My Top Ten Video Games

Gamers often get into debates about which video games are their favorites, or which are the best, or influenced them most, or that you’re crazy if you don’t like. Well, I thought I would put out something of my list. To help justify my opinions, I have created a category for each, and for some even have runners up, that my top choice beats out.

Like I said, I was just at the Art of Video Games exhibit, so I know full well I am leaving out a lot of types of games. I plan to rectify this with some links to other top lists of games – so you don’t have to take my word for it! Let me know what you think.

Without further ado, and in no particular order… my top ten video games.

  • My Gaming Roots – the top game in this category is the game I think back to every time I think about myself as a gamer. It’s the game that I feel like got me really into gaming, and which informs much of how I approach games and what I like in them. Meaning, if I didn’t have it on the list, the rest of the list might make less sense! That game would be Wizardry VI: Bane of the Cosmic Forge. It is a really difficult, party-based RPG with turn based combat. I loved creating the characters and the party combinations even more than I enjoyed taking those characters in to fend for their lives in the dungeon. I found a Wizardry game for iOS recently, and oh man, the difficulty bit is still there, but some of the character building is done with real money and such now. It may have lost something to time, but in my mind it is still my root. Runner up: Might and Magic III, which I was playing at the same time, and which is fairly similar.
  • Best Shared Experience – I did not have the Internet until pretty late, and often borrowed other people’s computers for networked gaming. As such, my favorite shared gaming experiences when I think back are on consoles. For that, no game sucked up more time or lead to more fun than Diablo – on the Playstation. This was no split-screen nonsense, this was two characters locked on one screen, working together against hordes of evil. With the possibility of killing each other, it honed your skills and added extra challenge. Runners up: X-Men Legends, most any of the licensed Lego games, all for similar sorts of cooperative fun.
  • Best Good Game Made to be a Good Game – Sometimes you make a good game without fully realizing how people will react, sometimes you make a good game as a sequel to a game and building on its success. Sometimes, it feels pretty clear you walked into the project planning on making a really solid game and then pulling it off. This is how I feel about Halo. Halo was by no means the first shooter game, nor the first with good cooperative, or good versus, but by golly it pulled all of that off, along with a pretty decent story and memorable music. I feel like so many times a game is made to try to be awesome, and they often fall short, but maybe that’s my opinion because I feel that Halo set the bar here.
  • Best By-Products – I was thinking about some games, and then thought of how they connected, and realized sometimes the best things come as a surprise. What I mean is, Half Life. Have I ever actually played Half Life? Not as such. But how about Counter Strike? Yeah, lots of that. How about Portal? Yes, for Science! A game as a vehicle for other games is an interesting thought – the Art of Video Games exhibit talks about Doom II, and how it was the first game built on an engine that others could then use to develop games. Same thought here, I just like Portal better!
  • Best Redefinition of How Gaming WorksWorld of Warcraft. Not the first MMO, but like Halo, built to be a good game. And when they fell short, they kept adding and changing. Did they lose people as they went along (including me)? Sure. But they kept gaining people too. The monthly subscription, which then paid for constantly updating and increasing content, is a very different model for how gaming works. Even with sequels or DLC’s, the closest contender would be something like Mass Effect, with pulling your character along from game to game.
  • My Introduction to Games that Tell a Story – Gamers today will tell you, of course games can tell a story, often ones deep enough or long enough to get some comparisons to other art forms. Metal Gear Solid 2 is still one of my favorite 10 hour movies. However, the game I would say really got me invested in gaming as a means to experience and interact with a story was Baldur’s Gate 2. With a villain you truly felt was evil and that you really wanted to stop, with your character imported from Baldur’s Gate 1 captured and their soul stolen, with a party of characters you control who all have personality and voices of their own (literally), I got really invested. I still quote Jon Irenicus. Why am I not giving games like Dragon Age or Mass Effect their own spot on my list? Because Baldur’s Gate 2 is where Bioware began the work they are continuing in their newer franchises.
  • Best Story (that I can’t think of a better category name for)Chrono Trigger. I got to this game late, on the DS. I had heard good things, but it had not had a huge amount of hype built up for me. But the time travel, oh man! So much fun. And the thought that you could, at nearly any point, attack the final boss – not that you would necessarily win – is something I think Mass Effect 3 could use as an easy addition to the game. But I digress. Chrono Trigger blew me away, and if I had played it younger, this whole list might look different. It sets a high bar.
  • Best Series – Well, if I just said I love Chrono Trigger, you might guess that of course SquareEnix is going to run away with this one with Final Fantasy. And you would be right. I could list my favorite game in the series, but in my experience, that can be controversial. My theory? Final Fantasy fans tend to prefer the first game in the series they played, because the other games then lead to nostalgia of that game. To that point, I played VIII first. I have really enjoyed XIII-2 recently, as the time travel and sequelness have been interesting and fun. If you like Final Fantasy, make sure you check out Dissidia if you get a chance, or as it could be called, Fanservice Final Fantasy. And I am okay with that. (Maybe Dissidia means Fanservice in Japanese?)
  • Best Nostalgia – It’s gotta be GoldenEye. Given that the rights have been tough, and two attempts at remakes have come out lately, people are clearly still wanting to play this game. The rights were so hard to get that this game should have been at the Art of Video Games exhibit and could not be shown – but it makes it into the exhibit book. Oh man, this was so much fun with other people. This game single-handedly defines the N64. And shooter games. I mentioned Counter Strike and Halo above, but in many ways those games just wish they were GoldenEye. Runner up: totally for me, TimeSplitters. It reminded me a lot of GoldenEye, and I never actually owned an N64 to play GoldenEye on my own, but I played a whole bunch of the TimeSplitters series.
  • Best Longevity – But wait, you ask, what about StarCraft for nostalgia? Well, I would argue it needs its own spot, as the game that just would not go away. Still good today, StarCraft was just a lot of fun. And as I mentioned, not a lot of Internet, so I never had to deal with being Zerged by a lot of real people… just my computer… Runner up: for totally different reasons, Zelda Ocarina of Time. Because it showed up on the N64, the GameCube, the Wii, the 3DS… it just keeps coming out, not really done back up, just available. The standard against which other Zelda games are compared – and a number of Zelda games were there to compare to at the Art of Video Games exhibit.

Like I said, let me know what you think! What are your top ten? Or what would you say beats out my games in these categories? What categories would you add?

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About CompGeeksDavid
Co-founder, editor, podcaster, web comicer, forum moderator, and writer for Comparative Geeks. Father, husband, geek, nerd, gamer, librarian, Christian, Libertarian, Science Fiction philosopher, and probably a number of other descriptors.

7 Responses to My Top Ten Video Games

  1. dbcox says:

    To give a mention, this is tied to a class assignment, as I mentioned here https://dbcox.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/building-sample-content-8/ But that does not detract from anything I have written here! These are my thoughts. What are yours?

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  2. JOtt says:

    I like the list, and you are so right about the Final Fantasy comments. I played VI first, and since it remains one of the few games in the series to feature an ensemble cast, I find many of the other games that focus on a single protagonist somewhat flawed due to my bias.

    As for your experience with Chrono Trigger, I love the moments when you travel forward in time and suddenly, everythig is very different.

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    • dbcox says:

      By XIII-2, they have time travel down to the point where if you change the future, you change the past. Whoa, need to go play that game some more.

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  3. Josh says:

    Knew your love of PSX Diablo was going to make this list. Also pleased to see Goldeneye/Timesplitters there – and I remember staying up late to watch a certain Mr. Phelps beat MGS2 while we watched….

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  4. Reblogged this on Comparative Geeks and commented:

    This content originally appeared on my old blog at https://dbcii.com/2012/06/08/my-top-ten-video-games/ There I have done some blogging about my master’s degree, and about blogging in general – and a bit about video games! Sorry to reuse content, but today did not work out to write the post I had intended. Expect more in the days and weeks to come!

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  5. Pingback: Comparative Geeks

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