§  the haul  §  the poopdeck / the waggoner / the brig  §  chains / anchors  §  dude list / stats / contact  §  search  §  what the hell is all this?!  §  message!
 lard pirates dawt cawm  §  My Top 30 Favorite Games / by Spoony Spoonicus
 
 
 the waggoner  §  articles and general riff-raff exceeding your expectations of worthlessness.
 
filters  §  browsing spanks
newer spank ..... 1647   §   1134 - 1133 - 1132 - 1131 - 1130 - 1129 - 1128 - 1127 - 1126 - 1125 - 1124   §   1 ..... older spank
 
 
 ~Spoony Spoonicus on 02:29am 05/17/13 (12:06am 07/14/10) in 5h23s  §  5111 eyeballs
(5)
after 1 bombings: 
 anchors: none.
 
I throw the phrase "one of my all-time favorite games" around a lot, so I figured it was about time I finally laid them down in stone. But upon setting out to do so, I quickly realized a Top 10 wouldn't cut it; I use that phrase so often because I really do have a lot of favorites. So I moved it up to a Top 20, which I quickly realized again wasn't enough. Finally, I settled on a Top 30; I could probably keep going up to 100, but I don't think I want to write that many, and I doubt you want to read all of that. So, without further ado, here's my Top 25 games of all time.

30. Out of this World (PC)

Stylized storytelling in video games at its finest. A minimal but still effective narrative, a surreal atmosphere and setting, and a striking visual style rendered almost entirely in vector graphics make it a spectacle to behold. It's also a pretty damn fun game, combining some creative puzzle-solving with some intense battles that require serious twitch reflexes.

29. Illusion of Gaia

Quintet is a name known and beloved for their high quality SNES titles including Robotrek and Actraiser, but my favorite by far is Illusion of Gaia. Obviously inspired by Zelda, the game has some surprisingly challenging dungeons and puzzles to overcome. But with such an excellent graphical presentation and an amazing soundtrack (I dare say the best on the SNES), I didn't mind getting stuck on the same puzzle for upwards of twenty minutes. Not to mention having one of the most surprisingly dark and emotional storylines of its time. It's just a pity the company's fallen off the face of the earth since then, only surfacing in the credits of the occasional Atelier game.

A brilliant reimagining of one of the few redeeming titles of the Sega CD platform, Lunar has everything you could want in an RPG. Plenty of challenge, great characters, a fantastic story, a fun setting and even some pretty damn good animated FMVs and voice acting (and songs!). Not much to say other than that - it's an old school JRPG where every single facet is perfectly executed, and that, in my book, is all you need to have a good time.

28. Deus Ex

I have fond memories of this one, for one big reason - it was one of the very first RPGs I played where your choices actually mattered. Your actions had actual, palpable consequences that could come back to bite you later, so every option had to be considered carefully. The fact that it was also a really good role-playing game with a great soundtrack, well-written story, great cast of characters and amazingly detailed environment certainly helped matters too, but man, the feeling of choice, action and consequence that's still absent from 98% of RPGs today... that was something.

27. Doom II

The quintessential first person shooter, and still one of the best examples of the genre with its inventive levels, monsters and endless replayability thanks to user-created custom maps and mods (which still have a huge community to this day). Hell, there's even a couple of pretty awesome randomized level generators out there. It's a game that's endlessly replayable.

26. Tactics Ogre

Final Fantasy Tactics is without a doubt my favorite game of the Final Fantasy franchise (original Playstation version only - forget about the lame-ass PSP port). With a well-told and dark storyline, a memorable cast of characters from top to bottom, a very challenging campaign, and the sheer amount of customizability that gives the player tons of options for strategies, it's an absolute blast to play. Imagine my surprise, then, when I found out that the game actually owes many of its successful elements to another franchise (and in fact another company entirely) - the Ogre Battle series by Quest, in particular Tactics Ogre. However, due to being prohibitively rare and expensive, I never got a chance to actually play it until its rerelease on the PSP in 2011. But let me tell you, it was well worth the wait. Hell, it even has a few welcome features that FFT lacked, such as branching storylines and even a few character classes that are unlike anything seen in FFT (or any Final Fantasy game, for that matter), and is no less fun to play despite its numerous additional mechanics and intense challenge.

25. Planescape: Torment

Bar none, the absolute best story ever put into video game form. It's so interesting, creative and well written that I honestly didn't care that 60% of the game was just scrolling through text. Nor did I care that I had to wander around for hours looking for my next goal because everything in this game is bizarre and cryptic. It's a game where you can wander around for hours just seeing the sights and still have a ton of fun.

24. Maniac Mansion (NES)

"Non-linear adventure game" sounds like an oxymoron, but Lucasarts pulled it off with Maniac Mansion. The game gives a choice of seven characters, of which you must pick three, but the game can be completed with any group as long as you play your cards right. Pair that with multiple endings, Lucasarts' unique sense of humor and a soundtrack that's quite frankly unbelievable (especially for the NES platform), and you've got my pick for the best adventure game ever made.

23. Phantasy Star IV: End of the Millennium

For the few that bought a Master System, RPG action didn't come any better than Phantasy Star with its colorful, detailed visuals and immersive dungeons. Phantasy Star II brought a much darker atmosphere and story to the table, and Phantasy Star III even attempted something new with generation-based gameplay and multiple endings. But my favorite by far is Phantasy Star IV, which brought in stylish, manga-styled cutscenes, an excellent soundtrack, and a plot that tied all the previous games together and wrapped the newly-connected storyline up perfectly. It also had the benefit of being much faster paced than its predecessors and introducing an innovative attack combination system that predated even Chrono Trigger.

22. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

The game that made me fall in love with Shin Megami Tensei. I wasn't impressed with Digital Devil Saga (like, at all), but out of curiosity's sake I went back and gave Nocturne a try, and I'm glad I did. With a dark, dream-like atmosphere and a level of character and party customization I'd never seen before in any console RPG, I was instantly hooked. But more than that, the game also features six different story paths, tons of side-quests, and an extraordinary level of challenge, which was another refreshing twist from most challenge and replay value-deprived JRPGs these days.

21. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

They went all-out to make this title spectacular in every way, and it shows. The sheer scope of the game is stunning in its own, with a gigantic castle you get to explore (twice!), but add to that a spectacular soundtrack, stylish 2D graphics with 3D elements, and countless ways to customize your character to your own gameplay style, and you have a game that's just as fun every time you play through it. The prime example of how to keep a game true to its predecessors while simultaneously making it unique enough to stand out on its own.

20. System Shock 2

The only game that does "survival horror" right; it's not about hackneyed "disturbing" imagery, cheap special effects (Ooh, FOG! What's next, flickering the lights on and off and making ghost noises?) or splashing truckloads of gore over everything and calling it a day. Horror is all about atmosphere and a true sense of menace; after all, it's pretty hard to feel threatened by anything when all you have to do is aim a gun, fire two or three of your 350 bullets at it, maybe use one of your dozen health packs afterward, and move on. Enemies are much stronger than you are, your weapons wear down with use (always breaking at the worst possible times), there are a ton of traps and ambushes lying in wait, and you can never relax for long - if you've cleared out too many enemies on a floor, the game will spawn more for you to deal with. It really is a game where you feel like you're just barely holding on against overwhelming odds. But when you team that up with some creative RPG elements, the backdrop of a spaceship that was literally falling apart at the seams BEFORE the alien menace invaded, and the always-unsettling words and eerie voice of the sadistic AI SHODAN, you've got a truly memorable experience. All this in spite of featuring probably the ugliest 3D engine ever created.

19. Baldur's Gate 2

Biowave proved that they know how to do RPGs right with Baldur's Gate 2 - tons of classes to choose from, a fun cast of characters, and an enormous game environment to mess around in, as well as intricate combat that requires a lot of planning, strategy, and a fair amount of luck to succeed in. But what sets BG2 a cut above most is its multiplayer option - up to six players can join in a single game, via the Internet or local network, and do battle with hordes of enemies. The game just does everything right; hell, it's best use of the Dungeons and Dragons license you're likely to ever see in the realm of video gaming. Now if only they could get their creative edge back and make their newer titles anywhere near as fresh or memorable.

18. Chrono Trigger

This was one of the first Square RPGs I ever played, and from the minute I rented it from Blockbuster and popped it in, I was hooked. There was actual animation in combat - you weren't just watching the same sword swinging animation and the enemy sprites didn't just blink to signfify an attack or fade out to signal their defeat, both sides were actually having a battle. But more than that, the game's storyline was absolutely gripping. Time traveling to defeat some alien menace that's threatened the planet for millions of years was an awesome concept, but more than that, the time travel device was used to great effect; stuff you changed in the past would affect the future, allowing you to open new areas and acquire new items.

But what kept me coming back more than anything else were the multiple endings. Upon finishing the game, you have the option of restarting, carrying over all the items and experience you'd earned the first time through, as well as enabling you to fight the final boss at any time you choose. When you reach certain points in the story and then go to fight the final boss again, you'll unlock numerous different endings, from a world populated with Reptites to an ending where the game developers appear to congratulate (and chastize) you for completing the same so easily. Even the standard ending has some minor variations depending upon your actions during the game; whether you chose to recruit or kill Magus, crash the Epoch, and so on.

It was an ambitious game that did everything right. I couldn't even imagine a sequel that would improve upon it; it was that good. Of course, I had my hopes up when Chrono Cross was released, and did it disappoint? You bet!

17. Simcity 2000 (Windows 95 version)

The perfect simulation game. Simple enough to pick up and play, but there are always new intricacies to discover and endless ways to experiment with the engine no matter how much you play it. Build stuff, blow stuff up, create weird, convoluted transportation systems and bizarre city layouts, summon alien invasions, tornadoes and earthquakes... it's all possible and it's all fun to tinker with. Hell, even its visual style and music hold up pretty damn well. The Windows 95 version even includes some neat extras, incluidng the ability to reskin buildings in all sorts of cool ways and the ability to customize cities tile-by-tile before loading them up in the game proper so you can do some downright bizarre things. It is one game I shall never get tired of no matter how much I play it.

16. Fallout: New Vegas

Very buggy but nevertheless extremely fun to play, New Vegas brought the series back to its roots, with the complex characters, dark humor and incredible attention to detail in the game that made the first two games a blast to explore and play through. My favorite thing of all this time around, though, was that the plot wasn't a dull "fight the bad guy" routine - you had some actual choice in what faction you wanted to ally with as each made their move to take over the town of New Vegas. Hell, you could even throw them all to the wolves and just take over the place yourself if you so chose (my personal favorite choice). It's the best of both Fallout worlds. Now if only it didn't run on such a dated engine...

15. Ultima VII: The Black Gate/Serpent Isle

Every PC gamer knows of the Ultima series - it was the definitive original IP among PC role playing games throughout the 80's and early 90's - and the two-part Ultima VII saga was far and away the best of the bunch. While notorious for the fact that getting it to run was a nightmare at the time (it used its own memory manager that was incompatible with Windows and required a fairly high-end system for its graphics and voices, not to mention you had to supply your own DOS mouse driver) and notorious for being buggy and crash-prone (even after several patches), it was still worth all the hell; it had an enormous game environment with unmatched immersion and interactivity, even to this day. It's just a shame that EA came after this and every subsequent game in the series absolutely sucked balls; Ultimas 8 and 9 could have been light years beyond even this one.

14. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

To me, this is the pinnacle of 3D action-adventure games. Ocarina of Time had a lot of flaws (a comparatively small and featureless game world, clunky controls and lots of weird design decisions) but wasn't a bad first effort on such a technologically-limited system. Majora's Mask fixed a few of OOT's flaws, took the story in a much more dark and surreal direction and generally provided a much more cohesive experience, though fighting against the constant time limit got annoying. Wind Waker drastically improved the controls and had an amazing visual style but the sailing got tedious very quickly. With Twilight Princess, though, they got everything right. The world is massive and impeccably designed, the story is captivating, the dungeons and puzzles are the best designed I've ever seen in a video game, and it contains some downright amazing boss battles. Skyward Sword tried to up the ante with more realistic swordplay and 1:1 motion controls, but it failed to match Twilight Princess in overall design and scope (not to mention containing a lot of tedious padding near the end of the game. However, I do commend it for being a well-written prequel and having some really fun bosses). So for now, Twilight Princess is the undisputed king of the hill in the 3D adventure realm.

13. Super Metroid

Non-linear platforming action at its best. An enormous game environment, tons of weapons and items to play around with, an excellent soundtrack and creepy atmosphere paired up with tons of hidden secrets, some amazing boss battles and even a pretty solid storyline (that manages to be told well despite the game being largely free of dialog). The pinnacle of the Metroid franchise.

12. Suikoden II

An absolutely brilliant RPG on the Playstation 1, surpassing all the CGI-laden games of the era with the same things that made all of the SNES greats memorable - beautiful 2D visuals, an excellent soundtrack, and a great story to tell. With a huge cast of well-written characters and a brilliantly-written storyline about the ongoing strife between two countries and all the people it affects, as well as some great tactical battles, it's an unforgettable experience. It's just a shame it got such a limited printing run and Konami seems to adamantly refuse to release it on the Playstation Network so it can finally get the wider audience it deserves.

11. Sin and Punishment

There's nothing quite like Sin and Punishment out there. You're aiming and shooting at enemies like a rail shooter, but at the same time your character is onscreen, dodging shots, hopping over pits and even swinging at the occasional enemy or swatting projectiles right back with his sword. While all this is going on, you're also sitting through a surprisingly dark plot line (especially by Nintendo and Treasure standards) and some of the craziest action ever witnessed in a video game - everything from two enormous monsters duking it out in a city swallowed up by lava to an enormous shootout with an entire naval fleet to a battle with a planet-sized monster (!). It's Treasure's delightful insanity at its finest, but with enough emotional impact to make it a truly memorable experience.

10. Mega Man X2

If Mega Man X defined Mega Man's new persona in the 16-bit era, X2 perfected it. Better level design, cooler bosses, even better hard-driving rock tunes for the stages, and it even made good use of the Super-FX chip for some awesome 3D and sprite-scaling effects. Combine that with more of the fast-paced platforming and intense boss battles that defined Mega Man X, and you've got a game that managed to surpass its predecessor, even when said predecessor was so damn good to begin with.

9. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island

Being cartoony and colorful can work in a game's favor sometimes, and this is proof. Making fantastic use of the Super-FX technology that Star Fox brought to the table made this game a feast for the eyes, with enormous sprites that stretch and squash, sprites that rotate 360 degrees, and tons of bright, vibrant, animated backgrounds with a unique cartoonish style. But on top of all that, it's just a really solid platformer. The stages are fun, varied, and surprisingly challenging for a Mario title, and even if you manage to master them and get 100 scores in every stage, you'll just unlock even tougher stages to complete.

8. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

A perfect blend of Mario's universe and platforming elements and Square's knack for RPGs. The combat was much more engaging than any RPG before it for one simple innovation - mini-games. This turned edious, repetitive animations into something you could exploit for more damage with a combination of timed button presses, spinning the D-pad, or just pressing and releasing the button at the proper time. Other creative tiwsts included utilizing mini-games during the course of the normal game as a means to earn items, and even including invincibility star powerups as a way to eliminate enemies without fights in some areas (and earn experience points regardless). Ah, and they also reused the 3D graphics technology from Donkey Kong Country, so it looked pretty fantastic for its time too.


7. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES / Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4

By the time Persona 3 was announced, JRPGs had largely stagnated; it seemed like companies had just stopped trying to innovate and try new things and just wanted to release the same boring copycat games year after year. Then Persona 3 came out, and not only was it awesome, it was pretty damn original; hell, name me one other game that takes place during a hidden hour at the stroke of midnight when technnology ceases to work and monsters roam the streets. You can't!

The game is a unique experience, to say the least. During the daytime, you're either advancing the story or just visiting friends to improve your "Social Links", which, in addition to providing a neat sub-plot for each character, affects your ability to fuse newer and more powerful demons. By night, you're making your way up the game's all-encompassing single dungeon, Tartarus, to gain new items, cash and experience points. Each time a full moon comes, you do battle with one of the game's numerous bosses, and then you're on to the next arc of the story. That's all fun on its own, but it becomes even better when teamed with the engrossing plotline, fun characters and stylish presentation; it's like playing a really good anime. FES also includes a new secondary quest that serves to tie up all the loose ends in the storyline and bring a nice conculsion to the game, even if it does contain some of the most frustrating boss battles I've ever endured.

Persona 4, while it doesn't have quite as strong an overarching storyline (being more of a murder mystery with a theme of self-discovery), ties for this slot for the simple reason that it made numerous improvements to the gameplay that 3 presented. It's also one of the few games with a sense of humor that I consider to be genuinely funny, so that's also a very nice plus.

6. Scorched Earth

Tanks blowing each other up. Do I really need to say anything else? Well, yes, actually, because that doesn't cover the sheer amount of customizability the game presents. There's tons of weapons and items you can use to your advantage, hazardous environments that often prove damaging or deadly to unlucky players, and virtually every element of the games can be customized, from air viscosity to gravity to what effect a shot going out of the bounds of the screen will have (my favorite being simply having it come back through the other side, Pac-Man style). It's the very definition of a classic formula. It's even inspired a lot of really fun copycats, with the Worms series probably being the most well-known, but nothing can top Scorch in my book.

5. Fallout 2

Taking everything that made the original Fallout great - a bleak yet humorous setting, tons of quests, fun characters, and combat that's simple yet engrossing - and expanding it tenfold. Not to mention the fact that almost every quest opportunity has multiple ways to finish and there are countless possible endings for your actions throughout the game, giving it a ton of replay value. I could play this game all day. And I have on more than one long weekend.

4. Mega Man 2

Platforming perfection. Yeah, it's that good. Addictive, challenging, and with a presentation that blew the rest of the NES library out of the water at the time, this game is still fondly remembered as the best of the Mega Man series and one of the NES platform's defining games. It also proved to be much more forgiving than its notoriously difficult predecessor by including two difficulty settings, a password system and three "items" that could be used to skip most of the annoying parts of the game (such as the notorious vanishing and reappearing platform sections). I loved it twenty years ago, and it's just as much fun then as it is now.

3. Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World

It wouldn't sit right with me to pick just one one of the legendary Mario titles; they're all too damn good. So why not pick the SNES compilation that brings together four remakes of NES classics and the defining launch title for its own platform? Yeah, it's a copout, but whatever, all of these games are pure gold. Simplistic but endlessly fun, and even pretty damn challenging at times, they're all games that are just as fun the first time you play them as the hundredth time you play them.

2. EarthBound

This one had my interest from the minute I saw it in Nintendo Power. An RPG in a modern, humorous setting that pits you against everything from hostile skaters to UFOs to killer fire hydrants? And you could cobble together military-grade weaponry out of broken pipes and spray cans? Hell, I had to at least give it a try; every RPG I'd ever seen before was either Dragon Warrior or some slight variation thereof. So I rented it. Then I rented it again. And again. And again. I still have fond memories of playing it for an entire weekend, trying to finish it at the last hour before it would return to Blockbuster and all my work would be erased by the chump that picked it up next. After numerous attempts, I finally borrowed a copy from a friend and completed it, and sure enough, all I wanted to do afterward was play it again. And after a dozen or so following playthroughs, it still feels just as fresh and enjoyable as ever.

So yeah, it's great fun even today, the soundtrack is excellent, and it has a unique, quirky charm to it that will never be matched. Hence, it is my choice for #2.

1. Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past

Even I was a little surprised when I ended up putting this game at the top of the list. But upon thinking about it some more, I can think of no game more worthy of the #1 spot. Taking the NES' definitive adventure title and throwing everything about it into overdrive, LTTP brought more of everything - more great graphics and memorable tunes, more massive and intricate dungeons, TWO entire game worlds to explore every last nook and cranny of, and a ton of different items to play around with (still more than any other Zelda title to date). Hell, I still discover new stuff every time I boot it up, whether it's a hidden area, a new Heart Piece location or just a weird easter egg I never knew about before. Plus, it's just plain fun roaming around looking for enemies to test out your newest item on. It's a game I've had endless fun with over the years, and I'll continue to have endless fun with well into the future.
 
 
 rawks  §  rad comments, dogg.
 ~FUN FACT  §  at 12:08am 07/14/10
 
It took me the ENTIRE DAY to write this, mostly due to the heat in this house being stuck somewhere between "Frying Pan" and "Skin-Boiling".
 ~vinic  §  at 01:50pm 07/14/10
 
You're lucky All Stars exists or you'd need to change this to top 30.
 ~Azul Rojo  §  at 09:10pm 07/16/10
 
Awesome list. There's a bunch of stuff on there I either haven't tried (EarthBound!) or haven't played for years (Scorched Earth!).

I suddenly have an urge to compile my own list.
 ~Spoony Spoonicus  §  at 09:15pm 07/16/10
 
I encourage it!
 
filters  §  browsing spanks
newer spank ..... 1647   §   1134 - 1133 - 1132 - 1131 - 1130 - 1129 - 1128 - 1127 - 1126 - 1125 - 1124   §   1 ..... older spank
 
 
a cherry
downpour