 6 or 7 times, yeah, the game is THAT good. Then add in the multiplayer and you have a complete package, there is a reason its one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time.
6. Final Fantasy 6
This was hard because I enjoy 7 as well, but when it comes down to it, FF6 stayed with me more. The story is intense, the entire way through, with a villain who is a complete psychopath. And that is actually the best part of the game, Kefka is so crazy and so well done that he steals the show. Also, have you ever played a game where the heroes actually fail completely in their quest? Yes, Kefka actually manages to cause armageddon about halfway through the game!! You rarely see this happen in games and its an interesting plot twist that just makes you hate Kefka even more. Then add in the fact that the gameplay is solid, there are tons of possibilities as well as a pile of sidequests and you have a game that will be remembered forever.
5. Goldeneye/Perfect Dark
Yeah, I am cheating a bit here but both games are so good that they have to be here. And they are made by the same company, use the same engine and were made by basically the same team, so there. Anyway, these games are a bit dated as far as control schemes go but that doesn’t change the fact that they are phenomenal. Once you get back into the controls you will find a plethora of gaming gold. Both games have tons of single player missions to tackle, plenty of multiplayer to keep you busy (PD has more options than goldeneye, but it came later), as well as cheats to unlock. I still play these games regularly to this day, I love them
4. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
The Zelda games had always had a lighthearted nature about them. That is until Majora’s Mask came along. I’ll be honest, this game gave me the creeps when I played it as a kid and it still has some parts that make my skin crawl a bit, curse you Happy Mask Salesman, that face will forever haunt my dreams. But all of that aside, Majora’s Mask created a dark and fascinating world to explore. The main story is compelling enough but it is the side quests that make this game shine. All the stories behind them are fantastically done. The one that sticks with me is a tale of two lovers. The man is cursed to live as a child and is trying to reverse it all. To do this, he leaves his fiance’ and sets out on a journey and its Links duty to bring them together, its heartwarming and sad at the same time and is something I will always remember. I also enjoy the fact that you can play as multiple different races throughout the game. All you have to do is slap on a mask and transform, it creates some amazing gameplay mechanics. Another thing Majora’s Mask did is it used time as an actual enemy, no longer do you have an eternity to perform your task, oh no, you have 3 days of game time to solve the puzzles and save the world. However, you can use the Ocarina of Time to reset the clock, slow it down, or speed it up. Its a really fun gameplay aspect and it gives a sense of urgency to everything you do. Love this game!
3. Baldur’s Gate 2
If there is an rpg that I have sunk more hours into, its gotta be this one. There are hundreds of quests, fantastic party customization, endless possibilities, and a phenomenal story. Jon Irenicus, the villain, is the most compelling evil doer I have ever seen in a video game, he is seriously messed up, and very powerful. Though, with all the content the game offers, its amazing that it never ever gets old, I have easily sunk 200 hours into this, and I am still discovering things. I love it
2. Starcraft/Starcraft 2
I am convinced that between these two games, I have put in over one thousand hours, no joke. The campaigns throw you into a variety of situations, from holdouts to finding a specific item, and they all are fun. The stories are cheesy but they serve their purpose. But what really makes these two games amazing is the multiplayer. I’ll be honest, I am not the best at them, but its still a ton of fun to tinker with build orders, rushes, and new tactics that I cannot put the games down. In fact, just recently, some friends and I had a lan party dedicated to Starcraft: Brood War, it was phenomenal. And if you don’t want to play against human players, the computers will give you a good challenge as well. Finally, add in a ravenous fan base and some fun map making tools and you have my number 2 game of all time.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
What can be said about this game that hasn’t already been said? Its perfectly paced, has a wide variety of gameplay and levels, sounds good, looks good for its day and is THE game that got me into gaming. As of this writing, I have played through it at least 20 times. Phenomenal game, and my personal number 1 game of all time.