The following games are my pick for the top ten video games of all time. I tried to make sure to pick at least one game from each system. What would you put in your top ten?
#1 The Legend of Zelda
Release Date: February 21, 1986
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
The Legend of Zelda is a puzzle solving action game originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1986. The protagonist of the series is Link, a green-tunic wearing adventurer who saves Princess Zelda from danger regularly. The most frequent cause of danger in the Kingdom of Hyrule is the evil sorcerer, Ganon. The famous relic in the series, the Triforce, is often needed to defeat evil. This compromises of three gold triangles, representing courage, power, and wisdom.
The Legend of Zelda is a massive series of games stretching over a 25 running period. Nintendo's latest Zelda game, Skyward Sword, came out in 2012. The series consists of over 17 games, not including HD remakes, re-releases on different systems, and spin-off games. The Legend of Zelda has moved into other mediums as well with the release of an 1989 television show, comic books, and novels.
#2 Halo: Combat Evolved
Release Date: November 15, 2001
Platform: Xbox, Windows, Xbox 360, Mac OS X
This is the game that made Xbox into what it is today. Developed by Bungie, Halo: Combat Evolved was released on November 15, 2001. This was the first entry into the Halo franchise, now taken over by 343 Industries. The series has extended into comic books, novels, and video. One of the best early first-person shooters, Halo helped develop console gaming into what it is today. The split screen co-op and Xbox Live multiplayer support contributed greatly to the multiplayer video game world.
The Halo series follows the story of Master Chief, the leader of the Spartan special forces unit. The Spartan II program, which Master Chief was trained in, was top-secret. The USMC had kidnapped medically and mentally exceptional children, replacing them with clones. These children were then trained into elite fighting forces to be used in high risk scenarios fighting the alien Covenant. The first game picks up after the Battle of Reach, as the ship The Pillar of Autumn flees for the safety of open space.
#3 Mass Effect
Release Date: November 20, 2007
Platform: Xbox 360, Windows
Mass Effect was developed by the Canadian company Bioware and released on November 20, 2007. The game is a third-person shooter that stars a customized John or Jane Shepard, who is a space marine who saves the galaxy from the Reapers. Players can change the first name of the character, their history, and the face Shepard.
The Mass Effect series is well known for its fantastic story telling. Stellar voice acting is displayed throughout the game with famous actors Keith David and Seth Green having roles as primary characters. Game features an excellent mix of action, betrayal, racism, politics, and romance in its plot-lines. The series expanded into comic books, novels, and video.
However, there was a large controversy with the finale scene of Mass Effect 3. Thousands of fans out-cried over plot holes, rushed endings, day-one DLC, and available choices in the ending. Bioware has since addressed the issue, stating that they stand by their development choices, but had released an “extended cut” downloadable content. This added some sequences and made some changes to satisfy the outraged fans. Plans for a fourth Mass Effect game are in the works, but it will not feature Shepard as the main protagonist.
#4 Fable: Lost Chapters
Release Date: October 8, 2004
Developer: Lionhead Studios
Platform: Xbox, Windows
Fable is an RPG developed by the British game company Lionhead Studios in 2004. It relaunched a year later as Fable: Lost chapters. New features in the game were new characters and enemies, additional story missions, and a voice change for Jack of Blades, the main antagonist. The series has had two sequels, a spin-off featuring the Xbox Kinect, and a book series.
Fable is a game that follows the story of a boy who is orphaned and brought up in the Guild of Heroes. He trains and faces the monster who destroyed his life a child. The story is not all dark and gloomy. It features a good amount of comic relief. The first few examples of this are two of the heroes possible names of “chicken chaser” and “arse-face”, not mention the comically large mustaches of merchants. Players make various choices throughout the game that will alter the character's appearance. Legendary treasure is guarded by “Demon Doors”, which are stone faces that only opens when the character has met certain criteria. My personal favorite: the door that will only open to morbidly obese heroes. Pure good players will have a halo above their head, while pure evil characters will have demonic horns.
#5 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Platform: Xbox, Windows, Mac OS X
The old Republic takes place thousands of years before the Star Wars Episode I. Two Sith and former Jedi, Darth Revan and Darth Malak lead the Sith Armada against the republic. The Jedi split into those who stay loyal to the republic and those who go into the dark side. Malak betrays his master and the Jedi capture Revan. Darth Malak's forces attack the ship The Endar Spire, which is where the game starts.
Players can customize their character and choose a class as well as a gender. Also developed by Bioware, KotOR served as an early model for the Mass Effect games. Both have similar galaxy travel, ships, character development, and a party system although the combat systems are different. There is a sequel, but it was released by a different developer as Bioware was working on Jade Empire at the time. The MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic is also part of this series and several references are made throughout the game. KotOR II stars a different main character and so far there are no plans to finish the trilogy. But now that Lucasarts has been purchased by Disney, anything is possible.
#6 The Elder Scrolls Series
Release Date: 1994 - 2011
Platform: Xbox, Xbox 360, Windows, PS3
The Elder Scrolls series is developed and published by Bethesda. The first installment, The Elder Scrolls: Arena, was released in 1994. While it is hard for me to choose a favorite between them, their three most recent games: Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim all have a similar design and concept. These games have an open, medieval fantasy word, which the player can explore with a customized character. There are several joinable factions and guilds to choose from. Recurring guilds are The Thieves' Guild and The Dark Brotherhood. These games are very popular with the modding community. This provides enhanced graphics, gameplay changes, and anything else you could think of.
Currently there are plans for an MMO: The Elder Scrolls Online with a 2013 release date. This game is in development at ZeniMax Online Studios. The story takes place 1000 years before the events of Skyrim. There are three factions warring over the land of Tamriel. The first, The Aldermeri Dominion, will have Altmer (High Elves), Bosmer (Wood Elves), and Khajiit classes. The second, the Daggerfall Covenant, consists of Bretons, Redguards, and Orcs. Finally, The Ebonheart Pact, has Dunmer (Dark Elves), Nords, and Argonians. Imperials will most likely not appear for continuity purposes.
Release Date: October 9, 2007
Developer: Valve Corporation
Platform: Xbox 360, Windows, PS3, Mac OS X
Portal is a puzzle-solving game, which is a spin-off of the fantastic Half-Life game series. It was developed by Valve Corporation in 2007 and originally released in the Orange Box collection. Players take control of Chell, a silent female protagonist who is imprisoned and forced to solved puzzles and advance on to the next for chamber... for science. The Aperture Science labs, led by the robot, GlaDOS, is a research lab that studies the effects on people in certain, dire circumstances. Test subjects are told the complete puzzles with the goal of cake. Players have only the environment to use and the portal gun: a device that shoots entrance and exit doors on various surfaces.
#8 Heavy Rain
Release Date: February 18, 2010
Developer: Quantic Dream
Heavy Rain was designed by French developer Quantic Dream. This is a different sort game; an interactive story that focuses mainly on story and less on gameplay. Heavy Rain follows the story of four people who are trying to catch the Origami Killer: a serial killer who drowns victims in rain water.
Ethan Mars is a father who is trying to save his son, who has gone missing and has been taken by the Origami Killer. Madison Page is a journalist wants to discover the identity of the killer. Norman Jayden is a FBI agent who is assigned to the case. Scott Shelby is a private investigator hired by the mother of a previous victim. Players can choose the actions that their characters take throughout the game. And unusual for a game: if the character dies, the story moves on. The actions you take will decide if the characters live and the killer's identity revealed. Heavy Rain is a great story of parenting and loss, with plenty of action and surprises to keep you guessing until the end.
Release Date: August 21, 2007
Developer: Irrational Games
Platform: Xbox 360, Windows, PS3, Mac OS X
Bioshock is a rare gem. It is very seldom a game is both this well thought out and well-made. The story takes place in a classical late 1940's era. A wealthy entrepreneur, Andrew Ryan, dissatisfied with the political systems and religion of his time. “Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?” He decides to build his own utopian city, Rapture, under the sea and far away from the rest of society. But as with all 'perfect' societies, it was destined to fail. Conditions go from bad to worse as smugglers, corruption, gene-tampering, and martial law drag down the great city down into insanity.
The population has become obsessed with 'gene-splicing', which allows them to alter their bodies to have any desirable traits. Ryan had created the big daddies and little sisters to harvest Adam, the resource for this science. The remaining populations are either splicers, insane, or in hiding.
This is where the game starts. The main character, Jack, is the only survivor of the plane crash. He sees a tower in the distance and swims to it. Inside is only a large room with an elevator, that descends into what is the ruins of Rapture.
#10 The Walking Dead
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Developer: Telltale Games
Platform: Xbox 360, Windows, PS3, Mac OS X, iOS
The Walking Dead interactive episodic video game is based off of the comic book by Robert Kirkman. The game is set up in a tv series format, with a comic book style graphics. The first season has five episodes and a second season is set to release this fall. The players choices affect the plot and characters' fates are in your hands. Decisions also carry over into the next episode.
It follows the story of convicted murderer Lee Everett. Lee is headed to prison when the outbreak starts. He then stumbles upon a small child, Clementine, who is all alone and taking shelter in her treehouse. Seeing a chance for redemption, Lee takes Clementine and escorts her to safety. Similar to other Walking Dead media, the story has more drama and character development than action. While there is plenty of zombie action, human nature and taking care of a child are the main focuses.
The Walking Dead is really a beautiful tale, with plenty of human emotion and touching moments to keep you entertained and waiting for the next episode. This is not related to the first-person shooter The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, which was developed by Activision.