Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Top 10 Favorite Games

So this isn't a Top 5, like I usually do them. I just couldn't limit my top game list to just 5 games, that's impossible. Actually limiting it to only 10 games was near to impossible. But here it is.

These are 10 games that might not be the best in terms of game design, and I might not enjoy them as much today as I once did, but they are good in the sense that they have meant much to me for various reasons. They have their definite place in my gaming heart for the joy and memories they've brought me. Note that they're not in any particular order. I tried to rank them, but it was just too difficult! There might of course also be the occasional spoiler here and there since it is difficult to talk about the awesomeness of a game without specifically mentioning the awesome parts. I won't rant on much longer but let the games talk for themselves.

Lemmings (Amiga)
Lemmings was the first real computer game that got me hooked. I can't have been more than 6-7 years old then and my own family wouldn't own any kind of computer until many years later so I had to play this on the amiga of a friend of my parents. Lemmings is timeless. Eventhough it has been some years now since I last played it, I am sure I would enjoy it just as much as I did when I was little. Just as Tetris it is a perfect example that a game doesn't have to have good graphics or story-telling to get people to spend countless hours with it. What you really need simply is just the right amount of challenge and the continouous feeling of overcoming those challenges. A constant flow of wins, if you like.

Final Fantasy VII (PS)
My very first impression with FFVII wasn't a good one. I had seen posters of Cloud, the main character, and thought he looked completely ridiculous with that oversized sword and smug face. At that time I was fairly new to the world of video-gaming (and I hadn't played much computer-games either). I was 13 and just the year before had I bought my first very own gaming console, the Nintendo 64. I didn't know anything about roleplaying games, and I didn't like what I saw. Things changed when a freind of mine told me this was a great game and that I should try it out. So we decided to have regular eat-candy-and-play-video-games-together evenings. I played this entire game through at his place, and it was a blast. He had already played the game through and new exactly what would happen around each corner, but told me nothing. I know he totally loved the look on my face when that turd-faced Yuffie ran off with all my Materias. I hated her so much that I still today, when playing reruns, refuse to have anything to do with her. Fortunately she isn't part of the main storyline (unless you want her to be). And the first time I went up against one of the Weapons. Or when I found Vincent... Only like the coolest character ever created. I could go on and mention 500 more cool moments of FFVII, but overall it is an awesome game as I am sure most of you already know. I would have loved it on its own, but now I can remember playing during all those evenings, munching cheese sandwhiches at my friends place, and that makes the memory of the game so much fonder.

World of Warcraft (PC)
It would be silly to make a top 10 list without mentioning the game I've spent the last 6 years playing. How many days? I don't even know. Hundreds for sure. And I'm still around and probably will be for a long time! There are many, many reasons WoW has kept me around for so long. Initially I played it mostly to meet new people. I loved the mix of social and roleplaying it offered. And it was huge. So much to explore! I don't really have to tell you why WoW is so great, if you're reading this chances are high you already know. But to me personally it brought me some of my best gaming memories. Not to mention I wouldn't have met Love without it (which is kinda freaky to think about). It is also the perfect way for me to keep in touch with alot of my friends, and after all this time it still hasn't become boring. Blizzard have made a tremendous job finding out exactly what would interest people and keep them hooked. This is nothing new, they did a great job with Diablo 1 & 2 and Starcraft 1 & 2 as well. When the game finally comes to an end (because seriously it has to) I will have to admit that a part of my life is gone too. Unlike other games, WoW isn't revisitable, so once its gone its gone. Might as well enjoy it as much as possible now!

Settlers 2 (Mac)
I've written a post on this game already, but here is the shortened version of it; When my parents finally decided to buy a computer, it had to be a mac of course... All my friends had pc's, but I was stuck with macs. The problem with macs is that back then (and still to some extent) there were no cool games at all to the mac. All my friends played Ultima, emulated Game Boy games, Fallout, Black & White and you name it and I had to play Shufflepuck Café. Mom played Myst, Safecracker and games like that but I thought they were dreadfully boring. Then my grandma gave my brother Settlers 2 as a christmas gift. My brother never really understood it, seeing as he was around 8 and loved games where you got to shoot people (read: Wolfenstein 3d). But I decided to try it out, not like I had anything else to play anyway. And I loved it! Since I hate loosing I played without enemies the first time, but eventually I dared trying that and immediately found that that was way more fun, of course. Unfortunately the game wasn't very stable, and crashed every 15 minutes unless I saved every 5 minutes. It was worth every hassle I had with it though, and I spent many, many hours with it. It's funny because I don't really like strategy games. Never have, never will. But as any real strategy gamer will tell you, Settlers has its unique take on strategy gaming. It all goes in a steady pace and the tricky thing in settlers is constantly relocating the centre of your kingdom. You want the produces to be as close to the action as possible. So will you have the smithy close to the mines or close to the border? And since the border constantly moves, will you move the smithy with it? There are many things to take into consideration when playing Settlers, just as with any strategy game, but it is focused on producton rather than fighting. And that is what I like about it. It is rather meditative a game. I can still get a Settlers 2 urge and play it through (I have Gold Edition now though). It is possible I loved this game just because it was the first mac game I played that didn't suck (according to me). But it has stuck with me since, and I love it still today.

Heroes of Might and Magic 3 (PC)

I'm not really sure where I first got introduced to this game. I think a friend of mine had it and we used to meet up at his place (he, my brother and I) to play some HoMM3. We had loads of fun. Years later me and Love can still have our HoMM3 sessions where we play nothing but Homm3 together for days. I had these with my brother as well when I was younger. I nearly always played Necropolis (collecting huge packs of vampires, ftw) and the music of that town is still among my favorite game musics of all time. Homm3 is a great game, and the only one that comes close in the rest of the series is Homm2. It is one of those games I could play still today if only it was longer. Playing together with other people does increase its longetivity somewhat, but otherwise it grows a little dull once you've completed all the maps. The concept of HoMM is completely awesome however, and I always make sure to check each new part in the series out, just in case it might be as fun as the third installation (unfortunately that hasn't been so). And it's definitely a game you can replay many, many times.

Mario Kart 64 (N64)
One of the first games I bought to my first video game console, the Nintendo 64. We could have packs of 5-8 children at my place playing this, where the loosers always had to switch places with someone who was waiting. I was queen of this game, no one could beat me. Maybe that is why I loved it so, it was the first game in which I was truly awesome. The whole idea of racing with weapons stuck with me too, and I loved Diddy Kong Racing and the Wipeout games nearly as much as I loved Mario Kart. I played Mario Kart for years. From the day I bought it till I started playing WoW, I think. It is without a doubt one of the best multi-player games I've ever played. Mario Kart gave us some truly crazy times when I was young(er), and still today I can pick it out and give it a run through for old times sakes.

Pokémon (Game Boy)
I love all the Pokémon games in the original series, but the first one I played was Pokémon Blue. I managed to get it from a guy (who I knew fancied me) to my newly purchased Game Boy Advanced. The whole concept of Pokémon got me interested in everything around it as well, and I collected the cards and stickers and watched the series and you name it. I was around 11 when the first game was released and I didn't stop playing it until I was 16-17 (mostly probably because my brother lost interest). The video games I play still today everytime there is a new realease. And I've kept my Pokémon Card Decks of course! It is possible I love Pokémon so much for all the fun I had with the TCG, but there is no denying that the games themselves are extremely enjoyable too. Eventhough each new game is exactly the same as the one before, I gladly go through it all again just to be able to collect those damn cute Pokémons!

Yoshi's Story (N64)
I wrote a post on this game already (ages ago) and it wraps up why I love this game so much. In short - it was the first game that really got me interested in gaming and that made me save all those allowances so I could afford a N64 console. I still love it, and I honestly don't know why people bash it so much. It's a lovely game, and not all that easy as people say. Sure you can play it the easy way if you like, but if you try to collect everything, you're up for a real challenge.

GoldenEye (N64)
I'm no fan of fps-games and I don't think I've ever played the single player mode of Golden Eye either. But I doubt I've had more fun with any other multi-player game, than I've had when gathering three friends and matching off against eachother in Golden Eye. I don't know how many hours we spent together, a varying amount of people, playing this game. We even invented our own "modes" of playing, where one of our favorites was something we had called "Terminator mode". One player would have +10 endurance and the rest would have -10 endurance. The -10 people would die from basically anything. A knife throw would kill them, while the +10 guy needed to have several mags unloaded on them before they died. Pitting all the -10 against the +10 made for some interesting playing anyway. Or the "modes" where we'd only play with mines. Good fun. I also remember how we always said that no one could play Oddjob, because oddly enough Rare had confused him with Nicknack and made him really small. To be able to shoot him you most of the time had to aim downwards, which gave whoever played that small guy the upper hand. I think Jaws couldn't even shoot him in close combat, because of the height difference. If I recall correctly, I mostly played as Xenia Onatopp, but I could be mistaken. In any case, GoldenEye is the perfect example of how to create awesome multiplayer fun by designing great levels, great music and great weapons.

Resident Evil (PS/GC)
Putting this on my list might seem like an odd choice, and if you'd only count games I've played, this would have to go. Because I've never actually played Resident Evil, any of the series, myself. I still love it, deeply. I don't play horror games. Honestly I just get too caught up in them and I'd mentally ruined if I ever tried (more so than I already am :P). I cry to Star Trek for christ sake! I am really easily affected. But just as with horror movies, which I mainly watch from behind my fingers, I still love experiencing them. Just not at first hand. Fortunately I have known a couple of people who have enjoyed playing these games, and I have always loved sitting in behind them and watch them play. I could name a number of horror games I've enjoyed this way - most of the Resident Evil games, Project Zero where you have to take pictures of ghosts, most Silent Hill games and so on. A friend of mine knows most of the story of Resident Evil and filled me in at one point. And I love it! The first game is the best one in my opinion. Capcom have done a marvellous job with the story telling and setting in this one. The diaries and notes you find that slowly tell the story of what has happened in the mansion and surroundings areas bring so much to the game, and my skin still crawls when I think about some of the best moments in the game. There's the classic dogs coming through the window of course, but I love the diary where you can see a man slowly succumbing to the virus (and you later find him in the cupboard, zombified). Or the story about Lisa and her family, and finding her various family members throughout the mansion (and having to fight them off). The only bad thing about Resident Evil is that it sorta looses its pace towards the end, but until then it is some hours of great fun. My brother bought the Gamecube version of the first one, and I just never grew tired of seeing that game being played through (by someone else). A perfect evening for me would be someone coming over to play through Resident Evil while I was watching, it's like seeing a really good horror movie.

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