Here you will find a list of my top 10 favorite games, from the best to the not quite the best but still good. It gets a little long but I think you are going to like it here.

So kick back and buy a 24 pack of Tabb cola, because we're going to be here until you:

A: Finish reading this.
B: Accept Toad and Yoshi's forbidden love.

#1: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

I didn't have anyway of getting screenshots for the newer games on the list, so it's just gonna be covers for those.

Before this, I usually just beat around the bush and said Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was tied with Final Fantasy III as being my favorite game, but enough of that garbage. After a lot of thinking, even more pondering and perhaps even a little musing, I hereby declare this to be my favorite game of all time. What does it have over every other game? It's just really well put together, overall. I'm hard pressed to think of anything at all wrong with it. The controls are perfect in my mind, nice and smooth, the castle is well designed with a ton to explore, there's a boatload of different weapons to use making for a different experience each time you play through, the graphics are as good as 2D gets, and it's soundtrack is probably the best of all the Castlevania games. Yes, the game is a little easy if you just play it with the best items you can find, but it offers plenty of options for you to challenge yourself. Try to see how far you can get using just what you start with and no healing items or save rooms. It still may not be the hardest game of all time, but it'll get pretty tough while still being fun and completely beatable.

Alright, I guess there's one thing that's bad, that being the voice acting, but I like it anyhow. It's pretty damn funny and it's not even a major part of the game. I used to show the opening to everyone I knew and it always got a laugh. Even though the joke's been run into the ground, I still pull out my best Alucard "WHAT!?" for a giggle now and then.

I remember the day I got SOTN well. It was just a few days after it had actually come out, and I was getting it that night as it was a Friday. A fun weekend treat, Castlevania would be. So, I was talking to my friend Andrew that morning at school (He's also in the Final Fantasy III story coming up!) about the game. He said it looked shitty because you weren't a Belmont, and I was like, that's a foolish reason to dislike it. He then confessed that it could be cool anyway, but then boldly stated that it wasn't as good as the other Castlevanias, despite never having played it. Guess who's favorite Castlevania game is SOTN now? Why, it's my stupid friend Andrew. He denies that story ever happened nowadays, but it did. I know it did.

Another time, a different friend of mine and I were trying to see how far we could get under the conditions I mentioned earlier (No saving, no healing items and no new equipment other than relics.) He died at Slogra and Gaibon. I laugh my best manly laugh, which sounds kinda like a ferret capering, and took the controller. You know where I made it? To the minotaur and werewolf boss, and then I screwed up. Okay, I guess I cheated a bit: We watched Cool Runnings before that, and the spirit of that movie helped me through. I've nearly beaten the game like that since then, but without the help of Cool Runnings, so I think I've made up for it.

In conclusion this game is so "Topps" that it suffocated Top Cat in a plastic garbage bag and became the new leader of the alley cat gang. Although SOTN was actually an undercover cop, and they all got life in prison, even kind-hearted Benny.

You've probably seen this art about a thousand times before, but hey, it's pretty and I don't have screens.

#2: Final Fantasy III

At least 70,000 times better than NON-HUMAN. After playing Final Fantasy II it was without a doubt my favorite game at the time. Even years later, I was still drawing Chocobos and making my own sequels to it with Legos. So, you could imagine I got pretty excited when a shiny new Nintendo Power made it's way to my house with a few tiny screenshots of Final Fantasy III in it. I saw Shadow and thought at first it was Cecil as a dark knight again, and since the text was in japanese I didn't know he was a different character. I was really excited to find out what twist of events made Cecil return to his Dark Knight ways. Later I found out they were just different characters and I felt like an idiot. While I was disappointed that the only story continuation to Final Fantasy II I'd get would remain with my Legos, I was psyched to be getting a new Final Fantasy game in a matter of months.

Well, months did pass and I actually had kind of forgotten about Final Fantasy III until I switched to a new school in the 5th grade, and I was talking about it's prequel with one of my friends, who sadly hadn't played it. Someone else overheard and was all like "Final Fantasy II ruled." It turned out to be someone I didn't particularly like, but then we started talking about it and the upcoming Final Fantasy III and soon we were like fraternety brothers, except instead of drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon we drank OK soda and instead of hazing we played pogs. More importantly, I was reminded that Final Fantasy III was coming fast, and I had to catch it with the speed of a cougar.

Much like I did with SMB2, I'd read my Nintendo Powers every night, looking through the maps and imagining what the game was like. When the day finally came, I couldn't afford to buy my own copy of it so I'd go to rent it, but it was always out. I checked Blockbuster every day but it was no use. Eventually, Christmas saved the day and I had my own copy to enjoy.

It had some tough competition in the form of Star Wars Micro Machines and Mickey Mania, but I played a lot over that winter break, and then I played it for months more before I finally got to Kefka's Tower. Then the game erased itself. I angrily started a new game, expecting to be frustrated with having to do every damn thing over again so soon after having already played through most of the game. To the contrairy, I enjoyed it just as much as I had before. I kept talking about the game to my friends at school and they got fed up with it. The tables turned when I got fed up with them and knocked them all off the roof of the school in one of our daily SKY BRAWLs. They didn't die, but boy were they pissed.

A boring screenshot from a great game.

#3: The Legend of Zelda

Good times are in the cards. Once upon a CRIME it was 1988 (Possibly '87) and the Christmas season was upon us. Over the past few months I had been reading our first issue of Nintendo Power through and through, anticipating the day Super Mario Bros 2 would be mine. I'd trace through the supplied maps to try and get a feel of what the game would actually be like. Yes, I wanted it that bad.

There was also a game in said magazine called The Legend of Zelda. I didn't want to play it because I thought Link looked really stupid. But, my brother seemed to want the game. My family on my dad's side got together that Christmas Eve at some strange high class banquet hall. I don't know why we had Christmas Eve there but we did. Anyway, on that night we I got SMB 2 and my bro gots the Zelda game. I slept in the car on the way home, dreaming of my triumphant adventures with Mario, Luigi and the gang, while my brother was left crying with that loser Link.

"Can I please play Mario 2!?" He would ask?

"You picked your poison!" Mario would reply, happily plucking a fresh turnip from the ground.

Well, eventually I ended up liking Zelda more than SMB 2 and my brother reminded me that I had been ragging on the game before we got it. I yelled at him really loud and then we watched Webster for a while. Once one of his friends brought over his copy of Zelda and we were wowed by the fact Link was wearing white instead of green. I guess it hadn't occured to us to buy the blue ring. When they wern't around I decided to play his save game, and I just couldn't believe my eyes. He had so many devices, everything that rupies could buy. I signed my name on the dotted line, the lights went out, they came back and his friend got mad at me. It's not like I saved over it. What a fucker.

Anyway, after seeing all the cool shit he had I had to get it all for myself. I was pretty young, so the game was hard for me. I usually had to get someone else to beat the Darknuts for me. Even so, every level I beat and every new item I got in Zelda was a huge acomplishment. It was like beating the game 8 individual games all in one.

Nowadays I can beat the both the first and second quest with my eyes closed, yet somehow it always manages to be fun. If that asshole had seen me now he would've been glad I was playing his game.

I once knew a girl named Bay Area Barrel Bitch. She lived up to her name when she trapped me in a barrel and dumped me into the bay.

#4: Final Fantasy II

You could say it's like the ugly duckling When I first got my Super Nintendo, my favorite series was easily the Legend of Zelda and I wanted nothing more than Zelda III. Unfortunately, we had no idea the exact release date for it, so from December of 1991 to April of 1992 we were always on the look out for Zelda III. My birthday on February 4th happened to be in between this time period so I of course asked for Zelda. I was sure it had to have been released by now. So, along comes February 4th and there's a big box waiting for me in shiny red wrapping paper. I eagerly open it up and find two SNES game sized boxes that had also been wrapped inside of newspaper. I know what you're thinking: It was a trick and they were just boxes filled with rat shit. Good guess, but as it turns out they actually were Super Nintendo games. The first one I opened was Actraiser, which I had also asked for because I thought the ad looked cool (Good thing the game actually turned out to be good.), and I was sure the second one was Zelda. Surprise, surprise, it was Final Fantasy II. I was told Zelda III still hadn't been released, and that the Software Etc. clerk recommended FFII instead. I had played the original Final Fantasy and didn't like it, so I felt like I couldn't have gotten a worse game instead of Zelda. After an insencire thanks to my parents I went upstairs to my room. I played Actraiser for a few days while Final Fantasy II hadn't been removed from the shrink wrap.

I had a birthday party that saturday since February 4th was cruelly placed in the middle of the school week that year. It was a sleep over, but we wern't allowed to play the Super NES until the morning. When we woke up, some girl I don't remember the name of hogged it playing Super Mario World. After about an hour, another friend of mine decided to play Final Fantasy II because he heard it was "Gnarly." I shit you not, he did actually call it Gnarly. He started it up and went through all the story parts at the beginning. I wasn't impressed. He left Baron and got into a battle. That certainly didn't excite me. He finished that battle and stumbled into a circle shaped forest. There were birds inside. I thought they were cute. It turns out you could ride these birds. I thought that was the coolest thing on earth. Yes, it was chocobos that finally convinced me that this game might be worth a try.

When they all left, I fired up my own game, played through the opening, and rushed to the forest. After riding around on the chocobos for a while, I got bored and decided to go to the mist cave. I found out that the random battles were actually kind of fun! And after a few more hours it turned out that the story was kind of cool! It didn't take long until I was obsessed with the game. I'd draw chocobos whenever I got the free time at school and it was the first thing I did when I got home. I got excited about all the stuff that took place. I nearly pissed my pants when Cecil became a paladin, and a big 'ole smile crossed my face when all the characters got together in airships to help the party out against the Giant of Bab-il (Which promted my brother to sassily ask "Why the hell are you smiling?" to which I awkwardly replied "Um, I'm just happy to be this far into the game."). You should've seen me when I actually beat the game, I was jumping around like a damn ape, shouting for everyone to gather around and see what I had just done.

I did of course get Zelda III, and while it was also a fantastic game, it turned out that the game I didn't want at first once again proved to be the one I liked more in the end.

Thank God for these little dudes.

#5: Shenmue I & II

Here's an import you can't get at Pier 1. But you could get a wicker laundry hamper and a scented candle. Damn it... I don't have any good stories about Shenmue so I really have no choice but to talk about the game.

I didn't think much of Shenmue when I bought it. It was a year after it had come out, any hype surrounding it was long dead, and I sure didn't think it looked that great in the first place. But, it was only $10.00, so I figured I'd probably play it once, think it was mediocre, and put it on the shelf with the rest of my once mighty Dreamcast collection.

Then I started to play it. It was a odd game, for sure. You basically walk around playing detective, talking to people and finding out clues, and if you want buy a bunch of capsule toys. On occasion, you may get into a fight with some generic street toughs, but not that often, and sometimes it just involves a QTE, which is like a spruced up Dragon's Lair. Probably not something Sega was wise to put such a huge stake on, but at first I found it strangely addicting. Then, one day when I was waiting for a bus and listening to some tapes (IN THE GAME.), I realized that it was also one of the best games I've played in a long while.

It's a little hard to explain why I liked it so much, and I can completely understand why other people didn't. After all, the game involves dozens of asinine conversations with people, featuring some of the worst/best voice acting and dialouge ever to grace a video game (Fuck "All Your Base" and fuck Bad Dudes too, Ryo's quiery about a man named Charlie degenerating into an unstable old man's raves about Charlie Chaplin is far and away the funniest thing I've heard in a video game.), and actually had you waiting for a bus on multiple occasions, but something about it just felt right. Every new and mundane thing it had me doing was at the very least interesting, be it racing a forklift, feeding a cat, or beating the crap out of some sailors.

Shenmue II came along shortly afterwards, but only in Europe, which was a good thing because it gave a chance for the real Shenmue fans to separate themselves from the mainstream clowns who only bought the Shenmue because it was hyped everywhere from EGM to Bird Quarterly. Seriously though, I got it for Christmas that year, hacked my US save from Shenmue I to work, and was off.

Which leads me to my decision to put both Shenmue games in one spot, that being it seemed to me they're just one big game. The moment I stepped off the boat in Shenmue II, it felt more like I was playing Shenmue again for the first time in a month rather than a whole new game. That's not a bad thing in my mind. The two games come together really well, which is what I imagine they're going for with the series. So no, this isn't a cop out like listing an entire series in one slot (Anyone remember Next Generation's top 100 list? Blech.) I do think Shenmue II had less dinking around and more action, which was good, but still, I think the best way to experience the two games is as a complete package.

So yeah, while cleaning soot off the walls of a temple and moving books aren't exactly riveting gaming, I found that for the most part Shenmue was really something great.

No screenshot, so enjoy this octopus balloon.

#6: Super Mario World

I loved Super Mario World Mac and Cheese. I thought it tasted better than the normal kind, for some reason. I was sitting in the car one day when my brother was talking about his recent visit to our friend Tom's house. He said he had a the most recent Nintendo Power, and that they had pictures of the new Nintendo system and Mario game. My initial reaction was "It's neon colored, right? Neon colors are so cool!" because it was 1990 and neon colors were cool, so I naturally assumed Nintendo's new system would be neon colored. This was during the Christmas season and I believe we were on the way to see a mall Santa. I quickly scribbled a list of what I wanted from him on the way, the top three being the Ninja Turtles Sewer playset, the new, neon colored Nintendo and Mario game, and Castlevania Adventure, which ended up sucking pretty bad. My bro saw the list and yelled at me that it wasn't neon colored at all, but I kept that assumption until I had seen it for myself. As it turns out, it wasn't neon and it wouldn't even be out until a few long months after Christmas. The new Mario game looked really cool, though.

When the Super Nintendo did finally come out, we couldn't afford it, but there was a kiosk set up at the local Target where you could play Super Mario World. I waited in line 30 minutes to play the damn thing. The guy right in front of me took up a good 10 of those. He seemed was kind of an asshole, and he even turned around once and asked me "Why the hell are you just watching me play?" Did you notice the line, dumbass? I should've said that, but he was bigger than I was and he looked like he would hit. Instead I just shrugged kinda sarcastically and he eventually quit. I played through the first level in the forest and knew they made this game just for me. I wasn't a dick about it, though, I only took up 3 minutes and then went to look at Ninja Turtles or something.

I got my own SNES and Super Mario World and it was all I did through Christmas day. I had Sim City, too, but this was really all that mattered to me. I made it all the way to Vanilla Dome when we had to go to some bogus Christmas dinner. Luckily I had that Mario Mania guide with me so I could at least read about SMW when I was away. We also got a foosball table that year.

To me, everything in Mario World just exudes fun. The cape, Yoshi, and some pretty creative levels. Sure, it wasn't the hardest Mario game to beat, but I'd say it's the most enjoyable. That neglected foosball table would say so too. Sometimes I see it in the basement and feel sad that I didn't play with it more. Did you ever think that your toys had feelings as a kid? Well, I did. And I think I really hurt that Foosball table bad.

The game wasn't bad, either.

#7: Rygar

Rygar sounds kind of like the name of an allergy medication. It's funny, some people may see a sunset and think of something really profound and beautiful. I think of Rygar. The opening sunset and music are widely known as the most memorable part of this game, and since I first played this game when I was very young, it stuck with me. Oh well, at least I'm not thinking up some cliche poetry or inspirational music. Unless it's inspirational music about Rygar!

"Rygar fights with masculine vigor, His yo-yo sheild flying high, Although the threats get bigger and bigger, He defeats his foes with an eagle's eye."

Oh, you might think I'm joking, but it's going to be a duet with Yanni on his next album. I got some serious Yanni connections working for me.

Rygar, like I said, was another game I played really early in my childhood, but I did really poorly at it. I usually just got the grappling hook and couldn't figure out where to go from there, but I thought it was fun anyway so we always rented it. I finally bought the game in about 1992, and I still only got to that weird Lion-Armadillo boss in the forest (The enemies in this game are really bizzare, ain't they?). Then, one day when I was staying home from school, I got really far into the game, seeing things I didn't even know existed. It was then and there that I realized the People's Court was on, and then while watching the People's Court I thought to myself, Rygar's a really good game. Or maybe I thought to myself, "What's the verdict on Rygar?" and then I cleverly retorted "Rygar is guilty of being a good game. And manslaughter." Because I think Rygar may have killed my Guinea Pigs.

I played the game a lot, always getting close to the end, but never beating it. As a matter of fact, I think it's only been 4 years since I first beat Rygar, which is a little strange since I had beaten most of my childhood games by 1993. I guess I just took my time with Rygar. Because you gotta make it last, like a Jolly Rancher. Maybe if I tried to beat Rygar earlier, it would've shattered my teeth. Did you ever think of that? Well I did, and guess what, I still have a full set of teeth.

Perhaps the most overused Rygar screen on the entire internet.

#8: Metroid

I wish I had a pet Metroid. I'd teach it to make me pizzas. Metroid was a total tantrum game for me. I saw it at Target one day laying in the bike aisle (This was before the time of security cases, I could've just ripped the box open and taken Metroid if I really wanted to.) and knew nothing about it, besides the fact I had to have it. Too bad no amount of crying would put the game into my possession.

When I did get the game, my mom played it a hell of a lot more than I did. She really liked the game. I personally thought it was fun but really hard. I usually made it to the place you get the long beam and got killed by those dudes that flew down at you from the ceiling. It's funny how hard some games seemed to me when I was a kid. Anyhow, everyday after Pre-School I'd come home and my mom would have made some new progress in Metroid. It was exciting to see what new power ups she'd find every day. When I first saw the wave beam it was like Christmas happened early.

It took us awhile to beat it because we always lost our passwords, and also because we didn't think to get the ice beam before going to Tourian. The funny thing is, I'm pretty sure my mom did beat Metroid with the Wave Beam, although I've tried it myself and it seems pretty tough, so perhaps I remember it wrong. I remember the exact day well though, because I was at Kindergarten and this teacher kept calling me Kevin. My name isn't Kevin. I tried correcting her, and her response was "Stop being silly, Kevin." I wish Samus had been there.

Speaking of Samus, am I the only one who didn't think it was that big of a deal when it turned out she was a girl? I was a little surprised, but I didn't think she was a man either, just some robot.

I can't imagine someone getting through this with just the Wave Beam.

#9: Resident Evil 2

One time I was looking at this while eating spaghetti and his gross fingernails made me lose my appitite. True story. I'm sure this may seem like an odd choice for a top ten list, but trust me here, this isn't just something I'm haphazardly throwing together. I thought about all of my favorite games for a good long time, and lo and behold, Resident Evil 2 came up near the top.

I think I might've played through this game (The whole game, meaning all four quests) over a dozen times, and that's saying a lot for a game that came out more recently. It's just a lot of fun, and if you beat it fast enough you'll get some pretty crazy weapons that make the next play through just as fun. The puzzles are pretty much useless by the 15th time, but I always find the action part entertaining. For what it is, the story is pretty decent too. It's cheesy, but fits the setting well. So you could say Resident Evil 2 has the whole package.

The only big negative is the spiders. Yes, I have a severe enough case of arachnophobia that a few shitty looking giant 3D spiders on the screen were enough to get me to turn the console off. The first few times through the game, I never got past that part without someone else in the room. Even recently, I'd still get a little tense when I go into the sewers, knowing that the next step I take is going to put a giant set of tarantula legs in the middle of my screen.

But other than the spiders, Resident Evil 2 really is a great game.

A MONSTER of a truck for one MONSTER of a game!

#10: Super Mario Bros. 3

It was definately a great day to finally see this on my own TV Screen. Super Mario Bros. 3 was like the biggest deal in the world when it came out. I'm sure it seems like newer games like Metal Gear Solid 2 and Final Fantasy X get a lot of hype, but I've never seen anything quite like the buzz around this one. Every kid at school, whether they played games or not, had something to say about SMB 3. As we were grade school kids, we made a whole load of shit up about what the game was actually like and spread them as rumors, crediting out sources to extra special issues of Nintendo Power they only sent to one of every thousand subscribers or whatnot. By the time it actually came out, I was expecting Mario 3 to have everything from a laser gun to a cameo appearence by the Ninja Turtles in it.

Getting a copy of it and proving all of that wrong, however, was a problem. When it actually came out, everyone wanted a copy of it, and I remember waiting in numerous Toys R Us lines with my family and being disappointed each time. The worst one of all was waiting in line for at least an hour, finally making it to the second place, and seeing the person in front of us snag the last ticket. I said a lot of "pirate words" after that, but when I was alone. Swearing meant a lot of trouble when I was a kid.

I think it was about a month or two later when we were at the Rosedale Mall (The Rosedale area is home to many of my childhood memories.) and I asked to go to Kay Bee Toys. I liked that store 'cause they usually had a He-Man figure or two, even though they'd been discontinued for some time. Anyway, when I was looking at the games I noticed a few copies of SMB3 waiting there and I let out an excited shriek the whole mall must've heard. I hadn't even seen the actual box before. Actually holding the game in my hands was such a trip.

I of course started up that baby as soon as I got home. I'd seen the first few levels before on Playchoice 10, but this was the first I had ever played of them (The lines to the Playchoice 10 were also pretty huge). I played to World 3 and got wasted by Big Berthas nice and quick. It took me about a year before I finally beat World 3. I did warp to the other worlds though. Giant World was probably my favorite of all, but it really pissed me off when I got to the few parts of it that were regularly sized. Come to think of it, it still pisses me off!

But that doesn't stop it from being an excellent game. It's just so huge, and there's a lot to see and do. Even today, I still don't feel like I've seen everything Mario 3 has to offer.

'HOLY FUCKIN' SHIT' was my initial reaction to Giant World. I wasn't allowed to play Mario for a week because of that

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