That’s a whole lot of games – 26 of them, to be exact. Now the good news is, I have a pretty good idea about how this list will go. The bad news is, I know how this list will go because this is my second time writing it.
I spent the better part of the day piecing together my list on the WordPress app and just as I hit 2009, my app crashed and erased hours worth of work. It turns out that all of the images I used were saved; not a single word of text though. In the infamous words of Kurt Vonnegut: so it goes.
1991 – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
A good start to a good list. Between the SNES, the redesign and eventual evolution of the Game Boy and the release of the Nintendo 64, the 90’s were a good time for Nintendo.
1992 – Super MarioKart
So when do I get to play this again? We just recently received word that Nintendo is bringing the latest Mario Kart game to mobile devices with Mario Kart Tour. Maybe someday soon we’ll get a 3DS or Switch port for the original Super MarioKart!
1993 – Doom
The original Doom. One of the first PC games that I could waste hours playing. Happy 1993, old friend.
1994 – Warcraft: Orcs and Humans
The foundation for a gaming empire. Blizzard has been a big part of my life as a gamer and has come out with some of my favorite games. If memory serves, their games may appear once or twice more on this list!
1995 – Chrono Trigger
An adventure through time to save the world. The game was a masterpiece and stands as one of my favorite RPGs, to date. With names like Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series; Yuji Horii, creator of the Dragon Quest series; and Akira Toriyama, who is best known for work with Dragon Quest and Dragon Ball, what would you expect? The story, the art, the gameplay and the music work and they work well.
I’ve played this on SNES, Playstation, Game Boy and mobile. It’s that good. If you’re a fan or RPGs and haven’t played this game, please make sure that the next thing you do after reading this post, is play Chrono Trigger.
1996 – Pokemon Blue
1996 saw the release of many good titles: Super Mario 64, Diablo and Crash Bandicoot, to name a few. Pokemon Blue Version is my choice, not because it was better than the rest but because I am still trying to catch ’em all! I have played at least one game in every generation of Pokemon since the day I turned on Blue version for the first time.
Bonus: this creepy commercial that aired for Pokemon Red & Blue. Remind me not to get in the bus with that guy.
1997 – Final Fantasy: Tactics
My favorite game in the entire Final Fantasy collection. There are a few that come close: VIII, X, and XIV: A Realm Reborn. I can’t put my finger on it though, but this is another game that I’ve played on a few platforms. For a game that’s a bit aged, the learning curve can still be high.
1998 – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Ocarina of Time. When’s the last time you turned on a game and spent the first few minutes saying “wow”? I’ve had a lot of “oh, cool”-s, but only a few wow‘s. This, if memory serves, was my first.
1999 – Super Smash Bros.
Pure, unadulterated fun. 1999’s award goes to Super Smash Bros and with a special shout out to my sister. She was my earliest gamer-in-crime and up to this point, we had shared the playing of most of our games. Super Smash Bros changed that into hours of pummeling each other with our favorite Nintendo Characters. Like I said: pure, unadulterated fun.
2000 & 2001 – Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
Conveniently, Diablo II and it’s expansion came out a year apart from each other. While I didn’t play Diablo II as a standalone game, I did play my early adolescence out of LoD. Since I couldn’t have played the expansion without the original I thought it only fair to name them both.
Between you and me, I still keep an active account on the D2: LoD servers. Unfortunately, the vast majority of other players are bots pushing this or that rare item. It’s a game that still holds a lot of replay value and I’ve got my fingers crossed that the next HD remake Blizzard announces is for Diablo II: Lord of Destruction.
2002 – Kingdom Hearts
Another one of those wow moments. I can’t wait for Kingdom Hearts III.
2003 – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
A big step for Star Wars in the video game scene. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is still hailed by many as one of the best Star Wars games ever.
2004 – World of Warcraft
In 2004, I was 13 and thought that I was on my way to MLG stardom with Halo 2. Then, a friend showed me World of Warcraft and 14 years later, I’ve still got the “-itus”. While I am not actively subbed, I have gone back to play every expansion since that first game and may or may not be checking out the expansion later this year.
Despite what anyone says, I believe that it’s the community that makes this game. I don’t necessarily mean the Barren’s chat community, though that definitely had it’s days – I mean the friends you play with and the friends you make a long the way. Whenever I’ve gone back to play, it’s usually been at the invitation or insistence of a friend.
2005 – Star Wars Commando
What’s a Star Wars game without Jedi? An opportunity for the unsung heroes to shine. While it’s true that many clone troopers were just pawns in the greater plan that was Order 66, some resisted. Some fought. I like to think that the crew you play as in Republic Commandos were a few of those.
2006 – The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
This was my gateway drug into the world of Elder Scrolls. I played this game and then I played Morrowind; blasphemy, I know.
In other news, an extremely talented group of modders are working hard to recreate Oblivion with the Skyrim engine: Skyblivion. I cannot wait to play this game again.
2007 – Assassin’s Creed
This game was the reason that I saved up to buy an Xbox 360. It was like a better Prince of Persia, with an open world feel and a compelling story about an Assassin named Altair who was caught up in a world of lies and powers that he just barely understood.
This game also started a love/hate relationship with the AC series that is alive and well today. Nothing is true; everything is permitted.
2008 – Fable II
It was one of those rare times when a developer successfully took everything that was great about it’s first game and made it better with a second game. #RIPLionheadStudios.
In 2017, Microsoft teased toward a new installment in the Fable series… My body is ready.
2009 – Infamous
2009 was a good year for games. Infamous had to contend with titles like Batman: Arkham Asylum, Borderlands (best opening credits in a game award), Dragon Age: Origins, Demon Souls and League of Legends.
Protoype also came out in 2009, but I’ve never actually met anyone who has either liked or played that game besides myself.
2010 – Red Dead Redemption
Another tough year: Mass Effect 2, Alan Wake, God of War III and Civilization V were all also really great games.
2011 – Skyrim
1500 hours, 7 years, multiple platforms and more save-files-than-I-count later, Skyrim has just come out on the Nintendo Switch and in VR for the PS4. It is both my great love and my great curse. Because of this game and it’s inability to die, Bethesda won’t put out Elder Scrolls VI – that’s my theory anyways.
2012 – Dishonored
Despite how much I love this game, choosing it as the winner for 2012 was no easy choice. Other noteworthy games include: Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3. Dragon’s Dogma, Torchlight 2, Guild Wars 2, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and Civilization V: Gods and Kings.
**We’re almost there! I’ll try and keep the last handful as short as possible.**
2013 – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
My favorite game in the series, because Pirates. I think we need more Pirate games.
Other fun games from 2013 include: Grand Theft Auto V, The Last of Us, Batman: Arkham Origins and Payday 2.
2014 – Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Assassin’s creed meets Lord of the Rings meets a not-crappy AI system (hello, nemesis) meets a not-crappy Lord of the Rings game.
Sounds like an all around win to me.
2015 – The Witcher III
I have no words that do this game justice.
Bloodborne was my other big pick of 2015.
2016 – Dark Souls III
2017 – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
2018 – ?
Too early to tell. I’m really enjoying Monster Hunter World though. A possible contender?
What’s your list?