And yet I have had the weakness, and have still the weakness, to wish you to know with what a sudden mastery you kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire.
― Charles Dickens,
One-hundred and eleven?! Yes, that’s right. One-hundred-one days in the making, my Top 101 Favorite Games list, an entry of which I’ve tweeted out daily with #TWRMtop101, is finally over. Thank you to everyone who liked and commented, and especially thank you to those who put up with so many tags over so many days!
Considering the sheer scale of my list, I’ve decided to compile it all into a single post, for science. I thought about breaking it up into multiple posts but then remembered I’m known for being drawn out. Now you no longer have to lie awake at night wondering what my 98th favorite game is. But what’s this? Why are there 111 games, now? Because I realized that 101 is just not enough, so I added juuuust a few more. Because why not?
How I decided games for this list: I considered factors like the overall enjoyability, the lifetime impact, the number of times played, how much I’d want to play it right now, and iconic-ness. I was skeptical of flash-in-the-pan emotional reactions toward games I played very recently that didn’t have the time to simmer in my thoughts.
Some interesting observations: people treating it like a “best” list rather than a “favorites” list, saying “this should be higher on your list”, was pretty baffling and funny on occasion! How could someone else determine what I like more or less, especially complete strangers online? This is my list, rad folks!
Another thing I noticed is my list has some strains of similar flavor. I don’t have too many representations of horror or racing or first-person shooters, because those haven’t impacted me as much.
For those looking to try this out themselves, I say do it! Have fun with it! And don’t let anyone else tell you what has to be on your list!
The red letters will lead you to our official TWRM critiques… Enjoy!
#111. DC Universe Online
Got a love/hate relationship with this game. Vowed it’d be the last MMO I’d play. Burned out on the grind and social aspect (the worst trolls and obsessed RPers I’ve ever met!), but I had a Gentleman Ghost character and led a villain’s guild for DC icons called Rogues Gallery. What’s your one-hundred firth fave game?
#110. Rampage 2: Universal Tour
There are dumb games and then there are dumb games that somehow get adapted into film. I’ve fond memories of playing Universal Tour into the wee hours in college. Sometimes you just gotta shut the brain off (provided the co-op is worth it)!
#109. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Mom drove me all around Honolulu one day (birthday?) looking for this game just after I had a kidney removed. Finally found it and she thought it was expensive but bought it anyway for me. I never play it anymore.
You can play as Gandalf, though!!!!
#108. Pyramids of Ra
Time for something a lil more obscure. This was a good companion growing up and one of a handful of Game Boy games I had. It’s still a mindbending puzzle game today. It insulted you if you failed so it gave me some tough skin, I think!
#107. Legend of Dragoon
Not on my original list, I remembered this game thanks to @16bitdadblog! I don’t recall if I beat it, as it’s crazy long, but I do remember it was a huge appetizer RPG on PS1 after crawling through FFVII for the umpteenth time.
#106. Dungeon Fighter Online
DFO sucked me in and didn’t let go until Nexon closed the US servers (or something, it’s all a haze). Rogue and Priest mains. Arcade-style beat ’em up MMO = awesome but the sheer amount of clutter and grind is partly why I don’t play MMOs anymore.
#105. Captain Commando
Ah beat ’em ups. Such fun. What’s more fun than chilling with a ninja, a mummy, and a baby in a robot? Not much. Captain Commando is one of MANY Capcom characters that needs a resurrection, yes? I’m sure you can think of one right now!
“CAPTAIN COMMANDO… STILL NEEDS YOUR HELP”
#104. Black Widow
Female protagonist in 1982!
I also wanted representation for the golden oldies and vector art on my list and this is one of my Atari faves. There are few things more beautiful than vector. Retro fans, played this one?
#103. Darkwing Duck
Adaptation of one of my favorite cartoons ever (I hope the theme song gets stuck in your head all day). The Mega Man-esque gameplay and the NES graphics were great but DW needs a modern open-world vigilante game called “Darkwing Knight”.
#102. King’s Quest III: to Heir is Human
Don’t remember when I first played this 1986 adventure but I think it was DOS and I was very young. I thought it was hilarious and when I learned to kick the cat, that’s all I wanted to do. It taught me games can be funny.
Ahhh yeahh! This was a personal retro gaming discovery MUCH later in life for me and I fell in love with this early Square game, feat. Uematsu and Sakaguchi. I never hear enough about it growing up, have you?
#100. Raiden II
The purple bendy-lasers!
Guarantee I’d chuck a quarter in this thing any time I encounter it in the wild. I’m not the best at shmups but I love this game a lot regardless. There’s just something about the sheer amount of firepower.
#99. Super Mario Bros. 2
One of my biggest concerns in making a list of this size was forgetting a title I’d later kick myself over. SMB2 was that title. It is my least favorite of the NES Super Mario trilogy but just the same it is a fun and fantastically different game in the series. Life is but a dream.
#98. DDR Max
Never be embarrassed about the games you like!
Dance Dance Revolution! I got so good at this I could complete any song on the highest difficulty. One time a guy at an arcade challenged me and he lost because he kept pirouetting. True story.
At certain points in my youth, I had access to only a few games. This was one of them. I played the heck out of it and it seemed so huge, magical, full of secrets. It’s one reason why I fell in love with video games.
#96. Guardian Heroes
Another game I forgot off my original list…
I became obsessed with this game after having played it a few times at a friend’s house way back when. As I never owned a Saturn of my own, I could only play it every once in blue moon. As such, it became legendary in my mind. Now that I have a Saturn of my ownsome (thanks, Cheap Boss Attack!!!), I plan to hunt this fun beat ’em up down again.
#95. Street Fighter II
I can’t count how many times I got my butt kicked in the many versions of Street Fighter, but certainly, this version was the scene of many a butt kicking. I have never been great at fighting games but I could play a mean Blanka.
#94. I Am Setsuna
Despite its plot that’s hole-ier than the pope, I really quite liked this throwback JRPG for its themes, music, brevity and of course its gameplay inspired by Chrono Trigger. If only Lost Sphear resonated with me like Setsuna did.
This is my last attempt to find someone who has actually heard of this game. This was my arcade jam for years: 2-player game where you had to suck up monsters in your vacuum and spit them back out. Like a globetrotting team of anime Ghostbusters. Have you played it??
#92. Junk Yard
I had to get at least one of these on my list. I have played so much of this one I feel ownership over it. I tilted the machine. I got high scores. I knew every nook and cranny once. What’s your favorite pinball game?
#91. Tales of Destiny
I forgot this one off the original list but I had to put it here after finding it again in my collection. I loved the action bits that made JRPG battle grinding much more enjoyable, plus there was room for a second player in the fights! A little too “anime cliche” but still great.
#90. Harvest Moon 64
This was the first Harvest Moon I ever played, introduced to me by a female friend when I was younger (which was plenty of incentive to try it out), and it created a fascination with farming sims that lasted for nearly every Harvest Moon game then FarmVille and Rune Factory… Help me.
#89. Sunset Riders
I played so much of this game in the arcades and on the SNES that I’ve had dreams I was in it getting shot in the gut. It can get brutally difficult and the arcade version had Punch-Out!!-tier caricatures later changed in the port, but it’s the best cowboy game I can think of.
#88. Super Mario Bros.
This is where it all started, for me and millions of others.
There will always be a special place on my list for it. It’s the definition of iconic. Not as obscure as some recent games on my list. You have heard of this right?!
Ok another really obscure one. Jk! With almost half a billion units sold (according to Forbes), this is one of the most widely played games ever. And it’s always so much fun. I can’t remember which I played first, GB or NES version, but it’s the Game Boy title which I love most. Tetromino!
#86. Taiko Drum Master
Ok, ok, hear me out. 2 players. PS2. 2 controllers shaped like mini taiko drums. Two sticks each. Each player plays a different rhythm for each song. Together it’s perfect percussive harmony. Plus it doesn’t get more kawaii than this. Such a unique rhythm game!
#85. Mario Kart 64
Here’s a reminder that someone out there placed Mario Kart 64 as their 85th favorite game. A pure classic and still fun to play. I just did with some friends this past weekend! See, you need friends to play this game, nevermind the Diddy Kong Racing debate. Play kart racers multiplayer.
Guilty pleasure game?
We’re still somewhat in that territory on my list. Don’t care cuz I love it. I wish they’d continued the Legends universe. Sold my copy for $400 on eBay, got the digital version for chicken feed.
#83. Command & Conquer: Red Alert
Tesla Coils anyone? I have a soft spot for the real-time-strategy genre and this one scratched that itch for many years. I enjoyed many a round of army building, resource harvesting, espionage, and full blown electric warfare.
#82. The Lost Vikings
Time for a puzzle game and this one is as unique as they come. A trio of vikings get abducted by aliens, escape, and then get lost in the multiverse. How’s that for a premise? This game made my brain hurt and it still does when I’m in the mood for feeling stupid.
#81. Brave Fencer Musashi
I love this unsung Squaresoft hero for PS1. Can I get a remake?
A great thing about it is the voice acting. Ton of crap VA from that era but this one had some ridiculous VA energy! Figured I should take pics from my collection.
More arcade stuff on my list!
Galaga has been a lifelong joy for me, ever since I first encountered it in some darkened, neon, air-conditioned funhouse somewhere deep in the past. I love its dynamism, its double ship feature. R.I.P. arcades!
#79. Pokémon Go
I don’t like this game THAT much but I got bit HARD by the craze (and I re-downloaded it and got bit AGAIN). It turned my little desert town upside-down. It actually changed the economy here… that’s nuts. It’s also my favorite game to fall backward off a curb and sprain my ankle to.
#78. Secret of Mana
Far from the best game I’ve listed so far, it’s got some major design flaws (careful, Red!)…
…but I’ve still a soft spot for Secret of Mana.
I loved it as a boy and enjoyed recently with a 2nd player. I wish everything cut could be restored from this hackjob!
#77. Mega Man X2
What felt like a clone more so than a sequel, Mega Man X2 had huge shoes to attempt to fill after Mega Man X. Was it successful? Well, the gameplay is pretty much the same but the music isn’t as impactful as its predecessor. As I recall, some of the upgrades were kind of superfluous, too. This game and Link to the Past were two titles I lent (temporarily) to a classmate in junior high in exchange for two forgettable PS1 games, and I never got them back. Never again.
#76. Final Fantasy IV
Did you know I run a Final Fantasy-themed blog? LOL Yeah, that means Final Fantasy has to appear all over my list beginning with one of the earliest FF’s I played. FFIV was a new high for me in gaming with its drama and emotion, even if it felt like a high end NES game at times. That soundtrack though… the beginning of a lifelong love.
#75. SteamWorld Dig 2
I’m usually skeptical of new games being added to my official favorites list but I so enjoyed SteamWorld Dig 2! The loop is strong with this one and upon finishing it my only wish was that I could have more. Charming game and a great indie.
#74. Breath of Fire IV
Next to Final Fantasy, the Breath of Fire series has kept me warm for years. That all culminated in Breath of Fire IV, since I haven’t played Dragon Quarter. This is yet another Capcom series that has gone the way of the dinosaur, and this fourth game isn’t the series’ strongest showing, but it’s worth a playthrough if you’re a JRPG fan. It distanced itself from the previous games thematically and stylistically, enough to be intriguing all on its ownsome.
#73. Kirby’s Epic Yarn
One of the games that made Wii worth owning! I already love most Nintendo exclusives but I adored the soft, relaxing music in this one, the two-player mode, the balance of challenge when collecting items but ease of play. Kirby classic!
#72. Mega Man IV
This was the first game I remember picking out on my own and getting brand new from (rest in peace) Toys R Us, and I’ve loved it ever since.
I’ve been a Mega Man for almost my entire life and the NES games are a huge reason why. It’s my childhood favorite of the series.
#71. River City Ransom
BARF! Every time I’ve played this game, I’ve inevitably and irresistibly had fun, especially when playing with someone else. I fell in love with it way back in elementary school and it’s kept me warm ever since.
#70. Chrono Cross
On my original list, I didn’t include Chrono Cross. That was deliberate.
In retrospect, I don’t hate it enough to exclude it. I really do love the soundtrack (the best part of this game) and some of the story sections and a few characters, even if the game is dragged down by a bazillion milquetoast playable teammates and a really stupid-tedious battle system. It’s not the sequel that Chrono Trigger deserved but it’s what we got and I have to live with that… at my 70th spot.
#69. Metal Slug X
This to me is the definition of mindless fun. There’s so much going on in this wacky, explosive, dynamic game and I think it’s MSX that I’ve played the most of in the series. Do you have a favorite Metal Slug game? “HEAVY MACHINE GUN!”
The first game (I think) to make me laugh, this one’s for the old people out there.
Zak McKraken is every bit as hilarious as any Lucas game and I remember playing it on the C64. Adventure fans gotta play this “it really should be more iconic” classic.
#67. Stardew Valley
Farming sims are my guilty pleasure and I’ve played a billion of them but Stardew Valley is right there at the top with a few others. It has everything I want: endless, relaxing, addicting gameplay. At this point, who hasn’t play it? If that’s you… play it. Simple as that.
#66. Dark Cloud 2
Ahmahgash this game…
Borrowed it from a friend & was completely immersed almost instantly. It didn’t let me go right up till the end. Funny thing is I barely remember any details. I just remember being so deeply enamored. Love at 1st sight. And no, I haven’t played the first Dark Cloud.
This is an NES game I discovered later in life and it’s “Zelda 1.5” as far as I’m concerned, with a mix of Nausicaa and Castle in the Sky for extra points. This is one tight action-RPG set across a broad fantasy world with great 8-bit art!
This is one game which I think doesn’t get talked about enough. It’s a confined gameplay experience, I get it, but I thought Ico was tense and magical. The novelization is good, too.
Can we get a PS4 remaster in the vein of Shadow of the Colossus? Is that too much to ask in today’s remake-happy world?
#63. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
It’s not Final Fantasy. It’s “The Adventures of Fran & Balthier: plus a bunch of lame Star Wars character-clones”. I like parts of this game, not others (looking at you, Vaan). Love the bounty hunting, though, and the Zodiac Age additions are great! Of course Balthier is a Red Mage. Man’s got class!
#62. Rayman Legends
Only played this game for the first time some weeks ago, my first Rayman game and I instantly fell in love with it. The momentum’s amazing in a platformer, the synchrony between music and interactivity is a delight. I hurt my face smiling so much.
I was never that great at fighters but this is one I latched onto. There’s some extremely fiyiyine pixel art in this game and the pace is fantastic. No matter what team I used, I had to play as Tron. Who did you use?
#60. SimCity 2000
One of my earliest gaming obsessions. I must’ve spent hundreds of hours with it between the library and home versions. I also learned more about economics, taxes, cities, infrastructure, and zoning than I ever did at school! Building entire worlds was so fascinating to me.
Alright so I consider this one an actual snub from my original top 101 favorites list. I didn’t include it simply because I have played it to death. Ever play a video game so much it becomes almost detestable? Well… I still respect it as an incredible 2D Zelda entry but it’s now far from my favorite in the series. Come and get me.
#58. Axiom Verge
This is THE modern Metroidvania to play!
Metroid has inspired innumerable clones but Axiom Verge is a game that gets so many things just right. Dark, somewhat disturbing, mysterious, just the right amount of confusing thrown in for good measure.
One of the formative games that made me who I am today. I played it when I was young (on the SNES). I played it as an adult (on the PS4). I’ve always loved it, a true sci-fi story.
Did you know it inspired Fumito Ueda and Hideo Kojima, too?
#56. Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster
Getting into the double-digit, controversial territory with FF, I still have some affection for FFX. It was a game I spent many, many hours with during a hectic move across the Pacific and the soundtrack is one of the last FF greats. Plus Auron is awesome. “This is my story.” …I can’t vouch for X-2, though.
#55. Pokémon Red / Blue
It’s impossible to overstate the phenomenon that Red/Blue was, the only video game ever played by every student at my school simultaneously. It sold the GB. So easy to get lost in it! Who was your starter? Bulbasaur for me cuz I’m a rebel.
#54. Breath of Fire III
A real “meat & potatoes” RPG, the Breath of Fire series has been one of my all-time favorites since forever, well, since I initially played them in order. BoF3 has great sprite animations and a huge story, fairly traditional gameplay, dragons, and masters!
I picked up a PS3 way late and the very first game I ever played on it was DuckTales: Remastered, because what else is ultra-powerful modern gaming tech for other than to play the remakes of amazing games from 25 years ago? This game’s a delight.
#52. Monster Hunter Tri
This was my first Monster Hunter game and I loved it. What a gem on the Wii. It’s too bad they closed down the online servers because fighting Jhen Moran was amazing. Maybe the sand whale will make an appearance in World.
#51. Alien Isolation
And now for something completely different! So I know that there are a lot of similar flavors on my top 111 favorites list, but this survival horror sci-fi had to have a spot! Captures the atmosphere of the original film. So good! Never trust an android.
We’re about halfway through my list so it’s time to bust out a classic of classics out of the golden age! I hate centipedes (bit by one and they suck) but I love Centipede. I miss that old roller ball, the sound FX, the pace and challenge!
Good thing I can play it whenever I like on the Atari Anthology!
Coming in at #49 is MGS2! Wow, I loved this game and I hear it’s amazing when the famous purple stuffed worm in flap-jaw space with the tuning fork does a raw blink on Hara-Kiri Rock. I need scissors! 61!
#48. Mega Man Legends
We’re in the forties and it’s time for a game I’ve unashamed affection for! I have been a Mega Man fan for LONGER than I can remember and when Legends came along, it was gold to me. Not all of it holds up anymore but it’s my comfort food! Especially that ridiculous over-the-top voice acting.
#47. Luigi’s Mansion
I played Luigi’s Mansion last year (or the year before) and loved it. Thanks, Erica, for letting me borrow it! It’s now my favorite survival horror game. 😛
#46. Soul Blazer
I made the personal discovery of this game later in life and was hooked from start to finish, blasted right through it and I haven’t forgotten the experience. For me, it’s the Crystalis of the SNES but with town sim. So like “Zelda 2.5”. Have you played it? This is kind of an obscure one.
#45. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
As far as I’m concerned, this is the best Mario Kart. It’s not on a tiny handheld and its got the huge roster, nostalgic racetracks, and a troll-less online multiplayer. I inevitably play it with friends when they come over, like any Mario Kart fan should!
I’ve been a Batman fan all my life and I couldn’t ask for better games than the Arkham series, especially with riffs off of BTAS.
Asylum is my favorite of the quadrilogy (the series is represented here) for its claustrophobia and wacky supervillain emphasis.
Just when I was losing faith in JRPGs, this beaut came along. I love Ghibli and I love Pokémon, this is like a fusion of both. A nice big adventure to sink your teeth into, gorgeous, epic, emotional, excellent music by the great Joe Hisaishi!
#42. Hyper Light Drifter
One of my favorite games of 2016, this is a masterpiece of metaphor. I found myself gravitating toward the Drifter’s wordless story, having endured my own health issues for much of my life. If you love indies, you must play this!
Didn’t get to this series much later in life but I wish I hadn’t missed out on SotN! Its retro reception is legendary and for good reason. Alucard is a boss. What a delectable game of spit and polish (minus the voice acting, it’s just spit).
#40. Armored Core 3
You know those games that you played the heck out of because that’s all you had? For me, when moving across the Pacific, it was FFX and Armored Core 3. I loved building my mechs and scouring for more parts. Extremely deep gameplay, too!
#39. Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition
The only game I added to my list while making my way through it, it’ll appear a little further down my list when I finalize it (that phrase originally appeared on Twitter), but HZD was a heckuva lot of fun and I really enjoyed its science fiction themes and ranged combat. Not the melee stuff, though.
As a fan of movie monsters when I was a kid, I adored Darkstalkers! It’s all about Rikuo, the tricky fish! You could beat me at SF, VF, MvC, but not Darkstalkers. Maybe… I just had to power up by watching the anime first.
#37. Super Mario Odyssey
I had a face muscle cramp from smiling so much while playing this game. Capturing that old sense of magic is something the game does with simplicity. I couldn’t believe how many moons there were to collect. It’s just a bigger SM64.
#36. Kingdom Hearts
I once rolled my eyes when this was recommended to me because of its Disney characters. Then I learned to experience things for myself before judging games by their cover. Now I’m like… “PWEEEEZ OH BAYBEEE don’t go.” Pure magic. How to prep for KHIII? Pretend this is the only KH that exists and you’ll be fine.
#35. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
I wanted a Smash game on my list of favorite games but which one to choose? I loved Smash 64 and I’ve only played Smash Wii U once, but naturally it was Melee vs. Brawl. While I love Melee’s gameplay, I picked Brawl for its roster… because obviously I did. Don’t forget about the single-player mode!
#34. Kirby’s Adventure
I haven’t played them all but this is my favorite Kirby game, and for good reason. Great balance of accessibility and difficulty (not too easy), plenty of secrets to explore, cool boss fights, fun level design.
One of the NES’s best games, too!
#33. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
Can you say M-A-S-T-E-R-P-I-E-C-E? It’s pronounced “Dihdeez Kohng Kwehst”. What a blast of a game for co-op with excellent music. I can never hear “Stickerbrush Symphony” enough. This one made it on my SNES top 7 best, and I’d play it before the other DKC SNES trilogy games any day.
#32. Bubble Bobble
One of my first arcade crushes, I inevitably had to play it whenever I encountered a cabinet. I remember finding out as a kid that it was on the NES and the idea that I could play arcade games at home blew my mind. I had personally discovered ports.
#31. Super Mario 64
Though its controls and camera are no bueno (to get that out of the way), SM64 remains for me a magical experience which unfailing makes me smile whenever I return to it. A landmark in early 3D. “Mama mia!”
#30. The Legend of Zelda
Here it is, the much duplicated real OG, The Legend of Zelda. I had that gold cart and pawned it for some chump change. One of life’s stupidest decisions. Still fun to play and explore, I didn’t know then what kind of icon this open-world epic would become.
So we are in my top 30, finally! Smooth as butter and as sexy as skeletons can possibly be, Grim Fandango Remastered claims the spot. Voices and music are top tier. The story and world are wacky and unforgettable.
“What if development for the NES never stopped?” STEEL THY SHOVEL! I love this game. One of the most NES-accurate indies I’ve ever played. Special memory: played it on the Switch in the hospital while my wife and newborn rested!
#27. Maniac Mansion
I’ve got a mushy spot for this game and I’ve had it since I was a child. I loved it so much I bought the floppy before I even had a computer (or knew how to play it). Got my kicks on the NES and C64 at a friend’s house. I love adventures!
#26. Okami HD
I first played this game on the Wii and later replayed it again in HD, and it has sufficiently blown my mind to make it on my list. The art, the treatment of the mythology, the characters feel so unique. It’s like a long lost Legend of Zelda!
#25. StarCraft: Brood War
I have no idea how many hours I’ve sunk into playing StarCraft, but there was a time when I played it every day. I used to love building an indestructible base against CPU opponents by playing Protoss and mind controlling enemy drones, but it was the
Tyranids Xenomorphs Zerg that was really my team!
#24. Metroid Prime Trilogy
Three games in one spot?! Yep, cuz that’s how I played them on the Wii, all in a row, starting with the excellent Prime. What an amazing transition for a character from 2D into 3D. I loved the atmosphere and exploration, and I’m looking forward to Metroid Prime 4.
I was one of those completely blown away by this game. Not a traditional Zelda but an innovative, experimental, exploratory open-world adventure that was more freeing than I could’ve imagined. This is now what I expect from open-world games: Freedom, Experimentation, Wonder.
#22. Super Mario Galaxy
One of those game concepts that came out perfect on its first try, Galaxy is a must for Wii owners. I was blown away by the crazy gravity mechanics. My coworker summed it up perfectly: “Magic that makes you feel like a kid again.”
#21. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
I feel at home around the sea and so I felt like this game was made for me. I love it to death but every time I think about it I can never remember the ending! Yes, I do love it more than Breath of the Wild but it’s not my favorite Zelda.
#20. Katamari Damacy
My 20th favorite ever and holy moly do I love this stupid game! Playing Katamari for the first time expanded my perspective on what games could be: pretty much anything. What I found was a charming delight unlike anything else I’d played.
I was late to the party in playing this game but it lived up to everything I could’ve hoped for! “Earthbound 2.0” is infested with great characters I enjoyed saving and killing, gorgeous humor, music, combat, and a craftily woven narrative.
While I dismissed this game as a tiny human for not being high fantasy with dragons and wizards, I eventually became so enamored with it that, well, it scored high on my list. Humor is tough to nail in games but EarthBound seems like a natural. It’s surreal and still one of the most unique RPGs ever.
#17. Final Fantasy VII
A game that needs no introduction. While I might be getting a little too hipster with my big boy pants to admit I love this game anymore it is one I became absolutely lost in. It was a world that felt alive for its secrets. It doesn’t need no anime remake! Check out our Dual Cast review through the link above which examines the game from the perspectives of two people: playing it back then and playing it today for the first time.
#16. Metal Gear Solid
The phrase “blew my mind” is overused and has lost some of its impact, but this game truly expanded my impression of what video games were capable of and what kind of stories they could tell. My love for it has never waned.
#15. Super Metroid
Few games are as wildly respected as Nintendo’s unique brand of space horror and isolation on the SNES. I remember playing it for the first time and thinking it was an instant classic. Labyrinthine, this game never got easier over time for me!
#14. Final Fantasy IX
The best of the numerical FF PS1 trilogy, imo, VII had characters on this one but IX has such a classic feel, it’s a lighter adventure. I loved that it wasn’t a huge departure from OG Final Fantasy. Call me crazy but I even prefer this one’s card game too. And that soundtrack!
A game I have an undying love for (heh) and with which I’ve enjoyed countless hours of co-op. The beach party music, the cartoonish character sprites, the sound design are all exemplary Lucas games hilarity. Play it with a buddy!
#12. Breath of Fire II
This was the first game that felt like it was my own and it helped cement my love for RPGs. Not the best translation out there but it had amazing animation, a great soundtrack, and an epic story with lots of cool characters. Its religious themes told me games could dig deep. I love FF and I love BoF!
#11. Super Mario World
Here it is at long last, the iconic Mario game. I first encountered it in a Sears SNES demo display and I was suddenly confronted by all the magic, color, and scope that video games could achieve. I have never forgotten that incredible moment but playing the game over and over and over has been even better.
My top 10 is HERE! Some games are truly haunting. They never leave you and you never stop thinking about them. That was my experience with this mysterious Zelda adventure, not the greatest in the series but my favorite. Poignant and sincere, and somehow tragic.
The perfect Mario game. I got lost in this 8=bit world and never came back out. A different Red finished the game, one who knew any challenge could be overcome, that secrets were everywhere, and magic was real. Super Mario Bros. 3 turns 30 this year, still beloved!
#8. Earthworm Jim
In 24 years, my sheer boyish exuberance for this game has not diminished one iota. Sure I don’t get the action figures or the cartoon out much anymore, but this game is one of the defining titles of my favorites library. SNES of course. “GROOVY!”
#7. Mega Man II
One of my all-time favorite video game characters, Mega Man has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. The fourth was the first game I remember choosing to buy but Mega Man II assaulted me with its music, bosses, powers, and difficulty!
#6. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
*heavy breathing* When I 1st saw this game, it floored me. It’s still one of my top picks for my favorite console. Such a unique platformer, I can’t even think of it without smiling. My favorite Super Mario game! Those visuals!
Top 5! This work of art made the cut! Having played the recent re-release on PS4, I now consider this game perfected. The visuals are refined, the gameplay streamlined, the world more majestic and the story more moving than ever.
How to describe the feeling this game gave me at its conclusion? It was almost like a spiritual, religious experience. I was in awe. The music and imagery embedded themselves in my brain forever. A metaphor for life? It tells a story bigger than itself.
My favorite non-numerical FF is one unforgettable game. The best version of the job system I’ve ever played, it also has a grand, pseudo-historical story that feels like it was written by Victor Hugo or Charles Dickens. It gets points for being the best tactical game!
#2. Final Fantasy VI
Ladies, gents, my favorite Final Fantasy game of all time. It captured my imagination in a way none have since. I love its music, its villain, its ensemble cast, its balance of linearity/openness, its story that goes as far as ruining everything! *Kefka laugh*
#1. Mega Man X
I have no words… This is an action-platforming masterpiece. In handling, it’s the gaming equivalent of a sports car. The OST couldn’t get any perfecter. Its crisp and detailed visuals hold up to modern scrutiny. This is how you do a series reboot. A+++
#0. Chrono Trigger
SURPRISE! I fooled maybe some people! Leaving this off my Twitter list left some people Chrono Triggered…
So here’s one last entry! Of course, this is my final favorite! I’m the guy who wrote 17k words about it! I love Chrono Trigger so immovably that I’ve made it my zeroth favorite game of all time. It will never be removed. Perfection travels through time.
-The Well-Red Mage
Did you enjoy this post? Consider becoming a Warrior of Light and join us in restoring integrity and quality to games writing. We specialize in long-form, analytical reviews and we aim to expand into a community of authors with paid contributors, a fairer and happier alternative to mainstream games writing! See our Patreon page for more info!