Tell Us Dammit: The Best Game Of Your Life

Image: Kotaku

Yesterday we did a quick whip around the office asking people what their favourite game was for every year they've been alive. For me, it started from 1987 with a DOS version of Operation Wolf that I'm pretty sure was pirated from Singapore somewhere; that's where my Dad used to buy games whenever the ship had to go into drydock.

But to go in depth a little deeper: out of that list, what's your favourite game of them all?

The fun with the "favourite game for every year you've been alive" list is all the memories it brings up. And whenever something like this comes around, that's what I tend to go for: the games that imprinted themselves on me the most, the games that I simply couldn't forget.

That's kind of why I'll always have Counter-Strike as one of my favourite games. And it's why I'll always have Heroes of Might of Magic 3 there, because I remember plowing through that demo, day after day, night after night, until I got the full version for my birthday.

But the best game?

Well, it's maybe not the best game. But it's one that I've never beaten, and it's one that I've never forgotten. It's a game that I've made sure is on the hard drive of every computer I've ever owned, every laptop I've ever carried, even if I have to do some DOSBox magic to get it working.

Heaven & Earth. One of the strongest gaming memories I had as a little kid, and something that still puts a smile on my face to this day.

Even though those fucking cursor puzzles can die in a fire.

What's been the best game of your life?


    Probably World of Warcraft.
    It's the closest thing I've got to a lasting digital 'home'.

      Voting WoW too, I suppose I have no other option now that I've covered 1/4 of my body in its art permanently.

      I had to think about this one for awhile as these days I really dislike WoW and its hard to separate those feelings from WoW of old.

      I honestly cant think of a more magical gaming experience than playing Vanilla WoW and seeing the scope and depth of a game for the first time, the experience of meeting so many great people that would become long time friends.

      I feel like it really ruined gaming for me in the long run as nothing else has ever really compared and I have been constantly chasing that feeling.

      Last edited 23/03/17 8:08 pm

        This is my problem as well, only with Everquest. A good portion of my Top 10 gaming moments are from that game, but tend to be earlier in the game, rather than at the end of the 7 years I constantly played it.

        In the end, I realised that even though I wasnt having the fun I had before, I'd still invested seven frikin years into the game, and still had those great memories. And became the standard I measure any other MMO against.

        Some of those EQ moments were as simple as a corpse run when the game first came out, just to get cloth pants and a rusty sword back.. Because of how little the game held your hand, it became so much more epic than you'd think.

    Probably Dragon Age: Origins. With Duke Nukem 3D coming a close second.

    Link to the Past
    closely followed by FFVII
    and then WoW rounds out the top 3

    That's a seriously tough one for me. There's many games that I consider to have had a big impact on me, but all from different genre's, so it's hard to break it down to say there's one over all.
    I'd have to list a few, cos they've all had major impact, but all in different ways.
    Having said that, I'd probably go with Quake 2, Industry Giant 2, Ultima 7, Gothic 2, Street Fighter 2, Elevator Action, The New Zealand Story and maybe Crime Fighters and Europa 1400.
    They would be the games I consider to have had a major impact on me through my life. All for very different reasons, but I consider each to have equal weighting of importance.

    probs the best game iv played judging it by that time was morrowind, played that for so long.

    Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd on PS Vita. The feeling of nailing an extreme perfect is incomparable.

    Honourable mention to the Mass Effect Trilogy (for the feels).

      I really recommend Future Tone if you have a PS4. It doesn't have some of the features of F 2nd (ie. The edit mode) but the core gameplay is great and an over 200 song library means there's always something to perfect.

        It's seriously on my list. I'm somewhat scared though that once I get it my kids will hog the PS4... :-)

    Sextris. Tetris (best game ever) meets boobs (best thing ever).

    That's super tough because things always change and as you grow up the games you like can change so much. I'd have to say that the three games that resonate with me a lot are Final Fantasy VII, Suikoden II and Breath of Fire III. Each one also has strong memories attached to them so that probably elevates them in my memories even further.

    HOMM 3 for exactly the same story as Alex above, played the demo 1000 times until I finally convinced my parents to buy it. I don't think I have spent more hours on anything and that includes the 1500 hours I've spent in Dota 2. I still go back to HOMM 3 frequently.

    It's between Deus Ex (all bar Invisible War) and Mass Effects

    God that's a hard one.

    One game that came as a revelation to me was Thief: The Dark Project. It looked a little ugly back in the day, but it was one of the first proper stealth games I ever played. I remember reading articles about it, talking about revolutionary concepts, like different surfaces, different sounds, the enemies tracking sound cues, investigating bodies (which you could move!) I mean, this is just two years after Quake and it was incredibly advanced mechanically. There's still aspects of level design that blow me away.

    Then there's Daggerfall, which dared me to dream about possibility in video games. See, I only had the demo at one point. You were trapped in a Dungeon and the demo ended when you got out. But I read about this game in magazines. I dreamed big when a magazine said it was something like "5 times the size of great Britain".

    I also figured out that all of the in-game texts were included in the data directory for the demo, and I went crazy reading about them. I wanted to visit these places. Become a scholar and research the Faerie Rings (you couldn't, and they didn't exist). Learn the dragonish skill and talk to dragons (all language skills did not function in the full game). Make ridiculous custom spells (this worked, for the most part, and they really should bring that back). Become a cat burglar and climb through second storey windows (the fiction described characters doing this, but your character still couldn't). Visit the isle of artaeum which disappears and reappears whenever it wants (not featured, and the game was not set near Summerset). Even though a lot of the things I imagined never were in the game or really any game Elder Scrolls or otherwise... it still made me dream about the possibility of video games, and even when I finally got the full version... I still adored it. It was a revelation of possibility in games. I bought a ship, a horse, became a vampire and climbed to the top of various Knightly guilds and such, bought a house, became a powerful sorceror, summoned Daedra on their respective Holy Days.

      Thief: The Dark Project is a truly magnificent game that is still a benchmark which stealth games must be measured against - which is one hell of an effort for a game released in 1998.

        I barely remember much of, say Deus Ex: Human Revolution. But I still have vivid memories of Constantine's Manor. I still remember how spooky the ghostly murmurs were in that terrifying Cathedral level.

        Dishonored did a lot to bring back my Thief appreciation, but Dishonored's tools are very powerful. There's something about thief's limited tools that I adore.

        Not to mention Thief AI was often excellent. I recall guards investigating extinguished lamps, open doors, missing guards, etc in Thief 1. Many later games don't even bother with this level of subtle AI.

      Thief: The Dark Project

      I remember playing this for the first time at a mate's house with a head full of acid on NYE 2000. And then we went to do some ravin' in the Melbourne exhibition building. I'm not sure if it's a good game or not, but the memories I have of it are beautiful.

        Dude. I had a similar experience with Demon Souls. My friend was talking it up, and I was like, "oh, that JRPG game?" "Nah, it's not really a jrpg", and I'm like, "It's an RPG from Japan, how good could it be?"

        So one time I was at home and was just coming down from an acid trip. My mate rings me up and he's like, "yo, can I come over, I'll bring demon souls and you can have a go."

        It was amazing. I was rolling through so many barrels with that satisfying barrel crunching sound. And then he took me for a drive to get some pizza. Best come-down ever and a beautiful memory to attach to a game series I love.

      Yeah Thief is definitely my favourite, to this day the only game I've been able to play just listening to the sounds of the guards rather than visuals.
      Funnily enough I bought the game at the same time as the first splinter cell. I still have thief installed, don't know where my splinter cell disk is.

    It has to be FFVII for me - people will argue and say others are better, but to me, nothing can compare. It was one of the first games I got on my PS1. I didn't even have a memory card, so my brother and I would play all weekend, without sleeping and not turning it off. We made it to the second disc a couple of times! After a while we got a memory card and we must have put more than 500hrs into that game we explored every inch of it and it was magical. I don't think anything can recapture that...

    Mechwarrior 2, the intro still gives me chills to this day.

      This! Don't suppose you play MWO by chance?

        Not anymore, too burned out on the early clan tech "balance".

      Mechwarrior 2 was a great game, and an outstanding technical achievement.

        There is a reason it was bundled with graphic cards for like three years. Its absurd to think how hard it also pushed said cards.

      Mech2 Mercenaries remains one of my all-time favourite games ever. Its stories, mech/income management, and mission options were mind-blowing to me.

        The worst part about MW2 is that it was the peak for the series. It just sort of declined after MW2 Mercenaries (not saying its all bad, but MW2 was just that good).

          MW4: Mercenaries was a nice nod to the original, and as close as the series ever got to being that good again, but yeah, it was still downhill.

    Showing my age, but nothing has ever surpassed Elite on my BBC.

    I feel like this question can't help but be steeped in Nostalgia for me. Every thought I have connects to the first time I saw the potential in gaming.

    1. Playing The Last Half of Darkness as a kid was the first time a game scared me, I realised how much more games could affect my attachment to characters if I was active in the story as opposed to passive.

    2. Playing Flashback made me fall in love with the idea of open world game play. In level two, you have to work random jobs to save up money to pass the level. Even though on replays it's obvious how linear the level is, it was the first time I saw the idea of a hub world where you could make your own choices.

      Flashback was dope. 24 Frames per second! It's all the human eye can see! To be fair it seemed pretty smooth at the time.

    baldurs gate 2, diablo 1, world of warcraft maybe

      Glad to see someone else putting up Baldur's Gate 2. It was the highlight of the series, but there was so much emotion and so many stories within it. The heartache of betrayal, happiness of growing and sharing adventures with characters you grew to love, the sense of victory and grandeur when defending Irenicus, and the triumph of ending the saga in the end... all topped off with the touching, heartfelt and also bittersweet epilogues.

      For me there's yet to be a series to match it for scope and overall delivery - Mass Effect looked destined to rival it, but then failed with its closing game.

      A definite shout out to Thief: The Dark Project as second place.

      Yeah Baldur's Gate 2 was my immediate thought as well. There's been some phenomenal RPGs since (Witcher 3, Morrowind, Dragon Age: Origins) but nothing stands out as much as that game. You must gather your party before venturing forth.

    Metroid Prime (1):
    As a kid, few games have ever made me feel this immersed. I loved the scanning system for lore, the bosses, the environments, the progression and sense of exploration and discovery in an alien world, the soundtrack, and everything about it was a mix of older and newer styles of gaming. The only downside were the controls. Metroid Prime is probably the closest thing I have ever experienced to a perfect game.

    Last edited 23/03/17 11:58 am

    JSRF. It is the only game I have played over and over and over without getting frustrated

      Man I loved both of these games.

    Psychonauts I say as I look at my collection of pyschonaut figures around my desk

    Three way tie:

    The Last of Us
    Mass Effect 2
    Borderlands 2

      FFVII and FFIX are also up there...

    Minecraft, only after you eliminate the kids and mod it some more.
    Though any multiplayer game is good as long as you have a proper community to play with.

    Last edited 23/03/17 12:26 pm

    It'd be a toss up between Morrowind and Fallout 2. But also maybe Goldeneye.

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