All gamers have their favourite video games. We see polls of them every year as games win ‘Game of the Year’ and various other awards. But what is it in a single game that allows us to choose it above our other favourites? Is it purely nostalgia? An eye-opener? A new and unforgettable experience? Or perhaps it just leaves you with a joy that no other game has been able to successfully tap into? It can be any and all of these for very different reasons. Here at The Noobist, we will share with you our favourite games and why they remain at the top of our ever-evolving favourites lists.
Adam Straughan – Neverwinter Nights (along with expansions Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark)
Neverwinter Nights is a special game for me in many ways. Growing up with a Sega Megadrive, my main gaming experiences consisted of such classics as Sonic, The Lion King, Aladdin, Robocop vs The Terminator, Splatterhouse, Streets of Rage, etc. At this time I found gaming to be an enjoyable social experience, allowing me to avoid doing homework and discussing my progress with my friends who also owned the same games. Shortly after this time I was introduced to Resident Evil, which certainly piqued my interested and commitment to playing video games. Where my Sega Megadrive games felt more like drop in/drop out ‘pass the time’ experiences, Resident Evil gave me a truly scary game with a huge mansion to explore, keys to find, characters to get to know, monsters to battle, weapons to choose from and 2 campaigns to play! I had been introduced to a game which I felt gave you more content and included a (questionable) storyline to engage with and see to the end. But this was only a prelude of things to come. My neighbour was much more of a PC gamer than I was back then and he completely changed my ‘gaming life’ the day he asked me, ‘have you played Neverwinter Nights?’
The moment I installed the game and began playing, my eyes were opened to the RPG genre and I fell in love with it. The idea of designing your own character and customising their appearance, spells, abilities, armour and weapons completely blew my mind. But what predominantly made me come to love the game is the richness and detailed story, which is expertly written by BioWare as they take you through an interesting and dynamic world. There are moments from the game which I still take about today – the rise and fall of Lady Aribeth following her lover Fenthick’s death being a significant one.
The fact that you would find her again in the Hordes of the Underdark expansion and have her, a previous NPC, join your party is a standout moment and is classic BioWare. Becoming the Hero of Neverwinter, the battle with the Seer, entering a book into another realm, Deekin! – there are too many incredible moments to talk about. But what ultimately framed my enjoyment of the game is the level of immersion I felt when playing it. I was roaming the streets of Neverwinter, I was conversing with my companions and I was the Hero of Neverwinter!
This is the game that showed me how I could enjoy and appreciate games in an entirely different and more meaningful way. I have enjoyed other RPGs which have followed it, however Neverwinter Nights was my game-changing experience and therefore remains firmly at the top as my favourite game. Greg Kasavin said it best in his 2002 review on Gamespot:
Neverwinter Nights is one of those exceedingly rare games that has a lot to offer virtually everyone, even if they aren’t already into RPGs.
Ellen Conning – Deus Ex
Only one? Now I have to choose between Deus Ex and Metal Gear Solid 2, and that is a painful choice. If I had to pick, I’d say Deus Ex. Barely.
Deus Ex is one of those games that never really leaves you. I first played it shortly after release, and still do a playthrough once a year. It may not be the prettiest thing, or the best sounding in the voice department, but what works does so with such excellence that all the faults become part of the charm. It’s a game that still lets you find new things, even after all this time, and the fact that it worked real life philosophy and political terminology, laws and situations so perfectly into its story and world-building is a testament to the care and skills of the team who produced it.
On a personal level, Deus Ex has had a huge part in shaping my life and skills. It helped inspire me to draw things beyond the normal basic humans I was accustomed to at the time. Even now, the influence of the game’s art style on my robotic drawings is pretty clear. Whilst I’m not interested in entering politics anymore, it was one of the driving forces that got me initially interested in the systems that be.
I love it, and there’s good reason why people revere it, despite being flawed.
George Sworen – World of Warcraft
Its an easy one for me. World of Warcraft
in all forms tops my list without question. Its not just the game that I love though. Its the capacity it creates for meeting new people and forming immediate friendships while doing challenging content.
Without WoW, I wouldn’t be replying to this message, and likely wouldn’t even be doing anything on the internet. Maybe that’s not always a good thing, but I consider having met and become very good friends with people from all over the world one of the high lights of the years I have spent playing.
The game itself is spectacular as well, and really gives groups of players the best opportunities to get together and enjoy themselves. In the 5 years of being a 25man raid leader, I’ve learned more about leadership and group motivation then I could have ever in formal training and made friends that I consider closer than anyone I see regularly in my “real life.”
George Petty – Metal Gear Solid 3
That is quite a difficult question, I have to say my all time favourite game would have to be Metal Gear Solid 3. My first experience with MGS was actually with MGS2 which although most people didn’t like it, I bloody loved it, I’ve never been more excited than when I found about the sequel or rather threequal.
Once I actually got the game, I couldn’t believe it, it was more of exactly what I loved. they’ve made improvements of course, the graphical fidelity, the jaw dropping landscapes, camouflage, hunting and eating animals but most of all, the story. I’ve never been more captivated by the story of a game. that has had a profound effect on me, without something like MGS3 I probably wouldn’t be able to appreciate the story for any other game because I just didn’t really care.
MGS3 changed gaming for me, and is still the only game I can and will replay any time on any platform. It should be said that that is my favourite franchise and I love every game in the series that I have played, even Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance.
Dustin Frisch – Megaman Legends
My favorite game is a hard one to even bother choosing…Hmmm…
I’d have to say my favorite game growing up is, for sure, Megaman Legends. It sold me on the Megaman character, and it also made me play the Megaman classic, zero, and X series. If it wasn’t for Megaman Legends I’d never have gotten into the other Megaman games. Even the Battle Network games aren’t too bad.
Leah Wilson – Super Mario 64
This is actually a hard question for me because I’m torn between picking something that I love playing today versus something from my childhood. I love first person shooters and that’s what I normally play now, but nostalgia wins so I have to pick Super Mario 64.
I love it because I loved it as a child and would play it repeatedly. I would delete my game and restart when I had found all of the stars. It was the first game that I played obsessively and it was a game that everyone in my family played. It was actually the first video game that my mom played because my little sister needed help getting a star, so my mom learned how to play in order to help her out.
The nostalgia I feel for this game is the main reason why I chose it, but also it was a big deal to play Mario in a 3D platform. Plus, I super sucked at 2D Mario because I could never seem to jump at the right times so I probably loved Super Mario 64 because it was easier for me to play and win.
Ayanna Julien – Mario Kart
Don’t laugh, but my all-time favourite game is Mario Kart. Growing up, I didn’t play a lot of video games but I was always fascinated with anything to do with driving. So, when my parents first came home with a Nintendo 64 and Mario Kart, I was instantly intrigued; especially because it was so cute. I played Mario Kart every single day and within a month or so, I beat the game. It was the first game that I had ever beaten and to this day, it still is.
When I beat the game, the game started over, but this time everything was in reverse. I was completely obsessed, and even sprained my thumb from playing so much, but it was worth it when I beat the game again. I still relish that moment that I told my hard core gamer brother that I had beaten Mario Kart before him and to this day, I still can’t pass up the opportunity to play Mario Kart when I go to Dave & Busters.
TJ Porter – Persona 4 Golden
If I had to pick just one, I think I have to go with Persona 4 Golden.
JRPGs are easily my favorite genre, but I really play games for the story and character interaction. The combat, gotta catch ’em all Persona fusion, and the murder mystery story line combined to make a really fun game. But above all, the characters are what really sold me on the it. The characters are not the most deep or groundbreaking, but they all feel real. They each have their strengths, their likes, and importantly, their flaws. Getting to know them in the game was easily my favorite thing about it.
Out of all the games I’ve played, there are very few that have characters that I remember well and think about occasionally. When the protagonist leaves Inaba at the end of the game, I felt sad because I knew that I wouldn’t get to hang out with and learn more about the characters. I still wanted more. The game isn’t perfect, but few other games have gotten me to feel as attached to the characters.
Lee Burkett – Halo 3
I think I’m going to pick the game I’ve had the most fun with over the years, which has to be Halo 3
. It was one of the first games I bought when I got my Xbox 360, and a lot of my friends soon had it too. Every evening after school was spent playing Halo
, to the point where we eventually had enough friends and friends of friends playing to host our own big team battles.
The custom games provided countless hours of entertainment when levelling up in ranked games became a bit stale every now and again. Completing the final mission with three of my closest friends, winding through the passages at top speed in those Mongooses, was easily the most fun I’ve ever had playing a video game.
And the soundtrack, too! I would easily regard it as the soundtrack of my last few years of secondary school. I could rave all day about the times I had playing Halo 3, quite simply, no other game has lived up to it since.
Nick Juisto – Mass Effect
. The first one. I could write an essay on that game.
There was a time when Mass Effect was all I played. James Shepard was an Earthborn war hero. He helped people when he could, but if you pissed him off he had no problems ending the conversation with a bullet.
The game was magical; a true explorative experience. I loved investigating planets. I loved scaling mountaintops with the Mako. I loved discovering Geth out posts and eradicating them.
The council? Pompous. They were too concerned with the progress humanity has made to realize my warnings of the Reapers were true. They were arrogant and rude to me, the first human spectre. They favored Saren over me… and they payed for it.. Despite their treatment of me, I ordered countless humans to sacrifice their lives to protect the council. My choices will reflect on humanity. I wanted all aliens to know they humans are equally ruthless and compassionate.
In that final battle with Saren…I realized what kind of enemy we were truly up against. A timeless enemy. An evil enemy. There is no yin to the yang of the reapers. They want only one thing. Enslavement of organic species. And it was my duty to protect EVERYONE.
That’s why Mass Effect is my favorite game. No other game has made me so involved with the lives of the characters, except maybe Majora’s Mask. I cared about every human and alien in that game.
Allen Nugent – Dynasty Warriors
It doesn’t matter which one because they are all pretty much the same since Dynasty Warriors 2
on the PS2. No game makes you feel more bad ass than Dynasty Warriors
. You are on a battlefield and you maul your way through hundreds if not thousands of enemies. You can play the big slow guy or the quick little guy and a bunch of combatants in between there that are all over powered. It’s simplistic and a blast when you’re in a bad mood. I like the gameplay so much that I am tempted to buy a Wii U just to play Hyrule Warriors
Allan Torres – The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
I’ve really been racking my brain trying to narrow down just one! After an internal battle I have to say, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
. I played it pretty late after it’s release after picking it up at a game store in the bargain bin. I hadn’t really played Open World RPGs up until that point and found the freedom to be absolutely refreshing. I remember trying to find ways to rob certain characters, even clearing out all of the noble houses vaults, and training my character to superhuman levels.
I played as an assassin, a member of Morrowind’s Assassins guild jumping from rooftop to rooftop killing my enemies. I even took over a building in one of the games cities and filled it with skulls, red candles, and made a lair of sorts for myself. The game was just ripe with opportunity to create your own narratives using tools in the game, and I think those are the best kind of narratives.
So there you have it! A varied choice of favourite games for very different reasons. What is your favourite game and why? Let us know in the comments below.