For those of you who don't know, it was one year ago this week that I started my series of 10 Things I learned this week posts. I wanted to celebrate that milestone in some way so I figured probably the best thing to do was to come up with a list of my favorite games of all time. I write lists every week so I figured this would go with the theme of 10 things. I also wanted to do this because I wanted to start a new series of blogs to go along with my 10 things post called aborto's top 10 where I discuss the top 10 best or worst things in videogames and what better time to start them then on 10 things anniversary. However, I didn't think 10 was special enough so you get Aborto's Top 20. These things will not be a weekly thing like 10 things. Perhaps something monthly so keep that in mind.
Before I get into things I must state that this is my opinion and entirely my opinion. I don't want to get 3000 comments in here stating that I am wrong because a game someone else likes isn't on my list. Don't get me wrong, I do want to get a little discussion going, just refrain from being dicks when reading my list.
And without further ado I give you Aborto's Top 20 favorite games of all time!
20. Super Smash Brothers
Like another game on this list, I consider SSB's sequel Melee to be better then the original but the original had more of an impact on me then the second one did. The first SSB was something original for its time and was a more accessible fighting game in my youth then most others. It was and still is the perfect party game and I still dig it out almost everytime I have somebody over. Even after all these years the game still has a lot to offer and is still a game I get plenty of enjoyment out of.
Even though the gameplay is really the main reason for this game being on this list, it's position on this list is largely affected by the fact that it was thanks to SSB that I got into Kirby, Metroid, and Mario. Before the N64 came along I had never owned a Nintendo console and it was after playing with these characters in Super Smash Brothers that I wanted to know where they came from and play their games. It was thanks to SSB that I picked up Kirby and the Crystal Shards and I have been a Kirby fan ever since. And even though Super Smash Brothers got on here on its own merits, I can't help but mention this.
19. Mortal Kombat 3
All the other games on this list are what I believe to be truly great games. That really isn't the case with Mortal Kombat 3 because when you get down to it the old MK's were very flawed and were no where near as good as, say, Street Fighter 2. Hell, if you asked me to compare the two I would instantly say SF2 is the superior game. So then why is this on my list instead of Street Fighter 2? Because MK3 is stupid fun. Everything about the game is completely awesome or unintentionally hilarious and every time I ever played this game with my brother or any of my friends we would be laughing uncontrollably while beating the crap out of one another. Jax's purple pants, Liu Kang's voice, Cyrax's Laser net, Stryker, hell the way they punched was hilarious in and of itself. It may be flawed and have plenty of issues (including the lack of Scorpion and Reptile) but I have had more fun with it then most other fighters. And when you get right down to it, fun is really all that matters.
I played a lot of very obscure games on the PS1, alot of which were Platformers. And Tomba is easily one of my favorite obscure platformers.
The rather unusual story behind Tomba is that I had never played the actual game when the PS1 was current gen. I had only played it on a demo disc that I had got with a magazine. The demo however had a large portion of the game on it and I played the hell out of it when I was little. I didn't get to play the game in its entirety until halfway through the PS2's lifespan when I found it in a dumpster and I finally got to play the game in its entirety. You would think the fact I found it in a dumpster would reflect its quality but Tomba is an excellent game and the person who threw it out deserves a slap in the face.
The game is definitely odd. You play as that pink haired Tarzan looking guy and you are trying to get back your fathers necklace from these evil pig bandits. On top of that you store items in your stomach and you puke them up when you need them. Definitely weird, but I like that in a platformer. Really I can't say there is really anything innovative about the game but it is a very well polished and unusual platformer and is one of the best on the PS1.
17. Resident Evil (remake)
There is no doubt in my mind that the original RE is a classic, but there is also no doubt in my mind that it was a flawed experience and if I would have to suggest a starting point for somebody who has never played an RE game I would suggest the Gamecube remake. The fact of the matter is, I enjoyed my time with this version more then my time with the original.
This is do to two reasons. The first being the Crimson Head zombies which definitely makes the game more horrifying and adds a surprising amount of depth. For those of you who haven't played the game, when you kill a zombie they aren't really permanently dead. If you leave the body alone for too long it will eventually mutate and come back to life as a faster, stronger zombie. The only way to make sure they are gone for good is to burn the corpses with kerosene and a lighter. However, you have a limited supply of kerosene so you can only destroy a small portion of corpses which makes it more about strategy and destroying them in places that would be hard to defend yourself in.
the second reason is all the extra content they added into it, specifically Lisa Trevor which was by far my favorite edition to the game. Largely do to the fact that it explains the origins of the parasite that eventually creates the Nemesis. There are all these little things that tie together and explain things in the story that gives me that extra enjoyment that makes me consider this one of my favorite games.
16. Spyro the Dragon
I have to admit the fate of Spyro greatly depresses me. His earlier games were great and then like Sonic, his games slowly turned to crap. But I try not to think about that, I try to think about his original game which ate up a lot of my time back in the PS1 era.
The best way I can think of to describe Spyro is that it was Mario 64 except you were a little purple dragon instead of a little portly plumber. Complete with firebreath and the ability to fly. But I don't think that is even a good explanation of it because those dragon abilities that I just mentioned made Spyro stand out on its own. Incinerating helpless animals in between levels and gliding over bottemless pits did a lot for the game and made it incredibly fun and addictive. It made it so fun that it would be incredibly difficult to find a better 3D platformer on the PS1.
15. Condemned: Criminal Origins
I consider Condemned a very underappreciated game. It got some pretty crappy reviews when it came out and it never seems to get the appreciation it deserves. Which is sad, because Condemned is one of my favorite games of this generation.
The thing that I like about Condemned is that it is a very unique take on the FPS and Survival Horror in that it is the first and probably only time the two genres have been combined successfully (and yes, I do consider Condemned survival horror). I have played a lot of FPS's that have tried to do this but ultimately failed when it came to scaring me. This is largely due to the fact that shooters traditionally supply you with a huge arsenal of weapons and ammo and carrying around a minigun kind of causes you to be utterly incapable of being frightened. Condemned remedied this with making guns very hard to come by and having the majority of weapons being melee weapons. This worked extremely well to help scare the player because it forced you to get close to your enemies, Which was a complete mindfuck because it is the exact opposite of other Survival Horror games where you want the enemy to be as far away from you as possible. In addition to this, the enemies were hideous and all their imperfections became more noticeable the closer you got to them which also helped to make Condemned a terrifying experience.
This and the CSI investigations were an ingenious way of telling Condemned's story. It made a very meh story great and made the game far more memorable then it would have been without it.
Condemned is a truly terrifying and excellent experience and I would highly reccomend it to anybody who hasn't played it. That is, if you aren't a scaredy cat.
14. Crash Bandicoot 2
In hindsight, I realize that Crash Bandicoot was a very wierd game. When games went into the 3rd dimension, platformers either were either two dimensional with 3D graphics or had become more open and less linear like Spyro or Mario 64. Crash was a mixture of both. The levels were linear like traditional 2D platformers but had the camera angle of the more open platformers. And it worked surprisingly well, perhaps a little more then it should have because it sounds like it would make timing jumps incredibly difficult. But it didn't because the game is very well polished.
The reason I find so much enjoyment in Crash 2 is because it is a very fast paced and frantic game. There is something about it that makes me want to speed through the levels as fast as possible and always gave me the feeling that I was trying to do a speedrun through the game. I really don't know what it is about the game that makes me feel this way but it is thanks to this feeling that I get this rush from playing every level that I don't get in other games. And it is this rush that elevates it above most other platformers.
13.Shadow of the Colossus
The game as art debate is one that bugs me to no end, largely due to the fact that there are 500 million threads about it across the internet. That, and I don't consider a lot of the games that are brought up in these discussions to be art and arguing otherwise rarely turns out well. However, there is one game that is an undeniable example of videogames as art and that is Shadow of the Colossus. I won't go into the art aspect of this and how that effects its position on my list because everything I could say has already been said and probably has been explained better. It's art has a very minor effect on my enjoyment of the game anyway.
The way I see it, there have always been two parts to all action games, the levels and the bosses. Shadow of the Colossus does an interesting idea and combines the two, making the bosses the levels. It is an interesting idea and one that works exceptionally well. As a result, the bosses are some of the best that I have ever defeated. And considering this and that the entire game is just one epic boss battle after another than it makes perfect sense that the game is one of the best games I have ever played.
12. Gears of War
Gears of War made its way on to this list for alot of reasons but the most important one is this, it was the first game I ever played online that I owned. Alright, that's a lie. I played and owned Perfect Dark Zero before Gears but PDZ wasn't a very good first experience for online play (hell, it wasn't a very good experience period). So let me rephrase that, Gears of War was the first game I played online that I absolutely loved.
I'll admit the game isn't perfect, and it had and still has a bunch of balance issues. In fact, after playing Gears 2 and comparing it to the original there is no doubt in my mind that it is the superior game but Gears 2 didn't have the same effect on me that the original had. Even after playing a lot of games online since Gears 1 release I still see that as my favorite online game. There is just something about jumping between cover and the active reloads that I find more enjoyable then anything any other game has offered.
Oh yeah and the campaign was pretty fun too. There wasn't much of a story to it, but if you go into a game that has a chainsaw gun in it expecting a good story then there is something horribly wrong with you.
11. Marvel vs. Capcom 2
It's Marvel vs Capcom. What's not to like? I shouldn't even have to explain myself here. But I guess I'm going to have to.
The reason why this game has made its way onto this list is mainly because it combines my two loves: comics and videogames. And being a fan of both Marvel and Capcom, being able to make a tag team of Spiderman, Felicia, and Venom is an experience that no other game could match. Then when you factor in the fact that there are somewhere around 54 characters you realize the game is one giant nerdgasm (if you would excuse the rather lame phrase). The beauty of there being that many characters and the tag team mechanic is that it gives you an incentive to test out and play with other characters instead of sticking with one or two like what seem to happen with me whenever I play other fighters. There are probably somewhere around 8 characters I play with regularly and I always find myself switching out new characters whenever I play with friends.
Of all the fighter games I have played I consider MVC2 the best. The game is already great without the selction of characters, the selection is just the cherry on top.
10. Fatal Frame 2
As a fan of Resident Evil and the survival horror genre I would like to say that a Resident Evil game is the scariest game I have ever played, but I would be lying. Fatal Frame 2 is by far the scariest game I have ever played. Unlike other survival horror games, it remains consistently scary throughout the whole game and there was never a moment where I wasn't scared out of my mind. Fatal Frame 2 just does so many things right when it comes to survival horror. Not only that, but like Resident Evil 2, Fatal Frame 2 fixes alot of the problems the original had. Among many things, FF2 controls and plays better then most games in a genre where characters control like tanks. It also has a great story and probably the best ending ever in a videogame. I have to admit I kind of saw the ending coming but I really didn't expect the developers to follow through with it and I expected them to give me a typical crappy happy ending. Oddly enough, the ending did make me feel kind of happy which I find deeply disturbing because it really shouldn't. This is a game I would reccomend to any fan of the survival horror genre, it's a game that nobody should miss out on.
Pac-Man holds a special place in my heart because it was the first game I ever played. When I was very little, the videogame console that I had was a colecovision which belonged to my dad which he had since law school. Which always make me feel older then I really am because whenever I listen to RFGO and hear them talking about the SNES games they had when they were kids and the fact that I played Asteroids and Pac-man at that age feels very weird. But I'm getting off topic.
I have alot of good memories of those times playing Pac-man when I was little, even though I was an idiot and it took me along time to realize the point of the game was to eat the white pellets and not the damn ghosts. Which means nostalgia has a lot to do with this game being at this position on the list. But that doesn't mean the game didn't also make it here on its own merits. The game is excellent, and unlike most of the games I had on the Colecovision, has stood the test of time and is still as good as I remember it being. It is still incredibly fun and is easily accessible. Sure, it isn't the type of game you can sit down and play for hours, but it still is fun and is still the game I look to when I am bored and need something fun to do.
8. The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion
For the most part I don't like RPG's. There is just something about them that turns me off or annoys me about them that prevents me from enjoying them. As of now, there are only two RPG's that I like and Oblivion is one of them. I have played 144 hours of Oblivion, and the fact that I have played a game that much that is in a genre I generally dislike should tell you something.
I think the reason why I love this game so much is because it was the first game I played where I felt like I could go anywhere and do anything. Many games claimed to do this such as the GTA games but I always felt my options were extremely limited. For example many sandbox titles didn't let you go inside buildings and this was always something that bugged me. When I learned that I could go into any building I saw in Oblivion that amazed me and it is surprising how much something as insignificant as that adds to the game. The first 10 or so hours of me playing Oblivion was just me breaking into houses and stealing stuff. In addition to this there is no specified classes so you aren't pidgeon-holed into being one class. If you wanted to be a big warrior that can hurl fireballs at enemies then there was nothing preventing you from doing that. Being a strong warrior character didn't mean you were completely cut off from doing magic and vice versa. And that gave me a sense of freedom that I never really had or witnessed in other games.
But what I think I like the most about the game is that you never get the same experience each time you play through it. My first playthrough I went the Assassin/Theif route because I spent so much of my time sneaking around and stealing stuff that my stealth level was really high. Once I exhausted most of the things to do with that character, I started over with another one and instantly got a different experience then the previous one. And this is why this game is so high up on my list, I have had this game for 2+ years and I am still playing it. Unlike other games I play once and never touch again or ones I replay once every one or two years, I have been playing Oblivion almost continuously since I got it. And the fact that it is a game I never get bored of is absolutely amazing.
One thing that depresses me about videogames today is that too many of them try to focus on having good stories and as a result there are less games that are just weird and crazy, like Earthworm Jim and Tomba. I've seen far less games that are just weird and zany just for the sake of being weird and zany. That's part of why I like Okami, it reminds me of a time when exposition was a very minor part of videogames and explanations weren't needed when a game did something completely ridiculous. Okami is completely insane and has you do some of the craziest stuff I have ever done in a videogame. Throughout the course of the game I have defeated a legendary dragon by making it drunk, shrunk down and went inside a person's body to kill a demon that was making him sick, brought together a team of dog warriors to help me save the day, gone back in time to defeat the same dragon centuries before I did it the first time, and had a showdown with a powerful demon inside of a spaceship. The game is 50 hours of doing the most crazy stuff you will ever do in a videogame and its the fact that it does all this random crazy shit that the gameplay is more fun and varied then most other games I have played.
The way I see it, game developers today should take a hint from Okami and not try to take things too seriously.
6. Pokemon Red/Blue
You know the other RPG I mentioned earlier that I like? This is it. I'm not entirely sure why I love this game so much because for all intents and purposes I should hate it. The particular RPG's I dislike more then any other is turnbased ones and seeing that it is turnbased I should despise it. But I don't. I absolutely love it.
My theory, however, is my reason for liking this game so much is because it is very simple but not so simple to the point of not being strategic. One thing that always pissed me off about turnbased games is that they can be overly difficult to the point that the only surefire way of winning is being able to micromanage every aspect of your party and if you ever look for a game with a simpler layout you have to settle for less strategic gamplay (At least that is the way I look at it). Pokemon is still very complex when it comes to strategy but is simple enough that anybody can pick it up and play it.
Then there is the whole customization aspect of it. You have 150 possible characters to play with in it as opposed to the handful of characters you have to choose from in other RPGs. The game is always different for each person and whenever you linked up with somebody to play with them it was very very rare that you would have the same group of Pokemon, and even if you did there is no guarantee that the pokemon would fight the same way.
But probably the real reason why I like the game so much is the sense of nostalgia I get from playing it. Whenever I pick it up or any of its sequels, it reminds me of the times I spent on the playground in Elementary school with a pile of Pokemon cards and a gameboy in a circle with my friends blocking people from using the slide as we traded and fought Pokemon. It reminds me of simpler and better times and that adds alot to the game.
So in conclusion the game is simple, fun, and invokes happy memories.
5. Resident Evil 3
One of the best, or at least most memorable, part of RE 2 was traversing the streets of Raccoon City on the way to the police station. It gave you a glimpse of a city destroyed by zombies and gave you the sense of panic of running through the streets trying to find a safe haven that you would come to expect from a zombie apocalypse. And no matter how much I love RE 2 I have always been deeply saddened that, even though the game takes place in Raccoon City, you never get to learn much about it or experience it like that ever again. And that is part of why I love RE3, it takes the panic and fear of running through streets infested with more zombies then I have bullets from the first 15 minutes of RE 2 and made it an entire game and gave some much needed characterization to Raccoon City. In addition, RE3 focused much less on backtracking then RE2. Don't get me wrong I have no problem with backtracking, it's just nice that they tried something a little different.
However, I would be lying if I said that was the real reason why I love this game. The Nemesis is the real reason, I consider him the best videogame antagonist I have ever come across in all my times playing videogames and he alone makes this game better then most videogames I have ever played. He made the game more frightening and intense then the game could have been without him.
4. Resident Evil 2
Even though I had been playing games years before I got the PS1 and played RE2, it was Resident Evil 2 that made me obssessed with videogames. And even though games have surpassed it ( which is evident by the fact that this is the fourth game on my list) RE2 still has a special place in my heart.
A lot of why I liked it when I was little was the fact that playing it was a family thing. I got the game when I was 8 because my Dad bought it for me. This wasn't because he was a misinformed parent, it was because he himself wanted to play it. That and he really didn't care about violence (as I have already explained, he read Spawn comics to me as bedtime stories. I was one messed up kid thanks to him). In the first weeks or so In which I had RE2 my dad, my brother and myself played it together and our times killing zombies together was the best damn thing that came out of me playing the PS1 and I wish that we still did stuff like this. My brother and my Dad eventually grew tired of the game but I didn't. The game was just too damn good for me to forget about. The game is what created and defined the survival horror genre. Sure there was the original RE but as I said it was a flawed experience and RE2 fixed a lot of those flaws and just had so much more to offer including multiple scenarios to play through. RE2 is the best and always will be the best of the original RE's before RE4 redefined the series. And anybody who disagrees with that will have me to answer to.
Let me guess, you have no idea what this game is do you? The truth is I won't be surprised if everybody who reads this has never heard of this game. Skullmonkeys is criminally underrated because it was one of the best games I played on the original Playstation.
Alot of why I like this has been explained previously but I will go into it again. Skullmonkeys is one of the most imaginative and creative games I have ever played. The art design and music is excellent and is made even more impressive because the entire game is done in claymation. As a kid, it was this game that inspired me as a young artist and is what made me want to become a concept artist for videogames. A dream that lead me to enroll in the art college I am currently in now. That alone could have caused this to make its way onto my list, but that's not the only reason. Skullmonkeys is also an excellent platformer that has plenty of variety, and unlike other platformers, collectibles that are actually important and can help you in the game. Sure it is hard, mostly due to the annoying "you must time this jump perfectly to advance" mentality of making games harder, but it is still a great game. A great game that I would reccomend to anybody who likes old platformers.
2. Kirby and the Crystal Shards 64
As I mentioned earlier, Kirby and the Crystal Shards was the first Kirby game I ever played and I have been a fan of Kirby ever since then. I have played alot of Kirby games since then. Including one of the Kirby dreamlands and the excellent Kirby Super Star, but I still consider Kirby 64 my favorite Kirby game. This is largely due to the ability to combine abilities to make more powerful abilities. Experimenting with combining abilities just adds alot more to the experience and makes it more fun then any of the other games. That, and Rocket and Refrigerator Kirby is a thousand times better then bomb and ice kirby could ever be. There's not really much more to it then that. Kirby and the Crystal Shards is just a lot of fun. It's one of the best, if not the best Kirby game, and is easily one of my favorite games.
1. Resident Evil 4
It seems to be the general consensus among some hardcore RE fans to hate this game, and even though I can sympathize with them, I can't disagree with them more. Simply put, Resident Evil 4 is my idea of the ideal game. It never gets boring or repetitive and the game is practically one memorable encounter after another. Unlike other games whose experience blurs together I remember pratically every moment in RE4 because everything in it is just excellent. The first open area where you encounter the villagers and the time when you are under seige in the cabin with Louis in addition to a lot of the boss battles are among the best moments in gaming. That and it is probably the only game ever to do escort missions right and actually make them fun. Sure Ashley was annoying (when you think about it, it is kind of hard not to make a helpless person depending on you to save them annoying), but she was never a nuisance. That and it was still scary. Maybe not the same type of scary as the originals but scary nonetheless.
But the beauty of RE4 is that it finally fixed the problems that have been in RE games since the original. Namely the camera, controls, and save system. The fixed camera and controls I have to admit added to the fear of previous Resident Evil games, but I would be lying to you if they didn't get on my nerves from time to time or lead to unnecessary deaths. The new camera works better then the original ever could and the controls work better while still feeling like Resident Evil. That, and they took out the damn ink ribbons. It baffled me that they kept them in for as long as they did because it was an unbelievably stupid idea. Basically in RE4, they took away the things that always bugged me about the Resident Evil games leaving a near perfect experience.
Sure I miss Umbrella, zombies, raccoon city and can understand why people would be upset over their loss but this game is so damn good and I don't think I have ever had as much fun ever playing a game before. This game definitely deserves this place on my list because it is the best damn game I have ever played.