Here’s my top five favorite games of all time, in no particular order. I’ll avoid major spoilers even though none of these games are new.
TL,DR at the bottom.
System: Xbox 360
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
I think some people will be surprised to see the original Borderlands on my list, rather than Borderlands 2. I think that since more people played Borderlands 2, it has a higher likelihood of making a “favorite games” list.
For me, the original stands out because of the originality of the game and the ability to play with up to 4 friends. The humor and story of that game made it hilarious to play with a group. I think I laughed more at this game than any game before and since.
The interesting RPG elements and the random variety of weapons created my interest in the world of Pandora. It’s hard to nail down one thing that kept me coming back to Borderlands, the whole experience enabled my enjoyment of this game.
I think my group had a couple of soldiers, a hunter, and one siren. We tried playing all the characters, but Brick was less useful than any of the others so I can’t blame people for not playing him.
I played as one of the Roland’s because I like getting into the chaos of everything and shooting as much as possible. I don’t like downtime when I play so Roland fit my playstyle.
He was great to play solo and in a group because of his turret skill. Even if I was playing alone I could rely on my turret to pump out some damage protect me when necessary.
The game had something for everyone. You could pick and choose how to play based on your character selection so it made it easy to create a fairly diverse group of people and play styles.
I enjoyed the art style of the game. The not quite cel-shaded look made it feel like you were playing a cartoon with your friends. I loved the look of the game.
Pair that with some awesome music and hilarious in-game people and you’re left with a awesome game.
Some of the most fun I’ve had gaming came from this game. That’s why it makes my top five.
Final Fantasy X
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
The more I talk about FFX the more I realize I was drawn to it because of Yuna. She’s quickly become one of my favorite characters from any medium. I’m going to say that game was about her.
Like I mentioned in my gaming history post, the cast of characters drove that game. I’d played some games before this but only a few and none that there this involved. I got hooked on the story of FFX from the start and always wanted to play more.
The intro the game is a bit weird and I’d not played any Final Fantasy games prior to FFX. I think the uncertainty of Tidus and what was happening to him kept me interested at the beginning and that transitioned to becoming wholly enveloped by the characters in the story.
Granted, I don’t think the story is honestly that amazing. It’s fairly generic when I think about it. It’s about a group of people trying to save the world. Nothing new there.
I just wanted Tidus and Yuna to be happy, really. I felt like they cared for each other and they had a group of friends protecting them and rooting for them as well.
It’s been about a year since I’ve replayed it at this point, but the adventure of the game sticks out. I think the simplicity of the story does allow me to better associate with it.
We’ve all imagined ourselves in an adventure story where we set our with our friends to save the world which helps the connection to the characters in the adventure. We can see some of ourselves and some of our friends in those same roles and imagine that adventure.
I think FFX was one of the first JRPG’s I played from start to finish. I tend to get bored with games and lose my way before restarting them and never finishing them. It just has everything I like in a single player game.
FFX is just an excellent story about some friends trying to save the world. And as generic as that is, that concept works for the game and keeps me coming back. That’s why it’s in my top five.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
System: Xbox 360
Developer: Infinity Ward
Besides a chaotic and buggy launch filled with auto launching Javelins, MW2 is my favorite multiplayer shooter of all time.
I don’t play Call of Duty for their single player campaigns so I’m only going to talk about the multiplayer aspects.
I still remember my first Tactical Nuke in that game. I was playing on Rundown with the Intervention, sniping from one side of the other. (By sniping, I mean I was camping with claymores, Scavenger, and the Spas-12 for backup.)
Like most people, I paired the Harrier Strike with an AC-130 or Chopper Gunner in order to get me to that 25 kill streak. My heart was pumping by the time I got to 20 kills and I couldn’t believe when I got that nuke.
I loved being able to singlehandedly end a game. It was especially awesome in domination where my team would let the other team control all the points and make their win seem inevitable.
Then, I popped that nuke and cause a special kind of misery. Yes, I realize I’m a terrible person but that stuff was hilarious. I think it was a bit overpowered because Nukes weren’t that hard to get after a while.
They were always fun to strive for, but there were a little less so every time I called one in.
I had a ton of friends playing this during its heyday. It was never hard to find someone to play with and get some games going. I think this was the first shooter that we had to play Ground War because I had so many friends playing. It was a great problem to have.
It’s gross how much I played that game. Log onto Xbox Live I’d see at least three people playing. What am I going to do? Not play with them? No way, I love playing games with my friends and that game made it easy.
You could play any style and do well. As much as I despise the camping strategy, some people enjoy it and do well with it, which is fine. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back, relax and shoot people from afar.
The viability of playstyles kept my friends coming back. Once we got hooked on the game it was hard to pull us from it. Why play another game when all of your friends are already in one place?
I kept playing it because my friends kept playing it, we got stuck in a circle of MW2 that didn’t stop until Black Ops 2 got its hooks in us three years later. That’s why it’s in my top five.
Red Dead Redemption
System: Xbox 360
Developer: Rockstar San Diego
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Although music wasn’t the most important aspect of Red Dead Redemption, it has some of the most memorable music in a game setting. The emotional impact of the incredible music completed that game for me.
We all grew up with our dads watching and reading westerns so we were all familiar with the concept. I never really got that western feel for a game until Red Dead Redemption.
You’re telling me I can go anywhere and do anything like in a John Wayne movie, sold. Red Dead Redemption had no business being that good.
It’s predecessor, Red Dead Revolver, was okay at best. I can’t remember much about it, I know that I played it, but it was forgettable so expectations were low and Red Dead Redemption delivered far and above our hopes.
I live in a wild west state so Red Dead Redemption allowed me to explore an amazing time in American history and get more in touch with the history of my region.
I remember roping my first horse on MacFarlane’s ranch and setting off on my path to redemption. The game felt like a wild west movie with far better music.
I loved the simplicity of hunting, playing poker or just causing random chaos in town. It didn’t matter what you were doing in the game, you felt part of that world. You felt involved and felt like you mattered to the impact of the game.
The story isn’t about some grandioso saving the world type, either. It’s just about a man trying to protect his family. Simple ideas like that can make some incredible stories. The game is believable.
That game has some of the most memorable moments in my gaming history. I get chills any time I hear the music that plays when you first enter Mexico. There isn’t a better song to embody that feeling.
The song “Far Away” by Jose Gonzales evokes a ton of feeling and emotion and it’s impossible not to feel wholly engrossed in that game at this point.
You could lose yourself for hours in John Marston’s story in Red Dead Redemption. That’s why it’s in my top five.
ToeJam and Earl
System: Sega Genesis
Developer: Johnson Voorsanger Productions
ToeJam and Earl is absolute ridiculous. It’s one of my first gaming memories. I can even remember the first time I played it at my cousin’s house. I should say I remember the first time I saw the game being played.
I was probably 4 when I first saw it and it stuck with me forever. I don’t think the game is anything spectacular as a game. I just have really fond memories of this game.
Grabbing presents with one of my family members side by side as ToeJam and Earl couldn’t have been more fun.
The absurdity and concept behind the game are just fun. I’m not sure how we discovered level 0 without the help of the internet but I can still remember getting in the hot tub with the hula girls and leveling up a little bit before starting the game for real.
Who doesn’t love presents? For a kid presents are the best thing ever and the fact that I could collect essentially infinite presents in game hooked me. It was so easy to enjoy grabbing presents and rocketblading all over the map.
The randomness of the presents and ability to randomize them after you knew what they were made every opening an event. Do I want to open this giant box and possibly fly off the edge of the map? Yes. Every time the answer is yes. You didn’t ever not risk it.
I didn’t understand its importance until later in life, but the music in that game matches perfectly. Funk music is a little weird, and that’s awesome. Weird is good. Weird is the best word I have for ToeJam and Earl on the whole.
I have fond memories of this game from my time playing with my family. That’s why it’s in my top five.
- ToeJam and Earl
- Final Fantasy X
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
- Red Dead Redemption