When we decided that we should each come up with a Top 10 list of our favorite video games, I was in debate as to how to do it. Should I pick the games that I consider the best of all time, or should I list the ones that had the greatest impact on me as a gamer? I decided to go with latter as I truly believe video games now are better than they have ever been, and I didn’t want to have a lopsided list of modern titles, while totally ignoring the games that got me into playing in the first place. I have listed them in the order that they impacted me and my life as a gamer, not in the order of best to worst.
1. Venture – Colecovision (1981)
This is one of the very first video games I remember playing as a kid, and I loved it. My brother and I had the original Colecovision with the Atari attachment, and my Mom used to keep it at the top of the entry closet, bringing it down for just a few hours every couple of weeks to let us play on it. We had great classic titles like Donkey Kong, Zaxxon, Jungle Hunt, and more, but Venture was my go-to game. I still get nervous when I hear the sound of a Hallmonster entering a room.
I am sure there are other games I played first, but this is the first game I remember falling in love with.
2. Ms. Pac-Man – Arcade/Atari (1982)
I owned Ms. Pac-Man on my Atari when it was finally released for the home console, but my real fond memories of the game were the old table-top arcade machines that seemed to be in every pizza joint across America by the mid-80s. I remember begging my parents for quarters every time we’d find one. I still stop and play at least one round whenever I come across a machine. That’s staying power!
3. Super Mario Bros. – NES (1985)
What can you possibly say about say about Super Mario Bros. other than, “this was THE GAME.” If you were born in the late 70s or any time in the 80s (and you play video games), I would be willing to bet that this game made an impact on you. This is the first game with secrets that I can remember, and I remember sharing them with friends. How, before internet, mobile phones, and video game mags, we all knew the warp path from 1-2 to 4-1 and then 4-2 to 8-1, I’ll never know. But we knew it, and most of us could still do it from memory if you plopped us down in front of an NES and gave us a few minutes to blow the dust out.
4. The Legend of Zelda – NES (1986)
The Legend of Zelda was my first RPG, and man was it hard. Getting lost in the forest maze was the worst and, just in case you need it, I looked it up… North, West, South, West. Even though this was one helluva difficult game for my eight-year-old self, I believe it to be one of the best games of its time, and there was nothing better than getting the next piece of gear or completing a castle. This was the game that had me focused on role-playing games for years.
5. Mario Kart 64 – Nintendo 64 (1997)
To skip the original Super Mario Kart and jump straight to Mario Kart 64 was a tough decision, but the Nintendo 64 version of the game was the one I remember having the most fun with. We used have up to 10 friends in a room, all fighting over who got to race next in the first four-person racing game I can remember. Mario Kart 64 changed the way we played games at the time, and it was so much fun.
6. GoldenEye 007 – Nintendo 64 (1997)
GoldenEye 007 was another four-person, split-screen game that changed everything. This was also the first first-person-shooter I can remember getting hooked on (I have never played a Doom game, if you can believe it). GoldenEye, in addition to being some of the most fun I can remember having while playing video games with friends, got me hooked on the shooter genre for life.
7. Final Fantasy VII – Playstation (1997)
Almost every console I have ever bought was because of one game or another, and I bought the Playstation for Final Fantasy VII. I don’t think I need to explain how good this game was and still is. As soon as I saw it featured on Steam, I bought it up. No matter what comes next (I am still holding my breath for my future holodeck), this game will always be one of my all-time favorites.
8. Mass Effect – Xbox 360 (2007)
Mass Effect was the one of the first games I got for my Xbox 360 (yes, I waited to buy it), and I fell in love with it immediately. The combination of RPG and Shooter was everything I wanted in a game, and the story was amazing. For a huge sci-fi fan, this was the perfect game for me. I have played through it three times, and enjoy Mass Effect 2 just as much. Mass Effect 3 is still on the to-play list, but I am sure I am going to love it just as much.
9. Portal – PC (2007)
Portal is just an amazing game, as is Portal 2. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of playing both of them, and, with a little help from Half-Life 2, they got me back into PC gaming for a time. The puzzles in each level are both fun and complicated, and the song, Still Alive, from the first Portal game will stay with me forever. “We do what we must, because we can, for the good of all of us… except the ones who are dead.”
10. Destiny – Playstation 4 (2014)
The final game in my list is a no-brainer. Destiny pulled me back into gaming like I did when I was younger. I have dropped hours upon hours into Destiny, and I am still enjoying almost every minute (let’s ignore some of the horrible raid struggles or grinding we all endure). This is the first “MMO” I ever really got into, and this game added a social element to the way I play that was never there before. I have met new people, play with guys and girls from all over the world, and it helped inspire me to start this website. I can literally say that this game has impacted me more than any game before it. Thanks, Destiny!
AUTHOR’S NOTE: There are a TON of great games I left off of this list, but I feel like I did a good job of narrowing it down to the games that impacted me most. I am sure that after posting this I will regret not putting games like Bioshock, the Jak and Daxter series, or even some of the real oldies I was into, like the Sierra PC games, on this list. Keeping a top games list down to 10 is tough, so take it easy on me in the comments 😉
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