By James Daly
Disclaimer: These article was originally published several years ago so some opinions may have changed by now. Number one spot if still the greatest game ever though.
Speaking honestly, my favourite things change. There are a few constants, but they’re susceptible to changing position in my sub-conscious top ten lists. For instance, The Goonies is my favourite film, but sometimes I’m too smitten with a newer release, or an old movie I like that I recently saw again and so The Goonies drops a place or two. Bearing that in mind, I’m comfortable with the fact that this list may be outdated in a couple of months time, but for now here are my top 10 favourite video games.
- Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (Nintendo Gamecube)
The 00s were not a good decade for Sonic fans. But before Sonic Team ruined everything in 2006, there was this loveable title. As the sequel to Sonic Adventure on the Sega Dreamcast, it took the same format but ditched the story mode overworld, and added in a sweet multiplayer mode. The game also reinvented the Chao Garden feature, making it more open and immersive.
The best part of this game is the story mode. Players are able to act out the same version of events as both protagonists and antagonists, giving a more detailed view of the thrilling narrative, before combining these opposing forces for the final chapter of the game. The story mode is mainly so great due to the large variety of playable levels, some of which are so replayable that I bought the game on 360 just for them.
Overall, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle is a solid game that I just can’t get enough of.
- Everybody’s Golf 2 (Sony Playstation)
A zany golf game that took a more youthful, arcade approach to what a subject that has always seemed more mature and… well, dull. The game comprises a single-player mode that yielded a sizeable roster of unlockable characters, including cameos from Twisted Metal’s Sweet Tooth, Gex the Gecko, and my personal favourite Sir Daniel Fortesque from MediEvil, but this game had a great multiplayer mode too. Up to four players could go head-to-head over 9-18 holes on a variety of courses. My favourite course was my beloved Balata. It was the most balanced course, with the greatest potential for astounding scores. The more I talk about this game, the more I miss so I’ll stop here.
- Bomberman ‘94 (SNES)
Our favourite chibi dynamite enthusiast has been in many addictively fun games, and my favourite of all of these is Bomberman 94.
It’s the greatest competitive video game to play at a party that there has ever been. The sheer chaos of five players trying to ignite death traps around each other’s cute little avatars is the purest form of multiplayer combat available on the SNES, or the Wii Virtual Console for that matter. For this reason alone, I will always return to this game.
- Need For Speed: Carbon (Nintendo Wii)
This multi-platform game was the last Need For Speed title before the series abandoned the exaggerative, cartoony image and fully embraced gaming realism. By saying I prefer this game, I’m happily defying that creative decision because if I wanted a realistic game I would buy Forza and bore myself to death over a forty-five minute race, with only engine noise for a soundtrack. But as I was saying, Need For Speed Carbon is a damn good game.
To progress through the game, the player has to win races in each of the games four territories and then challenge the head of the local crew for the ownership of the area. These races are initiated by travelling around the in-game open-world, tracking down targets or accepting challenges from racers who find you. Races would then involve travelling from point A to B or through circuits the fastest, though there were drift races and showdowns that differed from this. The variety of races was second only to roster of available automobiles, all of which were fully customisable. This feature was intended more for console use, and wasn’t so fun if you played the game in the arcade though.
All racing games are arcade games in essence, and Need For Speed Carbon is a fantastic arcade game. The controls are simple without being easy, and realistic without impeding gameplay. The Wii remote added another element to the game by allowing for more subtle turns, which would serve crucial in the later boss races.
- Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo DS)
Get out of bed. See friends. Look for treasure. Go fishing. Renovate the house. Go shopping. Tend gardens all over the town. Going about these daily rituals is how one play Animal Crossing: Wild World. This game is the definitive relaxing experience. I’ve never felt more carefree then when I’m strolling around my town, engaging my neighbours in friendly chit-chat. This feeling of peaceful contentment is what the Animal Crossing franchise is all about. My main goals in the game were to have a cosy, little home, a meaningful friendship with my neighbour Wolfgang, and to design t-shirts that made me smile. No other game has given me so much enjoyment over such tame subject matter, and that is enough to demonstrate how special this game is.
The main reason I picked this title over the latest instalment, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, is because it’s a simpler player experience. In New Leaf I’m the mayor of my new town and I’m therefore always busy with some duty that I feel obliged to carry out. But in Wild World I’m not the mayor. I feel insignificant, so I can slack-off and just relax, and that’s more in-keeping with Animal Crossing’s ethos. That’s why I go back to Wild World now, despite New Leaf being a much better game in every other way.
- Resident Evil 4 (Nintendo Gamecube)
When the Resident Evil series was revamped back in 2005, many had their doubts about the changes Capcom made to the franchise. These changes are what set this game aside from the previous titles, resulting in it game that felt more like a first-rate Hollywood Blockbuster (unlike the third-rate Resident evil movies).
Leon S. Kennedy returned to our consoles as an All-American Hero based on the icons of the past. He was the President’s bodyguard, tasked with the covert operation of single-handedly rescuing the President’s kidnapped daughter. This cheesy, 1980s-styled narrative was a risky move but it worked better than anyone could have expected.
The gameplay took a turn away from survival horror, and the result was a thrilling action game with plenty of replayability and a great story with a climactic, yet poignant ending. I’m still not sold on all of the quick-time events though.
- Minecraft (Xbox 360 Edition)
When I played it for the first time, I was overwhelmed it. After an onslaught of mobs on hard mode, I built a light house to hide away from my enemies and gaze upon the stars. Looking back I realise that torch-laden structure was an unsubtle symbol of hope against the hostility of the dark night (poetry warning). I felt truly isolated, and this made me realise how happy I was to be alone in a video game for the first time in a long, long while. I was happy to be playing this game solo, without any chance of contact as I didn’t know anybody else who owned the game and at this point I genuinely didn’t want to. I was happy to be me, on my own, in Minecraft.
Eventually I told my friends about it so memorable multiplayer adventures ensued. We made our own mini-games, explored mysterious caves, shaped beautiful landscapes and erected monuments to our own ambitions, and usually without going on Xbox Live. Split-screening seemed more in keeping with retro-inspired ideal of Minecraft, and playing with friends on the same console added that level of joy that only socialising on the same console can give. A nostalgic point perhaps, but I stand by it.
To put it simply, Minecraft offers an authentic sense of freedom, numerous opportunities for creative innovative, and never stops being fun.
- Pokemon X (Nintendo 3DS)
It’s the best Pokemon game yet. It is. Really. Nostalgia aside, and shrugging off that magical feeling that came with playing the first generation of handheld Pokemon games, it’s clear to see that Pokemon X and Y prove that a series can constantly reach new heights as it goes on.
Taking place in mystical Kalos Region, the Pokemon universe’s equivalent to France, Pokemon X utilises the graphical capabilities of the 3DS to deliver the best looking Pokemon ever on a handheld console, as well as giving us some beautiful cities and landscapes to explore. The game takes further advantage of the imagery by incorporating customisable clothes and accessories into the game, adding more depth to individualising the player character. But by no means is it all about the graphics.
Pokemon X has that signature blend of action and adventure that is synonymous with the Pokemon franchise, but it takes it to a new level. The new in-game battle styles, Mega Evolution and Pokemon-Amie all help to make Pokemon X and Y standout from the rest of the series, but the new online features are what really make the difference. Trading and battling with other players is easier and more rewarding than ever before, and both of these activities can be done with people all over the world thanks to the new “Passerby” mechanic, which alerts players to all other players they can connect with online.
But the most important thing for me is raising my Pokemon and in Pokemon X that’s more fun than ever. There is so much to each individual Pokemon I’ve met in the game, and everyone has their own unique skills and bring a different advantage to my battle squad. This game feels like Pokemon are almost real.
- Halo 4 (Xbox 360)
Of all the games in The Halo series it does feel impossible to choose just one. Halo one started it all. Halo 2 was one of the first great online multiplayer FPS games. Halo 3 had it all, and Halo: Reach had everything you didn’t know you wanted until you played it. I even loved ODST. But Halo 4 has something else.
For the first time in the Halo series, I felt truly connected with the John and Cortana. I felt like I was stepping into the Master Chief’s suit each time a mission began, and I was bowled over by that feeling. The environments are mesmerising, with a perfect OST to accompany them. No game has looked better on Xbox 360 before or since. As for the playability, the gameplay is smooth and dynamic beyond compare. The matchmaking modes are an expert blend of balanced and chaotic.
But the campaign mode is what makes it for me. The sense of purpose behind every enemy neutralised made me feel positively electric when I first played it. And the ending is on a par with Resident Evil 4, particularly for those talented players who managed to complete the game on the Legendary setting.
- The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (Nintendo 64)
I don’t think it’s too bold a statement to say that Ocarina Of Time is the definitive Zelda game. Probably every gamer is at least aware of this game, whether they’ve played it or have seen a reference to it. In fact, I know gamers who have never played Ocarina Of Time but still hate the how difficult the Water Temple is! But enough about them, let’s talk about me.
I was nine years old when I first played Ocarina Of Time, and although I struggled with it at the time, I knew it was an extraordinary game. I spend hours just playing around the Kokiri Forest, ignorant to the bigger world of Hyrule because I was so caught-up in the sweet, innocent innocent life of the Kokiri. When I encountered enemies on my way to the Deku Tree, I was honestly upset by the presence of danger, because it shattered my illusion of peace by reminding me that hostility was always a factor in any environment. After completing the game’s first dungeon, I was devastated when it was all seemingly for nothing when I couldn’t stop the ravages of Ganondorf’s curse taking the Deku Tree’s life. And so I played on, because that emotional roller coaster the game took me on made me want more, and that’s what I got. Ocarins Of Time was the first game that ever gave me more than I thought possible. There was so much to the story, and the side-quests were in abundance. Each new area took my breath away, particularly Zora’s Domain and the Gerudo Desert.
Having an aptitude for music, I couldn’t resist the importance of Link’s ocarina playing. Each melody has a place in my heart, but none more so than Zelda’s Lullaby. When I hear it I’m transported back to the first time I saw Zelda in the grounds of Hyrule Castle. I remember that look on her face, and the important words she spoke to me that made me feel like being a kid didn’t mean I couldn’t change anything.
Ocarina Of Time is full of great gaming moments. Drawing the Master Sword for the first time. Finding Saria in the Lost Woods. Liberating Epona. Thawing out Zora’s Domain. The unveiling of Sheik. Striking Ganondorf down and saving all of Hyrule from chaos. I could go on, but the best thing about Ocarina Of Time is that I can pick it up and play it again anytime on my N64, Gamecube, Wii, or 3DS.
The Legend Of Zelda of Ocarina Of Time is, without a doubt, my favourite video game of all time.