A while ago I came across a blog that listed the writer’s top 100 favorite comic stories. I was struck by the idea and how hard it must have been to compile. Generally with these kinds of things once I’m past five everything is somewhat interchangeable. However, I also saw the merit in a project like this; it would force you to evaluate why you like something and what makes a thing important to you.
While I’m not sure I could whittle my favorite comic stories down to a list of 100, I thought I could probably manage a list of my top 50 video games. So, I set out to compile such a list. It was, as I had assumed, a tricky job. Many titles were added and removed and more still had their placement changed several times. However, I’m pretty happy with how the final list has turned out.
Going forward, my plan is to keep the list updated, so if I play a game I feel is better than, say, the last 5 games on the list it’ll be placed in the 45th slot with whatever is in the 50th slot being dropped off.
For the moment though, here’s the initial list of my top 50 video games along with a befied description of why they were there.
50: Street Fighter II: Championship Edition (Mega Drive)
This game was my and my friends’ obsession during our early teenage years. We’d go around each others houses and have little tournaments with league tables and everything! It’s the only fighter I’ve poured hours and hours into and although I’ve tried Street Fighter games that have released since, none of them really captured me like this did on the Mega Drive. For me, SFIICE is a game cemented in a specific time and at a specific age when a bunch of geeky friends bonded over smacking each other in the face digitally.
49. Prince of Persia (PC)
More than any other game on this list, this one was hard to place. Eventually, I settled on it in the 48th slot because it’s not a game I’ve really ever returned to. Like SFIICE, it was a game that blew me away when I first saw it, but I feel other games have surpassed it since. However, it’s importance to gaming, gaming animation and the platforming genre cannot be understated.
48. Resident Evil Code: Veronica (Dreamcast)
Resident Evil is one of those hugely popular franchises that I’ve not played a great deal of. However, I was very aware of the games so when Code: Veronica was announced for the Dreamcast and was boasted as the best RE yet. Obviously, I had to snap it up. My first experience of not only RE but also survival horror, it was a game that totally gripped me. I played it for the first time at night after my parents had gone to bed. I lived on a farm, so it was a perfect setting. The fear was real and I loved it! Visually it looks amazing today, even if the gameplay hasn’t aged all that well, especially in regards to controls. It’s still well worth playing, however.
47. Heretic (PC)
I recently tweeted that I prefer the Heretic series to Doom. I think I may have to go back on that. While it is a really fun FPS it just doesn’t have the same impact as id’s classic shooter. Still, the dark fantasy setting and the cool enemy designs are enough to have me coming back to this one.
46. Flashback (Mega Drive)
Like Prince of Persia before it, Flashback really pushed what was possible in regards to animation in video games. Feeling almost like an animated film at times, the story of lost identity and alien conspiracy is a great one. While not exactly a platforming game, movement throughout the game’s environment is smooth and fluid. The combat is a little clunky and there is the chance toward the end of the game to totally screw up and have to start over, but for the first time you play through it, it is incredibly satisfying.
45. Rocket Knight Adventures (Mega Drive)
Rocket Knight Adventures is just fun! It’s just simple, joyous, colourful platforming fun. Not especially challenging but with buckets of charm, RKA is one of the games I remember most fondly from the 16-bit days. Full of humour with some really inventive boss fights (huge robot boxing match, anyone?) it’s a game that is impossible to play without a smile on your face.
44. Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes
This DS installment of the long running series takes the basic elements of a match-three game, a decent amount of strategy and combines it all into one nifty, accessible and very fun package. While it can be easy to pass off a handheld version of a series that’s been established on a more powerful platform as “less than,” Clash of Heroes is not trying to do what previous M&M titles have. Instead it’s its own thing and makes for a wonderful puzzle/ strategy title that will test most minds. While the DS version is probably the weakest of the lot in terms on graphics and animation (the game is also available on PC, Android and iOS), none of the gameplay depth is lost. I spent hours on this the first time through and have returned to it several times. A definite favorite.
43. Zombie Night Terror (PC)
Easily one of the most original and best puzzle games I’ve played, ZNT flips the zombie cliche on its head in that rather than trying to save people from zombies, you’re actively infecting them to grow your horde of undead. Somewhat akin to Lemmings, you have to guide your zombies through various locations without them being killed before they can infect the hapless humans. With a host of zombie abilities to play around with and heaps of humour and pop culture references it’s a hell of a lot of fun. I really wish they’d release some new levels for this game!
42: Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast)
Not a racing game, definitely not a sim, Crazy Taxi is more like a stunt game. The idea is to get your fare to wherever they want to go in the fastest, which means craziest, way possible. Jumping over cars, handbrake turns, weaving in and out of traffic, speeding headfirst toward an ongoing train to swerve at the last moment, anything goes! One of the Dreamcast’s killer apps, it’s certainly one of the most insane and enjoyable games you could ever play.
41. Dishonoured (PC)
Admittedly, I was not as enamored with the first Dishonoured as many were. It’s fun, sure. It’s cool, most certainly. But game of the year material? Not so sure. Having said that though, it certainly was a good time exploring the cities of Dunwall and sneaking around taking out enemies. I still revisit it now when I feel like a bit of stabby-stabby action.
That’s it for the first installment. As you can probably guess, I’ll go through 10 games each time. However, if you’re impatient you can see the full list of 50 games, sans explanations, HERE.
UPDATE: Not long after posting this I remember the game Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes which loved on the DS. I decided it deserved a place on this list, 44th in fact. As such I’ve updated the list here to reflect that and removed Sonic & All Star Racing Transformed. My original thoughts on SASRT were as follows;
I’ve not played a heap of kart racers, but anything with Sonic in I’ll give a go. Happily, this is a really fun, exciting take on the genre. The idea of the vehicles transforming from car to plane to boat and back is wonderful and really opens up the track possibilities. Also, to race through environments based on a slew of Sega games is just so cool for this Sega fan. The first All-Stars Racing was good, but Transformed is brilliant!