For no particular reason (well, because I was thinking about it), here’s a list of what I consider to be the best video games ever made. It should go without saying that this list is incredibly biased and idiosyncratic, and since it only includes games that I have personally played and loved, a game’s omission doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means that I either didn’t play it or it didn’t click with me.
Also, this is not an ordered list. Maybe I’ll make one of those later, but for now just wracking my brain for a list of games is hard enough without trying to decide what scale I’m going to use to decide which is my ALL TIME BESTEST FAVORITE EVER.
I’ve also included, in order, the developer, publisher, and the year of publication for my own reference (or the year I bought the game, if I played it substantially in alpha or beta). For series I loved, I just picked the best game.
- Dark Forces (LucasArts, 1995)
- Crusader Kings II (Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, 2012)
- System Shock 2 (Irrational Games/Looking Glass Studios, EA, 1999)
- TIE Fighter (Totally Games, LucasArts, 1994)
- Kerbal Space Program (Squad, 2013)
- Mass Effect 2 (Bioware, EA, 2010)
- Age of Empires III (Ensemble Studios, Microsoft Game Studios, 2005)
- Knights of the Old Republic (Bioware, EA, 2003)
- Thief 2: The Metal Age (Looking Glass Studios, Eidos, 2000)
- Minecraft (Mojang, 2010?)
- Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (Firaxis Games, EA, 1999)
- Unreal Tournament (Epic Games, GT Interactive, 1999)
- Full Throttle (LucasArts, 1995)
- Homeworld (Relic Entertainment, Sierra Entertainment, 1999)
- Super Metroid (Nintendo, 1994)
- Freespace 2 (Volition, Inc., Interplay, 1999)
- Silent Hunter 4: Wolves of the Pacific (Ubisoft Romania, Ubisoft, 2007)
- Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Traveller’s Tales, LucasArts, 2007)
- Dark Souls (From Software, 2011)
- Microsoft Flight Simulator X (Microsoft Game Studios, 2006)
Apparently I’m OCD enough to require that my list have an even number of items on it, so there you go. Some observations, now that I’ve actually got these written down:
- Apparently I’m not a big fan of console titles. only three games above are console titles: Lego Star Wars, Super Metroid, and Dark Souls. Those last two the only Japanese games, also. I suspect that’s because a lot of genres that are very popular in Japan, like RPGs and platformers, aren’t genres I often get in to.
- There’s a range of dates in there. I just bought Kerbal Space Program eight weeks ago but it’s already got a place in the “best games ever” category. On the flip side, TIE Fighter came out in 1994. Most of the titles are spread out over the intervening two decades, except…
- 1999. Apparently that was a great year. 5 of the 20 games above were released in 1999, and Thief 2 was released in early 2000. All of those 1999 games (except for maybe Homeworld) are ones that I still play off and on.
- Super Metroid is the only game above that I didn’t play at the time of its release. In fact, I’ve only played Super Metroid on emulators, since I never owned a SNES. I doubt the timing is coincidental: a lot of games, even if they stay awesome in some ways, aren’t always easy to play decades changes in graphics and, especially for me, interface standards can make old games tough to get into. That’s why you don’t see, for instance, Planescape: Torment on this list.
- The mix of genres is well-represented. I don’t play many sports games or platformers, but I’ve got RPGs, FPSs, and both real-time and turn-based strategy games up there. Even sims! Man, I love sims and it sucks that most of the ones left are either too casual for my taste or too hardcore for the amount of time I have.
That’s pretty much it. What are your favorite titles? Strongly disagree with any of mine? Sound off.
Flush with the triumph of my two-week sprint, I took the first half of this one off, writing-wise (except for some miscellaneous tasks). My reward for pushing through was to allow myself to purchase a computer game I’ve been waiting for forever: Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
This is the worthy heir to the original Deus Ex that I’ve been waiting for (Deus Ex Invisible War certainly wasn’t it). In the last decade, the way shooters have developed means that game publishers are seeking after the Halo/Call of Duty-style hits with simple, linear campaigns and highly-developed multiplayer rather than a deep non-linear single-player experience. Fortunately, Human Revolution harkens back to the original, and comes as close as anything to meeting its high standards.
Let’s talk writing for a moment. I’m almost done with my read-through of Part I, and my goal is to have Part II and Part III done by the end of next weekend. Shouldn’t be too hard, since I’m just shotgunning my way through, trying to stay ahead of my wife’s red pen. I am correcting egregious stylistic errors, but a lot of the language is kind of committed now. Which is probably fine; I could correct it forever if I let myself.
It’s going to be pretty intense, though. I have about three weeks to get the final version done with the final cover so I can start layout on CreateSpace. I think I can make it–I made my last deadline, after all–but this weekend is going to be the only real break that I get until everything is submitted. So this is what being a real writer feels like!
I am allowing myself a few minutes here and there to write things unrelated to Fugitives from Earth. I’ve been forced to ignore the semi-weekly challenges run by NIWA, but this time I’m letting myself write a short short story for it. I’ve also got my final edits for our inaugural anthology to submit before the middle of next week.
Ah, the writer’s life. Now that the fun part is over with regard to FfE, I’m very much looking forward to putting it to bed and getting started on the next thing. Hopefully, that one won’t be quite so intense.
Happy Friday, everyone! Very much looking forward to the weekend? That makes two of us. I’m still tooling away on my most recent short story while finally getting around to editing Fugitives from Earth. That’s such a huge freaking project that I can barely wrap my head around it right now, but I’m hoping that I’m able to get over that a bit by the weekend.
Since there’s nothing exciting going on in my life, here’s some stuff from other people’s:
- Kepler Mission results – The Kepler observatory orbits the sun between Earth and Mars. A space telescope kind of like the Hubble, Kepler spends all of its time monitoring just a very small section of the sky with the specific goal of finding planets in other solar systems. To say the least, it’s been successful. Earth-like planets? Yes, please.
- Robert J. Sawyer on science fiction – Even though I love science fiction, and I’ll be the first to argue its literary qualities, it’s hard to avoid stereotype that it’s nerdy, Star Trekky wish fulfillment by people who can’t write real literature. Fortunately, even if people won’t listen to me when I argue that, they’ll have a harder time with this well written and well thought out article by one of the genre’s stalwarts.
- Gaming and changing the world – I love playing video games. Even when they involve hard work and deep thought, I go crazy for them. Jane McGonigal, video game designer and future PAX East keynote speaker, argues that there is something special about video games that makes hard work seem not so hard. If we can apply that certain je ne sais quoi to real life problems, what would be beyond our reach?
Fun note: McGonigal will be speaking at an OMSI Science Pub this Monday, which I fully plan on attending. I love listening to smart people talk.
So, good weekend, and good reading and writing.