I am now 30 years old, the alleged average age of video game players. I’ve been playing video games for as long as I can remember, dating back to the Atari, arcade games at the mall, the NES all the way to the PS3. I’ve seen a lot in my time. I’ve played a lot. Some only once. Some more times than I would care to admit. My loyalties have shifted from Nintendo to Sony to my current state as a free agent gamer who tries to avoid fanboy wars. I play games because I love them. And the following is a list of the games I love the most.
This isn’t meant to be a greatest of all time list or most influential list or anything silly like that. These are my favorite games, the ones that I want to play over and over again, even at the expense of playing the newest games on the market. Simply put, these are the games that constantly call out to me, like Jacob Marley to Scrooge: “Play me again, Anthony! Play me again!”
Enjoy your glimpse into my gaming soul:
1. Final Fantasy VI: The game that, to me, is perfect in every way. It has my favorite characters, all of whom I love so much that it is difficult to pick an absolute favorite. It has my favorite music, which always makes me want to play it every time I hear it. And the sprite-based 2D graphics are still capable of telling a story as moving as anything we have today. As far as I am concerned, FF VI is the greatest video game ever made and it has all been downhill since.
2. Final Fantasy Tactics: The first time I played Tactics, I didn’t care for it, mainly due to the fact that I didn’t understand what I was supposed to be doing. So I put it aside and moved on. But it gnawed at me still. Memories of almost-brilliance would come to me at random times and I knew I needed to give the game another chance. I’m glad I did. I was rewarded with fantastic gameplay and an epic story which I didn’t and still don’t fully understand, thanks to a very poor localization. But even with that large negative, Tactics stands tall among the vast library of games I’ve played.
3. Chrono Trigger: If any SNES RPG came close to Final Fantasy VI, it was Chrono Trigger. The music, battle system and a really enjoyable time-travel mechanic all made for a game that I’ve replayed over and over again, even starting over without the New Game + feature. And did I mention the multiple endings? Just writing this makes me want to play it again, which is the mark of a truly great game. I even wrote fanfiction in middle school about the search for Schala, the one loose thread in the story. *Shudder*
4. Super Mario World: The pinnacle of platforming in my view. The most levels, the best graphics and music with tons and tons of secrets to find, not to mention the always awesome Koopa Kids, Super Mario World rocked my own world back then and still does to this day. Twice have I played from the beginning and completed all 96 levels and I suddenly have the urge to do so again. Even Mario 64 can’t compare to the pure fun this game brings me.
5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Ocarina of Time can suck it! If you want to play the best Zelda game ever, this is the one. The unusual opening, where Link’s Uncle leaves in the middle of the night and you follow him, eventually picking up his sword and shield, was such a radical departure from other games in the franchise that I was immediately hooked. Exploring the world, finding new items and that catchy ass theme song kept me going for hours and hours. Just seeing a screenshot makes me want start the hunt for the Master Sword all over again.
6. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night: Metroid in a Castlevania game. Whoever first broached this idea needs a medal or something. Tons of hidden areas to explore with an addictive quality that just cries out, “One more room, one more room,” all make for probably the best Metroidvania type game of all time. And then, the big secret of the castle inverting and going through the whole thing again to get the best ending? Mind blowing.
So there you have it, my all time favorite games. What’s your top 6 look like? Go!