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Your top 5

April 10, 2008

Inspired by Stolen from this post on Kotaku, why don’t you all tell us your top 5 favorite games? Any platform, either at present or ever. Some reasons would also be nice. C’mon, be polite.

I don’t like doing these poll-type posts because a), certain sites depend on and make a living off of them, and b), they’re just easy comment generators. Believe it or not, we have standards. But hey, once in a blue aint bad. Whatever works. :\

12 Comments leave one →
  1. drewmg permalink
    April 10, 2008 8:59 am

    I wrote this about 2 years ago. It’s probably time to re-evaluate, but that’s a project for another day.


    Pikmin 2 (Gamecube, 2004)
    It’s cute, it’s weird, and it’s the sequel to one of the best almost-launch titles of all time. I should say that it takes a LOT for me to place a sequel above an original game on an all-time type list, even if I enjoy the sequel more. That should tell you just how amazing Pikmin 2 is. It takes the groundwork laid in the groundbreaking 2001 original, and expounds on it, adding roughly seventeen years of gameplay.

    The game has you controlling hundreds of little creatures called “Pikmin.” They follow you around dutifully, setting to whatever task you ask of them. Need something carried back to your spaceship? OK! Need a creature slaughtered? OK! Need a switch turned off, so the randomly placed fire trap turns off? OK! I can’t say enough about the cleverness of the Pikmin franchise, and I hope we haven’t seen the end of it.

    Come for the: Great addictive RTS/action gameplay
    Stay for the: Clever alien descriptions of everyday household items.


    Doom (PC, 1993)
    Doom has inspired more cheap knockoffs than probably even Super Mario Bros. This is no small feat. As a single player game, Doom was fun. Nothing special, but fun. But when you added in the “Deathmatch” functionality, Doom became something completely new. Doom was really the first action game to allow people who weren’t in the same room (or even the same town) to play against each other via (what was then the precursor to) the internet. When I was in 9th grade, my friend Aaron and I would play practically every night, even going so far as to recording each match, and collecting the recordings. The gameplay was fast, responsive, and always kept you feeling like you could compete, even when you couldn’t. The amazing graphics engine still looks good, even today.

    Doom brought multiplayer to the masses, and even though there are many games doing the same thing better today, Doom holds a special place in my cholesterol-ridden heart.

    Come for the: Deathmatching
    Stay for the: Chance to see John Romero’s head on a stick.


    Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness (PC, 1995)
    I can’t help it. Many, many better Real Time Strategy games have come and gone over the years. Starcraft, Warcraft III, C&C Red Alert 2, C&C Generals… yet I can’t help but prefer Warcraft II to all of them. It’s a simpler game.

    No 3D graphics, no complicated charts of what takes what to make what, and no NPCs. Just massive numbers of Ogre-mages, several hundred gaurd towers, and a war cry of “Zug zug!” Even in 2003, my friends and I were still having Warcraft II tournaments. Starcraft may be a better game in every way, but I always have, and always will prefer the simple cartoony graphics of WC2.

    Come for the: Easy to grasp RTS
    Stay for the: QUIT POKING ME!


    Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting (Arcade, 1992)
    On Christmas morning, 1993, I opened up a box containing 2 six button controllers for my Sega Genesis, and a copy of Street Fighter 2: Special Championship Edition. The game was more or less just The Hyper Fighting edition with a new non-SNESed name. I probably played that game every day for a year. The original Genesis 6-Button controllers remain my favorite D-Pad based controllers of all time, and there was no better game that took advantage of them than Street Fighter II.

    This is yet another rare example of me putting a sequel ahead of the original. Well, not a sequel I guess, but a revision. The bottom line is that Capcom knew it had a hit on it’s hands with Street Fighter II, and they needed to take a closer look at their own game, and balance it out a bit. It took them a few tries, but SF2 Turbo was the peak of the series until they went into the SF Alpha games.

    Probably one of the best multiplayer games of all time.

    Come for the: Addictive gameplay
    Stay for the: Awesome victory slogans: “GET LOSE YOU CAN NOT COMPARE WITH MY POWERS”


    Animal Crossing (Gamecube, 2002)
    It’s very difficult to describe to someone why they should play this game. You can tell them: “Hey, check out this game. It lets me grow fruit trees and also go fishing” but there’s a good chance that might not quite do the trick. It has much of the same appeal as The Sims, in that there is no real true goal other than to better yourself. And much like the Sims, if you don’t have anyone to play with, this game gets old very quickly. But the game really begins to shine when you mix in other players.

    The first thing about this game that helps explain why it’s so great is the clock. The game has a built in clock that runs with the clock on the Gamecube. If it’s 8 PM in real life, it’s 8 PM in your village. People are getting ready for bed, the shop will be closing in a few hours, and the sun has set. Likewise, if it’s 6 AM in real life, it’s 6 AM in your village. People are just waking up, the shop isn’t open yet, and there isn’t a better time to go fishing.

    Four human players are allowed in per village, and each one gets their own house. When they play, they can leave notes for each other, mail each other letters or presents, plant trees in the village… Nintendo calls this a “communication” game, and they’re dead on. The game is what you make it, and if you have some clever people playing, then the game magnifies that.

    Come for the: Open ended gameplay.
    Stay for the: Jammin’ K.K. Slider tunes!


    Super Mario World (SNES, 1991)
    Let’s be honest with one another. Super Mario Bros. 3 could very easily be in this spot. But I didn’t see the need to include both of them when they would both be in the top 10 for the exact same reason. In fact, they’re pretty much the same game. There’s really not a whole lot of difference between the two games. Super Mario World is a little bit superior beacuse it has more levels, and some new powerups to go along with the old. Of course, SMB3 has it’s share of great powerups too (Tanooki Suit for one) but try and follow me here anyways.

    The thing that I feel sets SMW apart from SMB3 is that SMW embodies the jump to the next level (no pun intended). Super Mario World is synonymous with the jump from 8-bit to 16-bit much in the same way that Super Mario 64 is synonymous with the jump from 2D to 3D. When I look at Super Mario World, no matter how much time has passed, I see “next generation.” No matter how many polygons or billions of colors might have been in Super Mario Sunshine (GCN 2002), when I look at Super Mario World, it looks better. It has that “fresh” look– the kind that never wears off. And it doesn’t hurt that the gameplay is more or less unparalleled in 2D platformers.

    Mario will always be the king of the hill, but when Super Mario World was on top of the world, his hill was a mountain.

    Come for the: magic mushrooms that make “everything seem smaller.”
    Stay for the: Dinosaurs that poop LIFE.


    Super Smash Bros. Melee (Gamecube, 2001)
    Super Smash Bros. (N64, 1999) was a unique concept that personally I thought sounded a bit silly. Well, until the day I played it. It’s a fighting game, but not really. Not like Street Fighter 2 is a fighting game exactly, but still, there IS fighting in it, right? So how DO you describe it? Beats the hell out of me, but it probably starts with the word HOLYFUCKINGSHIT. This game is absolute chaos. Another one of the best almost-launch games of all time, Super Smash Bros. still gets heavy rotation when I have friends around. The epic battles between Link and Pikachu have been told the world round, and the blood spilled could have flooded Hyrule by now.

    SSBM is probably the single greatest (and most underrated) multiplayer game of the modern video game age. Most people assume that it’s a button masher, but they’re so wrong. The controls are finely tuned, and when you get two or three players who know their preferred character inside and out, it becomes as mentally challenging as a chess match. Strike and parry, parry and strike. Fuck, Ganon got a tomato. Goddamnit.

    Come for the: Frantic-4 players-on-the-same-screen action
    Stay for the: JIGGILYPUUUUuuuuuuuuu….. *thud*


    NCAA Football 200X (PS2/Xbox/GC, 2001-2006)
    Since I bought a PS2 in 2001, I have played one game more than any other game in my life. And for someone who spent his entire childhood with an NES controller in his hand, this is a bold statement. That game has been re-released every year with a different number on the end, but make no mistake – it is the same game every damn year. That game is NCAA Football.

    Now, I am very very hard pressed to put a sports game on an all-time list, but I must concede… I’m not an athlete, I’m not a sports nut. I love college football, and I love the game associated with it…. but I’m a video game fan. I know a good video game when I see one, and this is a good video game. Sure, it helps if you like college football, but that doesn’t change the fact that EA has done an outstanding job over the years perfecting their football engine.

    There’s something about a sports game that has an appeal to us with imagined ADD: imposed time limits. I can sit down with my copy of NCAA to play a game, and I know exactly how long it will take (approx 50 minutes). I don’t need to worry about finding a save point, or getting tired of playing too soon… I know that when I sit down, I am sitting down for a 50 minute game of football, and somehow, that is extremely comforting. There’s a modularity to the game: play a game. EVentually, play a season. Go to a new school, play a season there. It’s open ended like Animal Crossing, and score oriented, like the best Atari games. And it’s heartbreaking. Last night, I lost a 2OT game to Virginia, 44-45, because I decided to be a man, go for 2, and I got stopped at the 1 yard line. I’m still pissed about that.

    Come for the: Perfect replica of the real thing.
    Stay for the: Hot digital cheerleaders. Raar.


    The Legend of Zelda (NES, 1987)
    The Zelda series is grounded in exploration. That has been the one element that has carried on through every Zelda game ever released. And it’s the one element that the first Zelda title does better than all the others. It seems like a foreign concept in video games these days, but back in the early 8-bit era game programmers had no obligation to tell you where to go. The team that designed Zelda had a gigantic (by comparison) world, and they had placed 8 dungeons in it. It was up to you to find them, and determine which order to beat them in. No villages with helpful residents, no notes that told you to head east, nothing stopping you from wandering too far into enemy territory. The only thing you got was a crazy old lunatic man who said things like “DODONGO DISLIKES SMOKE” and ordered his campfires to shoot at you if you attempted to stab him to death.

    The Legend of Zelda made you figure it out yourself. And in the end, it was more rewarding. There were hundreds of secrets, and no one discovered them all the first time through, so you had to get together with your friends, and play the game together, so you could show each other which walls could be walked through, and which trees could be burned down (revealing a merchant. HOW can that be a profitable location?)

    Combine all that with the catchiest theme music in the history of ever, and you have yourself the 2nd best game of all time.

    Come for the: Exploration.
    Stay for the: Exploration.


    (PS2, 2001)
    In 2002, I went to an RA retreat with my fellow RAs. We had a long discussion that night where we were supposed to ask our fellow RAs questions about themselves, or about their hobbies. I was asked what my favorite video game was. I then launched into a 15 minute diatribe about ICO. When I was done, even people who had no interest in games whatsoever was asking me if they could come take a look at it sometime.

    First, what ICO is: ICO is an adventure game about a forsaken boy who desperately needs to get out of the castle he is trapped in, and the girl he finds along the way.

    What sets ICO apart from everything else on this list: It is the first and only video game I have ever played that made me feel emotion toward the characters based soley on body language. The characters in ICo tell a story mainly without dialouge, without much dramatic music, without cut scenes… they tell a story by the way that they move, and the way they rely on each other to get through the obstacles. If video games can be considered art (and I realize that for some of you, that’s a mighty big “if”) then ICO must be the first game up for nomination. It has atmosphere that is unparallelled. When you first step outside and see a giant windmill surrounded by a small pond, it is one of the most transcendent moments in any video game I have ever played. It makes you feel like you have been inside for a year, and you just found the way out. And when you realize that you have to go back inside the castle before you can truly escape your fate, it is heartbreaking.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    April 10, 2008 4:07 pm

    Top 5, drewmg, not top 10!

    Anyway, I looove “top anything” lists, and I prefer a top five than a top ten… Here’s mine:

    1. Metal Arms (Xbox, GameCube)
    One of the best shooters ever! It even rivals the venerable Halo in my book. Many of the levels were vast, and you actually had to use your brain to get through many of the levels. Amazing variety not only on the weapons, but also on the devices you could use, such as being able to “hack” and control many of the other robots. The story was quite interesting, too, and very humorous.

    2. Halo Trilogy (Xbox 360)
    I can’t quite pick out which of the Halo games is my favorite, but I never go back once a new installement comes out, so I will stick to Halo 3. No matter what other first-person shooter I try out, I always go back to Halo for unrivaled multiplayer fun.

    3. Etrian Odyssey (DS)
    It is difficult to pin point what exactly is so addicting about this game… some people say that if you look up “hardcore” in a dictionary, you will find “Etrian Odyssey” as one of the descriptions. It may be the fact that you have to draw your own maps, or that the game play is merciless, or that the characters attributes are completely customizable, I don’t know.

    4. Burnout Series (Xbox, 2, 3, and Revenge, but NOT Paradise yet!)
    Pure adrenaline racing fun. My problem with Paradise, though, is that you have to pay too much attention to the map because it is an open world, as opposed to event-driven. But I’m warming up to it…

    5. Soul Calibur Series (Dreamcast, Xbox, PS2)
    Best. Boobies. Physics. Ever!! Honestly. Play with Taki on SC II (the Xbox version) and you will see what I mean! I have no idea how this one got past the censors, but I am oh-so-thankful they overlooked this teenage wet dream.

  3. DrewMG permalink
    April 11, 2008 12:43 am

    Hey, you can’t call foul on my 10 games and then put trilogies in yours! That’s even more games than mine, total.

  4. April 11, 2008 4:07 pm

    Hmmm…. For some reason, my name is coming up as “Anonymous” now!

  5. April 11, 2008 4:24 pm

    Damnit, i thought that was a new commenter. Crap.

  6. April 13, 2008 5:24 pm

    I knew Tony was Anon as soon as he got on to someone, and then pulled out trilogy exceptions.

    No specific order. Games I could play a million times

    Tetris DS
    I’ve played this game just about everyday since I have bought it. If I poohed at home, I played Tetris on that day.
    I still remember the reason I bought this game. MSI YouTube video.
    LoZ – OoT
    Game Changed my Life. I am almost always somewhere in this game
    Punch Out
    I play this game and don’t even think while playing it.
    Marvel vs Capcom
    Only vs my brother. Wolv+Venom(me) vs Spidy+Ryu (Bro)

  7. April 15, 2008 2:20 pm

    Great tips, i found all information i was looking for, i will use some of them.

  8. April 16, 2008 2:53 pm

    On a somehow related happy note, and as an amazing coincidence, Xbox LIVE marketplace just released Metal Arms: A Glitch in the System as a download for the 360!

  9. April 16, 2008 3:58 pm

    Wow. How big is it? That’s one of the sleeper GameCube/PS2 hits.

  10. April 16, 2008 5:12 pm

    Hmmm… it doesn’t say how big it is until you are about to download it! Which I won’t: I have the original disc still, and there are absolutely no enhancements or extras for Xbox Original games, which makes it a waste of money for me. Even Nintendo’s VC enhances the resolution of its classic games for the Wii. Bummer!

    But for all of you who didn’t have it, $15 is not a bad price to pay.

    (I didn’t know you had a 360, Rollin! Wanna play Halo 3?)

  11. April 16, 2008 8:48 pm

    I don’t. And will never pay money for one. Wanna play GTA IV?

  12. cubi&co permalink
    April 17, 2008 4:19 pm

    1. The legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
    2. Metal Gear Solid (PSX)
    3. Super Mario 64 (N64)
    4. Final Fantasy IX (PSX)
    5. Resident Evil 2 (GC)

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