This is a list of some of my personal favorite games, and some of the best games I’ve ever played. I have a very long list of games I’ve yet to play, so if your favorite game isn’t up here let me know and I’ll be sure to give it a look.
For the sake of brevity, I’m going to stick with my top ten. Because, let’s face it, we all know there are more than a hundred games out there fully worth mentioning. I also decided to keep with games that I’ve played recently, because I find it difficult to talk about a game I haven’t played in ten years.
10. Pharaoh and Cleopatra
Created by Impressions Games and published by Sierra Entertainment for PC, Pharaoh is an isometric strategy and simulation city-building game. The story begins in 3500BC, where you are the city elder and get to watch the city grow around you. The game follows your family through the dynasties until, eventually, you play as the Pharaoh.
I know this game does not appear on most popular lists, but this is one of my favorite games. The puzzle like nature and growing difficulty of strategy (how to build the city, how to make money, etc.) make this game heavily addictive. On top of that, the game is historically accurate, hitting all the major periods, dynasties, and events that we know about. I’m a sucker for historical accuracy, and I’m a sucker for puzzles. I love this game.
This is arguably the most addictive game I’ve ever played. A block-world sandbox indie game, there is a certain sort of genius behind this. I can spend hours on this game and do, essentially, nothing. I mean, I also have to note what this game did for the indie game industry. Because, wow. It managed to get over a million downloads less than a month after publishing with no publisher backing and no advertisement other than word of mouth. On top of being extremely fun, it also shows just how awesome the gaming community is.
8. The Sims
The Sims, if you haven’t heard of it, is primarily a computer game (available for PC and Mac) where you can make people called ‘sims’ and play out their wishes and desires until they die. As a sandbox game, a game with no defined goals, it has the capacity to be ridiculously addictive. So far, we’ve gotten 3 major installments with dozens of expansion and stuff packs and several console and handheld versions of the game. On top of that, there is a whole community creating mods for the game. It is a game where you can pretty much do whatever you want.
Of the Sims games, my favorite has to be The Sims 2. In both 2 and 3, I’ve spent more time modding the game than actually playing it. But what I love about the 2nd one over the 3rd one is the ultimate control you can have over a family and a city. In the Sims 3, there are so many options in create a sim and build, but you can’t have full control over a city. You can do this in the Sims 2, and it makes every thing that much more fun.
If you or someone you know has ever played the sims, I’m sure you know that feel of ‘I’m going to play the game for a little while’ and suddenly eight hours have gone by.
7. Fallout: New vegas
This serves to represent the entire Fallout series. Because, although I know they are all great games, this is the only one I’ve actually played. A post-apocalyptic open-world action RPG, New Vegas follows the Courier – your character, who is hired to deliver a package and is intercepted and shot in the head. The package is, of course, stolen. And the Courier sets out for revenge (and to recover the package) getting caught between warring factions fighting to control the desert in the process. It takes place in the year 2281, four years after the events of Fallout 3 (though not a direct sequel) and 204 years after the great war of 2077. It really is a cool concept. And with the style of the characters and the nature of the weapons (i.e. a razor) it makes for a really fun game.
6. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
We must include a game that begins with the player playing as Darth Vader. After that bit, you play as Starkiller, Vader’s secret apprentice. The story kicks off when Vader tells Starkiller to kill the remaining Jedi to help in the ultimate goal of killing the Emperor (so Vader can rule the galaxy, of course). Taking place between episodes 3 and 4, the story chronicles the start of the rebel alliance (which Starkiller was essentially sent to start to distract Palpatine). This is definitely one of the coolest games I’ve every played, allowing for Star Wars related squees and geekgasms. And the second game is arguably cooler.
5. The Elder Scrolls
As far as game play, Skyrim is my favorite of the series. As far as story and general enjoyment, I’d have to give it to Oblivion. The Elder Scrolls will always have a place in my heart, having done so much for RPGs (my favorite genre of gaming) and giving me the opportunity to play as a dark elf assassin/thief/mage cluster hero of grey moral standing. I love it. A fantasy action RPG, you can chose from several different races (including cat people, lizard people, three kinds of elves, orcs, and more) and pretty much equip yourself with whatever weapon and/or magic combination that suits you. You can pretty much play these games however you want, and I’m about that life.
4. Batman: Arkham Asylum
This represents the entire Arkham series of games. This game had a lot going for it. One, Batman. The greatest superhero to ever live (I will accept no arguments). Two, all of my favorite Batman villains running wild in one place. Including The Joker. Oh yes, this is my type of game. Playing as Batman, after capturing the Joker you become suspicious that he meant to be captured, and accompany him into the asylum. Harley Quinn takes over the prison security, and the game goes from there. It’s not only very well done, but generally just an escapade of badassery.
3. Assassin’s Creed II
Though I quite enjoy the entire series, Assassin’s Creed II is easily my favorite of the games. That is 85% due to how much I love Ezio, the lead character. If you didn’t gather by the top games, I love big-story and I love great characters. This game gives me both. As, as previously stated, I’m a sucker for history. This game is described as a ‘historical-fiction action-adventure open world stealth video game’. The technical main character of the game is Desmond Miles, still trapped by Obstergo (immediately after the events of the first game). The game opens as you escape from Obstergo, and eventually end up in an old building still in search of the Pieces of Eden in order to save the world. To complete his training as an assassin, Desmond enters the animus again to experience the life of his ancestor, Ezio Auditore da Firenze (one of the greatest assassins who ever lived). They also seek to learn what exactly he hid in the vaults (as well as how to get it). and this part of the story continues in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. All this against the backdrop of the Renaissance. The game, as many of the Assassin’s games, includes one of my favorite characters in history as a major player: Leonardo da Vinci. It also has great game play, extremely interesting story, and I just generally quite enjoy it.
2. Mass Effect
The science fiction action third person shooter role-playing game from BioWare. In my humble opinion, this is technically a better game than my #1 (and arguably the best game on this list). The series is wonderfully written and developed, with huge story and great characters. I will admit, it remains the only game to
destroy me emotionally make me cry. The trilogy follows the story of war-hero Shepard, a human living in galactic society. The first game takes place in 2183, 35 years after humans discovered old alien tech on Mars and managed to leave the solar system for the first time, and 26 years after the first contact war. Humans have risen dramatically in power in galactic society (called Citadel Space) since then (much to the dismay of other aliens). Mass Effect begins as the experimental human-turian ship, the Normandy SSV is sent to retrieve and ancient artifact from the human colony Eden Prime. Shepard is also being tested to become the first human spectre (sort of the galactic police force). The artifact reveals to Shepard visions of a mass extinction across the galaxy, and the entire story follows Shepard trying to stop this from happening. Filled with blatant badassery as well as politics and social realities, Mass Effect is a truly great game. Personally, I prefer playing as FemShep. It makes the story more fun for me, allows me to romance my favorite character (Garrus) and gives me one of the best voice actors in the entire series. On top of that, I love the ending to Mass Effect 3. 100% love this series.
1. Dragon Age
Scroll through my blog to 2 seconds, and it becomes very apparent that my love fro Dragon Age has 100% transcended obsession. Big story, big character, and lots of lore – and I could recite it all just based on hours of reading through codex entries and Dragon Age Wiki. A fantasy RPG (also from BioWare), it follows the world of Thedas in the chaos that is the Dragon Age. At the end of each age (hundred year periods) the leader of the chantry, the Divine, declares the name of the new age. She was going to call it the Sun Age (that would certainly make for a different game), but in 8.99 Blessed, Dragons were sighted in the Frostback Mountains. It was called the Dragon Age and predicted to be an age of violence and upheaval. Which, so far, as proved true. In Origins (the first game) you choose from one of 3 races (elf, dwarf, human) and 6 origins stories. You play through this origin, each one ending with your character, The Warden, because Grey Warden – warriors tasked with defeating blights. There is a new blight (the last one having been 400 years before the start of the story) which you play through with a very interesting cast of playable and non-playable characters to the end, wherein you defeat the blight and become the Hero of Ferelden. The game takes place from 9.30 to 9.31 Dragon. The second game has you playing as the human Hawke, who fled the blight in Ferelden to the city-state of Kirkwall where there is a growing mage rebellion. It takes place from 9.30 to 9.37 Dragon. The third game picks up in 9.40 Dragon and follows the fallout from the events of Dragon Age 2, in an all out war between the mages and templars.
There are many things that make this game, in my eyes, unique from other similar fantasy stories. While the treatment of dwarves is basically classic (save for the fact that female dwarves are distinctly female, just stockier and curvier than the other races) the treatment of elves is not. In this world, the elves are not revered. After centuries of war and slavery, they have lost their culture and rights to the humans, and most of them live in slums within human cities. In most of Thedas, it is actually illegal to hurt a human to defend an elf and they are overwhelming not even considered people. On top of the that, the mages in the world are forced to live within prisons regulated by templars. The templars can, at any time, invoke the right of annulment and kill every mage inside the tower. These sorts of heavy social issues within the game, as well as compelling characters and story, makes for an amazing experience.