Heffy's Top 10 Video Games Picture

Here's a meme that I've been meaning to do for a little while... and I was able to get it done quickly, as it didn't involve any artistic effort whatsoever, lol. Regardless, if you've ever wondered what my favorite games were and why... well, enjoy reading.

10) Metal Slug 3
[NEO-GEO - 2000]
Wow, Metal Slug... so much to say about this series. Years ago I had played one of the games (probably the third) in some arcade somewhere, and didn't think much of it at the time... but distinctive memories of a game where you could be transformed into an orangutan whilst slinging grenades at zombies remained in my subconscious for years - it's hard to forget something like that. Back around 2008 I finally picked up the collection disc for the Wii out of curiosity, and it was then that I was properly introduced to this amazing one-of-a-kind series. The overal feel of the game alone immediately had me sold, with wacky, lighthearted cartoony visuals and richly detailed sprites combined with violence so over the top it was comical, creating a unique vibe that I just fell in love with. The gameplay is endlessly addicting, being a fast-paced run-and-gun sidescroller with a variety of fun and unpredictable weapons and items, including laser guns, flamethrowers, camels with machine guns mounted on their backs, mecha suits, and, of course, the titular Metal Slug tanks, among just a few. Despite the military war theme of the game, it never remained satisfied with having you battle only enemy soldiers and tanks - the series took you to incredibly varied environments to battle a slew of wild and unexpected foes, including aliens, zombies, giant crabs, sea serpents, man-eating plants, monstrous insects, yetis, pirates, jungle natives, and robots, just to name a few. Although the gameplay remained the same throughout each title, each game never failed to surprise me with something. My vote for the best in the series goes to Metal Slug 3, for being the longest title in the series, chock full of hidden exits and secret areas, making each playthrough interesting.

09) Odin Sphere
[PLAYSTATION 2 - 2007]
To be frank, this is one of the very few games (probably the only one) where it is the graphics, first and foremost, that make it a favorite of mine - but, thankfully, the gameplay makes it enjoyable enough that the graphics aren't the only draw. But what a draw they are! Visually, this game is perfect, in my eyes. The studio responsible for it is notable for creating the very first games in this graphic style (also among their repertoire are Muramasa: The Demon Blade, GrimGrimoire and Kumatanchi), with hand-drawn, lusciously painted, richly animated sprites and absolutely gorgeous backgrounds creating an absolutely enchanting illustrative visual style unseen in any other video games. It truly makes me wish more developers experimented with this method of creating graphics - not everything has to be 3D and hyper-realistic, you know. The style works especially well with this particular game, it being based on the rich mythology of old Norway and incorporating a number of its many legends and deities. As a mythology nut, this is another major draw for me. The fairy tale feel of the game is perfectly accented by the graphic style I was babbling about earlier... I could go on and on about the graphics, I swear, I love them so much. The story is unique and interesting as well, not perhaps in its content so much as its execution: you play through the game as five separate characters with five unique storylines, but the twist is that each of these stories take place at once and are expertly intertwined with one another. In later storylines, you may end up having a boss battle with a character you had previously been playing as. Although the game is an RPG, a genre I typically avoid (with some exceptions, as you will see later on), the gameplay is interesting enough to keep my attention. Instead of a top-down or even a free-roaming 3D view, it's a sidescroller; and the battle system is real-time and fairly entertaining. The game definitely isn't without its flaws - while the fighting can be fun, it's also rather clumsy at times, and lag can happen frequently (no doubt in part to the richly detailed sprites). The difficulty can be outright unfair at times, and near constant item harvesting is often required merely to get through the story. Flaws aside, this game is a real diamond in the rough, one of the forgotten classics of the PS2; and I can't wait to see more from Vanillaware and George Kamitani.

08) Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Ahh, Paper Mario - I'm sure you're all familiar enough with these games, so I won't waste too much explaining what they're like. I was honestly struggling between picking either the first or secon game, as both are among my favorites and special to my childhood. The original has a lot more impact regarding the latter, but in the end I decided on the second game, as it's simply the better game, highly improving on the original and making for a much more unique and invigorating experience. As I mentioned in the paragraph on Odin Sphere, I'm not a huge RPG fan, but for some odd reason, whenever Mario tackles the genre, I eat it up without any reluctance whatsoever. Perhaps it's because none of the Mario RPG games take themselves very seriously - the whimsical, tongue-in-cheek attitude of these games, especially the Paper Marios, are a major draw for me, with fun, colorful, chidlike environments coupled with sharp and witty dialogue, unexpected gags that are atypical for the RPG genre (which the games very often poke fun at) and memorable characters. I don't have much to rave about regarding the gameplay, but I have no complaints, either. The combination of free-roaming Mario-style platforming with typical RPG fare makes the gameplay entertaining enough, adding a fun explorative aspect to the games, and the battle system (in the first two, anyway) incorporates button-timed attacks to keep your attention and make it much more exciting than the typical "press button and watch attack happen" way of doing things. Seeing Intelligent Systems return to the classic Paper Mario formula on the 3DS makes me a very, very happy camper.

07) Okami
[PLAYSTATION 2 - 2006]
Now that I think about it, I really should have placed this game higher up on the list... but no matter the rank, this will always be one of my all-time favorite games. Like Odin Sphere, it was one of those games that I had never even heard of when first encountering it in the store, but that clearly ended up being a very lucky purchase. I'd give it the same title of "diamond in the rough" and "forgotten classic" if it hadn't received the attention it truly deserves in recent years. Even Capcom loves it, as evidenced by Amaterasu's inclusion in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Also like Odin Sphere, one of my favorite aspects of this game is the visual style, and Okami is yet another example of a truly captivating and original graphic style as of yet unattempted in any other game. I'm amazed by the calligraphic-esque painterly feel the game managed to emulate, with everything being delicately outlined with inky brush strokes. The whole game effectively resembles a traditional Japanese painting, as so many others have noted - truly a great design decision by Clover. The game could really be considered a tribute to the rich history and mythology of Japan, incorporating a countless number of legends and myths - again like Odin Sphere, appealing to the mythology lover in me. The soundtrack is utterly phenomenal, adding even more to the rich cultural feel of the game. Okami really does whisk you away to an immersive, fantastical version of the Japan of old. The gameplay is undoubtedly Zelda-esque, yes, but that certainly doesn't bother me - it keeps me invigorated enough to keep going.

06) Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations
[NINTENDO DS - 2007]
I'm typically not one to care much for a game's story, but in the case of the Ace Attorney series, the story and characters are the number one appeal for me. They were really the first such games I've ever played, and the first almost entirely text-based ones I've ever really enjoyed. I'm quickly becoming a fan of the visual novel genre, thanks to these games. I fell in love with nearly every single character in the Phoenix Wright trio of games, so much that I actually refused to pick up Apollo Justice, I had become so attached to them. For a video game to do that to me easily earns it a spot in my top 10. Each mystery-based case always keeps you intrigued and on your toes, and while some end up having obvious revelations that you can decipher early on, many are truly puzzling and enrapturing in their unexpected twists. Many cases also tug at your emotional side by taking characters you've grown to love and placing them in troubling, sometimes life-threatening situations which fall into the player's hands. I decided on the third game for a spot in this list because its story really was the most gripping of the series, with each case connecting to one another rather than being separate stories... also because of Godot. Such a badass character. <3

05) Kirby Super Star
The oldest game on this list, and definitely one that I have a very strong childhood attachment to - few other games evoke such nostalgia from me. This game, with its awesome co-op gameplay, was the start in a long gaming partnership with my younger brother. We'd play through the entire game over and over again without ever getting tired of it, all the way up to Milky Way Wishes - as per tradition, he would always play the helper character. T.A.C. was his favorite, and he'd demand I swallow one for him whenever we found one... ahh, sweet memories. We even mae up a stupid victory song to go with Kirby's end of level dance. I'm almost reluctant to play through the game by myself nowadays, because so much of the appeal came from the hours of fun I shared with my bro. I'm definitely not against it, though, as the game is an absolute classic, by far the greatest in the entire Kirby series - having five separate adventures in one cartridge was absolute genius. The Great Cave Offensive remains my favorite, due to its length and the amount of secrets and hidden areas - challenging myself to collect every single treasure in one go is always fun. I may be wrong, but I also think this game had the most abilities for Kirby out of all the games - and many that showed up here, such as Ninja, Jet and Wing, never appeared again outside of remakes (and Kirby Air Ride, in the case of Wing). This game, right here, is Masahiro Sakurai at his absolute best. Nevermind Super Smash Bros. THIS. RIGHT HERE.

04) Banjo-Tooie
[NINTENDO 64 - 2000]
Back in the days of Rare's Golden Age... it's a true shame that they're no longer what the used to be, with many of the veteran staff long gone now. But nonetheless, they left behind an untouchable legacy of amazing classics, the two Banjo games arguably being their best and most fondly remembered. Both of the games, like Kirby Super Star, were a pivotal part of my childhood, and I spent countless hours playing both of them, but Banjo-Tooie gets the honor of being my favorite, because of - you guessed it - its huge scale, length, and wealth of surprises and secrets. While this is the very reason many people prefer the original Kazooie, it's a major attraction for me. I love exploration in games, and I love traveling through huge areas discovering hidden nooks and whatnot; and back when I was a wee Heffy, this game seemed absolutely GIGANTIC to me. I simply loved it - I knew there was tons of good stuff in store for me. Having the game essentially be non-linear and having many levels being connected by secret passageways made it even more exciting for me. Both of the Banjo games gave me this childlike sense of wonder with their varied and expansive environments, and the two shared many other aspects that add to my attachment to the series. I can't get enough of the fun and cartoony feel of the games, especially when it's oftentimes coupled with aspects that can be almost rather dark (another reason I prefer the second game - it wasn't QUITE as silly as the first but retained that lighthearted charm). Each level is lovingly rendered with all sorts of details that make for truly immersive environments, even if you are playing as a hillbilly bear with a bird in his backpack. And, of course, both games are chock-full of that trademark tongue-in-cheek British humor and charm that Rare has become famous for. Rare ain't what it used to be, but I hope they can manage to keep this wonderful series alive somehow. Super Mario 64 may have kicked off the genre, but the Banjo games are really the magnum opus of 3-D platformers, for me... except, perhaps, for the next game on the list.

03) Super Mario Galaxy
[NINTENDO WII - 2007] (2007 seemed to be a good year for games, methinks...)
Now, this spot was originally going to go to Super Mario 64, which enchanted me from the very first time I played it back in '97. I'm sure most everyone feels the same way, it being the very first of its kind and Nintendo's first ever foray into 3-D - that feeling of excitement and the desire to explore you got from that game was just unforgettable. But in the end, I gave the spot to that game's spiritual successor - Super Mario Galaxy. What amazes me about this game is that even though it was so similar to Mario 64 in concept, style and execution, it managed to give me that exact same feeling of excitement, awe and wonder that Mario 64 gave me. Hell, I think Galaxy increased that feeling. This game was what really showed the world that Nintendo was on top of their game, and still had it when it came to making great, unforgettable adventures, during a time when they were disappointing thousands with gimmicky casual games. This game was just so... perfect. It got everything just right, and went beyond the call of duty in delivering a great new 3-D Mario adventure. Setting the game in outer space was the logical next step for Mario's travels, and it really did add to the massive scope of Mario's next adventure - you knew, from the moment you saw Mario soaring through the stars in the first trailer, that this was BIG. And this really was a big game, with tons and tons of levels, each with multiple unique missions and secrets and surprises to discover. The settings were all highly creative and a blast to explore. And the soundtrack... my god. Seeing Mario blasting off through space, arms spread, as a volcano erupted behind him and bombastic orchestral music played... that was something truly special. This game wasn't particularly revolutionary, but damn was it GOOD. It proved that Nintendo didn't always have to be innovative - they could just stick with a tried and true formula, mix it around, and add to and improve upon it, and you would have yet another classic.

02) Metroid Prime
For having such a high place on the list, this was a game that I never really appreciated until years after its release. When our family first purchased it, I shyed away from it - I was never a first-person-shooter guy, and that style of gameplay coupled with what looked like a dark and dreary setting turned me off. However, years later I had my first proper exposure to Metroid with Super Metroid, which I fell in love with. The one thing that truly captivated me about that game was the atmosphere... that feeling of truly being all alone on an alien world, traveling through caverns and jungles and volcanoes, never knowing what you would encounter next. I loved it, and I wanted more... so I turned to another Metroid game which we'd had for years and that I had never really touched. Before, I could never get past the prologue segment without becoming uninterested, but on this playthrough, I became hooked. It had that same captivating and expertly immersive atmosphere that Super Metroid had, and expanded on that unique feeling. As you've gathered, I have a love of exploration in video games, and Metroid Prime is the absolute pinnacle of that feeling, for me. There are no NPCs or towns or dialogue or story-based cutscenes... it's just you and one huge mysterious alien world, that you have to traverse in order to find your way home (and maybe stopping some experiments that are assaults against nature and mankind, along the way). Never before have I had such a strong desire to keep on going in a video game - I so badly wanted to see what else I could find, discover, and accomplish in this game. For a game that barely has a story (and a story that is not forced down your throat, but is instead hinted at through in-game journals and whatnot) and such a lonely atmosphere, that's a real accomplishment. This is in-game immersion at its best - I was completely sucked up into the world of Metroid, and experienced all the surprises and scares right along with Samus. It was a game where I enjoyed the somber, silent moments, where you were just traveling through a dark lonely cavern, as much as the intense battles with bosses. The subtlety was just truly amazing in this game, and made the experience - game developers nowadays need to take a hint from this trilogy.

01) The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
I'm sure you all know I'm a huge Zelda fanatic, and I guess it's no surprise that a Zelda game is at the top of this list. I felt rather guilty including only one game in the series, really... but if I did not limit myself to one, Zelda would absolutely dominate the list. The feeling of pure adventure you get from these games is simply unparalleled anywhere else. In the end, it was Wind Waker that one out - this was the very first Zelda game I played to the end, the first that I had the pleasure of experiencing fully. I had played Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask beforehand, and would go on to beat those years later, but Wind Waker is truly special to me because of this. It was a gaming experience like no other, for me - absolutely everything about it had me hooked, and I loved it enough to complete it at least three times. I'm not even sure where to begin in praising it. I suppose I'll start with the art direction and graphics... they play a large part in making this my all-time favorite Zelda. While it turned off many people, I just couldn't get enough of it - something about the highly stylized environments and bold colors made for an even more immersive environment than anything I had experienced in the N64 Zeldas (or Twilight Princess, for that matter). The whole thing looked like an animated film, it was simply gorgeous. Instead of just fighting generic monsters, each kind of enemy you encountered was brimming with personality, and allowing them to accidentally hit each other was a great touch. Another thing that I appreciate, but that others dislike, is the smaller amount of dungeons - perhaps having fewer of them made me appreciate the ones I got to explore all the more. Each of the dungeons had some truly excellent atmosphere, no doubt thanks to the game's lively art style. Traveling through a realistic volcano would have been much more boring than the bright fiery reds and oranges of Dragon Roost Cavern. And the game definitely made up for the lesser amount of dungeons by creating a truly IMMENSE game world, with a plethora of islands to discover and explore, many with their own mini-dungeons. While the Triforce Chart subquest was admittedly kind of a cop-out of including another dungeon and was downright annoying at times, it did give players a chance to explore everything else outside of the main story that the game had to offer. Speaking of the story, it was definitely one of the most interesting stories to come out of any Zelda game. Coming across the sunken Hyrule Castle and exploring its lonely halls (and then the ensuing epic melee with hundreds of enemies) was a fantastic twist, very awesome. This game also had the best combat system of any Zelda game, IMO - while Twilight Princess might have given players the chance to actually feel like they were swinging the sword, Wind Waker's combat was just so perfect and solid and every hit you landed just felt so SATISFYING. The musical chords you heard each time you did so were yet another brilliant touch by the designers. All in all, Wind Waker was a milestone in my gaming life, a truly unforgettable experience - and I have yet to play through a game that gave me such a feeling. Perhaps it was because I was so young when I first played through it, but either way, this game is something very special to me - as is the entire Zelda series as a whole.
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