I’ve been playing games for years, so I must have same favourites, right? Yes I do. And you can read about the games I love most (and why) right here!
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth
PC Nicalis (2015)
The odds are if you’re reading this then you probably already know what The Binding of Isaac is. It was one of the “old guard” of indie darlings back in the day, along with Braid and Thomas Was Alone, although obviously considerably darker in tone. The remastered version added new items and synergies, new monsters and a ton of new floors to fight on. Then Afterbirth went even further. This is my most played game on Steam for a reason.
Live For Speed
PC Scavier (2003)
Probably the best racing sim in the world. Developed by just a 3 man team (and heading for the title of longest early access game in history), LFS is still in an alpha state after 14 years. But it feels amazing to drive. The cars (mostly fictional versions of real life cars) behave exactly as you’d expect them to. The online community isn’t as busy as it once was, but the driving is still awesome.
Half Life 2
PC Valve Software (2004)
No list of favourite games would be complete without the obligatory HL2 entry. It helped shape the future of storytelling in games and it got pretty much everything right. The subsequent episodes were also really good, further building on the incredible world Valve created. But let’s be honest guys, it’s time to give up on the idea of a sequel.
Motor City Online
PC Electronic Arts (2001)
I know this is only on my list because of my serious rose-tinted glasses, but I still remember it fondly. Originally planned as a Need for Speed game, the NFS title was dropped and it launched as a standalone racing game, based around the hotrod culture of America between 1942 and 1973. It introduced me to US muscle cars, it was my first beta test and my first online-only game. Sadly it was doomed from the start. It was heavily delayed, and used an engine that was superseded by EA’s Porsche Unleashed mid-development, so it looked older than it was. But it had a lot of features that really worked. But you weren’t there, man. You wouldn’t understand.
PC DICE (2004)
Most people would choose BF2 when talking about amazing older PC shooters (and I enjoyed it too), but Vietnam is the one that did it for me. The soundtrack, the environments, the vehicles. It was my first Battlefield game, so it really introduced me to vehicles in a multiplayer environment. There was something pretty spectacular about flying a helicopter over the battlefield, full of your teammates, while blasting Ride of the Valkyries or Fortunate Son out at your enemies. Again, most people went for the planes, but I really got a kick out of the choppers. I bought my joystick specifically for it. Great times.
Xbox 360 Bioware (2007)
Mass Effect is a game that kind of changed how I felt about video games as a medium. Bioware built an amazingly detailed universe with a diverse range of creatures and characters. Sure, it had some gameplay issues and some minor technical problems, but if you got past that there was so much to discover. I wanted to 100% this game, which is rare for me. And I had to create a SPREADSHEET to track everywhere I’d visited! The sequels went in a more polished direction, but never really sucked me in the same as the original. For me, this will always be the best Mass Effect.
I played EverQuest for years in the early 2000s. Right after MCO, EQ came in as I was discovering online gaming in my youth and I made a lot of real life friends through it. Obviously I loved Super Mario World just as much as everyone else! Forza Motorsport 2 was one of the first Xbox 360 games I played and utterly adored. A great mix of realistic-but-still-accessible racing. There are so many other titles which became a huge part of my formative years that I could probably write all day, but I need to stop writing before you get too bored!