There are few games that push all my buttons. I have a long list of video games I absolutely love but if contrasted with the number of video games I have played in my life, I think it would paint a very interesting picture of my habits.
I sometimes ask myself why I love some of the games I do, because they aren't always exactly popular with everyone else. Some are, some are not. Here's a quick run down of a few of them:
Final Fantasy VIII
It was one of my first Playstation games. It was my first serious game, my first RPG too: Those could be the reasons why I was blown away by it, but even today I can still play it all and love every second. I don't even think the game has aged badly.
Another reason is I could relate to Squall. He kept to himself, he wasn't exactly the stereotypical character that just jumps into battle sword in hand. He felt real to me.
This is a game I had in my head for so long. I remember the day I saw a teaser for it online and my heart started racing: someone somewhere had scanned my brain and made it! I was so excited. It's the only game I bought three times, and one of my favorite just because it has one thing central to it: you run. You start the game and you run. You jump, you slide, you escape bullets, some platforming, but the main goal is to run. To keep running forward. And that's all you wanna do sometimes: run from everything and everyone until you stop, breathless, and smile.
This is an odd one to many because it's not exactly deep or innovative or beautiful. It had one thing though: it made me feel free. I have never felt so free in a video game before. Running on the side of a building, jumping from the top and feeling the air go through your hair and clothes as you fall to the ground? It did that. And that's all I wanted:
That game terrified me. I would play it alone in my room in the dark at night, and it scared me so much I had to pause sometimes just to breath! When the music started ramping up for no reason I had to mute it sometimes. I would take breaks and watch something silly and happy on Disney Channel before going back into it. I love horror games and this is one of my favorites. Sure I played Silent Hill 2 and liked it too, but it did not scare me as much as Dead Space. Just a personal thing I guess.
The artstyle blew me away. The soundtrack was amazing. The gameplay was solid. The city and its surroundings had a great atmosphere to them. The only game I nearly Platinum-ed on the PS3. We just clicked for some reason.
Just Cause 2
Just cause. Again, the sensation of freedom in this game even surpassed Prototype. Probably the game I played the most. If you have it on the PC, definitely try the Superman Mod: the game just got even crazier:
I'm not going to lie and say something like my life is hard, or I have it rough. Because objectively speaking I don't, I shouldn't have to complain. It doesn't take way from the fact that sometimes I feel sad, I feel down, I wanna be alone. This game? It's pure happiness. It's concentrated joy. Everything from the soundtrack to the gameplay, the incredible hand drawn art, the level design, the noises. If a game was ever the representation of a smile, this one would be it. In a market crowded with violence, and so many violent games are on this list, this game is refreshing.
My tastes in games are slowly shifting towards ones with a lower body count. It may not look that way with this list, but I'm starting to get sick of killing, destroying, and other variations of the mechanic. Whether it's Mario or Call of Duty, a big part of the gameplay is ending something or someone. "Well what would you do for fun" is something you could be asking. Journey
is an example of a game that I personally found fun and that did not involve destruction. I think of upcoming games like I Am Alive and I get excited. I remember Deus Ex Human Revolution, a game you could play entirely without killing someone (which I did and it was great) and still enjoy yourself. Think of Rythm Heaven or Animal Crossing. I've heard from a couple of people that you don't have to participate in combat in the latest Silent Hill game (Downpour). You do not have to kill or destroy to have fun. Games can be much more than that, just like movies and books are not limited to one type of story.
All I could think about when playing Uncharted 3 was how many people I had killed throughout the adventure. It doesn't have to always be about that, and I sure hope we see more titles that do something else while having strong stories and gameplay mechanics.
If you have made it through, I'd like to ask you two questions. One: can you share a name of a game you love, that's not necessarily viewed by others as especially great, and why. Two: what game that does not involve killing, destroying, have you played and enjoyed?
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