I get asked, “So, what’s your favorite game?” a lot. Often this question comes from one of my non-gamer friends or someone I’ve just met after they learn that I play video games for a living.

I like to tell these people that my favorite game is Panzer Dragoon Saga.

I do this for two reasons. One, I actually believe it is one of the best – and sometimes overlooked – games of all time. Two, I like the look of utter ignorance that spreads across their face when I mention the game. Sometime I even get the “oh yeah that game,” nod, even though it’s clear they’ve just stepped into a realm of discussion they are completely ignorant about.

I assume most of the people reading this post, however, have probably heard of the game.

I won’t go into too much detail about Saga for two reasons. For one, if you’ve played it you don’t need me to. And two, if you haven’t you’ll probably have trouble tracking it down at this point, and even if you did, you’d probably disagree with me.

Our favorite games are sometimes a result of what we’ve experienced in a game up to that point, our general emotional state while we’re playing it, and the era in which we play it.

Sure, the original Legend of Zelda is still a great game, but if I were to play it today for the first time, it wouldn’t have the same kind of emotional impact on me as when I played it when I was ten. Sometimes you can’t go back.

I don’t think this is all that profound, but our lives color our perception of a game.

For me I think all of these factors peaked to a perfect point and helped make Panzer Dragoon Saga one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. I found the battle system exciting and completely original, the story was engaging, and the game’s cinematics felt truly epic, for their time. Sure, the graphics don’t hold up (check out the screen above), but in 1998 that didn’t matter.

In all honestly, I’ve played a fair share of games that I’ve probably liked about as much as Panzer (Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 2, and Half-Life 2 come to mind) and there are certainly games that I feel have left a bigger mark on the industry, or games that I think have produced better technological achievements.

But if you just ask me what the greatest game of all time is, I’ll just smile with a memory, “Panzer Dragoon Saga.”