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Number 14

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

This game was the reaosn I bought a Wii, but I would have sprung for almost anything for the sake of playing it. Have I mentioned that I really love Zelda? I feel like I have, but it bears repeating.

Twilight Princess was a proof of concept for the Wii and somehting like the ultimate iteration of the 3D Zelda formula. You know what? It was more fun with motion controls. I wished that they would release a collection of previous 3D Zeldas with these controls. I still wish they would do that. And you know what else? Past the controls, past the name, past the setting, Twilight Princess is fantastic.

Twilight Princess is a game that is about loss, about dealing with those losses - the loss of childhood, the loss of home, the loss of innocence and humanity and life itself. Hyrule, more than any other game since the first, has become a desolate, almost dead place, where menace pervades the very air and the horizon promises some distant doom. Everywhere you go is a ruin, the fingerprint of mighty people whose only unifying trait is that they have all died. You find monsters living in the houses of rich families, a people who face down the very real possibility of extinction beneath a sheen of ice, and a town full of people that have lost their children.

This game is an adventure of the highest order, with huge and terrifying enemies and dungeons that tease the brain while lifting the player up into a smiling understanding of progression. Really, these are the best dungeons in the series, with Yeto's Manse in particular standing out. From visual design to music to puzzles to the placement of monsters, everything about the locales in this game is phenomenal.

I want to keep this description relatively short, so I will leave off with this: Twilight Princess is not perfect. But it is beautiful, and long, and when I played it I felt like I was having an adventure. I cared about the children and then the kingdom that I was sent out to save. As ever, triumph over evil is its own sweetness, made only sweeter by the bitterness of loss.

Twilight Princess is awesome.