On Thursday I posted an article concerning my top 10 video games of all time, which was inevitably going to be an article that was steeped in controversy. After a lot of feed back I decided that I would do a follow up article to attempt to do some clarification and answer some of the questions I have been getting.
It should be remembered (because people often forget) that video games are entertainment and are played for enjoyment. Enjoyment is purely subjective and therefore purely personal. What I find fun, some people will not. That is the way of life. A perfect example is The Only Way is Essex, and although I cannot fathom how anyone sane can enjoy that programme, it is a Bafta Award Winning show. The same can be said for video games. Have you ever been in a video games store and wondered (when looking at their selection of video games) who the hell buys some of those games? I know I have. The answer is someone. Someone out there enjoys the things you can’t understand, so just deal with it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How did you decide on the criteria for your top 10?
A. It was extremely difficult to decide which criteria I would go with for this particular list. However, after talking to some of my friends it was clear that when it came to a top 10 video games list, the different criteria would alter the list so dramatically that they could actually be completely separate lists. So instead we looked at the different kind of lists you could have in this area.
Top 10 Most Influential Video Games
Top 10 Best Selling Video Games
Top 10 Most Anticipated Video Games
Top 10 Hardest Video Games
Top 10 Most Innovative Video Games
Top 10 Most Played Video Games
As you can see, there are many different kinds of lists you can have when it comes to video games. I really wanted to do a list of my own favourite video games, but felt that some kind of value system was required. I decided that in order for a game to make my own top 10 list, it would have to be all of the following:
A) Be great (to me).
B) Have re-playability.
C) Be truly timeless.
D) Be the best of its franchise.
I would like to clarify: my list was purely subjective and takes into account my criteria only. The games in the list are not necessarily the best selling, most influential, most anticipated, hardest, most innovative or most played, and if they happen to fit into any of those categories also it was purely happenstance.
Q. Did you pick a particular decade or is it just coincidence that all of the games from your top 10 are from the 00′s onwards?
A. Purely coincidence. There were many games that came extremely close to getting in the top 10 that were from before the 00′s such as: Ocarina of Time, Mega Man 2, Power Stone, Super Mario 64, Baldur’s Gate, Goldeneye, The Legend of Zelda, Golden Axe and Sonic Adventure just to name a few!
Q. How did you decide on platform?
A. They just happened to be the platforms on which I owned the game, nothing more.
My Top 10: Defined
I’m not going to go into detail about every single game that is missing from my top 10, but I have provided some of my reasoning for the games that are in my top 10 below.
- Batman: Arkham City (Xbox 360)
This was an easy one as Rocksteady Studio’s Batman series was always going to make the top 10, I just had to decide which one. Batman: Arkham Asylum was easily the best Super Hero game that I ever played, completely embracing the character of Batman and merging not just an amazing story but also the most fluid combat system I’d ever experienced into one glorious union. The level of detail that Rocksteady poured into the game through unlockables and easter eggs was a fanboys dream. The only thing that could ever beat Batman, was Batman. Batman: Arkham City did everything that Asylum did but more. It gave us a completely open world, more stealth, more great story, more unlockables, characters that we all recognised and loved and most importantly it made us feel like Batman.
- Dishonored (Xbox 360)
This is a controversial one. When I first played Dishonored in October 2012, I immediately fell in love. It ticked all the boxes for me: stealth, fluid combat, freedom, beautifully written Orwellian story of betrayal and redemption and all wrapped up in an immersive steampunk drenched metropolis. Dishonored allowed you to beat the levels with complete freedom. After I got to grips with the core mechanics of the game, I actually felt like I was Corvo, with the power to strike down my foes from the darkness and the unbreakable vow of vengeance against my betrayers resting firmly on my shoulders. The whole game just felt epic and had infinite re-playability. I stand by my decision to have this in my top 10 and think that this is one of the greatest games of my generation.
- Halo 3 (Xbox 360)
Halo 3 was another easy one and another game where I had to decide on which of the series could make the cut. For me it was Halo 3 because it felt like the most complete Halo package. It had a solid campaign and great multiplayer and even after Halo Reach came out I found myself going back to play some of the old maps.
- Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360)
Mass Effect 2 makes the cut for a number of reasons, but mainly due to its gloriously epic story. The first Mass Effect did a great job of introducing us to the protagonist and the universe, but the gameplay was lacking in a number of areas. Mass Effect 2 took everything broken from the first game and either improved it or scrapped it (no more driving around aimlessly!) and then took everything that was great about the first game and made it even better. The final sequence of Mass Effect 2 is the best example of cause and effect storylines and one of the best final sequences I have ever played (anyone who has played it will know exactly what I’m talking about). Do I think Mass Effect 3 is worse than Mass Effect 2? No. Do I think that the story is better? Definitely.
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2)
This was one of the hardest choices to make when it came to picking the best of a franchise because I absolutely love every single Metal Gear Solid game from the series. It really came down to either Sons of Liberty or MGS4 and in the end I felt that Sons of Liberty not only had a lot more re-playability, but also had a much better story. Don’t get me wrong, 4 had some of the best cut scenes in any video game, but it was also fairly complicated (as all the endings came to a finish) so Sons of Liberty had a more complete feel (with a glorious twist at the end). Also, Sons of Liberty has Raiden and although a lot of MGS fans hate him, I had great fun with him.
- Minecraft (PC)
Easy pick. Minecraft is the greatest game that has ever been made and anyone who disagrees has absolutely no imagination and needs to be crushed to death under the weight of a domesticated rhino.
- Oblivion (Elder Scrolls IV) (PC)
Nothing controversial here. Oblivion took everything that Morrowind did so elegantly, added Patrick Stewart and immediately made it more epic. For me, this was the greatest free roaming game that had ever been made and coupled complete immersion with breathtaking scenery and a score taken straight from epics like Lord of the Rings. A genuine masterpiece of gaming.
- Portal (PC)
As with Minecraft, anyone questioning why this is in the top 10 needs to watch Zero Punctuation’s review of Portal as we are of the same opinion (skip to 3:28).
- Super Smash Bros Melee (Gamecube)
Super Smash Bros Melee took everything brilliant with the Nintendo franchise at the time and smashed it together with a force to rival the Large Hadron Collider. Instead of discovering the Higgs Boson, I instead discovered a world where Donkey Kong could punch Mario so hard that literally disappeared. With the cleanest graphics of its time and an absolutely phenomenal multiplayer mode that was unbelievably difficult to put down, Smash Bros Melee is easily one of the best multiplayer games of my generation. With tons of levels, characters and options (not to mention all of those bloody trophies!) this game has ultimate re-playability. Is it better than Smash Bros Brawl? Yes. In every sense.
- Skyrim (Elder Scrolls V) (PC)
I broke my own rules. I found it so difficult to pick between Oblivion and Skyrim that in the end I just gave up and decided that they both had to be in top 10. I have no idea how Bethesda did it, but they took their masterpiece Oblivion, put it in a Scandinavian setting, added dragons and made me fall in love all over again. Everything about Skyrim is epic. The dragon shouts also provide some of the funniest black humour I have ever experienced in a game. Lead those pesky Frost Troll up to the top of a mountain and then Fus Ro Dah them off the edge for being so bloody annoying. Or you could spawn 1000 cheese wheels and laugh yourself into a coma as they roll down the mountain and destroy everything in their path. You could also do what the guys over at Rooster Teeth did and perform trick shots with cabbages!
At the time of this article, I have played just under 550 hours on Skyrim (PC & Xbox 360 combined) so it goes without saying that the game has re-playability!
So there you have it. Hopefully this has provided some insight into how my list came into fruition. If it hasn’t and you still aren’t satisfied with my list, I suggest you write your own list and post it in the comments section below (or eat some cake and feel better).