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My top 20 video games

Written by Solène, on 31 August 2023.
Tags: #life #gaming

Comments on Fediverse/Mastodon

1. Introduction §

I wanted to share my favorite games list of all time. Making the list wasn't easy though, but I've set some rules to help deciding myself.

Here are the criteria:

  • if you show me the game, I'd be happy to play it again
  • if it's a multiplayer game, let's assume we could still play it
  • the nostalgia factor should be discarded
  • let's try to avoid selecting multiple similar games
  • I'd love being able to forget the story to play it again from a fresh point of view

Trivia, I'm not a huge gamer, I still play many games nowaday, but I only play each of them for a couple of hours to see what they have to offer in term of gameplay, mechanics, and see if they are innovative in some way. If a game is able to surprise me or give me something new, I may spend a bit more time on it.

2. My top 20 §

Here is the list of my top 20 games I enjoyed, and with which I'd be fine to enjoy play them again anytime.

I tried to elect some games to be a bit better than the other, so there is my top 3, top 10, and the top 20. I haven't been able to rank them from 1 to 20, so I just made tiers.

2.1. Top 20 to 11 §

2.1.1. Heroes of Might and Magic III §

Product page on GOG

I spent so many hours playing with my brother or friends, sharing the mouse each turn so everyone could play with a single computer.

And not only the social factor was nice, the game was cool, there are many different factions to play, the game is cool and there is strategy at play to win. A must have.

2.1.2. Saturn Bomberman §

Game review

The Sega Saturn hasn't been very popular, but it had some good games, and one is Saturn Bomberman. From all the games from the Bomberman franchise, this looks really the best, it featured some dinosaurs with unique abilities, and they could grow up, some weird items, many maps.

And it had an excellent campaign that was long to play, and could be played in coop! The campaign was really really top notch for this kind of game, with unique items you couldn't find in multiplayer.

2.1.3. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 §

Product page on Epic Game Store

I guess this is a classic, I played a lot the Nintendo 64 version, and now we have the 1+2 games into one, with high refresh rate, HD textures and still the same good music.

A chill game that is always fun to play.

2.1.4. Risk of rain 2 §

Product page on Steam

A pure rogue-like that shines in multiplayer, lot of classes, lot of weapons, lot of items, lot of enemies, lot of fun.

While it's not the kind of game I'd play all day, I'm always up for a run or two.

2.1.5. Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War §

Product page on Steam (Dark Crusade)

This may sound like heresy, but I never played the campaign of this game. I just played skirmish or in multiplayer with friends, and with the huge factions choice with different gameplay, it's always cool even if the graphics aged a bit.

Being able to send dreadnought from space directly into the ork base, or send legions of necrons to that Tau player is always source of joy.

2.1.6. Street Fighter 2 Special Champion Edition §

Video review on YouTube

A classic on the megadrive/genesis, it's smooth, music is good. So many characters and stages, incredible soundtracks. The combos were easy to remember, just enough to give each character their own identity and allow players to quickly onboard.

Maybe the super NES version is superior, but I always played it on megadrive.

2.1.7. Slay the Spire §

Product page on GOG

Maybe the game which demonstrated we can do great deck based video games.

Playing a character with a set of skills as cards, gathering items while climbing a tower, it can get a bit repetitive over time though, but the game itself is good and doing a run occasionally is always tempting.

The community made a lot of mods, even adding new characters with very specific mechanics, I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a card based game.

2.1.8. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate §

Game review on IGN

My first Monster Hunter game, on 3DS. I absolutely loved it, insane fights against beloved monsters (we need to study them carefully, so we need to hunt a lot of them :P).

While Monster Hunter World shown better graphics and smoother gameplay, I still prefer the more rigid MH like MH4U or MH Generations Ultimate.

The 3D effect on the console was working quite well too!

2.1.9. Peggle Nights §

Product page on Steam

A simple arcade game with some extra powers depending on the character you picked. It's really addictive despite the gameplay being simplistic.

2.1.10. Monster Train §

Product page on GOG

A very good card game with multiple factions, but not like Slay the Spire.

There are lot of combos to create as cards are persistent within the train, and runs are not that much depending on RNG (random number generator), which make it a great game.

2.2. Top 10 to 4 §

Not ranked, let's enter the top 10 up to just before the top 3.

2.2.1. Call of Cthulhu: Prisoner of Ice §

Product page on GOG

One of the first PC game I played, when I was 6. I'm not into point & click usually, but this one features Lovecraft horrors, so it's good :)

2.2.2. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion §

Product page on GOG

A classic among the RPG, I wanted to put an Elder Scrolls game into the list and I went with Oblivion. In my opinion, this was the coolest one compared to Morrowind or Skyrim. I have to say, I just hesitated with Morrowind, but because of all Morrowind flaws and issues, Oblivion built a better game. Skyrim was just bad for me, really boring and not interesting.

Oblivion gave the opportunity to discover many cities with day/night cycle, NPC that had homes and were at work during day, the game was incredible when it was released, and I think it's still really good.

Trivia, I never did the story of Morrowind or Oblivion, but yet I spent a lot of time playing them!

2.2.3. Shining the Holy Ark §

Video review on YouTube

Another Sega Saturn game, almost unknown to the public I guess. While not a Shining Force game, it's part of the franchise.

It's an RPG / dungeon crawler in first person view, in which you move from tiles to tiles and sometimes fight monster with your team.

2.2.4. Into the Breach §

Product page on GOG

The greatest puzzle game I ever played. It's like chess, but actually fun. Moving some mechas on a small tiled board when it's your turn, you must think about everything that will happen and in which order.

The number of mechas and equipment you find in the game make it really replayable, and game sessions can be short so it's always tempting to start yet another run.

2.2.5. Like a Dragon §

Product page on GOG

My first Yakuza / Like a dragon game, I didn't really know what to expect, and I was happy to discover it!

A Japanese RPG / turn based game featuring the most stupid skills or quests I've ever seen. The story was really engaging, unlocking new jobs / characters leads to more stupidity around.

2.2.6. Secret of Mana §

Game review on IGN

A super NES classic, and it was possible to play in coop with a friend!

The game had so much content, lot of weapons, of magic, of monsters, the soundtrack is just incredible all along. And even more, at some point in the game you have the opportunity to move from your current location by riding a dragon in a 3D view over the planet!

I start and finish this game every few years!

2.2.7. Baldur's Gate 3 §

Product page on GOG

At the moment, it's the best RPG I played, and it's turn based like how I like them.

I'd have added Neverwinter Night, but BG3 does better than it in every way, so I retained BG3 instead.

Every new game could be played a lot differently than the previous one, there are so many possibilities out there, it's quite the next level of RPG compared to what we had before.

2.3. Top 3 §

And finally, not ranked but my top 3 of my favorite games!

2.3.1. Factorio §

Product page on GOG

After hesitating between Factorio and Dyson Sphere Program in the list, I chose to retain Factorio, because DSP is really good, but I can't see myself starting it again and again like Factorio. DSP has a very very slow beginning, while Factorio provides fun much faster.

Factorio invented a new genre of game: automation. I get crazy with automation, optimization. It's like doing computer stuff in a game, everything is clean, can be calculated, I could stare at conveyor belts transporting stuff like I could stare at Gentoo compilation logs for hours. The game is so deep, you can do crazy things, even more when you get into the logic circuits.

While I finished the game, I'm always up for a new world with some goals, and modding community added a lot of high quality content.

The only issue with this game is that it's hard to stop playing.

2.3.2. Street of rage 4 §

Product page on GOG

While I played Street of Rage 2 a lot more than the 4Th, I think this modern version is just better.

You can play with a friend almost immediately, fun is there, brawling bad guys is pretty cool. The music are good, the character roster is complete, it's just 100% fun to play it again and again.

2.3.3. Outer Wilds §

Product page on Steam

That's one game I wish I could forget to play it again...

It gave me a truly unique experience as a gamer.

It's an adventure game featuring a time loop of 15 minutes, the only things you acquire in the game is knowledge in your own mind. With that knowledge, you can complete the game in different ways, but first, you need to find clues leading to other clues, leading to some pieces of the whole puzzle.

3. Games that I couldn't put in the list §

There are some games I really enjoyed, but for some reasons I haven't been able to put them in the list, could be replayability issues or the nostalgia factor that was too high maybe?

  • Rimworld
  • Left 4 Dead
  • any Mario Kart game
  • Warcraft III: Frozen Throne
  • Death Stranding
  • Tetris
  • The Story of Thor
  • Neverwinter Nights
  • Morrowind
  • Dyson Sphere Program
  • Diablo 2