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Real quick, some lighter fare – it’s a blog meme! Shane started it, Darius followed suit, and now here’s my list of my 10 most impactful games.

The most interesting thing is trying to define impactful – whether it’s affected my personal life in some direction, affected my design sensibility, or just sheer number of hours played, it’s tough to define and these games cover all those reasons and then some.

  • Landstalker – If I wasn’t such a Sega fanboy at the time, this might have been a Zelda game, but this game helped cement my love for the intercoupling of story & action, and showed me games can be funny, too.
  • Toe Jam & Earl – My friend Jason & I spent months playing this game. It is even today a pinnacle of co-op gaming. And its sequel also serves as another fine example, of just how bad a sequel can be.
  • Facade – While the procedural storytelling elements are still innovative today, I just loved the feeling that when I typed in whatever curse word riddled nonsense I picked, they stared at me awkwardly like real people. It made me want to stop talking like a crazy person to them.
  • Ghouls n’ Ghosts – This was the first game I properly got hooked on. I’d come home from school everyday for several weeks and play it for hours on end. It was what made me realize the power of the medium, that a game could keep me that transfixed for so long. I knew from then on what I wanted to do was make games, because you could really effect people. Then that shit with having to repeat the game at the end happened, and my faith that I could design better games was forged.
  • Ocarina of Time – both for the briliance of the structure & the amount of time I spent with it.
  • Planescape: Torment – the writing, the themes, amazing.  A staking point in the argument for the occasional depth of pop culture.
  • Diablo – this one falls under sheer time, including both single player playthrough and cooperative play throughs. Co-op story games ftw. I remember playing it for 24 hours straight, stopping only to pee. At some point I was driving somewhere (with a full night’s sleep, I swear), and my gas tank gauge morphed into a half-full red health globe. This is why I’ve never played WoW. 
  • Nitrous Oxide – Technically Rez is the better game, it’s just Nitrous Oxide came out first and I played more of it. But it gave me a fascination for synesthesia, which Rez furthered.
  • Resident Evil – Horrible translation, but when those dogs jumped through that window, you were scared. Don’t remember that happening before then.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: BloodlinesWhile very buggy, the game featured some mind blowing moments. I almost had a heart attack playing the hotel level (there’s impact), and it was my escape from some other personal life stresses at the time.

Chronological Order:

  • 1988 Ghouls n’ Ghosts
  • 1991 TJ&E
  • 1992 Landstalker
  • 1996 Resident Evil 1
  • 1996 Diablo 1
  • 1998 N2O
  • 1998 Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • 1999 Planescape: Torment
  • 2004 Vampire: Bloodlines
  • 2005 Facade

Metacritic: Actually only 1 game is on Metacritic, Planescape: Torment at 91.

Various stats:

  • 5 Action/RPGs 
  • 2 platformers
  • 1 adventure(?) game (Facade)
  • 1 Shooter/Racer
  • 1 Action/Survival Horror
  • all 10 games involve navigating an avatar around a 3D space
  • all 10 games feature action in that they rely on reflexes to some, even slight, degree
  • 5 American games, 5 Japanese games
  • 0 puzzle games (although 9 could be said to have puzzles)
  • 2 “open world” games (3, I guess, TJ&E kinda is too).
  • 4 PC games
  • 6 Console games (Genesis: 3, N64: 1, PS1: 2)
  • 1 game that is a continuing title in a series (G&G), unless you count Vampire (not really)
  • 4 games that kicked off a series
  • 3 games that stand alone
  • 1 game that loses a lot of value on replay
  • 7 games with strong story elements
  • 3 multiplayer games
  • 4 years since the last entry on the list. I think it’s a matter of my tastes having changed a long time ago & the industry not really catching up, but I could just be a snob. Or worse, nostalgic. Ick.

Interesting. My list is much less varied, but at the same time I like a lot of other games in different genres, many of which I would put in a list of my favorite games over these. It was actually pretty hard to define impactful. Part of Shane’s definition helped, that you would prosletyize these games to anyone who hadn’t played them. Or being able to summon strong personal memories of the time playing them.

6 Responses to Games of My Life

  • Dave Mark says:


    If you include the time I spent playing them, I would have to list things like “North Atlantic ’86” and “Wizardry”! But I’m old.

  • Very interesting, I may have to post my own list sometime. But only 10? That’s hard.

    FWIW, Vampire: Bloodlines is on Metacritic, with an 80%:

    And I completely agree, it’s absolutely amazing. I only played it a few years ago, so I got the fully patched experience. I imagine if that’s the way everyone would have played it, it would be something we talk about a lot more, even today.

  • Borut says:

    Dave – I don’t even know what North Atlantic 86 is… I’m sorry. :) Although you did make me feel better for liking a bunch of old Genesis games. :)

    Nels – god that reminds me I need to play it again, I never played through as a Malkavian, supposedly the dialog’s tremendous.

  • Very cool list, I’m not familiar with some of the games so I might have to look them up and give them a try.

    I played through Bloodlines as a Malkavanian and it is worth it for the dialog alone almost. Really interesting stuff (I might have to do a re-install now as well)

    I’m curious about your thoughts on Diablo 2, was it left out because you spent less time on it and/or thought it was not as a good a game? Or were you simply Diablo-ed out?

  • Borut says:

    Well, left it out in the sense that I probably spent as much time with it, but was less addicted to the singleplayer (played more coop with friends). Also basically pretty darn similar to Diablo 1. So less influential but I still enjoyed it a lot at the time.