Nintendo Life recently ran a poll asking how long its been since a game broke into your top 5 games of all time. I thought it was an interesting question. Mine is 18 years(!), when both Metroid Prime and Megaman Zero 2 came out in 2003 and entered at 4 and 3 in my list, respectively.
I don’t know what could ever crack my Top 5 these days. I think nostalgia plays a big part in how high a game rates in my mind, so any new release is going to have to be something truly special to threaten even my Top 10!
For reference, my top 5 is;
Sonic 3 & Knuckles (1994)
Phantasy Star Online (1998)
Megaman Zero 2 (2003)
Metroid Prime (2003)
Gunstar Heroes (1993)
How about you?
I’ve never been good at ranking them/numbers. But, I just discovered Scott Pilgrim vs. the World the Game, and it quickly became a favourite. I just finished with the last character !
One of the enemies is named “Sammo”. Someday they should do a game just like SPvtW, but based on the old show “Martial Law” [starring Sammo Hung] !
I also don’t really maintain a hard list of favourites. My tastes and the experiences I desire are always changing, and so too are my favourite games. Among my favourites for some time now are Chrono Trigger, Mass Effect, Super Mario World, Zelda: ALttP. But there are games that have made such a favourable impression on my that it’s hard not to also think of them. Year Walk, Kentucky Route Zero, Hollow Knight, The Outer Wilds, Bloodborne. I have a hard time reconciling any form of top five list because most of these games sit on par with each other.
I was actually trying out Chrono Trigger early last year. I can’t get into RPGs easily, but I made it all the way to the boss somehow [didn’t defeat it]
Super Mario Bros. 3, 64, would possibly be in my top 5
Ok. Let’s broaden the topic a bit then for those that don’t keep a comprehensive list. Do you find the games you played earlier in life tend to be dearer to you? That’s what I tend to find but maybe it’s not as common as I think.
Do you find the games you played earlier in life tend to be dearer to you?
Absolutely, yes. Even the bad ones, which I couldn’t realize they were bad as a kid. I actually recalled a lot of them when I signed up on Grouvee and started to list my games.
I don’t have a top five, but since I got back into gaming last year I found a few that really impressed me. The last one was Celeste. Before that, Hollow Knight.
No, not specifically. I think some excellent games from my childhood or teens are among my very favourites but I don’t think nostalgia necessary plays a large part in what I find truly dear to me. There are a number of games from various points throughout gaming history that are important to me. There’s also the fact that contemporary games have the advantage of building on the games that came before it, so some tend to combine aspects or elements that I love from older games while simultaneously bettering those elements.
There’s also the simple fact that some games, like all media, don’t age well. So even though I might have loved a game when I was younger, my adult self has grown to see and appreciate the world differently. Thus some games are no longer appealing mechanically, narratively or even ideologically.
I would think that this is generally the case for me–that I often like ones that I played back in the day the most. Super Mario Bros., etc.
I really liked Celeste, too
I agree on a lot of your points. It’s fair to say my Top 10 are all immensely important games to me, which is a very different way of looking at it than a critical review. Despite some of them not aging well at all however, they remain high up my list. Sonic Adventure being a prime example. If I was playing that for the first time today it wouldn’t stand a chance!
Once again, I think this conversation is going to come down to people’s personal criteria for what makes their favourite games.
IDK if top five, but I played Yakuza 0 and Katamari Damacy last year and I’d say they’re probably both in my top… ten? Maybe?
It’s tough to be specific about ranking things like video games though, because the experiences vary so wildly from one to the other. Like, which is better, Dig Dug or Persona 4? I love them both, but they’re wholly incomparable.
I guess it depends on how much time you spend actively discovering new games at a given stage in your life. Out of my top ~10, about half are from the 90s, but the other half I discovered only in the last 2-3 years, simply because I got back into gaming then after a long hiatus.
Also: when a game cracks your Top X, it doesn’t have to be a new game. Sometimes I play a game for the first time that’s 20 years old, and it becomes a new favorite of mine.
I don’t like to consider myself a nostalgic person so I like to go back to the games I enjoyed as a child and check if they hold up, but even then I do tend to have some bias in favor of them. I only played a few games when I was a small child and only got my first console when I became a bigger child so that might have something to do with it.
That said I was always very picky with what a consider my favorite games of all time, so I think my top 5/10 would have games from radically different times of my life. Some examples from recent times are Undertale, FFXV and Subnautica.
Taking a look at my list, only two are “nostalgia” entries that I played in full as a teen (GTA Vice City, MGS3: Snake Eater). The others are more recent playthroughs, although the games themselves range in age (San Andreas, Ratchet & Clank Tools of Destruction, AC: Origins). I took a break from gaming from about 2006-2013, and have been spending the past few years trying to catch up on what I missed and to stay kinda current, so I am hoping to add some genre and series variety to my Top 5 this summer.
To your question about nostalgia’s role in rankings, I feel like video games make nostalgia a more complicated factor than other artforms due to the interactive element. For example, Jak II was my favorite game after I played in 2006 and I had continued to claim it as my #1 up until a month ago when I finally replayed it. What used to feel so tight and fun was now frustrating, the controls simply not as advanced as I have become used to over the past few generations. Now, I wouldn’t give Jak II 5* or have it in my Top 5 games list, which actually bums me out. But nostalgia can only go so far when the artform relies on your ability to interact with it. It may be a more powerful force when it comes to 2D games due to the simpler nature of their controls, but the PSX and PS2 generations seem likely to take a bit of a hit as developers continue to improve 3D controls.
My top 5 probably:
- breath of fire: dragons quarter
- mother 3
- tokimeki memorial girl’s side 3rd story
- 25th ward: the silver case
With two of those (25th ward and dragon’s quarter) worming their way into my heart within these last two years. It was snowy, I was stuck inside, and had too much time on my hands. Two games tailored specifically to me that I warily recommend to others with “if you like, wanna feel pain for a good 30 hours.” Greatly influenced my views on game design and story telling.
I’m trying out more of the ps2 library lately, and there are so many fantastic titles that blow me away but my top 5 are there for a reason, and I doubt it’ll change for some time.
The most recent game to get into my Top 5 was Sonic Mania. An almost perfect Sonic game with SO much love in it. It’s just amazing that it was allowed to be made, it’s utterly baffling that Sega hasn’t announced a sequel.
For reference, my Top 5, in order, are
Dragon Age: Origins
Sonic 3 & Knuckles
I didn’t really have the chance to play many games growing up, and I don’t really have much of a chance now either as an adult with little in the way of free time, so my top 5 might rise some eyebrows around here, but here goes anyway;
Ocarina of Time
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Metal Gear Solid 3
Yeah, I really need to play more games, will try to do so within the next few months, who knows? Maybe I’ll like one of them enough for it to manage to get into my top 5.
All some of my favorites! …except Metal Gear, which I’ve never tried
Actually, I replayed Ocarina of Time recently, and noted how it’s very similar to Paper Mario. The Sages are the Star Spirits
Most recent game was Ultrakill which hit that list recently like around 2 months ago. Best indie game and one of the best games that I have ever played.
Tie between Bloodborne, Doom Eternal, and Persona 5
Super Mario Odyssey
Breath of the Wild
Resident Evil 4
Absolutely this. I am finding several new games cracking my top ten (although The Witcher 3, and Overwatch all cracked the top five in recent years). I can add It Takes Two, The Wolf Among Us, and Forza Horizon 4 (I can’t believe I’m adding a racing game to my list) to my top 10. Looking to see how the remaster of Diablo 2 plays against the original–as Diablo 2 still stands at number one. I may need a Top 10 by decade list now. I tend to measure my favorites by hours played though–while I loved all the Mario series of games, Dr. Mario easily got 15x the hours of any of the others in the series. So, it lands the place on my favorites board (even though I LOVED Super Mario 3 for its graphics and music and that little flying raccoon suit…). So, even now, while I have dozens of indies that I love (like Heaven’s Vault, which I have played through three times), it is hard to compare my love for that game to a game like Overwatch where I have sunk nearly 4000 hours over the last five years.
It’s funny because if we go by time played my top game would be No Man’s Sky (810 hours) and while I do love it, I don’t feel I’m missing it as such having taken a break from it for a good while. However, when they release the next big update I’ll probably jump back it.
Rather, the way I rate my top five games is how much they have affected/ left an impression on/ meant to me over the years. While NMS has obviously had an impact on me, I feel the other four games in my Top 50 list have had a bigger ones.
I kind of rate things on a personal/ gut level rather than pure numbers. But then what else would you expect for an arty-farty dork like me?