August 18, 2008

Ok. Let's talk, then list. Every time I see one of those top 10 or top 100 games lists and see what's on them, I think to myself, "a lot of those games would not stand up to a replay TODAY". There's an important distinction to be made between what games we loved in their day, and the games we still love now. Furthermore, some listmakers enjoy throwing in games like the first Super Mario Bros. because of its "importance".

That's all great. But today's list won't be about games that tugged your heartstrings a decade ago, nor will it be about listing games for posterity. Today's list will be about the games you simply cannot do without. Today. Right now. This is why I call it Your Favourite Games List.

Because as much as I loved Revenge of Shinobi in the nineties, playing it now just doesn't make me happy. I get into arguments with Retro about this topic all the time. His top ten list NEVER CHANGES. Mine is constantly evolving. If you're anything at all like Retro, I challenge you to go back and play some of the games you've had on a pedestal for years without thinking about it -- and feel the pain I've felt when they come toppling down. Conversely, it's a wonderful feeling when a game you've put up there, STAYS up there, after all that time. That's something truly special: that's timelessness.

To be fair to Retro, his situation is a little different than the usual retrogaming booster -- he actually doesn't really play new games. Part of the falling from grace that we see happen with our old games is a supplanting at the hands of newer, better games. Without exposure to anything which might usurp his top ten spots, it's a lot easier for them not to change.

However, delving deeper, games can fade without better games coming along to facilitate their deaths. Sometimes it's just limited replay value at fault. I'd say that certain genres have the advantages here: a puzzle game (Pac-Man) probably has a better chance of staying relevant over the long haul than say an RPG (Final Fantasy I), because one might be more wont to go back to it again and again. (Having said that, I know there are tons of RPGers who play their old, decrepit Phantasy Stars over and over, so what do I know.)

Anyway, let's hear your thoughts.

And your lists. Here's mine:

Unreal Tournament (PC)
The Legendary Axe (TG16)
Gate of Thunder (TGSCD)
Crime City (ARC)
Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
Wonderboy in Monster Land (SMS)
Street Fighter Alpha 3 (PSX)
World Class Baseball (TG16)
Alone in the Dark (PC)
Castlevania III (NES)
R-Type (SMS)

For the hell of it, I'm gonna list my most notable fallen angels:

Super Metroid (After Symphony of the Night, the magic was somehow... reduced.)

A Link to the Past (For some reason, the overhead Zelda formula just doesn't WORK for me anymore.)

Blazing Lazers (Used to be my favourite shooter. I still love it, but now I'd play something like Sapphire before playing this.)

Most recent blog posts from Marc Golding...

Felix_Arabia Felix_Arabia - August 18, 2008 (08:11 AM)
Excellent topic. I, too, agree that favorite lists should evolve with time given that exposure to new games comes about. I can recall from ages ago trying to come up with a top 10 list out of all the games I had played, and it looks far different than the one I'm going to reveal here now.

Incidentally, one of the things I'd like to add is that favorite doesn't mean best, as I've played some games that are better in whatever aspect but fail to latch on as games I can return to time after time, year after year. Anyway, this is probably understood by most, but I just wanted to say it anyway!

Here are my favorite 10 games, in no particular order:

-Drakengard (PS2)
-Final Fantasy X (PS2)
-Panzer Dragoon Saga (SAT)
-Resident Evil 4 (GCN)
-Rez (PS2/DC)
-Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
-Super Mario 64 (N64)
-Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
-Zelda: Link's Awakening (GB)
-Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)

Fallen angels:

Donkey Kong Country (SNES) - It's still nice to look at and fun to play, but it's lost a lot of what made it special for me, namely its wow factor.

Tony Hawk 2 (DC) - It falls simply because I hadn't played it in years, and then when I finally did play it relatively recently, it felt worn.

Zelda: A link to the Past (SNES) - Again, it's just not as enjoyable for me to play now as it was a decade ago. Ironically, its sequel on the Game Boy holds up better and it lacks color.
Halon Halon - August 18, 2008 (08:37 AM)
Here are 10 of my favorites in no order. They aren't exactly my top 10 since this is off the top of my head with little thought and I'm sure I'm missing some.

Unreal Tournament
Deus Ex
X-COM UFO Defense
Super Mario World
Star Control 2
Total Annihilation
Super Metroid (I actually like this one better than SotN)
Contra Hard Corps
Half Life
The Legend of Zelda (NES)
Masters Masters - August 18, 2008 (08:56 AM)
Felix: I totally forgot Resident Evil 4! That would totally be on my list. Also, I agree that Link's Awakening holds up better. I find the slow build that made Zelda III so epic and engrossing the first time around, actually makes it tedious and unwelcoming to play now. It feels dragged out with its 3 prelim dungeons, castle dungeon, followed by 7 or so specially-themed dungeons... though back in the day you didn't want it to end. Looking back, only a few of the dungeons were actually memorable (the one where you had to use your fire staff to light the way sticks out, as does the one where you had to bomb the floor for light to shine in on the boss). Too bad there isn't a streamlined Zelda III remix.

Sportsman: Which did you play first--SotN or Super Metroid? Sometimes that seems to make a difference. Replaying SM with a knowledge of where everything is was boring for me. It's a game all about atmosphere and discoveries. Even the music is of an ambient, subtle nature, which loses its effect when you're just doing a run-through. Fortunately, SotN has a much livelier and varied score with far more little discoveries to make to keep the eyelids open even after all these years. Just my two cents.
EmP EmP - August 18, 2008 (09:33 AM)
If people haven't played X-Com, they're dead to me.

Masters Masters - August 18, 2008 (09:40 AM)

Emp weighing in with the cryptic two-liner. Haha. Stop being mysterious and give us a list and some thoughts instead, damn you.
EmP EmP - August 18, 2008 (09:57 AM)
Fine; here's your list:

Deus Ex
X-Com (Enemy Unknown & Terror from the Deep)
Shining Force II
Phantasy Star II
Broken Sword
Shadowrun (snes)
Guilty Gear XX
Mass Effect

Subject to change once I sunk some thought into it.
Masters Masters - August 18, 2008 (10:20 AM)
Tsk tsk. Too many RPG's on that one.
EmP EmP - August 18, 2008 (10:38 AM)
I'm an RPG kinda guy.
espiga espiga - August 18, 2008 (12:54 PM)
Here's my favourite list, from the first memorable games that are popping into my head. There's going to be a lot of RPGs on here because I play the shit out of them, so SILENCE Masters.

Ys: The Oath in Felghana (PC)
Seiken Densetsu 3 (Super Famicom)
Tales of Symphonia (Gamecube / PS2)
Fire Emblem: Fuuin no Tsurugi (Gameboy Advance)
Emerald Dragon (PC Engine CD)
Seirei Senshi Spriggan (PC Engine CD)
Eiyuu Densetsu IV: Akai Shizuku (PC / PS1 / PSP)
Rockman X2 (Super Famicom)
No More Heroes (Wii)
Soul Blazer (SNES)

These are all games that I played that stuck with me, regardless of their quality. Usually because of a great story, playing it as a kid and loving the hell out of it, or singlehandedly getting me hooked on a genre after a friend recommended it to me (fucking zigfried telling me to get Spriggan).
Genj Genj - August 18, 2008 (12:55 PM)
Random Order:

Final Fantasy VII - Suskie feels sorry for me!
Zelda: OOT
Ninja Gaiden Black
Akumajou Dracula X: Chi no Rondo
Devil May Cry
Super Metroid
Resident Evil 4
Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
Super Mario World
Mike Tyson's Punch Out

I agree with Sportsman on Super Metroid being better than SotN. I played both back in their respected days and have since replayed them upwards of 10 times each!

Fallen Angels:

Metal Gear Solid (PSX) - I used to think this was the best game ever, but in retrospect it kinda sucks.
Masters Masters - August 18, 2008 (01:01 PM)
espiga told me to shut up... =( But you still rock because you listed Soulblazer and I will love that game forever. Do know how SHORT a snail's life is?

The funny thing with SotN and SM, is that I tried to replay them both recently, and couldn't really get into either anymore. Maybe I've just squeezed all the juice out of them. That being said, I get marginally further in SotN.
espiga espiga - August 18, 2008 (01:06 PM)
The thing I love most about Soul Blazer is that it freaked me OUT as a kid with all of its talk about the shortness of life, and with how spooky a lot of the dialogue in general was. (Keep in mind I was like 10 when I played it first). Haunted paintings, going into people's dreams, especially the one the dolphin has where he's on that ship the water world's boss is on, and he puts a Gem into a treasure chest... Then you find out that the dolphin is dreaming about it because he's a reincarnation of that kid... And you can even get the Gem from the chest. Scenes like that have stuck with me for a LONG time and Soul Blazer is chock full of them. I love that game. XD
Masters Masters - August 18, 2008 (01:10 PM)
Ha, I know what you mean. But do you remember the woman whose husband was grazing in her backyard as a fucking goat? Bahaha! That one was less poignant and more, just funny.
honestgamer honestgamer - August 18, 2008 (01:25 PM)
My top ten list constantly shifts around, but here are 10 games that consistently rank high for me:

Super Mario Kart (SNES)
Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
The Legend of Zelda (NES)
Final Fantasy III (SNES)
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (PS2)
Ogre Battle: March of the Dark Queen (SNES)
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (PS2)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
Call of Duty 4 (Xbox 360)
Mega Man 2 (NES)

Note that many of the above games I regularly play to this day... and enjoy more than the hot new releases that everyone gets excited about now (even subsequent releases in their perspective franchises). I am a retro gamer at heart, I'm afraid. My tastes don't change much, so it's rare indeed that a game I used to love years ago disgusts me when I play it in the present.

In case you're wondering, expanding the list to the top 20 would add in a few more Mario titles, more from Atlus and more RPGs and stuff. More of the same, in other words. ;-)
Masters Masters - August 18, 2008 (04:19 PM)
You still love ALttP, eh Jason? When's the last time you've played it, incidentally?
honestgamer honestgamer - August 18, 2008 (05:17 PM)
I think around two years ago at this point. It's one I replay every few years, since it IS a rather lengthy game. I replay the original a few times a year, on average. That might not sound like much for either one, but a lot of the other games in my collection I seldom touch at all after I've reviewed them, unless it's to grab screenshots or write a FAQ or whatever. It's all relative.
bluberry bluberry - August 18, 2008 (05:25 PM)
I have the same problem as you with all of the Metroid and new Castlevania games, Masters--they're great once or maybe twice, but once I know where things are, they're boring as sin to me.

anyway, here's my list. it would probably change a bit if I spent more time thinking it through, but it's good enough. nothing terribly controversial. not for me, anyway =D

Doom II
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Super Mario 64
Devil May Cry
Metroid Prime
Deus Ex
Team Fortress 2
Perfect Dark
Devil May Cry 3: SE

not that DMC3 objectively belongs on a top anything of any time period list, but for how terribly flawed it is I personally love the combat engine too much to leave it off.
Halon Halon - August 18, 2008 (09:51 PM)
I played Super Metroid about six years before SotN. It's a lot more replayable to me which is why I would give it the edge. I've played through it 8-10 times and only played through SotN once, and until recently have had no desire to play it again.

Zelda 3 has always been overrated to me. The graphic design is ugly, the map layout is horrible, it plays like an NES game and is too easy and uninspired. It's still probably a 6 or 7 but weak compared to other entries in the series.
overdrive overdrive - August 19, 2008 (06:08 AM)
Have to come back to this as I put more thought into it, but off the top of my head.

Legend of Zelda (NES)
Final Fantasy III/VI (SNES)
Dragon Quest VIII (PS2)
Resident Evil 4 (PS2)
Castlevania SotN (PS)
Doom (PC -- and by which I simply mean Classic Doom in general, I, II, Final, fan-made levels)
Bionic Commando (NES)
Faxanadu (NES)
Zelda 2 The Adventure of Link (NES)
Chrono Trigger (SNES)

Number of fallen stars, which I'll edit in or just create a new post later.
Masters Masters - August 19, 2008 (06:27 AM)
Wow, Rob, Faxanadu?? Did you review this? If so, I need to track down your reasoning behind your love. Sportsman: I'm glad you brought up Zelda III's horrible map. When I was so enamoured of it, I managed to overlook it, but not now.
overdrive overdrive - August 19, 2008 (08:33 AM)
Faxanadu's a soft-spot game for me that I still pull out for a playthrough every once in a while. There's something about it that kind of makes me think "epic fantasy". Might be the "tree of life under siege by monsters" setting or just how the monsters looked more grotesque there than in other games of the time.
Masters Masters - August 19, 2008 (09:00 AM)
Yeah the monsters -- especially that HUGE-HEADED hopping thing -- are pretty nasty. I liked the game despite it being a bit... weird to me. Have you tried Cadash?
overdrive overdrive - August 19, 2008 (01:15 PM)
I have the Genesis version on my computer, but haven't spent any real time with it. Just picked a character and fiddled with the first area. Think I made it to the Pudding boss, was satisfied the game worked on the shoddy emulator I had to use before recently upgrading to OS X and went on to the next game.
psychopenguin psychopenguin - August 20, 2008 (10:24 AM)
My top 100 is on my LJ. Recently updated.
psychopenguin psychopenguin - August 20, 2008 (10:27 AM)
Oh yeah, and fallen angels:

(Usual 2, it seems)
Zelda Link to a Past
Super Metroid

(Another couple that have fallen a lot)
Resident Evil 2 - The controls and stupid puzzles just irritate me now. This was the SHIT in 1998, though.

Soul Blade - Still a lot of fun, but there's been superior fighting games released since.
Lewis Lewis - August 22, 2008 (03:10 AM)
Very interesting that your list still features mainly older games.

I'm primarily a PC gamer, so my list may be a little biased in that direction, but I'll have a crack at a top 10. This is most certainly a favourite games list, not a best.

10 Super Mario Galaxy (phenomenal creativity)
9 System Shock 2 (pure terror)
8 Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind (vast)
7 Mario Kart Double Dash (multiplayer fun)
6 Grand Theft Auto 4 (cinematic wonder)
5 Wii Sports (multiplayer phenomenon)
4 Deus Ex (makes me feel sexy)
3 BioShock (best atmosphere ever)
2 Half-Life 2 (it just works)
1 Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (broken but ingenious)

Fallen angels:
Deus Ex, really. Held my number one spot for many years.
Half-Life - still fantastic, there are just at least ten more fantastic games than it these days.
Ocarina of Time - magical but just too frail to stand up to the rest these days.
Quake - tragically dated, but still holds that special place in my heart.
arkrex arkrex - August 24, 2008 (02:47 AM)
Hey Masters

Here's 23, cos that's how old I am:

R-Type (ARC, but the PS1 port in particular)
Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
Mega Man X1/2/3 (SNES)
Contra 3 (SNES)
Final Fantasy V (SNES, but the GBA port in particular)
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (GEN)
Streets of Rage II (GEN)
Super Mario 64 (N64)
GoldenEye 007 (N64)
Star Fox 64 (N64)
Tekken Tag (ARC/PS2)
Time Crisis 3(PS2)
Final Fantasy X (PS2)
Soul Calibur II (PS2)
Devil May Cry 3: SE (PS2)
Tekken 5 (ARC/PS2)
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (PS2)
Castlevania: DoS (DS)
Mario Kart DS (DS)
Dracula X: Rondo of Blood (PSP remake)
Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

I live in the past. Still.
retro retro - December 10, 2008 (07:03 PM)
Guess I'll post here for any who happen to come along late and read it since I'm just finding out that Marc was a blogger for a week. As I've told Masters the 7,692 times we've had this discussion, my list doesn't change because I've pretty much quit video gaming for the most part.

I was always mostly a fan of platformers. I always got the most enjoyment out of great games that I could sit through and play start to finish in one sitting, ones that were fun enough to do so endless times, like many in the 8 and 16-bit era. My interest in gaming pretty much died with the 32 & 64-bit era when platformers like Super Mario 64 (one of my favorites, ironically) and Crash Bandicoot took over the scene. While fun, I found they were so long that no matter how much I loved the games, even the ones I'd give 10/10 to, I didn't have the drive to play beginning to end more than 3 or 4 times. Whereas ones like SMB3, Rocket Knight Adventures, Sonic 1, and yes, of course, Super Metroid, never grow old to me and I've completed many of them at least 50 times.

And those are the ones and that's the era that I find myself going back to. Another reason is that I no longer have my brothers around to constantly challenge and play video games with, along with (to a much lesser extent) being grown and wanting to save money while I can.

However, believe it or not, I do still find enjoyment in some of today's games when I'm around friends or family that have them, but not to the point where I'm inspired to buy a system and a bunch of games.

The newest game that I've played the hell out of and would call a favorite is Dangerous Hunts for PS2.

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