During the last couple of weeks, I have noticed on Twitter a very popular hashtag: #7favgames. People were listing their favorite 7 games, usually not in particular order. It was a fun exercise to look at what everybody was saying, because you could see how much the video game community is passionate about this form of entertainment. Every platform was present, from PC to PlayStation 4, including mobile and portable consoles. I’ve decided to play this game also, but in the form of this article. It won’t be easy, because I’ve been playing games for the last 3 decades, and I’ve touched on pretty much everything: PC, NES, SNES, …. but here we go, let’s get to work! (The platforms I list are the ones on which I’ve played the game.)
Secret of Mana (Super Nintendo – 1993)
The first role-playing game I’ve played that really got me hooked to the genre even to this day. With its action-oriented combat (in the Legend of Zelda style), with the option of playing 3 players in coop, this is the one that still hold a special place in my heart.
Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within (PC – 1995)
The classic point-and-click games of hold! Sierra had, more than 20 years ago, a special series of games called Gabriel Knight, in which you play as Gabriel, an author and bookstore owner that discovers that he is part of a line of Schattenjägers, or “Shadow Hunters”, an investigator of occult phenomenons. In this one, he is looking after what is reported as a werewolf attack in Germany. This game was spanning through a huge 6 CDs (which was very crazy at the time), holding all those FMV cinematics. I remember fondly spending hours playing this and now that it is back, available on Steam, I can’t wait to experience this all over again!
Resident Evil (PlayStation 1 – 1996)
The original horror masterpiece, created 20 years ago by Shinji Mikami. There has been so many ports and remakes of this title. This is the game that made us learn 2 things: 1) You shoot the head. 2) If a zombie falls down on the floor, but does not bleed, it will come back. This is a title that is now part of the culture, from which a lot of horror entertainment was inspired by. This is the first game (at least for me) that really scared me and made me jump. I’m not a real horror movie fan, but this horror game just… got me!
Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation 1 – 1997)
I think every angle of this game has been analyzed over the last 19 years : the CGI cinematics, the orchestral soundtrack, the 3 CDs world altering story, a villain (Sephiroth) that is still considered today as one of the best villains ever created, emotional content, … This game is real testament of what a JRPG can be and is for many gamers the game that made them discover this genre. Even now, with the remake coming (God knows when), FFVII is one of the most talked about RPGs and video games as a whole.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PlayStation 2 – 2002)
Grand Theft Auto III had already made its huge revolution in the open-world games, with its freedom, quantity of content and adult themes. I’m not a huge gangster fan, so even if it was revolutionary, and very impressive, I didn’t appreciate it that much. When I saw Vice City though, with its neon lights, the Miami Vice vibe, and a soundtrack from the 80s that would still hold up to today’s standards, it just hooked me like crazy! There is just something about a police chase listening to hair metal and…Michael Jackson.
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (PlayStation 2 – 2003)
Before 2003, when someone was having a conversation about tactical RPGs, there was nothing comparable to Square’s game: Final Fantasy Tactics. It had the story, the deepness of the gameplay, the characters… it was the full package. But when Atlus released this game, where you were a prince overlord of the Netherworld, with a major superiority complex, called Laharl, that needs to take back the throne, because his father died while he was sleeping, we discovered something really extraordinary! A funny story, with a colorful varied cast of characters, that cranked the “New Game +” concept even more by allowing characters to level up until… level 9999 causing billions of damage in hit points! It was groundbreaking back then, and is still very unique today. The franchise now spans over 3 generation of consoles, and is still a niche title for those that are willing to spend the hours in its very deep gameplay mechanics.
Rock Band (PlayStation 3 – 2007)
This is the game that had SO many repercussions in my life. I was already a fan, back then, of musical games, having played the first 2 Guitar Hero games on PlayStation 2. I was a huge fan of rock and metal (and it continues), but I never had the chance to actually play any instruments. I don’t come from a musical family, so my love for that kind of entertainment was very solitary through listening. When Guitar Hero was released, my love for electric guitars just exploded and I played hundreds of hours easily. When the first Rock Band was released, promising a fun multiplayer experience, with 2 guitars, a singer and a drummer… my brain exploded! I basically spent a full year playing it almost exclusively. When the concept of the Rock Band platform emerged, with the continuous DLC, I was in heaven! When it continued, throughout the years, across multiple games and still today, through a new generation of console, it changed my life. The majority of the bands I listen to today comes from my years of playing Rock Band. My love of metal and rock still continues, and I still play regularly, now on PlayStation 4 with the latest games, with my library of hundreds of songs, and is still my favorite party game.
So, that’s it for me. These games defined me as a gamer, and to some extent as a person. Cutting this list to 7 was challenging, but I’m glad I made the effort. Would you be capable of doing so? What are your favorite 7 games? Let us know in the comments and forums.