With that out of the way, we can move onto my list. 

10. Tetris (NES) 

That’s a bad move bud.

Realistically this game is top 5 material, but as I am a new adopter of the Long Piece Life, I tried to account for that. This game is so addicting, and the time you can sink into this game is limitless. While a simple puzzle game on its face, it has extreme depth and complexity. I fell into this scene when I found out about the Classic Tetris World Championships, and something about seeing it played at a high level clicked with me. Mix my competitive nature with the fact that after playing for long periods of time you see the shapes and colors when you close your eyes and you have a winning combo. 

9. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Who took my F***ing stairs?!

For context, I didn’t play this when it came out. I wasn’t always the biggest Castlevania guy, but when I was told it was basically Super Metroid with a Gothic Horror skin I was sold. I spent long nights slaying monsters and searching for gear, power ups, and secrets and had a wonderful time doing it. The map is incredible, the soundtrack is banging, and Alucard is the most fun character to play, with effortless and engaging movement and attacks. The fact that there’s totally a second half to this game you can miss and wind up finishing the game early is also fun. 

8. Fallout: New Vegas

Give me your Jet, Dixon.

What can I say about Fallout: New Vegas that hasn’t already been said about Play-Doh? It’s fun, you can mold it to your will, and it’s only limited by your imagination. I consider New Vegas to be the pinnacle of Bethesda’s RPG’s and that’s because as a spin off the game felt less compelled to tell you a whole ass narrative and spent more time giving you wild things to do on the side. The main story amounts to “This guy shot you in the head, you didn’t die, and now he’s over there.” That’s all I want in a Fallout game. I don’t want to find out I’m a robot’s dad or whatever the hell happened in Fallout 4, I just wanna do hoodrat stuff with my friends. I spent an entire character run once being a thief with high speech so I sweet talk my enablers, sell stolen dishes to Dixon for Jet, and live outside New Vegas telling everyone about how I’d get in there one day. Like a moth drawn to a flame, I’d get to New Vegas one day. 

7. Metroid: Fusion

It’s like I’m looking in a mirror…

As the rest of this list will show, I like Horror Games and I like Metroidvanias. Metroid: Fusion hits both of those on the head with a 40lb hammer. This game does what Super Metroid did so well by crafting a world that’s isolated and alone, but add in the fact that you are chased throughout this game by an unkillable Samus Vorhees alien hybrid and you’ve got a suspense ridden thrill ride. It’s got everything you want from Metroid, and a little bit of what you want from a Good Friday the 13th Movie. 

6. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

It’s up there!

I think sometimes a game will set the bar all other games in a franchise should be judged by, and Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past does that for the Zelda franchise. I love almost all Zelda games, but I don’t think if you name one thing essential to a Zelda game that there’s a better example of it than ALTTP. When distilled down to it’s fine points and measured by its core elements, ALTTP does everything you want from a Zelda game with no gimmicks, no barriers, and near perfection of execution. 

5. Mortal Kombat 9

That’s actually me at my wedding.

As the game that brought back everything I loved about Mortal Kombat and knocked MK II from its perch as my favorite in the franchise, I don’t have enough positive things to say about Mortal Kombat 9. I loved the story, the character choices, and the feeling of making the old MK Story new. Not to mention Human Smoke is my dude. 

4. Silent Hill 2 and 3

Well where the F*** did it go?

This one I will admit is a bit of a cop out but I didn’t want to take up 2 slots and I legitimately waiver between which one I like more, so I amalgamated them into one. Both of these games are perfect, with the attention to detail and depth of storytelling you expect from Team Silent. I love Silent Hill 2 for its story, and the way it tells it. At every level of this game it’s story and narrative is there, and for that reason I truly feel this game is the best expression of the transition from concept to execution. While Silent Hill 3 has a similar  weaving of the narrative structures into the gameplay and world, what I truly take away from it is that it’s clearly the most terrifying of all the Silent Hill Franchise, maybe all survival horror. The monsters are grotesque, the world looks like it’s alive and aggressive, and some of the most terrifying moments legitimately kept me up at night. Both of these games deserve all the praise in the world, and are my picks to prove that games can be viewed as artistic expression.

3. Super Metroid 

As a kid, I didn’t know he had 3 eyes. I just thought he had a sideways face.

What can I say about this game? It’s in most people’s top ten games of all times, it birthed an entire genre, and had an immersive and gorgeous world for you to discover that was ahead of its time. The map in this game was so fun to explore, and the thrill of getting a new power up and re-exploring made backtracking fun. The enemies are varied and well designed, the boss fights feel epic, Samus is an utter bad ass, the music is FANTASTIC, and every time I play I love it more. This game is perfect and everyone should play it. 

2. Resident Evil (PS1)

What is it?!

I find myself less capable of defending this one. While this game brought survival horror to the mainstream and ushered in a new genre of game, it has aged worse than cheese. You’d be much better off playing the REmake on GameCube, or any of the other Resident Evil games from this era. With that being said, I absolutely love this game. As a child, I was absolutely terrified exploring this vast and dreary mansion. The feeling of isolation in a mansion of horrors has stuck with me to this day, as this game is the first game I ever beat as a kid. I’ll never forget how cool I felt when I poisoned that plant, or how scared I was when I was fighting the tyrant atop the mansion lab. This game has cheesy voice acting, blocky graphics, and terribly written dialogue, but is still terribly charming none the less.

  1. Silent Hill
Thank God.

If Resident Evil is the B Horror movie of the Survival Horror Genre, Silent Hill is The Shining. Silent hill began its life as a clone of Resident Evil, but the team behind the game wanted to make something akin to psychological horror novels like those from Stephen King. They wanted a complicated narrative woven into the fabric of the game, one that would unravel with further exploration and encourage replayability. Team Silent absolutely achieved this, creating a game that on its face is a clone of RE, but in actuality is a polished, well crafted gem. If you don’t like tank controls, this game isn’t going to help, but it’s worth suffering through to get to the meat and potatoes. Unique camera work, ingenious utilization of fog in world building, deep and engaging narrative, complex puzzles, and unforgettable characters are what make this game the best game I’ve ever played. 

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