Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Top 10 Favorite Video Games

Disclaimer: Please remember (like my movie top 10) these are my top 10 personal favorites. I do not objectively think these are the top 10 best games ever made. So take my opinions with a grain of salt that these are the games I would most likely play any day of the week because I love them so much.

10. Sonic Adventure
1998 - Sega Dreamcast - Later ported to Nintendo Gamecube, PSN, XBLA, and PC - Played through on Dreamcast and PSN digital download
One thing you may notice about this list is that there are pretty odd choices for a top 10 list. This one is no doubt one of those. I say that because it is the only Sonic game on the list. But of all the Sonic games it's a wonder why I didn't lean towards maybe the classics like Sonic 2, or even something like Sonic CD which is regarded as one of the best in the series. Well to answer that short I am burnt out on Sonic 2 and I didn't play Sonic CD until I was older and never truly appreciated it for what it is. Going back to that one just isn't the same. More like hearing about how supposedly good a classic movie is and you hear about it for years. Then you finally get around to it and while you can appreciate it you certainly don't have the same response as everyone who raised your expectations had.
Sonic Adventure was a launch title on the Sega Dreamcast, a console I make love to on a regular basis. There are multiple reasons why I decided to include this on my top 10. One of which is because of how much time I spent on it. Even before I had the game itself I had a demo of this game which I played over and over again. Then I got it and have since then played through it multiple times. I have also played through the PSN download version a couple of times so I can get as many trophies as possible. And I'm still not sick of it! To put it simply I adore this game and am always up and ready for playing it. Well... not every part of it... it is a 3D Sonic game so it sure does have plenty of flaws as they all do. But despite those flaws I can't help but sing the praises of what makes the game so great and why I consider it to be one of my top video games of all time.
I should give some context to when I first experienced this game. It was way back in late 1999. The Dreamcast has just been released. I am a 12 year old kid who saved up his pennies to get a Sega Dreamcast. This little (little? heh, no) boy was and still is a huge fan of Sonic the Hedgehog. Whenever there was a new game he HAD to have it. So at the time I was at dang near the peak of my interest in the character and his games. And this was an experience like no other in the franchise. And you know what? In the context of the time they got it right. The only other games that had gameplay like this in the franchise was in Sonic Jam. But that wasn't even a game part of the game, it was a way of navigating to all the different extras in the bonus mode. The gameplay in Sonic Adventure was fast paced and exciting right from the start. It gives a smooth running experience and a homing attack move that makes for fighting enemies way more exciting than it's ever been with just jumping on their heads. This with the multiple characters with different stories that all blend together make for an excellent game for Sonic fans.
I will touch on a more extensive review of this game one day cause I do have a lot to talk about. Both good and bad. Until then simply know that this is the start of my top 10 list. It's one of those games I will always be up for another play through any day of the week.
I do plan on doing a full review of this game eventually.

9. D
1995 - Sega Saturn, Playstation, 3DO, and PC - Played through on Playstation
Another odd duck choice for a top 10. And I'm even trying to figure out what it is doing here because it is such a mixed bag for me. You may have seen my full review of the game some time ago so I could always refer you there. But in case you don't want to read through that whole thing I'll give you a brief explanation on what I think about it. And then to expand I should tell you why it's on this list.
D is a first person adventure game. It's akin to the point and click adventure games like Myst but this one you control with the d-pad instead of a mouse. Basically you're investigating why your father massacred a large number of people at the hospital he's a doctor at. It's an investigation that leads you through a portal that takes you to this old mansion that is clearly very haunted. From here it's all the old tricks pretty much that you would find in an adventure game except pretty stripped down. The game has a time limit and actually needs to be completed in two hours. Not only that but the game spans across three discs on the playstation version (I believe it was only two discs on other consoles), something that usually would happen with games that were bigger (i.e. Final Fantasy games) but in this case it had to do with the FMV sequences that take up the entire game. And those FMV sequences are essentially it. You're playing through an interactive movie. Not even interactive like Heavy Rain, I mean closer to the interactivity level of Dragon's Lair but with slightly more control. Keep in mind that despite the interactivity limitations this game blew people's minds back in the day. There were many critics that adored it and I believe it sold pretty well. Sadly for some of these same reasons the game has not aged well. You really need to keep yourself within the context of when the game came out to really enjoy it. From a modern perspective the 3D models look really bad. And with the smooth movement that modern games allow it does take patience to go through the very slow pace of the game despite it needing to be beaten within 2 hours. But why on earth would it be on my top 10 list if it seems to have all these glaring problems that are very present and from a modern perspective make the game hard to play. Well my perspective and opinion are a bit complicated.
Much like my bizarre sense of humor I also have a bizarre view on what is and isn't scary. I find plenty of elements in D to be pretty freaky whether it was intentional or not. While graphically it isn't very impressive anymore it does provide a great ambiance. Through the limitations of the tech at the time only so much could be rendered at once and it really pays off. It isn't covered with endless detail of grain or way too many extra details to make it look scaaaAAAAAaaaary. The mansion looks like it was completely abandoned one day yet the spirits of the old inhabitants are still there. You truly feel alone in this environment. Something that cannot be said about many other games. Also in an unintentional approach the game is really creepy because of the character models. Frickin... PS1 era games had some terrifying FMV sequences especially in the early days. Just look at the videos from the first Tekken game and you'll know what I mean. So the jerky, unrealistic movements do add to the terror of the game, making it that much more unsettling. Then lastly there's the soundtrack. It's got an awesome soundtrack that conveys just the right atmosphere making it very immersive if you let it take you in.
Really this is such a niche title for a modern audience. One of those where you either need to allow yourself the context of the time or have grown up with it. I find this to be one of the most difficult of my top 10 to recommend simply because it is such a product of it's era. But, hey, if you don't like the experience or can only take one sitting then it'll all be done with in under two hours so there you go. Otherwise if you're open minded about new experiences then I would definitely say check it out. Easiest copy to get a hold of would probably be the PS1 copy, and you can play it on your PS3 so you have little to no excuse. The Saturn or 3DO version, not as common and will likely be more pricey. That and you probably don't own a Saturn or 3DO. Also, as far as I know the PC version is not available on any digital services like Steam or GOG.

8. God of War III
2010 - Playstation 3
Freaking epic. The first God of War was an amazing surprise to what could have easily been any other action game back in the PS2 era. It took Greek mythology and spun it on it's head to create one of the most exciting experiences on the PS2. God of War II took that same experience and expanded it where what was already epic became even more epic and a character that was already angry became angrier. God of War II also ended with a cliffhanger ending that literally stops mid-sentence. It wouldn't be until a few years later when we would be able to experience what came next. God of War III starts exactly where the last one left off and on a whole new generation of console, giving it more power than anything that came before it in the franchise. And let me put it this way, if the opening sequence with climbing Mount Olympus on the back of a titan was the entire game. I would have been satisfied. Yes, in a sense the game blows it's load in the beginning but by the end it's ready to go again with being freaking epic all over again. Please, let me slow down for a second so I can expand, though.
To catch you up to the story let me give you a recap. Kratos is pissed off. In God of War he took town Kratos, literally killing a god, and then became the new god of war. In God of War II he was still pissed off but in this case it's his dad Zeus who pissed him off so he's after him now. The end of God of War II is a cliffhanger where Kratos is climbing Mt Olympus to fight and kill Zeus. That is literally where God of War III starts, on that climb. And I cannot re-state enough how the opening of God of War III is one of the best, most exciting experiences I've had on the Playstation 3.
The game plays pretty much the same as the rest of the God of War games. You run from section to section button mashing both skillfully and spastically through enemeies ready to rip you apart. Don't fix what isn't broken I guess. Still despite the samey-ness it carried over from the previous games the experience is enhanced a great deal. This is an example where improved graphics, sound, and so forth on a newer console was essential. A more powerful console can handle an epic adventure like Krato's. Not to mention the jump in quality from the PS2 to 3 was great enough for there to be a noticable different. A difference that would not be seen jumping from PS3 to 4 because 4 just isn't different enough.
Really the reason why this is one of my favorite games is the epic experience. It opens with a bang and rarely lets up on the excitement. Sure it can get repetitive and some of the power ups can prove to be somwhat useless or unneeded but that's not what this game is built for. It's built to live the life and adventure of the angriest man in Greece as how powers through killing anything and everything in his path. No one is safe against Kratos.
Simple setup, beautful scenery, solid controls, great pacing, constant excitement, and a satisfying ending to boot. Love it.

7. Persona 4 Golden
2008 - Playstation 2, and Playstation Vita 'Golden' edition (2012 enhanced re-release). PS2 edition rom currently available on PSN - Played through on Playstation Vita.
How often does a game grab you so well you never want it to let you go? Even better, when was the last time you spent over 100 hours on a single game? Huh? Team Fortress 2? Well outside of free to play multiplayer games when was the last time? Not very often I imagine.
Persona 4 Golden is the first game I bought for my Playstation Vita when I first got it a little over a year ago. I had always heard about this franchise and even dabbled in Persona 3 for a little while. And while Persona 3 didn't capture me the way this game eventually would I still gave it a shot not knowing what would come next. Maybe it was the thought that a portable version would be better suited for this style of game. I don't know. It was either that or it was the fact that Persona 4 Golden is one of the single greatest gaming experiences I've ever had. This is another game where I did a longer, more in depth review (that reads like a love letter) which you can read here.
I could talk all day why I love this game. Instead of going too much into detail I'll start with this. When I first played through the game it took me around 60 hours and I know I didn't get the proper ending AND there was a lot more content I was missing out on. So what did I do after the credits rolled? I selected New Game Plus so I could carry over some of the content from my previous save and started it up again. I technically could have done some minor changes where the game originally ended for me to see the real end and get to the additional "dungeon" (not in the traditional sense) but I felt that would cheapen the experience. Not to mention I wanted to see the alternate paths I could take along the way as there are lots of options. Mostly changes that affect the sub-plots and nothing major overall, but that's part of the fun.
And really what made this game for me were the characters and their life outside the main plot. It takes place in modern times with a group of Japanese high school students. In a way you're living out the life of an anime but the whole thing felt so much less obnoxious than you'd think. I found all the characters deep and appealing. I got so immersed in interacting with them that they felt like my friends. I got excited to spend time with them and didn't always want to go back to the main story. Yeah, I wasn't always interested in running around fighting monsters and saving the world. There were times where I'd rather hang out with my NPC friends who help flesh out the story and the super fun, super cool side stories.
In a way I wish I played this game back in 2008 when I had more time on my hands. In a way I think this was better, though. It hit me at a time in my life post-college where I just wasn't seeing as many people as I used to. In college I had a lot of cool and fun friends like these so in a way it was a nice way to fill that void. In a way this game felt personal to me even though the characters life in a completely different country with a completely different culture. Their problems are pretty much the same as any teenager which, like I said, wasn't as obnoxious as you'd expect.
I am working on getting the platinum trophy for this game. But still... I really want to play through this game cold again. From the start, not trying to pull anything special... just play.
If there was a Criterion Collection for video games this would be one of my first choices. But so would...

6. Killer7
2005 - Playstation 2 and Nintendo Gamecube - Played through on Playstation 2
Every so often a game comes out that sets itself apart from everything else on the market in every way. When Killer 7 was released it was exactly that. What sets it apart? Dang near everything if you ask me.
First there's the visual style. It has something of a cel shaded look but without the black lines that make the characters look like cartoons. This is a weird hybrid of the cel shaded and non cel shaded look. It makes it stand out in a way that other games don't. On top of that it's also visually simplistic. It doesn't feel the need to put as many details on screen as possible. Just what is needed. It's a visual style that reminds me of Another World/Out of this World but not on a 2D plane. But it's sort of is on a 2D plane.
Another thing that makes this game unique is that it doesn't offer full freedom of where to go. What you do is you hold down the X button to move forward along a pre-determined path. You can turn around and go back but essentially it is all right there on the same path the whole time. No wandering from it. But why spend so much time talking about something like that? Just to put things in perspective. It's a game that is confident in it's concept, story, and how it'll all play out. It doesn't feel the need to conform to modern gaming design and execution because it wants and needs to be what it needs to be. It literally puts you on a linear path but with all the right intentions. It forces you to play the game it should be played. To see what you need to see and not miss a thing... and that's what makes it so great.
This is a modern gaming masterpiece and is not just a favorite. It is one of the best games I have ever played.
While Persona 4 Golden appealed to me on a personal level, the same way a good friend would appeal to me. This game appealed to me from an artistic standpoint. Once I got used to the controls and unique way of playing the game I was sucked in. And that odd cel-shaded look? I adored it! It's a strange form of the uncanny valley but in a cartoony way. You look and you expect them to look like comic book characters, but without that black exterior they don't, and there's something odd and appealing to it. But the story itself is what does it, like any game with innovative or untraditional mechanics would have. This game is not being sold on how fun it is to play.
And some games need to have that lack of fun as it would otherwise overshadow what's really going on. The split personalities in the game are all fascinating characters. It's fun to imagine how the real assassin is pulling all this off, knowing you are essentially the same person acting different with each change of character. It's an other worldly experience that is as exciting as it is pulse-poundingly terrifying. Between the art style, the atmosphere, and the surprisingly approachable gameplay despite being unlike other games at the time is what makes this so great. I only hesitate to talk about it in too much length because I URGE you to go play this yourself.
If you're into an artsy gaming experience you've got plenty of options. But if you want something unique that came out when not as many unique titles had the opportunity to shine, go for this. Hell despite the reasoning just go play this game!
I should still do a full review eventually.

5. Tekken 2
1995 - Arcade and Playstation - Rom currently available on PSN - Played some in Arcade but played mostly on Playstation
There was a time when I was really into 3D fighting games. Not so much anymore. That train stopped in the late 90s for the most part. In recent memory I haven't played a ton of them. I mean, I have a bunch of straight up fighters mixed in with 3D fighters like Super Street Fighter IV, Marvel vs Capcom 2, and Virtua Fighter 5 for my PS3 but I haven't played them as much as I thought I would. It's a genre that hasn't stuck with me over the years for many reasons. But there are two franchises of fighters that have. One of them is Tekken. And my best pick of the lot? Tekken 2.
Tekken 2 was the first one I played and it remains to be my favorite. Also it was an appropriate first experience since it was the arcade cabinet. Still not sure what it was that drew me in. Whether it was the excellent fighting mechanics or the wacky and sometimes scary characters (we always liked playing as Devil or the fighting kangaroo Roger). Or maybe it was because I played it at a camp resort and wanted something more powerful than my Game Boy (1st gen) for five minutes. Either way I started playing and haven't stopped since. It's one of those games I like to plug in and play every so often because I still get enjoyment out of it. It has such a perfect formula for a fighter of this kind and has aged very well.
I did go back and play the first game and it was a rough experience. It really showed how much the game progressed in a single sequel. Tekken 2 expands it's horizons in character, fighting style, even story in so many ways it's a once in a great while improvement. Even visually it does the trick. Take a look at THIS gameplay video (1:45, unless you want to watch the opening video) from Tekken 1, now look at THIS gameplay video (2:32) from Tekken 2! It looks, plays, and feels better than before. And even though some of the endings are really corny, it isn't as bad as later installments where it went batshit crazy, balls to the wall nuts like they were trying to be as weird as possible.
And while the later games looked better or were more approachable, this one had the best balance. It was much easier to get into than the insanely difficult first game but still provides a good challenge. Some say Tekken 3 is the best or their favorite but I disagree. I'd say it's the 2nd best and last good one until Tekken 6 (with the exception of Tekken Tag Tournament of course). In the end this is my favorite fighter that I personally consider to be one of the best.

4. Twisted Metal
1995 - Playstation - Rom currently available on PSN - Played through on Playstation via disc
I miss those tall boxes for games believe it or not... they may have been harder to store but it was in a similar likeness to the large cases for records... anyway...
I started playing this around the same time as Tekken, maybe even a little bit before. This was introduced to me when I was still very young but my interest was there right away and stuck still to this day. Basically this is an early example of the car combat genre. A sub-genre that didn't expand too far outside of this franchise. Some titles that come to mind include Rogue Trip, Vigilante 8, and Full Auto. Ever heard of those? Yeah, didn't think so. And really the only one that's kept this alive is the Twisted Metal franchise with the most recent release on the PS3 within the last year.
But why the original? I've already had sequels on this list multiple times (technically Sonic Adventure is a kinda sorta sequel) so why not pick a later one that handled the combat better like Twisted Metal Black? Well to me the original, while not the best in the tech, has my favorite execution of the concept because of the smaller scale. Sure the sequels take you all around the world but they don't have that same feel as the first game. A game that only took place in L.A. and in limited locations. It felt more underground and in a strange way more realistic. You start off in a one on one battle and slowly expand to bigger and more dangerous environments. You go downtown, a family neighborhood, and lastly the city rooftops where you're constantly threatened by the idea of falling off!
I also love the darker style of the game while remaining (I'm sure unintentionally) somewhat subtle. The game originally was gonna have FMV endings with live actors but that never made it to the final game. I've seen the videos and it's good it didn't go that way. Instead you just get text when you finish the game. Corny? Yes. more effective? Strangely yes. The modern interpretations of the story are too dark or dark for the sake of being dark. Like someone crossed the line with a dirty joke or something. Even if you're not offended it seems unnecessary. Twisted Metal Black was the best mechanically but also the weirdest, and not always in a good way. Whereas the first game still had mystery. It has this underground feel that made you want to know more about the drivers. All you typically had was a small, grainy photo and a short back story. But it was way better than the comic book style of the second game that's for sure.
The coolest execution of the style. I haven't played this one in a while. I have played Twisted Metal 2 more recently. A game that time has not been the best to which means this one is likely the same or worse. But I desire to play this one more than the rest. Just something about the way it feels and plays is special to me, as weird as that sounds for a game as dark as this is.

3. Katamari Damacy (Franchise)
2004 to Present - Playstation 2 - Sequels released first on PS2, and then more on PSP, XBox 360, Playstation 3, Mobile, and PS Vita - Played through the games on PS2, PS3 and PS Vita with dabbling a bit in the other games on other consoles. I've at the very least tried them all.
I remember way back when this game was first brought over to the US. First off I was surprised that a game as "Japanese" as this one looked was even coming over. I was sold on a screenshot alone. I knew I had to have this game. And lucky for me it was released as a budget title. This means that on day one it only cost $20! I was there day one and I've loved it since day one. The quirky characters, out their plot, amazing gameplay, and an unpredictability scale that is set to 11 made for not just one of the most unique games of the year but also one of the most unique games to hit the States ever (I can't say for sure from Japan, they have a whole world of games I haven't discovered yet). To mine and I'm sure everyone's surprise the game became a huge hit and has since spawned at least six sequels, almost all of which have been on different consoles. One thing that has been pretty nice is that all the games have been pretty reasonably priced. The immediate sequel We Love Katamari was only $30, while every sequel that followed was no more than $40 at launch. A nice price compared to most other games being priced at $60. It has become one of the biggest sleeper hits of recent gaming memory. It doesn't make the headlines like Modern Warfare but it's got enough popularity to keep it going and keep it coming to the states.
Just in case you don't know what Katamari Damacy is all about... well... brace yourselves. You play as a prince. An alien prince. Your father, the king of all cosmos, one night accidentally knocks all of the stars out of the sky. After that it is up to you to go to earth with a katamari, a ball that picks up everything it rolls over, to recreate the cosmos and fill the night sky again. From game to game it stays with a similar plot usually with a slight variation. And in one of the more recent games Katamari Forever there's a roboking. It's a pretty bizarre plot but still a ridicuously fun game. Here's a gameplay clip from the first game.
The biggest size you can make the katamari ranges with each game. But it usually starts out with a goal as small as a baseball to bigger than earth itself. Also the game expands from recreating simple constellations all the way up to recreating planets, black holes, super novas, and the list goes on. And while structurally it's the same game over and over again there always seems to be a unique enough new feature to warrant a purchase for the newest title.
I decided to choose the franchise as a whole because of it's similarities across the board and how I've enjoyed just about every installment there has been. The first two games for PS2 were both wonderfully addictive. The PSP game I have mixed feelings on because that console didn't have two sticks so the control scheme was compromised, I only played the XBox one a few times, I like the Vita version but it still comes up short in too many places where new gimmicks only fill in so much, but on PS3 is where the katamari really shines.
Katamari Forever without a doubt is the best entry in the series. If I had to choose I would say this is my favorite (but I don't want to have to decide). A lot of it is like a "best of" for the franchise but it still includes a lot of original material to keep you playing. There are multiple play modes, new mini games, tons of stuff to unlock and discover, and it's all around one of the best Katamari experiences you can get. For arguments sake I would probably put the first one down on the top 10 list cause it hit so many sweet spots with no extra baggage right out of the game. A bit like the first Portal. We were expecting nothing but what we got was amazing. Katamari Forever is perfect for long time fans, but if you've never experienced it I would urge you to go back to the first one before moving forward, especially before the one on the Vita (I should write a full review).
You can get the first game on PSN download. Go get it now. You will not regret it... I hope.

2. Illbleed
2001 - Sega Dreamcast
Just like how horror is my favorite movie franchise, survival horror is one of my favorite video game franchises. And just like movie horror there are a lot of titles but rarely can any of them be labelled as actually "scary" or even "horror" to an extent. That's why I love Illbleed so much. It's a survival horror game that was like nothing before it and nothing since, and it's incredible!
Illbleed has an unapologetically B-Ticket horror plot. When your friends get tickets to the infamous horror theme park Illbleed you refuse to go with them because you have a bad history with theme parks. When your friends suddenly go missing it's up to you to go find out what happened to them. It's then that you realize this theme park is more than just a show. It's where visitors come to die.
With a theme as corny as that how could this game be as great as I claim it to be? Or even scary? Plenty of reasons why. The first is that it takes the survival aspect pretty seriously. You have to monitor your surroundings constantly to avoid traps and enemies using all your senses. Sight, sound, smell, even a sixth sense that is akin to "I've got a bad feeling about this." If you don't avoid these traps it will hurt your health, cause you to bleed more (which in turn can hurt your health), or even stress you out so your heart rate increases. If you run out of life, game over. If you bleed to much it kills you, game over. And if your heart rate gets to high you have a heart attack and die, game over. Because of these elements the game forces you to take it slow, which is the best way to handle horror. Slow and terrified of what will come next.
And while the game can be really scary and unsettling, it can make you laugh even if it's uncomfortably. The game has a twisted sense of humor mixed in with all the horror. Like it's taking every horror movie you've seen only to embrace them and make fun of them at the same time. Like the level that takes place entirely in a deadly shopping mall. It's so weird to see but then plenty happens in there that would unsettle you, especially if you're playing by yourself in the middle of the night.
The game offers plenty of replay value as well. You are responsible for rescuing your friends. If you fail you don't lose the game but you also don't gain an additional character to play as (with different stats). Then the amount of friends you rescue will definitely decide the outcome of the game. There are multiple endings, including the typical 'true ending' you get by saving NONE of your friends (harder than it sounds) on the second playthrough I believe.
If you're a fan of horror and have some good patience I highly, HIGHLY recommend this game. I did find it hard to go back to mechanically so be aware of that. Still this is one of the most underrated horror games in the gaming market. It deserves more attention... but at the same time I like how obscure it is. It's being all punk rock on the Dreamcast.

1. Root Beer Tapper
1983 - Arcade - Ports and remakes available on multiple platforms - Played mostly in arcade with some play on the Playstation port included with Midway: Arcade's Greatest Hits and the Playstation 3 port on Midway Arcade Origins.
Up to this point I've talked about a hedgehog that runs at the speed of sound, a supernatural mansion occupied by Dracula, a high school simulator, the death of the Greek gods, an assassin with multiple personas, the King of the Iron Fist Tournament, a destruction derby with guns, aliens that recreate the cosmos using household items, and a deadly amusement park with a hefty prize. But what tops the list? What is my favorite video game of all time about? Bartending. Yes, my favorite video game of all time you play as a bartender who serves drinks to thirsty customers.
Before we continue I realize that Root Beer Tapper is just a re-skinned version of Tapper so that it could appeal to a wider audience outside of bars. But my origin story with this game was in my childhood so this is the version I grew up with. Every year my elementary/middle school (I went to a private school, they were in the same building) would have their Halloween party at the Rollerdrome, a roller rink. Since I have a terrible sense of balance I wouldn't spend a lot of time on the rink embarrassing myself. Instead I spent a lot of time in their arcade. Come to think of it they had a pretty excellent "essentials" arcade. They had Ms. Pac-Man, Hang-On, Final Fight, Street Fighter II, an SNK double cabinet that had Samurai Showdown and Metal Slug, but most importantly to me they had Root Beer Tapper. A game so incredibly simplistic but I still looked forward to this party every year so I could play more of this game. I got that into it.
The thing that seems a bit ironic is that this game is not only the oldest on the list but the one with the least story and the simplest mechanics. That's because first off this is an arcade game and arcade games are more about jumping right into the action. Also this was the early 80s and game design wasn't terribly expanded at this point. And lastly since this is an arcade game the focus is more on a high score in a game that gets tougher and tougher as you play. Much like most early arcade games there is simply no end to this. There is no ending. If you beat all the levels in the game it'll just start you over at the beginning but now with a higher difficulty. It just keeps getting hard and harder until you lose all your lives.
Yet that simplicity has found the perfect storm to stick with me all these years. One could say it's memories and nostalgia, but I think that only accounts for a small portion of my passion for it. The game is legitimately fun with a dose of that 80s arcade variety to keep you playing as long as possible. Also I find the theme appealing. It's not spaceships, it's not monsters, it's you playing as a bartender. A realistic occupation (being done in an unrealistic way) in a game is appealing to me especially when it's chosen over saving the princess. I only wish I had the arcade cabinet so I could play it proper. Where you pull on a tap controller to pour the drinks. For now I'll have to settle with my PS3 copy of Midway Arcade Origins.

Honorable Mentions: There are countless games that I considered putting on this list as I'm sure any hardcore gamer may think about. In all honesty it's hard to say for some because there have been games that came and went as the obsession of the time but didn't stay with me forever. In the end it was all about what had the biggest impact on me and what has stayed with me. Every single one of the games listed I could easily pick up and play and not be bored with them because I enjoy the experience so much. Here are some other games that almost made my list with a quick reason why (in alphabetical order):

-3D Dot Game Heroes: A game that almost made my top 10. Essentially this is a modern, retro style remake of The Legend of Zelda minus the copyright. It looks, plays, and feels a lot like it. It's a game I loved so much I am currently working on getting the platinum trophy for PS3. A tough challenge but I'd like to think I'm up for it.
-Duke Nukem 3D: A very immature game but fun none the less. I've played through this game in so many ways it's nuts. I've played it on PC, Sega Saturn, Playstation, Nintendo 64, and most recently iOS. Yes. I have this game on my phone and it's still fun to play. Killing aliens doesn't get much better than killing them as Duke!
-Fighters Megamix: A mashup fighter with Virtua Fighter and Fighting Vipers characters plus additional Sega related characters. A solid mashup that provides tons of variety and you can even play as the car from Daytona USA. Only on Sega Saturn, one of the many reasons to own one.
-Final Fantasy VII: More influential on me as a gamer than anything else (like everyone else). It got me into RPGs. While I'm not as crazy about it as I used to be it still is responsible for the hundreds of hours I've put into games like it over the years. You're not my favorite FFVII, but I owe you a lot!
-Kaboom!: My interests in games don't travel much earlier than the NES. I find it hard to go back that far if you didn't grow up with it. Yet somehow Kaboom! got my attention with it's addictive gameplay and intense action. Easily my favorite game of the Atari era.
-Metal Gear Solid (Franchise): To me stealth doesn't get much better than these games. Very unique storyline that is many times drawn out for too long. Still an exciting adventure than spans across four, now five or more main games and plenty of side games as well. Widely available so you have little to no excuse but to pick it up.
-Shenmue: A legendary game with polarizing views. While some say the less mundane flow of the sequel is better I feel I would miss it. Living the life you do in Shenmue is so immersive it makes the boring quite exciting. I even enjoyed the part time job you had to do in the game.
-Sonic R: An odd choice but still great. I don't think this is a fantastic game but I love it because of the memories I have attached to it. Even though you could unlock everything in under a couple hours I still love playing through races in this Sonic game. Hard to recommend unless you grew up with it, though. Very rough around the edges.
-Super Mario 64: I shat my pants when the N64 came out. While Wave Race 64 was the first I played this was a close 2nd. I have played through this multiple times and if you give me a controller I'll play through it again. It doesn't get old to me. I love it today just as much as I did back in the mid-90s when it first came out.
-Worms 2: I played this for countless hours back in the day. It introduces me to the franchise and I found it to be the perfect example of Worms. I even picked up Worms: Armageddon when it came out but it wasn't the same. Also this was the first game I played multiplayer online. Laggy as hell cause it was the 90s and we didn't have top notch internet but still really cool since that was all I could do at the time.
-Virtua Fighter: My favorite fighting franchise behind Tekken. Games 1, 2, 3, Remix, Kids, and the previously mentioned Fighters Megamix were all great in my eyes. The characters weren't that unique but I love the fighting mechanics. Sadly 4 and 5 were a tad too samey and didn't offer a whole that inspired me like the previous games, much like what happened to Tekken.

To be concluded... my Top 100 Favorite Games List.

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