SpawnFirst’s Favorite Games of all Time
I’m Buddy Acker and I love video games! I love them in all their forms, from BioShock to Animal Crossing to Bejeweled. If I had to make a list of my favorite games ever, it would be the Frankenstein of video game lists, composed of things that don’t really fit together. Instead of making my own lists, I find other people to make lists for me. So I asked the SpawnStaff to name some of their favorite games and explain why they chose the games they did. And now I have a list! And I’m on that list!
Note: The games listed here may or may not be the individual’s “top” favorite game. These are just games we really love.
Favorite game, eh? Leave it to Buddy Acker to put me on the spot. *sigh* My history with gaming is a long one. I played my first few games on the Atari 2600 – Pitfall, Pac-Man, Barnstorming, Chopper Command…any game that had pixels bigger than my pinkie, I probably put some decent hours into it. After the loud eighties, I completely skipped the NES/SNES/Jaguar generation. I was more into arcade battles of Street Fighter/Super Street Fighter II in the…er…streets of Pakistan (and Snooker…never forget Snooker). I came back into the gaming fold proper with the PC, the original PlayStation (cemented myself into all of its iterations), as well as Microsoft’s flagship gaming console, the Xbox. So yeah, when someone asks me what my favorite game is, it’s kind of unfair. I’ve experienced and enjoyed SO many games, so it would be criminal of me to exclude any of them from a “My Favorite Game” category.
But if I do have to get my hands dirty and choose one title, it would have to be Demon’s Souls. You see, I’m not a hardcore RPG guy. I prefer to tease myself with the genre playing somewhat accessible titles like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Champions of Norrath and other vanilla RPGs that I felt comfortable with. But with Demon’s Souls…it was a Fatal Attraction-esque infatuation. When I heard of From Software’s critically acclaimed title, I watched every video released about the game, read every piece of juicy information and ate up any new piece of game art with gusto. It became a dangerous obsession. Now remember, this was during the time that Demon’s Souls was only available in Japan and Asia – no one had picked up the publishing rights to the game for North America. The game just had that gothically attractive, overbearing sense of desolation and dreariness. Coupled with that, a physics-heavy combat system and hard, but not unbeatable, adversaries that had my gaming persona up in a foaming frenzy. And this is before I even touched the game.
I wanted it.
I needed it.
And I would have it.
Once I played through the game, all of my hopes and expectations about Demon’s Souls were justified. It was just so well-made and satisfying. The cliché thrown around about Demon’s Souls was that it was “hard, but fair” – that the game would be callous to your noobilicious and over-confident skills, but as long as you understood how to fight, how to conserve and how to strategically advance, the concept and allure of the game would be revealed to you. And that cliché was absolutely right. Once I completely absorbed myself into the game’s dark world, I saw it for what it is: absolute genius. A game that forces you to make the right choices. The logical choices. It throws away all trivial gameplay tropes and will either break your will, or let you see the game for what it is: a delicious and hardy challenge of your skills and endurance. And I completely relished it. More than any other game I’ve played in my life. Dark Souls, the spiritual successor of Demon’s Souls, came close, but no other game popped my hardcore gamer cherry like Demon’s Souls did. Come to think of it, it’s pretty much like sex – hard at first and many give up trying, but once you know the motions, and tactfully hit all the right spots, it’ll give you pleasure beyond your wildest dreams.
tldr: Demon’s Souls = sex
– Karam Elahi, Editor-in-Chief
I love a lot of games and could have chosen any single one from the nearly endless database that exists in my mind, but I decided to go with the criminally underrated and almost completely forgotten about Soul Blazer. Soul Blazer is the first game in a series of not-sequels, followed by Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma. I’ve played all three, but Soul Blazer stayed in my SNES the most and it’s the game I prefer. It’s an action RPG that’s sort of like a combination of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Gauntlet. It’s challenging and fun.
“Challenging” and “fun” are terms that can be applied to a lot of games, though. What I love about Soul Blazer is how original it still feels. It’s really not like any other game. Upon its release in 1992 it was one of the first games to feature a dark narrative. I’m talking about some real depressing stuff. Its dialogue and characters were so interesting to me as a pretty insightful child. If you still own an SNES and haven’t played it, I urge you to hunt down Soul Blazer. – Buddy Acker, Senior Staff Writer
Metal Gear Solid
The Metal Gear Solid series has been a staple in my life since I was a little girl. I had first played the demo on one of those PlayStation Underground demo discs. Remember those? More or less the first mission of any game that was on the disc gave hours of fun for an imaginative child who didn’t care about how long the demo was or how many times you completed it. Playing the Metal Gear Solid demo provided me with a lot of entertainment no matter how many times I began the infiltration of Shadow Moses. It sparked a love for a series I never knew could be had.
With each entry in the franchise, my love for Snake and his escapades have grown. Every character development, every storyline all hashed out before my eyes and at my fingertips. I felt like I knew these characters. The emotion and sincerity of each character in each game had me grow more and more attached. The series has made me laugh, cry and rage. Honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else because I did learn some things from the game – some historical information as well as the time I performed CQC on someone – and it was awesome! – Angie Santiago, Senior News Editor
When Borderlands 2 released, I bought a copy on launch day, put it into my PS3 and then pretty much played it through to completion over a weekend. It was everything a good sequel should be, expanding on every strength of the original and adding a whole host of new ideas. The class system was more complex and interesting and the story was interesting, filled with even more colourful characters and possibly the greatest villain in video game history, Handsome Jack. It kept the same stylised graphical style whilst simultaneously preserving the twisted morality at the core of the series. Pandora is a place of greed, violence and death, wrapped up in a brightly coloured bow of explosions and viscera.
And speaking of greed, collecting loot in Borderlands is possibly the most addictive game mechanic this side of the Tetris music. Every enemy killed, boss defeated and quest completed provides you with sweet, sweet loot for you to continue killing, defeating and completing in order to get more loot. The weapons come in a large variety of types, from pistols to sniper rifles to rocket launchers. Multiple rarities reward you for more difficult actions with higher level gear and the never ending supply of things to brutally murder means the loot conveyor never stops spinning. It’s a perfect storm of gameplay mechanics: you kill enemies to get loot and you need loot to kill more enemies.
In truth, either the story or the shoot and loot gameplay would be compelling enough on their own, but together they become something truly special. Borderlands 2 is a fast paced, frenetic shooter, with a demonstrable sense of humour, an interesting and involving story and a level of “just 5 more minutes” playability that can devour years of your life. It isn’t a perfect gaming experience, but it just might be the most fun I’ve ever had. – Reuben Williams-Smith, Staff Writer
My absolute favorite game of all time is GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo 64. Not only was it a genre defining shooter, but it provided some of the fondest memories of my childhood. It reminds me of late nights at my friend’s house, arguing over “who’s got next” and calling people out for screen looking. I’ve easily logged more hours into GoldenEye than any other game in my life. No game will ever replace it (except maybe Titanfall because the beta is absolutely AMAZING). – Brian O’Donnell, Versus Mode/Creative Co-Director
If you ask someone why is it that they play video games the buzzword you’re very likely to hear come out of someone’s mouth is “escapism.” There’s something enticing about being able to run away into another world and just forget about everything else going on, if only for a little while. I feel like there’s no game that has better captured that aspect of video games than the Mass Effect trilogy.
Mass Effect holds a pretty remarkable distinction in games in being about what you, the player, makes of it. Sure, the main plot revolves around the conflict with the Reapers, but that’s not what Mass Effect is about for me. To some, it’s about stopping an imminent apocalypse; to others, it’s about ushering change in deeply-rooted societal injustices like the sterilizing of an entire species and the persecution of artificial intelligence.
To me, Mass Effect is about the love story of Commander Shepard and Kaidan Alenko. The story of one man with the weight of the galaxy on his shoulders and the man who gave him the strength to carry it. This romance, one that I wasn’t able to act upon until the third game, echoed moments in my own personal life, influencing how I shaped the character of my own personal Shepard, until eventually he became an in-game representation of myself, my values and my emotions. The Mass Effect trilogy is my favorite series in gaming because of how it made me feel as if I was a part of its universe, not just a passing participant viewing it through the eyes of its protagonist. — Kenneth Shepard, News/Staff Writer
Skies of Arcadia
I have a confession to make: As a child I never owned a PlayStation or Nintendo console. Or an Xbox. Growing up, I was a rare beast, indeed; I played almost exclusively on my Sega Dreamcast. It was a console for the ages, and though it never caught fire in the gaming scene, it held one of my most memorable and adored gaming experiences of all-time: Skies of Arcadia.
I remember being in awe at the vast environments I could explore as I sailed about in my airship. I remember my love for the characters, the impressive and visually spectacular battle system and the touching and epic story. Most of all I remember the grand sense of adventure that came from stepping into the shoes of an Air Pirate and the excitement and curiosity that followed. Skies of Arcadia sparked my love for JRPG’s, and although I have yet to play a game that matches its originality, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be half the gamer I am today without it. Here’s to an HD re-release, Sega! Make it happen! – Colton Steury, News Writer
Red Dead Redemption
Rockstar’s open-world western Red Dead Redemption captured many hearts, including mine. It won tons of awards, and for good reason. It had a good take on morality, and the “Dead Eye” feature made for some fun shootouts as I progressed through the campaign at my leisure. I took the time to just walk around and collect flowers because I could. Good graphics, great voice acting and storytelling and the absolute best video game soundtrack ever easily make Red Dead Redemption my favorite video game of all time. – Zac Davis, Staff Writer