My Ten Favorite Games Ever – Part 1

Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of an Indie Gamer Chick review when, unfortunately, my epilepsy likes the game less than I do.  Such is the case with Demon House.  So while I recover, I figure I’ll answer one of the most common questions I get: “what’s your favorite game ever?” or “what is the best game ever is?”  I don’t think the latter question can accurately be answered, because it involves personal subjective opinions.  If the question being posed is “what’s the most important game ever?” that would be easier.  Pong, or Space Invaders, or Super Mario Bros. would probably rank near the top, with Crackdown 2 being at the very bottom.  That’s right, Crackdown 2 is less important to gaming than anything else in gaming history.  Developer Ruffian Games knew this, which is why they totally half-assed it.

This all seems so familiar. Wait, you didn’t just slap a number two on the original and call it a day, did you?

I don’t know what truly is the best game ever.  All I know is what games I’ve personally enjoyed the most.  And these aren’t necessarily games that I would ever want to play again.  Over half of them I really don’t.  They’re part of my past.  A very awesome, much-loved part of my past, but I’m not interested in trying to recreate the magic.   For me, every time I go back and play a childhood favorite, I cringe at how badly its aged.  While I might have a little fun, it almost never comes close to the sense of awe and joy that I once gained from it.  My most recent example: I dug up Blast Corps last week, one of my favorite Nintendo 64 games.  Stuff I never noticed as a kid, like a stuttering frame-rate and some spotty level design, made the game practically unplayable for me.  I’m spoiled by modern technology, and I can’t force myself to like something just because I liked it as a kid.

When LucasFilm got sold to Disney earlier this week, some extremely thick morons cried about how Disney now “owns their childhood!”  Um, no.  You own your childhood.  You also can’t get your childhood back.  It’s gone.  You either can enjoy your memories of it or you can stick your head in a paint shaker and hope the resulting damage reverts you back to your preteens.  Wait a second.  I know this is off topic but aren’t you Star Wars geeks who are now crying buckets over Disney owning your childhood the same dorks who keep complaining about how George Lucas has raped your childhood with countless re-releases or adding aliens to Indiana Jones?  It just goes to show, you can’t please fanboys.  I would say they need to be segregated away from the rest of the population, but they already self-impose that.

So these are the ten games I had the best time with during my original play of them.  And mind you, I’m 23-years-old and grew up with a PlayStation and Nintendo 64, not an Atari or an NES.  If it’s not on here, feel free to yell at me in the comments.  And just to make sure some of those haters who have told me to quit calling myself an XBLIG site because the 20 non-XBLIG reviews I’ve done somehow cancel out the 293 XBLIG reviews, I’ll talk about what games on my list are comparable to XBLIGs. These are in no particular order.

Final Fantasy VII

Age I was: 13

Last attempt at playing it: A couple of years ago.  Played it for about three hours, turned it off, didn’t miss anything.

Would I ever play it again: No

I started gaming when I was seven, but didn’t get into RPGs until a few years later.  That’s mostly because I wasn’t looking for in-depth storytelling.  I was looking to jump on the heads of living beings and not be sent to juvenile hall for it.  My first crack at one was boring dungeon-crawler Evolution on the Dreamcast, which my confused father got for me because he thought it was a Zelda game.  Gotta love parents.  It wasn’t until I got Skies of Arcadia off a clearance rack that I saw the potential of what an RPG can do.  I started to devour them in short order, hitting all the major titles I missed on the original PlayStation even as the new generation of consoles was starting to make an impact.  It all culminated with Final Fantasy VII.  I knew the hype on it, with a lot of people considering it the best game ever made.  I had played and enjoyed Final Fantasy VIII and IX already, and then was finally able to convince my daddy that nearly $100 for a used game would be a good investment.  By the way, I cringe greatly at that figure today.  Yea, it was awesome, but not $100 awesome.

It was 2002 when I played it for the first time.  I had just turned thirteen.  I had already played Final Fantasy X, and although I was pumped to see what all the fuss was about, I figured there was no way it could live up to expectations.  I was wrong.  Final Fantasy VII often left me shaking my head in disbelief.  No entry in the series, or indeed in any RPG, is so memorable in so many ways.  Characters, scenes, fights, twists, or just “holy shit, this is awesome” moments.  It didn’t change my life or anything.  I think by that point I had grasped that games could be fun and enjoyable.  It was just a damn good time.

But let’s not kid ourselves: I wouldn’t want to play it again.  Hell, if Square-Enix wanted to just cash a check guaranteed to be in the nine-figure range and made Final Fantasy VII-2, I wouldn’t be that interested.  Final Fantasy VII is one of those rare lightning-in-a-bottle games that I wish we all would agree can never happen again.  Like those who hold out hope that Capcom will bring back the magic of Resident Evil 4, we all just need to accept that Final Fantasy VII was a once in a lifetime event.  They’ve done four game spinoffs and a bunch of anime spinoffs of it, and nothing has come even remotely close to grasping what made it so special.  And, let’s face it, as a game it’s not that interesting anymore.  I prefer the combat in Costume Quest or the Paper Mario series to Final Fantasy VII.  And excellent storytelling is no-longer limited to just the RPG universe.  Stuff like L.A. Noire or Grand Theft Auto tell excellent stories in a more exciting, interactive environment.  If Final Fantasy VII had come out in 2012 instead of 1997, with the exact gameplay but modern audio-visuals, it would seem archaic.  Final Fantasy VII was amazing for its time, but its time has come and gone.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

XBLIG equivalent: There really are no RPGs that can hope to match the scope of Final Fantasy VII, and nothing comes close to telling a story like it.  I probably should have thought this whole “XBLIG equivalent” thing out more.  I suppose you can start with Cthulhu Saves the World.  My advice to would-be developers who want to achieve something similar: don’t focus on being like Final Fantasy or any other game.  Focus on telling the best story you’re capable of telling.  In that sense, I guess All the Bad Parts wins out, because it told the best story on XBLIG.  Sadly, the best story married some of the worst gameplay.


Age I was: 11

Last attempt at playing it: Almost ten years ago.

Would I ever play it again: No

It might seem like an oddball choice, but NBA 2K1 was the first game I was ever addicted to.  As in, I probably played it six to eight hours a day, seven days a week, for months.  I attended my first basketball game when I was six years old.  The Warriors beat the Nuggets at home.  Latrell Sprewell had 30 points and was still a year away from trying to strangle his coach.  I was hooked.  Unfortunately, at the time I got into gaming, basketball games really weren’t that good.  The most fun I had with one was NBA Hangtime on the Nintendo 64, which was very entertaining, but not quite the simulation I was looking for.  The PlayStation had NBA Shootout, which was abysmal, and the Nintendo 64 had Kobe Bryant’s NBA Courtside, which was riddled with problems.  There was also NBA In the Zone, which I didn’t get.  As a shallow nine-year-old, I couldn’t get past the fact that the biggest star they could get for the cover was Glen Rice, a guy who is only remembered these days for porking Sarah Palin.

I had so little faith in NBA video games that I skipped the original NBA 2K on the Dreamcast.  I don’t remember why I was compelled to ask Santa Claus for NBA 2K1, but I did, and I’m glad I did.  It wasn’t perfect, but it actually felt like a real basketball game.  Not too real.  For you NBA fans, you’ll remember that my beloved Golden State Warriors had a miserable team during that era that finished dead-last in their division and conference.  A team that I personally guided to 82-0 records and multiple championships.  Of course, it helps that I traded scrubs for Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, and Allen Iverson.  Hey, don’t look at me like that.  It’s scientifically proven that you can’t have fun if your biggest stars are Antawn Jamison and Danny Fortson.

NBA 2K1, like Sega’s NFL 2K series, played like no other sports game before it.  It felt real.  It was real.  As real as any game was capable of being to that point.  But it doesn’t hold a special place in my heart for that reason.  No, the GM mode is what makes it stick with me.  It was my first ever encounter with a gaming time-sink.  Making absurd trades, micro-managing my budget, scouting college players, and trying to figure out the right balance of role players and superstars (try stacking a team with just superstars and you won’t even make the playoffs, a memo the Lakers seemed to have missed this year) completely owned me for nearly a year.  I played for well over 200 seasons and led my Warriors to only 8 championships.  By time NBA2K2 rolled around, I was burned out on video basketball and its barely made a dent in my life since.

But let’s not kid ourselves: I don’t want to play a decades old basketball game anymore.  I know there are some people out there who shun Madden in favor of Tecmo Bowl, and cling to 80s relics like Blades of Steel or Lakers vs. Celtics, but I can’t do it.  I can’t ignore all the advances in gaming just to kill time with a childhood favorite.  I don’t even know how advanced NBA games have gotten, and I’m not even that curious to know.  Part of that is I’m not into the NBA as much as I was as a kid.  It’s the same reason why I wouldn’t be as interested in a Power Rangers game today.  I loved that shit as a kid, and even put up with the atrocious Lightspeed Rescue game because I liked the source material.  Today?  I would rather chew glass.

XBLIG equivalent: Smooth Operators.  Hear me out on this.  There’s not a whole lot of licensed basketball simulators on XBLIG.  At last count, there’s none.  I pick Smooth Operators because NBA 2K1’s GM mode was my introduction to simulators.  Following it, I had love affairs with SimCity 3000, Roller Coaster Tycoon, The Sims, and so on.  Smooth Operators is the best of its breed on XBLIG, and thus it gets the nod.  Of course, I probably would have discovered all those games without NBA 2K1, but I played it first, so it gets all the credit.

Continue to Part 2 with Giants and Disney.

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

9 Responses to My Ten Favorite Games Ever – Part 1

  1. Blast Corps has to be one of the most underrated games on the N64. Blowing up buildings with construction vehicles. Such a simple idea but also very entertaining. It hadn’t been done before and I don’t believe it has been done since.
    Final Fantasy VII was a disappointment to me. As far as gameplay goes, all of the characters were basically the same aside from their limit breaks. In the previous FF games I’d played (FF2US and FF3US), each character was unique with their own abilities. With FF7’s materia system any character could be given any ability. I know in FF6 characters could learn multiple abilities through Espers, but those were tied to the character and not interchangeable like materia. I also preferred 2D sprites over FF7’s deformed low polygon player models. However, the game wasn’t horrible and I know at one point years ago I leveled all my characters up to level 99 and defeated both hidden “Weapon” bosses.

    • CJ says:

      I loved FFVII. I liked how character abilities were interchangeable, so you wouldn’t have to deal with getting screwed when a character wasn’t in your party, like old school FFs. I loved that one the most, too bad it was easy peasy even when you change everyone’s max HP to 10 at the start of the game(the lowest amount of HP any character could have was 10).

    • Argamae says:

      I was never much into JRPGs to begin with, but the FF-series never caught on with me. Not even the spin-offs like FF Tactics. But I tried a few of them, among them FF VII. And from those I played it was the best. What I always found especially ridiculous was the insane amount of hit points of characters and boss monsters.
      Grandia and Chrono Trigger were probably my most favourite JRPGs of all time.

  2. Kolphyre says:

    I can still to this day remember the first RPG video game I have ever played, I highly doubt ANYONE on here as ever played it. It was called ‘Tangled Tales’ and I played it on the Commodore 64. I had no clue what I was doing and very slowly figured out the play mechanics. I had to have been like 10 at the time – 8 at the youngest. Loved that game at the time – it had a large world to explore, plenty of side quests (so to speak), a really quirky story that kept me laughing through most of the game and lots of hidden things if you took the time to explore. But as much I loved the game at that time, I could never play it again. Very few old games can live up to what they were when they came out – video games simply advance too far too quickly for older games to live up to them.

    • My first RPG was Final Fantasy Legend for the original Game Boy, which was actually the first game in Square’s SaGa series. It was one of the few games where each weapon had a limited number of uses before it would break and no repair option was available.

  3. Pingback: My Ten Favorite Games Ever – Part 2 « Indie Gamer Chick

  4. Jim Perry says:

    “with Crackdown 2 being at the very bottom”

    Have to disagree here. I’d put just about any of the hunting type games here. At least Crackdown 2 was somewhat fun and offered a ton of content and different things to do. Maybe I need to do more RL hunting to get the point if those type of games, but I doubt it would help.

  5. Pingback: My Ten Favorite Games Ever – Part 5: Portal « Indie Gamer Chick

  6. Pingback: Portal: Companion Collection (Review) The Test Chamber of Time | Indie Gamer Chick

What do you think?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: