10. Mass Effect 2 (2010)
To me, Mass Effect 2 contains the best combination of elements from the other Mass Effect games. It has better combat than the original, introduces the best new characters, and still has more of that hardcore RPG customization than Mass Effect 3. Plus, the loyalty missions are some of the biggest highlights from all three games.
9. The Last of Us (2013)
I had a complicated experience playing through The Last of Us. I started the game on regular difficulty, only to find it just a bit too easy. So I bumped it up to hard, which created plenty of frustrating moments of dying during combat scenarios over and over. So, I went back to regular. The combat in the game isn’t perfect and some of the puzzles repeat themselves too often, but it has maybe the best story and characters in any video game ever.
8. Super Mario Galaxy (2007)
As I said when I wrote about Super Mario Galaxy 2, the first game just feels more special to me. Part of that is due to me grinding out all 242 stars, playing through every level as both Mario and Luigi — even the insanely hard purple coin levels — but it’s more about this being my first experience in this awesome gravitational universe that Nintendo created.
7. Final Fantasy X (2001)
Final Fantasy XII and VII are amazing games, but X is hands down my favorite in the series. Tidus is a tad annoying, but that’s pretty par for the course with Final Fantasy leads. The rest of the cast is charming and memorable, and it tells a personal and kind of sad story not unlike Final Fantasy VII. Plus, it has the best version of an active time battle turn-based combat system. Blitzball sucks, though.
6. Super Mario World (1990)
Super Mario World is not only the best 2D Mario game, it is the best Mario game. On this, there can be no debate. This was Yoshi’s first appearance, which actually changes the gameplay in some pretty significant ways. Expanding on the Raccoon suit, the Cape Feather was also introduced. I love the look, feel, and music of the overworld, and the colors in Super Mario World just feel more vibrant than any previous title.
5. Minecraft (2009)
There are plenty of Minecraft haters out there that say there isn’t enough to the game, and that’s fine. Not everything is for everyone. But for me, Minecraft executes on something I’ve always loved about video games — a sense of open-ended discovery. There’s maybe a little too much going on now due to regular updates and new items, but the “classic” version of the game has a simplicity that speaks to me.
4. Kingdom Hearts (2002)
I can fully recognize the shortcomings of Kingdom Hearts. The story is more than a bit silly and the combat isn’t all that deep or challenging. But there’s just something special about how the Square Enix and Disney worlds are interconnected, and I just adore the trio of Sora, Goofy, and Donald. Except, of course, when Donald absolutely refuses to cast healing magic and I die because he’s the worst.
3. Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow (1996)
On any given day of the week, any one of these top three games could be listed as my favorite of all time. The original Pokemon was one of the first games I ever fell headfirst into, sinking hour after hour after hour on my quest to catch them all and take down the Elite Four. Yellow version more closely follows the progression of the show, but it’s still basically the same game. Being able to get all three starters for free is pretty awesome, though.
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
The most recently released game in my top five, I don’t see my love for Skyrim fading as time goes by. I’ve put in well over 700 hours across three systems and countless playthroughs. It’s just such an easy game to lose a day playing. There’s always just one more cave to explore or bandit hideout to take down. Even to this day, I’m discovering new easter eggs and hidden items scattered throughout its vast world.
1. Bioshock (2007)
Here it is, the mack daddy of them all. I think I can describe my love for Bioshock in a single way. If there was one game I could forget playing, just so I could experience it all over again for the first time, it would be Bioshock. The twists and turns of the story keep me on the edge of my seat, the world is so vast and varied with tons of secrets to discover, the shooting is just loose enough to ratchet up the tension, and I actually don’t mind the audio diaries because they offer so much information on the history of Rapture. To me, Bioshock is the greatest game ever made.
And there you have it, my top 100 games of all time! This is easily the largest, most subjective list I’ve ever put together, and you’re bound to disagree with some or most of it. So, let me know your favorite games in the comments below, and be sure to check out all of my video game rankings!