A Fork in the Road (to my List of Favorite Video Games)

Ah crap! Am I really writing about my ever-elusive list of favorite video games again? Geez, even I’m sick of it at this point.

But I’m going to write about it some more anyway.

Basically, I have two different routes I could take my eventual list (which I’m still planning on writing sometime in early 2018): One of which simply focuses on which games I think are the “best” of my favorites, and to rank them as best as possible according to that. The second method would make the list better represent my more versatile history as a gamer, while still taking the aforementioned “best” method into account to a certain degree.

To better explain the difference between the two, while both lists would be composed of the games I’d score a 10/10 and 9.5/10 (and maybe some 9.0s, depending on whether I settle on a list of 30 or 20 games), the former list would simply weigh the games against one another based on how I’d rank them against the games that I’d rate similarly, while the later would be a little more lenient to which games make the cut by incorporating a few limitations.

For example, the former list might include both Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 as two separate entries, while the latter list might list one of those titles to represent both, or simply place them both in the same position as a tie or something.

Being the exceptionalist that I am, I don’t agree with the whole “one game per franchise” method or anything like that, since I think it just holds back more deserving games while placing less deserving games higher up than they should be, but I would also like to finally make the damn list, and to have it represent my varied history with gaming to some degree (either way, Mario will have a few spots on the list, with the latter method serving as a means to narrow things down a little so I can actually get the list done).

So basically, my usual attitude would have me leaning towards the “flat-out best” style of list, but I also feel that seems a tad bit mechanical. And since this will eventually be a list of favorites, mechanical isn’t exactly the way I’d like it to be described. But I also don’t want to feel like I’m doing the exact thing I hate, and holding back exceptional works for the sake of variety.

In short, do you, my faithful readers, have a preference as to which method I should use? And yes, it is my list, so I have the finally say (obviously), but maybe hearing some suggestions and feedback might help me get one step further to finally following through with the damn thing. Because I hate not following through with damn things.

Yeah yeah, I am well aware that I’m way overthinking this. I’ve gone through this before, I just want to make a solid list that represents my views and history with gaming the first time around, so that I won’t have need to revise it for a good while. And I know you’re probably wondering why it’s so hard for me to think of my favorite games, but it actually isn’t. It’s ranking them that’s the issue.

So what do you think?

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12 thoughts on “A Fork in the Road (to my List of Favorite Video Games)

    1. themancalledscott Post author

      It’s definitely the method that seems more concrete, but it also (funnily enough) is the one that would seem more biased (not that it would matter too much, since it is my own list of favorites). Mario, Zelda and Dark Souls will definitely take up a few spots either way, but even more so on the first method.

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  1. Red Metal

    I do have a “one ten per franchise” rule, but I think I differ from others who use it in that I’m not obligated to award that grade. Indeed, there have been great series that, for whatever reason, just didn’t quite go that extra mile for me to snag the ten.

    Anyway, I think you should go with the most organic approach possible.

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    1. themancalledscott Post author

      Can’t say I necessarily agree with the “one ten per franchise” rule, though I suppose I can understand it when looking back at a series retrospectively (X game is the best in the series, thus it’s the one that gets the ten). However, I do think that should a new game deserving of a ten be released in a series with an existing ten, then they should both just be tens.

      I am the same way though, with there being a number of beloved series where I wouldn’t give out a ten. Super Mario is the only one that I’ve so far given more than one ten to on this site (Super Mario World and Super Mario Galaxy 2), and Zelda might be the only other series I’d give multiple tens, but I’d have to replay the other potential one again to see if it still ranks that highly (and no, it’s not Ocarina of Time).

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      1. Red Metal

        Oh, I totally get where you’re coming from. I know that rule was easy to enforce when reviewing the Metal Gear series because unless Konami pulls a 180 and continues the series without Hideo Kojima, it’s over, and the ten I awarded MGS3 will remain uncontested (it would’ve been a pretty daunting task, anyway). It was also easy in the case of Chrono Trigger because I’ve played enough of Chrono Cross to know it has no chance of dethroning the former.

        Otherwise, if an ongoing series keeps gets better with each installment, you would likely move the ten around with reckless abandon. I know for the Zelda series, my original ten would have been Ocarina of Time, and I’ll say right now that’s no longer the case (in fact, it now ranks 3rd or 4th in the series overall). I will say the issue of running into another ten-worthy installment and having to demote an older one hasn’t come up yet, though.

        I know you gave Breath of the Wild a ten. Is the other one Majora’s Mask?

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      2. themancalledscott Post author

        Chrono Cross is a good game in its own right, but compared to Chrono Trigger? Lol no. I’m actually planning on playing through Chrono Trigger for a review soon. It’s my brother’s favorite game (along with EarthBound), so I figured it’s about time I gave it another whirl so I can review it.

        In all fairness, there are very few series that I would say keep getting better and better through the years. I know I keep saying it, but Mario is probably the obvious example. Though not every Mario game is great, it has consistently found new ways to improve and reinvent itself over the years. Zelda has done similar, but not quite to the same degree (though I love Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword in their own ways, they had some glaring flaws, and it was obvious the series needed a shot in the arm. Mario seems to be getting the “Breath of the Wild” treatment with Odyssey, though the Mario series doesn’t necessarily NEED such a change).

        Actually, the other Zelda I might give a ten to is A Link to the Past (I may as well confess now that the SNES easily snags the most tens from me of any one platform). Before Breath of the Wild, Wind Waker was actually my favorite 3D Zelda, but even I wouldn’t quite give it a ten due to the infamous Triforce fetch-quest segment towards the end (though the Wii U version mercifully trimmed that down a bit). Majora’s Mask and Ocarina of Time are both also exceptional gaming experiences, but I do feel that Majora’s three day setup can become a little tedious, and Ocarina of Time – though well made it may be – always just felt like A Link to the Past…but in 3D (compare that to Super Mario 64, which felt wildly different than the 2D Marios before it, and that’s why I feel it’s a bit of a restraint on Ocarina’s part).

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  2. Chris Scott

    I’d say go with option one. I’ve never been a fan of placing lesser games higher on a list because you’ve already placed a game from said franchise on the list. I understand it to a point with big sites where the lists are more collaborative and you want to represent the site as a whole but for personal lists, nope.

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    1. themancalledscott Post author

      I definitely agree with that sentiment. It’s just also proving exceptionally difficult to narrow down the list due to a few series, so the idea of putting some kind of limitation would make things easier to compile.

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  3. Mr. Panda

    I think you should go with what think would best serve your own list. I prefer letting each game have a shot at the top regardless of series, but it’s completely up to what you want.

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    1. themancalledscott Post author

      That’s definitely what I tend to agree with. I don’t want to limit an exceptional series just to be fair. If I do go this route though, my list might consist of 20 games. If I do try to go with a more versatile list, I’m gunning for 30.

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  4. Pingback: About That Fork in the Road (to my List of Favorite Video Games)… | Wizard Dojo

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