Best Games Ever

I did a top ten list last January, so I think I’ll do another.

10. (NE) Dragon Quest VIII (PS2)

I remember it annoying me when I played it. But I also remember loving it. And it gave me my single most satisfying gaming moment ever – killing the final boss after a 45-minute battle.

9. (NE) OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (XBOX/PSP)

Not really a new entry as OutRun 2 was in the chart last year, at number five. I’m rating it lower this year because I never seem to play it. The Xbox version doesn’t work on the 360, so I never play it, and the PSP version, though lovely, is hampered slightly by the PSP’s analogue nub and a pretty rubbish framerate.

8. (7) World of Warcraft (PC)

It gave me some of my best gaming moments ever. (The trip to the contested area of Booty Bay to buy parrots with two friends! The first time we ganged up to invade Alliance territory!) However, I never got a character beyond level twenty-five and don’t really like teaming up with random strangers so it can’t be higher.

7. (9) Mr Driller: Drill Spirits (DS)

Best (English language) Mr Driller. Drill Land might take the spot if it was out in English. But it’s not. And there’s been no new Driller to challenge this in the last year.

6. (10) Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS)

I don’t play it as much as I used to. Probably been a couple of weeks or more since I last had a wander round Venture. But it lasted for hundreds of hours of play and helped cement my relationship with the woman who is now my wife. Thanks Nintendo!

5. (6) ICO (PS2)

Haunting, atmospheric, etc. And unlike Shadow of the Colossus I actually finished ICO.

4. (3) GTA: San Andreas (PS2)

Last year I said, “Best setting, best map, best features, best everything.” Still true when you’re talking about the GTA series, but Saints Row now exists and it does a lot of stuff an awful lot better than GTA does it. GTA IV is going to have to be something very special now.

3. (4) Mario 64 (N64)

Loved it then. Love it still. It was losing ground in my top tens, but the Virtual Console version has reinforced how much fun it still is, so it gains a place here.

2. (NE) Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (360/PC)

Morrowind was in this spot last year. Oblivion doesn’t do everything better, no. It feels a lot smaller, possibly down to the fast travel and quest markers. The land doesn’t have the strangeness of Morrowind. The levelling system isn’t as bad as many make out, but is ever-so-slightly broken. But in other ways it makes many, many improvements. At times it looks breathtakingly beautiful. The combat is much improved, especially the ranged combat. The stealth works brilliantly – so much so that it seemed almost everybody went for a stealth-based character when playing the game. It’s been over a hundred hours of glorious fun, with more to come.

1. (1) Doom (PC/360)

Genius that hasn’t aged in anything but graphics. Gameplay, level design, feel… it’s still all there. And the 360 version has the best controls since pre-Win95 PC keyboards. BEST. GAME. EVER.