I’ve always wanted to sit down and figure out my top ten video games of all time. They have always been a big part of my life, and I never knew how my list would turn out. When I was putting it together, I originally had 16 games on here and had to omit some really good ones. Those are at the bottom of my list if you care to know.
10) Command and Conquer: Tiberium Sun
As a child knowing nothing about computers, I bought this game for my Packard Bell PC with a hard drive smaller than what Tiberium Sun needed. Not only did I spend $40 on a PC game I couldn’t play, I had to convince my parents to buy me a new PC. If I remember correctly, the only thing I was doing on my Packard Bell was messing around with a Spiderman movie editor program where I would make small comic strip movies. Click here to see what I’m talking about.
I finally received a “new” HP desktop that I could play C&C on and even play online over our dial-up connection. Yes, Tiberium Sun was my first experience playing an online game, chatting with other gamers online, and messing with weird hacked versions of the game. This game taught me that the internet is a weird but awesome place. Tiberium Sun though is an amazing game. Piloting an army of mechs, building up your base, and watching as your team destroys the enemy encampment was a blast. This was an entire summer for me hanging in chat rooms and playing this game with friends.
9) Metal Gear Solid
I’ve honestly contemplated going back to this game and always talk myself out of it. My first exposure to MGS was actually from a demo disc I received from Pizza Hut. I probably played that demo a dozen times, completely blown away with what I was seeing. The demo ends at the DARPA chief going nuts, then fades to black. I told everyone about that game, probably sold a few pizzas, but sadly had to wait for a holiday before I would receive the full game.
But when I did I was in awe. Metal Gear Solid opened a new genre for me to explore that sadly could care less about with today’s games. I hold this game in my mind as a flawless experience, except that I played it so much the 2nd disc was scratched to the point that no lava would show up in the blast furnace section. I happily bought the game again though. It was also one of the first games I played that was voice acted which the actors did a solid job with.
This franchise has a narrative that has spun rapidly out of control but this entry was fairly easy to follow. Great characters, lots of little secrets to explore, and some of the most fun boss fights I’ve ever played. Everyone remembers the Psycho Mantis fight and how infuriating it was until you figured out his weird tricks. I haven’t returned to this game because I would rather it live as a memory.
8) Pokemon Red/Blue
My Game Boy lived in my pocket for years because of these games. I still remember buying the data link cable and meeting friends at the closest gas station to trade Pokemon. My 6th grade year was Pokemon. If girls showed interest in me, I wouldn’t have known because I was too busy splashing my Magicarp into a Gyarados. I didn’t leave the house without my Game Boy and tons of batteries. I was obsessed with this game, the cartoon, collecting the cards and figures, and anything else Pokemon.
My amazing parents took me several towns over to a card tournament that I went 7/7 in. They would take me to Burger King, which was a designated trading spot on a certain day of the week. And there I was, trading cards and linking with complete strangers getting screwed over on trades. And it’s all because of this game. A series I still want to play today but don’t have the time to invest.
7) Super Smash Bros. Melee
Super Smash Bros. was the only game I felt confident to brag about my skill level. Sure, this game doesn’t take a lot of skill to figure out, but I still felt like I was damn good playing as Star Fox. This fighting game tasks you to knock your opponent off the stage any way possible. It’s a great party game that I played many hours.
I loved the first game for N64. It came out of nowhere, which when Nintendo is able to surprise us with something this good it always help solidify how well that company is at making games. But Melee just improves on the formula, added a bunch more characters and content, and honestly had a better controller. Brawl for Wii didn’t suck me in as much as Melee, but I am looking forward to how the 3DS version plays later this year. Plus the N64 version had an amazing commercial.
6) Call of Duty 4
Easily the best Call of Duty game ever made. This is the entry that turned me to console shooters. CoD multiplayer has gone insane, and gamers still turn to this entry for a more rooted experience. I worked 3rd shift when this game came out, and would play every morning after work with a bunch of friends. It’s some of my favorite gaming moments I ever had.
I’m not a competitive guy, I played mostly for fun and to hang out with friends. I don’t keep up with the series anymore but still loved everything about this game. Even the single player was a blast but the real meat of CoD is the multiplayer. Great maps, fun perks system, and that P90 gun. Search and Destroy and Team Deathmatch are where I spend most of my time with playing.
5) Hotline Miami
I picked this gem up during one of the many Steam Sales. I heard great things but was never able to get it to launch due to issues the developer was still sorting out. It got lost in the plethora of other titles I was checking out and forgotten about.
Then someone brought it up to me again and told me to give it another shot. The game launched successfully and I was brought into one of the most bizarre video game worlds I’ve ever explored. It’s a twitch shooter from an overhead perspective with a pixelated art style and the most badass video game soundtracks to date.
4) The Legend of Zelda, a Link to the Past
I didn’t pick this one up when it first came out, but went back to it during my collective days. I played the game a bunch but only finished it one time. The internet is full of arguments on whether this entry or Ocarina of Time is better. While I do love OoT, LttP is a better experience overall.
It was a huge improvement over the NES Zelda games, and brought this level of polish that games before didn’t have. The art style, the expansive world, the enemies and boss fights were all top of its class. You really cared for Link and his adventures to save Hyrule. I was lost several times during the game with no direction but didn’t care because I had a huge world to explore. The follow up, Link Between Worlds, was a blast as well, and showed the love Nintendo has with this series.
3) Super Mario World
If I could say one game on this list is perfect, it would be Super Mario World. The SNES launched with this title, a Mario game full of imagination and discovery. Super Mario World has everything a Mario game needs. The cape might not be as good as the raccoon tail, but is still used in challenging ways throughout the game. Super Mario World has secrets stashed in secrets, interesting characters and enemies, and an amazing soundtrack. Not too mention some of the most creative level designs in any side-scrolling game.
It’s been a few years since I have played this game, but I’m way more excited to play this with my kids. As long as they show any interest in gaming, I will sit and play through this entire game with them. They don’t make them like this anymore, which a big world map to explore, and tons of secrets to uncover.
2) The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
I bought the big collectors edition of Morrorwind which came with all the expansions and that thick strategy guide. Played it for maybe two hours before I stopped. I can’t remember what made me not want to play through the game, but it was shelved and I moved on. That was a dumb decision.
One evening I was hanging with a friend who played Morrorwind and showed me a few cool things that can be done in the world. Instead of returning to Morrorwind though, I bought Oblivion for 360 and explored the world of Cyrodiil. I love having the open world to explore with plenty of side missions to keep you busy for hundreds of hours. Skyrim tightened up in areas Oblivion was lacking, but I had a better experience with Oblivion. I still want to go back and play through Morrorwind, but I feel like that ship has sailed for me. The only knack I have with Oblivion is traversing the dumb gates, but with the surrounding gameplay being so amazing it becomes such a minor annoyance.
1) Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
As Final Fantasy introduced me to the RPG genre, I realized I missed out on a Mario game that would become my favorite game of all time. This game had amazing graphics for the time, a strong cast of characters set in an interesting world, and a ton of stuff to do.
A part of me is always bummed when Nintendo is asked about the series and denies it’s return. The other side though is glad they made a concise game and is happy with its complete package. The new Mario RPG games are great, but they don’t hold the charm this one contains. It’s still a surprise how much Nintendo will return to past characters but have never included Geno, Mallow, or the Frog King is anything.
Please play this game if you have any interest in the genre, or even a fresh take on the Mushroom Kingdom.
Games that didn’t quite make the list but are still amazing:
-Mass Effect 2
-Red Dead Redemption
-Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
-Silent Hill 2