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#gamertopnine

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A while ago I came across a hashtag on Instagram that I thought was a pretty cool idea and would make for an interesting topic here.

#gamertopnine

Your top nine games all time. It works by putting the box art in a neat Insta-ready nine paneled picture. We don't have to get that highfalutin here. Obviously, this being The Den, that one of the games in everyone's top 9 will be a DQ/DW game, but I thought it'd be cool to have a succinct way of seeing other favs of the Denizens. I went the nostalgia route and did the first game I played that got me into some of my favorite series, but there are a ton of way to look at this; Top nine period, top nine old school, top nine modern era, etc.

 

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DW1 is what got me into rpgs in general.

Pokemon Red was my first Pokemon game, and what got me into the series, although not the first one I played. PKMN gen 1 is what informed me that there were other games like DW (rpg's).

Need fo Speed 2 was the first polygonal racer I played on PSX.

The first Spyro is my favorite 3D platformer and really the only Spyro I like.

Virtua Tennis, and it's sequel, were a couple of the few games I could consistently beat my friends at. The Dreamcast rules btw.

Yo-Kai Watch 1 is great the same way Gen 1 of Pokemon is great, to me, it's simplicity compared to it's sequels. Also generally when comparing YKW to modern PKMN, YKW is the more compelling franchise.

I wish I had my "hours played" data for Fortune Street. I played a TON of this game by myself and with family.

While Mario was first for me, Sonic 2 was one of my few Genesis games and I got a lot of playtime with it.

Rayman Origins is great, though I do think Rayman Legends is better and built on what Origins did great.

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DQIV - it was the last NES title I had to play for almost a decade. My favorite full cast

DQV - amazing story, love this game and monster collecting to death

DWM2 - best monster collecting game ever. Love all the DQ ones, but I spent the most time with this, collected and bred the entire collection, my only 100% ever

DQXI - basically the best DQ ever

Fantasy Life - my favorite 1-off RPG ever, 130ish hours of great fun

Rune Factory 4 - this series is one of my top 3 along with DQ and the next game. I really like farm sims, but I need some battles and other stuff to do, this game has it in spades

Grandia - another top 3 franchise. This is just charming and has my favorite battle system ever

Tecmo Super Bowl - before Madden, I'd play this for hours & years on end. Just talked about it on Slime Time Sidequest 003 and then discovered over 350 roster mods, been enjoying it all over again

Persona 4G - I do really enjoy SMT battle system and this game did story and characters just so well b4b0e80d46e8a7fae50689063ee8319a.jpg

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Had to think some, but if I had to pick my top 9 games, regardless of the genre, it would be these ones:

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Super Mario 64: Mario World was the first game I played, but Super Mario 64 was the first game for the console I owned as a kid. I have a lot of love for this one, as it not only further introduced me to the Mario series, but what helped shape what I like in games: exploring and finding stuff. I remember messing around with this game a lot when my parents rented it before I had a copy to call my own, and I’ve replayed it many times. It’s still impressive all the moves and tricks you can pull off with Mario in this game, and how well designed most of the worlds are despite it being the first 3D Mario game.

Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Ultimate All Stars: A game I never would have guessed I’d love so much, I originally had a hard pass mentality on it. Then I stumbled across some gameplay of the Japanese version and saw Megaman Volnutt was in the game and I was pretty much hooked. I put nearly 500 hours into the game and was part of the community for it back in Capcom Unity, and I can never get tired of it. Learned how to play more traditional fighting games from this title and eventually went off to play a lot of others. Tatsunoko vs Capcom is still the most balanced VS game in my opinion, save for Zero, but even then it’s just great to mess with the characters and team setups despite half the cast being unfamiliar territory to a lot of western folks.

Zelda: Ocarina of Time: This is my favorite Zelda game, but I don’t consider it the best Zelda game. Just making that clear because a lot of people misunderstand that whenever I say it. Anyway, OoT helped cement the same thing Mario 64 did in my mind: I like exploring and discovering stuff. In Ocarina’s case it had a nice story and characters tied to it, helping draw me in with intrigue. I felt a sense of accomplishment when I made progress and beat the game as a kid. I go with Ocarina for this because it’s still fun to revisit, whether it’s the original or Master Quest version of the game.

Bloodborne: The game that made owning a PS4 worthwhile (sorry various DQ games). Bloodborne is such a fascinating game with its presentation. The atmosphere, world design, the rich lore, the horrific things you discover, the characters and monsters, and that grim gothic horror style to it....man, everything in this game is just phenomenal. This is hands down my favorite From Software title. I would really have to nitpick to talk about flaws. Even though I absolutely struggled with the game when I first played it, I realized that this was the game’s way of teaching you how to play. And once I caught on I found it to be one of the most satisfying gaming experiences of my life. I cannot emphasize enough how much I love Bloodborne. It’s just so good, and makes it worth buying a PS4 for.

Shadow of the Colossus: A game very much up to interpretation in so many ways, I didn’t play this one until 2015, like 10 years after its original release. Played the PS2 version and was blown away by it. It’s a game where I feel different every time, originally not thinking much of Wander’s journey to slaw the Colossi. But with each repeat visit, I think about the actions Wander takes, the words of Dormin, the Colossi and their strange, other world appearances in the Forbidden Lands...Shadow of the Colossus is an experience that sticks with you. You feel the weight of your actions and from the controls themselves, and each struggle with a Colossus feels like an actual battle, as if you were standing there next to the giant beast instead of Wander. It’s something other games haven’t made me feel, so I see it as a sign of quality game and world design. Also, Shadow of the Colossus has one of my favorite soundtracks. I love listening to it, especially in the evening when the sun is setting or when the sky is overcast. The soundtrack alone is worth listening to if you don’t want to play the game, it’s that good.

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey: The first SMT game I played and one that stuck with me when I first saw it in Nintendo Power. It looked very odd for a DS RPG, and the concept of it being based on our world was interesting. Not to mention that artstyle by Mr. Kaneko...I didn’t play the game until 2 years after it came out in the west, but when I saw the cover art featuring the Demonica I immediately recognized it from that NP article and grabbed a copy of it. Playing Strange Journey was kind of a frightening experience at first, as it’s music and set up makes you realize you are in for one hell of a time. Sure enough, that holds true throughout the game, but like Bloodborne, Strange Journey was one of the most satisfying gaming experiences I’ve had in my life. I loved the story, characters, the world design and constant oppressive feel  of the Schwartzwelt, that awesome battle system and all those demons you could recruit...this game cemented why I love SMT games and made me want to discover more titles from the series. You can keep your Persona games, I’ll take Strange Journey and the others for all that they do.

Dragon Quest VII: I mention why I love DQ7 a lot, so in summary, I enjoy the game so much because it’s a different take on the Dragon Quest adventure formula. Seeing your deeds help rebuild the world, watching so many interesting stories unfold, having some genuine heartfelt moments, and a fun class system tying everything together makes DQ7 a great experience. I enjoyed the puzzles of the original, I enjoy the new content of the 3DS remake...I don’t have a preference for which version I like more; I think they both stand out from the other as worthwhile experiences. Regardless of the version, the game has one of my favorite casts from the series, easily has my favorite DQ soundtrack, and feels like a real journey from beginning to end. It might be a mixed bag for others, but Dragon Quest 7 is king of the crop for me.

Banjo-Kazooie: The game that made me love Rareware titles. Banjo-Kazooie was one of those games I rented on a whim and ended up being kind of scared of it due to its villain, Gruntilda the witch, but I found that pushing through that fear was a fun and fantastic platformer collect-a-thon. It was hard choosing between this game and Banjo-Tooie, but I’ll go with Banjo-Kazooie since I’ve replayed it a few more times that Tooie, but not by much haha! The excellent soundtrack by Grant Kirkhope, the fun and rememberable levels, just the right amount of difficulty throughout the game (except for Rusty Bucket Bay which can go die in a hole), and all the cheeky British humor thrown in made the game so much fun as a kid and helps it stay that way 20 years later. I can’t tell you how exciting it was for me to see Banjo & Kazooie be revealed as Smash Bros. Ultimate characters last year. It truly was a dream come true to see the bear and bird back in action on a Nintendo system.

Final Fantasy IV: The RPG that made me fall in love with the genre. I had played others before it like Dragon Warrior Monsters 1 & 2 and the Paper Mario/Mario & Luigi games, but Final Fantasy IV was the first time I found an RPG got me invested in everything it presented to the player; the cast of characters, the story, the music, the gameplay...everything drew me in. I’ve replayed the game many times across the different versions and have never gotten sick of it. I’m not huge on Final Fantasy, but whenever the series is brought up I immediately think of this game. It just does so many things right in my opinion. I gushed about the game in the first Side Quest episode of Slime Time, so go listen to that if you want to hear me talk about my love for the game. Bottom line, I think Final Fantasy IV is one of the best highlights from the series, and I’m thankful it gave me the push to explore so many other RPG series like Shin Megami Tensei, Etrian Odyssey, Trails of games, the SaGa series, main line Dragon Quest games, and many others.

 

 

Phew...that took a while to type all that up.

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This is mine, though in no particular order. It was rather difficult excluding DQ7.

 

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It was rather difficult excluding DQ7.
 


Ditto. I had it on mine and then was writing the post about DQV and realized I needed a monster collecting one. Having so many DQ, I sadly cut one to make way for another DQ.
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I went with picking one game from each series as my criteria. Half of them would be Zelda and Dragon Quest games. This list isn't in any particular order.

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Dragon Quest VII: Not sure what to say about it what hasn't been said. I just find it to be a really great game. It makes me sad thinking we probably won't get another game like it since it was a product of it's time.

Dark Souls: Yup. I liked this game so much that I added it up to the top. Already planning several more playthroughs and working on achievements. I don't see myself stopping this game anytime soon. Love it. I might end up replacing this game with another soulsbourne game when I get around to playing the other games.

Dot hack: Yes, they are technically 4 games. But I felt that the nature of the games made it more acceptable. These games honestly aged terribly. So I can't really recommend it. Reason why I have them added was the story alone was what got me into anime and more into RPGs in general. While I have watched other anime and played several RPGs before this game. This is what opened the floodgate for me.

Ocarina of Time: Masterpiece of a game. This is the game that opened up the possibility of larger and more expansive games at the time. Lots of memories of playground talk of secrets and other things. If I had to rank this list. This would be either 1 or 2. Competing with DQVII.

Ogre Battle: I feel this game is very heavily overlooked and under rated. I probably replay this game once every couple years, and each playthrough has always been different. I just wish we got a similar game in recent years. This game introduced so many unique elements and it all worked well together. The dark political focused story was great, and is making me appreciate more over the years.

Super Metroid: Perfect level design. Not much else to say. Fantastic game.

Xenoblade 2: I honestly haven't beaten it yet. But I REALLY loved the combat once it starts picking up. Story was pretty good. Hopefully I can get around to playing this again along with the expansion.

Dark Cloud: This was one of my first games of that generation. I played it a ton. This is the game that got me into dungeon crawlers in general. I prefer it over 2 for the simple fact that it had better character variety. Which offered a better combat experience. Though Dark Cloud 2 did make some great improvements.

Kirby Super Star: I replayed this game so many times that I can't even keep track. All the games in the collection are super short. But each one adds a unique experience that adds up to a really great game. Super Star Ultra could be placed in this spot as well. But I opted with SNES since that is the version I played the most.

Some games I considered on the list.

Red Faction Guerrilla. Never played much of the single player. But the multiplayer was really great. I spent hundreds of hours on this game on the summer it was released alone. Lost Planet is held in a similar regard.

Runescape. I have very little interest in the game now. But this game was a huge part of my life for a good 10 years. It introduced me to a lot of great friends. Many who I still remain in contact with to this day. The memories and experiences this game opened up to me was too great to simply ignore. It was difficult for me to pull it off the list.

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11 minutes ago, Twinkie said:

Dot hack: Yes, they are technically 4 games. But I felt that the nature of the games made it more acceptable. These games honestly aged terribly. So I can't really recommend it. Reason why I have them added was the story alone was what got me into anime and more into RPGs in general. While I have watched other anime and played several RPGs before this game. This is what opened the floodgate for me.

I almost did a “Two-for-One,” with the Banjo games. It was super hard just to pick one of the games for the list.

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1 hour ago, YangustheLegendaryBandit said:

I almost did a “Two-for-One,” with the Banjo games. It was super hard just to pick one of the games for the list.

Personally I would have gone with the original as well. I didn't care much for the level design of Tooie since they were much larger and felt more empty. I like it when stages are more creative with their space in design. Still a good game though.

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17 hours ago, Twinkie said:

Personally I would have gone with the original as well. I didn't care much for the level design of Tooie since they were much larger and felt more empty. I like it when stages are more creative with their space in design. Still a good game though.

Only level I found that had bad design was Grunty Industries. That’s the one level I hate replaying in Tooie, just like I hate playing Rusty Bucket Bay in Kazooie. #$*! Rusty Bucket Bay, that stage just has way too many elements to hinder the player one way or another to be fun.

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5 hours ago, YangustheLegendaryBandit said:

Only level I found that had bad design was Grunty Industries. That’s the one level I hate replaying in Tooie, just like I hate playing Rusty Bucket Bay in Kazooie. #$*! Rusty Bucket Bay, that stage just has way too many elements to hinder the player one way or another to be fun.

Rusty Bucket is bad. But I think the worse was Click Clock Wood. Way too much was going on with that stage that required moving between seasons constantly.

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24 minutes ago, Twinkie said:

Rusty Bucket is bad. But I think the worse was Click Clock Wood. Way too much was going on with that stage that required moving between seasons constantly.

Ha, I never had trouble with Click Clock Wood other than that damn empty honeycomb piece in Gnawty’s House during winter. I always save that for last so don’t have to recollect music notes. I’ve played the game enough that I can do everything in one cycle of seasons, but I completely get why that is your least favorite. People either hate or Rusty Bucket Bay or Click Clock Wood more.

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Okay, I'll get in on this.  Here's my top 9 in no particular order, and reasons why.  I put these games on this list not because they are the best in their franchises, but because they are the most memorable and / or most-often-played games in my collection.  To no one's surprise, expect a lot of old games on this list.

Here goes:

1 - Megaman 2: NES - My first experience with this franchise, which is my favorite action platformer series of all, on a console chockablock with great specimens of the genus, it remains my benchmark for the performance of retro rehashes - if a retro clone system or compilation with MM2 allows me to make it through Metal Man's stage without a hitch, a stage I have memorized to pixel-perfect degrees, it's a solid retro experience.  The game is simply awesome.

2 - Dragon Warrior (Quest) 4: NES/DS - A close call between this and it's siblings, but this barely edges out even my debut game (2) for my favorite 8-bit RPG of all time, thanks to it's rich cast and lengthy story, which I have played through multiple times on original hardware and software. 

3 - Chrono Trigger: SNES / DS - Possibly the best SNES RPG, full stop, I have played through this game multiple times as well.  I even started over from scratch multiple times, NG+ be damned.  I've earned most of the NG+ endings, including the "Dream Room" ending for solo-ing the endboss in the first act. 

4 - Fire Emblem Three Houses: Switch - The most modern addition to my best games ever list, I cannot deny it a spot in my top 9, given I've already sunk over 140 hours into it over it's year of life, and still have no signs of stopping, until I've cleared every path once.  The cast is remarkable, the gameplay is solid and thrilling for the most part, and all the moving parts and mechanics make any effort spent on the game feel like progress, including the more menial tasks of fishing or the non-interactive elements like Support cutscenes.  Everything in game adds up to improve another aspect, so no time ever in game is truly a waste in regards to the game's momentum.  In my humble canine view, the distillation of all that came before in the franchise, honed to near perfection.

5 - Metroid: NES - I am keenly aware that superior games exist in the franchise, but this is the one I keep coming back to to sharpen my skills most frequently.  I beat this moody and fun game within an hour with no deaths, once.  Not a world record, and I've only done this once or twice to date, but I remain committed to reaching that performance level consistently, coming back every few months to try again.

6 - Grandia: PSOne / Switch - How could I call myself a fan of 80s / 90s era RPGs and not include this masterpiece?  This shows what a Game Arts Studio game can be like, without the baggage of having a Working Designs translation. The voice acting is not great, but the music and gameplay remain sturdy, and few games before or since have such a grand ( lol ) Sense of true wonder and joy to them as this triumphant little gem.

7 - Final Fantasy: NES - The game hardly holds water on a technical standpoint, with mechanics that simply do not function as planned, but this was a seed from which a mighty oak of a franchise grew.  IT was between this and FF9 or FF10 as my pick for this list ( trying to hold to one per franchise), but this takes it simply for nostalgia's sake.  This was the game that was my favorite RPG on NES for quite a while before DQ4 (see above) came along. 

8  - Blaster Master: NES - Another non-linear action masterpiece, this game had the wierdest excuse for a story in the 80s, and though it makes no sense to modern ears, 10 year old me did not question, when the result was I get to drive a leaping tank through caves and dungeons and annihilate swaths of monsters on the way to saving the world - and my pet frog- from disaster.  By the end of the game, the vehicle does everything except drive itself, and the finale is truly amazing.  I had to give the slot to the original, even though I adore the Blaster Master Zero series that exists on modern systems.

9 - Super Mario Brothers 3: NES - I played the game, I watched the cartoon, I read the Nintendo Power strategy guide cover-to-cover again and again,  I grabbed an issue of the comic book, and I salivated over the preview shown in the infamous 80s feature-length game ad "The Wizard".  I grew up in a time when this was not just a game, but an obsession, back when the hobby of video games was folded into the most prominent brand in the business.  Like Kleenex or Q-tips or Band-aids, when I was a child, playing video games was playing NINTENDO, and this game, well-honed after years of experimentation with the series and characters, was the ultimate distillation of Mario Mania in the 80s, the zenith of his popularity.  the commercial in the 80s that showed the entire United States in red, white, blue and black shirts, covering the nation in a giant Mario likeness did not feel far from the truth, and this game, with it's dozens of courses, containing hundreds of tasks and secrets to perform, felt like perfection itself growing up, and shinier, better Mario games exist, but none have as much personal impact for me, as for so many others, as this one.

I've played hundreds of games in my time, some good some bad, some great, and these are the most memorable and amazing to me even after all that time.  Simply put, I'm a nostalgia fiend, and these are the fondest memories I have in all my gaming life so far.  It's hard to pin down just 9 games I fondly remember, but, for the sake of the meme, I'll stop here.

 

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