Jumping on to Steve’s idea, this is a list of my favourite games of all time. This list is entirely subjective, and is based on my personal opinion.
Here’s the rules for my list: Similarly to Steve, I’ll start by listing all of the totally radical games I can think of. From there, I’ll use my tubular powers of observation and rememberation to wickedly whittle the list down to a top 25. However, unlike Steve, I won’t be limiting myself to one game per series. Finally, I’ll sort the games, from the worst to the best, in a head-to-head competition the likes of which the world has never seen.
25. Xenoblade Chronicles X
It’s by no means the perfect game, but the giant explorable world and interesting RPG elements help this one juuuuust make the cut-off. The lackluster story kept it from being too high on the list though.
24. Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag
Also my first Assassin’s Creed title. I love it more for being an open world pirate simulator, but the gameplay’s tight and responsive, and unlike Xenoblade X, the story was really enjoyable.
23. Time Splitters: Future Perfect
Boasting hundreds of playable characters, creative sci-fi first person shooter elements and an amazingly cheeky, crude and altogether genius story, this one goes down as the definitive game by which all other FPS’s are judged in my eyes.
22. Kid Icarus
The only NES title to grace my list, Kid Icarus is a joy to play. Old school difficulty mixes incredibly well with the ability to farm for money and powerups in this retro platformer/shooter hybrid. To this day it’s the only game I’ve made hand-drawn maps for.
21. Etrian Odyssey 2
This dungeon crawler/rpg gets bonus points from me for allowing me to create my own characters and imagine my own adventure. A good mix of old-school with some new ideas, it’s just a really fun experience.
20. Super Metroid
Objectively, this is my pick for the best Metroid game of all time. Subjectively, not so much. It’s still a fantastic game, and in my opinion, the pinnacle of the Metroid experience.
19. Mario Kart 8
Woah, buddy, how’d you get down here!?! …Yeah, Mario Kart 8 is a fantastic game. But there are actually racing games I prefer over this one. Still, Mario Kart 8 is the ultimate Mario Kart Experience, and one of the best games on the WiiU, hands down.
18. Fire Emblem: Awakening
Easy? Yes, absolutely. But there has never been a Fire Emblem title that has held my attention as well as Awakening. The characters, story and interpersonal relationships in this game are all top notch, and in addition to Awakening apparently shaping the future of the series, it also arguably saved Fire Emblem, at least in the west. Like many others, this was my introduction to the franchise, and I’ve probably played it from start to finish about 5 times now.
17. Hyrule Warriors Legends
The Legend of Zelda is probably my favourite series of all time, and this game is such a love letter to the franchise. If you don’t like the Warriors series you won’t like this one, but I absolutely love the hack-and-slash titles, so it’s hard not to drool when I’m playing this game.
16. Snow Board Kids 2
Arguably one of my favourite titles on the N64. It improves over the original in almost every way, and manages to be something entirely unique and charming. It’s a shame the series never made it to the modern stage; it’d give Mario Kart a run for its money.
15. Super Smash Bros. 4 for Wii U
I promise I’m not just being a hipster. Smash 4 is great. Reaaaaally great. But I like 14 games more than this one. So there ya go.
14. F-Zero GX
The top racing game on my list, F-Zero GX is just so much fun. Story mode is tough as nails, to the point of being a hair pulling experience. The game is fast paced, exciting and altogether amazing, and getting to customize your own car is one of my favourite features in a game of all time. It’s just a shame it was on the gamecube, hence no wifi racing.
Ah, how I love games that make me feel like I’m racing to save my life. Pikmin’s harsh “30 days to find 30 parts” mechanic gives me that constant sense of doom, and I absolutely love it. It also stands out as a very original title, and what I consider to be Nintendo’s final “Classic” IP of any merit before the long drought that would eventually lead to the “Modern” era with the advent of Splatoon.
12. Pokémon Gold/Silver
The second generation of Pokemon games has the greatest color pallet and sprite art I’ve ever seen in a heavily pixelated, old-school game. It also introduced us to an entirely new yet still completely iconic generation of new Pokemon.
11. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
This was really hard. The original game is such a pure, perfect Mario RPG. But Thousand Year Door is so much cleaner and more polished. It also takes more chances, going to locales that aren’t as generic as the ones in the first game. There are things about this one I don’t like, but it juuuust beats out the original in most areas.
10. Dokapon Kingdom
This is the best game you’ve never heard of. A beautiful hybrid of party and RPG, dokapon kingdom is the ultimate friendship ruiner. Its fatal flaw is that for you to really enjoy it, you need to play with local buddies. And its long length can be a deal breaker. But if you’re willing to put a few long sessions into a continuous game, you’ve pretty much found gaming nirvana.
9. Metroid: Other M
If you’re still reading at this point, it means you’re objective enough for me to like you. Look, I understand why people don’t like this one. I just disagree wholeheartedly. I thought the presentation of a young, delicate Samus was amazing. Adam Malchovich’s involvement and the scene where Samus’ PTSD causes her to freeze during her Ridley encounter were amazing to me. And the gameplay was exactly what I want from a 3D Metroid title. I play this game every couple of years to see if I like it any less. And I never do.
I really like ARMS. There’s a reason for that. It’s soooooo good. ARMS has its shortcomings, such as a lack of story cutscenes like Street Fighter. But between the snippets we get from pre-fight text in Grand Prix mode and what we see from their overall designs, there’s enough personality there to get attached to these characters. And speaking functionally, the depth of customization and gameplay in this title is top notch. It’s entirely unique, yet it presents a very real fighting game experience, and I just… ugh, I love it so much.
7. Mother 3
If you don’t cry playing this game, I pity you. There isn’t a game I’ve played that has such an emotional, down to earth story. Filled with tragedy, friendship and hope, it’s an amazing game. So amazing that the first time I played it, I did it with the Japanese version and a translator guide. This is a game that will forever change you, if you let it.
6. Super Mario 64
Basically THE 3D platformer game that all others should be judged against, it’s hard not to put Mario 64 on any list. It’s just a really good game. Everyone’s played it. Nearly everyone loves it. And it’s entirely deserving of that love. It’s a tight playing game that still holds up incredibly well today.
5. Monster Hunter Generations
Surprised? Me either. Generations is just a REALLY enjoyable experience. It’s definitely not a game for everyone, but for me personally, it’s a dream. It really is a game that’s almost endless, and every victory feels so substantial and rewarding.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Absolutely one of my favourite games. It’s scary, dark and incredibly unique for a Zelda title. The characters in this game are some of the most memorable in the series, and the unique pacing and optional elements make it incredibly replayable.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
However, there is one Zelda title that beats out Majora’s Mask. Oh, how I love Skyward Sword. Ghirahim is top-notch as a villain, the environments are interesting an change throughout the game, and the story… This is the Zelda game that touches every game in the franchise. I never play a Zelda title now without picture Fi slumbering in the Master Sword, or Ganondorf having been born from the curse of Demise. Finding out Zelda and Link’s origin stories was just icing on the cake at this point. And before BOTW came around, it was one of the most revolutionary titles in the series, dabbling in stamina, breakable equipment and motion control.
2. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle
My choice for the episode 400 list and one of my all-time favourite games, SA2B is just a really fun time. For me, this is the pinnacle of what a Sonic game should be. A world-in-danger story, the introduction of Shadow (back before he was a stereotype), chao garden, amazing sound track and gameplay that was fast without being overly so, there’s just so many reasons to love SA2B. But the reason it lands so highly on the list for me is mostly because this was Sonic’s introduction to Nintendo consoles. This won’t mean much these days, but having Sonic, THE rival mascot, on a Nintendo system was pretty revolutionary at the time. This game opened up a whole new world for eleven year old me, and it’s still one of my favourites.
1. Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward
If you’re looking for a head trip that will make you think about theoretical physics in an entirely new light, look no further. This game is glorious. So glorious, in fact, that my username Sigma comes from the main character of this game. It plays with its audience in such a unique and inspired way, and it’s so thought provoking the entire time. There are plenty of moments that will have you saying “there’s no way that could be a thing”, but if you can set aside a litttle skepticism and just let it take you aloung for the ride, it’s one of the best rides you’ll ever take. If I ever go amnesiac, replaying this game is top on my list.
The Elephant In The Room: Breath of The Wild
I seem to have picked up the reputation as the BOTW hater of the group, and I’d like to use this opportunity to set the record straight. BOTW didn’t make my list because I don’t think it’s a great game. It’s certainly a good game. There are moments that are incredibly fun. But in a game that averages 130 hours from start to finish, if only 30 of those hours are spent having fun, I think there’s something wrong with the game. The majority of BOTW is spent searching for Shrines, which isn’t particularly fun. Then you complete the shrines, which usually end with you receiving a reward that isn’t exciting or unique. You do this 120 times, and it feels more like a time-killer than actual fun.
I’ve put 205 hours into the game so far, but it’s not because I find the game particularly fun. Rather it’s the challenge of 100%ing a game as long as this one that’s keeping me going. Again, that’s not to say it’s a bad game. Majora’s Mask is a very similar game in my opinion. Four main challenges to complete, with a number of optional missions to complete. But these missions are rewarding, and the game doesn’t stretch them out to the point of monotony. Majora’s Mask is a roughly 20-40 hour game, and the majority of that time is spent having fun.
That’s my reasoning, in a nutshell. I’ve nothing against the game, short of what I feel are its shortcomings. I am, however, becoming tired of being typecast as the one who hates the game, or just “doesn’t understand it”. It bothers me that the vast majority of gamers seem either unable to see my arguments or are just so diametrically opposed to my viewpoints that they see it as a form of hate. In fact, this isolated article has been the one place I’ve felt entirely comfortable explaining my views on the game without having to launch into an argumentative debate. Hopefully I’ve done a sufficient job of explaining why, from my point of view, BOTW doesn’t make the cut.