Your Desert Island Games

It’s been a while since we’ve had a thread like this, and I’ve been contemplating it recently so I figured I’d start one up.

If you could only play 10 video games for the rest of your life, which would they be? It doesn’t have to be on a desert island setting; that was just the catchiest thread title I could come up with, so feel free to choose any sort of multiplayer title that strikes your fancy. Keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily your 10 favorite games, because replay value has to be a concern here.

But as you really ponder your list you’ll find that this isn’t so much about games you couldn’t live without as it is games you could live without. A list of the ten titles that come together to scratch all of your gaming itches.

Forza Horizon 4
This was my easiest choice by far. I need a racing game, and this is the best I’ve ever played.

Unreal Tournament 2004
If I’m in the mood for arena FPS action, this has been my go-to since it was released. I had originally listed Doom (1993) as well, but decided that UT2K4 could satisfy my fast paced FPS needs by itself. It has a tremendous amount of content on the disc, and a huge mapping and modding community on top of that.

Rayman Legends
In the battle for platformer supremacy it was between this and Super Mario Bros 3. This is the much bigger, prettier, and more varied game, and it supports co-op to boot. And it even includes its fantastic predecessor’s levels as unlockables.

Stalker: Call of Pripyat
I won’t say this is the very best single player FPS game I’ve ever played, but it is the one I wouldn’t mind replaying year after year. The modding community offers a tremendous amount of value as well.

The Witcher 3
I love RPGs, so narrowing it down to just one or two for this list was very difficult. The Witcher 3 is the best game I’ve ever played, and it’s also beautiful to look at, beautiful to listen to, fun to play, and quite long as well. It lacks a certain amount of actual role-playing and character creation that I like, but makes up for it in world-building and story.

Dwarf Fortress
This is a game I could play for the rest of my life. It covers my roguelike and city-builder bases, and offers an outlet for creativity to boot. No-brainer.

Shogun 2: Total War
I wanted a strategy game, but didn’t want to take up two spots for both turn-based and real-time, so Shogun 2 is my choice.

Freespace 2
I actually haven’t really played this before, but I need a space sim and it’s my understanding that this is the best one, with the best modding community. It took a lot for me to not put TIE Fighter here, since I really wanted a Star Wars game somewhere on the list. I figured FS2 would do me better in the long run.

Rise of Flight
My first thought was FSX, but I decided I wanted to shoot things and make them die. Modern sims may offer deeper and more engaging systems and campaigns, but I’m less interested in toggle switching and high tech weaponry and more interested in really feeling the dynamics of flight, and I haven’t played anything that has topped RoF in that regard.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
As much as I love Witcher 3, I need a true open world RPG with character creation and total freedom, and it was either this or Fallout New Vegas. Call of Pripyat already has the post apocalyptic vibe going for it, so I chose Skyrim, which is probably the best of the Elder Scrolls games.

Robotron 2084
Much to my chagrin, this just missed the cut at #11 so I could make room for Freespace. Robotron has perfect, timeless gameplay. It’s not something I’ll play for 8 hour stretches, but it is something I can come back to week after week, year after year. It’s also something I can jump into if I just have 10 or 15 minutes to play, which I can’t really say for anything else on this list.


Most of this list is in my top 15 or so, but there are a couple thrown in there because they have a lot of content or (in the case of Katamari) I’d miss the music!

  • Star Control 2
  • Sid Meier’s Pirates! (2004 ed)
  • Shadow Watch
  • Zeus
  • ICO
  • Sid Meier’s SimGolf
  • Dawn of Discovery
  • Minecraft
  • Katamari Damacy
  • The Return of the Incredible Machine: Contraptions

Baldur’s Gate II + Throne of Bhaal: The pinnacle of RPGs for me (still) and huge enough that I would get a lot of play time out of it (plus, been meaning to replay this again AND have still not played the ToB expansion).

Forza Horizon 4: Not the biggest racing fan but I enjoy them once in a while. Have not actually played this one but have FH 2 and Forza Motorsport 5 & 6 and all the great reviews for FH4 have me wanting to buy this soon (note that I got FH2 and FM5 free with GwG and FM6 was free with my Xbox One purchase. I have not actually paid for a racing game since Le Mans for Dreamcast). But hey, 10 games for all time? Need to have a racing game for some variety.

Skyrim: My heart says Morrowind, but Skyrim did have some improvements, still looks great and is less clunky than really what is my favorite Elder Scrolls game. Plus, it’s humongous and though I’ve started the game 5 times over the years, I not only never finished it but probably never even got more than 20 hours each time which is really a fraction of total possible game time.

Wizardry 8: Even though “old school” style RPGs have become fashionable of late, I feel this was really the last of the old school RPGs so it has some weird sentimental value for me. It was also well done and a good note to end the series on (unlike Ultima). And I never finished it.

Tetris: It’s Tetris.

Might and Magic 4 & 5 World of Xeen: Had to have another old school RPG on here and this one is still playable and fun today. Also never finished it.

Resident Evil 4: Killing zombies or zombie-like things never gets old. And gameplay-wise, RE4 was just about perfect.

Diablo 3 w/all expansions: Lots of replayability and I’m sure the 100 or so hours I put into it still leaves me with a few hundred more.

A Strategy Game: I like strategy games. I don’t love them because I never give them enough time learn the systems and really get to the “meat”. So, although I’ve played a bunch, I don’t really have a favorite. But if I only have 10 games for the rest of my life, then I will do some research and find the best reviewed, most-gameplay packed one and choose that.

Ok, having trouble picking a tenth game and as I look at this list I feel I could replace some of those games. I mean, I have to have one or two Final Fantasy games with me. And a Dragon Quest or two. Icewind Dale. Divine Divinity. Heroes of Might and Magic III. Fallout. Some of the Shin Megami Tensei games. Phantasy Star IV. Panzer General. Soul Caliber II.

Ok, I would rather never play another game again than be limited to 10.

Haha. It is really difficult. There were several that pained me to omit. Diablo 2, TIE Fighter, Half-Life, Deus Ex…I could go on and on and on. But that’s what makes it interesting.

Age of Empires 2
Original xcom
Offworld Trading Company
Out of the Park Baseball
Civ 4
Starcraft: brood war
Diablo 3

  1. Space Rangers 2
  2. Skyrim
  3. Fallout: New Vegas
  4. Out of the Park Baseball
  5. Imbroglio
  6. Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer
  7. Rimworld
  8. Distant Worlds
  9. Dominions
  10. Might and Magic VI - Mandate of Heaven

Europa Universalis 4
Crusader Kings 2
Medieval 2 Total War
Napoleon Total War
Sentinels of the Multiverse
Ascension (iOS)
Metroid Prime
Legend of Zelda… Majora’s mask?
Rollercoaster Tycoon 2
Smash Brothers Melee*

*dont have a Switch yet, so very plausible this would be replaced by Ultimate

It’s too hard to think of 10! Next time limit us to 5, hah.

This is pretty tough for me… I don’t have a lot of ‘infinitely replayable’ games in my rotation – more like games I come back to for short bursts now and again.

One of the Ultimas, probably V
Civ II
Skyrim (need some kind of big 3D world to wander around in, after all)
Some kind of Roguelike, from personal experience Brogue but by reputation maybe ADOM or something
Something Mario I suppose, by reputation I’ll go with SMB3

That’s only 7, I’m sure there are more if I can think of them…

Infinite replayability is key. A couple roguelikes, Doom, Devil May Cry 4, a race sim, a flight sim. Probably Combat Mission and a grand strategy game. Maybe throw one favorite RPG in there to play after a thousand hours of the other stuff, like reading a favorite book.

Flying circus (and all the rest of modern Il-2) is a modern remake by the same people who built Rise of Flight. Same as you discribed but in VR! :D

My Desert island game is DCS world of course. Preferably after the tomcat and farmer are released.

I want to put games like Space Rangers or one of the Ultimas but, to be honest, I have Space Rangers in Steam today and Ultimate in GOG and I hardly ever fire them up. So, these are just nostalgia and I cannot include them.

My desert island game are probably those I still fire up in the last 2-3 years once a while to play:

  • The Division (I assume desert island still have internet, no?)
  • Spelunky
  • XCOM 2 plus DLC
  • Divinity Original Sins
  • GTA V
  • The Witcher 3

I’m setting a few ground rules for myself such as:
#1 Multiplayer games will have other players in them from around the world, and there’s free high-speed internet access on my island.
#2 I can reset my played time starting now, so I can relive games I already have 6000 hours put into.

  1. EverQuest
    I haven’t played the game seriously since 2012, but at that point I’d already been playing the game on and off for 13 years. I’m sure I can get a lifetime of fun out of it if I had to (and player populations were healthy).

  2. Planetside 2
    The only reason I stopped playing this is because the player populations dwindled. But I quite enjoyed this open-world shooter and could spend a lifetime playing it if the servers would stay populated forever.

  3. Age of Wonders III
    I’ve put hundreds of hours into this game already and I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to playing through as different race/class combinations. This is a fantastic Fantasy 4x/Wargame that I will return to for the rest of my life.

  4. Hearthstone
    I already have 14k wins over the last 4 years, and I’m sure I could keep up that pace if things keep going along more or less the same as they have been for the last 4 years.

  5. Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor
    I just love beating stuff up, and this has my favorite melee combat system in any game I’ve played. Just give me a camp full of ever-respawning bad guys and I can put my head down and button-mash for ages. There’s also a bunch of open world stuff too, so that’s fun.

  6. Diablo 3
    This is one of those games I’ve already put thousands of hours into, and there are still so any builds left to master. My only request is that the online population of players in PUGs returns to its former glory just before the expansion trashed the numbers.

  7. SimCity 4
    I’d play SimCity 2013, or Cities Skylines, but neither of those has any sort of satisfactory AI or push-back, so I guess I’ll resort to an ancient 2003 entry instead.

  8. Roller Coaster Tycoon 2
    It’s easy to get lost in this game. I’ll play it those times I find myself missing the sound of children vomiting.

  9. Beat Hazard
    This twin-stick shooter has the best soundtrack ever, because it uses all my own music. This is a game with high replayability because i can always push harder and harder to get further and further each time.

  10. Crusader Kings II
    I still have no idea how to play this game, and I still never get around to actually watching and reading tutorials. But one way or another all that would surely change if I were stuck on a desert island for the rest of my life. I could finally give this purchase the attention is deserves, and finally see what all the fuss is about. My first goal will be to create an army of mutant bastard children via incest with the Pope.

With the caveat that there would always be a supply of people to play with:

  1. Everquest. 20 year old game, that I am again currently playing. Still the best game ever made in my opinion.
  2. Tribes. I could easily play this the rest of my life with an active community for it.
  3. Civ 4. Another endless replay game that I’ve put hundreds of hours into. Or maybe Civ Rev.
  4. Grim Dawn with mods.
  5. Path Of Exile if it’s endlessly updated at the same pace it is now.
  6. Diablo 2 with stash mod. 1.09 forever.
  7. Age Of Empires 2. I’d finally have enough time to really learn all the ins and outs of build orders and civ vs civ.
  8. League of Legends. I haven’t played in years, but with forever time, I could actually get good at all the champs.
  9. Chess. Duh I guess. The undisputed and longstanding king of endless replay.
  10. Unreal Tournament. Still the best, especially if you have to use bots. I need some sort of hitscan FPS, this is certainly a good one, and I could also use UnrealED for endless level designing fun.

Baldur’s Gate + Baldur’s Gate 2/Throne of Bhaal AKA The Whole Thing
I struggled with this one, but ultimately I don’t want a walking simulator invading my RPG, and AD&D is just a weird right time/right place nostalgic comfort zone. The low level adventure vs the high is kind of funny: A single orge is a threat vs an army…

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of P-Town
I just agree with the OP here

Multiplayer FPS
Starsiege: Tribes TAC (Team Aerial Combat)
Simply the greatest multiplayer thing I’ve ever encounter

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
With all the DLC + Mods there is a lot of content and replayability here. Also the empire building 4X lite stuff is an added benefit other RTSs don’t have.

Tales of Maj’Eyal
Because I haven’t beaten it yet. I got to the last boss, err bosses and died. Also there are so many classes + races to try. Otherwise I’d go Shiren the Wanderer or ADOM.

Turn-based Tactics
XCOM2: War of the Chosen
I figure I need a tactics game and this is it. Lots of content. Lots of mods.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
It is still in my mind the greatest in 2D platforming.

No excuses. At least there is no random battles. I suppose I could do challenge runs on this game more easily than other JRPGs. Clearly the best choice. And the rolling hit counters never get old.

HITMAN 2 + Legacy
It’s a variety of sandbox levels I can kill people in.

Sins of a Solar Empire might edge something out in this list, but not sure what at this point. Possibly original xcom, which I love dearly, but not as much replayability there.

  • Tony Hawks Pro Skater 4
  • Tetris Effect or Tetris DS
  • Dark Souls (I would finally beat one of these if stranded and name my volley ball Ornstein or something)
  • Halo Reach
  • Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

I only came up with 5 but I feel they all fill a certain category for me. I might throw in a tactics game like Into the Breach or Xcom and maybe Read Dead 2 so I can finally finish it. Mario 3 or World could easily be on this too.

As I think of them:

FTL - It’s like this game was made for me.

Jagged Alliance 2 - Gotta have Blood and Steroid.

MLB The Show - I can’t explain it.

Madden - Madden Ultimate Team is an addiction.

Sonic Spinball - No saves. So frustrating. Can’t stop.

Combat Mission - I can play the same scenario forever.

WoW - 60 Rogue LFG UBRS Have Key.

Red Dead Redemption 2 - What’s that over there?

Tribes - Shazbot!

The Crew - Guess I need a driving game.

Multiplayer FPS: PUBG and Insurgency: Sandstorm
TBS: XCOM 2: War of the Chosen and Civ 6
CCG: Hearthstone and Artifact
Racing: Forza Horizon 4
Single player: Red Dead Redemption 2

If it were possible, I would play Jagged Alliance 2 1.13 with a brand new expansion being released every year.

Otherwise, I’m not sure. I don’t play as many games as I used to, and there a lot of games that I simply suck at playing.