One of Those Lists: Video Game Edition
(My Top 10 Favorites)
I, like most Americans my age, grew up playing a lot of video games. My family had one of the original Nintendo systems from the 80s, and I played N64 all the time as a teenager. As an adult, I swayed towards PlayStation and then eventually the PC. I’ve wasted a lot of time playing video games, but at least I’ve had fun doing it. This list probably isn’t totally accurate, but it’s games that I am fond of and have spent the most time playing over the years.
10. Vampire - The Masquerade Bloodlines: Thanks to not having to pay taxes, pay for food, or have time to do anything, I managed to save up a decent amount of money after fighting in Iraq. One of the things that I bought after getting back was a gaming computer that cost me a couple grand (because 20 year olds make great decisions) and this was one of the first games that I got with it. I’ve never really been into the whole “vampire” thing, other than liking the Underworld movies (mostly because of Kate Beckinsale). But this game seemed interesting enough to give it a shot. Back then, it was a buggy, unfinished mess that just left me disappointed more than anything because I kept running into game breaking bugs. The soundtrack was great and the game had promise, though, and I decided to give it another shot after finding out that fans had released an unofficial patch that fixed a lot of the issues. It’s short, but has a lot of cool writing and a unique feel to it.
09. The Elder Scrolls – Oblivion: I’ve always been more of a “sci-fi guy” rather than “magic and blades” but it was hard not to get wrapped up into this game when it first came out. I had originally tried the Elder Scrolls Morrowind but found it to be too hard and confusing. Oblivion fixed a lot of the issues I had and ended up being a very memorable experience. I got emotionally attached to my created character and the world around me. I spent probably 100 hours on just one save and stayed up until 4 in the morning one night to finish the main quest. The girl I was dating at the time was staying over and “ruined it” a bit by waking up right as I was fighting the end boss to complain that I was still up. Most people would consider Skyrim to be a better game, but it never hooked me like Oblivion did.
08. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic: As I mentioned in my last list, one of my favorite Star Wars characters is the “star” of this game and who you control. This (and its sequel) was one of the few games on the original Xbox that I actually enjoyed a lot. I was a Star Wars fan and getting the chance to create a character and become a Jedi exploring new planets was a blast. The combat is kind of odd (you click buttons and watch the game actually do the action) but you eventually get used to it. The storyline is great and the freedom you get to make choices that affect the story meant that you could play it multiple times and have it all feel new again. Easily the best Star Wars game out there, even if it doesn’t have any of the movie characters in it.
07. Battlefield 1942: I once spent an entire summer vacation doing very little other than play this game until all hours of the night (and also Team Fortress Classic, another game). You could set up all kinds of intense historical battles from all fronts of the war and the amount of carnage was insane for the time it came out. There was ground combat, ground vehicles, and planes. It was everything a fan of military history and games could have asked for. If you take all the other games in the series into consideration, I’ve spent in insane amount of hours playing Battlefield games. I sometimes even boot up 1942 and still play against computer players. While the A.I. hasn’t held up all that much, it’s still a good time.
06. Dragon Age Origins: Another fantasy game that I initially wouldn’t have given the time of day, but happened to buy it after it had been out for a while and discovered that it was a great game. The voice acting and story was top notch and it made you really want to drudge on and finish it. And the version of the game that I got included all the great DLC that they released with it, so I spent hundreds of hours on this game. It is a shame that every single Dragon Age to come out since has been underwhelming, because I’ve been wanting the same kind of experience in this world as I did with the original game.
05. Perfect Dark: I’m far from a Nintendo fanboy, but I always felt that the N64 was a lot better than the original PlayStation. It didn’t have long loading times and those cartridges were far more durable than CDs. A lot of people would say that Goldeneye was the best shooter game on 64 (and I do have fond memories of playing that at sleepovers with my high school buddies) but Perfect Dark was just a bit better. The single-player story was groundbreaking for its day, the music was really good, and the graphics were really pushing the limits of that system. I also spent a lot of time just playing the multiplayer against the different kinds of bots. The controls are kind of clunky when you go back to play it now, but it’s still enjoyable enough to make it worth it.
04. Fallout 3: I went into this game really knowing nothing about the series at all. I had never played the originals on PC and had no clue that this one was so different from those (a top-down RPG vs. 1st/3rd person RPG) and I think that is why I probably liked it as much as I did. It was a whole new experience in this interesting world that I got hooked on. The music was great, the gameplay was challenging but fun, the exploration was intriguing, and the amount of content was mind-blowing. The only downside was that the main story was a bit short and uninteresting, but all the DLC and side-quests made up for it.
03. MLB - The Show: This is a series, not a single game, but I figured that they are all basically the same so I’d just include it as one. Of all the games I’ve played, combined, these ones would probably be the “most time played” of them all. I buy the new game every year and play it off and on for the entire year until the next one comes out. It’s a relaxing thing for me, as I often only play it late at night. The roster management keeps me entertained when it would probably bore most people. I play the Franchise mode and control all 30 teams, and play games for every team. I have a process and it would take a long time to explain every little thing about it. But basically, I like baseball and this is the only baseball game around worth playing.
02. Mass Effect 2: No other game has ever made me care more for its characters than the Mass Effect series. The writing and voice acting is top-tier and the crew that you assemble is the best in video game history. The backstory and quests keep you interested and the action is fun without being repetitive at all. The music is my favorite, as well, and worth listening to even on its own. I like science fiction, and these games created a great new universe to have adventures in. The first game is really good, but the gameplay is a bit hard to get back into. The third game is really good, but the second beats it out for me by just a fraction. Actually, let’s just count the entire series as number two.
01. Fallout New Vegas: Now, though I lumped in all the games from certain series as one entry on the list, I’m going to go ahead and separate this one from Fallout 3. Different people made the games and the quality is noticeably different. Fallout 3 is a great game, but New Vegas is just more enjoyable for me. The environment, the freedom of your choices, and the quests are by far my favorites in video game history. I’ve spent hundreds of hours on multiple characters from both PS3 to PC and still am able to find things that I haven’t seen before when I boot it back up. Last year was the first time that I was able to play it with all the incredible mods on PC and it made me fall in love with it all over again. Writing this makes me want to play it again…
Honorable Mentions: The Witcher 3, Rainbow Six Vegas, Resident Evil 2, and countless others. No Dishonorable this time, because that'd be a crazy long list. Maybe I'll do a "most overrated games" list sometime.