We’re kicking off our Favorite 50 with numbers 50 through 41
Back in the early stages of site development, an idea came up among staff to compile a list of our favorite games released since the turn of the century (prior to August 2011) as one of our launch articles. When the original release date never came about, the project fell by the wayside and was largely forgotten. Now though, we’ve brought it back and will be sharing it with our readers over the next couple of days - Press2Reset‘s Favorite 50.
While most Top 50 lists boast market research, discussion, and analysis, we didn’t do any of that. Instead we all just voted for our personal favorites and compiled a list based on the results. It’s not about what we thought marked the turning points in gaming history, it’s about what games we enjoyed most as gamers. If you don’t see a title you liked especially, let us know. Someone may even check it out and write a Retro Review on the title.
50. Kingdom Hearts (PS2)
Two great things don’t always go well together. I love steak and I love ice cream, but the thought of mixing them both together makes me lose my appetite. I had a similar reaction when I first heard about Kingdom Hearts, but as a huge fan of both Disney and Final Fantasy I had to at least give it a taste. The next thing I knew, I had devoured the whole experience and enjoyed every last bite.
Despite a finicky camera, the combat was fun, the levels were imaginative, and everything from the story to the characters just oozed a charm that is rarely found in gaming. It makes me wonder if a T-bone sundae would be such a bad thing after all.
~ J. Seifried
49. Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)
There are many games that I have put multiple hours into, but only Super Smash Brothers Melee comes to my mind when I think about whole days spent playing. Nintendo took all of our favorite characters, mixed them in a blender with just about everything available from their universe and added a pinch of awesome just for good measure. The result is one of the best brawling games ever created. It is so good that it sparked many copycats, but nothing ever came close.
One of the best aspects of SSBM is four-player battles. There were so many nights where me and a group of friends would gather and play until morning. To this day, I still have Smash parties and will probably have them for years to come ,which is a testament to just how amazing this game is.
~ Randy Lamberson
48. LittleBigPlanet (PS3)
When I first laid my eyes on LittleBigPlanet, my first thought was, “What were they smoking?” Little did I know that Media Molecule had not only created a brilliant platformer, but also given birth to one of PlayStation’s most lovable mascots. I spent hours customizing clothes for my Sackboy, dressing him in all sorts of crazy costumes.
LittleBigPlanet’s presentation, graphics, audio, and gameplay, not only make this game incredibly charming and fun, but also addictive. Mix in the online features that include four-player co-op, level creation, and user-generated content and this is one sack I couldn’t stop playing with.
~ Randy Lamberson
47. Grandia II (PC/PS2/SDC)
Grandia II was one of the few RPG titles released on the Dreamcast, but it’s also one of the most epic RPGs of its time. Developed by Gamearts, it was released in 2000. Ryudo, a spry young mercenary takes on a mission to escort the beautiful songstress, Elena. When they make it to their destination, they find something has gone terribly awry, leading them on their fantastical adventure around the world.
Grandia II has personable characters and rich towns that captivate the player as they progress through the story. The controls are great and the graphics are superb for their time. The combat system is real-time turn-based but, unlike most RPGs, characters can move around the battle field. From start to finish, Grandia II is just an overall fun experience. The game was received well by fans and critics alike.
~ Aenne Schumann
46. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Mac/PC/PS2/XBL/Xbox)
When Rockstar first announced this game, I remember them promising a much larger world than its predecessors for you to play with. Boy, they were not lying. There was so much to do in San Andreas, from bike races to betting on horses to flying a frickin’ jetpack. I’m pretty sure that 85 per cent of my time with the game was just me driving around on a motorbike for no reason.
What I remember most, however, is the way Rockstar paid homage to the mid-90s gangsta rap culture of the West coast. My formative years took place during that era, and I remember feeling like I was 14 again upon hearing the wonderful soundtrack and driving my low rider through the streets of Vinewood. To me, every aspect of this game was just about perfect in every way.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need a cup of hot coffee
45. Grand Theft Auto III (Mac/PC/PS2/Xbox)
It began with a shotgun rampage in downtown Liberty City. The goal was simply to destroy eight vehicles in the allotted time, and Mr. Green Jeans had the foresight to block a busy downtown intersection with a couple of large trucks prior to grabbing the icon that started the timer. A handful of shells pumped in the vicinity of one of the blocked vehicle’s gas tanks not only started a small automobile fire, but also got the attention of the boys in blue. As our sharply dressed anti-hero started running from the law, the vehicle fire resulted in a chain reaction of explosions sending burning automobiles and policemen sailing through the air. It was at that moment I knew GTA III would ignite a video game revolution.
Of course, one moment does not a game make and the freeform gameplay, open mission structure, smartly written narrative, and memorable characters all came together perfectly to make this historical title my personal favorite of the 21st century.
~ J. Seifried
44. Pokémon Gold/Silver (GBC)
Few titles can hold up to the same tried and true game formula and still manage to provide a fresh new experience. Pokémon is one such series. Each game follows the same path of a young trainer getting their first Pokémon and setting off on a grand adventure. In the process of becoming a Pokémon Master, they save the world from one evil organization or another and meet a plethora of new breeds of Pokémon.
The second generation of Pokémon games, Gold and Silver, introduced players to several new features that went on to become staples of the franchise: new Pokéballs, time progression, berries, and breeding. Few games can call themselves multi-generational but Pokémon can and is a game that should be played by all.
~ Aaron Carlisle
43. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (GCN/NVC/N64)
While its predecessor received all of the accolades, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask will always remain the most challenging and original of Link’s adventures. Majora’s Mask imposed upon players a time limit that required you to complete your task within three days of game time or the moon crashed to the ground. The addition of mask added twist to the gameplay by each one providing its own unique play style keeping players on their toes.
The dark, haunting story has firmly cemented itself as one of the best in the Legend of Zelda Series.
~ Aaron Carlisle
42. Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (NDS)
Hotel Dusk: Room 215 was one of the DS games that really showed off what the handheld could do in terms of unique gameplay. A strong story coupled with innovative idea of holding the holding the DS like a book while playing the game, made it a title that was all its own. The puzzles in the game made excellent use of all features the DS had at its disposal, such as the microphone or touch screen. Some even required the lids to be closed to get the solution. If you can still find this game you should definitely give it a play.
~ Aaron Carlisle
41. Suikoden III (PS2)
The third installment in the under-appreciated Suikoden series tried something new in terms of story structure. Instead of following a lone, silent protagonist, players were instead treated to three different, sometimes conflicting, storylines that eventually met to form the overall plot. Each “main” character in the various branches was given full personality and it worked beautifully. If there’s ever a sixth installment to the series, I hope the writers take a cue from this one and give the protagonist(s) a bit more personality and room to speak.
The Suikoden series has always managed to tug at heartstrings and evoke emotions behind every line of dialogue and Suikoden III is no different. It’s a game I’ve played for many hours, and a game that I will pick up and play for many more; it’s just that good.
~ Marc Lynch