I’ve been updating my site some with more personal information. Favorite movies. Favorite books. The next, obvious list for me would be favorite video games. I mean, I’ve been playing video games since probably the second grade when I used to go over to Peter VanVarga’s house across the street and play Super Mario Bros. 3 or Battletoads. It was a fun, but it wasn’t until visiting my older cousins that video games really became a part of my life forever. They had the Super Nintendo, Mortal Kombat II and Super Mario World. My brothers and I would play over at the cousins’ house for hours. Sometimes it was NBA Jam, but usually it was MKII or Super Mario World. Favorite MK character? Sub-Zero, duh!
After how many visits, I decided that I needed a Super Nintendo of my own. I remember saving up every last dollar and cent I had. Up until that time, the most expensive thing I’d ever bought with my own money was the T-Rex from Jurassic Park. A SNES was about four times more expensive.
I rolled loose change, scrubbed my family’s brick walk, and did every kind of odd job I could think of including house sitting some cats for a family down the street. Eventually, I had enough to buy the SNES and it came with a free copy of Super Mario World and Donkey Kong Country. The rest, my friends is history.
That Super Nintendo lead to so many great gaming moments with my brothers. I still can’t help but think of Donkey Kong Country every time it snows. That was our snow day ritual growing up. That one system has lead to the purchase of many more and an unknown amount of games.
I’ve tried coming up with a top 5 list of favorite video games to go with the others, but I’ve had a really hard time deciding what to count. There are some that I love for nostalgia — NBA Jam, looking at you! — and others that I love for the feeling I had playing them. I remember the absolute terror of Silent Hill but I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite. It’s been incredibly difficult deciding what makes the cut. So instead, here’s a list of games that I love. Some new. Some old. All great!
- Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario World. Both for SNES. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent playing either game. I could probably draw the levels for you, I’ve played them so much. All time favorites.
- Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy Tactics for PS. Probably the stories that resonated with me at influential times in my life. They showed me that video games could tell actual stories and it wasn’t just jumping on goombas or crocodiles all the time.
- Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for N64. I mean, the game helped launch a complete mechanics revolution. How could it not be good?
- Nioh for PS4, XBO, PC. I’m not as good as this game wants me to be, but it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy playing it. I love the world and the mechanics. It’s just fun to run around and fight everything. Plus, for as hard as the game can be, I really appreciate the fast load times when you die.
- Bloodborne for PS4. It’s a modern masterpiece. It’s challenging, fun to play, but it’s the story and aesthetics that really got me. It was like someone had made a game specifically for me. I love everything about this game and it’s the only one I’ve ever bothered to platinum.
That’s about as definitive as I can make it. I mean, I still love the original Resident Evil and I’ve played enough GoldenEye to wear out a controller, but again, if we’re talking pure favorites here, it’s probably the list above. My apologies to all of the great games I’m forgetting at the moment.
For me, the real takeaway is that gaming isn’t just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. Most of the games on that list are on there because yes they’re fun to play, but they also connect with me on another level. Whether its my hobbies and interests or memories with my family, video games have been a part of my life for over twenty years and I don’t see that changing any time soon.