I've wanted to do this list for ages, so here you go. Enjoy.
10. Pokemon Sapphire
This was the first Pokemon game I ever played, and it holds a special place in my heart. A lot of Pokemon fans have lukewarm feelings about this game, but I love this game mostly because of all the memories I have with it. My friends and I used to always battle and trade Pokemon with each other, and we were all addicted to this game for quite a while. In fact, I clocked in over 200 hours on this game, which I'm not very proud of. :|
9. Paper Mario
This is another game that holds a special place in my heart. I was first exposed to this game when my brother rented it, and I was amazed by its visuals and various quirks. After my brother took it back, I begged my mom to buy it. (What Im about to share with you is pretty embarrassing, but I already have no dignity.) Now, as a child, I had bed-wetting problems, so my mom made a deal with me: If I could go seven days without wetting the bed, she would buy me the game. Six days had gone by, but I screwed up on the last day. Then, I went another week without having problems, and my mom bought me the game.
To this day, I still play this game, and I've beaten it at least four times. I love its timed battle system, the partners concept, its soundtrack...everything! My friend is currently trying to collect every Nintendo 64 game, and he keeps asking me if he can buy it from me or trade some games, but no game in the world could make me want to give up my cartridge of Paper Mario--not even EarthBound! If you've never played this game, go buy it from the Virtual Console--now!
8. Tales of Symphonia
Roughly a year ago, I was stuck working at a sucky fast food restaurant, and I hated every minute of it. The pay was crap, and payday was usually pretty disappointing. However, I once got a surprisingly decent paycheck, and I remember my mom had once said to me, "You work hard for your money. It's okay to spoil yourself every once in a while." And so, I did. I ordered this game from Amazon, and while it wasn't exactly cheap, it was totally worth it.
This game has just about everything that a JRPG lover could desire: a rich story, great characters, sappy moments, and so on. Just about every Tales game is pretty much the same, but you play them to experience the story and characters, and on that level, this game delivered. The compelling storyline kept me playing for hours at time, and I grew to like all the characters--even Colette. If you've played a Tales game before but have never gotten around to trying this, then you're missing out. It's a little pricey, but it's well worth the price of admission.
7. Super Mario Galaxy 2
I'm not sure why, but I hated the Super Mario Galaxy games at first. Something about them just didnt click with me. I originally bought the first one, didn't like it, and then took it back to GameStop. Then, I saw the trailers for the second one, and I thought, Hey, that actually looks pretty good! So, I bought it and, once again, didnt like it. Since I bought it new, however, I couldn't take it back, so I was stuck with it. However, after a while, something finally clicked with me. I grew very fond of this game. I appreciated its diversity and quirks, and at that point, the game became a lot of fun. To this day, it's still the only 3D Mario platformer that I've beaten all the way through. I earned all 242 stars, and for me, that made me feel pretty dang satisfied with the game. If you havent played this and you like platformers, then youre missing out.
6. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
This is, by far, my favorite Sonic game. And yes, I like it more than Sonic 3 and Knuckles. This game is simply timeless, and if ever I need to get my Sonic fix, I'll just play through this. It has the best level designs out of any Sonic game to date, and its sense of speed is unmatched. You just can't beat the originals. Plus, I have tons of memories of playing this game with my friend. During sleepovers and late night visits, playing this is all wed do. If you want to check this game out, just grab one of the many Sonic compilations.
5. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
This is hands-down my favorite Zelda game. Bite me. It was the first Zelda game that I actually played, and it was fantastic. I actually loved the concept of sailing from island to island, and this game had a rich sense of adventure. Perhaps this is one of the easier Zelda games, but seeing how I suck at Zelda games, I didn't mind that. :P If you're a Zelda fan and have yet to try this, Id suggest waiting for the Wii U HD remake, seeing how the GameCube version is a bit pricey these days.
4. Super Smash Bros. Melee
I freaking love this game! Sure, Brawl is really good, too, but I prefer Melee because of how many memories I have with it. Also, I feel like the battling mechanics are a bit faster in this game. The stage designs were phenomenal, and the expanded roster improved the overall experience. And the soundtrack was soooo good. I seriously have tons of memories with this game. My friends and I spent hours battling each other, and it never got old. If you're wondering who my top fighters are, here you go: Falco, Zelda, Luigi, and Kirby.
3. Tales of Vesperia
This was my first exposure to the Tales series, and it made quite an impression on me. It had an intriguing storyline, a strong cast of characters, and a fun, hectic (in a good way) battle system. This game was one of the main reasons I wanted to get an Xbox 360, and this game is so good that it's worth getting a 360 just to play it. It's easy to immerse yourself in Tales of Vesperia, and you can play it for hours at a time. It's one of those games that you miss terribly when you finally beat it. This should be required gaming for all JRPG fans!
2. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
I already had high expectations for this game because of the original, but this game exceeded my already high expectation. The battle system had been improved, the script had a wittier edge, and the storyline was darker and more complex. This has the best storyline out of any Mario game to date. This game also has an amazing sense of adventure that's comparable to Zelda, and the way its story comes together is nothing short of brilliant. I've beaten this game about four times, and through each playthrough, I love it just as much as I did the first time I played it. Its that good. Also, this game is a prime example of a good sequel. It improved upon everything from the original, and it was a bigger, better experience. If you haven't played this game, do yourself a favor and order it from the Internet. It's a bit pricier now, but it's worth it.
1. Persona 4
For those of you who know me well, this should come as no surprise. If you look up addictive in the dictionary, you'll see this game. It sucks you in with its compelling storyline and characters, and it keeps you playing with its superb battle system and sim aspects. If you plan on playing this game, prepare to kiss your social life goodbye. Also prepare to have your life changed! This game is very thought provoking, and it really makes you think about who you are and what you want out of your life. Its storyline is easily one of the best you'll find in any video game, with tons of plot twists and surprises. I could talk about this game for hours, but this post is already really long, so I should probably cut it off here. Bottom line: If you haven't played this game yet, play it now, whether it's the PS2 version or the PS Vita version, just play it!
Well, that's my list. I've been wanting to do it for a long time, so I hope you enjoyed reading it.
Edit: Bah! I originally typed this in Microsoft Word and pasted it here, but it left out all the apostrophes, dashes and ellipses! I went through and fixed all the punctuation errors I could find, but that's still irritating. :x