My Favorite Video Games
10. Age of Empires 2
AOE 2 is a strategy game where players select an ancient civilization and battle it out against others in various terrains. What I loved about AOE apart from the gameplay was learning about the ancient peoples of the world, from their unique weapons to their technological advancements.
9. GTA San Andreas
I remember wasting my summer away playing GTA San Andreas, cruising down Los Santos, and listening to awesome music. I was introduced to so many classic rap songs through the game. It was only years later that I even saw the connection between N.W.A and the characters in GTA.
8. Sims 1
The Sims was such an interesting concept when it first came out. It was a video game version of real life. Decorating houses, managing careers, building relationships, Sims let us build our own world and live in it too.
7. Half Life 1
I played half life 1 way too late when I was already in my late teens. In fact, I played it after completing half life 2. When it was first released, it was considered innovative for its immersion and level design. Even today, it’s immensely fun replaying it and watching HL1 speedrun videos.
6. Portal 2
The sense of satisfaction that one gets from solving difficult puzzles is fully realized in Portal 2. The level design is sublime and the voice acting is perfect. Alas, puzzle games aren’t replayable, that is it’s only flaw.
5. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic (Kotor)
One of my favorite twists is revealed in kotor, a beautifully designed masterpiece of a game, with an amazing cast, gameplay and an enthralling storyline.
4. Counter Strike 1.6
A favorite in lan gaming centers in Singapore, CS 1.6 was the go-to game in my early teens. Extremely enjoyable, the game rewards players who posses great reflexes and hand-eye coordination. These days, CS-GO has taken over and achieved mainstream popularity but the core of the game is still the same.
3. DoTA 1/2
I played dota 1 when it was a custom map in Warcraft 3. Lan gaming centers everywhere were flooded with dota players, and even though I embarassed myself playing against regulars, I never stopped playing dota. Dota is the most complex game I’ve ever played. The premise is simple. 5v5 heroes, and the objective is to destroy all enemy towers. But even 15 years in, I’m still amazed at the new strategies and interactions that pros exploit in multi-million dollar tournaments. It’s difficult to describe the complexity of dota to newbies. In my estimation, it takes a few thousand game hours to get a basic understanding and appreciation of dota.
2. Half Life 2
When half life 2 came out in 1998, my cousin was one of the first ones to buy it. I was surprised one day when he called me over to watch him play (how generous). Half life 2 terrified me, probably because my cousin was playing the Ravenholme chapter when I was invited. Still, I wanted to see the game through. Many years later, I played the game first hand and enjoyed it doubly so. Even then, it was far superior to other fps games. The story, characters, the level design, the gravity gun, the puzzles, object interactions, half life 2 is truly one of the greatest games ever made.
1. Pokemon Red/Blue
My first gameboy cartridge was a bootleg Pokemon Yellow that my dad found in some shady store in Singapore. The cartridge was a piece of junk because any game progress could not be saved. I had to convince one of my rich friends to loan me his original, non-bootleg Pokemon Blue cartridge. It was love at first sight (or rather at first save). Still in primary school, I was obsessed with trying to collect all 150 Pokemon. I wanted to be a real life pokemon trainer. I remember playing the gameboy at recess, in the bus, battling with my pokemon obsessed friends, trading pokemon. It was a cultural phenomenon at the time. Trading cards, cartoons, toys, an entire industry built on pokemon. Fast forward even 15 years later, the pokemon franchise still holds strong, a testament to the game that started it all.
Quake 3 Arena, Doom, Bioshock, Super Mario Bros, Mario Kart, Tekken 3, Medal of Honor Allied Assault, Prince of Persia Sands of Time, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Street Fighter 2