Addicted-Gamers <3 Week: Our Favorite Games

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We’ve had sleepless nights over this one. We all love gaming, but we can never really pick one definitive game. After much toiling we’ve each come up with reasons for choosing our favorite games ever. You might be surprised to see that there isn’t one game older than 2003, despite the varied experiences we all have dating back to gaming’s earliest days. Enjoy the musings about our favorite games after the jump, and be sure to check back every day this week for the rest of the Addicted-Gamers Themed Week.

Bradley’s Favorite Game – Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

I find it hard to pick favourites. My favourite band? It depends on my mood. My favourite film? One of many. My favourite game? Easy. Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker does everything right and in such a way that it feels fresh every time you return to it. Many were alienated by Wind Waker at the time of its release. Many rued the lack of ‘realistic’ graphics and derided the cartoon stylings of a game that was more closely related to A Link to the Past than any of the offerings on Nintendo 64. Wind Waker was my first Zelda game, so maybe I’m biased, but Ocarina of Time doesn’t hold a candle to this magnificent journey of swashbuckling and swordfights. The controls feel far smoother than any game before or since. Link is a breeze to manoeuvre around and, in fact, Link steals the show on many an occasion. The sailing can be a little tedious but only for the easily bored. That criticism is easily levelled by the sheer amount to do in the game, with the dungeons being a high point for the series.

The decision to move Link away from adulthood (or even adolescence) makes the journey a far more touching one. Link is going through his journey solely on the ideals of a family bond. Before it would be about destiny; this time it’s personal and the game is better for it. Link’s little idiosyncrasies appeal to me as much now as they did at the tender age of nine when I first played it. Link will look towards the solution to a puzzle if you need help or grimace in pain in a particularly challenging area.  The phrase “pictures speak a thousand words” rings true throughout this game and the characterisation instilled in The King of Red Lions, Tetra/Zelda and even menial characters such as the snotty-nosed kid make the game and world of Hyrule spring into life with far more effect than any word, syllable or sentence.

Nintendo were at the top of their game with The Wind Waker and there is nothing better for a gamer than to see a studio at the very top of its game. This is in the upper echelons of any medium, be it literature, film or game. Pixar are often lauded for their intricate work but Nintendo perfected it with this game

The reason I have chosen this as my favourite game is simply because of its timeless quality. I enjoy it now as much as I first did when opening the Collector’s Edition some nine years ago. I find new things to love (the purple smoke of enemies evaporating, for instance) and just revel in the joy of craftsmanship. I will still enjoy this game in twenty years time- I make time to play through the game at least once a year- and my ultimate dream is to one day teach my own kids to sail the seas and trawl through Forsaken Fortress.

Maybe one day, eh?

My favourite game- for ever and always. Perfection.

Chris’ Favorite Game – Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

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When I was told that I was going to have to pick my favorite game of all time, my mind immediately started racing through the hundreds of games I have played in my life. I eventually narrowed it down to a select few possibilities, and although the decision was by no means easy, in the end I realized it could only be one game: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

uncharted-2      I was a big fan of the original Uncharted, and then the sequel came along and improved on the original in every possible way. The story was intriguing, the voice acting was top notch, the graphics were superb, the script was funnier, and even the multiplayer was a lot of fun. There wasn’t a single moment during the entire game where I was bored or wishing something else was happening. The mystery of what happened to Marco Polo’s lost ships and all the treasure they were carrying kept me invested the whole time.

Everything from the opening level where you have to climb up a train that’s dangling over the side of a snowy mountain to the final conversation where Nathan Drake reveals his biggest fear, is absolutely brilliant. I got angry, sad, worried, happy, and laughed hysterically on more than one occasion throughout the game’s ten or so hour campaign. Usually when I play a game more than one or two times it’s because different choices can be made that alter the way the story unfolds in some way. There are no such decisions in Uncharted 2, it’s the same every time you play it, and yet I have still gone through the whole game at least 7 or 8 times since it released back in 2009.

When it comes to reviewing video games, I am very stingy about giving out perfect scores. I have only given a select few games that I have ever played a perfect score, but Uncharted 2 is one of them, and it was the easiest one I have ever given. I love everything about this game from start to finish, and that is why it is my favorite game of all time.

Eileen’s Favorite Game – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

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It’s not easy to find a game that effortlessly rivals any Hollywood blockbuster, but I don’t know if there is any other way to describe the Uncharted series.  These games have a blend of action, adventure, history, story, and personality that is as close to perfect as a game can be.

Nathan Drake’s most recent PS3 appearance in Uncharted 3 delivers a harrowing adventure beginning in the dark alleys and abandoned catacombs of London, moving through famous old castles in Europe, and culminating in a mind-bending and potentially deadly encounter, one which was years in the making, in the Middle Eastern deserts.  It may seem easy to become lost in the complex storyline, but there is plenty of character involvement to keep you grounded in the tale.

Uncharted 3, in addition to bringing back several familiar characters and even letting you play as a young Nathan Drake who is boldly sure of his place in the world, introduces some new faces to the cast who have decades-long ties to our beloved Nate and Sully.

Our favorite sassy and deceptively weak-looking reporter, Elena Fisher (Elena Drake?), also returns… much to Nate’s dismay.  And, in a refreshing contrast to the familiar badass-average-guy-saves-the-day-and-gets-the-girl story, we learn that there were no rose petals and happy-ever-afters for this couple.  They have serious problems, like all married couples do.  And this, combined with the (also refreshing) lack of zombies, proves once again that Naughty Dog doesn’t have to delve too far into drama and cliché to tell a damn good story.

Mike’s Favorite Game – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

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Determining one’s favorite game is no simple task. It isn’t like having a favorite ice cream or a favorite baseball player. Video games have evolved drastically over the decades. What was good twenty or thirty years ago may be horrible these days, no matter how fondly we look back on those times. To borrow a quote from Slim Charles in my favorite TV show, The Wire, “Game’s the same, just got more fierce.”
Video games are superior in every way imaginable and that couldn’t be any more evident than my all-time favorite video game. It reinvigorated its genre with the blend of a nearly perfectly paced, compelling campaign and innovative multiplayer gameplay. It has set the standard for all in its footsteps to follow and it carried the blockbuster torch for the current generation in its younger days.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty 4 ChinatownInfinity Ward finally took us out of the World War II and thrust us into a modern setting. It followed the formula of alternating perspectives that previous Call of Duty games featured, but this one was special. The campaign featured a fantastic story full of shock and awe action set pieces and a few twists along the way. It is a thrill ride that culminates in what is one of my all-time gaming moments, Mile High Club.

It wasn’t just the campaign that made Call of Duty 4 so special. Multiplayer has long been a staple in first-person shooters, but this Call of Duty flipped the script. Infinity Ward introduced carrot-on-a-stick metagaming that has influenced not only the FPS genre, but just about all of video gaming with the concepts of challenges, loadouts, killstreaks, perks, and prestige leveling. These are practically requisite in any game, especially if it features an online component.

Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare ScreenThe series has since gone well beyond what I believe is a balanced multiplayer experience, but at its height, COD 4 was the symbol of excellence online. All of the weapons were usable and felt different based on your style of gameplay. They weren’t overpowered. Killstreaks and perks weren’t perfect (Last Stand, worst idea ever in multiplayer), but they weren’t nearly the game-breakers they are now (nukes…really?)

I invested more time into COD4 than any other non-MMO game in my gaming lifetime; over 80,000 kills on almost 700 hours total played time. It is truly the high watermark in realistic modern military FPS gaming.