Editor's Note: As Spike TV celebrates gaming by counting down the 100 Greatest Games of All Time this week, we at PopTometry will be counting down some of our favorite games as well. In a format similar to our Greatest Pop Songs list, each day this week, a certain writer will look back on some of their favorite moments in gaming. These pics may not be rooted in critical acclaim, nostalgia, total amount of zombies destroyed, and a host of other factors. Who knows, you might rediscover a game you had long forgotten, or come up upon a game you had never played before. Either way, enjoy.
After 40 years and the creation of millions of video games, the industry has taken on a life of its own. Anymore, you would be hard pressed to find someone who has never played a video game in his/her life. Gaming has grown from their meager beginnings and morphed into a billion dollar industry that captivities the imaginations of millions across the globe.
Looking back at the humble origins of gaming, it’s funny to think games as simplistic as Pong would lay the foundation for games like Halo, Final Fantasy, God of War, etc. Video games have always been a part of my life, and they’ve given me many great memories while playing as some of the greatest characters gaming had to offer.
I’ve taken the time to go back through all the games that I’ve played over my years to create a list of pure nostalgia that conveys my top 10 favorite video games of all time.
10. Pokémon Red/Blue – Gameboy (1996)
A game built around the simple concept of try and beat the entire game, (Gotta catch em’ all), this game devoured countless hours of my life and for good reason. Pokémon Red/Blue takes everything that makes up Role-Playing Games (RPGs) and breaks it down into a simple formula, find and catch the best Pokémon then train them so you can become a Pokémon master.
The beauty of Pokémon is in its simplicity, and what made it amazing was the adventure that awaited you. At the time of Red and Blue’s release no one knew what to expect from the world of Pokémon, everywhere you went there was something new waiting for you. That’s what was great about the original Pokémon, it allowed you to explore an unknown world and discover Pokemon who had unique abilities and would evolve into more powerful creatures. It felt like a genuine adventure in the palm of your hand.
Pokémon Red/Blue is one of the major reasons why we have Nintendo DS’ and PlayStation Vita’s, it showed that handheld consoles could give players the same adventure and creativity as regular consoles.
9. Super Mario 64 – Nintendo 64 (1997)
What was so great about Super Mario 64, as well as many of the Nintendo 64 titles, is how creative and fun the worlds felt. Each new world felt like a whole new game with exciting, yet difficult, challenges lying ahead of you. Who would have thought that you could fly through the air as Mario and be able to control his actions freely in a three dimensional setting, those were things that took my breath away as a kid and had me hooked.
It’s something that I think this generation lacks, pure creativity and imagination – which stands in stark contrast to this generation’s infatuation with all things realistic, dark and gritty. I think we need more great games that bring a little childish fun in our lives again.
8. Mass Effect 3 – Xbox 360 (2012)
Mass Effect created a universe that was feasible and a perfect example of what sci-fi is all about. It was filled with blockbuster moments and decisions that left everything in your control. The end of Mass Effect 3 is what really puts this game on my list because at the very end your left with a decision, the fate of the galaxy rest in your hands, and you have the power to choose.
7. Half- Life 2- Xbox (2005)
Half-Life 2 has a fairly linear story but the mystery that revolves around the game is what I found so interesting about it, the G-man in particular. With a 1985 feel, Half- Life 2’s story is what had me hooked on this franchise. I’ve played this game over several times over the years and it never gets old in my book. One of the truest sings of a great game.
6. Dead Space – Xbox 360 (2008)
While its narrative arch questions government and religion, its gameplay questions if you need to change your underwear because you pissed your pants. This is one game I literally have every achievement in and I played seven times in a row, I could tell you where every necromorph is going to pop out from in the game, and for good reason. While other survival horror games use regular weapons like guns, Dead Space uses plasma cutters and saw blades which dismember your enemy’s limbs.
Dead Space took the survival horror genre and made it its own and that’s why I hold this game in such high regards. You never knew if you had enough health or ammo to make it through the next room and that is what scared you , not gore or any sort of monster, it was compelling the fear of dying.
5. Resident Evil 4 – GameCube (2005)
This game single handily brought back the third person shooter because of how great it is. Resident Evil 4 is the first survival horror game that I’d ever played and I was addicted from the first time I shot a zombie in the face. What’s so great about Resident Evil 4 is how effective the third person shooter gameplay is used. It doesn't look as impressive now, but if it weren't for this game other games like Uncharted, Dead Space and Gears of War wouldn’t be around.
The gameplay made each encounter feel claustrophobic not only because of your location in the game but because of the camera angles. While the action is superb the story has interesting twist and turns that take Leon S. Kennedy through interesting environments. Resident Evil 4 is a classic that should be played by any gamer that walks on this earth…seriously
4. Fallout 3 - Xbox 360 (2008)
A post-apocalyptic world has never looked so awesome than it did in Fallout 3. What I love about Bethesda games is the fact that once you leave the opening sequence of their games it’s like “well there’s days of content left for you to play, have fun,” leaving you with no direction to take.
Fallout 3 is one of those games that had me thinking about what I wanted to do in the wasteland when I was out in the real world, kind of sad but true. There was so much to do in the world, so much to discover, that it was easy to spend hours in the world and feel like you’ve accomplished very little.
The most fascinating part of this game for me was the setting, Washington D.C. has never felt like a place where I would put a video game but it works so well within this game that you feel more games should take place there. The coolest thing about this game though, the mini nuke, what game has that?
3. Final Fantasy X - PlayStation 2 (2001)
My first time playing the game was like nothing I had ever played before, with turn based combat and having to level characters abilities, Final Fantasy X was like opening Christmas presents for me. At the time I really didn't understand the story or anything that was going on, but the characters and the action was all I need to understand to play.
I’ll always hold this as my favorite Final Fantasy because it was my first one.
2. Halo: Combat Evolved - Xbox (2001)
I remember beating this game every weekend when this came out, and this game is the reason why I’m still a gamer today. Halo: Combat Evolved was unlike any game I had ever played before, it had aliens in it, melee combat and cursing, it flowed better than GoldenEye, vehicles you could drive that didn’t have Mario characters on it, it was a sign of the future of games.
I remember competing with friends to see who the best Halo player was and trying to beat the legendary difficulty as fast as we could. The story that surrounded the game was the first time I had stepped into sci-fi in the gaming realm.
Out of all the Halo games this is the best the franchise has to offer even though the graphics are outdated it is still fun to go back and play.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Nintendo 64 (1998)
This game has a special place in my heart because my cousin and me would hang out and play this game and it is the first game I had ever beaten on my own. Good versus evil is a story as old as time and is told flawlessly throughout this game. With dialogue that is told without voice actors and technology that is outdated, this game still beats every RPG out there today.
This game set the bar on what a game could do in terms of story. The story is emotional, funny, deep and dark at times and most of all it proves that games can give an emotional connection to the ones who play it. It goes beyond mere entertainment, Ocarina of Time is a work of art, this is a game that I can go back and play countless times and it never gets old. Everything about this game is enjoyable and nostalgic, remembering the music that makes up this games brings back memories of my childhood.
This game is the best game of all time in my book and represents what video games are all about. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a masterpiece and for good reason.