The first entry covers just video games. Here are 5 of my favorite games ever and why they're here. I'll also detail where I was, as that's important. Part of why you love anything in life is where you were when it happened. This is particularly relevant when it comes to music. That's another entry. Read on!
Resident Evil 5 (2009 - PS3 / Xbox360)
Where was I?
33: Nothing particularly new. Erin was working a lot of nights and so I got to play an awful lot. (~60 hrs on PS3, another 20+ on the 360)
The Biohazard/Resident Evil series has gone through many different phases. Your opinion on the game/series truly depends on your entrance point. RE1? RE2? Code Veronica? RE4? A spin-off? A movie? For me, it started back with 1 and 2, which I played nearly back-to-back. The first titles in the series really did redefine gaming, even if you weren't playing them back then, you must recognize their importance. If you didn't witness the dogs-in-the-hallway scene live, you truly missed a part of gaming history!
While Resident Evil 4 fixed a lot of things, changed the genre even (survival action vs. survival horror), RE5 one-upped it and brought awesome visuals alongside. You feel the impact of punches, melee attacks and all the weapons. The co-op portions of RE4 were nothing compared to this, be it online or solo. While the novelty of the chainsaw dude wore out (I totally freaked when he cut my head off in RE4!) they were no less intense here, particularly when they got back up on Professional mode!
Having gone back to play older RE games since, I'm reminded why I like this so much. It certainly lost that 'scared shitless' feeling from the older games, but its intensity more than makes up for it. After getting a platinum on the PS3, I went back on the 360...and barring beating it again on Professional mode, I've done just about everything. AGAIN! No game has ever drawn me in enough to beat it...well, no fewer than 7 times.
Intense, fun, powerful and worth playing over and over, RE5 has it all.
Street Fighter Zero 2 (Alpha/Gold/Dash) (1996 - Arcade, 1997 - PS1, etc)
Age: 20 - Living in Albany during the school year, home on Long Island for my last summer. I would go to the arcade to play SFA, and went with some guy to RPI to play Alpha 2. Got my ass handed to me. Loved SF but the community had strayed from the series. I was single this summer, but got the home version in Jan of 2007 when I bought my PS1 and was living in my first apartment. That's when the obsession began.
I remember playing SF1 in the arcades and Fighting Street on the
I've been around and know my SF. I am not great at it, but I like it. And Street Fighter Zero 2 is the pinnacle of the series. Just after this I started importing games and played Japanese Street Fighter games from here on. That's why I use the Zero moniker over Alpha. Plus it sounds better.
The visuals from Zero/Alpha were stellar. Changing the realistic tone of SFII, the exaggerated visuals (just look at Sagat!), gave the game a perfect setup. On top of that, you've got a great balance of offense (multiple supers) and defense (now multiple CCs (ACs)). The sound effects are marvelous, there's nothing like the sound of that impact. Compare to the Street Fighter EX effects which are just merely thuds, these sound powerful. More than a decade later, the game is still my favorite.
This game could include Street Fighter Zero 2 Alpha (JPN) or the US version of Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold (Alpha 2 Dash in Europe).
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (1999 - PS1 (+ many others))
In 1999: 23 - Apartment in Albany, NY. 24 on Long Island in '00. I remember the community back in '99-'00. The internet was nothing like what it is today, but we all found our little corners to congregate. Part of what made THPS and THPS 2 fun was the entire environment. Skating's popularity renaissance. Gaming's explosion. The idea of community online. Finding hidden things as a group of hardcore gamers & skaters was great!
The first THPS was great. It was fun, had an exhaustive list of moves and hidden tricks, and began to bridge the gap between gamer and skater. That was a huge deal.
The second built upon that system answering all of the main questions and concerns. While later games implemented excellent options, gameplay tweaks and the like, none were particularly necessary. Everything after THPS2 was focused on tweaking an excellent formula. THPS 2 took real-life locations, added every major trick, hidden things everywhere and made you want to search them all out. The hidden areas, hidden skaters, codes, and easter eggs everywhere are all fluff when you think I haven't really talked about gameplay.
Solid gameplay is king and this was perfection. Balancing your manuals, which now extended your combos, was the most important innovation to the series ever. The Risk-Vs-Reward concept (don't be too greedy!) again crafted that perfect balance and made the game fun, challenging and legendary.
DoDon Pachi: Dai-Ou-Jou( 2002 / 2003 - Arcade / PS2)
Where Was I?
DoDon Pachi was a remarkable sequel. It was difficult yet so much fun to play. DDP3 was this on steroids. Barring the soundtrack (the only inferior portion of the game!), everything was turned to 11. This game is intense! After a few years of playing, practicing, I chained the first stage. It was one of my proudest moments as a gamer. I busted my butt, memorizing every enemy, moments to pause, to milk the enemies. It was just brilliant.
Chaining the first stage was the child of a lot of work. I can't do that every day. Instead, playing the game for fun is a completely different experience. A 5-level game should not have this much replay value. Die-hard gamers play solely for points. That's great. Sometimes I do too! However, when I get to level 5, it's a wide-eyed, pin-point specific accuracy game. Dodging a screen filled with bullets, all while destroying everything in sight, gotta.get.over.there.to.blow.up.him...followed by a massive explosion. This game is just insane and I wouldn't have it any other way. While my die-hard DDP3 sessions are far from over, I never failed to learn something new when I did play. This is another game that has it all, glorious sound effects, phenomenal visuals and and 'easy to play, hard to master' concept, much like SFZ2 and THPS2 above.
Ys Book I & II (1989 - TurboCD)
While Ys had appeared on other consoles, this is the only I played and it's proven the test of time to be the best of the original versions. Newer games may be better, I suppose. While Zelda had already come out, there wasn't the bevy of action-RPGs that there are now. This game had a very simple fighting system but was remarkable in almost every other aspect. The CD soundtrack, a remarkable innovation, inspired countless re-releases and re-recordings. The voice-overs were a first and were actually done rather well! Even PS1 games a decade later were dreadful in comparison. The visuals are basic, but the scope was epic. Making it out of the varied locales was not easy.
Ys featured a compelling, fun story with the lengthy adventure. Yeah, Darm's Tower was unnecessarily long.
Alongside all types of modern games, Ys was a shining example
of both innovation and the time-of-your-life scenario. I've gone back
and played it again. Nostalgia likely makes it better than it really
is, however there have been several remakes as Ys Complete, Ys
Eternal, Legacy of Ys and Ys Chronicles. All likely
trump the original (and again, there were more before the TCD version),
but I don't care. This game belongs on this list.