The rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. 20 video games you’ve played that will always stick with you. List the first 20 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Then tag 20 friends, including me, because I’m interested in seeing what games my friends choose.
This was the game Him Indoors used to reel me in to video games in the first place. It was the twisted cuteness of the game that got me – the savage humour that accompanied my inevitable defeat. We still quote lines like the squeaky-voiced “I’ll get you” to each other from time to time. An unforgettably charming game.
My addiction to Klax was even worse than my current Bejeweled habit. I think I might have actually broken down in tears once after losing a particularly fraught battle against the tumbling coloured blocks.
It’s rare for a video game to have a story that compares well to other media, but Bioware’s astonishing space opera fares well even next to the Star Trek reboot. The gameplay is mediocre (better on PC than 360), but the cutscenes will linger in your memory for years.
What sticks with me most about this strange and rather basic RPG with Bejeweled-clone gameplay is the music. The medieval-style soundtrack just goes around in my head all the time.
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines
OK, so it’s one giant masturbatory fantasy for teenage goths, but it’s also one of the finest games ever made. I’ve been playing it on and off for several years now – never quite completing it, and starting it many times – but despite all the bugs it’s still an endlessly entertaining and amazingly lifelike journey into the undead LA.
Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
I’ve had 18 different addresses in my life, but the town of Balmora on the island of Vvardenfell feels more like “home” than any location on earth.
Max Payne 2
There was so much to enjoy about this game, but the whooshing of Payne’s jacket in the game’s trademark bullet time is hard to shake, along with such memorable levels as Dearest of All My Friends, where you have to protect a guy in an explosives-rigged clown suit from a mob attack.
I genuinely didn’t believe any game could ever be better than Morrowind – or even as good – and a part of me still doesn’t quite believe that because the very idea of it is just so absurd, but every time I play Fallout 3 I remember why I think that, yeah, it is.
Yes, it’s another Bejeweled clone, but each time I buy a new mobile phone, it’s the first app I buy. It’s closest to Bejeweled Blitz in terms of gameplay, but its fun jewel-heist story adds an extra layer of charm.
While not terrible, it’s far from my favourite game. It is, however, extremely memorable, which is really what this is about. I do find myself muttering things like “f***ing door” in imitation of Tarantinoesque antiheroine Rubi, and frustrating as the QTEs were to play, that highway scene is bloody unforgettable to watch.
Even aside from the second-most startling plot twist in gaming history, Bioshock had plenty of distinctive moments. There was that maddening “Circus of Values” audio cue; the horribly hilarious Sander Cohen scenes, and the general all-encompassing atmosphere of the underwater ruins of Rapture.
The first game I ever played.
Someone better not be taffin’ around in here … *hides* … *holds breath* …
Mass Effect 2
Even more compellingly cinematic than Mass Effect, ME2 featured far superior gameplay and was vastly better than its predecessor in every way. Memorable chiefly for the great characters – but most of all for this completely unexpected inclusion.
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Oblivion stands out in my memory for having the sort of worldspace that makes you say “it looks like Oblivion” about places in the real world. If you say that to people, they tend to know exactly what you’re talking about.
PopCap have released a fair few acclaimed games – Bejeweled (and its many incarnations), Peggle and Plants vs Zombies – but nobody ever seems to mention Zuma, which is weird because it’s a really good game. Behind Bejeweled Blitz, I’d go as far as to call it my favourite. It has Monkey Island‘s silly sense of humour, great music, and moreish gameplay.
Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
“I need a medic!” “They have constructed a command post!” “Fire in ze halls!” I might have only played the game for a few minutes, but hearing it in the background in our house for all these years burns some very deep imprints into my consciousness.
Few things sum up the idea of modern living so much as sitting at home with a glass of wine and a handful of peanuts, while carrying on a conversation with five other people in four other continents, all of whom appear to be frolicking on a fictitious beach somewhere. I spent my 30th birthday having a “party” in a hot tub in our guildhall, surrounded by the avatars of my friends (and a few others I’d vaguely heard of), which was then followed by a game of charades (using the game’s animations) and a race to see how many of us could drunkenly navigate our way through a level with our characters dressed only in their underwear. I lasted about forty seconds.
Dragon Age: Origins
Yes, another new game, and I should apologise for that – but do you really think you’ll ever forget Alistair or Morrigan? That disastrous riff on Helm’s Deep at the beginning of the game, or the final triumph at the end? Thought not.
Plants vs Zombies
Every time I’m tired at work, I shamble along muttering “brrraaaaaaaaaiiiinz”. I’m thinking of this game.