Smeags' 50 Games!
50. Animal Crossing (GCN)
Animal Crossing is a game I never thought I'd love. It's a game about paying off your loan to a Raccoon. It's a game about fishing for hours until you find that one Redfish to cash in for 3,000 bells. It's about making your house perfect... just to get that letter in the mail congratulating you on a job well done. It's a game about many things, and none of them are exactly something that'll make you jump off your couch. Yet here we are... with Animal Crossing at number 50... with more than 500 hours played between the 3 games in the series. I really don't know why I love this game and this series so much, and maybe I never will... and ya know what? I'm really okay with that. Eat your heart out Nook.
49. Rollercoaster Tycoon (PC)
"Bleh!" This might be the only game where someone throwing up on your walkway is a good thing. Rollercoaster Tycoon was everyone's dream: build the most awesome amusement park imaginable. Sure we put in the occasional Haunted House and tame Roller Coaster in there just to appease the guests... but on the outskirts of the park, we were building the most insane roller coaster imaginable. Sure, it cost us thousands of dollars and put us in the red, but building the craziest Roller Coaster imaginable was always worth it... even if no one ever rode it (or died trying).
48. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (N64)
I love this game because the moment you pick up the controller, you are a superstar skater. I was never much of a skater, but back in the late 90's (especially in my years living in Orange County, California) everyone wanted to shred (even if they couldn't). Things like grinding, ollies, kickflips, the fabled 900... those were on the tongues of everyone around, and everyone wanted to be part of the skating action. And then Tony Hawk's Pro Staker came out, and it blew everyone's mind. Now anyone could be the greatest skater ever, and have a blast doing it. Finding all of the secrets, playing HORSE, going for that insane combo in Area 51... those were the simple pleasures of life. Tony Hawk's Pro Staker made me feel like I could do anything in the skating world, and I had a blast doing so.
47. Wii Sports (Wii)
While Wii Sports doesn't seem like something meant for an upper echelon gaming list, I was determined to keep this game in my top fifty, despite the huge competition from other incredible games that have missed the cut. This game means a lot to me personally, and that adds to the wonderful and simple gameplay that the game provides. It's a game that everyone wanted to play when they came over, and no one was ever disappointed. In fact, everyone always left with smiles and laughter, something that is sorely missing from a lot of gaming scenes now-a-days. The fact that my father, who dismisses any video game as a simple child's plaything... asked me if we could play Wii Sports golf together... well that means a lot. This game has so many wonderful memories attatched to it... and even though Resort has stole its play time as of late, I'll always remember Wii Sports as a game that started up the smiles and never stopped until we put down the WiiMotes.
46. New Super Mario Bros. (DS)
New Super Mario Bros. is a wonderful game, full of wonderful level design, fun bosses, and nostalgic nods everywhere you go. It's really a fantastic mix of old and new, and allows for solid Platforming to shine through as you travel through the eight worlds to rescue the Princess Peach! Things like the the touch screen (that kept a spare item handy like in Super Mario World), new items (like the Mega Mushroom!) and the ever exanding world of the Mushroom Kingdom always kept things fresh and fun. Still, it was always the tight, pitch perfect gameplay and Mario magic that sealed the deal. Fantastic game... now if only there was another...
45. Heroes of Might and Magic III (PC)
Before I knew of WarCraft, or really any PC game for that matter... I knew of the awesomeness of Heroes of Might and Magic III, and all was good. I mean... it's just a fantastic turn-based strategy game with a cast of medieval-esque fictional and mythological beings. Going around the world, finding secret treasures and taking down creeps... all while trying your best to defend and/or attack the opposing heroes and their bases. It was multi-tasking at its finest. I gotta give a shout out to my favorite race: Necropolis. Seriously, there's nothing better than the Ghost Dragon tearing into your enemies. Also, the game is beautiful to this day, and the music is simply wonderful. This game really started my PC gaming adventures... and it was an incredible way to start it off!
44. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (DS)
This was the first of three Castlevania games on the DS, and it was my second Castlevania experience. To be said, this is the game that made me a Castlevania nutter. Level 99, every item collected, every challenge cleared, every room searched for every little secret. Heck, even Julius mode was completed with utmost fervor. There was a time where I would play this until the middle of the night, go to sleep, and wake up just to pick it back up and play some more (hooray for Sleep Mode!). The game is super fun, super challenging (Puppet Master took me a while to take down, to be sure), and always satisfying. Plus, those hand drawn sprite graphics are gorgeous, and the music is fantastic. It's just a fantastic game that will always be remembered with fondness.
43. StarFox 64 (N64)
"Hey Einstein! I'm on your side!"
"Do a Barrel Roll!"
"Can't let you do that StarFox!"
Okay, so we all know that StarFox 64 has some of the coolest/cheesiest lines in the history of video games, but beyond the quotes, the game itself is incredibly fun, frantic, and simply wonderful to play. I mean, this was the first game to include the rumble pack, and once the rumbling began, we all knew that all was good in the land of video games. Actually feeling the explosions and the laser blasts was awesome to behold... and the game looked incredible to boot. Heck, I even remember when I finally realized that the robot Andross wasn't the real final boss, and that I had to find secrets in past levels to battle the true form. This game was full of secrets and surprises, and the bosses were big, bad, and fun to take down. To top it all off, multiplayer dog fights were incredibly fun, and allowed everyone to get going and play. Awesome game.
42. Soul Calibur II (GCN)
This is the only traditional fighter you'll find in my top 50 list. No Street Fighter, no Mortal Kombat (it was close!), no Tekken... just good ol' Soul Calibur II, and for good reason. This game is an utmost blast to play! Gorgeous graphics, a single player campaign that actually meant something, lots of unlockables, lovely music (I actually have the CD, came with the Special Edition Players Guide), and a hugely fun and satisfying fighting system. But... what really puts this game over the edge is the inclusion of Link from The Legend of Zelda. Of course he was my main! I even got good enough to where I could defeat my friends with The Butterfly Net (Link's joke weapon). If things got too tough, though, I would pull out the trusty Great Fairy Sword and rock everyone's world. KEYAAAH!
41. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS)
Okay, let's get it out of the way: Shanoa from Order of Ecclesia is drop dead gorgeous (eh... I used a Vampire pun. Drop dead? Get it?) and she kicks Undead butt to boot. She's pretty much the most awesomest Castlevania hero ever. Anywho... on to the actual game! Definitely the toughest Castlevania I've played, but the game is so immensely satisfying! Pitch perfect controls, gorgeous hand drawn sprite art, awesome music... the Castlevania fundamentals are still here, but now the game is more streamlined and the action more intense. Farming for souls is over, yet the game still has ultra deep spell and weapon mechanics that'll make anyone giggle with glee. This iteration of the series is the most satisfying yet... keep on kicking Vampire tail Shanoa!
40. Super Mario Bros./Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (NES/GB)
After 25 years (I'm not even that old...), I'll boot up the Wii, select "Super Mario Bros." and give it a go. It's true, I never owned an NES, and even my playtime with the console was limited. Still, each time I could get my hands on it, the one game I would play was an easy choice: Super Mario Bros. The controls are perfect, the music is still awesome to this day, and the game just has a charm that is like very little out there, even to this day. When I finally came around to getting the GameBoy Color, I had to get my hands on Super Mario Bros. Deluxe, and I wasn't disappointed. It was the same incredible game, but now on the go! Heck, it even had different challenges (Boo races were tough!) and tons of secrets to collect (Yoshi eggs tested the mettle of even the pros). Yeah, this game is totally awesome... just don't hurt me for not putting it high enough!
39. Paper Mario (N64)
So... I'm really not a big RPG fan. I've never been part of the Final Fantasty Crowd, never really played any of the Elder Scrolls, FallOut, or Bioware games... they've just been games for other people to enjoy, and for me to pass on by. But then there's Paper Mario, an RPG that I absolutely adore. It's so simple to get into, yet incredibly fun and satisfying to play. Peach gets stolen, and its up to Mario and his pals to save the seven Star Sages and return the Star Rod to its rightful place. Traveling from location to loction, finding secret areas and items, finding the best way to take down the baddies, making sure that there's enough Badge Points for that awesome new badge you found... there's just so much to enjoy about this game! Also, madam Bow is the best sidekick by far. She smacks around her enemies with a fan. Awesome. Thanks to this game, I've tried other RPGs and have also enjoyed them. But Paper Mario was the game that introduced me to a genre, and I had a blast all the way through.
38. Diddy Kong Racing (N64)
This was my first N64 game. I remember waking up extra early (because it was a school day) just to set up my new Nintendo 64 and play one round of Diddy Kong Racing. It was magical... seeing those 3D images in front of me. And even after the shock of a new system wore off, Diddy Kong Racing was a game I would play over and over again. It was a neat take on the Kart-Racing genre: an Adventure mode was infused into the main game, allowing the player to go from area to area in search of races, boss battles, and other challenges. I must say, it really kept me going... as I had to get to the next boss or world just to see what would happen next. When I finally defeated WizPig it was all over... or so I thought. I had to travel to outer space (!!!) and beat him once and for all! And let's not forget about the amazingly fun multiplayer... especially battle mode. 10x Rockets can do so much damage! Love this game, and the memories around it are timeless.
Main: Pipsy the Mouse
37. TimeSplitters 2 (GCN)
You wont notice any Call of Duty's on this list. Or Halo's. Or any Counter Strike's. In fact, you won't see many FPS's at all. They great games, to be sure, but a FPS has never really gripped me like other genres have. That is... until TimeSplitters 2 came along. I can't remember why I got this game, seeing how I've never been one to even consider purchasing an FPS... but from the start I knew there was going to be something about this one. For starters, this game doesn't take itself seriously like 99% of other FPS's out there. For that, this game gets a huge nod for me on how refreshing the whole atmosphere is. Also, the multiplayer is astonishingly fun... thanks to its plethora (and deepness) of modes and the addition of splitscreen and bots (sounds weird saying this now... but back in the day these things were an obvious addition to the game. Now when I play it, I'm reminded to be thankful). So many fun times with this game, and I just gotta say... "It's time to SPLIT!"
36. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)
Circle of the Moon was my first Castlevania experience. Not the NES or SNES classic Castlevanias. Not the Symphony of the Night reimagining by Igarashi... but Circle of the Moon on the GameBoy Advance. To be sure, I had no idea what I was getting myself into... or even why I bought it in the first place. All I know is that I popped it in, turned on the handheld... and was taken on a vampire slaying, monster killing adventure full of atmosphere and awesome action. I love the fact that I could get better weapons through magic, and could always get more powerful by leveling up. The whip cracking action was so satisfying. Plus... after I defeated Dracula and defeated the darkness within... I could replay the game with new powers and abilities. The game had so many ways to play... the game seemed to go on forever. Unfortuately, I played this game so much and did so many replays... that the in-game battery died. I literaly played this game to (its) death. It may not be my favorite Castlevania (that goes to Eccelsia), but its the game that introduced me to the world of Vampires, were-wolves, and Vampire hunters sworn to take down the evil inside the castle. This game made me a fan or life.
35. Super Mario Sunshine (GCN)
In Super Mario Sunshine, Mario decides to take a break from the hectic life of a hero and travel to Delfino Island for some much needed relaxation. The game itself also feels like a destination different from the usual Mario adventures. Levels, usually seperated by elements (fire/ice/desert ect.) or Geographical locations (caves/lakes/castles etc.) are now all contained on the single island, so you always feel a sense of sameness when traversing the different areas. There's much more to collect now too, with the blue coins populating the levels (and hidden quite deviously I may add) along with Shine Sprites. And besides Mario, Yoshi, and the Mushroom Kingdom royalty... there's very little here that reminds you of anything you've seen before in the Mario games... which is both refreshing and yet somewhat disappointing. All this leads to a final battle with Bowser who appears out of nowhere... and is really big. I still scratch my head whenever I think of that final boss battle...
Despite all this, this game falls at number 35 because of its wonderful platforming elements and sense of fun and adventure that is the core of all Mario games. FLUDD is a great asset to Mario's already legendary platforming skills, and the two work together for some incredibly fun gameplay (Although I must say... I actually loved the FLUDD-less obstacle courses the most...). Level design is top notch, music is wonderful, and the game is a lot of fun under the sun. While Sunshine is a vacation from the other Mario games, it still shines bright. Shine get!
34. Super Smash Bros. (N64)
SUPAH! SMASH... BROOOOTHERS!
One of the coolest intros at the time... imagine, if you will, seeing Mario, PIkachu, Fox, and Link come to life just to settle the score once and for all: who is the best? That's really the only reason I bought the game. I've never been much of a fan of fighters (of course there's expectations, like SCII above), but to have 4 player multiplayer mayhem with Nintendo's greatest mascots... that's something that cannot be passed up. Luckily, the gameplay is really unlike anything I ever played before (and unlike anything I've played since) and is incredibly fun and frantic. Let me tell ya, having four friends huddled around the T.V., shouting at one another, hi-fiving one another, punching each other all because of what's happening on screen is a great experience.
33. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (Wii)
While Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (GCN) was my first Fire Emblem experience (and a great game as well, just barely missed the top 50), this was the game that really made me a huge fan of the series. Everything from the previous game has been ironed out, and the gameplay is stupendously solid. The characters are more endearing than ever (still, Illyana is my favorite!) and the story is an actual epic, spanning four immense chapters that are all very fun and very rewarding (with the final chapter pretty darn amazing, I must say.) The story continues from Path of Radiance, and everything comes together at the end in a very satisfying way. The final showdown to the Black Knight (one of my favorite videogame villains) is fantastic... and the whole final levels are just perfection in my eyes.
If the previous paragraph seems somewhat erratic... it's because I really don't know where to begin explaining my love for this game, or where to end. The gameplay is so wonderfully solid, the characters are a joy to lead into battle (and worth keeping alive), and the adventure is really unlike anything out there, which is why I'm such a huge fan of the series. Radiant Dawn shines the brightest though, and for that, it earns the #33 spot.
32. Sonic the Hedgehog (Gen)
You were probably wondering, okay Smeags... when is Sonic showing up? We know you're unreasonbaly obsessed with this series... so when's it finally gonna pop up? Well, it's here at number 32! Funnily enough, Sonic the Hedgehog wasn't the first Sonic game I've played (that would go to Sonic the Hedgehog 2). So, imagine my shock when I couldn't even use the Sonic Spin in this game! Also, the jumping was a little more floaty compared to the sequels... but besides that, this game is platforming bliss! The levels are awesome (and to the game's credit, it has three Acts as opposed to the sequel's two Acts), the music is stupendous, and the overall package is just waaay too much fun. I mean, what more can you really want? Not much I'll tell you, and that's why Sonic's first adventure is here at number 32.
31. Bioshock (X360)
What a way to start off a game. A plane crashing, finding yourself in the middle of the ocean (took me at least a minute before I realized that I was actually in control of Jack during the sequence... kudos to 2K for letting the player take control of this game.), and then finding that lonesome lighthouse in the middle of nowhere. And once I entered the Biosphere... this game HAD to be in my top 50 games. What an incredible experience... and we're only 5 minutes into the game! Yeah, like I told you before, FPS's aren't really my thing... but Bioshock isn't your traditional FPS either. There's just so much in this game... it's just such a rich experience to explore the insane world of Rapture. And of course, how can I forget the titular moment when Andrew Ryan tells Jack about his purpose. "Would you kindly?" really blew me away. I guess I enjoyed this game so much because well... it accomplished things that I've never really seen in a video game before. Okay, so the final few hours of the game paled in comparison to the rest of the game (and seemed a lot more "traditional" as far as video game constants are, which was somewhat disappointing), but as a complete package, Bioshock is where it's at. Fantastic game.
30. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect (GCN)
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the finest example of an FPS ever made! Let's see... it's got a single player campaign that's even better than the 2nd (and with an awesome Haunted Mansion-esque level), the same addicting (and super tough) challenge levels, a wonderful map creator (so many wonderful maps... half the fun was making these crazy things!), the wonderfully humorous and refreshing atmosphere (It's time to SPLIT!), and of course, the incredible (incredible) multiplayer. I was always Deadwinda, and she and I dominated the scene with our dual Flare Guns. Ah... there's so much to say just about this game's multiplayer... so many good times... yeah... oh! Yeah, so anyways, this is the highest FPS you'll see on my list because that's how I view the game: the best FPS I've ever played. CHIMPACIDE!
29. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GCN)
So... uh... like I said before, I'm not much of an RPG fan. But with Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, I found an RPG I can truly love. Yeah, this game really is great, full of great characters (Rawk Hawk is awesome!), a simple yet touching story that also isn't afraid of being funny (humor is great people!), a battle system that's easy to get into yet is always satisfying, and just a fun time on the outskirts of the Mushroom Kingdom. Your partners are even awesomer than the first (Vivian is my all time favorite!) and the bosses are more involved in the story itself (I <3 Doopliss). Oh, and you can take control of Bowser in hilarious Mario parodies that are just awesome to experience. Yeah, this game really has it all. Fantastic game and the most fun I've had with an RPG to date.
28. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii)
So after the slightly disappointing Metroid Prime 2: Echoes on the GCN, Retro Studios came back and released the third and final chapter of the Prime series on the Wii. Oh, and by the way, this game is fantastic. The graphics and art design are up to Retro's incredible standard, as the game is just beautiful to look at. The music is incredible (just listen to Skytown. Just listen to it!), and the controls. Oh those controls... This is the first game to make fantastic usage of the WiiMote in a first person viewpoint. It was like a breath of fresh air actually having total control of Samus' arm cannon through the WiiMote, and I never wanted to go back ever again (luckily Nintendo released the amazing Metroid Prime Trilogy... but that's a story for another thread). Yeah, this game had all the important aspects down... but this game has so much icing on the wonderfully solid cake. I mean... there's the Ridley Battle ala the Balrog fight (so cool...), awesome puzzles, intense combat (the most action packed of the trilogy, that's for sure), larger than life boss fights... and a Mii bobble head. What an ending to a wonderful trilogy. Now... all we have to figure out is who was in that spaceship?
27. StarCraft/Brood War (PC)
While I played WarCraft II: Tides of Darkness, I never owned the title until much later. StarCraft was actualy my first RTS game I could call my own. And what a wild ride it was! I was never much of a BattleNet person at the time, but even still... I loved playing through that campaign and local multiplayer over and over. Of course, I thought the Zerg were the coolest race by far, so I would love making swarms of Zerglings and just rushing the crap out of my enemies (usually my brother, who was never pleased by this). Though I must admit, the Terrans and Protoss were pretty cool too. Especially when I cheated and created 12 Battlecruisers/Carriers just to demolish that foolish CPU opponent who dared challenge my wrath. And with Brood War, I got more toys to play with. Lurkers are just so much fun to use... there's just so many great memories with this game
Ah yeah... that's the stuff.
26. Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)
Super Smash Bros. was back and bigger than ever! A brand new single player mode that had different Nintendo-themed areas as locations, trophies to collect, much more hidden characters to find and defeat... and of course, bigger, badder, and even awesomer 4 player multiplayer action! This game was so much fun with three friends and a couch. So many nights of laughter, shouting, and other crazy shenanigans as we smashed the crud out of one another. It was actually later that I discovered that there was a "competitive" group of players, and that Smash Bros. was srs business. My roommate in college was actually one of those competitive players, and so we spent days practicing moves and fighting each other 1 on 1 (Final Destination no items!). It was a different way of playing. Tough, tense, but still fun and satisfying. This game provided me hours upon hours (over 700 hours to be exact...) of fun, challenge, and Smashing goodness.
Main: Falco (I know... only until I got into the competitive spirit did I realize that this guy was top tier and much more powerful than other fellas. Oh well!)
25. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)
Topping the second half of my top 50 games is Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest. Oddly enough, this was my first Donkey Kong Country experience, and it's one game that's I've enjoyed in both my youth and even now. See, I never owned a Super Nintendo, so I never gave the system and its games the dedication and playtime that it deserved. Still, I managed to get my hands on this game from time to time, and it would be a blast playing it. Of course, these great memories playing this game tranlated to me downloading it on the Virtual Console years later... and my roommate and I would play this game day after day, finally getting to and defeating Captain K. Rool (I chose to be Dixie, while my roommate played as Diddy. Helicopter hair for the win!) This game is really the total package though: gorgeous graphics (I was totally jealous during my Genesis days haha), an incredible soundtrack, awesome platforming gameplay (tough as nails too... yet so satisfying!), and a fun atmosphere were all that I needed.
I haven't tried out Returns yet, but as it stands, Diddy's Kong Quest is my favorite Donkey Kong game ever!
24. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)
Single player Mario is pretty neat, sure... but four player Mario? Sounds too good (and too crazy) to be true, but alas! Here we are at number 24 with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which has taught me the importance of the phrase "GET IN THE BUBBLE NOW!". Other than that, this game boasts some of the most fantastic level design I've seen in a platformer. Once you get to worlds 7 and 8, your jumping, running, scooting, ground pounding, and dinosaur riding skills will be put to the test in oh-so-much-fun ways. And that ending. OH THAT ENDING! What a delightful little (and when I say little I mean big.) surprise. Heck, even the credits in ths game is fun. You know you have a fundamentally awesome game when the credits are a part of the shenanigans. So whether I'm playing by myself, or playing with three others screaming like a maniac, this game delivers the goods in spades. If fun could be boxed, I bet the box would be red.
23. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES/GBA)
If there was a game that could ever make me jealous of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, it was Yoshi's Island. I actually first encountered this game at one of those kiddy fun centers you go to for birthdays (think it was called Planet Fun or something, but anyways...) and I thought I was in a dream. What was this game? Why did it look so incredible? Why was that baby crying so much (and why could he turn into a wall running superhero)? Well, I figured out that it was a game called Yoshi's Island and that it was for my ultimate gaming rival: The SNES. Bah! Time went on, my console alligence changed hands to Nintendo (sorry Sega!) and I owned the Game Boy Advance. So when Yoshi's Island was announced for the system, I was overjoyed! I was able to resume the adventures I started at a fun center years ago. And when I played the game, it was even better than I remembered. What a wonderful artstyle. What great music. What an incredible level design. What HUGE bosses! Took me forever to beat Baby Bowser, but when I did, it was just the perfect ending to a magical game. For an adventure years in the making, this was totally worth it.
22. Banjo-Tooie (N64)
If you've been reading up on my choices, you'll know that you wont find GoldenEye 007 or Perfect Dark or Turok on my list (and if you didn't know, surprise!). It's kind of crazy to be sure, but my 4 player split-screen FPS of choice with friends was actually Banjo-Tooie! Like I said, completely bonkers, yet we had so much fun in Targetzan's Temple, blasting each other with Fire, Ice, Regular, Grenade, and Clockwork eggs (everyone chose Jinjos as their character, pretty much the OddJob of Banjo-Tooie). So many great memoires, and I haven't even gotten to the single player yet! The game was huge... humongous compared to Banjo-Kazooie. I definitely saw this "bigger is better" world as a double-edged sword. There were worlds in which there was simply too much, and where I would feel lost going after some of the more difficult jiggies (looking at you Grunty Industries). And the amount of collectables walked the line between just right and too much (Rare would later go over the edge in the disappointing collect-a-thon known as Donkey Kong 64). Still, these worlds were some of the greatest I've ever seen, and there's always so much to do (even if you do feel lost)! So while the destination was hit and miss, the journey was always magical. And for that (as well as the aformentioned fantastic multiplayer modes), Banjo-Tooie hits the number 22 spot. Also, the flying battle against Patches is among one of my favorite boss battles ever!
21. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
When a certain blue Hedgehog was announced on SmashBrosDojo (the Smash Bros. Brawl hype machine site), I knew this game was going to be amazing. Heck, even by the first trailer (Snake?!) I knew this Smash Bros. would be like nothing I've ever known. And indeed it was. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is an incredible multiplayer experience (and even a decent single player one!), and has captured more hours from me than any Wii game (almost 600 hours now...). Of course I had to start out with Sonic as my main, but as time went on I found that Toon Link was my guy! So fun to use (and so annoying to other players too!). Plus... He catches dem PIGGUHS! Remember my roommate who was my eternal rival in Melee? Well, the rivalry was back, but this time it was Toon Link versus Wolf. Battles were incredibly intense. They also took forever to finish because we knew each other's strategies so well! Heck, I even joined the VGChartz Brawl League (so much fun!) and AllisBrawl (the Brawl Community Competitive site) that let you battle other players from around the world. This game has provided hours upon hours of fun, and is the best Smash Bros. yet!
20. Okami (Wii)
It's been a long time since I've had fun running around in a game. Just running around, not accomplishing anything but taking in the scenery and enjoying the moment in front of me. Okami provided that simple stunning act... once Amaterasu got going at full speed... I would just run around the world of Nippon... taking in the sights (gorgeous ink style art design... still awe inspiring today) sounds (wonderful, wonderful music), and just an overall magical atmosphere. Here's me gushing about this game, and I'm only talking about running around. Okami is a very Zelda-esque experience, but it's also very unique from Link's adventures. Using the Celestial Brush in the world around you (as well as combat) is a fantastic idea, made even better with the WiiMote in my hand. Whether it was making trees bloom (always worth the effort to see those cherry blossoms) or power slashing foes (always satisfying to see them turn into two pieces after a power slash!), the mechanic was a great implementation. As for the desination itself, Okami was truly a magical adventure. I'm glad to have shared the journey with Issun and Amaterasu, from the ups to the downs (that final block-head. Pure evil I tell ya!). What a wonderful adventure.
19. Pokemon Diamond/Pearl (DS)
Pokemon Diamond/Pearl is the fourth entry into the hugely popular Pokemon series, and is really an important installment for me. It's the Pokemon game in which I've spent the most time on (over 200 hours) because it's the first Pokemon game where I discovered the competitive battling scene. It's like a brand new game, with new rules and new ways of playing. I gotta tell ya, it takes a lot of time and dedication to get your perfect team up and running. With perfect EV's, IV's, abilities, egg moves... it takes hours upon hours to get all six Pokemon up to the competitive standard. But when your team is finally complete, it's an awesome feeling. So here's to the team that I helped raise: Leafeon, Infernape, Regice, Alakazam, Tyranitar, and Garchomp. You guys were awesome out there, battling your heart out! I had a lot of fun battling others with these guys.
18. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii)
Some call it Ocarina of Time 2.0, some will even call it a disappointment. I call it a triumph. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is an incredible game that continues to deliver the Zelda franchise's standard for quality. Not much has been added to the game as far as huge innovations go, but this is the most refined Zelda yet, thanks to its fun combat, awesome tools and gadgets, mind blistering puzzles, and fantastic dungeons that will test the mettle of every hero. The bosses are better than ever, and the side character, Midna, is a fantastic addition to the Zelda universe and the best side character I've seen in gaming. But, in the end it's all about the eternal struggle between Courage, Wisdom, and Power... and Twilight Princess lived up to the ongoing battle between the wielders of the Triforce. While some say the rise of Ganondorf in this game is a cop-out, I absolutely loved his role in the game. I have to say, he cemented himself as my favorite video game villain in this game, due to his sheer menace. The final battle was incredibly tense as well, and the game never tripped over its huge ambitions. What can I say? It's another stellar addition to the Zelda universe.
17. Banjo-Kazooie (N64)
When a game starts out with a two bears, a bird, and a shaman playing instruments, you know said game is going to be great. Of course, I had no idea how great Banjo-Kazooie really would be until I actually started playing it. Banjo-Kazooie is a game that wisely uses many of the ideas that made Super Mario 64 great, but then adds its own unique flavor to always be its own game. You take control of the bear and bird duo to resuce Banjo's sister (Tooty) from the evil witch Gruntilda. The hub world takes place in ol' Grunty's lair and you travel to different worlds through there, collecting Jiggies to continue further and further into her vile lair. The graphics are so colorful and vibrant, the music is fantastic (love the different renditions of Grunty's lair), and the gamplay is tight, responsive, and most importantly fun. Using the duo's ever-increasing moveset is always satisfying (and even more crazy when Mumbo turns you into different creatures/vegetables), and by the end of the game you'll be using your skills to traverse increasingly dangerous worlds (looking at you Rusty Bucket Bay). But what gives this game the extra boost from fantastic to magical is the wonderful atmosphere and humor. Grunty's rhymes are hilarious, and the dim witted bear/sarcastic bird duo make for some great moments.
Yeah, this game really is great. 3D Platforming was cemented as one of my favorite genres ever thanks to games like this. Bear and bird, you rock.
16. Pokemon Gold/Silver & HeartGold/SoulSilver (GBC/DS)
Pokemon Silver was the first game I've ever pre-ordered. Let it be known, I was excited about this game. At this point in time, I was a full fledged Poke-maniac and couldn't wait to get my hands on a new game with a new world to explore and new Pokemon (!!!) to capture. It was just a brand new adventure in the Pokemon world I loved so much, and so I counted down to when the game would finally be mine. And when I finally popped the game into my trusty GameBoy Color, I was blown away from the start. The new Pokemon were so cool (picked Totodile as my starter of course, always go with the water types!) and the world of Johto was an incredible world to explore. The game was the perfect mix of old and new, tapping in to that wonder Pokemon Red/Blue nostalgia (battling Team Rocket, teaming up with Lance) but always keeping things fresh by introducing new Pokemon, new types (Dark type!), and new trainers to battle.
And when I was finished defeating the Elite Four and Lance (darn those Dragonites!), Pokemon Gold/Silver delivered one of the best surprises I've ever seen in gaming: I got to go back to Kanto. What a wonderful addition to the game. I'm sure many players were all smiles as we went back to the land we loved so much and battled the gym leaders that gave us trouble a couple years prior. To top it all off, at the end of all things, we had to battle Red (Ash, everyone called him Ash). I never actually beat him in the original, but once I got the wonderful DS remake, that was my one goal. And with my team of Weavile, Scizor, Magmortar, Electivire, Feraligatr, and Gliscor I did just that. What a great adventure.
15. Mario Kart 64 (N64)
Welcome to Mario Kart! If there's such a thing as magic, then Mario Kart 64 has it. This game was the epitome of fun, and if you had friends over during the late 90's, this was the game you popped in. Whether it be racing your friends on the tracks or blasting them in Battle Mode (Block Fort, always Block Fort!), you were all smiles. Even in single player, there was something about this game that I can't really describe... but even as I'm typing this there's a big goofy grin on my face. Whether it was exploring Peach's Castle in Royal Raceway, looking at the stars light up in Rainbow Road, or trying to clear the wall shortcut in Wario Stadium (or using lightning right as other players were about to pass the jump) this game is one of those that defined my childhood, and for that I'm greatful. Years later, I downloaded it on the Virtual Console, booted it up, and had a blast. Love this game.
14. Resident Evil 4 (GCN/Wii)
Resident Evil 4 is one of my most played-through games. Not in the most play-hours (that'll actually be my next game!), but in the number of times I've played, beaten, and played it all over again. I've beaten this game thirteen times between the original GameCube version and the updated Wii Edition, and all just because everything in this game is just so wonderful. The game is very different from previous Resident Evils. No longer will you find fixed camera angles and zombies waiting to munch on your brains, but instead you'll control Leon Kennedy as he searches for the President's daughter. The game has a much larger focus on gunplay and action, as you'll be traversing a fully 3D world filled with cursed villagers and other monsters that roam the area. Still, even with the bigger focus on action, Resident Evil 4 still scared the heck out of me. Whether it be the chanting monks you could never find (until they were right behind you), the Novistadors that were invisible (and the incredibly tense music every time they attacked), and of course, I couldn't forget the Oven Man. Gets me every time!
Also, the games boasts some gorgeous graphics (there's that one area in the castle, right before you give the king and queen statues their grails, where the curtains are blowing in the wind. I love that area.), a Scottish/pirate merchant (what're ya buyin'?) awesome characters (I <3 Jack Krauser), super awesome (and with a hint of cheese) dialogue, and a sea-doo escape sequence. This game really has it all.
13. WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos/The Frozen Throne (PC)
Is it possible to love a game that you're not very good at? Well, that's the case with WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos and the expansion: The Frozen Throne. I bet you that anyone else that loves this game can trounce me handily if we were to play a match. Doesn't matter to me one bit. This game captured my imagination and my playing time like no game before it. I know for a fact that I've spent over 1,000 hours playing this game... because there's just so much to do. I've played, replayed, and beaten the campaign modes time and time again (every time I uninstall and reinstall the game, I have to go back and beat it. Call it my RTS OCD.), but most of all, I've spent oodles and oodles of time on Battle.net. Not the competitve scene, mind you, but the Custom Games. This, my friends, is where the fun lies. Tower Defense and the plethora of WinterMauls are my favorites (gotta love some PokeMaul), and I'm always looking for a game to play. Poker TD is great as well... I mean, I could just go on and on about the different maps I love to play on in this game. Heck, I even played Dota from time to time... and besides the juvenile players themselves, the game was fun.
Eight year later, and I'm still playing this game from time to time. Kudos to Blizzard for an amazing game, and to the millions of players that have made the Custom Maps area of Battle.net what it is. Who's up for some DBZ Tribute?
12. Sonic the Hedghog 3 (Gen)
Sonic the Hedgehog 3, or as others call it, the first half of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Truth be told, it does have less levels than its predecessor, and the final level is somewhat of a disappointment compared to the other Sonic games, but the game still stands on its own thanks to new gameplay additions and continuing a fantastic adventure.
Also, let it be known, that it took me years to beat this game. Years! Wanna know why? Well, just Google "Sonic 3 Carnival Night Zone" and the first few pictures will be something like this:
Yeah, this game description gets its own picture because of how long this one section taunted me. How was I supposed to know that jumping wasn't the right way to push the cylinder down enough to escape (it was just using the directional pad...). But when I finally figured it out many moons after I first popped this bad boy into my Genesis, there was celebration to be had! New stages to explore (I beat the previous levels before CNZ many many times) and a game I could finally finish!
So why is this game at number 12 if it gave so much hell? Well... because it's an amazing game (even if I only got to play half of an amazing game for a long while). The music is awesome (Michael Jackson. But you already knew that.), a fantastic graphic style, wonderful new additions in the elemental shields, and brand new Special Stages that would challenge anyone. Plus, this game introduced my favorite gaming character ever: Knuckles the Echidna. This guy is just so cool, and he can even stop Super Sonic in his tracks (and laugh at him a lot). Yeah, this game is pretty great, and is a fantastic addition to the Sonic franchise, Carnival Night Zone be damned.
11. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
When you get shivers from the title screen music, you know you're in for quite an adventure. And with The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, it was an adventure unlike any other. The game is quite different from previous Zeldas that I've encountered. The most obvious change is the art style: Link and the world around him are Cell Shaded. And it is goregous in motion. From Link's animated face and eyes (see: Khuutra's avatar) to bosses that are vibrant and wonderfully detailed (Gohma still blows me away)... the art style works beautifully for the franchise. Change number two is... well... Hyrule seems to be missing under this giant ocean. Some call sailing boring, but I for one loved it. With the wind guiding you along and the music strumming with the waves... I couldn't have a better way of traveling (I love the ocean as well... so it was just a natural fit for me). And yet despite the changes, the Zelda formula we all love is still there, and as stong as ever. Dungeons filled with mind bending puzzles and dastardly foes await.
This was also the game that made Ganondorf my most beloved villain of all time, of any medium. His interaction with Link and Zelda and the broken land of Hyrule is just perfect. The last few hours of this game is some of the best in the industry. It all just flows so wonderfully, and the ending just hits you (and Ganondorf) so hard... it's just a rewarding experience. Yeah, this game is one of the greatest adventures I've had, and the game will always be cherished for it.
10. Conker's Bad Fur Day (N64)
Conker's Bad Fur Day is a story about a squirrel. And a giant poop monster. And a evil demonic hand puppet. And gangster weasels. Yeah, that's reason enough for this game to be in my top ten, but let me elaborate a little more on why I love this game so much. Conker's Bad Fur Day is rude, crude, and oh so funny. Humor is an element I find sorely lacking in today's video game industry, so I love to see comedic elements pop up in games. This game is fully of laugh out loud moments, from the many parodies (Saving Private Ryan and the Matrix are the most notable) to the insane cast of characters (Gregg the Grim Reaper is one fantastic character. And he hates cats.) The gameplay is no slouch either, and what I love about this game is that there's so much to do. Solid platforming, awesome aerial combat (with poop bombs), crazy third person shooting elements, hoverboard racing, raptor riding... it's all there, and everything is so much fun! And the bosses... oh those bosses. Who can forget the Great Mighty Poo? Or the Boiler? Or that creepy Tediz Experiment? Oh man... this game was such a blast... but I'm only just getting started!
The multiplayer in this game provided so many fantastic memories, and is probably one of my most cherished multiplayer games. Raptors vs. Cavemen, Tediz vs. Squirrels, Bank Heist... it's just so much fun. My friend and I would play capture the flag for hours, and of course we'd go for the chainsaw or kitana as the weapon. Seeing your Tediz jump around shouting Japanese is unlike anything else I tell ya. So yeah, Conker's Bad Fur Day starts us out on my top ten games of all time, because it's an incredible single player experience, a priceless multiplayer experience, and an overall amazing game. Rare' best work was also its crudest, rudest, and funniest.
9. Metroid Prime (GCN/Wii)
Metroid Prime was my first ever Metroid game, so it does hold a special place in my heart. But it's not that reason for why this game is number 9 on my all time greatest games list. Metroid Prime was a game that created a whole planet for us to explore. Retro Studios created a living, breathing world full of diverse lands and wildlife. Filled with crumbling ruins and state of the art technology, lava filled caverns and snow-topped peaks. And with me in control of Samus Aran (and looking through her eyes), I got explore this wonderful world around me. To say that this game holds some of the greatest art design I've ever seen in gaming... well with the other fantastic games I've played through the years, that's saying something. I fell in love with Tallon IV and everything about it.
The music is wonderful (Phendrana Drifts... incredible), the action is intense (once you get to Phazon Mines, there's little out there with such wonderful tension and action as that area), and the game is just so uniquely great. Reading logs to understand the story around you is genius, and the way you look through Samus' eyes really makes you feel like you're the one on this adventure. The bosses are terrifying and oh so fun to bring down (Ridley battle... that fight made me a huge fan of the Space Dragon), and Metroid Prime is just as menacing as I thought it would be. Yeah, this game took me on an adventure like none other, and I'm now a lifelong fan of Samus Aran for it.
8. Pokemon Red/Blue & FireRed/LeafGreen (GB/GBA)
If a game could describe my childhood, it would Pokemon Red (brother had the Blue version). Pokemania was in full force, and I actually remember the first time I even heard of these Pocket Monsters. A friend of mine wanted to play "Pokemon", so I went along. He said that I could be Charmeleon, and I could blow fire. Hey, that was pretty cool, and so I wanted to know more about this Pokemon. Fast forward to Christmas time (what a coincidence) and I unwrap my gift to see that Pokemon Red was now part of my collection. After that I eat, breathed, and slept with this game. I went nowhere without it, and was always continuing my adventure to become the greatest Pokemon Master the world had ever seen. I started out with Squirtle, and we went along the world of Kanto, battling trainers and capturing new Pokemon to be part of the team. The world was huge, and the pokemon seemed endless. The Gym Leaders were tough, and Team Rocket was a pain... but that Elite Four was the toughest of them all. And when I finally beat them and got to Gary (come on... we all called him Gary), I took him down and became the new Pokemon Champion.
Fast forward to today and I've beaten this game countless times. I've used the MissingNo. cheat to get countless Rare Candies and TM's, and I've caught them all. It was such a wonderful adventure filled with fantastic memories shared with others. It started PokeMania and I was all to happy to be a part of. The GBA Remake, FireRed and LeafGreen (had to go with FireRed), was a welcomed addition, and I played my heart out once again. At the end of the day, few games hold memories like Pokemon Red does, and for that adventure it showed me all those years ago (and one I'm still continuing, and can't wait to continue with Pokemon Black/White), this game is my eighth favorite game of all time. Gotta catch 'em all.
7. Super Mario 64 (N64)
Remember when you used to go on adventures? Remember when it was never about the destination, but about the journey? Remember when running was more than running or a jump was more than just a jump? Remember when you played Super Mario 64 for the first time? I sure do. There was no better thing in the world than running around, climbing on trees, and doing backflips. There's a simple sort of fun in that game... something that's very hard to explain. It's not really about the music, or the graphics, or the gamplay... they just combine to create something that's bigger than the sum of its parts (even if those parts are already excellent). Super Mario 64 is a game about exploring, jumping, running, swiming, climbing... having fun.
Having fun... what an amazing concept for a video game.
6. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
It's sort of funny... from time to time in my childhood I foolishly became a "rebel" to some popular yet geeky trend going around. I never saw Fellowship of the Ring in theaters (and now it's my favorite movie of all time... dumb move on my part.) and I didn't bother with this game called Zelda when it came out on the N64. I mean, I heard you were this elf boy on a quest to save a princess in the land of Hyrule. Yeah right! Have fun with that guys, I'll be seeing ya later.
And then I actually played the game. Holy guacamole... I've never seen a world so vast, so wonderful. This game was a game about exploring a world, at least to me it was. I mean... Koriki village and the Great Deku Tree were so huge, and there were so many areas to just look around and explore. And I didn't even realize that there's a whole world out there... Hyrule Field floored me. I was just getting started, and it was going to be an adventure unlike any other.
Fast forward to today and I can tell you all the fun I had with the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It really is an adventure like none other. Each quest holds with it so many surprises, so many emotions... it really is a roller coaster ride. And when everything was said and done (after one of the best final boss battles ever. Ever.), I went back and played it all again. So many wonderful memories with this game. I'm running out of adjectives for this game, so I'll just leave it at this: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the greatest adventures I've ever had.
5. Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
Remember when I was talking about Super Mario 64 and how it was the journey, and not the destination that made the game truly wonderful? Well I suppose I (and many of the games I've played since then) lost sight of that. After all, I had to grow up sooner or later right? No more time for good hearted smiles or laughter. Gaming had stopped being a portal into uncharted new worlds to explore and instead became a hobby. It was time to face the facts: magic isn't real and it's the head that trumps the heart.
And then Super Mario Galaxy came along. Now hear me out, this game throws out the question of "where are we going?" and instead asks "how much fun can we have before we get there?". This game is an adventure, and it focuses on how much fun I can have just trying to get to the next platform. I mean, there's more grand, smile inducing ideas in a single level than most games have in their entirety. Running, jumping, swimming, swinging, climbing... it's all there. And to make it even crazier, to reintroduce that wow factor... they add this whole universe waiting to be explored. And with the gravity flipping things up down and everywhere inbetween... the sheer fun of having an adventure is amplified. It really doesn't get much better than this.
4. Super Mario World (SNES)
Hello, my name is Smeags and I'm a Sonic fanboy. During my childhood I ate (Mac & Cheese Sonic to be exact), read, watched, and played Sonic. Genesis had my alleigence and the Blue Blur was the way to go. But still, there was this other guy... on this other system. I mean, his game was pretty (really) cool. It looked good, sounded good (amazing) too, and was pretty (very) fun to play. I mean, I'll be a Sonic fan 'til the day I die, but I have to admit, Super Mario World on the SNES was such an awesome game.
Compared to Sonic, Mario's... um... World seemed massive in comparison. There were so many levels to explore and play through, and there were secrets to find and even a dinosaur to ride. Plus, ghost houses were terrifying and the castles were menacing. Not to mention there were oodles of powerups for the portly plumber to use, including the awe inspiring cape. I mean... Sonic could run really fast... but Mario could fly! The game was nothing like I ever saw before, and I have to admit... it really made me want an SNES.
3. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Gen)
What? You didn't think that all of that praise of Super Mario World would get to my head did you? Sure, it's a great game... But Sonic the Hedgehog is still better. Specifically Sonic the Hedghog 2, my first adventure with Sonic, the fastest thing alive. I mean, here we have a blue Hedgehog full of 'tude and just itching to get back at Dr. Robotnik (none of this Dr. Eggman nonsense) for trying to enslave Mobius (well, at least I knew the world to be Mobius... that's what the comics said). He and his best pal Tails sped through the many Zones and Acts until they got to the mad Doctor's most fiendish machine yet: The dreaded Death Egg. But all before that... there were Chemical Plants, Oily Oceans, Nights at Casinos, Hill tops, the tough as nails city of Metropolis... it was all there. It was all just a perfect blend of sweet music (Chemical Plant Zone and Metropolis Zone rank as my favorite themes), beautiful graphics (I just love how the 16-bit games held up so beautifully. This game still looks fantastic to this day.), and pitch perfect level design to harness Sonic's need for speed (and platforming).
Yeah, this game has it all really. My hat's off to you Sonic. It almost doesn't get better then this... but then again, we're still only at number 3 on my list...
2. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
How do you improve on "magic"? How do you make "wonder" better? How is it that this game could make me smile any more than the first Galaxy? I don't know how this game managed to do this, or how it managed to provide so many more wonderful pieces of gameplay bliss. But here we are at number 2 with Super Mario Galaxy 2... a game that provides just as much (and even more) heartfelt gaming magic than its predecessor.
I mean... the soundtrack is one of the best I've ever heard, the colors, characters, and worlds provide some amazing playgrounds for Mario to play in, Yoshi delivers some fantastic gameplay additions, and this sequel continues what I love about this genre. It's so diverse and so surprising at every turn. One moment your riding down a looping slide and the next your handing from a bird, gliding above a jungle. This game defies a box that gamers love to put games in, and because of that its a game that always surprises and never dulls.
What is gaming? What defines a video game? Why is this branch entertainment so special? What makes our hobby so unique compared to others? If you want those questions answered, I think sitting down and playing Super Mario Galaxy 2 is something that provides those answers, and with style.
1. Sonic & Knuckles (Gen)
So It's finally come down to this... my favorite game of all time. Ya know, I could spend paragraph after paragraph explaining to you, my dear reader, of why I love this game so much. But I'll just give you this link and go on from there.
Many will combine Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles as one game, and that's alright. I don't. I never saw them as one game when I first played them and I really don't need them to be one game now. The sheer brilliance of Sonic & Knuckles is all on its own, and the experience of this game surpasses all others. I really see this cartridge as the perfect example of a video game. It's not just all about perfection either, since this game have provided me moments of many emotions, among them joy, loss, and hope.
I say that this is the perfect video game experience because every facet of the game, including story, is within the gameplay. There's no words, no cut-scenes... just you as either Sonic or Knuckles, running through the goregous and wondefully designed levels, and everything else just flows. You can tell that for each act you complete, you're getting closer to a destination... even if you really don't know where that destination will take you. All you know, as you go through loops, climb pass bottomless pits, and avoid boulders... is that you're accomplishing something very important in this world you're in.
And when you get to the Hidden Palace Zone, you realize that you're on this adventure that's much bigger than anything else you've accomplished before, and that you're almost done. You can see the ending in sight... but at the last moment, all hope is lost. The treasure that you sought has been stolen, and the one doomsday device that you've been fighting to stop since Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is now active once again. Everything you've worked for is lost. It's a rather strange moment in the game, to feel such defeat in the moment of victory. But even then, you know this adventure isn't over... it can't be. And it isn't.
One of the greatest moments I've spent in gaming is playing through Sky Sanctuary Zone. This piece of gaming is the best representations of renewed hope I've ever played (played, not seen... which is why this game means so much to me). Despite the loss, determination and a new friend lead me onwards. What's so brilliant about this level is that it's vertical and not horizontal like every Sonic level before it. It's such a beautiful and well structured level too. Everything just feels right in this moment of gaming, and it's pretty darn great. Not even a mechanized version of yourself can hamper this renewed hope, this feeling of purpose as you climb higher and higher into the sky.
So yeah, this game is great (and I didn't even mention the fantastic final boss... but that's in the link). It's my favorite gaming experience of all time and has stayed that way for 16 years. Sonic & Knuckles is the greatest game of all time in my eyes, and deservedly so. What a spectacular game.