30: The Sims: I never played this as a game where I tried to guide my “pet” to a good life. I always tried to build a story out of it, although the game was often a bit cumbersome to do that really well. A lot of the expansions added really cool options and not just new items and clothes. And this is a game where I commented that my Sim had a better life than me, and posited that that was because he didn’t own a TV … but did own a hot tub. There was enough storyizing there to keep me interested, and the sequels haven’t managed to do as well.
29: Master of Orion 2: I love hotseat games. I really do. What I loved to do in this game was create a Babylon 5 set of races and pit them against each other, all of them played by me. My only regret is never being able to get the council option to kick off in the version I had, which might have let the game end.
28: Infiltrator: Your job was to infiltrate various bases, given various tools and various missions. You started out flying there in a helicopter, then walked around using sleep gas and the like on guards, finished your objective, and got out. A lot of fun to play.
27: Turrican: A simple C64 platformer, with varying weapons and power-ups and the ability to stand still and generate lightning that you can guide to your enemies. One of my most memorable moments with this game and in high school was trying to beat it late into the night with a friend and managing to, well, not succeed [grin]. Hurt by the lack of ability to save … which is why we played it so late.
26: Curse of the Azure Bonds: Probably the first AD&D game that I played that had a strong enough story to carry my interest. The story was turned into a very good novel, and then a trilogy. It had all of the standard tropes that AD&D games had at the time, including creating your own party. I never managed to finish it, but it was probably one of the first RPGs that I got addicted to.
25: Star Trek (arcade): From Spock’s opening “Welcome aboard, Captain” — which I always answered, which probably led other players to think I was insane, and maybe it’s untrue — I loved this game. It didn’t have the Star Trek feel, as it was nothing more than blow up Klingons and dock at Starbases to get repairs to blow up more Klingons until you clear the level. But it was a lot of fun to play.
24: Mass Effect: A friend of mine kept pushing for me to try the series, but by the time I was interested you couldn’t get this game. So I tried Mass Effect 2, and might have gotten past the first stage before ditching it. Then the pack for the PS3 came out that had all three of them, and I finally sat down to play the game. Started out by creating an Ivanova-type character but after trying to build the avatar said “Hey, that’s Michelle Forbes from when she was in Star Trek!” and decided to make her a Helena Cain ex-pat. Playing as her without the full on insanity was very interesting. I loved the heat sink mechanism and hated that ME2 ditched it, because it let me blast away at things without just giving me infinite ammo, and let me choose the weapon I wanted without having to worry if I could find or purchase enough ammo for it. Even though I didn’t care much for the MAKO, I liked its way of exploring systems better than ME2′s. For me, this game is far superior to ME2, which is why I can’t really get into playing ME2.
23: Pirates!: A mix of RPG, sailing combat, and trading game. One of the first games that really let you be free in who you were and what you did, and a game where sometimes if you were good enough with a sword you could take ships that you had no business taking. This is regarded as a classic and for very good reason.
22: Majesty: Instead of being the hero, you’re the guy who pays them. Again, a light-hearted simulator game with some good humour and a very interesting take on the fantasy-type of story.
21: X-Men: Legends: The first of the X-Men: Legends/Marvel Ultimate Alliance style games, the success of which started that franchise off that has now, lamentably, seemingly passed into history. It had an interesting way of handling combat, and let me essentially take on Wolverine and attack things while letting my reasonably competent companions fight. It required you to take along certain characters a little too much to solve problems for my liking, and the final battle was massively difficult, but other than that it was definitely a fun game to play.