"Back in the 90s, one craze seemed to engulf the entire world, and to this day has not let it go from its grasp. That craze is Pokemon, the tiny pocket monsters that people cannot get enough of. Because of course, you have to catch them all. Where they came from, who knows, but those adorable creatures were here to stay, right in our pockets, contained within a Gameboy cartridge. It all began with Pokemon Red and Blue.
Pokemon was amazing to me as a child. It contained an enormous world to explore, tons of characters to interact with, monsters to fight and collect, and many hidden locations to explore with secrets to find galore. It was a lot to take in, which I guess is why Nintendo split it into Red and Blue, so that you could take it in twice and really appreciate just how great it was.
Of course, when a game is as great as Pokemon, its worth playing through twice. Or three times, as the eventual Pokemon Yellow was released, an expansion of Red and Blue that played much closer to the plot of the TV show. It featured the dynamic duo of Jessie and James, Team Rockets most popular henchmen, and your own personal Pikachu that followed you around. You could even teach your Pikachu to surf! If that doesn't make a game great, I don't know what does.
To this day, over a decade later, I still own my original copies of all three games, and still keep my Red version locked up safe with all my prized pokemon. This is testament to the games staying power. Great world, great music, fun characters and creatures, it was an overall joy to play when it was released, and is still extremely solid so much later." -- Written by Spinnah (originally nominated by w31uelv)
"I haven't played many first-person games since 2001, partly because I've been several years behind the curve in computer power, and partly because I haven't felt an compulsion to. But I have played Deus Ex in that time, once every few years at least, just to see what I could do better, or differently. Invariably I find tons of things I missed, but a lot of the time I simply enjoy the environments and conversations and the sneaking all over again.
The demo got me hooked, the last time I can remember that happening; I played through Liberty Island so many times that by the time I bought the full game I already had a precise method for every NSF encounter and a favourite route. I think much of my enjoyment came from that aspect; finding the optimum sneaky routes and methods of stealthily incapacitating everyone in each area (because I'm an ammo hoarder). I loved to take my time and crawl into every air duct, try and open every locked door, listen to the guards' conversations. One day I'm sure I'll go back and actually read all the newspapers, the novella scattered about the world, and the emails I missed (though not, of course, Gunter's hilarious pidgin English) because I never put enough points into hacking in the early game. I still find the dialogue exceptional. The voice acting is awful, but that's fine because it's all rather tongue-in-cheek anyway, but the dialogue - which ranges from functional to humorous to completely absurd - makes the game world amazing. My highlights are the bartenders, who typically know more about what's going on than the player-character, and provide expositional narrative that give us a sense of wider issues at play and amusingly belittle Denton's lack of insight ("I'm not big into books."). Gunter's suspicions about the vending machine staff still make me smirk." -- Written by Cro Magnon
"No doubt produced by bitter world-weary alcoholics, Shadow of the Colossus finds itself counterposed to Legend of Zelda as the purity of the young wanderer's intention to save the maiden is perverted toward the ends of a dead pagan god. Many of the intricate and finely crafted design elements of Ico are incorporated here, but Colossus eschews the disjointed 'find the switch'/'move the block' puzzles in favor of an actual concept centered around titanic boss battles.
Shadow of the Colossus violently resuscitated the hackneyed video game trope of 'hitting the glowing weak point' by forcing the player to dig their fingernails into the mossy fur of a stone giant, crawl inch-by-inch to reach it, and then stab it repeatedly with something that can hardly be called a sword, and all of this while the colossus heaves you in every direction with its monstrous bulk. Between colossi, you ride through a rolling wasteland of plains, valleys, deserts, dilapidated ruins, and a few heavily wooded areas, all of which give the impression of being frozen in time. As the game slouches inexorably toward its conclusion, the eerie environment and progressing corruption of the protagonist lend a feeling of dread and unreality to the proceedings." -- Written by Kiyomasa
"There are games I like, and games that I love. And then there are games that changed the way I look at gaming forever. Doom is one of those games. I remember the first time I played it. My dad came back from the computer store with this new shareware game by the guys who made Wolfenstein 3D. We loaded it up, and were hooked instantly. After I beat Episode 1, Dad ordered the full version immediately. I didn't even have to ask. After that I was obsessed with this game (and Doom 2) for several years. To this day, Doom 2 is the only game I ever preordered.
Doom is a game that can legitimately claim to have created its own genre. And it's amazing how well they managed to get down all the basics. In a lot of ways, it feels like FPSes are just refining what Doom did. The monsters are wicked cool, weapon balance is perfect, and it's so damn atmospheric.
But I would say that Id Software's greatest genius--and this is what kept me obsessed with Doom long past the point I got bored with other games--was opening their game to the public. They went out of their way make it easy for fans to modify and retool the game however they wanted. The fan community has rewarded Id by keeping their game alive for nearly 2 decades. The original version is almost unplayable now, but there are source ports that allow you to play it on modern computers, improving the graphics and interface in the process. And people are still finding new things to do with it. Hell, just in the last couple years someone made a Mega Man 2 modification of Doom 2!" -- Written by action52 (originally nominated by Cro Magnon)
"I've played many video games in my lifetime and for me the most fondest and nostalgic memories come from this game, Super Mario World. I've played through the original Super Nintendo game, the GBA and Wii Virtual Console ports more times than any other game I've ever owned; hell I've lost and re-bought the GBA cartridge three times already. It has such re-playability and the simple yet refined platforming mechanics are what keeps me coming back. I have embedded in my brain every key location, power up, Dragon Coin and Yoshi spawn block in the game. I picked up the game again after an almost 11 year hiatus of my last interaction with the game and was surprised at how quickly my reflex memories returned to allow me to overthrow Bowser and save Dinosaur Land and Princess Peach. This game was Yoshi's first appearance in the Mario Bros franchise. The tunes in this game are arguably some of the catchiest in the entire Mario Bros. franchise, especially my beloved Top Secret Area in Donut Plains, Star World, Special World and Vanilla Dome. Whether you play through all the levels to complete the game's 96 goals/exits or you're doing a quick run through to Bowser's Castle from the Star Road star, every level is unique and offers its own challenges, the hardest one for me was always Tubular in Special World. Thank you Shigeru Miyamoto for the platforming masterpiece you produced 20 years ago. Lastly, props to everyone that still remembers how to get to Soda Lake after all these years and those who changed the season in Dinosaur Land to Autumn/Fall." -- Written by xsouljah
"When I think of the GameCube, or even that console generation, one of the first games that comes to mind is Super Smash Bros. Melee. No other game lets us play our favorite Nintendo characters in such a fantastic way. Not only has this game breathed new life into Nintendo characters, and created another core series of Nintendo games, but it has given a generation of gamers a game to remember for decades. No other game can do what the SSB series does, but Melee does it best through excellent game play and the simple nostalgia that comes through the characters and maps. SSB: Melee has also created just as many friendships as it has destroyed through the competitiveness it brings out in people. The outright chaos that comes with 4 players and the discussions over the best characters is almost as fun as the game itself. And although it might be criticized by some for not being a real fighter, its more fun than any fighter I know of, and the fun this game has provided to millions of gamers justifies its place on this top ten list. Long live Pikachu, Nintendo, and most importantly, Super Smash Bros. Melee." -- Written by clonetrooper (originally nominated by Vague Rant)
"Super Mario 64 is an icon in the gaming world. It takes Mario, our classic hero, through Princess Peach’s castle. We must rescue her from Bowser by exploring an expansive castle with numerous paintings/levels. It is Mario’s first leap into the world of 3D and Nintendo met and in fact surpassed many expectations. The controls were great, the worlds were huge, and the game was actually fun and challenging.
I remember spending many hours as a kid running around this world exploring and trying to get all of the 120 stars. Who can forget some of the most unique levels including Tick Tock Clock, Wet-Dry World, and Hazy Maze Cave. And who can forget some frustrations such as getting your hat stolen in the desert, falling into lava, chasing rabbits and drowning? The worlds featured a variety of terrain, climate and fun.
Super Mario 64 also featured a few cameos including Toad, Yoshi and some of our favorite enemies from days gone by such as goombas, boos, and thwomps. It also spawned some conspiracy theories especially the question “Is Luigi in the game?” and “L is the real 2401.” All in all, Super Mario 64 was a great game which makes me and I’m sure many other gamers nostalgic for my childhood." -- Written by Blink Kid (originally nominated by w31uelv)
"The Zelda games are a prevalent series in the top ten lists submitted by the various Gamefaqs boards, and The Forum is no different. Great minds think alike. A Link to the Past is a pinnacle of the Zelda series, and thanks to the excellent GBA version, more than one generation has basked in its glory. Even among games of the current generation, do we see a game that does was Zelda: A Link to the Past can do in spades. The clever puzzles, fun bosses, rewarding exploration, and challenges dungeons are all wrapped up into one extraordinary classic.
Without games of this quality, Nintendo wouldn’t be where it is today. A Link to the Past is something every gamer, from casual to hardcore, should experience for more than nostalgia alone. There is a reason this game has been praised so highly by the members of Gamefaqs, and that’s because it isn’t just a Zelda game, but it is essentially the Zelda series everyone loves in a nutshell, and it will stand the test of time." -- Written by clonetrooper (originally nominated by w31uelv)
"Ocarina of Time (OoT) brings back so many memories - memories of a young boy (Me) literally crying when he finished the game. What makes this game so memorable is that it was one of the first games that intertwined gameplay, story, and song with such fluidity, and without a jump button. Hacking and slashing away at giant jumping spiders with 3 different types of swords, throwing bombs down a massive lizard’s throat, shooting 3 kinds of enchanted arrows at eyeballs, torches, or enemies, opening treasure chests to find unique items, utilizing magical powers to destroy surrounding enemies or unlock new areas, smashing giant boulders or rusted switches with a mighty hammer, and time travel – these are only a few of the feats available to Link. But it also had memorable characters, like the main antagonist Ganondorf, whose hell-bent on gaining control of the Triforce, or Epona, Link’s faithful steed, and of course, Zelda, a princess who directs and helps Link throughout his journey. Even as important and spectacularly is the way the game is put together. The story progresses in a linear fashion, but contains so many dungeons to explore, several sidequests to complete, moderately difficult puzzles, and remarkable boss battles. OoT set the bar high for future games, but is extremely replayable in its own right. No matter what kind of gamer places the catridge into the console or downloads it to a hard drive, he or she must be prepared for an unforgettable experience." -- Written by Vegeta828 (originally nominated by frumpish)
"Does anyone question that the Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is the definitive western RPG? Taking place on the island of Vvardenfell, Morrowind plays host to a massive game world filled with beautiful landscapes, intriguing NPCs, epic quest lines, and terrifying monsters.
In Morrowind, the appeal comes from the shear amount of opportunities available to you from the outset of the game. If you're up for adventure you can explore some of the many dungeons and caves scattered about the island. If you want to make a name for yourself in Vvardenfell as well as a quick buck join up with one of the Guilds and a Great House. You can literally spend hundreds of hours immersed in this world without touching the main quest line.
Continuing with the main quest, you are given absolute freedom in how to pursue it. You are dropped off by boat, given directions to speak with a key character, and that's all the game ever does to push you down a set path. There are several key plot points that need to be experienced, but much like pen and paper RPGs, how you achieve them is left entirely up to you.
Knowing this, even if you somehow manage to exhaust all the in game resources you can extend your playtime further with the Elder Scrolls Construction Kit. There is a very active modding community for all Elder Scrolls games and mods that add everything from a few new weapons to entirely new game areas and enemies.
So if you are an RPG fan and have somehow managed to miss playing Morrowind, pick it up now. Morrowind's free form gameplay style is the closest thing you can get on the PC to the freedom and creativity you get from pen and paper RPGs." -- Written by w31uelv
Method: First, the board was solicited for a list of nominees. Each user was allowed to submit up to ten games for the nominations list. The purpose of the nominations list was two-fold: first of all, to give users a chance to nominate games they would like to write for if they won (nominators were given 'first dibs' on write-ups), and secondly, to have a public list of potential games. The second is to guard against a voter suggesting a game late that many previous voters would've voted for had they thought of it.
Then, the games (161 total) were entered in a large week-long poll. Users were allowed to vote for up to four games. As was the case with four of the boards in this batch, one round was not sufficient to get a list of 'finalists', and thus, an intermediate round of voting was conducted where users could vote for two additional games besides their initial votes.
Then, the top vote-getters from that round (29 total) were entered into a final poll, where users were allowed to vote for up to three games. The totals from the second round of voting were added to the totals from the first round of voting. With that, the Top 12 games were announced and write-ups were solicited.
Full Results: 26 total games made the final voting round. The rest are, in finishing order:
Chrono Trigger, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Starcraft: Brood War, Resident Evil 4, Mother 3, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Star Fox 64, Civilization 3, Final Fantasy VII, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Homeworld, Vagrant Story, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Chrono Cross, Shadowrun (SNES), Starcraft
DDJ's Brief Analysis: The Forum was probably the least enthusiastic of the boards I polled (a little surprising given it holds 100 more topics than The Couch), to the point where I'm a little sorry to be posting a list that the board wasn't excited about doing. But, it'd be even worse (in my opinion) to throw away the work of the board members. There's a lot to like about The Forum's list: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is a highly acclaimed game that's been very rarely mentioned in these polls, and Doom is similarly underappreciated despite basically creating the first-person shooter genre. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind also narrowly prevents Ocarina of Time from becoming the first repeat winner, beating it by a single vote. Down in the near-misses, this is also the best showing yet by Panzer Dragoon Saga and Star Fox 64 (tied for 14th).
This is the last list in the second batch of these polls. The third batch will be the regional boards that are active enough to form a list. That project will probably start sometime in the next month.
List by DDJ (02/18/2011)
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