Part of me wonders why I didn’t make this list sooner. Then again, when it comes to DeviantArt, I do spend more time talking about animation than anything else. Even so, you could make the argument that without animation, we wouldn’t have video games. Anyway, now I really want to talk about the top 10 video games that I love so much as of this point in time. I’ve been playing video games ever since I was a little kid. The first system I ever played on was the Nintendo Entertainment System or NES and I’ll never forget that great experience. However, the first system I ever owned was the Sega Genesis (or Master System as it was known outside North America) and I’ll certainly never be able to lose those memories either. After that came the very first PlayStation which pushed video games out of being purely 2D and introducing the third dimension to the medium. The PS2 enhanced what was in place and only made video games more mainstream despite the efforts of people like Jack Thompson and later *gasp* Anita Sarkeesian! Actually, no. Video games are only getting more popular because of those two troublesome nobodies. Okay, sorry I got off subject; I just really wanted to take a jab at those two. Next, I got a Wii and that opened the door to motion control that may not have panned out as hoped, but I think that will still have an impact on video games when virtual reality becomes even more advanced. The Wii U was next and we know that didn’t go very well. For that, I grabbed a PS4 and, more recently, a Switch and I’m loving both. I’d own an Xbox One if it was more financially feasible. With that resume, it’s clear that I’ve encountered many games in my life that I’ll hold in my memories forever and I’d like to speak a little about them. When you’ve looked my picks through, I really hope you’ll give your thoughts about my choices and tell me which titles you love the most! IT’S GAME TIME!!!
My first choice on this list is also the newest game on this list to come out. For that reason, I’m going to give a little overview here. Celeste is platforming game in which the main character, Madeline, has given herself the task of climbing the titular mountain for personal reasons. The levels are relatively small in number, but big in individual size. They’re also nothing short of extremely challenging too, with each level having its’ own theme and gimmick. However, the entire game itself has its’ own theme that really hits close to home for anyone who plays it, and yes, that includes me too. I won’t spoil anything here, but Celeste deals with peoples’ own personal struggles in life and how adequate they feel they are in what they do. You really need to play Celeste if you really want to understand what I mean. It really made me take a much different and deeper look at my life.
I have to confess that I really do prefer single-player experiences over multi-player ones. They simply carry more depth and interest for me. However, there are times where multi-player experiences can catch my attention in ways that I really enjoy. One example of such would be the Super Smash Bros. franchise, but I actually find Overwatch to be the game that I love the most in that field. I already have a separate comparison of the two game series that I use to express my opinion on that front, so I’m gonna keep this entry short. Overwatch is easy to pick up, learn and play, easily accessible, and has had quite the (generally positive) cultural impact on the video game community. That’s certainly more than I can say for something like Fortnite which I feel is hurting video games by encouraging more companies to go the route of Battle Royale for easy profit (not to offend people who do love Fortnite). Give it a shot even if you don’t care for multi-player games (as I do for the most part).
8) Sonic 3 & Knuckles/Sonic Mania
I never said I wouldn’t have any ties on this list, but I promise to not have too many. If I were to view Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles as two separate entities, then Sonic Mania would have this spot all to itself. However, since Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles were originally meant to be one huge game, I’ve decided to include them as one entry and tie them with Mania. Both titles represent Sonic at his best in 2D platforming (3D Sonic has some problems to say the least, but there are some gems among them too). There’s a variety of enemies unique to each zone, some challenging boss battles, awesome power-ups, cool transition cutscenes, and 3 different playable characters (5 for Mania when you include the DLC). With Mania’s success, Sega has stated that the fans could have a greater role in how the series continues. Let’s hope other video game companies will do the same for their series. Konami, EA, and Ubisoft might really want to consider that…
7) New Super Mario Bros U/Super Mario Galaxy 2
Since Mario (and Luigi) is/are essentially the poster boy(s) for the platforming genre, it was essentially a requirement to include both a 2D and 3D game if I was going to mention the Super Mario series. Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World are beloved classics that I really love, but NSMB U takes the best of both and gives them the modern-day treatment. It was the first time in a long time that a side-scrolling Mario felt truly special (the previous New Super Mario Bros games felt generic with each level essentially repeating itself). I was keen on putting Odyssey here for the 3D installments, but the consensus is true; the second Galaxy game really is the pinnacle of Mario’s 3D outings (so far). The best of the original is here with improvements that include a greater challenge, an easier access to worlds, a more rewarding finish, and even Yoshi! Can we get a Super Mario Galaxy 3 at some point? PLEASE?!
6) Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble/Donkey Kong Country Returns
The last of my choices where it’s a tie, I swear. Despite the praise heaped on DKC2, I actually enjoy the third entry the most. Despite not starring Donkey or Diddy, I actually enjoyed playing as Dixie and even Kiddy and the more interactive map is a definitive bonus. It feels really nice to have a greater emphasis on exploration, especially for a 2D platformer. DKC Returns was a much needed comeback the series needed after so much neglect. The spotlight was handed back to Donkey and Diddy and the adventure was far, far bigger. The levels maintained some very unique themes with each one being (mostly) unique to themselves to help set them apart from each other. Also, the background played a bigger role too by setting up hiding spot for more collectables and foreshadowing gameplay elements.
5) Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando
Let’s face it; the first Ratchet and Clank is good, but the controls are a little loose, the requirements to advance in the game are kind of annoying, and it isn’t very deep. Going Commando fixes all of that and then some. You can strafe, lock onto enemies, have a (mostly) more straightforward path to progress through the game, and you even get a greater incentive to use all the cool, various weapons you can use! The writing and platforming are really awesome too, with moments of dialogue that’ll make you chuckle or smirk and clever jumping mechanics that use some killer gadgets. With the series having been rebooted, I’m eager to see how the second installment in the reboot will compare to this one.
4) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
While I generally love the Super Mario series more, this installment in the Zelda series has remained my favorite from Nintendo ever since I’ve played it. It’s every bit as dark in themes as Majora’s Mask, every bit as big for its’ generation as Ocarina of Time, and every bit as deep in world-building as A Link to the Past. This was also one of the better examples of what motion control should be all about. The use of the Wiimote and Nunchuk were perfect in this installment and not anywhere near as clunky as what we got in Skyward Sword. Still, I gotta give props to Breath of the Wild for coming close to representing the Zelda series on this list.
3) Silent Hill 3
My favorite horror game happens to also be the most overlooked of the original three Silent Hill titles. While the first Silent Hill is praised for its’ originality and the second is praised for its’ deep themes, I just really prefer Silent Hill 3 for a few reasons. First of all, it continues the plot of the first game and expands upon it. Second of all, it has a the updated visuals that the second game has and pushed them even further. Lastly, I really, really like Silent Hill 3’s protagonist, Heather, way more than any other Silent Hill lead to date. She’s feisty, full of grit, and even really cute. I really hope that a future title in the series will continue the plot of Silent Hills 1, 3, and Origins.
2) Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
This game really showed that video games had what it took to emulate films and even surpass them. The first Uncharted is good from a story perspective, but doesn’t really hit that close to home to the player because everything that happens just perfectly works out as if that’s how things do and should. In Among Thieves, everything is much more believable and relatable. The harsh situations in which Nathan Drake is thrown into are rightfully portrayed as difficult and deadly and even make Drake an even more likable character than he was in the first installment. It also has the right mixture of reality and fantasy with the former keeping the latter completely believable. Gotta love that!
- Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
Even before the N. Sane Trilogy, this was my favorite installment in the Crash Bandicoot series and video games in general. The platforming is fun and challenging in all the right ways (barring a few frustrations) and the cast is very memorable. The first Crash Bandicoot was good, but clearly has aged (although not as badly as the first Resident Evil or Silent Hill and its’ remake is quite enjoyable). In this one, everything is vastly better with the expanded move set, various level themes, and variety in gameplay. I can’t imagine the Playstation 1 without this gem. No other game on that system tops it for me. What a game for my all-time favorite video game character to have under his belt! I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for a brand-new original title to continue its’ legacy!
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