Alright, let’s be clear; you, the reader, might disagree with my entries. Some might be too high, others too low, or not even deserve to make this list. But allow me to say that I have not played every videogame on the planet. I play what I play, I like what I like, and that’s it. The games that I am listing here have had a profound effect on me. What I mean is, these are the games that have stuck around, ones that I’ve extremely enjoyed while playing, or went back and played again because they were that good and that much fun. They’ve had “oomph,” if you will.
So here it is. My top 10 video games. Press Start.
10. Super Mario 64
Completely gapping the Super NES time period, I went from owning an Nintendo to a Nintendo 64. The only game available at launch was Super Mario 64. Good call. While I don’t understand the critical acclaim that SM64 got, I understand that it is a very good game, a tough game, and a successful transformation of Mario’s 2-D world into 3-D. Still, to this day, I haven’t collected all the possible stars. I’ll get there eventually.
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
While TMNT: The Arcade Game was a solid entry in the side scrolling beat-em-up genre, I look to TMNT: Turtles in Time as the one that perfected it. Come on, don’t deny the glee you get throwing foot clan soldiers at the Shredder while he’s shooting at you. This game was so much fun for me, it would constantly come up on my SNES emulator because it just never failed. Whether you are Leo, Don, Mike, or Raph, you are in for a butt kicking good time. Health low? Get that pizza!
Note: As soon as I saw there was an updated version (read: better graphics) of this game for XBOX 360 Live Arcade, I downloaded it immediately.
8. Goldeneye 007
One word: Multiplayer. While the game’s campaign was fun, and faithful to the movie, there was nothing like staying up with friends or relatives late into the evening, searching for weapons and going nuts, shooting whoever was unlucky enough to cross paths with you. The game was a blast and definitely a stand out in the N64 library. Oh hey, you wanna be Oddjob in multiplayer? Oh yeah, go right ahead. Jerk.
7. Super Mario Bros
While I loved Super Mario Bros 3 and thought that it would place on the list instead of it’s predecessor, there’s no denying it; the original Super Mario Bros is the grand daddy of video games. It set the standard for how a game should work. It’s platforming elements, along with a crazy cast of characters and vivid levels (for an 8 bit era, mind you) has made gamers of all ages fall in love with it time and time again. Don’t lie; when you first hear those musical beats of the opening stage, nostalgia kicks in and you have one goal in mind-save the princess!
6. Burnout: Revenge
Racing? Sure. Lap timing? Of course. Crashing? Wait…what? The Burnout series took the driving game genre and injected the glee inducing car collisions that made it something else. A lot of people loved ramming their Hot wheels or Matchbox cars into another when they were kids. Burnout just took that idea and added it into video games. While all of the Burnout games have their stand out moments, Burnout: Revenge (I feel) was the best entry. Even Burnout: Paradise (the newest version of Burnout), which I recently bought and played, doesn’t hold a candle.
5. Rock Band 2
The music game genre is one that seems to be fading in fandom. Too many entries into the library have made it overexposed, and the continual need for new peripherals (guitars, drums, etc) or even the space they take up (if you are already have them) is a bother. There are too many Guitar Heros to count and the musical choices have gone from popular singles to lesser known music and bands. However, to give the genre credit, it is undeniably fun (given the right people to play with), and Rock Band 2 has one of the best track selections, the best downloadble content, a good story mode, and enough clothes and items to pimp out your created avatar. While Beatles: Rock Band is the best singular band game ever made, Rock Band 2 is the best music game to appeal to everyone, because whether you like it or not, not everyone likes The Beatles. Crazy, but true.
The ultimate puzzle game. I’ve had this for my Game Boy, I’ve played the arcade version, I even have it on my phone; it’s simply addicting and the difficulty builds as you play, creating a learning curve that’s just smart. When in doubt, always wait for the long rectangle.
3. Grand Theft Auto IV
Grand Theft Auto as a series should not morally exist. It is criminal glorification and nothing else. But here’s the kicker-it’s just too fun to ignore. I’ve played all of the three dimensional Grand Theft Autos (III, Vice City, San Andreas), but something about Grand Theft Auto IV keeps me coming back. It has a instantly likeable anti hero (Niko Bellic), a great soundtrack, exciting missions ranging from easy to impossible (with that sense of “I wanna try again” after being arrested or killed), an entertaining cast of characters, and to top it all off, a living, breathing city based on New York called Liberty City. There are sights to see and things to do. Need a car? Why buy one when you can just steal it?
2. Super Mario Galaxy
The Wii was a system everyone wanted back in the day. Now, not so much. People are seeing the flaws the system has. But one thing that Nintendo does do as a company is make great games, and Super Mario Galaxy is no exception. It is the best game on the system, hands down, and is the true successor to Super Mario 64. I played this game non stop when it first came out, and cannot wait for the sequel (May 23). Its fun, colorful, tough, has great music, and when you complete the game fully as Mario, you can play the game as Luigi. For a fan of the man in green and blue, I couldn’t ask for anything more.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
I will completely honest when I say that Ocarina of Time is the first Zelda game I played all the way through, beginning to end. Like I said, I didn’t have a Super NES, and I was too young to understand the original Legend of Zelda. So when I first got the gold cartridge and popped the game into my N64, I was completely floored. The epic battles, the dungeons, the music-this is what videogames are all about. Critic Roger Ebert said that videogames could not be considered art. Well, I would say I am inclined to agree, but with this game, there’s nothing that isn’t breathtaking or art worthy. From the beautiful landscape of Hyrule fields, to the final battle with a massive Ganon, to the first time you pull the sword from the stone in the Temple of Time…there are no words. I have played a lot of video games, but The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is by far the one that I will remember and love the most.