Oh no I can’t believe I left Cave Story off of my list! What a game to forget about…
I suppose my outliers are Crash Team Racing or Mass Effect 3 purely because you usually expect Mariokart instead of ctr and ME2 instead of 3, in my defense I am able to admit that ME2 might be a better game but my emotional experience with ME3 was what put it in my top 10. This probably extends to Roller Coaster Tycoon and its sequels as well.
What game would I expect to not see in anyone else’s lists? I genuinely have no idea because on one hand I could see none of them on a typical list (bar Journey and TLOU) and on the other hand any of them could be in that 9th or 10th position because someone has really fond memories of them.
(This is very much unordered)
Roller coaster tycoon
The last of us
Crash team racing
Final fantasy x
Persona 4 golden
Need for speed underground 2
Mass effect 3
honorable mentions include Singstar, Age of Empires 2 and Final Fantasy x-2 (you can tell me that game is bad all you want but you will not get to me)
Quake 3 (PC, 1999)
Chrono Trigger (SNES, 1995)
Dark Souls (PS3, 2011)
Nier: Automata (PS4, 2017)
Persona 5 (PS4, 2017)
Quake 1 (PC, 1996)
Link to the Past (SNES, 1992)
Mega Man 2… or 3? Shoot, I don’t know. One of those. (NES, 1989/1990)
Diablo 2 (PC, 2000)
World of Warcraft (PC, 2004)
I’d consider Quake the outlier just as a matter of genre. I guess when you grow up playing Quake you start to think that every other shooter sucks, so you play RPGs instead.
This list is thrown together pretty unscientifically, but one thing that I always notice whenever I’m asked to do something like this is that the N64 just never even pops into my head. There are PS1 (remake FF8 instead, cowards), PS2, Gamecube, and probably a couple of 360 and Dreamcast games that could just as well be on here, but hindsight has not treated the N64 or the Xbox very well for me, it seems. There’s… Ocarina, but I’d play that on 3DS instead.
I’m glad this topic came up on the podcast recently because I’ve been sitting with several games installed that I want to play but am hesitant to start or continue because of an expectation for the story or mechanics that I don’t want to be let down by. I went through and made my own list to try to figure out what about my top 10 I enjoyed, and why games outside of the top 10 might let me down for some of the same mechanics or story elements.
1 - Warcraft 3
2 - Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
3 - Call of Duty Black Ops 1 (MW2 honorable mention)
4 - Mario Kart DS (64 and 8 honorable mention)
5 - Resident Evil 5
6 - Diablo 2: LoD
7 - Phantasy Star Online: Episode 1+2
8 - Day of the Tentacle
9 - Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2
10 - Ultra Street Fighter 4
I think the outlier for my taste in games is Day of the Tentacle, however I expect that Resident Evil 5 makes few top tens. I only really have 2 exclusively single player games on that list though there are some strong solo experiences. 3 shooters, 2 strategy games, 3 games with RPG elements, 1 fighter, 3 competitive games, and 4 games with worlds I felt compelled to explore. For a top 10 there doesn’t seem to be a theme that hits the majority of them.
There are things I love about RE5 that I hate in any other game that does them such as item management for a character I can’t control. Playing Chris or Sheva swaps which shoulder you look over and that would kill other games for me. Mario Kart DS has a drifting speed problem that I always felt guilty taking advantage of that makes it feel worse than other games in the series. I put hundreds of hours into Jedi Knight custom story mods and I think it’s the first and last game I did that with. The call of duty games listed have kill streaks and maps and modes I really dislike, however those two had some great options and set ups for my personal tastes that more recent call of duty has never matched.
I want to sit on this list and another list of games I enjoy that don’t make the cut and try to figure out just what makes some games work for me and others not while sharing mechanics. Maybe it will get me to look at what I need to play and think “If it accomplishes A I can forgive B” and that will let me engage with those experiences instead of sitting and waiting.
I think Flower, Sun, and Rain is hardly on anybody’s Top 10 list, but it is in mine. I really resonated with this game, with the way it handles the past and crafted an helplessly benevolent character that keeps being used for someone’s gain. Also with the constant repeat of the same day, that game turned everything on its head to the point that it becomes liberating. You just walk to your next destination all the time but the game doesn’t hide it, so I don’t have to suspend anything, I just had to go along. It doesn’t throw any bones at you, you have to do the work yourself, and it’s a fresh feeling for me.
It also has an incredible soundtrack
Metal Gear Solid 2
Breath of the Wild
Attack of the Friday Monsters
Its Halo ODST. These other games would wind up on a variety of top 10 lists from people who say they arn’t pretentious but in their hearts are a little bit pretentious and they like it (Me). And I tried to find another game to slot in for Halo ODST. But I coudn’t. I really do have a soft spot for that game.
The way the Action Scenes are vignetted to give each one time to shine. Then in between them you walk around this eerie empty city. Trying to figure out what happen to your squad. Who all have basic personalities but there personalities and you grow to like them. Also its fun to shoot stuff once in awhile.
I know I posted about Monster Rancher earlier, and while that game is still technically on my list I do think that really pondering on what the whole top 10 look like has actually changed the answer to the relevant questions! In no particular order:
- World of Warcraft
- Monster Rancher
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
- Persona 5
- Breath of Fire II
- Crusader Kings II
- Dark Souls
- Metroid Prime
- Transport Tycoon Deluxe
There are all games that have both have significant sentimental meaning attached, and games that I genuinely enjoy and actively want to go back to often - even if some of them have…issues.
I think the outlier here is actually World of Warcraft. The reasons it’s so sentimental are almost entirely a decade worth of social interactions, as opposed to the other games which are I feel are much more rounded in my appreciation for them.
As for the one which I don’t think is on anyone else’s list… after some thought I feel like I have to change my answer from Monster Rancher to Transport Tycoon Deluxe. It’s such an odd little niche transport simulator that I played as a kid, and still love to play now that I’m older and much better at it.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery, I love that game’s style so much.
Here’s mine, off the top of my head.
- Metroid Prime (Gamecube)
- Dark Souls 3 (PC)
- Resident Evil 4 (Gamecube)
- Silent Hill 3 (PS2)
- Dark Souls (PC)
- Pikmin 2 (Gamecube)
- The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt (PC)
- Dead Space 2 (PS3)
- Metroid Fusion (GBA)
- Bloodborne (PS4)
Wow I sure like atmospheric, exploration-heavy action/horror games filled with puzzles and weird/cool/fucked up monsters! Even the one strategy game on the list is somehow also one of these.
The outlier might be Dead Space 2, since despite it being a well regarded AAA game that was fairly popular at the time, I never really see people talking about it. But it could just as easily be Silent Hill 3 or Pikmin 2, as most prefer SH2 and Pikmin is eternally underappreciated as a series.
Honestly I don’t think any of these games are quite obscure or underplayed enough to be true outliers, though
That’s really cool! I could see my self returning to this game, too. I remember playing Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and loving the odd interactions like sitting in the confession booth. Yume Nikki feels like a whole game made up of those kinds of interactions, and I love it. I’m actually surprised I never heard of it because around 2004 I was super into the indie game scene of that time and never realized it existed, other than a vague memory or rumor, until this year.
Are there any games with this vibe that you’d recommend? I’ve been looking at Ib and Madfather.
I said Rune Factory 2 way up there ^ but I didn’t actually make a list, and after the podcast I’m wondering whether actually putting one together might change my answer, so, in rough order:
- Breath of the Wild
- Majora’s Mask
- Hyper Light Drifter
- Pokémon Emerald
- Hollow Knight
- Into the Breach
- Rune Factory 2
- Shovel Knight
- Portal / Half-Life 2 (shh they’re the same game)
And for context, (unordered) honorable mentions to Mario Odyssey, Celeste, PMD: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky, Race the Sun, Prey, Shadow of the Colossus, Ico, Night in the Woods, Wolfenstein: TNO, and Overwatch.
I think RF2 is still my answer to both. Into the Breach seems like an outlier, but I love half for the same reasons I love Portal and half for same reasons I love Emerald. Emerald also gets to my love of atmospheric and fully-realized worlds, which, well, is probably the biggest through-line in this entire list.
What’s really interesting to me is how the answer changes if I can expand that list to ~15. Because then Race the Sun would definitely be the the game I wouldn’t expect on any other list, but I can’t justify including it over any of my current Top 10. And yet I like it for the same reasons I love Undertale, because of how it works its themes into its mechanics.
(That said, I also hold that Spongebob: Battle for Bikini Bottom is one of the best 3D platformers ever and would put it on my list in a heartbeat were it not for me being absolute coward.)
Tbh, the only thing I can think of is Ao Oni, which is a horror/survival Japenese RPG Maker game, and is referenced in Yume Nikki: Dream Diary. I was pretty young when I first played Yume Nikki so I don’t think I was that good at looking for others like it at the time.
God Hand for sure. Played great and was a ton of fun, but just about everything else about it was (sometimes offensively) bad.
My outlier would probably be Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay.
Coming up with a top 10 was interesting. At first I wanted to make sure I had the breadth of my interests accounted for, but as I started putting it together I realized while I really like some genres (metroidvania’s, Assassin’s Creed type open world games, puzzles) there weren’t any individual examples that I really loved. So I just went with games that are truly some of my favorites.
- Grim Fandango
- World of Warcraft
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- Ultima VII: The Black Gate
- Deus Ex
- Mass Effect 2
- Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
- Fallout: New Vegas
The outlier from other lists would probably be Ultima VII: The Black Gate. Ultima VII was the first game I played growing up that really made me feel like I was in a real living world. The whole map was contiguous so you got a sense of travel as you went from town to town, each having it’s own character and story to tell.
It had great details like a 5 step process for converting flour into bread, as well as freedom to explore nearly every house and building for loot and odds and ends.
Looking at my list, it’s no surprise this game lives on there when you see the types of immersive sim and RPGs that I’ve been drawn to.
I don’t have a definitive top 10, but for a tentative list off the top of my head in no particular order,
- Tales of the Abyss
- Sonic Adventure 2: Battle
- Persona 5
- Resident Evil 4
- Xenoblade Chronicles
- Ms. Pac-Man
- The World Ends With You
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations
- Ghost Trick
- Fire Emblem Genealogy of the Holy War
Out of these, probably Ms. Pac-Man wouldn’t make many lists, but when I can find an arcade cabinet with a legit copy of Ms. Pac-Man on it, it’s one of the most fun gaming experiences I’ve ever had. I could also see that particular Fire Emblem being an uncommon pick, outside of Japan at least since it only came out there, and is kind of clunky/hard to penetrate, but as popular as the series has gotten, and as unique and interesting as Genealogy is, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on other people’s lists.
As for the odd one out, probably also Ms. Pac-Man, but Sonic and RE4 don’t really seem to have a good through line with the rest of the JRPG/story heavy list. I could see an argument for Sonic’s chao raising being in line with the kind of grindy JRPG feel, or RE4’s Mercenaries mode and Ms. Pac-Man fitting together as score attack games, but I can’t find one unifying theme for everything that just one game doesn’t fit in.
Just listening to the pod on this question, and wanted to log in to note how many of the games they talk about are available on android. I’m a commuter, so this is the kind of thing I like to take advantage of when I can, especially if I am checking out stuff that’s new to me. I found:
King of dragon pass
The last express
I bet there are a few more too!
Probably Dark Cloud 2. I think most people just skimmed past it on the shelf. One of my friends loved Dark Cloud 1, so I picked up the second one when I saw it for cheap. Between the excellent treatment of the two main characters, the huge variety of stuff to do, the time travel and construction aspects, the crafting… I sunk 80 hours into that game without finishing it, and I’m not sure anything recently has eaten my time like that except Terraria.
I have some other oddities on the list, but they probably have a larger cult following - the Escape Velocity series and Enigmo, for instance.
One game that doesn’t make my top ten but was still hugely influential to me, and which no one else has generally heard of, is Black Magic. It’s an antique metroidvania with weird enemies and a pretty large world for the time. I’m actually the same guy who put together the partial map of the first world you can find on VGMaps.
+1 to the Escape Velocity series. I’d love a new one.
I want to try to join in here just because it will force me to think through a Top 10, although I don’t think there’s any chance I could put them in order. I would play any of these games again right now and will probably continue to replay them forever:
Dragon Age: Origins
Knights of the Old Republic II
Might and Magic: Worlds of Xeen
Arcanum: Of Steamwork and Magick Obscura
Pillars of Eternity (this is a recent addition, and the one I’m least certain about…I haven’t yet played the sequel, either)
(I’m sure I’m forgetting something important, but this is what my brain gave me for the time being.)
So I guess the running theme is mostly story-heavy cRPGs, particularly those made by Bioware and Obsidian. The outlier here is probably Dark Souls, because it feels the most divergent from the rest of my list (and tells its story far more indirectly than most of the rest of these). The other contender for outlier is World of Xeen, which looks like this:
…and isn’t even that great of a game, but holds a special place in my heart as the game that really got me into cRPGs in the first place and that made me start to understand just how huge and crazy a video game world could be. (And also contributed to my obsession with character creation.)
Also this: I cannot say emphatically enough how much I want a KOTOR or Jade Empire sequel. GIMME
And this: It’s a goddamn shame Troika didn’t get to make more games.
@Colin_Fredericks Dark Cloud 2 is a fantastic game and the only game from the PS2 that I own on my PS4 and continue to play.