Whether you grew up playing them or you are just a casual gamer who plays them just a few times a year, it is not hard to appreciate the great deal of work and creativity that goes into these fabricated worlds. Here is a look back at what I consider the top ten best games that have ever existed.
World of Warcraft – Here is a game that if you haven't played, you have at least heard of. This Massively Multiplayer Online game (MMO) grab the world by the haunches when it was released in 2004. The gaming community had seen games like this before, however WoW perfected every aspect of the MMO role-playing game and then some. With an ever-updating world, WoW still sits on the throne. People have come close to topping this godfather of a game but none have succeeded. WoW features a fantasy world where you choose your avatar and play style. This can get as weird as chosing to play an undead priest, which kind of looks like a zombie running around healing people with magical spells.
Shadow of the Colossus – This platformer game stole the hearts of millions upon its release. The basic premise was that your girlfriend dies and the only way to bring her back was to seek out these incredibly giant creatures and slay them. So, the whole game is essentially one boss battle after the next. But it was so much more than that. The artwork was stunning, and still is, to the point where you almost felt bad for slaying the giant magical beasts because of how beautifully they were presented. Spending a few hours trying to climb to the top of a giant rock monster's head was very difficult and tedious at times, but that only made victory even sweeter when it came.
Goldeneye 007 – Who didn't spend entire nights playing this classic with their friends? If you didn't, you missed out in the worst of ways. Coming out in 1997, Goldeneye introduced to a massive amount of kids what multi-player was really all about. With the ability to set you against up to three of your friends, Goldeneye gave the gamer tons of options as far as weapons go. You could run around karate-chopping people to death or go as far as shooting them with rocket launchers. Not only were there a huge selection of weapons but also a plethora of memorable characters to chose from. Running around, cheap-shotting your friends with the golden gun occupied many a Saturday in many a home in the late 90s
Super Mario Bros 3 – Taking a classic that will go down in the history books and making it better in every aspect is not an easy thing to do, however that is exactly what went down when the third installment of the Mario Bros franchise hit the shelves in 1988. Adding more depth to the levels, minigames, and the infamous frog suit, SMB3 is still a force to be reckoned with. That is if you are in the nostalgic mood for some tough-as-hell side scrolling action. And of course the music of Koji Kondo getting stuck in your head for the rest of your life is not necessarily a bad thing.
The Legend of Zelda – Yes, the original one. Most people remember many of the later installments such as The Ocarina of Time, but you have to give it to the classic. Rolling out in 1986, LoZ brought many, many new concepts to the gaming world. There were numerous ways to go about defeating a dungeon. Through out the game you would collect new and different magical items and weapons that each had an individual power. Using these tools in the right combination was key to beating the game. LoZ also premiered a function that is still used in every game today: the ability to save your game.
Tetris – Ah, the hardest game I have ever played. Tetris came out of Russia in the early 80s to become as addictive as crack. There really isn't much to the game, however. Place different shaped blocks on top of one another in order to make flat, horizontal planes. Each new level became faster and harder. A recipe that led me to paranoid breakdowns.
Asteroids – One of the grandfathers of the gaming world, Asteroids was originally an arcade console that sold over 70,000 units before converting to the Atari which brought the game into households across the world. In this black and white oldie, you are a little triangle spaceship avoiding and shooting cosmic rocks. For the early 80's, that was good time.
Bioshock – A newer game of 2007, Bioshock was more like a movie than a game. Story and personal choices were the themes that led you through the nearly deserted underwater city. One of the best first person shooters that has ever come out, Bioshock featured a haunting environment in which you had the choice of blasting crazies with customizable guns, genetic super powers or both at the same time.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – This is probably the most admired of the Zelda series. It was the second installment in the series, but the most important aspect of this games success was that it came out on the new and improved Super Nintendo. This gave the game better graphics, sounds and more depth. Other than that, the game remained mostly in its original state. Why fix what is not broken?
Mass Effect – Meeting somewhere in the middle between Star Wars and Star trek, this third-person space shooter laid heavily upon story telling, and with a good story based game there must be player choices that affect the outcome of the character and end game. ME was a trilogy that did just that. Thrilling game play coupled with believable characters and a story line that I still think about to this day, ME delivered a top shelf experience that any gamer could, and should, enjoy.
Super Mario Bros – The video game industry would be no where without this paragon. Basically saving the industry from collapse in 1985, SMBs took the mario character from Donkey Kong and gave him his own story. Jumping around through pipes to beautiful fantasy worlds, Mario had a mission to save a princess. Nothing had ever come out like this game, and when it hit the shelves it took the world like a firestorm. Today, over 40 million copies have been sold, and if I would guess, that number wont quit increasing any time soon.