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My Top Ten
Games I Wish I Could Play Again for the First Time
There are many top ten lists but this one is mine, if you think a
game is missing here, I either didn't play it, didn't have any
interest in it, or I just hate you.
Many games and genres offer such incredible replay value
through randomized levels and content, choice driven story lines, or
New Game+ that your fourth play-through may be just as entertaining as
the first. There are those special games, however, that resonate so
strongly after you put the controller or mouse down (why are you holding
the mouse?) that you can never quite recapture that initial experience.
Maybe it was a huge twist moment that completely floored you, or an
epic emotional sequence that left you drained. I’ve listed ten such
games that I wish I could play again for the first time and relive the
magic all over again.
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Top Ten Games I Wish I Could Play Again for the First Time
If you take away the insane controversy over Spore’s
admittedly awful copyright protection system, Spore was a highly
anticipated game seen as the next big simulation evolution from Maxis
genius Will Wright. Ultimately Spore was not the game most of us were
hoping for, but for what it’s worth I still found it a very fun and
innovative experience, and nothing beats evolving your little creature
from a single-celled organism into building his own spaceship and
exploring the galaxy. Countless replays made me realize that the real
game was in the final space stage, but nothing beats those first moments
of diving into the creature editor and truly shaping something unique.
If you're curious, it looks like my Spore page still exists!
9) Transformers: War for Cybertron
I’m a huge Transformers nerd. I may have a five foot
shelf sitting across from me filled with figures organized by era and
generation, and I'm sure you've noticed my current banner image. When High Moon released this love letter to my favorite
franchise, set in the old days of Cybertron’s initial civil war, I was
absolutely smitten. Your mileage may vary, but few gaming moments will
top driving in and around Cybertron while fleeing the laser blasts of
Omega Supreme. The kid in me was overjoyed, and the adult was finally
satisfied that Transformers got the awesome game they always deserved.
8) The Whispered World
A semi-recent point and click adventure game that I was excited to play as part of my Rogue's Adventures backlog playthroughs, The
Whispered World tells the intriguing tale of a depressed circus clown
and his quest to save the beautifully drawn fantasy world of Silentia….or destroy it. The emotional journey
Sadwick goes through is unlike anything I’ve experienced in an adventure
game, and the twist ending still gives me goosebumps.
Read my Final Thoughts on The Whispered World (Spoiler Warning).
An obvious choice for most folk’s list, BioShock helped
prove that not all first person shooters have to be mindless murder
simulators and can in fact be thought-provoking, beautiful, haunting,
and have some of the biggest story twists of the entire generation. The
sequel proved that you can return to Rapture, and even include another
great story, but few moments can compete with the first time you saw a
Big Daddy, discovered Atlas’ secret, and confronted Andrew Ryan.
6) Red Dead Redemption
As incredible as Rockstar’s open-world games are,
they’ve never encouraged replaying from the beginning, instead rewarding
you for continuing to play and accomplish everything you can do. This
makes for a wonderfully cohesive and fulfilling experience, but also a
burning desire to experience it all again. Red Dead had an amazing story
(the slow middle section in Mexico notwithstanding) with an actual
likable protagonist and Rockstar’s usual cast of colorful characters
like Seth the grave robber and Nigel West Dickens the snake oil
salesman. Action-packed set pieces were lifted straight out of classic
Western films and tropes, like the train robbery, assaulting the fort,
and fleeing on stagecoach. But the biggest moments were emotionally
wrenching, and coupled with that amazing soundtrack created an
experience we’ll never forget.
5) The Walking Dead
Although Telltale’s incredible adaptation of the popular
comic book (and now television series) offers replay-ability through a
choice driven narrative, many fans (myself included) can’t bring
themselves to replay such a strong story-driven game. Treating Kenny
differently or letting a different person live or die just feels wrong
in a way no other game has – my first and only playthrough will always
be my definitive Walking Dead experience. No other gaming experience has spurned me to immediately get online and discuss the game's story and moments with my best friend that was also playing it at the same time, and making different decisions along the way.
4) Mass Effect
I’m part of that group of fans that believes the
original Mass Effect game to be nothing short of a masterpiece, the best
of the series, and a memorable experience that I can’t quite capture
with multiple playthroughs. Hell I even put Mass Effect 2 on my Most Disappointing list, rendering my love for the original as borderline irrational. Exploring the galaxy with the Normandy and
Mako while learning about the fully realized and incredibly interesting
universe Bioware created helped make that first playthrough one of the
best gaming experiences I’ve ever had. The moment when Sovereign first reveals himself to you on Virmire is still one of the coolest moments I've ever experienced in a video game (hmm future top ten list?). To this day Mass Effect remains
the only role playing game that I’ve immediately started playing again
after beating it the first time.
3) Grand Theft Auto III
As I mentioned with RDR, Rockstar doesn’t encourage you
to play their games again, but the open world is so compelling you can’t
help but sink dozens of hours just having fun in the city-sized sandbox
well after finishing the story. Both Vice City and San Andreas made my Top Ten PS2 Games List, but Grand Theft Auto 3 makes this list
purely because it was my first experience with such a genre that just
puts you in a big 3D world and lets you have your way with it.
Check my top ten list of Grand Theft Auto Moments.
2) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
GTA3 was my first open world game but Zelda paved the
way a few years before with the incredibly enchanting 3D world of
Ocarina of Time, including a fully explorable Hyrule with new friends
and enemies as well as familiar faces. Ocarina also had an engrossing
story that retold the classic Zelda tale by inserting an interesting
time traveling twist where a young idealistic Link is transported into
the future (and aged appropriately) to a dystopian Hyrule ruled by the
evil Ganondorf. Princesses in disguise, earning your own horse in a
race, and traveling between both time periods make Ocarina of Time one
of the most unforgettable experiences in gaming, and my favorite Nintendo 64 game.
You never forget your first time, or your first
massively multiplayer online role playing game. Well, technically I
started with Sierra’s The Realm, but EverQuest presented a, say it with
me now, fully explorable 3D world! But this time there were other people
involved – hundreds! Unlike anything I’ve ever experienced at that
time, EverQuest was my first real gaming addiction
as I helped found a guild, met some awesome friends, and spent more
time than I care to admit waiting for enemies to spawn and loot to drop.
It was terribly cruel when you died, had flawed gameplay mechanics, and
the graphics were as rough as that early 3D era gets, but it was one of
the greatest gaming experiences I ever had, and I played it for a solid
year from 1999-2000. Trying to recapture the magic I jumped back in at
some point in the early 2000s, and was met with an odd mix of nostalgia
and depression as the old zones were near empty as people had moved on
to the yearly expansion content. It’s true what they said, you can’t go
home again. Other MMORPGs have held my attention for varying times but
none had a stranglehold on me as EverQuest did, and none have measured
up to its greatness in its initial heyday.
Pretty obvious to see that the early 3D era, which gave
way to open ended gameplay and exploration had a huge affect on the
games I loved and unique gaming memories that I’ve formed. Sadly that
era has not held up well graphically at all, making many replays more
frustrating than fun, but they do make for the perfect candidates for
this wishlist. Many games have received HD treatments or found new life
on the handhelds so a whole new generation of gamers can experience the
If you're shocked that I left out some classics that crop in several of my lists, maybe your Chrono Triggers, your Elder Scrolls, or even a Mario game, know that while I love them all, those games actually remain awesome on subsequent playthroughs in a comforting way, like putting on your comfy pants or listening to an old favorite song. All the games on this list gave me memorable experiences and
while a few have made for great replays, nothing can match playing
through those big moments for the first time.