Dueling Top Ten

So, this week Nekochan and I present our individual lists for “top ten games of all time”. Our primary criteria for creating these lists was how often we found ourselves wanting to replay these games- our thinking was that the quality of the games were best measured by how much we wanted to play them over and over again. So, without further ado, here are Nekochan and No Moshing’s dueling top ten lists for best games of all time.
(Nekochan’s picks are before the slash, NoMoshing’s pics are after)

10: Shadow Madness / Mario Kart 64

Nekochan: This is a deeply, deeply flawed game, I get that. But the dialogue and story earned it multiple playthroughs from me which is a bit of feat considering there are no branching paths or classes. I just like the story and the world that much.
NoMoshing: My choice was pretty simple- the first Mario Kart was great, but Mario Kart 64 was taking that same central concept and honing it to perfection. After Mario Kart 64, Nintendo would start adding weird features and new kinds of racing craft, but I really do think that 64 was the purest and best game in the series.

9: Star Fox / Sengoku Rance

Nekochan: This pick is a bit of a sentimental one since it’s the game my late father and I would take turns playing. Also the launch of the Ar wings and the Corneria theme gets me every. single. time.
NoMoshing: Sengoku Rance is easily the greatest H-game of all time. The art is strong, the mechanics are deep and involving, the basic game is hard but rewarding, but maxing out your stars and getting all the routes and bonuses requires mastery. And on top of all that, Alicesoft added on a Samurai Warriors Empires-esque conquest mode when they didn’t even have to. Now, if only they didn’t depict a ten year old getting raped….

8: Final Fantasy VI (III, fucking whatever) / Brutal Legend
Nekochan: There are very few lists that don’t have FF3, and I’m probably preaching to the choir here.
NoMoshing: This might seem like an odd pick in my list, given how poorly it did with critics and the public, but I feel that was mostly a marketing issue. But Brutal Legend has a lot going for it- a customizable ride, a huge, gorgeously-realized world done with a unique style, a killer soundtrack, and Jack Black. I could just drive around listening to the radio and looking at the world for hours if I wanted to. Also, it’s probably the best RTS on consoles at the time… not a prestigious list, considering that Halo Wars is #2, but unlike Halo Wars combat in Brutal Legend is fun.

7: Final Fantasy IX / Katamari Damacy
Nekochan: Now this I think I have to justify more, especially since I placed it higher than FFVI. When I was debating the order of FFIX and VI, it just occurred to me that I enjoy the characters more. (Especially Beatrix and Steiner) Also if given the option to replay both, I’m more likely to pick this one.
NoMoshing: Katamari Damacy is probably the best party game out there. I don’t mean for it’s lackluster multiplayer- I mean for the fact that it’s a fun game to watch, cheer on whoever is at the controls, and just see the fucked up little scenes that are scattered through every level. Plus, the music is rad.

6: Breath of Fire IV / Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire
Nekochan: While Breath of Fire II has more nostalgia feels for me, I preferred the overall story in IV and watching the arc of both protagonists. When Fou-lu decides to wreck everything, I was pretty much like, yeah if I that happened to me I’d be ready to break everything too. And then Nina’s sister. Also Ershin. Thank you Ershin. So many feels. Cray is also a cutey. His tail looks so fuzzy!
NoMoshing: The entire Quest for Glory series is worth a playthrough (except QfG V, which is really too bad because it sounds like it have some awesome ideas behind it- damn you executive meddling!) but QfG II is probably the best one. The last and greatest of the parser interface games, it has surprisingly gorgeous art, an awesome Arabian Nights-style setting, cool puzzles and fun characters. Also, X-ray glasses. Can’t forget those.

5: Katamari Damacy / Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4

Nekochan: Naaa-na-na-na-na-na-na Katamari Damacy!
NoMoshing: The latter Persona games have achieved something really special. It’s rare to see a game that asks you to get emotionally involved with it’s characters, then pulls it off masterfully. I pick Persona 4 over 3 because as good as 3 was, there are too many glaring flaws I won’t get into here. Persona 4 has less emphasis on grinding, all of your party members have social links and interesting conflicts to get involved in, the overarching plot is deeply involving. Now if only there was some way to mod the game so that Teddie was dropped out entirely.

4: Super Mario RPG / Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Nekochan: I remember I had a hell of a time convincing my parents this game exists. “Mario is a platforming game Nekochan, it’s not one of those weird RPGs you play.” Square did a damn good job making an RPG feel like a Mario game by using timed-hits, platforming elements in dungeons and making sure Mario never, ever spoke. (Mario is the best mime.) I also like it when Bowser throws Mario. =)
Also, put Geno in Smash Bros already. (I know there are legal issues, I don’t care.)
NoMoshing: I was tempted to put a Silent Hill game in my top ten, because many of the Silent Hill games are of extremely high quality. However, Eternal Darkness hits a note that the SH series misses- it is a fun game. Not that Silent Hill can’t be fun, it’s just that fun takes a back seat to the scares. Eternal Darkness is scary but also fun, each character brings a different experience in terms of mechanics, the plot is engrossing, and the game knows when to crack a joke.

3: Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver / Final Fantasy III
Nekochan: Good god damn that voice acting. If I could I would hire Michael Bell and Simon Templeton to hang around me and narrate shit. The plot is pretty damn good – nice revenge plot. Story gets a lot more confusing later and lacks a proper resolution. *sigh* Also stabbing vampires with a pike is freakishly satisfying for me. Just that sound of it striking home and the vampire’s last gurgled cry. Saved me a lot in therapy bills.
NoMoshing: First of all, fuck that “FF6” nonsense. Many games receive name changes when they come from Japan, and also the Japanese FF3 is kind of a piece of shit. Why does the good game have to change? The game I played over and over again was called Final Fantasy III. Anyway, the game starts with Cliche RPG Plot #2- evil empire taking over the world with magic power that was obtained through inhuman means. The first half of the game gets by based on interesting characters, engaging combat and nifty individual sequences. But then the game does the unthinkable- you lose. The world is destroyed, the bad guy wins, and the characters are scattered to the four winds. The rest of the game is a free roaming exploration of a post-apocalyptic world, where you try to pick up where you left off and see if there’s some hope you can salvage in a world after the end. Fantastic.

2: Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past / Dragon Age: Origins
Nekochan: “Zelda is your -” What!!! She’s what?! Sister? Damn that’s hot.
This game was never far from my SNES as a kid. I perfected it. Completed the whole thing, and found all the things through sheer brute force. (No Gamefaqs at that time) Then I beat the shit outta Ganon. Still my favourite Zelda game (second place is probably Wind Waker. [Ed. Note: Nekochan is crazy and Wind Waker is actually one of the worst Zelda games])
NoMoshing: What I said about Persona 4 goes double for Dragon Age. Dragon Age asks you to get really invested in it’s cast, and then rocks it with a spectacular party of characters. On top of that, it’s a refreshing shake-up of Tolkien fantasy tropes, has some pretty cool game sequences, and the emphasis on politics as well as adventuring makes for some interesting decisions. The lack of a morality mechanic of any kind really lets you role play your character- making your decisions and dealing with the consequences without being rated on a scale or having your options arbitrarily limited by a statistic. Plus, the end-game sequence where you take back Denerim from the Darkspawn is one of the single greatest stand-up-and-cheer awesome moments in video games history.

1: Chrono Trigger
Nekochan: Oh no, shock and surprise, this game at the top of yet another list. It shows up so damn often for a reason. If you haven’t played it, forgo all else and play it.
NoMoshing: Again, I think most of you know why this game is up here. If not, you badly need to play it- even if you have to steal it. I don’t normally advocate piracy, but unless you have fat stacks you probably won’t be able to afford the original cartridge. I guess there have been a couple re-releases, but I think the original is best. I remember how my jaw dropped when I first saw Chrono Trigger’s eyecatch, which is still a masterpiece.

So, do you agree? Which list do you think is superior? Or do you think we’re full of shit and missed something huge? Hit the comments section and let us know!

33 Replies to “Dueling Top Ten”

  1. Either i am blind, or there’s no Mass Effect on the list.
    And honestly, i am not sure what is so great about Chrono Trigger. Played it. Enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s a good JRPG, but that’s it. It’s likely not even on my top 10 favourite games list.

    1. I can’t speak for Nekochan, but the reason why Mass Effect didn’t make my list is because no single entry of Mass Effect has that “OH MAN I WANT TO PLAY THAT RIGHT NOW” quality. Each one has a central flaw that kind of sours the experiment just that little bit to take them out of the running.

      Mass Effect 1 plays like a shooter designed by people who normally RPGs, of course. It’s also very possible to end up with unwinnable fights at higher difficulties where it is literally impossible to deal enough damage to enemies to overcome their shields and inflict actual health damage.

      Mass Effect 2 sells out to the chest-high-wall military shooter crowd hard, exchanges the canonical, inherently superior ammo mechanism from Mass Effect 1 for the same magazines that every other game uses (I mean, come on, those heat sinks won’t cool off eventually? I have to go find more of them just lying around everywhere like they’re the future version of People Magazine?), has that shitty resource mining minigame and it just bugs me that Cerberus goes from “fringe black ops sidequest terrorists” to “the goddamn illuminati” between games because human antagonists focus test well.

      Mass Effect 3 has that shitty ending, of course, the big new mechanic of War Assets is completely superficial and has no impact on the game beyond unlocking different endings, and we get CoD Bro #337 as a party member instead of the Batarian party member we deserved. I cannot stress enough how much that bothers we- it would have been so awesome to have a Batarian military dude at that hearing for Shepard (to testify about the destruction of that colony, of course) who is like, “I fucking hate you so much Shepard but right now we’ve got to be all Enemy Mine because the Reapers are bad fucking news”, and that way Shepard’s crew would have included a member of every combat-capable spacefaring race- a truly multilateral team- and he could have even have had the same powerset and party role but no, because we hate you personally, NoMoshing. Have Freddie Prinze Jr. instead. Fuck that guy.

  2. Nice list, here’s mine: 1-Wild Arms; 2- Chrono Trigger; 3- FF VII; 4- Chrono Cross; 5- RE 3:Nemesis; 6- Silent Hill; 7- SD Gundam G Gen F; 8- Half Life; 9- Dragon Quest VIII; 10- Time Splitters: Future Perfect.
    I have a SNES, a PSP, PSX, PS2, PS3, 3DS and a PS4 and a PSVita on their way, I like to play the new generation games but there’s nothing like the classics.

  3. i have a lot of games on mine…i wouldnt be able to order them tbh

    final fantasy tactics/final fantasy 5 (im a sucker for a job system), legend of dragoon, all the ld D&D crpgs

  4. Out of curiosity, how much thought did you guys give to Metroid: Prime? For me, one of the most wonderful parts of that is the obvious level of love and detail put into it: after continuous fire, you can see the heat mirage lines coming off your gun (but only if you look for it). When you walk under a waterfall, your visor momentarily fogs up. Bright flashes give you a very brief reflection of Samus’ face in the visor. Those are only put in by people who care about the end product.

  5. Do my eyes deceive me, or did Psychonauts NOT make the lists! While I agree with NoMoshing that Brutal Legend was an AWESOME game, for much the same reasons even though I didn’t really like the RTS element, Psychonauts was way better in my book.

    Then again, I also loved Sonic 3 & Knuckles (they’re two halves of the same game, so they count as one title dammit!), so take it how you will.

    1. Of course I love Psychonauts (Mr. Pokeylope!) but it just didn’t make the final cut. Doesn’t mean that it’s not a great game.

      Oh, and re: the lack of Sega titles on that list, I’ve never owned a single Sega system. I’m looking to change that (Shining Force I + II, I’m coming for you!) but there it is.

    1. Dwarf Fortress is nifty but requires a month long correspondence course before you can play.
      Nocturne is just harsh, not harsh-but-fair. I’ve lost many a save in frustration has I got bootfucked for having the wrong party members/skill set for a boss whose weaknesses are not implied or telegraphed at all.
      I’m playing Kamidori right now, but the sex scenes aren’t nearly frequently enough.
      Never played Stalker, only played the demo of System Shock.
      And finally, go beat Conquest Mode Sengoku Rance with the Imagawa clan before you come accusing me of being a casual. Just because a game is hard doesn’t mean it’s not shit.

      1. I’m playing Kamidori right now, but the sex scenes aren’t nearly frequently enough.
        Wait until chapter 6 or so and the game will pretty much shower you with them. There’s usually 2 per character when you complete their personal quest. Wish Melo was a heroine. Her arc is really good.
        P.S. Also which character route are you playing?

      2. A bit more on Kamidori. You can enhance to approximately halfway point elemental armors for your main 3 girls and there’s a scene per armor (except default) for the girl, whose route you’re playing.

  6. Hmm…I guess this is my current top ten in no particular order:
    1. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
    2. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
    3. Chrono Trigger
    4. Pokemon SoulSilver/HeartGold
    5. Radiant Historia
    6. The World Ends With You
    7. Final Fantasy VI
    8. Super Mario RPG
    9. Dragon Quest V
    10. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2
    An honorary mention would be Monster Girl Quest because I liked it for the story and the gameplay is not really gameplay. Arg, this list is a bit too mainstream/casual.

    1. Don’t worry about the list being too casual. I let that troll from this morning get under my skin a little, but whatevs- Nekochan and I between us own hundreds of games. Not many of them would be considered “hardcore” but there is nothing about having thousands of dollars of vintage and modern games that is “casual”.

      Paper Mario: TYD is the best Paper Mario game, I think. TWEWY is pretty good too, but I wasn’t engaged by the plot. It’s kind of funny, but I played the shit out of Dragon Warrior when I was a kid but I haven’t touched a DQ game since.

      1. You should try the DQ V and DDQ VII then, DQ IX is good too.
        DQ V(remake) and DQ IX are for the DS so should be easy to find, DQ VIII is for PS2 and well worth your time, trust me.

  7. to me…Persona 3 is the best, the ending aside…it’s the most complete game ever, it has a bit of everything(aside from shooting aliens…) and it’s still good, i cried when the axe guy died…he was the best, and Mitsuru is just too fashionable for a game character
    My list goes like this
    1- Persona 3(the best of all times)
    2- Chrono Trigger(no need to say it’s so good)
    3- Golden Sun(’cause it was so motherfucking hard that it made him good…also the characters where awesome, reaching a saving point was so hard i wanted to cry…a lot…WHY ARE YOU SO HARD! TwT)
    4-Super Mario(it was my childhood)
    5- Final Fantasy 1(it was the most legendary game ever…the feels!)
    6- Fire Emblem(’cause “pwetty” colors)
    7- Castlevania – The first one( the gameplay was shit…but it was an awesome game)
    8- Final Fantasy 7(Sephiroth! my favorite character of all times.. yeah i like the bad guys)
    9- Duke Nukem( this game…no word for it)
    10-Metroid/Contra(i can’t decide on these 2 for the life of me)

  8. I’m working on a Chrono Triger cosplay. So I agree 100% there. The only thing that hurts is seeing FFIX rank over FFVI. NoMoshing brings up a good point. YOU LOSE, the world is destroyed in FFVI. What a twist! It was brilliant. Also, all the characters were fleshed out with main storyline plot and almost all of them had subplot storyline elements that you could follow up on. It was so hard to select a team in FFVI because every character was so amazing. Most of the time, I ran with Sabin, Edgar, Terra/Celes and Locke/Shadow. The other characters were decent, but I didn’t like Mog/Gau/Umaro much because you couldn’t exactly control the outcome of battle, it was more random chance and if you were underleveled, it would be bad if they selected wrong. I’m all for going up against a challenge and overcoming it with my strategy, but to just flip a coin/roll a dice throw a dart, no way. Oh, sorry Setzer, didn’t see you there.. Cyan was okay, but uptight. Relm’s draw ability was a little on the weak side. Strago was a blue mage and while he -could- be strong, it was always a pain in the ass to actually get the decent skills. Hence why I never use blue magic in any FF game.Uh… yea so FFVI. It’s good /end rant

  9. Ah, Mario RPG, Persona 4, Link to the Past, and Dragon age origin, good times. A really good RPG game for the original playstation that you’d both might like is Legend of Dragoon, it’s probably in my top 5 favorite games of all time. I think (but i’m not sure) it’s combat is fairly similiar to the Final Fantasy games that came out around then (for better or worse), but I absolutely loved the story for it. It is a fairly long game though and is split into 4 disks (all disks included in game though so no buying multiple games).

    1. I always considered myself… whatever the gaming version of “well read” is, but everyone keeps mentioning games I’ve never played before. Next time I’m at a convention, my wallet is going to weep….

      1. Fair warning, “Way ahead of its time” means “deeply flawed, mechanically, but showed so much potential.” In terms of game play, imagine Elder Scrolls: Oblivion , meets Fallout 3 (complete with the body part targeting system). Add an – for that era – obligatory RTB-gauge, and you have a least a vague idea of how it played out.

        Theoretically, there were many options on how to fight an enemy. In reality, you just sort of chose a strategy and stuck with it. The material limitations of the crafting system really didn’t give you much choice.

  10. Another good RPG I played some years ago is Lunar 2, SNES-like graphics, anime cutscenes, nice story, interesting characters, and a awesome soundtrack.

    It’s not on my top ten, but overall an excellent PSX Game, just take a look at the reviews of this game.

  11. Can’t get into my top 10, but I will list one game I often get ridiculed for loving the hell out of.

    First off, my personal favorite Final Fantasy chapter is FFX. Yes, the voice actors were mostly shit (sans Auron, Khimari, and Cid). It was an awkward era for regionalization in America: fully voiced games were still pretty new and there weren’t enough professional voice actors to go around. People complain about Tidus being a whiner, but you try getting ripped out of the only life you ever knew and be told the only home you ever had hadn’t existed for a thousand years. Lets see how deal with it.

    Also, the bridge scene, with that laughing? The narminess of it seems to cloud peoples ability to understand what was going on there. It was Tidus telling Yuna to put on a smile, as smiling is the quickest way to make yourself happy. He later flashes back on that exact scene after learning that being a Summoner is a death sentence and calls himself stupid because of it. He didn’t realize at the time that that was exactly what Yuna was always doing (i.e., putting on a smile to try and force herself to be happy).

    And Jecht? The man is the very incarnation of mixed feelings a young man growing up with a distant father has about his dad. He is equal parts Tidus’s idol and target of loathing. That plus his alcoholism really spoke to a lot of Japanese gamers, and it really hit me square in the feels as well.

    Throw the above on to a pile with Yuna’s father and Seymour’s mother, and you realize the entire damned game is about about feelings of parental abandonment. The fact that Jecht is the final boss of the game (Yu Yevon is more of am unlosable cut scene battle) is the perfect capstone to that fact. People, once again, lay into Tidus about the “I hate you.” moment, but Jecht was a drunken jackass for all the time Tidus knew him and only turned around and became a good man after he was out of Tidus’s life for good. That is not an easy thing for someone to forgive.

    And lets not forget the gameplay. It was fantastic. Magic was very weak, unfortunately, but that can be forgiven. The balance involved in buffing your party members, switching them out on the fly and figuring out when to bring out the slower, meatier characters to protect the faster and frailer ones was a mind bending puzzle at times. Every time Seymour and his damned pets showed up, you knew exactly what kind of hell you were in for. And I loved every damned minute of it.

    Other common complaints are about a lack of sidequests and how linear it is. The first is valid, but is more of a reasonable criticism than a reason to hate it. The second is almost laughable. Alright, yeah, the game is pretty much on rails. So is every damned Final Fantasy game, except XII (which people hated) and the second half of III/VI.

    The fact that people actually recognize how “open world” the second half of VI is just goes to show just how “on the rails” every damned game in the series is! Right, you can go back to the 2nd town in the game anytime you want in VII, but for what purpose? What are you gonna do there? Ultimately, the big world was just a plane you spent time traveling across on your way to whatever time-waster-which-didn’t-advance-the-plot-in-the-least-you-felt-like-doing. To continue the story, you have to go to point A, then point B, do “that” while there, then head to point C. Sure, you have a lunatic seeding the planet with parts of his “mother’s” constantly mutating corpse going around, you are hot on his heels. But he can wait while you drive your dune buggy across the coast of two continents and take a ship to a third in order to go boss some mercenaries around in order to protect a giant bird. So really, why are do people poke FFX with the “linear” stick? The entire franchise wears that letter.

    1. Nicely said, I personally don’t like FFX, the plot is good but I didn’t like any of the main chars (except for auron and khimari), I enjoyed FFX-2 a lot more though, even if it’s another criticized game.

      About FFXII for me it’s on my top 3 FF games, behind FFVII and FFVI of course, I still don’t get it why people hate it that much, because the only thing that I can’t stand about XII are Vaan and Penelo. I liked it so much that I finished both the original and the IZJS version.

      1. Vann, Penelo, the very dull and forgettable plot, the fact that you had to buy/find macros, the fact that loot was semi-random, meaning the best gear could only be earned by knowing how to force it to spawn rather than earning it, and the ease with which a player could stumble into a zone WAY to high level for them with out any warning all contributed to the hate.

        When in first came out, I was one of the FFXII haters. A couple years down the line, I dusted off my copy and played again and found it much more enjoyable. The combat system was actually a lot of fun once you wrapped your head around the particulars and figured out how to manage the (highly intuitive) ultimate attack system. The Hunts were all a lot of fun and required some great strategy.

        And freaking Balthier; how we all wished his “leading man” boasts were true. Why couldn’t Vann just be the kid he picked up along the way?

        All in all, FFXII is great fun to play, but you can pretty much skip the cut scenes entirely. Your motivations can almost always be summed up as “because the voices told me to do it,” and I mean that quite literally for most of the major plot points.

        1. True the loot system was a pain in the ass to deal with it, but i found the hystory and cutscenes quite good, the only magicks i’ve ever used were buffs and healing, and I have never used the quickenings cause they suck.

          What really caught my eye, were the great battle system the hunts, rare games and sidequests, especially the espers hunt. In fact the espers in FFXII are my favorites in the entire franchise.

  12. Excellent list, I’ll probably come back to it when I’m looking for a good game to play. Have to agree with Chrono Trigger topping the list. Curious though if either of you have played any of the Shadow Hearts series? Never played the third one, but the first two (actual Shadow Hearts titles, not the PSone game that set up the series) are excellent. Interesting gameplay, nice cinematics, and the story line was awesome. To be honest, that last one is the most important to me. I can deal with lesser graphics and sound, and even frustrating gameplay, if the storyline is good enough.

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