I saw a thread similar to this on GGD, and decided I wanted to make my own personal list. What games have sucked away my social life? Which stories have moved me? Which ones would I pay to play over and over again?
10. The Haunted Mansion
PS2, March 2004.
It might seem laughable at first but "The Haunted Mansion" (loosely based on the film featuring Eddie Murphy) actually provided many solid hours of play. Due to money troubles I missed out on most of the second gen and often visited my Grandparent's house to play on my Grandad's PS2. We both ground through this game as a team effort, and so I remember it fondly.
It was released by High Voltage Software on the 5th March 2004. It features the scrawny Zeke Halloway, the newly hired caretaker of a nearby mansion. However things quickly go bottoms-up as he discovers the job contains aspects even the smallprint didn't cover. An evil spirit; "Atticus Thorn" has imprisoned 999 souls in quest to take over the Afterlife. Thus it falls upon Zeke's shoulders to put everything right with only his 'Beacon of Souls' to help.
9. Baldur's Gate, Dark Alliance 2
PS2, February 2004.
A fantastic effort by Black Isle Studios, and a real gem of a console RPG. Again, missing out on the second gen meant that I had to invade on my friends' consoles. I often played it multiplayer and always played as the Necromancer - spamming Melf's Acid Arrow was my game.
I don't remember much of the actual story so I am using Wikipedia to aid me. Needless to say it is a sequel to the first console Baldur's Gate and the story follows on. Wikipedia says: "Vahn, Kromlech, & Adrianna come out of the Shadow Gate only to be surrounded by Nightwalkers and Nightshades. Leading these creatures is a Vampire lord name Mordoc SeLanmere. He tells the three heroes that he and his allies will begin rebuilding the Onyx Tower. He tells his creatures to capture them."
Pretty self explanatory. You pick a character, you quest through the game. It pleased me with its original and solid RPG levelling system; skill trees and stat points.
8. Digimon World DS
DS, November 2006
One of the first games I played on my DS. It instantly had me hooked. Similar to Pokemon, but more colourful and certainly more 3D feeling. Me and my best friend played (competitively, I might add) through this game often comparing our new digimon on our days out.
Like the Digimon World that featured on the PS1 the story kicks in with a young teenager being transported in to 'Digiworld' some time in the 21st Century. The story continues to develop as the character befriends more and more Digimon., eventually facing the main bad-guy; Unknown-D.
I particuarly liked the level design in Digimon World DS. It was neat, tidy and very colourful. The pixel designs were clear and easy to see, and the Battle Interface was simple. The "Digi-Farms" really made the experience though. The more Digimon of a specific type that you encounter, the more scan-data of that Digimon you get. When at 100% you can spawn your own version of said Digimon, and it will live in one of your Digifarms. Digifarms can be upgraded with accessories and stats, all in all making it a very cute and appealing handheld game.
7. Diablo II
PC, June 2000
I consider this game an absolute life saver. Prior to having a PC that could play anything, I had a cheap budget build with a CPU only capable of running MS Office. Naturally, when I was introduced to Diablo II and my monster machine could actually run it I was in awe.
The most famous point and click RPG, it has inspired many spawns of point and clicks including Titan Quest (which I also happened to love). Although the graphics left a lot to be desired, it has such a impressive fanbase following that even its outdatedness can be overlooked. As with Baldur's Gate II, I played the Necromancer. It has been a long time since I have played it due to Vista compatibility issues. but I still remember the elated feeling I got from defeating the first boss (argggh, what was her name!?).
Diablo, The Lord of Terror, is back after the first game and much stronger. As you progress through the game you have to eliminated the "Prime Evils" which are apparently the superpowers of Hell. Admittedly, despite all the Saturdays I spent grinding through this game I never finished it. I guess I faff too much on RPGs.
6. Fable: The Lost Chapters
PC + xbox, September 2005
I first experienced Fable on the Xbox, though last year rebought it for the PC. A legendary RPG that allowed players to incorporate "free will" or whatever in to their gameplay. Compared to its sequel, this was a game I treasured for a long time.
You play as "Hero" in the land of Albion, who is funnily enough the Hero of the game. As a child, your home village Oakvale is burned to the ground and he is the only survivor. You then join the Heroes' Guild at request of the old hero Maze. You then continue to excel through the training and depart in order to find the truth behind your village's destruction. Along the way Hero runs in to his younger sister who was presumed dead since the raid on Oakvale.
Fable was particuraly addictive due to the Alignment feature. You could be an absolute bar stool, or you could be a little angel and give out boxes of chocolates to peasants. And if that wasn't enough? You could be a heartless womanizer at the same time. Perfect!
5. Pokemon Sapphire
GBA, July 2003
Ah, now this wouldn't be personal if I didn't include Pokemon in here somewhere! The Pokemon RPGs on the handhelds have always been a particular favour of mine, even though I'm finding the franchise too washed out now. Although Crystal was probably my favourite Sapphire was the one I spent most of my free time on, and is probably the reason my gameboy no longer has the letters on the buttons.
I don't think I really need to outline the story here - kid comes of age, chooses a pokemon, destroys gym leaders and then obliterates the Elite Four. Everyone knows that, everyone can do it! However Sapphire was the only Pokemon game I have ever completed my Pokedex on. Ever. I'm still surprised I had the time and effort to pour in to the game.
4. Cooking Mama 2
DS, February 2008
Such a treasure of a game, really. Along with "Digmon World DS", Cooking Mama provided me and my best friend many conversations - who could make the best Sushi Rolls!? It's embarassing to admit but I loved this game, and I'm pretty sure somewhere in my GS blog is a record of me completing it. Yup, that's right! I even unlocked all the accessories and trophies.
Okay, so, about Cooking Mama 2? Well, it's very Japanese seeming. Bright pixel art, sparkles, flowers, hearts and a fantastic introduction featuring a woman of (presumably) Asian origins shouting "COOKING MAMA TWO! DINNER WI- FRIENDS!". Yeah, awesome. Basically, you use your stylus and follow instructions to cook a wide range of gourmet foods. That's all there is to it.
3. Elder Scrolls: Oblivion
PS3, April 2007
Oblivion, Oblivion... Makes such a hypocrite out of me. I always have a problem joining the bandwagon of a franchise half way through, such as Final Fantasy. However when I bought Oblivion I did not regret jumping on the Elder Scrolls train (I had not played Morrowind, ack!). It was the first game I bought and played on my PS3 and I successfully racked up 300 hours on it. Strategy guide? Who needs one! Hannah is here to fill you in.
Seriously, I spent the entirety of my free time on this game until eventually I bored of it. Although many people found the landscapes bleak and repetitive I loved them; there was so much space! The armour design also helped. Even though I was a mage I insisted on wearing Daedric armour as soon as I hit top level. It's gorgeous, and still features in my profile banner.
So... Yeah. You create your character, you start in a prison, the Emperor Uriel Septim comes to rescue you. He needs you to adventure through the land of Cyrodiil and defeat the fanatical cult "Mythic Dawn" which are trying to free the Daedric Prince and his armies in the peaceful land of bandits and Ayleid Ruins.
Although many complain about this game, it holds a flag and waves it in my memory - marking it as one of the most influencial games I have ever played. I think it rekindled my love for RPGs and brought me in to the 3rd generation hungry for more.
2. Golden Sun
GBA, February 2002
Still to this day I can't remember how I stumbled across this game. The box was new, but how did I hear about it? No idea, but I am glad I did.
Golden Sun was one of my biggest ever gaming obsessions in my pre-teens. I had posters of Isaac and Ivan all over my wall. I knew the Djinn's names off by heart. I was obsessed.
The story was particuarly gripping. Set in the world of "Weyard" where the magical power of Alchemy flows, the adventure begins with a handful of teenage Adapts in the village of Vale. They are forced to flee from an erupting volcano that coincides with a raid on the Alchemy Sanctum (or something) in which one of the four stars of Alchemy is held. I forgot to mention that, didn't I? Yes. Alchemy is split in to Elemental Stars of Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury. Anyway, the party of Adepts and their picked up friends continue to advance to fight against the Elemental Star Raiders "Saturos" and "Menardi" right up until the climax when all the world is saved again!
The battle system involved melee, Alchemy (magic) and the powers of little creatures called Djinn. It was a typical turn based battle setting, thus greatly delighting me.
1. Guild Wars
PC MMORPG, April 2005
Well, Guild Wars. Guild Wars, yes. Where do I begin? The semi-f2p, MMORPG that is my number one game of all time.
This game was my life for Year 11 + Year 12 thanks to my best friend. Together, we progressed in this and learned all the tricks of the trade together. From PvEers to GvGers, we did it all and I am glad to hold those two years of dedicated playing in my memory.
Over three thousand hours I poured in to this game. I'd get up and play it. I'd come home and play it. I gave up Friday night parties to compete in GvG Matches. My first account cost me over £80 and often ended up enhanced at Christmas and Valentines. I still remain friends with some of the people I met on there, but I don't think I will return (but that is a story for another time, hey?). All my characters had elite armour, most were able to PvP properly due to the time and effort I had channeled in to preparing their skill lists and weapon sets.
I don't think I can properly summarise my feelings for GW, and I'd look pretty sad if I tried. Basically, this game plunged me deeper in to gaming than I had been previously (which would have been harder to imagine considering it's always been my biggest hobby). I miss it but to go back to it in its dying days would give my memories no justice.
To Guild Wars, and the happy two years it gave me!