Picking 5 entries for this list was difficult, since I’ve played hundreds at this point, but if I had to pick a top 5, these would be it.
Number 5: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
I think everyone at this point knows about Morrowind, but I first watched my big brother play it when I was in the 5th grade, and started playing it after he let me have his old PC.
As a kid, my favorite thing to do in Morrowind was just kill random NPCs and see how long I could get away with it.
As an adult, I’ve modded Morrowind more and more (thanks, Nexus mods!) and I now have a nice apartment in Vivec’s Foreign Quarter where I just relax in-game when I need to relax in real life.
Number 4: Rome Total War
At the time I mainly played Rome Total War, I really wanted to play Medieval II Total War, but I had Rome on my PC and my brother had Medieval II on his new one.
Honestly? As an adult, I think the Iron Age rocks as a videogame setting. Sandals and swords are badass, and I honestly prefer this time period to the ultra-overdone medieval setting that every other videogame is set in.
What’s sad, though, is that I have Medieval II in my Steam Library, but Rome Total War (and the brand new remaster) are out of my reach at the moment.
Number 3: Minecraft
Look, I’m not going to wax poetic about Minecraft. You already know what it is, and there’s a chance you might know this game but not the others on this list.
My favorite thing about Minecraft though is the memories I had of playing it on the Xbox 360 in high school with my friends, whom I’ll name Charlie, Brad, Lou, Sal, and K for the sake of their anonymity.
My friendship with Charlie turned into a friendship/rivalry because of the antics I’d get up to when we all played together. One time I remember we were all building houses in creative mode before we would collectively switch to Survival on Hard, and I built a tunnel from the basement of my house to his basement. I tried to seal it up and play dumb when he found the tunnel. I said “Hey, maybe it’ll lead you to the treasure of the ancients! Or maybe there’ll be a monster!” and that just got Charlie madder. When he ended up in my basement, he said “You know what, your house is cool, Jay, so I’ll just leave it this way.”
I remember another time where Charlie was trying to build an apartment building, and I turned myself invisible and stayed underneath it. Lou was with me too. When Charlie caught us, he shouted “What the f*** are you guys doing under my apartment?” As Lou and I scrambled to escape his basement, I stuttered “I’m invisi- I’m not here.” And Lou and I cackled.
Okay, those aren’t that funny when I retell them, but they were hilarious when they happened.
Number 2: Bastion
Yeah, I latched onto this game emotionally as a teenager. There was something poetic about The Kid’s backstory and how he was doing the absolute most to bring back a world that never cared he existed.
In a way, I saw myself as The Kid. I saw my aspirations to be someone famous and rich as trying to impress the wider world who wouldn’t’ve cared if I had died. And I drew parallels between me and The Kid in that way.
Is it a 1:1 comparison? Most likely not. But I played the s*** out of this game on the Xbox 360. And it was one of those games that I’d show absolutely everyone who came over to my house, sooner or later. Unfortunately, I only ended up meeting people who liked it when I was at university and after I graduated from there.
My emotional connection with this game is probably something I should bring up in therapy. And I would, if I didn’t have other problems.
Number 1: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Look, I’ve played RPGs and fantasy games since I was 4 years old. But the defining game of my adolescence would have to be, without a doubt in my mind, Oblivion.
And yeah, I know about the NPC memes. They’re at least 30% of what keeps me going back to Oblivion.
But what drew me in to Oblivion in the first place was the whimsical, magical, otherworldly nature of Cyrodiil. The towns all looked different, the people talked about current events and general lore, the grass was green and the forests were rich, and the HOMES! Don’t get me started on the HOMES! I was posted up in the Waterfront Shack, just reading collected books while sitting before the fireplace.
I lost myself in a world that I could explore and do things in, things that stuck. When I pissed off the stable owner of Cheydinhal, he remembered. And he remembered even after I killed the daedra attacking him.
But I’ll be the first to admit the scaling system was crap.
What do you think of these 5 games? What’re your top 5 favorite games?