Your Top 100 Games Challenge

It helps if you don’t think of it as a ‘sim.’

I had a blast with Freelancer.

Yes, relaxing music, pretty scenery, and an interesting enough story meant I had a good time. I’ve never been a very good flight/space simmer anyway.

The look of the game and the jazzy soundtrack are definitely appealing. I like that I can dip in and play a heist when I have a little time. The controls are pretty easy, and it introduces new gadgets and characters well. Doing the main objective in a heist is always doable, but there are challenges to complete that make it harder if I feel like it.

Ah, Blackwell.

The biggest reason I think is that I love the characters. I love watching Rosa change and grow over the course of the series from a socially inept goofball to a young woman who, while still socially awkward, possesses self-confidence and agency. It was interesting to find out more about Joey as things developed and to see what and who he really cares about. Lauren was a complex character, and I’m glad one of the games featured her (and I also love Dani Marco’s voice).

I really like the music. Thomas Regin does a great job setting a variety of scenes while keeping things within the game’s generally subdued tone. The bonus tracks on the soundtracks that came with my GOG copies show that at work. For example, the original music for Jumbalaya Records was much peppier, but it didn’t fit the overall mood of the game so he wrote a different, more laid-back track that was used. Peter Gresser did a fine job on the first game, especially Rosa’s Theme that was reworked in the later games. I also like his “Hospital Waiting Room” with the sound of a piano combo altered to sound to very mid-range-y like it’s playing through a little speaker in the ceiling.

The vast majority of puzzles made sense to me. There are only a few “adventure game logic” puzzles over the course of the entire series. It was genius of David Gilbert to make clues be inventory items to combine in Rosa’s and Lauren’s notebook, and that system was fairly refined by the end.

The setting and story were interesting. I particularly liked the parts featuring Joe Gould and Joseph Mitchell; the ghost of old New York was fascinating to me. I even checked out and read Mitchell’s book Joe Gould’s Secret, which an interesting character portrait and a window into a world that no longer exists.

All the cases are a variety of small tragedies that make up the whole. And really, the whole thing is a tragedy. It reminds me of old Elizabethan plays in that regard; overall it’s a tragedy, but sometimes it’s really, really funny.

The ending of The Blackwell Epiphany was a real punch in the gut for me. I cried. Perhaps that’s the best testimony I could give for it. Blackwell really got inside me and made me care about it all.

It’s been an interesting journey; I learned a lot about myself in the process. Who says video games can’t enrich one’s life?

  1. Vendetta Online 2004 PC (Guild Software)
  2. World of Warcraft 2004 PC (Blizzard)
  3. Dwarf Fortress 2006 PC (Bay 12 Games)
  4. Escape Velocity 1996 PC (Ambrosia)
  5. X-Wing 1993 PC (LucasArts)
  6. Myst 1993 PC (Cyan)
  7. Sim Earth 1990 PC (Maxis)
  8. Cosmic Osmo 1989 PC (Cyan)
  9. Realmz 1994 PC (Fantasoft)
  10. Master of Orion 2 1996 PC (MicroProse)
  11. Lode Runner 1983 PC (Broderbund)
  12. The Ancient Art of War at Sea 1987 PC (Broderbund)
  13. Starcraft 1998 PC (Blizzard)
  14. Morrowind 2002 Xbox (Bethesda)
  15. Super Mario Bros. 3 1988 NES (Nintendo)
  16. Marathon 1994 PC (Bungie)
  17. Half Life 1998 PC (Valve)
  18. Glider 1994 PC (Casady & Greene)
  19. Halo 2001 Xbox (Bungie)
  20. X-Com: Terror From The Deep 1995 PC (MicroProse)
  21. Civilization 3 2001 PC (Firaxis Games)
  22. Chrono Trigger 1995 SNES (Square)
  23. Crystal Quest 1987 PC (Casady & Greene)
  24. Afterburner 1987 Arcade (Yu Suzuki)
  25. Golf 1980 Atari 2600 (Atari)
  26. Falcon 1987 PC (Spectrum HoloByte)
  27. Out Run 1986 Arcade (Sega)
  28. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1989 PC (LucasArts)
  29. PT-109 1987 PC (Spectrum HoloByte)
  30. Phantom Dust 2004 Xbox (Yukio Futatsugi)
  31. The Void 2008 PC (Ice Pick Lodge)
  32. Massive Chalice 2015 PC (Double Fine)
  33. Botanicula 2012 PC (Amanita Design)
  34. Machinarium 2009 PC (Amanita Design)
  35. Final Fantasy VI 1994 SNES (Square)
  36. Hyper Light Drifter 2016 PS4 (Heart Machine)
  37. Space Quest 1986 PC (Sierra)
  38. RimWorld 2013 PC (Ludeon Studios)
  39. Warlords III 1998 PC (Red Orb Entertainment)
  40. Goldeneye 64 1997 N64 (Rare)
  41. Tetris 1984 Xbox (Pajitnov, Pokhilko)
  42. Psychonauts 2005 Xbox (Double Fine)
  43. SimCity 2000 1993 PC (Maxis)
  44. Kairo 2012 PC (Locked Door Puzzle)
  45. Far Cry Instincts 2005 Xbox (Ubisoft)
  46. Starfox 1993 SNES (Nintendo)
  47. Land’s End 2016 Gear VR (Ustwo Games)
  48. Dreadhalls 2016 Gear VR (White Door Games)
  49. The Journeyman Project 1993 PC (Presto Studios)
  50. Super Smash Bros 1999 N64 (Nintendo)
  51. Street Fighter Alpha 1995 Arcade (Capcom)
  52. Mario Kart 64 1996 N64 (Nintendo)
  53. Darwinia 2005 PC (Introversion)
  54. Tekken Tag Tournament 2000 PS2 (Namco)
  55. Minecraft 2009 PC (Mojang)
  56. Super Bomberman 1993 SNES (Hudson Soft)
  57. Avatar MUD 1991 PC (Snikt)
  58. Alpine Racer 1994 Arcade (Namco)
  59. Toribash 2006 PC (Nabi Studios)
  60. Virtua Fighter 2 1994 Arcade (Sega)
  61. Virtua Cop 1994 Arcade (Sega)
  62. Black 2005 Xbox (EA)
  63. Perfect Dark 2000 N64 (Rare)
  64. Kirby’s Dream Course 1994 SNES (Nintendo)
  65. Galaga 1981 Arcade (Namco)
  66. Millipede 1982 Arcade (Atari)
  67. Return to Kroz 1990 PC (Apogee)
  68. X-Men 1992 Arcade (Konami)
  69. The Banner Saga 2014 Mobile (Stoic Studio)
  70. Fez 2012 PC (Polytron)
  71. Amped 2 2003 Xbox (Indie Built, Inc.)
  72. Battletoads 1991 NES (Rare)
  73. Duck Hunt 1984 NES (Nintendo)
  74. Marble Madness 1984 NES (Atari)
  75. SSX3 2003 Xbox (EA)
  76. Contra 3 Alien Wars 1992 SNES (Konami)
  77. Jurassic Park 1994 Arcade (Sega)
  78. The Scarab of Ra 1988 PC (Semicolon Software)
  79. Mortal Kombat 4 1997 Arcade (Midway)
  80. Bloody Roar 1997 Arcade (Activision)
  81. Zelda: Link’s Awakening 1993 Gameboy (Nintendo)
  82. Wolfenstein 3D 1992 PC (Apogee)
  83. Amnesia: The Dark Descent 2010 PC (Frictional Games)
  84. Silent Hill 4: The Room 2004 Xbox (Konami)
  85. Fallout 1997 PC (Interplay)
  86. Road Rash 1991 Game Gear (EA)
  87. Ecco the Dolphin 1992 Game Gear (Sega)
  88. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1989 Arcade (Konami)
  89. Space Lords 1992 Arcade (Atari)
  90. Sunset Riders 1991 Arcade (Konami)
  91. Rampage 1986 Arcade (Midway)
  92. Joust 1982 Arcade (Williams Electronics)
  93. Gooball 2005 PC (Ambrosia)
  94. Virtual On 1996 Arcade (Sega)
  95. Bubble Bobble 1986 NES (Taito)
  96. Desert Golfing 2014 Mobile (Blinkbat Games)
  97. Dig Dug 1982 Arcade (Namco)
  98. Daytona USA 1994 Arcade (Sega)
  99. Tales from the Borderlands 2014 PC (Telltale Games)
  100. Terraria 2011 PC (Re-Logic)

Honorable mentions:

The Ancient Art of War 1984 PC (Broderbund)
Chrono Cross 1999 Playstation (Square)
Elder Scrolls Legends 2017 Mobile (Bethesda)
Full Throttle 1995 PC (LucasArts)
Halo 2 2004 Xbox (Bungie)
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis 1992 PC (LucasArts)
Kirby’s Dream Land 1992 Gameboy (Nintendo)
Mario 64 1996 N64 (Nintendo)
Marvel vs Capcom 1998 Arcade (Capcom)
Riven 1997 PC (Cyan)
Starfox 64 1997 N64 (Nintendo)
Street Fighter II Turbo 1992 SNES (Capcom)
Super Mario Bros. 1985 NES (Nintendo)
Super Mario Land 1989 Gameboy (Nintendo)
Tekken 5 2004 PS2 (Bandai)
Warcraft 3 2002 PC (Blizzard)

When your character died in the medical freighter mission, or was captured, did you start the whole campaign over, like you were meant to do, or did you cheat and copy over an old pilot file?

Oh lord, that was brutal. I recall trying(?) to copy over old saves after my first wipe.

Yeah, same here. I made backups of what I found in the directories, and then copied them over after I died. And yet, when I went back into the game, my pilot was still dead (or captured). After the 10th time it happened, I got so desperate, I copied it to a floppy disc, and ejected the floppy disc. My theory was that the game was somehow finding the backup pilot files even though I had renamed them, and modifying them to tell the game I was dead (or captured).

So I copied them to a floppy, and ejected the floppy and put it away from the computer. Then I did the medical frigate mission again, and when I died, I brought back the floppy, which I’d put in Read-Only mode, and copied over the current pilot files with the ones from the floppy.

I went back into X-wing, and loaded up my pilot. Still Dead. Arrrrrrgh!

See I could swear there was just some file, like a “pilot.dat” or something, and I just backed up to a floppy after every couple missions or something. Because I definitely lost some pilots in X-Wing, and I definitely restored from something.

I should mention that I don’t think there’s anything special about the DS version. It was the one that I ended up spending the most time with since, like you, I never beat it on the N64 and it was more practical for me to play it on the DS when that version came out.

This makes me sad. I just found out about the game, and I can’t even play it anymore.

I just noticed this on your list. Huzzah! I loved that game! It reminds me that I need to go back to a mainline Forza game one of these days, just so that I can race Le Mans again.

Hey cool. I loved the first one, and I was really enjoying the second one too, but got distracted. And then it had been so long that I stopped listing it on my backlogs. But maybe I should go back to it one day. It was charmtrap’s 20th favorite game of all time! Cool.

I miss Monolith in general. They just did something with the way they make first person shooters that I really appreciated.

I loved that game, too! I’m not really a huge racing fan (got one of the Forza games with purchase of my Xbox One 2 (3?) years ago and have several others which were free with GwG and have still not played any), but I was totally hooked on Le Mans 24 Hours!

And what a gorgeous game!

This challenge is nuts. I can easily list 100 favorite games but there is no way I can put 100 games in any kind of order. Perhaps the first 10 or maybe even 20, but after that it’s just too difficult. I would get down to say entry number 40 and realize, “Hey, I liked that game more than number 20” and get caught in a perpetual list reorganizing loop.

I’m have been writing little blurbs for my list forever (especially since it’s moving all the time, no thanks to a wealthy year and some quality DOS gaming), and this is exactly what I’ve written: not a racing fan, but perfect balance between arcade and simulation, and an insane attention to visual details.
I may have said it numerous times already, but one of my main gaming achievements is having finished the 24 hours race in one sitting with 2 other friends — and the Dreamcast was a robust enough hardware to not crap out!

As for order, I wouldn’t care about it if I were you, or I’d never complete it.

It’s not intended to break your brain. I think of them more in terms of grouping than thinking that my number 17 is 1% better than my number 18, my brain doesn’t work that way either. The idea would be that there are 100 games that mean more to you than any other. I like the top 100 over a top 10 because 100 lets you get loose, it lets you dig into deeper cuts, games that may not be on anyone else’s list but you’ve always favored them. It gives you room to play.

This won’t work for everyone, and you still need to fudge it a lot, but what I did was “RIGHT NOW, would I rather play X or play Y?”

There’s an alien level? Spoiler!

This must be a different tapper than the one on Xbox Live Arcade then? I’m looking at screenshots and the two look virtually identical. Except the one on XBLA is called Root Beer Tapper, of course. I played that one for months, trying to get better at it, but hit a skill ceiling pretty fast that I never overcame.

I only found a BBC micro screenshot,but this is the general idea:


The difficulty scale of the arcade version was ridiculous, it was really trying to steal all your coins. The scaled down nature made the 8-bits ports much more interesting, as might often be the case with Western coinop games actually?