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My Favorite Video Games

March 10, 2013

These are games that I’ve played and like. Order is vaguely temporal, not based on favorites; these are all amazing games.

I had an NES, and it was fun, but my first love in video games was with the Super Nintendo. A Link to the Past and Mario Kart were really fun, but the best games for the SNES were all Square. Final Fantasy 6, Chrono Trigger, and Secret of Mana were amazing. I can’t get into modern JRPGs like I got into those games. Each of them was like cocaine in video game form. The plots, the characters, the music, just wonderful stuff. Of the three, Final Fantasy 6 has weathered the test of time best of all, ironically by refusing to engage in fancy graphics or gameplay (even for the time) and focusing exclusively on characters and plot.

Sid Meyer’s Civilization 2 (1996) – I must have played through this game at least 100 times. It was groundbreaking and totally addictive. Civ 4 might be slightly better, but for almost a decade, the Civilization sequels were pale shadows.

Rome: Total War – The best of the Total War series, this game brings history to life with a great combination of turn based and real time strategy elements.

Doom 2 (1994) Challenging and fun to play, with a wide variety of levels, weapons and enemies. Unlike a lot of the shooters today, whose level design is literally a straight line, Doom 2 had levels which allowed you to wander about and look for secrets and engage in more open gameplay.

Deus Ex (2000) – System Shock may have started this genre, but Deus Ex perfected it. The plot of this game is the best of any game ever. The AI and graphics are badly dated, but the blend of RPG elements, FPSs, and stealth are done better than most imitators today.

Left 4 Dead – Left 4 Dead was the first game I’ve ever played where you honestly HAD to work together. No single player can drag a group through a level without some support. 2 has much better level design than 1 and a better variety of “special infected” super zombies, but is pretty much the same game. I easily put 350 hours into this game and they were some of the most exciting engaging and fun moments I’ve ever spent in video gaming. L4D is pathbreaking and a totally novel approach to games.

Minecraft – Total freedom, scary enemies, deep gameplay. This game is so addictive, and so unique. I mean, aside from the dozens of clones, of course. Still, it executed the concept better than most, and I’m not so much concerned with saying one gaming studio is better, or whatnot, and more concerned with pointing out great achievements for video gaming in general. Much of what makes Minecraft great is the fan mods and customization.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Oblivion was fantastic, and set the stage for a lot of other great open world games, like Fallout 3. Still, the game play left a bit to be desired and Skyrim has a much better engine and a more visceral feel to combat. I think it is important for games to allow the player to explore and create their own narratives. Skyrim does this excellently.

Rock Band – I love the idea of playing music competitively as a video game. This is really fun at parties, when everyone can sing and play along.

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