Creating this list is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Keep in mind that I’m someone who has had to rip his own Band-Aids off, grill an eight-pack of hotdogs all at once, and live through Y2K.
I was a little behind getting my start gaming on consoles. A lot of my friends had Nintendo 64s, but my first was the Nintendo GameCube. After the GameCube, I got a PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, throwback Xbox and N64, Wii, PlayStation 3, and now Xbox One. I’ve had good times playing games on all mentioned, but I decided a top 10 had a nice ring to it. Don’t worry, I’ll throw in some honorable mentions that I just couldn’t leave off. Here we go:
Honorable mention: Star Wars Podracer – N64
My all-time favorite racing game. High-speed Star Wars goodness!
#10 Fable Anniversary – Xbox 360
I love Fable 1, 2, and even 3. The comedy is great and the gradual evolution of your character based on your good or bad deeds was super fun. By the end of my first playthrough, my character naturally had horns and was followed by a puff of red smoke everywhere he went. Fable Anniversary on the 360 was the definitive edition of the first game and deserves a spot in my top 10.
#9 Grand Theft Auto V – Xbox 360/Xbox One
GTA V may have the best story I have ever played through in a video game. The three protagonists the player gets to see the virtual world through have such an entertaining story that you might think it was a movie; one of the most entertaining movies I can think of. The graphics, story, and famous GTA cathartic fun easily earns this one a spot.
Photo from rockstargames.com
#8 Borderlands 2 – Xbox 360
It was an impressive feat to make Borderlands 2 even better than the first. Borderlands has solid gun gameplay paired with fantastic loot collection and character customization. The humor is off the charts, highlighted by the foul-mouthed villain, Jack. Even though he was the antagonist, his hilarious insults made him one of my favorite characters in any video game.
Honorable mention: God of War – PS2/PS3
All of the God of War games were fantastic and pretty much the sole reason for me briefly owning a PS3.
#7 Red Dead Redemption – Xbox 360
Essentially Grand Theft Auto set in the wild west, this game was destined for greatness. A great story mode and a wide-open world to explore made this epic, but the ability to tie people up and put them on train tracks, get drunk and shoot up a saloon, or rob a stagecoach made it oh so fun.
Photo from en.wikipedia.org
#6 Star Wars Battlefront 2 – PS2
I am admittedly a sucker for anything Star Wars, but this was a super popular game, so I know it wasn’t just me. The ability to play as so many characters from all factions – droids, stormtrooper, rebels, etc. – was a blast. Multiplayer was fantastic, highlighted by the light side vs. dark side hero battle in Mos Eisley.
Honorable Mention: Madworld – Wii
My favorite Wii game! This game was all black and white except for red blood, which there was in excess. One of the most underrated games ever in my opinion.
#5 NBA Live 05 – Gamecube
This was what started my love for the NBA; I was constantly pouring over the player ratings and statistics. I would mercilessly beat my poor Father multiple times a week, but he must have thought it was a pretty good game too because he always came back. NBA Live ‘06 was just as great, though the Live series eventually fell behind the NBA 2K series, which spawned new favorites such as NBA 2K11 and 2K16. NBA Live will always be special to me though.
#4 Halo Reach – Xbox 360
Growing up, I never had strong enough internet to play games online. That changed when I moved into town for college and hooked up Xbox Live to play Halo. The hours my friends and I put into online split-screen multiplayer would probably be considered embarrassing. When it came to time spent playing Halo Reach though, I have no regrets. No time wasted here.
Photo from engadget.com
Honorable Mention: Call of Duty Black Ops – Xbox 360
I couldn’t quite bring myself to put a COD game on my top 10 list, but this one was close. My college roommate and I put in a lot of hours (and a lot of beer) into this game.
#3 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Xbox 360/Xbox One
If I could only play one game for the rest of my life… I’d probably have to pick Skyrim. It doesn’t possess the nostalgic charm of my #1 and #2 selections, but the staying power of this one is crazy. The number of places to go and things to do are seemingly limitless. I’ve been addicted to exploring its world on and off for multiple years, and that isn’t likely going away.
#2 Super Smash Brothers Melee – Gamecube
I grew up playing Nintendo games, and this one was the pinnacle of those experiences. It allowed me to play as some of my favorite characters from various games as well as learn about ones I wasn’t familiar with yet. Friends and family could grab controllers and start-up brawls between Mario, Zelda, Pikachu, Donkey Kong, and many others and it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing a game.
Honorable Mention: The Halo series: Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One
I know I already mentioned Halo Reach, but it was a true standout. Multiple Halo games could have made my list, but that would have been boring! I did however save a spot for…
#1 Halo 2 – Xbox
As I mentioned, this list could have been super Halo heavy. Instead, we have Reach at #4, the others as an honorable mention, and my favorite console game ever – Halo 2 – at #1. In my opinion, this installment had the best story, wildly addicting multiplayer, and memorable moments that set it apart. Even without the ability to play online at the time, my friends and I spent countless hours with the screen split, playing against each other or co-op in the campaign. Super well-rounded, this one had to take my number 1 spot!