First blog post, be kind!
This is an idea I've been thinking about for some time now. For a very long time, my top three games have been:
1. Shining Force II
2. Final Fantasy: Tactics
3. TMNT: Turtles In Time
In past years, however, so many good games come out that I've played and said "This is like the greatest game ever!" but never really consider them for my top games (at least, not the top three). And even as I look at these three, I realize that SF2 and FF:T are both strategy games, and quite frankly, FF:T is the better game, quality-wise. Especially with the remake on the PSP with a better translation and new classes, the game is much deeper and more in-depth than SF2. However, I just can't seem to knock the almighty Shining Force II off it's number one spot. It was my FIRST tactics game, and I instantly fell in love with it. My friend and I liked it so much we used to swap off the controller between us just so we can both watch and play. Playing it through again now (thanks to the Virtual Console!), it's still a very fun game, and it's not bad by any means, but had I not played this game in my youth, I highly doubt it would climb very high in my favorite ranks. TMNT: Turtles in Time also plays the nostalgia card. I can remember pumping quarters into this machine plenty of times. There are definitely "better" beat'em-ups out there, but the combination of TMNT (nostalgic in itself) and a great beat'em-up from my childhood have landed it the number three spot. So here in lies the dilemma.
A classic case of nostalgia vs quality would have to be Final Fantasy 7. For just about as many lovers of the game that there are, there are an equal amount of game-lover-haters. That is to say, people who can't stand those who praise FF7 as "the best RPG of all time" or something along those lines. I don't think it's quite that good, but it IS my favorite numbered Final Fantasy game. And I know that part of the reason I think that is because it was my first major RPG played, and it was a wonderful time. I've since played other Final Fantasy games, and I don't like any of them quite as much as 7.
Another problem comes into play with regards to game sequels. For example: Say Pokemon Red/Blue is your favorite game. Well, as they keep cranking out Pokemon, they keep cranking out games. Here we are now in the fourth generation, with Diamond/Pearl/Platinum. These games have most definitely perfected what it means to be a Pokemon game. Very clean, accessible UI, a crap-ton (that's metric, by the way) of Pokemon to catch within the game itself, plenty of events and games to take place in, wifi capabilities, etc. It's got anything your little Poke-heart can desire. Generation bias aside, it's difficult to argue that Red/Blue is better than Diamond/Pearl/Platinum. There are two things R/B has going for it, though: without it, there would be no D/P/P, and nostalgia.
Bottom line is: nostalgia is a powerful thing, a force to be reckoned with. I myself cannot decide on my own dilemma, but I think it's safe to say my top three will be safe for a while.