TOP 100 GAMES OF ALL TIME
With so many games, I'm going to edit this list in pieces over the month. Congratulations to Vinny for taking first place in the 'guess my favorite games' contest, and Garret for taking second! Vinny got a Casey Jones golf bag, filled with a few clubs and several medieval weapons. Garret got the mystery suitcase, containing a broken PS2, a copy of Zombies! the boardgame, a few bad DVDs, Star Wars episode 3, and a few pieces of colorful plastic.
What the game lacks in depth and action, it makes up for with fun.
99. Blaster Master
No other game, in the history of video games, has needed a save or password feature more than this one. Otherwise it was way ahead of its time, mixing tank and overhead shooter action brilliantly.
98. Deus Ex
An incredibly deep game that can almost be seen as the precursor to Fallout 3. The story and gameplay is fantastic, with many ways of handling every situation, but there's something wrong with a game where you can shoot a normal man in the head with a sniper rifle, and he doesn't die (I'm looking at you too, 'Hitman' series).
97. Harvest Moon
A funny and enjoyable farming/dating sim that never fails to entertain.
96. Twisted Metal 2
The best of the series. Blowing up the world was never so much fun.
95. Final Fight
Great, brainless coin munching beat-em up fun. The second level boss still drives me to throw the controller against the wall.
94. Bad Mojo
Brilliantly conceived, if not masterfully executed 'cockroach' sim. Watch out for the cat!
93. Baldur's Gate 1&2
A fun series, but nowhere as good as they could of been. The first had many technology issues, and the second had a very slow story, especially at the beginning. I'd love to play it again, but if I play through that first dungeon one more time, I'm going to cry. The expansion pack for the second included far too many 'instant death' situations to make this list.
92. Mortal Kombat 2
Far from deep, and nowhere near balanced, but the second Mortal Kombat was really the pinnacle of the series. The first was just a little too limited to make the list, and after that, the 'run' button ruined the series.
91. Tecmo Bowl
The best sports game in the world for people who aren't into sports games. A very limited number of plays is made up for by amazingly complete rosters and addictive gameplay. A great example of a game doing the best with the technology they have.
90. Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey
The first Oddworld game was solid, with a highly imaginative and surprising world unfolding before the player. Some situations are more than a little unfair unless you have a cheat guide, but overall, it's a lot of fun.
89. Phoenix Wright 1 & 2
Just what courtroom drama needed: ridiculous anime characters for girls to write fanfics about. The series is not only hilarious and fun, but incredibly Japanese, in an over the top kind of way. The way the hero points and shouts OBJECTION you'd swear he was about to go Super-Sayan. The sequel's a bit better, but they're honestly both good. Harvey Birdman used the same system for his own game, which was a little bit inferior, but still good (it would've made the top 200 list).
88. Kingdom Hearts 1&2
An incredible story and experience, marred only by a lacking battle system. It isn't bad, just not as good as it could have been. It's not user friendly enough for kids, and not deep enough for adults. Both will love the storylines, lavish cutscenes and incredible soundtrack though. I never would've believed that Mickey could have looked bad-ass unless I'd seen him for myself, with a keyblade in each hand.
87. Adventures of Lolo 1&2
I really wish this series would get a revival. It was a delightful puzzle series, that was both challenging and fun. The first game had one of the best ending battles of all time, and the sequel had great co-op play.
86. Rampage World Tour
The re-make was a bit more fun, overall, or at least less repetitive. Both games were kind of repetitive though, but the insane zaniness, great multiplayer action, and delightfully offbeat theme more than make up for any drawbacks. Dibs on Ralph!
85. Gauntlet 1 & 2
In this case, the original was better than the re-make. Focus is less on secret grabbing and character development than your average action/adventure game. The original 2 gauntlet games were all about fun! The wizard does indeed need food badly.
84. Altered Beast
Few games grabbed my attention as a young teen more than this one, and for the life of me, I'm not sure why. Oh don't get me wrong, it definitely does deserve this position, as there's a lot of action and shape-changing fun, coupled with a new special form each level, but the levels are just far too short to warrant a higher rating. I think I was just a lot worse at it when I was young, and took much longer to fully transform. That being said, the dragon form is the best Lycanthrope in the histroy of everything.
83. Grand Theft Auto 3
The series peaked at this title and never quite recovered. The sequel had too many mediocre sub-quests (a killer remote controlled helicopter?), the fourth lacked a good story, and the less said about the most recent addition, with its 'playdate' subquests, the better. So pop this classic in, grab a hooker and go run over a cop! It's all in good fun.
82. Starship Titanic
A lesser known gem written by the late, great Douglas Adams. It's somewhat tedious and immense at times, but that's part of its charm. As far as I know, it's the last point and click game where you have to enter what your character directly says instead of choosing from a list of possible responses, and honestly, those games died out for a reason. Just grab a hint guide when stuck and enjoy the lavish atmosphere and hilarious robots, including a great cameo from John Cleese, as the space ship's self-destruct mechanism.
Another game that's not as enjoyable to play as it is to watch, but that's only because of how incredibly enjoyable it is to watch. The difficulty lags a bit behind expectations, simply because there really isn't a penalty for death. As Yahtzee put it (from Zero Punctuation) if there's no penalty for failure, then even the 'big daddies' cease to be frightening. It's definitely worth a play through though, from its originality alone.
80. Star Wars Arcade (old)
A lot of old school arcade fun, and the first arcade game I ever played (I needed a foot stool to reach). Blowing up the death star is always fun, no matter how you do it, and the digitized character voices are simply icing on the cake.
79. Dr. Mario
One of the best puzzle games ever made, marred only by the simplicity of its design. Then again, that's also what makes it so enjoyable.
78. Half life 2
Quite possibly the 'perfect' first person action/shooter game. It would've rated higher, but the story and atmosphere aren't quite as perfect as the game's overall design. In a way, the game might have been underachieving a bit, just to keep in line with what a first person action/shooter has to be. The pseudo-sequel Portal helped overcome this (more on this later).
77. Soul Calibur 2 (arcade)
A slightly above average fighting game that won our hearts with its conquest mode. Not only could you fight your friends, but you could wage wars with them across continents, even when you're not there. Best of all, the computer kept track of your fighting style, and would use it to crush other players. Now you can kick your friend's ass even when you're not playing with him. (I've been informed that Swords4100 apparently rules ^_^)
76. Punch Out
A fun and comical boxing game that honestly has more in common with puzzle games than other sports titles. The characters are all over the top stereotypes, but it's too harmless to be offensive. To this day, the measure of any true red blooded gamer is how far they can get (I can get to Mike Tyson/Mr. Dream, but I can't beat him).
75. Super Mario Brothers 1
The old classic title that still entertains us to this day. The play is a little repetitive, and the remakes with save functions are better, but in any case, playing this game is a real treat, and the first came I beat on my own, from start to finish (honestly, that last hammer brother was harder than King Koopa).
More proof that simplicity of design can trump complexity. The original Contra is a lot of fun, especially in two player mode, and holds up to this day. The giant, over the top bosses are still etched into my mind, especially that damn giant tank. The great series Metal Slug (another top 200 title) owes a lot to the original Contra.
Again, I defy you to find a more enjoyable God sim. The side scrolling action sequences are far from perfect, but the real focus is the town creation/RPG elements. It may surprise people that I rate this game higher than Simcity, but it's true.
72. Donkey Kong Country
Great graphics, animal mounts, plenty of secrets, and good old fashioned silly fun make this a must have for any true gamer. Followed by several mediocre sequels, and a delightful 'fake ending' that will send you diving for your controller.
71. Earthworm Jim 1&2
Narrowly edges out Donkey Kong Country, and in many ways it's very similar. The main focus is light, silly action, with a great variety in levels, abilities and offbeat humor. Jim's classic battle with Bob the Goldfish helps edge the game slightly ahead of DKC.
70. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
Another game where its main feature is its nearly perfect design. The puzzles, story and voice acting are also great, and if it fails to reach any higher, it's simply because a lot of the game is a little 'gimmicky', playing almost solely off its main feature, the time manipulation. Assassin's Creed is less gimmicky, but of course, that game has its own flaws to deal with (it's another top 200 game). Still, this game is definitely worth a spot in every collection (the sequels...not so much).
69. Max Payne 1 & 2
I don't care what anyone says, I love this series. It's over the top action/noir, but in many ways it's subtle, and fully lives up to its noir roots. The sequel overplayed the hokey monologues and metaphors, but cleaned up the flaws in the system. Either game is definitely worth playing though, just for the pure gun filled bliss.
68. Mass Effect
Had the game ended halfway through, it would've been about 20 places closer to #1 in this list, with the main flaw being 'short length'. As it is, it feels like a FANTASTIC game packed in a very large box, filled with packing foam. You'll know when you reach the foam. You'll be done with a brilliant gunfight, move on to a deep and thoughtful conversation...only to face a never-ending maze that's exactly identical to the last three mazes you were in, with a guy at the end who's identical to the last one you spoke to). If it weren't for the mind numbing repetition (you'll walk through each level design at least 10 times each) it would've been a much better game. Despite some complaints, I like the elevator loading screens. It sure beats a bar filling up across the screen, especially if Tali's in the party (damn it, the only girl in the party I want is the only one I can't have).
67. Parappa the Rappa and Um Jamer Lami
It's a shame the series really never caught on with mainstream America, but the series is a lot of fun regardless. The levels are original, funny, and will all get you singing. Um Jamer Lami was just as good, if not better, but didn't get as much attention. Remember: kick, punch, it's all in the mind.
66. X-men arcade game
'X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-men' (repeat 10,000 times). The only thing wrong with this action packed superhero game is the soundtrack. Oh, that and...who the hell is Dazzler? Why didn't they use Jubilee? Or Iceman? Or Jean Grey? Or anyone else?
Vicious black humor (the Kurt Vonnegut kind, not the UPN kind), zany teleportation antics, and you a computer AI that you'll love to hate. Be sure to stay for the end credits, and the legendary ending song, sung by the evil computer herself.
64. Star Wars Arcade (new)
Better than the original, with lightsaber mini-games, shootouts right from the movies (the older good ones), brilliant graphics, and wonderful sound. It's almost closer to an experience than a game, and I take it as more proof that Lucas, at heart, is first and foremost a tech/special effects guy. That's why the story is always so mediocre. It's just not his forte.
Ah, they just can't make these kind of games anymore. Let's all go out and get some baseball bats so we can beat the local bullies senseless! Good times.
If you've never played it, you cannot know how awesome this game is...okay, maybe it's just awesome to me, but it's the perfect blend of humor, action, point-and-click, superheroes, and trench-coatedness. The fact you have to 'earn' extra lives by escaping from traps the villain places you in (before leaving the room, of course) is beyond perfect.
61. Wii Sports
Wii tennis alone is responsible for more smack talking than any two professional sports combined.
60. Final Fantasy 1
I got a little frustrated with this game when I figured out some of the 'tricks' it uses (it's programmed ahead of time how often you receive status ailments, and the leader of the game secretly heals himself every time a member of the party dies), but it's still one of the best balanced and more challenging RPGs out there. This was before RPGs got piss easy. Eternal Sonata, Blue Dragon, Xenosage...whatever, it's all JRPG crap that always means the same thing: in 50-60 hours you'll have beaten this game, even if you have no arms or are 5. Oh, and 45 of those hours will be cut-scenes. Anyway, Fighter, Thief, Black Belt and Red Mage is still my team of choice (with thief being the best class in the game, since they allow you to virtually always choose your battles). The White and Black mage just hit the floor way too damn easily.
59. Super Mario World
This is Mario and Luigi at their 2D prime, and it's also living proof that anything immediately becomes at least twice as cool if you involve dinosaurs, and three times as cool if you get to ride them like a horse.
58. Castlevania 2
This game is really really creepy, made all the creepier as you gather the 'parts' of Dracula by the wonderful 8bit soundtrack, and the incredibly dark endings. The good ending is just okay, with the standard twist at the end (oh what a shock, Dracula isn't dead, who would've known), but unless you've memorized every possible action in the game, it's nearly impossible to get said ending, so you're generally left with the other ending, where you break the curse, but die in the process. Spooky. Also, Simon never looked cooler. It's a shame he trades his awesome red and black outfit for the standard brown next game.
57. Lufia 2
DEKAR IS THE MAN! That's all I have to say. Well, that and the combat system is solid, and the 'extra' bonus dungeon at the end is a lot of fun (if somewhat buggy).
The sequels/followup games in the 'Shadow Hearts' series were too JRPG (see above rant) for me. The original was delightfully bizarre with a deep story, interesting battle system, and twisted monsters. How can you not love the fact that the charming old couple tries to poison you early on? The resulting conversation between the two heroes is comic gold.
55. Guitar Hero 1 & 2
"Its more than a feeling...MORE THAN A FEELING! When I hear that old song they used to play...MORE THAN A FEELING! I begin dreaming...MORE THAN A FEELING! Till I see marianne walk away...I see my marianne walkin AWAY!"
If you play air guitar when this song comes on the radio, you're not alone.
54. Robot Arena 2
Another great game you've never heard of. It's admittedly a little buggy (it never got a patch because it came out at the end of the fighting robots craze), but the design feature allows you to freely design any robot to battle in an arena, ala Battlebots or Robot Wars. For the uninitiated, this is simulating real fights between robots actually designed by geeks to battle in arenas. Yes, it's geeky, but damn it's cool.
53. Parasite Eve
It's amazing how well this RPG holds up over time. In fact, it's probably the best 'modern' RPG of all time (by modern, I mean taking place in a modern, realistic setting). A perfect blend of RPG and survival horror. It's a shame the sequel was so terrible, or it might have made it as a series.
52. Knights of the Old Republic
The sequel was sparse, mainly because it was literally only half finished upon release, but the original is solid. Like other similar games, it does suffer a bit from 'first dungeon' syndrome (a giant, linear first level that takes several hours to beat, which makes starting new characters a chore), but you'll be having more than enough fun to make the journey worthwhile. Beware of grinding in the first half of the game. More levels at the beginning means less levels in Jedi later.
51. Fire Pro Wrestling Returns
One of my favorite wrestling games. It's not perfect, but it captures the essence of old school wrestling fun. It's refreshing to have a battle system not built upon button mashing or mini-games as well. No, this is about timing, and it's wonderful simple design makes it much better than any recent WWE game. The only drawback is 95% of the characters are Japanese, and the only Americans you get are the ones that fight in Japan, and it's kind of random. You get Bam Bam Bigelow, Bret Hart, Andre the Giant, many UFC fighters, and most of the WCW crowd, but no Hulk Hogan, Undertaker, Triple H, or Rock. Luckily, the character design system is great, so you can add whoever you please.
50. Shadowrun SNES
Not the Genesis or recent version. God no. No, this old classic is a shoot em up blast, and it's an RPG to boot. Yeah, the system isn't exactly balanced (you can literally make your character a cross between the Terminator, John Mclane, and Gandalf) and the spell invisibility makes the last part of the game a joke (which is why I don't use it), and decrypting was turned from a mini-RPG to minesweeper, but it's more than fun enough to get it into the top 50.
49. Lego Star Wars Complete series
Who knew that the Star Wars storyline worked well when silently played out with Lego people? Not challenging, but absolutely hilarious, and a lot of good natured fun. Lego Batman was also great, but a top 200 game, not 100.
48. Mega Man Legends 1, 2 and The Misadventures of Tron Bonne
Another series I wish would get a revival or re-release. These games were all great, not only for the fun gameplay, but funny story. The Bonne criminal family is fantastic, and the introduction of their leader, where he sits down to watch his favorite show, left me rolling in the aisles.
47. Monkey Island 1&2
Speaking of rolling in the aisles, Monkey Island is probably the best 'comedy' game series of all time. The first two were both great, although the great voice acting led the third in the trilogy (I don't count the fourth one, as the control system sucked) ahead in the ratings.
46. Katamari Damancy 1&2
Why don't they run? They have to be able to see it coming, right? Anyway, this game never gets old (although the king's expectations often seem a little out of whack, but are you really going to argue with him?)
45. Quest for Glory 1&2
I didn't like the third (although some people do), but the first two quest for glory games were a great split between traditional RPGs and King's Quest 'point and click' torture devices...I mean games. The character building system requires patience, but it's a refreshing change from a traditional 'level up' system.
44. Deja Vu
You think you're having a bad day? Our hero has no memory, was framed for murder, is constantly hunted by assassins, lives on a street riddled with muggers, and has an unconscious 300lb housewife tied up in his trunk. No wonder he punches women and shoots trespassers without provocation!
43. Resident Evil: The Director's Cut and Resident Evil 2
The game/system is showing it's age, but they're both still great...if you ignore the story, which I do. Unfortunately, the recent remake wasn't so good. I don't mind that the zombies come back to life, but did the system for destroying their bodies have to be so damn complicated?
42. Final Fantasy 4
Seriously, how the hell does Kain jump that high? When you defeat the enemy before he lands, is he doing the victory dance up in the air? I'd really like to know.
41. Super Mario Brothers 2
DAMN THAT FAT BUBBLE SPEWING FROG AND HIS ARMY OF TRANNY DINOSAURS!!! DAMN HIM STRAIGHT TO HELL!!! (on that note, Yoshi...you might want to sit down for this news...)
40. Breath of Fire
None of the later games in the series came anywhere near the quality of the first. Yeah, BoF2 had a great system, especially when you get to build your own town, and the most likable cat girl in video game history (how can you not like a girl who walks around without pants on?), but the needless amount of tragedy in the plot, coupled with a bizarrely unwinnable battle with a macho jerk (that's effortlessly killed by the bad guy later), and the worst 'dragon' system of any Breath of Fire game keep it out of the top 100. The first game is solid though, especially with its highly entertaining character combination system.
39. Sam & Max Season 1 & 2
Sam & Max re-enter the videogaming world with admittedly repetitive gameplay made palatable by the introduction of incredibly original and imaginative settings/scenarios. Only portal has better black humor than this gem (again, the Dr. Strangelove kind, not the Bernie Mac kind).
38. Silent Hill 3
A bit more 'cheery' and 'fan-servicey' than the past games,but at least the main heroine keeps her clothes on. The combat's better than the first two games too. There's just as much emphasis on story as the other Silent Hill games, and although it's far less 'scary' than the first two, it's still an excellent game. Still, something's wrong if a Silent Hill Game isn't 'scary'.
37. Simpsons Hit and Run
What a gem! Grand Theft Auto 3 play style mixed with brilliant Simpson's humor. My favorite moment: after striking a random car, Homer practically sings 'I have no insurance!'
36. Super Mario Kart
The first Mario Kart was the best, in my opinion. This was before the special weapons got far too powerful and broken. For this game, you needed skill, which is something you wouldn't expect, given that the design is definitely more 'kiddie' than serious.
35. Ogre Battle
It just came back to the virtual console! Hoo ha! You'd have to be obsessive to find EVERYTHING, and it's difficult to get a good ending without following the game's bizarre alignment system (being powerful is evil?), but it's all worth it for the great combat and real time strategy. It's a perfect blend of RPG, turn based strategy and real time strategy. Bring on the dragons!
Ah, I remember when games could afford to be this twisted. Even modern Silent Hill games are twisted in a very formulaic and 'corporate approved' sort of way. Back in the day, you could have a point and click game that included walls made of meat, deformed children serving a tree goddess, and lunatics screaming about the imaginary insects swarming around their heads. Good times.
I'm still convinced this game was a Russian plot to waste American work hours. Dropping blocks to make lines never seems to get old.
32. Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3 & Sonic and Knuckles
Yeah, I listed them all together, but they're more or less all updates of the same game. It's a great game, regardless. Infinitely more fast paced than any Mario game of the time, and co-op mode in later games breathed new life into the series.
31. TMNT Arcade game (arcade)
The remakes and re-creations simply can't replicate the pure joy of joining up with three friends to take on Shredder and his goons, especially when you're in shouting distance. Be prepared for fistfights when the kid with full health grabs the pizza.
30. Super Punch Out
Again, less a sports game or fighting game than a puzzle game, but it's a good puzzle game, regardless. The re-make was a bit more polished than the original. It'll be interesting to see what they do in the latest update of this great series.
29. The Guardian Legend
The best game you've never heard of. With just a little tweaking, this could have easily been a Star Wars game, and a great one at that. Overhead adventure, lightsabers, and spaceship shooting stages to boot. It's probably the best blend of overhead shooter and Link-like adventure ever made.
28. Curse of Monkey Island
The third game in the series, the first to use voice actors, and the last that was any good. The gameplay is fun enough to stand on its own, but its the brilliant humor that makes it a classic.
27. Xmen Legends
The sequels and generic marvel remakes do no justice to the original, which was a ton of pure geeky fun. The ability to level up and advance the characters as you saw fit was a nice addition, since it allowed you to choose for yourself which four X-men you wanted in your team...okay, which three X-men to accompany Wolverine in your team.
26. Mega man 1 & 2
Despite all the re-makes and sequels, I keep coming back to the original two Megaman games. You can always tell if a game is truly great (Super Mario Bros) or merely great for its time (Duck Hunt) by measuring how many people still play the game, years later. I don't know about you, but I'm always ready for another chance to blow that smug Wiley straight to hell. For added fun, pretend he's Einstein. I'm not sure why that makes everything more hilarious, but it does.
As we break into the top 25, we start with a game you've never heard of. The game was plagued with a terrible key system (as in lock/door keys), a pitifully easy final boss (a skull with legs?), and no reason to ever upgrade the first spell (ah Deluge, my trusty sidearm), but all that aside, it's a great adventure game that's honestly challenging, and filled with a lot of great hack and slash. It's also kind of funny how all the people are Elves, and all the monsters are called Dwarves. The game runs like a Middle Earth propaganda film.
24. Silent Hill 4
This game got some flack for its combat system, but I say ignore it, and focus on the brilliant atmosphere, the incredibly disturbing imagery, and wonderful characters. Yes, the 'go through the levels again' was a bit of a cop-out, but there's something truly ingenious about a game when you're more afraid of the 'save' room than the combat. Claustrophobic and ingenious, Silent Hill 4 is definitely worth finishing.
23. Resident Evil 4
Edges out Silent Hill 4 purely from improved combat. The first half hour is pure dynamite! Unfortunately, the rest of the game is somewhat lackluster in comparison, but it never stops being fun. The extra arcade-like combat missions, unlocked after the game is finished, adds a lot to the experience. It's definitely a must have, although the escort missions, with little Miss 'Walk Straight into Gunfire' are enough to keep it far from the top 10.
22. Legend of Zelda 1
Not as close to the top 10 as some would imagine...hell, it didn't even make the top 20. Zelda 1 was more groundbreaking than it was fun. Don't get me wrong, the game is fun, just not as fun as some suggest. It's repetitious, has virtually no plot, and several of the items are what I call 'Rafts', meaning they do nothing besides get you to the next level, or allow an item to do something that it should have done from the beginning.
21. Link's Awakening
The far improved story and excellent gameplay helps edge Link's Awakening (for the gameboy) slightly ahead of the original Legend of Zelda. I simply enjoyed playing it more, which goes to show how important plot and story are to a game.
20. Fallout 1 & 2
We start the top 20 with one of the most in-depth RPG/strategy series ever made. The games had some balance issues, and some of the skills were downright useless, but that hasn't kept a generation of gamers consistently coming back for more.
Quite possibly the best 'sandbox' game ever made, and definitely the best one Rockstar's ever created. Call it juvenile, or anti-social revelry, but you have to admit, beating up bullies, kissing the popular girls and becoming king of the school is always a great time. The system does have its limits, and competitive gamers will find it easy, but competitive gamers are paying $15 a month to play WoW, so how much can they know? ^_^
18. Fallout 3
Wow, did that ending suck. I want to go on about how great the combat system is, and how much fun you'll have creating characters and solving quests through many different means (similar to Deus Ex), but I can't get over how horrible the ending is. Basically, it involves the most pointless self-sacrifice since 'Volcano'. Your hero could have easily solved the situation with a BB gun, mutant friend...or hell, even a long stick. Don't get me wrong, I still love the game, but it fell from #6 all the way down to #18, just from the ending and lack of an after-game alone.
17. Wonder Boy 3: Dragon's Curse
I love the shape changing, replay-ability, and the fact it's one of the first and best open world 2D adventure games ever made...BUT WHY DID THEY FEEL THE NEED FOR THE RED STONES?!!! If you haven't played it, you can't know the frustration of having enough gold for items, but not enough 'red stones'. Fuck you pig man! Take the damn money and GIVE ME THAT SWORD!!!
Whew! There's a lot of pent up rage in the last two games. Myst is a nice interlude, as the game exudes tranquility. There's a lot of flowing water, untimed exploration, and little to no chance of death (if you grabbed the power lines or gave either of those maniacs the last pages, then you had it coming). Myst not only entertained us, but mystified us with beautiful atmosphere, great sound, and a masterfully unfolding plot. The sequels just weren't good enough to compare to the original.
15. Persona 3
Another great high school game, ala Bully, only this time we're in Japan, where you gain popularity by being a model student. Unfortunately, they didn't do that just because it's socially acceptable. No, that's the way it just is over there. The game isn't only a great RPG and above average (and far less yucky than average) dating SIM, but it's a great peek into Japanese culture, and the mindset of its teenagers. I've clocked in about 80 hours and I'm still not done. The sequel seems just as good, but it's still a little early to tell.
14. WWF Wrestlefest
Not the most advanced wrestling game ever made, but arguably the most fun. A simple system, combined with some button mashing, is made up by the surprising variety of characters. Better yet, not only do the characters have a wide variety of moves, but their appearances are dramatically different from each other, including body size and shape. Each character also has their own unique victory poses, and there's even a ring announcer to give the play by play of the match. Many more recent games have much better graphics, but no wrestling game captures the 'feel' and silly fun of pro-wrestling better than this one. Dibs on Jake the Snake!
13. Final Fantasy 6
The first true Epic RPG. Sure, FF4 came close, but only Final Fantasy 6 had the guts to end the world HALFWAY THROUGH THE GAME. The game also includes several storylines, deep characters, a great soundtrack, and THE most memorable villain in video game history. The combat was a bit cheesy at points, and level grinding was more or less required at the end of the game, but this game has a strong place in my heart, regardless.
12. Link to the Past
I can't even remember how many times I've beat this game. It's a perfect example of a game being much better than it needed to be. Every level was a delight, it was the first game to switch between two nearly identical worlds as a gameplay device, and just as the commercials claimed: just when you think your quest is ended...you find it's only begun. Beware the wrath of the chickens!
11. Silent Hill 1
Just short of the top 10, Silent Hill 1 had the best storyline of any videogame up to then, and I'd even go as far to claim that it truly started the survival horror genre (I'm sorry, but Resident Evil was not 'horror'). The 'fog', which was there because of the limits of the technology, actually greatly improved the overall feel, and the vast emptiness of the city trumps any of the modern action zombifests that have come out recently, Silent Hill 5 included.
10. Super Metroid
An often overlooked gem. Super Metroid is a lot better than any of the 'Prime' series, and perfected the side-scrolling action/adventure formula that made the series famous. In many ways it was the precursor to Castlevania Symphony of the Night (more on that later), and the storyline managed to be good without being oppressive, as it was in Metroid Fusion.
9. Disgea 1 & 2
The pinnacle of strategy games, for one important reason: it's entertaining. It combines the character development, team management, and turn based strategy with anime inspired comedy, all set in an incredibly unique and original world. If it has any weakness, it's the ridiculous depth of the game, which all but requires endless level grinding. I'd just play through the normal quests, and leave the bonus dungeons for the true fanatics (myself included).
8. River City Ransom
My mom didn't understand why I wanted this game rather than Super Mario Brothers 3, and at the time, neither did I. I can only claim it was the sheer AWESOMENESS of this game pulling me in, via Osmosis. Beat up school kids, eat burgers, learn super moves, throw garbage cans, whack people in the head with pipes, and steal the bad guy's girlfriend. What's not to love? You can even develop your character's skills, to make him any sort of fighter you like. The recent remake for the gameboy was even better, but for real fun, check out www.x-strikestudios.com and get River City Rumble. It's a game so awesome, geeks made feature length movies parodying them. Now that's Watchmen awesome.
Ah, the game that started it all. To answer the original question, Amber, Psychonauts is my 7th favorite game of all time, and why not? It's the best 3D action/adventure/exploration/collecting every flavored jelly bean sort of game ever made, the psychic powers are great, and the amount of hidden story is incredible (did you find the secret room in the disco party level?). Like all truly great stories, the depth is there if you want it to be. If not, then just play for the hilarious antics, inspired level designs, and thrilling action.
6. Dragon's Lair
Despite its flaws, I keep taking this game back, like an abused heroine on the Lifetime network. Put plainly, it's a videogame that's also a cartoon, with dinosaur and robot villains, and even includes a hot, nearly naked princess in it. All it needs is ninja turtles, and it'd be adolescent perfection! The many deaths of Dirk the Daring are still comic gold...and now I know the name of my band's (Ninja Robot Dinosaur) first album: 'The Many Deaths of Dirk the Daring'.
5. Legend of Zelda 2
Why don't people give this game the unconditional love it deserves? Why do they keep whining about Zelda 1 instead? Sure, the town segments were pointless, but the caverns and dungeons were pure bliss! It's a side scrolling action/adventure that easily tops all the other Zelda titles, especially that downright pathetic Twilight Princess. DOWNSTAB!!!
4. Silent Hill 2
Words can barely do this game justice. Do you know how incredible the storyline, atmosphere, characters and pacing of this game are? It more than makes up for the pathetic combat system. The voice acting made the game a legend, especially in Europe, where story still trumps gameplay. The main character is quite possibly the most flawed main character in video game history, and every aspect of the plot is drawn into question, including the main character's sanity (the letter he 'received' from his deceased wife eventually turns blank). As an added bonus, the conversation with Angela on the burning stairway is the most heartbreaking moment in gaming history (Aeris' death doesn't even come close). Okay, so the fights range from downright pathetic to murderously unfair, but who cares? Pyramid Head's chasing you! RUN FOR IT!!!
3. Planescapes: Torment
Very few games can really make you think about humanity, free will, belief, and choices even 1/10 as much as Torment can. Great voice acting, scenery, (mostly) open ended gameplay, an incredibly unique storyline, and dialog without equal, Torment is easily the best DnD based game ever made, and despite being firmly set in fantasy, the characters and storyline are strong enough to draw anyone in. Okay, so there's no reason to be a thief, there's virtually no armor for the main character, but the depth and entertainment value is nearly endless! If you've never played it, do so now!
2. Castlevania Symphony of the Night
The true start of the conversation. According to one reviewer, this game isn't as good as Crash Bandicoot 2.
Okay, I'd like to make an important statement: I am willing, as a rational thinking person, to judge your worth as a human being based solely on what you think of this game.
Furious action, swordplay, explosive magic, imaginative monsters, vampires, a fantastic soundtrack, wonderful character development, a level based character system, a sprawling castle to explore, open ended gameplay, shapeshifting, and 'second quest' is an upsidedown version of the castle!
GOOD GOD! WHAT MORE COULD YOU POSSIBLY WANT IN A GAME?!!!
1. Chrono Trigger
Okay, you could want it to be Chrono Trigger. Time travel has never been quite so thoughtful or fun. A balanced, intuitive and thoroughly enjoyable combat system compliments the fantastic storyline like peanut butter and jelly. Sometimes the game can be a little goofy, but it more than makes up for it by making those goofy character's very easy to like, and relate with. The characters in this story are delightfully human, wonderfully unique, and the storyline is both thrilling and thoroughly enjoyable.
Mention one word of the sequel, however, and I'll bury you next to that Crash Bandicoot 2 fan.