Yesterday, I responded to Megan from A Geeky Gal’s challenge to discuss my favorite manga or comic series. Today, the Geek Out prompt is for me to talk about my very favorite topic: Video games. Unfortunately, I have actually discussed this topic more than once before. I guess that just means that I’ll have to do a list of my favorite video games in order to properly respond to this question. While my initial thought was to just list off my top ten, I realized that I have far more than ten games that I completely adore.
I’ve been debating posting a top 100 video games of all time list for a while, but I always feel like I haven’t played enough games yet to warrant it. While I do enjoy everything on the list as it stands right now, the first few titles definitely have some notable flaws in them that are difficult to ignore. Ultimately, however, I’ve decided to just go for it. I can always update the list every six months or so in order to slowly replace some of the titles that I’m a little lukewarm towards with games I’m unabashedly in love with over the coming years. An additional factor in my decision to post this list now is that I am in the early stages of creating a series celebrating this console generation, which will be a different enough list that I want to make sure that my overall top 100 that I have been meticulously planning out over the past few months doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
Here are a few quick disclaimers before we dive into the list. First of all, I don’t put games on my top 100 until I’ve beaten them. Therefore, a lot of my favorite childhood experiences aren’t here because I was bad at video games and couldn’t finish them. Secondly, my opinions of games change rapidly. Sometimes, nostalgia kicks in and I remember something differently, for better or for worse. This is just a blanket statement that I am using to explain why I may give one game a higher review score than another, but end up with the lower-scored title in a better position on the list. Finally, since I don’t want this to be a novel-length post, I’m going to try my hardest to keep each entry down to a few sentences, but if people want to hear more about an individual entry, let me know in the comments below and I might make a separate post about some titles!
100. A Hat in Time
A Hat in Time is a collectathon platformer that is meant to make people nostalgic for the old Mario and Banjo-Kazooie titles. It plays like one, for better and for worse. There’s a lot of charm here and Hat Kid is adorable, but the camera leaves a lot to be desired and the controls are a bit spotty. I have a review here for more information.
99. Borderlands 2
I love the Borderlands franchise, but the second game has never been as interesting to me as it is for others. None of the classes ever felt quite right for my preferred playstyle. Still, I’ve had a ton of fun playing it with my friends and the story is still as fun and wacky as ever, so it gets a spot on this list!
98. HIVESWAP: Act 1
If I ever get to see the remaining acts of this story, then HIVESWAP has the potential to become one of my favorite games, as it’s one of the most fun point-and-click adventures that I have ever played. Until that point, it remains lower on the list simply because it hasn’t been completed yet. There was a post on the title’s Steam page just a few weeks ago, which gives me hope that I may see more eventually!
97. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
I didn’t find Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning quite as engaging as others did. The combat is absolutely top-notch, playing very similarly to an MMORPG. This is definitely the reason I pushed through the seventy-hour adventure, as the story did not hold my attention in the slightest. I would recommend playing it on hard, as the difficulty does not hold up over time.
96. Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories
Disgaea 2 got a bit of a bad break, as I played it right after the first entry in this tactical RPG series. While it is a perfectly decent game on its own, I liked the story and characters a lot more in the first title, so I’m probably unnecessarily hard on it.
95. The Sims 4
The Sims, as a franchise, has been a preferred time-waster of mine for years. Of the entries I have played, however, I found that The Sims 4 is my least favorite, as it lacks a lot of the personality and charm that the earlier entries had. The character creation is absolutely phenomenal, but the traits and abilities that Sims can have are so simplified that everyone comes out acting more or less the same.
94. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
If I played Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons for the first time today, I would probably love it. Unfortunately, I played it as I was just starting to get a feel for the indie game genre. My game tastes just weren’t at a point for me to truly get drawn into the experience, which led it to be a frustrating title with a cool ending.
Bastion had a very similar issue to Brothers. I think I may actually replay this in the future and write about whether my opinions have changed, because this was both my first indie and isometric title, which really hurt my overall experience. Since I adore indie titles now, and isometric ARPGs are one of my favorite genres to play from, I think Bastion was simply in my life at the wrong time.
92. Grim Dawn
Grim Dawn played a critical role in helping me learn how much I love isometric ARPGs. Unfortunately, it’s actually what helped me learn some of the mechanics that I didn’t love. I did enjoy the leveling mechanics and story, but the world and enemies had little variance, leading to a lot of tedium as I wiped out large hordes of enemies.
91. Her Story
I love what Her Story tried to do on paper more than its actual execution of its mechanics. The premise is that the player is searching a police database to decide if someone is a criminal, which is a unique concept. While I was definitely engaged with the story as I searched for bits and pieces that would lead to more snippets of inromation, I found myself quickly just typing random words in, trying to find the last few videos that I hadn’t seen yet.
90. Darkside Detective
One thing that I have learned to love in recent years is a good mystery game. Darkside Detective is a hilarious point-and-click adventure following a detective who hunts down supernatural crime. There is a really fun story here, though the pace sometimes gets bogged down by puzzles that are just a bit too difficult to solve, leading to a lot of brute-force puzzle solving by putting random objects together in hopes of advancing the plot.
89. Spyro the Dragon
Here’s a good story: As a child, I loved Spyro the Dragon. I got all the way to the end, but I couldn’t actually beat the final boss, which haunted me for years to come. As an adult, I decided to play the remastered version, figuring that I was a grown-up now, so I wouldn’t have any trouble playing this child’s game. Well, I got to the final boss…and still couldn’t beat it. Thankfully, I have a lot more sticktoitiveness now than I did when I was four, so after hours of effort, I beat the boss and finally had the opportunity to see the ending of the game. In summary, Spyro the Dragon is a really good game with an incredibly frustrating final boss.
88. Kathy Rain
Kathy Rain is a good example of how minds process puzzles differently. I put off playing this point-and-click detective adventure for years because I had heard it had some really difficult puzzles. When I finally played it, however, I struggled a little, but I didn’t find it to be nearly as difficult as other titles in the genre. Meanwhile, people don’t think Darkside Detective is difficult, and that one had me beating my head against the wall. I don’t know how that happens, but I find it interesting. I have a review of Kathy Rain here.
87. Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice
Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice was the very first game in the franchise that I actually beat, and I don’t think that was the greatest call. While I really did enjoy the game, there isn’t nearly enough post-game content to warrant the endless grinding this title has on offer, especially compared to other entries in the franchise. I want the option to put hundreds of hours into my tactical RPGs, and this entry didn’t feel up to the task.
When I first heard about Tacoma, I was a little hesitant to play it. I really didn’t like Gone Home, which was the development team’s first game. That said, the space setting sounded cool, so I picked it up and actually really enjoyed it. In particular, I liked the scope of the story. Instead of following one character’s story like in Gone Home, this game expands to showing off the interactions between a small group of people, which made me feel far more attached to solving the mystery of why they all disappeared.
85. Last Day of June
The first thing that I want to say here is that I love the art style of this weird little puzzle title, which is what attracted me to it before I even had a chance to learn about the plot. Regardless, the plot is what ultimately hooked me. This is a title that plays out like Groundhog Day, as a man tries to prevent a tragic event from occurring by living out the day repeatedly and rearranging different aspects of the world. It’s short and emotional, so definitely pick it up and give it a try.
84. The Sims 3
The Sims 3 was a pretty controversial game at the time, but I loved it. While I do prefer micromanaging the individual lives of my Sims instead of the more household-oriented style of the third entry, I learned to adapt and still had a lot of fun. This is probably the entry in the series that I put the most time into, even though it isn’t my overall favorite, mostly because I played it a lot during my first year of college.
83. Subsurface Circular
On paper, Subsurface Circular doesn’t sound like it should be good. It’s a visual novel about a detective robot that is forced to ride a subway train and can’t get off of it. While that description may sound weird or dull, believe me when I say that it’s not. Bithell Games does a phenomenal job of taking a crazy concept with huge moral implications and distilling it down to a two-hour experience that is still on my mind to this day.
82. Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You
Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You takes George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and turns the player into Big Brother. The primary story is that an organization is working to uncover the culprit behind a terrorist attack by going through the online footprints of various potential suspects. Through social media, blog posts, and call histories, a story is slowly pieced together, though the most brilliant part is that the ultimate result of the investigation is ultimately on the player. Whether particular pieces of information are entered into evidence or not is up for debate, which can lead to drastically different stories being told.
81. Nier: Automata
Nier: Automata is a really weird game to discuss. On the one hand, the combat is absolutely phenomenal and the soundtrack is one of my favorites of all-time. At the same time, however, I’m not sure if I actually liked playing it. It’s a pet peeve of mine when I am forced to play through the same basic experience multiple times in order to achieve the “true ending”, which is exactly what this title makes the player do. It’s still on this list for all of the things it does right, but there’s definitely a lot that I didn’t love, as well. I have a full review here.
80. The Stanley Parable
One thing that this top 100 list should bring to light is that I definitely enjoy trying weird games because, even when they don’t turn out to be a new favorite, I always leave with an interesting experience. The Stanley Parable is definitely a good example of a weird game done right. Once I had played through this walking simulator once, listening to the narrator discuss everything that I was doing, I knew that I wanted to try “tricking” him by playing several more times in all manner of quirky ways. It was incredibly fun to push the boundaries of what I was allowed to do and see how the narrator would react, and I definitely plan on going back to it and trying to achieve a few of the other quirky endings in the future.
79. Spy Fox in: Dry Cereal
Spy Fox in: Dry Cereal is on this list because of pure childhood nostalgia. I played through this game countless times as a kid and it was definitely among my favorite edutainment titles. Since I played this in the days before I could easily look up answers on the internet, I had some weird experiences. For example, I got to this fun minigame one time as a child, but couldn’t figure out how to set up the branching storylines properly to ever get back to it, leading me to repeatedly play through the game in hopes of seeing it again. I did actually give this a try as an adult and, while it certainly doesn’t hold up perfectly, it is still a pretty fun point-and-click adventure title.
78. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
The only reason that The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit doesn’t get to be in a way better position on this list is that it is basically a playable teaser for Life is Strange 2. It’s such a beautiful and emotional experience and, given that it’s free, I recommend that anyone debating getting into this franchise give it a try.
Forager combines so many elements I love into one beautiful package with its weird combination of the resource collection and idle genres. I have a full analysis piece all written up and ready to be posted in the near future, so I will be discussing this in far more detail later. For now, I’ll just say that it feels like a game that was made for me specifically, even if it has some flaws that I hope get improved with future updates.
76. Mirror’s Edge
Given that this is my personal list, I can be totally honest about the reasons that I love certain games, even if it makes no sense to anyone else, right? Well, I love Mirror’s Edge because I love the song that plays at the end of the game. That’s really it. The platforming is fine, but nothing special, and the storyline is pretty forgettable. Still, every time I think about this game, I hear “Still Alive” by Lisa Miskovsky in my head and it makes me so giddy that I fall in love with the game all over again. Soundtracks and scores can absolutely make or break a game, with Mirror’s Edge being definitive proof of that, in my eyes.
75. Life is Strange: Before the Storm
Life is Strange: Before the Storm takes place before the events of the original Life is Strange. I love this game because it gives me the ability to learn a lot more about Chloe and Rachel Amber, but I also hate it for raising far more questions than it answers. It’s a really great addition for fans of the series, though, so I would recommend picking it up immediately after finishing the first game.
74. Spyro: Year of the Dragon
This is the only Spyro title that I actually beat as a child, instead of going back and finishing it as an adult. I don’t know if Spyro: Year of the Dragon is easier than its predecessors, or if I simply liked it a lot more, but I got completely addicted to this title. Since I didn’t own a Nintendo 64, I couldn’t play the standout titles on that platform, which means that this title is the one to beat when it comes to collectathon platformers.
73. Tomb Raider (2013)
I loved the old-school Tomb Raider titles as a child, as I watched my mom play through them. In fact, I even attempted to play around in Lara Croft’s mansion myself, though I wasn’t quite coordinated enough to do much. Still, since I have never beaten any of the titles personally, I haven’t put them on this list. What I have played through, however, is the 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider, which is simply wonderful. The horror vibes that this game gave me kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through, wondering what terrible event was going to occur next. Also, I started keeping track of the number of ways Lara Croft absolutely should have died but, because she is the protagonist, she is apparently invincible.
72. The Sims 2
Here we are: My favorite Sims title. The Sims 2 is my childhood. In addition to owning it on PC, I had the base game on my PS2, as well as the Pets and Castaways spinoffs on my PSP. I’m kind of lumping all of them together for the purpose of this post, as I can’t entirely remember which ones I loved best or played most. Overall, what I can say definitively is that I love the individual character management that this entry allowed, as well as how unique each individual Sim could be based on their combination of personality traits. The PSP titles had terrible loading times, but they got me through so many long car trips, so I have a special place in my heart for the mobile entries.
71. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
I had heard some pretty terrible things about Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days before I started playing it, which had me really concerned about whether I would enjoy it. Well, I actually loved it. While the franchise definitely feels clunkier on the DS compared to its console counterparts and the stealth segments were absolutely unnecessary, I had a lot of fun. In particular, I appreciated the story told here, as I got to learn a lot more about Axel and Roxas than we get from the few hours we see them in Kingdom Hearts II.
70. The Unfinished Swan
I played The Unfinished Swan in one sitting on my PlayStation Vita. It’s a weird walking simulator with light puzzle elements, and in hindsight, I think the weird aspects come from the fact that it very much plays like a prototype of What Remains of Edith Finch, which is what the developers would end up creating next. The unique mechanics that wind up in Edith Finch are clearly in their formative state in this strange title. It’s not a perfect experience, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to try something utterly unique.
69. Call of Duty: Black Ops
Call of Duty is definitely my husband’s franchise. He buys every new entry on release day and plays them for hundreds of hours. While I haven’t played too many myself, when we first started dating, I wanted to understand why he loves them so much, so I picked up a few of the games and played through the campaigns. Call of Duty: Black Ops was my first experience and it was truly a wild ride. This campaign has an absolutely wild plot twist and it honestly shocked me. I’m not going to spoil it here, but I would definitely recommend experiencing the twist for yourself.
68. Assassin’s Creed II
Assassin’s Creed II took me five years to finish, which is a fact that I have mentioned before in other posts. The fundamental problem is that I don’t enjoy stealth games, but I love Ezio and had to see the end of the story for myself. Therefore, I would play a few missions, get stuck, and then put the game down for six months. In spite of the strange way that I experienced it, I absolutely adored the game and actually grew to like stealth a lot more because of it. While it still isn’t my favorite genre, I don’t automatically ignore a game that I am otherwise interested in because I hear it has stealth elements in it.
67. Doki Doki Literature Club
I actually got the opportunity to experience Doki Doki Literature Club before I knew more about it, so I’m not going to spoil the fun for anyone who may not have heard about this visual novel yet. Just play it, because I promise it’s worth it.
66. Mini Metro
When I bought Mini Metro, I thought it was a management title, similar to Railroad Tycoon. While I turned out to be incredibly wrong, I’m not upset about it. As it turns out, this is actually a puzzle game built around finding the most efficient way to drop passengers off at different stations, and it is simultaneously one of the most relaxing and stressful experiences of my life. The graphics and sound effects lulled me into a false sense of security before the chaos started, and then I was frantically moving my tracks around, trying to optimize my crowd control as much as possible. Every time I failed to hit the target that I set for myself, I immediately wanted to dive in and do better in the next round.
65. Quarantine Circular
Quarantine Circular is the sequel to Subsurface Circular, taking place in the same universe, but having a different story and cast of characters. Once again, this game takes some big science fiction questions and allows the player to experiment with the moral implications at play through a short visual novel. Both games are relatively equal in quality, but I enjoyed the choices I had to make more in Quarantine, so this is my preferred entry in the series.
64. Orcs Must Die!
Since I don’t often finish tower defense games, there aren’t many on this list, but they’re one of my favorite casual genres to play when I want to watch TV. Orcs Must Die! is a unique title, as it adds in some direct control. Players are able to both set traps and directly kill orcs themselves. I had a blast trying to come up with new trap combinations that I could use to clear a level more efficiently and, while I haven’t finished it yet, I am currently partway through the co-op campaign of the sequel with my husband and it’s every bit as amazing as the first entry in the series.
63. Mass Effect: Andromeda
I know that a lot of people hate Mass Effect: Andromeda, but I am not one of them. It’s nowhere near as good as the original trilogy, but since Shepard’s story is regularly considered one of the best in gaming, what follow-up could have lived up to the fond memories players have of the original titles? The gunplay was good, the biotic powers felt responsive, and the characters were a lot of fun to learn more about. While the story is weaker than I would have preferred, even that kept me engaged enough to finish the game relatively quickly. Mass Effect: Andromeda may have been a bad Mass Effect game, but that doesn’t make it a bad overall experience.
62. Slime Rancher
Slime Rancher may win as the cutest game that I have ever played in my entire life. The premise is in the title: Players go around a large open world and pick up slimes to keep at a ranch. There is a really addicting gameplay loop here of picking up the slimes, collecting materials from them, and then using those materials to buy more items to raise even more slimes that kept me hooked for dozens of hours. This is actually one of few titles that I go back to regularly and just casually play whenever I need a break, even though I beat it over a year ago.
61. Stories Untold
I’m a coward, so I don’t often play games that are marketed as scary experiences. Unfortunately for me, the central storyline of Stories Untold was so intriguing that I had to finish it, even though this game had me terrified from start to finish. This title is actually four smaller stories told in different ways, where all four revolve around heavily using some sort of text-based input. For example, the first minigame is a text-based adventure where a character explores a haunted house. Believe me, this game will prove that even text-based adventures can be utterly horrifying when given the chance.
60. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is an odd game to rank for me. The main story is absolutely fantastic and far more engaging and interesting than its sequel. At the same time, however, I played this title just a few years ago, and anyone who has played it recently will agree that this is not a game that aged overly well. Still, there’s something oddly compelling about the region of Cyrodiil, no matter how ugly and clunky it may feel by modern standards.
59. Coloring Pixels
If I ever had to point to a single game that I consider to be a guilty pleasure, Coloring Pixels would be it. I wrote more extensively about it here, but overall, painting by numbers is relaxing and I can’t stop playing. In fact, while writing this post, I have been taking breaks with this game in order to give my brain a few quick rests.
58. Saints Row: The Third
The fact that this game is called Saints Row: The Third instead of Saints Row III should give a pretty good indication of exactly what sort of goofy humor is in store for anyone who plays this game. I personally love the Saints Row franchise far more than Grand Theft Auto because of the utterly ridiculous weapons and characters. Even with how silly things can get, there is actually a surprisingly emotional and well-told story at the heart of the game that’s worth experiencing.
57. Torchlight II
I put off playing Torchlight II for years because I didn’t like the more open-world feel of the game, compared to its predecessor’s single-dungeon system. When I finally did get around to it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is definitely a title that will get a replay in the future and may change its position immensely, as an action RPG is only as good as the chosen class, and I don’t think the one I picked worked very well with my playstyle.
56. Puzzle Agent
I started playing Puzzle Agent because the art style caught my eye, and after a while, I ended up genuinely falling in love with it. While I haven’t played the Professor Layton series, stating that this game has a similar logic-based puzzle design is probably the best way to describe what the game is like. It’s just a shame that this was made by TellTale because I love their games and wish I could have seen more of them in the future.
55. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
In case it hasn’t become completely obvious, I really love games that focus heavily on the narrative. Sometimes, all I want is to be told a great story while being fully immersed in a game’s world. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture understands this and delivers with a detailed world and beautiful musical score. There is a really unsettling atmosphere surrounding the idyllic English village in this game, as the player tries to figure out what happened to the people who used to live there. I feel like this title has gone unknown amongst a lot of its peers, so I would definitely recommend giving it a try.
Transistor is part of the reason that I want to give Bastion another try in the future. Given that both titles are made by the same developer, have similar game structures, and both have phenomenal soundtracks, I should have loved them a roughly equal amount. I played Transistor after feeling far more well-versed in the indie game scene, however, which led me to enjoy it far more than its predecessor. Seriously, though, even if the game doesn’t sound that interesting, go find the soundtrack and listen to it, because it’s one of the best gaming has to offer.
53. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
I actually got to the very end of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves in high school, but I was terrible at shooters (and still am, let’s be honest) and couldn’t actually finish it, therefore disqualifying it from this list. I’m mentioning this to point out that, while I have finished Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and it is truly a wonderful game, Uncharted 2 would have been in my top 25 if I had actually beaten the last two hours of it when I was younger. In general, however, I love Nathan Drake and his friends so much. They are some of the most fleshed-out game characters that I have ever come across and I would love to see a full RPG made with them one day with dialogue trees so I can get to know them all better. I’m hoping to pick up the original trilogy’s remasters one day so I can play the rest of the series and see where they all fall on this list.
52. Halo 4
I don’t really like the Halo franchise much except for one exception that I will be getting to later in this list. The reason that the series is on here at all is simply that I enjoyed playing them with my husband. Overall, I liked the direction that the story took with Halo 4, as I think it’s setting up a good ultimate finale for the Master Chief, and it was a lot of fun to experience my husband’s favorite childhood game series alongside him in co-op. Ultimately, however, a running trend in my top 100 is that I don’t like shooters unless they have some sort of RPG mechanic in them, so it’s honestly amazing that I love Halo 4 as much as I do.
51. The Talos Principle
I originally started playing The Talos Principle with no intention on actually finishing it. In reality, I was actually testing the game to see if it was something that I should recommend to my mom or not. Once I started, however, I ended up getting hooked on the mind-bending puzzles. It also helped that I did end up making my mom fall in love with the title, as well, so we could compare notes on how we solved some of the harder challenges in the game, as well as swap theories on what was happening in the strange and abstract main story. It’s definitely a hard puzzler that, in my mind, probably was five hours longer than it needed to be, but it was such a wild ride from start to finish that I absolutely loved it.
50. Thomas Was Alone
Thomas Was Alone wasn’t necessarily the first indie title that I played, as that was probably Bastion, but it was the first one that made me really start paying attention to the genre. I was fascinated by how much could be done in a 2D platformer by simply using squares and rectangles as the main characters. It began to concern me a little bit that I had such attachment to a cast of characters that were literal geometric figures. Thomas Was Alone is proof that a strong story can make just about anything amazing.
49. Valiant Hearts: The Great War
My husband and I were bored one day in college, so I started up Valiant Hearts: The Great War. My original plan was to play it for a few minutes and see if it was worth uninstalling from my Xbox, and this choice turned into an unforgettable experience. We ended up playing almost the entirety of the game in a single evening, all the while learning so many facts about a war not often talked about in school. I would still like to see more titles like this one, covering other political and historical events using a mixture of fun gameplay and collectible items that contain interesting facts about the time period.
48. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
Well, I have finally reached the Danganronpa part of the list, which means I get to talk about one of my absolute favorite game series. Here is the central premise: Fifteen students are being held captive in a high school by an evil mastermind. They are told that they will be there for the rest of their lives until one of them kills someone and gets away with it during an Ace Attorney-style class trial. If the murderer gets voted guilty, he or she dies, but if the wrong person is found guilty, the murderer gets to escape the school and everyone else gets killed. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has my favorite overall cast of characters, which meant I had my heart broken several times when a student I loved turned up dead or ended up killing someone. These games need to be played in order for full effect, so I wouldn’t jump in here, but this is a great addition to the franchise.
47. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
I want to just start off by apologizing to anyone that I have offended for putting The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt at only number 47 on my list. It’s a truly wonderful game and I absolutely adore it, but I know people will wonder why it isn’t in my top ten. Well, I’m still not really convinced that it’s my type of game. While incredibly good, it never really hooked me the way some titles do, leaving me a little underwhelmed with the actual story. I do intend on playing the DLC after a small break, which is why I haven’t posted a grand analysis of the title yet, so my opinions may change in the future.
46. Dragon Age: Inquisition
I have a weird relationship with Dragon Age: Inquisition. While it probably has my favorite cast of characters in any video game I have ever played, the side quests are so tedious that it quickly became infuriating. This is an incredibly padded out journey, and I hate that I love the main story so much that it has to be on this list. Also, that scene where everyone is singing “The Dawn Will Come” is one of my top five gaming moments, which factors into its position, as well.
I remember when Firewatch came out and everyone was really upset over it for some reason, which I will never totally understand. The coolest part is how it manages to avoid the tedium of traditional walking simulators by adding in a dialogue system where the main character speaks to a mysterious voice on his walkie-talkie throughout the journey. It has a great story, strong characters, and a beautiful setting. I spent the entire game awestruck from start to finish, and I can’t wait for the next game from the development team.
44. Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
I still have a few more games in the Disgaea franchise to play before I officially declare Disgaea: Hour of Darkness to be my favorite of the series, but I find it hard to believe that any of the others will beat it. Laharl, Etna, and Flonne are such a fun group of characters and their story strikes a perfect balance between silly and emotional. Seriously, the Red Moon segment of the game is one of the most emotional gaming moments that I have ever experienced. Of course, this doesn’t mean anything if the gameplay isn’t fun, and this game succeeds on that, as well. Leveling up to 9999 is such an addicting grind and it’s a lot of fun to do while watching TV.
43. Ratchet and Clank (2016)
It’s actually amazing how many stories regarding my favorite games start with, “So I was bored one day and decided to play something at random that turned out to be my new favorite game.” This is the case with Ratchet and Clank, as well. I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with this series, but I had never played enough of it to know if I enjoyed it or not. Given that I don’t typically enjoy shooters, I didn’t have high expectations. As it turns out, I was wrong! I played the entire game in one day, and then went part of the way through a new game plus run. The crazy gadgets and colorful worlds hooked me, and now I want to play through some of the older games and see what I have been missing!
42. Super Mario Odyssey
When I said that Spyro: Year of the Dragon was my standard for collectathon platformers, that was because I wanted to set up just how well Super Mario Odyssey delivered. One of my least favorite things about the genre is how a given title will always start off with a lot of freedom, but doesn’t stick to that principle. Early on, if certain challenge doesn’t sound interesting, then players are free to move on and do something else. Usually, however, by the final boss, eighty or ninety percent of the collectibles will need to be picked up in order to finish the game, leading me to have to do all of the dumb quests that I really didn’t want to do the first time. Super Mario Odyssey seems to understand that gamers want different challenges and may enjoy varying types of content because it has so many different moons available to hunt down. This gave me so much freedom to decide what I wanted to tackle, similarly to Spyro: Year of the Dragon allowing me a little more choice with its roughly two-thirds collectible requirement. I appreciate giving the players as much freedom as possible regarding how to play a game, and Super Mario Odyssey was built with that philosophy in mind.
41. Call of Duty: World at War
Call of Duty: World at War is my favorite game in the franchise because the campaign allowed me to use a flamethrower and I thought it was fun. Believe me, if I had a better reason, I would give one.
This is a game about getting a constantly rotating limosuine from point A to point B without crashing, and the story involves goofy FMV cutscenes that feel like they are straight out of the 1990s. Sometimes, I enjoy games because they have deep mechanics and moral implications, and sometimes I enjoy them because they’re fun and mindless. This is a great example of the latter.
39. Horizon Zero Dawn
I remember watching all of the game awards from 2017 pass over Horizon Zero Dawn and it still hurts my soul to this day. This game succeeds on just about every level. It’s got a stunning soundtrack, a beautiful environment, and a story with strong worldbuilding that made me absolutely obsessed with finding every single detail that I could. There is a sequel in the works and I am already dying to get my hands on it, even though it’s probably years away.
38. Ori and the Blind Forest
I avoided playing Ori and the Blind Forest for a long time because I thought it would be too difficult. Honestly, when I finally got around to it, I actually was right about the difficulty being a little much for me. It was far too hard for me to tackle on my own because my strength as a gamer is in RPGs, not platformers or metroidvanias. Thankfully, however, my husband is great at basically any genre of game and was equally in love with the experience, so he was all too eager to take over the controller whenever I got frustrated. Together, we beat the game and the experience was wonderful all around. The story was sweet, the soundtrack gets stuck in my head regularly, and the graphical style is so unique and beautiful. I’m so excited for the sequel to come out next year, even though it will probably be equally difficult and make me feel bad about my gaming abilities.
37. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
If the third Danganronpa game is on this list because it has the strongest cast of characters, the first is here because it has the most atmosphere. This is the only game in the series that legitimately felt like playing a horror game. I was terrified at every corner, afraid that I would turn and see a dead body. Admittedly, I suspect that the first entry in this franchise is the only one that could easily pull off fear, as fans of the series become far too accustomed to the twists and turns of the franchise after one game, but it was still so much fun to play at night with the lights off, even if I usually regretted it when I was trying to fall asleep at night.
Torchlight was my first experience with isometric action RPGs, or “Diablo clones”, and I don’t think I could have ever known that it would introduce me to one of my favorite genres. I’m pretty sure that most people preferred the second game, but I loved going further and further into the main dungeon, trying to find new loot in order to get stronger over time. The second game didn’t give me the same feeling of progression with its change to an open-world style format. While I do wish there was more endgame content available, I had so much fun with this game and I still regularly replay it.
Hue will forever be that game I adore and no one else seems to know about. It’s a metroidvania title centered around using colors (or, in color-blind mode, patterns) to solve puzzles. Basically, players can change the background color, which will make anything in the foreground of that color disappear. The game isn’t overly difficult or unique, but there’s something so charming about it. This is such an amazing game and it deserves so much more love than it gets, so please go play it.
34. Fallout 4
I could, and probably will, write an entire analysis piece on all of the reasons that Fallout 4 really isn’t all that great of an experience. If there is one thing that I can get across in my top 100 list however, it’s that objective facts don’t necessarily mean anything when compared to subjective feelings. There are so many issues with this game and I understand all of them, yet I go back to play more of it all the time. The settlement building system is incredibly broken, but at least it exists, which is all I really care about. Sure, the story is weaker than I would like, but it’s still entertaining enough that I’m willing to put up with it in order to run around the wasteland and shoot irradiated critters. “Good” and “fun” do not necessarily have to go together.
33. What Remains of Edith Finch
I’ve played What Remains of Edith Finch many times over the couple of years that it has been out because I simply can’t get enough of the story. The world is so heavily packed with intricate details that every playthrough allows me to notice some small tidbit that I hadn’t picked up on in my previous runs. The story is only two hours long, so anyone who isn’t certain if it’s worth playing or not should definitely give it a shot.
32. Kingdom Hearts
When I got Kingdom Hearts as a child, I wasn’t good enough at the game to beat it and got stuck in that weird defense battle in Wonderland. It’s a shockingly difficult game to get through, given that its intended audience was actually children. As an adult, however, I finally got the opportunity to finish it and absolutely loved it. Personally, the art style of this game is my favorite of the series, as it really nailed the cartoon vibe that I believe fits the series best, and the music is this perfect blend of traditional Final Fantasy-esque tunes with a Disney twist. I’m hoping to tackle it on proud mode one day, as it will give me the excuse to play it again.
31. Diablo III
After playing through both Torchlight games and Grim Dawn, I realized that I should actually play something from the Diablo franchise at some point. Therefore, I decided to start Diablo III at the start of season seventeen and fell in love. While I didn’t end up completing the season because I found that some of the later challenges weren’t that interesting to me, I had a ton of fun messing around in the campaign and killing tons of enemies. I’m definitely excited to dive into season eighteen when it launches and try a different class, as I still have five others to experience.
30. Life is Strange
I recently wrote about how much I adore the Life is Strange series, so I’m not going to go into too much detail here. All I can say is that I played through this game with my husband and we still theorize about some of the game’s unsolved mysteries to this day. Chloe and Max are simply fantastic characters.
29. Katamari Damacy
From a modern standpoint, I’m not sure that Katamari Damacy sounds that weird, but it used to be the strangest game available to a western audience. The player controls a sticky ball that is used to roll things up, and the more that gets rolled up, the bigger the ball gets, which allows the player to roll up even more stuff. Now that I think about it, this game may be the reason that I grew up to enjoy the idle game genre so much. The central mechanic of idle games is making numbers go up incrementally through individual additions, which really isn’t that different than what I do in Katamari.
28. Final Fantasy XV
Honestly, I wasn’t planning on playing Final Fantasy XV. At the time that it came out, I hadn’t liked XII or XIII, so I didn’t believe that my odds of liking the newest entry were overly high. Still, I ended up picking it up on a whim and it should be of no surprise that I loved it, given that it is on this list. Nearly everything about this game is flawless. The soundtrack is gorgeous, the characters are fun, and the open world is varied and full of little secrets. The only thing that prevents this title from being in my top ten is that the story isn’t as engaging as I would have liked and the parts of the game that take place outside of the open world aren’t at all fun but it’s still a masterpiece of a game.
27. Team Fortress 2
Is it appropriate to state that I also only love Team Fortress 2 because there is a class that includes a flamethrower? Probably not, so I will instead point out that the only reason I learned to love PC gaming is that I was forced to download this weird client called Steam in order to play Team Fortress 2 with some friends in high school. In a strange, indirect way, this game is actually responsible for my love of indie titles, as getting Steam was what opened my eyes to the wide world that existed outside of the AAA space. Also, the flamethrower in the actual game is a lot of fun, so that’s pretty cool, too.
Two Valve games in a row! If Team Fortress 2 introduced me to indie games, Portal is what cemented my love of puzzle titles. I hadn’t really played something that challenged my brain quite like it before, and ever since, I have picked up everything in the puzzle genre. In addition to the fun brainteasers, GLaDOS is one of my favorite video game villains ever, giving some wonderfully quirky narration throughout the game.
25. Tropico 5
I don’t often play city building games because, quite honestly, I don’t feel like I ever enjoy them enough to be worth the time necessary to learn them. Still, something compelled me to give Tropico 5 a try and I fell in love with it. It managed to hit that sweet spot where the learning curve is just steep enough to give some variety in the available playstyles, while also being easy enough to get the basic concept of that I didn’t get bored during the learning process. It’s definitely not as complicated as Civilization, but for anyone looking for something a bit more on the simplistic side, check out Tropico 5, as it may be just right.
Oxenfree is another game that I absolutely adore, yet I feel like no one ever talks about it. This is a game where a group of teenagers end up on an island together and have to figure out what creepy mysteries are occurring. The story and atmosphere are so strange and unsettling that I am honestly amazed I managed to make it through, given what a baby I am about horror titles. Still, it’s worth playing through for the wide variety of available endings alone, not to mention the amazing worldbuilding and lore available.
23. Rogue Legacy
Thomas Was Alone made me start paying attention to the indie game genre, but Rogue Legacy is what made me truly fall in love. This is a roguelike metroidvania title, and while those are two genres that I rarely play, their combination worked really well for me. I found myself absolutely addicted to planning out the best tips and tactics for making it to the next boss in one piece, as well as planning which character classes I enjoyed most. It’s such a unique game and I’ve yet to find anything that feels even remotely similar to it.
22. Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is everything I wanted Harvest Moon to be as a child. It’s relaxing, fun, and offers so much variety in the activities that I can choose each day. I was in the second year of my save file before I even started fishing because I was having so much fun farming and mining. If there is anything I would change, it’s that I don’t find the NPCs to be as compelling as they could have been, but that’s a small gripe in an otherwise fantastic game.
21. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
I love ancient Greece, so it was all but a guarantee that I was going to get a moderate amount of enjoyment out of an Assassin’s Creed title set there. What really made Assassin’s Cree Odyssey for me, however, was the amazing characterization and voice acting for Kassandra. Melissanthi Mahut deserves so many awards for her portrayal, because Kassandra’s reactions at every point in the story make every action hold so much more emotional weight. If that wasn’t enough, there are three separate main questlines that are all fascinating, with the conclusion to one legitimately taking me by surprise, which is a rarity in gaming. Basically, this is an absolute masterpiece of gaming and I can’t wait to dive into the DLCs in the near future.
20. Halo 3: ODST
Halo 3 is one of my least favorite in the series, as I found the story and gameplay were both pretty uninteresting. Halo 3: ODST, however, is the one game in the franchise that I can honestly say I absolutely adore. First of all, the score is phenomenal and amongst my favorites, and secondly, the story’s scope hones in and focuses on a side story in the universe, instead of the massive epic that is the Master Chief’s saga. It was fun to focus on some other characters and events for a while and I definitely appreciated the break.
19. Persona 3
This is an unpopular opinion, but I like Persona 3’s overall plot better than either of its sequels. Sure, the characters weren’t as strong and the gameplay was definitely less refined, but Tartarus was a cool dungeon and I loved having this centralized goal in the form of a massive tower to climb over the course of the eighty-hour JRPG, rather than the bunch of random, cobbled-together series of dungeons that its sequels opted to use. When discussing my favorite moments in video games, the ending of Persona 3 always comes up, as it’s incredibly emotional to watch.
18. Mass Effect 3
I’m just going to warn everyone now that my top twenty is overrun with RPGs, with BioWare titles leading the pack. Mass Effect 3 definitely gets a lot of hate for its ending, but I personally liked it and thought it suited the series well. This was a full trilogy of games where every decision mattered, so there was only so much the writers could do to wrap everything up. I thought they did an admirable job with a nearly impossible task. Apart from that, I loved seeing all of my favorite characters again, as it felt like I was saying goodbye to this beautiful universe that I grew to love. Wow, by the time I’m finished writing this top 100, I’m going to have to replay the trilogy again.
Here is another great example of objective facts versus subjective opinions at work. Borderlands 2 is a bigger game with more varied classes, more quests, and a more diverse set of landscapes. Still, I overwhelmingly prefer the first game. My reasoning here is simple: I like the siren class. I love the siren class so much that it’s really hard for me to enjoy the second game because I just want to play as the siren and use her phasewalk ability forever. Therefore, I don’t care how many shiny bells and whistles the sequels have because they don’t have a phasewalk ability. Borderlands 3 is coming out in about a month and I’m really excited for it, so hopefully, I’ll find a new class to fall in love with, but it will still be hard to top the siren.
16. Mass Effect
When I first started planning my top 100 games ranking, it was before I played Mass Effect on insanity and this game was in the fifties on my initial list. After finishing my insanity run, however, it got a new position because I had so much fun on insanity. I learned a ton about how the powers interact with each other and how to make enemies fly away into space as an adept. These are all things I didn’t need to do when I could one-shot my enemies with a pistol on casual mode, so I never got a feel for how nuanced and genuinely fun the combat system could be when pushed to its limits. In the next year, I plan to replay the rest of the series on insanity, so I will be curious to see if the other games feel as good on higher difficulties as the first entry did.
15. Dragon Age II
This is probably the most controversial opinion on my list, based on the internet’s opinion of Dragon Age II, but I don’t care. Everything people say is bad about this game is what I love about it. Sure, there are a lot of reused dungeons, but since that’s frequently done in a lot of series, I wasn’t bothered by it. The story wasn’t overly important to the overall arc of the series, but that was fine, as it allowed me to focus in on learning more about the society and politics of Thedas. There are huge time skips in-between acts, but that means I get to see how the world grows and changes over the course of an entire decade. None of the criticisms of this game get in the way of my personal enjoyment of it.
14. To the Moon
It’s hard to explain To the Moon to someone that has never heard of it before. This is a game where scientists are able to change the memories of people in order to grant dying wishes. A man enlists the help of this corporation in order to grant his wish of going to the moon. While he can’t literally go there in his current condition, the scientists can alter his memories to make him feel like he did. So many questions are raised throughout this small experience. Is it morally right to alter memories like this? Why would someone want this procedure done? I’ll admit that I played this game simply because I wanted to finish something short and happened to own it on Steam, but it was the best accidental find ever, as I’m now absolutely in love with this series and can’t wait to see what happens next.
13. Saints Row IV
Remember how some of my reasons for enjoying games are a bit silly? In Saints Row IV, I can super jump as high as a skyscraper and there’s a gun that creates black holes. What else could I ask for in a title?
12. Portal 2
Portal was an amazing game, but it ultimately felt more like a tech demo for a larger project. Thankfully, Portal 2 showed up and allowed me to see what a fully-fledged game built around portals would look like. Obviously, it was amazing and everything I ever could have wanted, yet we still haven’t seen more from Valve because the developers seem to be allergic to the number three. Still, I always appreciate seeing more GLaDOS.
11. Final Fantasy XII
Remember how I stated that I didn’t want to play Final Fantasy XV because I didn’t like Final Fantasy XII? Well, as it turns out, I am a known liar to everyone, including myself. I didn’t like Final Fantasy XII because I was a dumb kid that didn’t understand how the gambit system for programming companion characters functioned. Now I’m a (still pretty dumb) adult who kind of understands the gambit system, which gave me just enough knowledge to drag myself through the game! In all seriousness, though, the gambit system is phenomenal and I’m so glad that I finally gave this game a try. The story is a little weak, but the characters and world variety are both so good that I honestly don’t care. There isn’t a single area of the entire game that I truly despise, which is miraculous in an RPG.
10. Dragon Age: Origins
Speaking of the gambit system, Dragon Age: Origins also uses the same basic mechanic for building up AI companions, and it’s also a lot of fun here. This is my first BioWare title, and I suspect that part of the reason it gets to be ranked so high is because of this. If I had played it after the Mass Effect games, I honestly doubt I would have loved it nearly as much, but there’s nothing I can do about my own biases other than admit that they exist, so here we are! In spite of my hesitancy to put this game so high, I really do love it. The world of Theda is so deep and interesting, and characters in this game continue to develop over the next decade in later games. I would like to take a moment to give a shout-out to Cullen, who is the absolute best character of Dragon Age: Inquisition, but his character development in later entries of the franchise would mean nothing if he wasn’t introduced so brilliantly here.
9. Super Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
If the first Danganronpa game had the best atmosphere and the third had the best cast, then what does the second one have? Well, it has the absolute best single case of the entire series. In fact, both of the last two cases in the game are so phenomenal that I stayed up way later than I should have because there was no way that I would be capable of sleeping before I had found out the truth behind why all of these students were trapped on this island together. Additionally, it has Chiaki, who is my absolute favorite character of the series. She’s the ultimate gamer and is utterly adorable.
8. Bioshock Infinite
To this day, I have played through Bioshock Infinite twice, watched my mom play it twice, watched my brother play it once, watched my husband play it twice, and watched clips of my favorite scenes on repeat a million times. I love this game and everything about it. The story is perfect, the gunplay is fun and frantic, and the Luteces are two of the best characters ever to grace gaming. Yes, I haven’t played through the original Bioshock yet and will likely enjoy that one, as well, but I really doubt I will enjoy it more than Infinite.
7. Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas hasn’t aged overly well from a gameplay perspective, but it’s still the title that introduced me to the potential of western RPGs. It’s actually a miracle that I still love this game after my save file corrupted or glitched near the end of the game twice before I finally managed to actually finish it. I’ve tracked down Benny so many times because of those glitches that I don’t think I will ever play the game again, but I have some really fond memories.
6. Persona 4
Persona 3 may have my preferred story, but nothing can top the Scooby-Doo detective agency of Persona 4. It’s honestly rare that I like every single character in a given party. When I say rare, I mean that this game and Dragon Age: Inquisition are basically the beginning and end of that list. Whenever I had to do the life simulation aspects of the title, however, I found myself struggling to decide which companion I wanted to hang out with on a given day because they all had compelling stories that I wanted to advance. It’s a long experience that clocks in at well over the eighty-hour mark, but the time flies by so quickly that I was honestly shocked when I had reached the end and immediately wanted to play again.
5. Kingdom Hearts 2
Kingdom Hearts 2 is one of the defining titles of my childhood. In this case, it’s actually because my brother loved it so much that we would play it together and had a ton of fun discussing the game. Even as an adult, the gameplay is so smooth and fluid that I’m shocked at how old the game actually is sometimes. The Disney worlds are as adorable as ever and I love how much additional content there is to play compared to the first entry in the franchise, making it one of my favorite games to play as a stress reliever.
I have written multiple times about how much I love Minecraft, so I’ll keep it brief here. Basically, my husband and I like to play it together and we have a lot of fun.
3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
I have hundreds of hours in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim across multiple playthroughs and consoles. Even after all of that time, however, I still have so many quests and locations to explore in the future. For example, I still haven’t collected all of the daedric artifacts or done the College of Winterhold questline. There are always so many different things that I could do in Skyrim, but the real appeal of the game is that I can just run around the world and take things at my own pace.
2. Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 2 could have gone so wrong. It could have been a terrible filler game that didn’t progress the story. BioWare made a fantastic choice by focusing the second game entirely around the different characters that Shepard recruits over the course of the game. Through making the narrative decision to focus on characters instead of the overarching plotline, the player gets the opportunity to learn a lot about the universe that Shepard is working so hard to protect, which helps the player feel invested when the stakes get higher in the final entry of the trilogy.
1. Final Fantasy X
It’s a bit cheap to tell people to go look at a post that I have already written about my favorite game of all time, but it will still explain my feelings about this game better than I will be able to in a few sentences. Basically, Final Fantasy X is one of the first games I ever seriously played, which means it got to set the standard for what sorts of games I would want to play for the rest of my life. In other words, it is actually the reason that I love video games as much as I do today.
Wow, that was a really long list to write, so thanks for sticking through to the end. As always, I want to give a huge thank you to A Geeky Gal for helping me come up with the motivation to write this post, and be sure to check out her response here! What are your favorite games? Let me know in the comments below!
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