I have done it! I have finally created a new favorite games list. You can look back a few weeks and find my old favorite games list, but that is currently outdated. I have been extremely introspective over the last few weeks and thinking long and hard about what it means to be a gamer. Especially about what gaming means to me. One of my life long goals is to create my own video game, but in order to do that I need to first understand which games have had the most impact on me.
If you look back at my list from about a month or two ago you will see some really great games. In order to create that list I looked through metacritic and gamerankings, in order to accurately relate my games to critical reception. I was basically researching whether or not critics would agree with my list. I have come to realize that review scores are missing a huge part of what makes video games fun – the experience. Video games are not experience in isolation, we play them with people, communities are created around specific games, and gaming moments could be tied with important moments from our lives.
Games have played an important role throughout my life. Is the story in God of War impactful and well written? Certainly. Does that alone make it a good game? I once played custom games on Halo 4 with Brian, some friends from high school, and some strangers. We played custom maps and game modes late into the night, and it has become one of my favorite memories. We still talk about the Lone Donut and all his Gamerscore to this day. When deciding on my favorite game I leaned more into the subjective experiences that I had while playing them. Even though God of War has a great story, I don’t really enjoy the combat or moment to moment gameplay (and Kratos paddles wrong!). Maybe it received a 10/10 from IGN, but it is not even on my top 100 favorite games list.
I don’t mean to hate on God of War, the game is fun. It just doesn’t mean anything to me and I can’t imagine myself thinking about or wanting to play it again in 10 years. Spoiler alert there are only two games on my list that are less than a decade old.
Let us talk about the list. If you have read this far into my ramblings than I am glad you are still with us. But you should also know that I will not be releasing my list of favorite games today. I will be writing one post for the next 27 days discussing one of my favorite games from the list. My list has 27 games on it because I am currently 27 years old. Later this year when I gain another year I will add another game to my list. Some of the criteria that I focused on when deciding the list included:
- Great gameplay
- Easily repetitive
- Can practice and improve
- Intrinsically rewarding
- Simple storyline
- Play time feels rewarding
- Easy to learn, difficult to master
- Great music
This might seem like a bit of nonsense, but my philosophy when deciding the list was simple. Pick games that are important to me. I did not care about review scores, what was streamed on twitch, or how long I spent playing each game. I may have put 1000 hours into Destiny, but a lot of that time was spent in frustration and even strained my real world relationships. There are a lot of Nintendo games on the list and there are a lot of games that are difficult to categorize because they are so unique. What I found is that I love a game that gives me freedom to explore. A game that centers around awesome gameplay mechanics with a sprinkle of competitive elements, a dash of customization, and the ability to play the game over and over again is what I long for.
Many of the games on my list are best played with friends. I realize that I miss the days of split-screen battles that raged during sleep overs. Lately I have become obsessed with just reaching the credits of every game I played, rather than stopping and thinking about my own personal enjoyment. Rather than ask my girlfriend to play a few rounds of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, I am too busy trying to beat the last level in Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. Creating this list I have had to reexamine what I am looking for through gaming. This has helped me understand what I enjoy through interactive entertainment, it is okay if you really enjoy something different than me. In fact that variety of gaming experiences are what make video games such a great hobby. There is always a game for someone!
So for the next 27 days join me on a journey through my favorite games. I am looking forward to sharing my gaming memories with you. The list is always changing, and I even had a new thought while writing this that forced me to alter the list slightly. Changes will happen constantly as I grow and learn more about games and myself, but for now I am excited to share what I believe to be some of my favorite games of all time.
Tomorrow’s game: Track & Field (1983) Konami
Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks