You can see the other games I’ve enjoyed here, but the following games are of a different calibre. They are the kinds that feature prominently when I think about a period of my life. Some are more recent, those are the games I have amassed dozens of hours in and will amass dozens more. And almost every one of them, I’ve played more than once, or plan to. So without further ado:
15. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (N64)
This is the one game on here I’m not even close to finishing. I borrowed it, along with an old N64, from a friend for only one week before A Link Between Worlds came out, and I only got as far as the Pirates’ Fortress (which, incidentally, was not very enjoyable). But the story and gameplay to that point were enough to merit a spot on my favourite games of all time. The atmosphere is really unnerving, especially when you play with all the lights off near midnight! The characters are very memorable and deep, and all their stories are made even more intriguing when you realise that they are all going to perish due to a suicidal moon. The one thing that bothered me in the beginning was the three-day time limit, but really, once you learn the Inverted Song of Time, that gives you three hours to play with, which is plenty before having to worry about restarting. I might write a full review one day, when the 3DS remake comes out (notice I said WHEN!).
14. LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (DS)
You may have noticed from my previous list that many of the games I choose are out of nostalgia or pure childhood memories. This list is no different, starting here. The Complete Saga was my first DS game, back in 2008 (at the age of 10), and for the first time, I realised how entertaining video games could be. I really liked Star Wars at the time, and the LEGO characters were just so funny. The gameplay was definitely not lacking. There are, if I remember correctly, 5 or 6 levels for each Star Wars episode, so about 30+ levels in total, and replaying them is a must to amass all the collectibles. Also, I tried it in a 3DS recently, and the Circle Pad actually works remarkably well with the game. For me, who had only played Pokémon and a few crappy platformers up until this point, this game made me really excited for the games to come and what was in the future for Nintendo handhelds.
13. Civilization Revolution (DS)
I saw this game on a shelf in 2009 or so at Wal-Mart and begged my mum to buy it for me, knowing absolutely nothing about the Civilization series. But I liked history, having played Age of Empires, so I recognised Genghis Khan, Cleopatra, and Napoleon and decided this was a game for me. It wasn’t. I was too confused by the mechanics to enjoy myself, so I stopped playing it. Fast forward a couple years, and I couldn’t believe I’d let such a good game be ignored for so long. There’s loads of strategy involved and the difficulty was too much sometimes, but because of the freedom in choosing your path to victory, I found myself playing game after game. I’ve since tried Civilization V, which is magnificent, but I still find myself going back to Civ Rev because it’s the kind of game you can pick up, dispense of 3 hours, and emerge with a result.
12. Age of Empires: The Age of Kings (DS)
This game, man. This game. Another game I just chose randomly when my grandparents went out with me to buy games (this one was a whopping 54 dollars in Singapore!). And for some reason, I thought it was absolutely astounding. There was a History section where my nerdy 10-year-old self could read for ages about all the different units I was using, and the gameplay was so difficult for me then that I knew that this was a game I would not simply grow out of. 200 dollars later (don’t buy Mac games if you can help it), I’ve tried many of the other Age of Empires titles and they are all better in almost every way, but sometimes I just have to pop this cartridge in and marvel at the pixellated soldiers once again. And finally, if this says anything about the game, this is the only game I’ve ever convinced my mum to enjoy. In fact, just last summer, we played another family Hotseat game (which was super-competitive and stressful actually!). This game, for some reason, just simply refuses to lie down.
11. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)
I’ve only had this game just over a month now, but it has probably the most freedom I’ve seen in a handheld. As the mayor of a little animal-infested village, you can do whatever you want, be it planting and harvesting fruit trees, fishing, decorating your house, or selling valuable bugs on the black market. But the main draw comes from the charm of the game. The villagers are all so likable and interesting, and the dialogue is actually quite varied, provided you wait for the villagers to talk to you rather than spamming them. A complaint I had early on is that the best things always happen ‘tomorrow’, but that’s actually OK, because it helps you pace yourself. This is a game for the long run, and that’s what makes it so valuable.
10. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX (GBC)
I picked up this game last summer on Virtual Console, and it ranks in play time higher than many 3DS games I got (remarkable for a 15-hour game!). It’s an old game, but that doesn’t take anything away from the enjoyment. The cartoony graphics actually add to the game’s overall cuteness, and don’t detract from the gameplay in the slightest. Because the game map is so small, every square inch of the map is used to its full potential. In fact, I would guess that at about two-thirds of the tiles on the map are important in some way or another to the plot, some sidequest, or a secret. Because of this, you really can’t feel cheated of your 6 dollars. Finally, the story. This is the best story in any game I’ve played, barring perhaps something you’ll see later on. Yes, it’s short, but in the fifteen or so hours of main story, you really care about the characters, which really makes you question your motives as the player. Going on more would spoil the game, but I highly recommend it if you have a 3DS and a few bucks to spare.
9. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (DS)
These games came at a time when I was finally old enough to actually enjoy Pokémon games for their depth and freedom of gameplay. I was finally old enough to understand the mechanics and strategise more with my team. If I’m not wrong, this is the first Pokémon I actually beat, which is part of the reason I have such fond memories of these games. In hindsight, however, these may have been the weakest new installment to the series to date, and it actually seems to show its age more than the GBA games in my eyes, since it feels unfinished in light of Platinum and HeartGold and SoulSilver.
This may seem like an awkward place to end, but that’s because I, once again, wrote too much and will put my eight favourite Nintendo games in another post. See you then!
What do you think about these choices? Tell us in the comments!