Top 100 Games of All-Time: #69 (Nice)


Release Date: October 27, 2015

Platform Played On: PS4/PC

2018 Placement: #27 (-52)


What It Is:

A hero-based shooter that took the world by storm and created a lot of, ahem, fan art. Overwatch is known for each character having a unique weapon and play style, from Mei’s freezing and ice walls to Hanzo’s arrows and dragonstrike. But each character also has a vibrant personality through both design and voice acting making the game one of the most talked about new multiplayer releases for a long while: eventually spawning the Overwatch League as a professional e-sport league attempting to create local town support for their teams.

The game itself is a 6v6 objective-based first-person shooter, where there’s an Attacking and Defending team either trying to escort a payload to a destination or taking/defending a specific point on the map. It requires a lot of teamwork to execute between managing your own ability cooldowns, syncing up with teammates’ abilities, and guessing at what the other team has lined up to compete against you. Between the DPS, Tank, and Support roles there’s something for everybody to play as even if you aren’t a particular crack shot with aiming.

Why It’s Important To Me:

I spent an ungodly amount of time playing Overwatch on PS4 with a group of online friends. I participating in six-person stacks nearly every night for a while, playing with people from a forum I visited at the time. It was the most I ever got into an online multiplayer game: usually my online experience is mostly co-op with friends I already know, and I stay away from shooters because I’m just bad at them. But the Tank and Support roles were up my alley; I could play with a group and affect the match without having to worry about my K/D ratio and the world was so vibrant that it instantly captivated me. I also loved how unique the heroes and abilities were: that’s what really separated this from a regular shooter.

I also got extremely into the Overwatch League once it began. I’ve never been an e-sports fan and rarely watched any competitive matches of any other game, but for the first two seasons of OWL I was glued to my computer watching every game I could on Twitch. I watched more Overwatch than normal sports and became a huge fan of the LA Gladiators and Washington Justice, to the point that I own merch for both of them. I love discussing teams and players and OWL matches online with people and it just makes me excited to watch matches live – I get into it as much as I would the Super Bowl.

My Strongest Memory:

I went to see the Washington Justice play live at their two-day Homestand in February 2020, not knowing at the time it would be one of the last outings I participated in for over a year. It was actually exhilarating to experience the match live with the crowd of fans getting into the game being played on the screen in front of them. The weekend we did it, me and HarveyZ both agreed that two full days of Overwatch was a little much but looking back it was absolutely worth seeing it live and getting to experience the rush first-hand: especially since many other teams’ Homestands were cancelled due to COVID.

As for a specific memory of playing the game, I don’t really have one. I have a fondness for the PS4 crew (that I don’t play with anymore since I switched to PC and mostly just dabble around in it now) and the good times I had playing online with them. I could tell you about how excited I got every time I unlocked a new trophy on PS4 after pulling off a new skill with a new character, because every time I got one of those (and I got nearly all of them) I was so proud of myself. I’m especially proud of finally achieving the Lucio’s The Floor Is Lava trophy, although Reaper’s Waste Not, Want Not still eludes me.

Why It’s #69 (Nice):

I have a rocky relationship with Overwatch. I want to love it a lot more than I currently do. I’m still excited for Overwatch League and enjoy watching other people play it. But every time I log onto it by myself I play a few matches and realize how much fun I’m not having. If you don’t have a squad and aren’t playing with other people, the game is toxic and unbearable, especially at lower skill levels. Teammates don’t try to listen or work together, everyone thinks they’re the best at the game and don’t try to improve their own abilities, and mistakes are met with yelling and toxicity. The balance of the game also fluctuates wildly and because the team is working on Overwatch 2, there hasn’t been any significant content updates for over a year. That’s why Overwatch has the single biggest drop in the top 100 from the last time I did this. But I still love the game despite all the mess, will watch OWL when it starts in April and I’ll definitely be jumping into OW2 when it comes out.

(But also, fuck Bobby Kotick.)

Top 100 Games of All-Time: #70

Portal 2

Release Date: April 18, 2011

Platform Played On: PS3

2018 Placement: #58 (-12)


What It Is:

Portal 2 is the longer version of Portal’s tech demo. While the first game took the gaming world (and internet) by storm, proclaiming stuff about cake, turning GLaDOS into an overnight superstar and getting Still Alive stuck in everyone’s heads, it was still a very short affair. Portal 2 takes the mechanics and humor of the first game and expands it into a “full” 8-10 hour story-based romp. It also adds a bunch of new twists and turns on how to use your portals effectively, keeping the entire concept fresh but never wearing out its welcome.

And while the puzzles are exciting and challenging, it’s the expansion of the Aperture Science story that’s really the shining beacon of this game. The first game cemented GLaDOS as an exceptional villain, but as you progress through Portal 2 you learn a lot more about Aperture as a whole. There’s also a fun co-op mode that really creates some fun portal puzzle situations and is a blast to go through with a friend.

Why It’s Important To Me:

I mean, it’s Portal. I liked the first game but this one just blew me away with the creativity and humor. The entire potato sequence had me rolling on the floor laughing (and not in an acronym way). It’s a longer game but it still never overstays its welcome. Each puzzle mechanic is introduced and used efficiently so the game never feels repetitive. The writing is just top-notch Valve at its finest.

It’s also just a testament to how first-person games don’t have to always be shooters. This game is pure puzzle from start to finish, you never fire a bullet yourself. It uses all the spaces it creates in a satisfying way without resorting to shooty-shooty bang-bang. And I’m not saying shooty-bang is bad, but at peak FPS inundation it was nice to see the first-person format used in a different way.

My Strongest Memory:

I already mentioned the potato sequence, which takes up a significant section of the game but the start of it is probably the one line that’s stuck with me for over a decade. “Oh hi, how are you holding up? BECAUSE I’M A POTATO.” The delivery of that line nearly made me die laughing the first time I heard it. And then there’s Space Core, who I actually have a print of fanart of on my wall. Yes, Space Core was a simple core with a simple joke but I still loved him.

Wheatley is also a top-tier character. Stephen Merchant does a wonderful job delivering his lines. Honestly I don’t want to give away more about this game than I have to. It’s just so charming, fun, and exhilarating to play. Every aspect of the game just drips with quality and it’s honestly a shame Valve doesn’t make games anymore.

Why It’s #70:

I love Portal 2. It’s one of those few games that is perfectly polished from start to finish. I don’t wish there was more of it, I don’t wish there was less of it. It’s the Goldilocks of puzzle games – just right. I don’t have strong emotional ties to it, but it is just damn good and will still quote “BECAUSE I’M A POTATO!” to myself every now and then.

Or “I’m in space.”

It’s a game that sticks with you.

Top 100 Games of All-Time: #71

999/Virtue’s Last Reward

Release Date: December 10, 2009/February 16, 2012

Platform Played On: DS/3DS

2018 Placement: Unranked


What It Is:

So I’m sort of cheating on this one b/c this is technically two games, but it’s my countdown and my rules. There’s only one other time I’m going to do this on the list so it’s not going to happen often. And the reason I’m specifically doing it for this one is because both of these games are visual novel puzzle games that are linked via story. There is a third game in the series but it really, truly, absolutely blows the ending so I can’t really recommend it.

In both 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward, you take the protagonist role of a man trapped in a death game: Junpei in 999 and Sigma in VLR. Both games require you to solve puzzles to move forward and figure out the mystery of what the hell is going on. Part of the solution of each game is getting multiple endings, and each game starts playing with timeline shenanigans and making all of the endings canon (surprisingly). You gather more and more info until all the story pieces start coming together and it’s done in a fantastic, gripping way from start to finish in both games.

Why It’s Important To Me:

Both of these games profoundly affected me story-wise. I was so engaged and blown away as each twist was revealed in both games. Virtue’s Last Reward is an absolute master-class in alternate timeline storytelling and gives you just enough weird stuff to keep you on the edge of your seat and wondering what the hell is happening. Both me and my friend played through it and while we’re pretty good at figuring out where stories are headed and what twists are gonna be written, VLR specifically had us both going “WHAT” “WHAT” “HOLY CRAP” several times from the sheer unexpectedness of several developments. 999 isn’t as complex as VLR, but that makes sense because it’s the first of the trilogy of games.

These types of games also live and die by their characters, and let me tell you all the characters in these games are golden. Despite some…questionable clothing decisions for characters like Alice and Lotus, almost all the cast is entertaining as hell and fun to be around. Even the very obvious villain characters are a joy to hate. I love these casts.

My Strongest Memory:

When I played 999, I remember getting into the final stages of the true ending path and just being utterly gripped by how the story ramped up at the end. I can still envision exactly where I was: late at night, sitting on the couch at my grandmother’s house while on vacation there with my parents. And when the finale crescendoed into the final puzzle I was absolutely blown away, fucking shaking and grinning from the final reveal. It even used the DS system in a unique way that couldn’t be replicated (and as such, the replacement puzzle included in the Nonary Games rerelease is utter dogshit).

It was a finale that got me super emotional because the entire game built up the friendship between Junpei and June and the end totally destroyed me. I was so invested in the characters and saving everyone from the death game that the puzzle (even if it was a simpler, straightforward puzzle than 90% of the rest of the game) carried the perfect amount of weight and made me feel like I was truly saving everybody.

Why It’s #71:

These two games are the first on my list that truly sparked an emotional reaction out of me. Not nostalgic emotions from when I played them with friends, but an actual emotional response from the game itself. Both of these games have such a wonderful story with heartfelt relationships between their characters in the midst of Saw-like death games where people get murdered. It’s really a shame the final game was such a wet fart finish to the trilogy, but these two games should absolutely be played together as one entity – and then maybe just imagine your own ending.

Top 100 Games of All-Time: #72

Mega Man X2

Release Date: December 16, 1994

Platform Played On: SNES

2018 Placement: #32 (-40)


What It Is:

The first sequel of Capcom’s first expansion of the Mega Man franchise. Mega Man X2 is a solid platformer where the eponymous X takes on the Mavericks and Sigma for the second time. It has a few updates and QOL upgrades from the first one, most noticeably the fact that X starts with a dash now – something that was relegated to an armor upgrade in the original. Sigma also has three Maverick Hunters on his side who have stolen Zero’s body, paving the way for Zero to become a deuteragonist in the future MMX games.

It stays true to the Mega Man and X formulas: 8 Maverick robots, each with a special weapon that X gets after defeating them. And they all have weaknesses to another robot’s weapon, so figuring out the proper order is essential for players unless you’re a masochist and want to do a buster-only run. There’s also loads of secrets, from Sub-Tanks to armor upgrades, that give X an advantage in battle.

Why It’s Important To Me:

I played a lot of Mega Man and Mega Man X growing up as a kid. They were my passion projects: I would save the passwords so I could continue my quest of killing all 8 Mavericks when I had to shut the console down and go to bed. I love the concept of the Maverick Hunters (proto-Organization XIII-style love of villain groups, I guess) and of course, Mega Man X2 has some boppin’ tunes. See Magna Centipede’s theme or Flame Stag’s theme. Man, Flame Stag’s stage is so good.

It also has the final level where, surprise, Zero is resurrected by Sigma only for you to have to fight him in one of the coolest boss themes of the entire Mega Man series (bested pretty much only by a later X vs. Zero theme from X5/X6) even if it is very quickly repetitive. Fighting Zero was the absolute highlight of the game for me and something I still remember to this day. Imagine my surprise when I found out that if you manage to clear all the optional Maverick Hunters and rescue Zero’s body, you don’t actually have to fight him and he helps you in the end! So cool for a game to have that optional goal back in the day.

My Strongest Memory:

I think for this game my strongest memory is the fact that I actually beat it. I was unfortunately unsuccessful in Mega Man X – I always got stuck on the third phase of the Sigma battle. But this one I was actually able to beat Sigma Virus and see the credits. It was a huge accomplishment for me at the time.

I also loved how the final battle took place in Magna Centipede’s stage. Revisiting an old stage you’d already cleared somehow added weight to the confrontation for me. Instead of trekking through yet another damn castle stage before fighting the final boss, you’re retreading territory you’ve already covered and are familiar with. It’s a cool twist on the finale that other Mega Mans hadn’t really done before (except Mega Man 3 and the Doc Robots, but that was mostly different).

Why It’s #72:

Mega Man X2 represents the second-largest drop of any single game on this list from it’s previous spot. And the reason it dropped is because while I love this game as a whole and have a few very specific memories of specific Mavericks, there’s also a lot I don’t care about. I mean, Wire Sponge? C’mon. That’s really just not an interesting boss at all. For a long while I thought X2 was my favorite of the X franchise. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it wasn’t. Yes, it’s still my second favorite and miles above any of the Playstation X games. But I just don’t have as high a regard as I thought I did. It’s still obviously worthy of an entry, though!

Top 100 Games of All-Time: #73

Kingdom Hearts II

Release Date: March 28, 2006 (NA)

Platform Played On: PS2

2018 Placement: #57 (-16)


What It Is:

Before Kingdom Hearts as a franchise became an absolute convoluted mess that makes everyone who tries to explain it sounds like a conspiracy theorist, it was only a slightly confusing mess that made everyone who tried to explain it sound like a conspiracy theorist. When Kingdom Hearts II hit shelves, there were only two games in the franchise and so far the story was pretty straightforward. Organization XIII was introduced in the Chain of Memories spinoff and became the main villain group of the full sequel. It still focused a lot on Disney and bringing those worlds to video game life. But it also started the trend of “okay what the hell is going on in these games.”

At its core, Kingdom Hearts II is an action-RPG headlined by Sora, Donald, and Goofy. The basics are not super complex and the AI can be a bit wonky (fucking HEAL ME DONALD) but when you get to the high-level combat (especially the Data fights in the Final Mix version) it can be actually pretty punishing. KHII introduces new things like Drive Forms to make the battles a little more fun, but honestly why everyone played this was because of the multitudes of Disney worlds. And it had that in spades as well – from Lion King to Aladdin to Hercules, it has most of the worlds of the strongest 90s Disney movies.

Why It’s Important to Me:

I have a very specific thing that always appeals to me when it’s a thing. Namely a numbered villain group where each member has their own unique weapon/trait that makes them stand out. The Four Fiends from Final Fantasy IV. The Seven Deadly Sins. The Four Horsemen. The Forsaken (from Wheel of Time). The Sinister Six. The Chosen from XCOM 2. Or maybe one bad guy for each of the twelve Zodiac symbols. Or maybe using tarot card symbols. Bonus points if they’re revealed slowly and you build anticipation as to what their specialty is and maybe one of them has been under your noses the whole time. I don’t know why I love this trope but I do and I won’t apologize for it.

Organization XIII is probably my favorite iteration of this type of group and a big part of why I love this game so much. Each member of Organization XIII has their own personality, along with a unique weapon, style, and color (mostly). From Luxord the Gambler of Fate to Xaldin the Whirlwind Lancer, each one has an element and weapon they use when you fight them and they are some of the best and most memorable battles in any ARPG, in my humble opinion. Yes, a lot of people love Kingdom Hearts because of Disney, but honestly I’m there for Organization XIII and that’s all there is to it. I was excited to explore Disney worlds, but I can’t say I wasn’t more interested in finding out which Organization member was behind the Heartless debacle in each world.

My Strongest Memory:

Motherfucking Demyx, the Melodious Nocturne. He’s one of my favorite video game characters of all-time and I love him to death. He’s not a fighter, he’s a musician, and he’s super lazy and doesn’t actually want to do any battling or scheming. How he got into Organization XIII is anybody’s guess (seriously, I’m sure they explain it in one of the many future KH spinoffs that convoluted the story further but I’m not gonna unravel that thread) but he was instantly my favorite of all the characters.

I can immediately picture the battle where you fight him in Hollow Bastion, in fact the entire Hollow Bastion sequence in the mid-game of KH2 is probably my favorite setpiece of the entire series. It’s where the meme-famous “they fucking killed Goofy” scene comes from and everything about that section is just perfect. But I distinctly remember the Demyx fight and how much I just loved his intro. I can hear “Dance water dance!” in my head almost pitch-perfect. Here, take a look if you want to watch it yourself. Demyx is just the best (and it includes the famous Goofy dies scene as well for your amusement).

Why It’s #73:

I love Organization XIII so much I have several art pieces of Demyx, Axel, and Xemnas that I put up on my wall (when I have wall space to have them). Kingdom Hearts II will forever be my favorite KH game simply because it has the best, simplest, easiest mix of ARPG fun, cool explorable Disney worlds, and the best iteration of Organization XIII (especially all their Data fights in Final Mix). However, let’s be real, the game is overall dragged down a little simply because of the absolute nonsensical turns it’s taken (and how Disney sort of ruined the Disney worlds with a tighter oversight in KH3). Still, in a bubble, KHII is an awesome game well worth the time to play it.

Top 100 Games of All-Time: #75

Tales From The Borderlands

Release Date: November 25, 2014 (Ep. 1) – October 20, 2015 (Ep. 5)

Platform Played On: PS4

2018 Placement: #59 (-16)


What It Is:

It’s another Telltale game in the same style that they got famous for. A mostly choice-oriented dialogue-based game with some action quick-time events and a few puzzles scattered throughout. And like most of their games it’s expanding on someone else’s franchise. This time, however, it’s based in the video game world of Borderlands instead of a movie/book/comic property. And let me tell you, Telltale knocks it out of the park with this one.

The big sticking point with the Borderlands franchise for a lot of people isn’t its setting, it’s everything else. From the slightly-too-meme-y humor to the fact that it’s made by Gearbox (whose CEO is Randy Pitchford, a strange case all by himself), there are a lot of reasons that some people don’t like the franchise. Telltale takes the Borderlands universe to its utmost and tells the best story yet, using new and old characters while doing it. It keeps the same tone but puts a new twist on the humor and it ended up being not only Telltale’s best work, but the best game associated with Borderlands and a testament to letting developers make different genre games in established universes.

Why It’s Important to Me:

With Telltale games, I always waited until the entire season of episodes was released before diving in. And I basically binged Tales of the Borderlands because the story kept me glued to my screen for the entire game. The characters and humor are fantastic, the plot twists are excellent, and the game itself is just worth every positive adjective you can come up with.

It’s a game I hold in high regard because it’s not a “game”-heavy game but still keeps me entertained and involved. Most of the decisions are dialogue-based and the choices it makes you make are some of the best of Telltale’s work. While the story itself is more on rails than Batman: Enemy Within, the execution of the plot and seeing the results of your decisions is still world-class. And this game came off the heels of Borderlands 2 when I was at my most interested in Borderlands so seeing fantastic writing in a universe I adored just make me swell up with pride and tears.

My Strongest Memory:

The Borderlands franchise is known for having awesome song introductions for each of their games – the first starts with Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked, for example. Tales from the Borderlands keeps up this trend for each of their five episodes and let me tell you, the intros for both chapters 3 and 4 not only have awesome songs that were immediately added to my playlist after hearing them, but were also intros that kept me hooked and I watched from start to finish even though they were credit sequences. Here’s the chapter 3 intro – just watch it – and look how it not only gives you easy characterizations of all the main characters as well as being entertaining on top of a jam.

I’ll also include the chapter 4 intro, but be warned, it has a song that goes under the classification of “song you can’t help but sing emphatically with your fist clenched towards the sky.” You know the kind of songs I’m talking about. So I remember both of these intros very fondly. But in addition, something happens shortly after the episode 4 intro where I was absolutely blown away that they had the balls to do it in a spin-off game. I won’t spoil it here but it was one of the most shocking moments in the entire Borderlands franchise and that’s saying something.

Why It’s #75:

It’s been a while since I played this but whenever I think about this game I get a dumb smile on my face. And I can instantly hear both “The Pieces of the People We Love” and “To The Top” and see the intros in my mind. It’s a weird comfort game that I would enjoy playing again with people so they can witness the story. It’s hilariously stupid at times and utterly heartfelt at other times. Just a perfect mix for a narrative-focused game. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go sing “To The Top” again with my fist clenched in the air.



Top 100 Games of All-Time: #76

God of War

Release Date: April 20, 2018

Platform Played On: PS4

2018 Placement: Unranked


What It Is:

God of War was a series that took the video game universe by storm when the first game released on PS2. It’s a setpiece-filled action romp with tons of combos and cool weapons. I remember being utterly blown away and wowed by the hydra battle, which is basically the intro boss so there was so much more to come after it. However, as the series progressed the protagonist Kratos became more and more of an asshole, to the point that he was one of the most irredeemable figures in gaming because all he did was be angry and violent and murder in his quest for vengeance. God of War became not fun because the character was not remotely likeable or interesting anymore.

Queue the reboot in 2018 where Kratos is now older, wiser, and a father hiding out in Norse country. The character is the same and you can tell the rage is still there, but time has passed and suddenly he’s a worthwhile protagonist again mostly due to his relationship with his son, Atreus. Armed with the Leviathan Axe, one of the coolest weapons in all of gaming, you set out on a trek filled with action and adventure to spread Kratos’ recently deceased wife’s ashes – a very “small” story compared to the previous iterations of “kill God” as the main plot.

Why It’s Important To Me:

I’m a huge fan of mythology (Greek in particular) so the original God of War was one of my favorite games for a long time (before my distaste for Kratos as a character mildly ruined the series). I was so excited to see Greek myths and characters in 3D action. And while mythology has gotten a little more widespread in games now, I still have a special place in my heart for this series. This version moves on from Greek and started interweaving Norse mythology, which was pretty sparse in video games before this.

But really there’s so many things to love about this game: the story is top-tier and the interactions between Kratos and Atreus over 20 hours of gameplay are just phenomenal. The Leviathan Axe just feels amazing to use: it’s so satisfying to throw and recall and all of its attacks feel like a natural, fluid extension of Kratos. The game’s cinematography is also gorgeous: the entire game taking place in one long one-shot camera take which, while not as hard to do in a game as a movie, still makes the cinematic presentation of the game second to none. But most importantly: it took a character that everyone thought had nowhere else to go and gave him more depth that anyone thought possible. It’s just a damn fine video game that raises the bar both mechanically and artistically.

My Strongest Memory:

There are two: the first is meeting Jormungandr for the first time. Yes, it was in all the trailers and advertising material for the game but it was still such an impressive and wondrous moment to boat out onto the lake and have the giant world serpent rumble up and speak in a deep, untranslatable language. Just dwarfing Kratos and Atreus. I think that was when I was truly wowed by the game’s presentation and thought “oh this is going to be amazing, isn’t it?”

The second one is when the Blades of Chaos make their return. Kratos’ signature weapon from the first three games don’t appear until the second half of the game and the entire sequence leading up to him acquiring them again is just absolutely fantastic dramatic storytelling. It’s a moment that doesn’t exist without the previous God of War games that turned Kratos into a vile scourge. The game uses the distaste people had for Kratos’ actions so well in showing his development and change between the last time we saw him and now. It’s powerful and a testament that video game characters can be allowed growth if developers and writers don’t want to just iterate and make the same game over and over again.

Why It’s #76:

Again, we’re getting into the territory where every game I talk about I’m going to have nothing but glowing things to say. God of War is a masterpiece of video game storytelling and direction. It’s in the running for the overall best game of the last generation of consoles just by sheer quality. So why is it #76 and not #1? Well, it’s missing the personal connection for me. Playing God of War is like watching an Oscar-winning film, appreciating the cinematography and acting, and going “yeah, I get why that won awards.” But it’s missing the connection of the movies I’ve watched 50 times because they’re my comfort food, or trigger other memories in my life. That’s all.

Top 100 Games of All-Time: #77

Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations

Release Date: October 23, 2007 (NA)

Platform Played On: DS

2018 Placement: #83 (+6)


What It Is:

The third in the Ace Attorney series and the end of the original Phoenix Wright trilogy, Trials & Tribulations is (in my humble opinion) the best game of the entire series. It has the best rival prosecutor (Godot), the second best villain (*spoiler*), and the best overall story arc through all five cases of the game. It runs as a perfect conclusion to the original trilogy because it has a very personal, satisfying case as its finale that really hits home. While it never quite hits the high of taking down Gant in the first game, it is by far the most solid overall entry of the series and extremely worthwhile.

If you’re not familiar with the Ace Attorney games, it’s a mostly visual novel style game where the actual gameplay is divided into two sections: investigation and court room battles. Investigations are similar to point-and-click adventures where you go around collecting evidence – but don’t worry, the game won’t let you miss any. You’ll always have whatever you’re supposed to going into the courtroom, where you use evidence to prove or disprove statements by witnesses until you corner the guilty party (to awesome, intense music). The satisfaction of nailing a villain to the wall with evidence is second-to-none in these games.

Why It’s Important To Me:

While Phoenix Wright is not a pure visual novel, I do credit the series as being my gateway drug to those types of games. Playing the Ace Attorney games on my DS back in the day was a thrill a minute. I would often accidentally stay up super late because a case was hitting a climax and I wanted to finish it out. Much like a good book where I just have to keep reading so I can see how the story ends, the Phoenix Wright cases pull you in and then amp you up with fantastic music as you unravel each villain’s story.

Trials and Tribulations I had the most emotional reaction to because of the final case. I don’t want to spoil anyone who hasn’t played it, but at a certain point you realize where the case is going and you hate it, but it’s also so goddamn compelling and Phoenix’s ultimate pursuit of the truth is infectious. This entire game is the gameplay of Phoenix Wright at its peak. Not too over-done, not too complicated. Just enough puzzles to make you really think about the evidence you have and how you’re supposed to take people down. And the humor is top-notch on top of it.

My Strongest Memory:

“Why don’t we go for the unlimited penalty?”

The final case of this game from top to bottom…is so good. The perfect story, the perfect villain, the perfect murderer, the perfect musical cues. I still get chills thinking about the final face-off. I’m not going to say anymore or spoil it if you haven’t played, but…it’s so worth it.

Why it’s #77:

It’s great, it’s amazing, it’s a top notch visual novel w/ detective gameplay. The music is glorious, the story and characters are engaging and wonderful. Honestly I will always speak high praise for the Phoenix Wright series and tell everyone that it’s a great starting point for these sorts of games since they keep you involved with what’s going on with the puzzles and not just a passive party. Anyway, Trials & Tribulations is a top-notch game and if you haven’t played it yet and have any interest in puzzles & visual novels, you really should.

Top 100 Games of All-Time: #79

Enter The Gungeon

Release Date: April 5, 2016

Platform Played On: PS4

2018 Placement: #62 (-17)


What It Is:

Take bullet hell, smash it together with a roguelite, and slap a humorous, gun pun-filled coat of paint over top of it and you’ve got yourself Enter the Gungeon. You’re given four characters to choose from, each with their own gun-running abilities to help you navigate the Gungeon. Armed with a gun and a dodge roll, you aim to tackle all five floors and beat the final boss so you can acquire the Gun That Can Kill The Past. From the Fightsaber to the Gunbow, from the Origuni to the Excaliber – you are given an endless variety of guns and gun-related pop culture references that can make or break any given run.

It’s fast-paced and requires you to keep track of enemies and their attacks coming from all directions. The bosses get extremely complicated and crank up the reflex testing to 11. And yet because it’s a roguelite, each time you make it a little further you can add more guns and items to your arsenal, making the next run a little bit easier and a little bit smoother. And once you’ve gotten down the patterns of all the enemy and boss attacks, the game becomes a fun little dance as you navigate the treacherous Gungeon.

Just don’t ask me, I never got good at it.

Why It’s Important To Me:

Enter the Gungeon was the game that finally got the roguelike genre to click for me. I’d previously played other games – Binding of Isaac and Rogue Legacy as examples – but I still never really got the genre. But Gungeon bridged the gap for me and helped me understand how incremental progress was a feature in roguelites, not a bug. I’m not even a bullet hell type of person to begin with – it was just the game’s artstyle and gun humor that got me addicted in the first place.

It also has an extremely chaotic but fun co-op mode that I’ve played multiple times with friends. We aren’t very good and it usually ends up with us failing hilariously but it was great to experience nonetheless. A lot of roguelites focus on the single-player experience so this was nice to be able to jump into with a buddy. I also bought a copy of the Ammonomicon (the game’s in-game codex turned into an actual physical book) and have a little Bulletkin plushy on my shelf in my office. Sometimes you just fall in love with a game’s style even if it’s not normally your cup of tea, and Enter the Gungeon was like that for me.

My Strongest Memory:

I wish I could say beating it for the first time or some success story like that was my strongest memory. But I haven’t even beaten this game once (I should go back and try again sometime). I have gotten to the last world, but still have yet to reach the final boss. That doesn’t make me enjoy the trials of the game any less, though.

No, my strongest memory has to be the time I co-op’d this with HarveyZ. It was actually the first Let’s Play I ever published on my YouTube channel: see here. (You can also see proof in this video of how Not-A-Gamer Harvey was before I got to him. Also years of audio editing makes these videos hurt my ears.) It’s a nice memory because it was my start into attempting to create Let’s Plays and content for the internet – even though it wasn’t successful it led to a year of encapsulating wonderful memories playing games with all my friends.

Why It’s #79:

This game is unique because I haven’t beaten it but it still is important to me and I consider it a great game. I wish I was better at it and need to hone my skills, but it doesn’t take away from the magic of the game. It’s also great to watch runs by streamers online who are better at it than me. So Enter The Gungeon has earned itself a decent spot on my list but it can’t compete with greats that I have actually completed.

Top 100 Games of All-Time: #80

Wii Sports

Release Date: November 19, 2006

Platform Played On: Wii

2018 Placement: #72 (-8)


What It Is:

Anyone who was even tangentially related to a gamer in the late 2000s knows what Wii Sports is. The game that got everyone off their ass and waggling a Wiimote. The scourge of televisions, lamps, and other breakable objects before the wrist strap was included. Bowling, tennis, baseball, boxing, and golf – all packaged with simple motion controls that were followed by adorable Miis you could model after yourselves.

It was the pack-in game that defined a generation and everyone (including Nintendo) tried to recapture this lightning in a bottle to various degrees of success – from Sony’s Move to Microsoft’s Kinect, everyone wanted in on motion controls thanks to friends and families who’d never touched a game in their life got interested in bowling a perfect game with their Wiimotes. It brought people together under the same roof in a way gaming hasn’t really seen since due to the increase in online gaming and streaming overtaking local gameplay.

Its simplistic nature was what grabbed everyone – and the fact that it was hella fun.

Why It’s Important To Me:

My parents and family were never truly into video games like I was. I would occasionally play Mario Bros or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a cousin, or my dad would specifically play two games with me on the NES: Side Pocket and RBI Baseball 3, iterations on things he enjoyed in real life – pool and baseball. But for the majority of my life I was the gamer and had friends who were gamers, but that was it.

And then there was the fateful day in 2007 when I brought a Wii home and introduced Wii Sports to my family. My dad nearly broke the TV because he wouldn’t wear the wrist strap, but he was addicted to bowling and golf on the Wii. And when I visited my extended family, every aunt, uncle, and cousin wanted to make a Mii of themselves and participate in bowling or baseball or whatever game they felt like playing.

That doesn’t even take into account the amount of times me and my friends played this together, getting into drunken boxing matches at 3 in the morning or drunken golfing at 3 in the morning…there was a lot of drunken Wii Sports, let me tell you.

My Strongest Memory:

It’s all one big blurry motion controlled haze. There were too many joyous times messing around in the game to single out just one. There was a running contest between two friends where they would challenge each other to boxing and/or golf every time the option to play Wii Sports was given. There were the many, many attempts to throw a perfect game in bowling (and to figure out how to put just the right amount of spin on it).

But honestly how I felt about it was how it brought everyone into my sphere – even people who didn’t play games with me before. Wii Sports was the last time I played video games with my dad and the only time my mom got involved (other than Wii Fit, which doesn’t count as a game) in gaming. It was such a community building game that was unique and the perfect game for the perfect time.

Why It’s #80:

Since we’ve all been caught in a pandemic for a year and craving human contact, the spectre of Wii Sports really hangs over me right now. I’d give anything to bust out my Wii U (since I gave away my Wii), hook up the ol’ Wiimotes, have some friends over and do a good old-fashioned bowling tournament. There was just a sense of joy and camaraderie (and exercise!) that even community games like Jackbox and Among Us can’t quite replicate now. I miss those goofy Miis and those goofy times.