1. Tetris (NES)
It’s the best game ever made and the NES version is the best version of it. The end.
Rest in no order at all (ok, maybe chronological…ish) and half n half personals classics vs games I just associate with memories;
Oregon Trail (Apple 2)
Played it at school. Was the only time school was fun. We’d huddle in groups around a screen and name our party after ourselves and laugh as people died of dysentery. And I was of course one of the totally cool kids that could actually make it all the way.
Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers: The Adventure in Nimnul’s Castle (DOS)
First PC game I remember ever playing at home. I’m sure I may have played a different floppy first. But this is the first one that made me interested in PC versus the family 2600 and NES.
Super Mario Bros 1 (NES)
Most likely the first game I ever beat.
The Legend of Zelda 1 (NES)
Back in the days of Nintendo Power and before the internet NES games were amazing. This is the first adventure. By the time I was playing it, it had been around for years and you could get your hands on a guide or map more readily. But it was still epic.
Mega Man 2 (NES)
Only one in the series I owned. Always rented the others. So it stands out as my favorite to this day.
Super Mario Bros 3 (NES)
The pinnacle of NES. I was like five or six when it came out and still remember it being a big deal.
Sonic CD (SEGA CD)
I was lucky enough to have a SEGA CD growing up. And this was, and is, the best Sonic game of them all.
LEGO Island (PC)
First CD Rom game I ever owned for my first PC. I was probably too old for it by that time, but I still played the shit out of it.
Half Life 1 (PC)
I was just entering high school and so were video games. I know it can be really rose tinted when people look back at Half Life. But I hit it at the right age at the right time. It really changed everything about my perspective of what video games were.
Team Fortress Classic (PC)
First experience doing multiplayer. Young enough to do all nighters with friends. Also was my first experiences with mods. Opened up PC even further in my eyes.
StarCraft 1 (PC)
Not going to lie. I only played it through once. I sucked at versus. But it was still a game changer. I had never seen anything like it when I saw it at my friends house. I remember me and him just watching his dad play it for hours straight. The cinematics. Everything was just mesmerizing.
Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine (PC)
“Cult classic” for me and one of my best buds. We still quote lines from it to this day. It was such a clunky old style game even for its time. But it was Indy damnit. And it was great.
Hot Shots Golf 3 (PS2)
I’m a teenage delinquent by this point. This was my groups go to competitive game that any of us with a PS2 happened to have. There were Killzones to beat, Madden/NCAA/NHL nights. But we always circled back to this. There was a nine hole par 3 mode in it that had little room for error when you were being ultra competitive and all well practiced. Was good fun.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein (PC)
Probably a title I should drop for another, but it’s a game I remember being excited for and buying right away. I never even played the original or understood its importance at the time. But somehow this always caught my attention. Mustve been a good advertising campaign on the early internet or something. But I remember being so excited playing through it the first time. I rarely have revisited it, but it got ingrained in my skull.
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault + DLC (PC)
The only PC game I revisit as often as HL1. Maybe even more. The cinematic quality of these games was so insane for their time. And are still rarely replicated. Modern “cinematic” games take your hands off the controls beyond pressing forward and jump during the big sequences. But MoHAA was sequences built around you playing the game. Great soundtrack. Right when WW2 was making splashes in media. Steven Spielberg worked on it after Saving Private Ryan. Band of Brothers had just come out. It was easy to get swept up in.
Soldier of Fortune 2: Double Helix (PC, just multiplayer)
Real angsty late teen years at this point. My friend and I wanted to get it day 1 “for the gore” because we were edgy or whatever. I mean we had just been playing GTA3 (which should be on my list) for a year straight. Maybe video games are bad influences… ANywho, they dropped a demo and it was a multiplayer one. We played that for two months straight leading up to the release. Then the game came out and the campaign sucked! But the multiplayer was INSANE good. This was Raven Software at their multiplayer prime. This is what the CoD multiplayer experiences were built on. I joined clans. I went to LANs. I played in “leagues” a couple season. I meet people I played with in real life. It was neat.
F1 2013 (PC)
I got PS3 on launch. It died. I revived it with the heat gun “fix”. It died again. I revived it again. It got stolen… I then went on a long period of my life where I only owned PC (up until I got PS5 last year). Throughout that entire time I missed sports games. They stopped making them for PC around '06~'09 right when I started my “only PC” phase. Finally after a few years I started Googling for sports games on PC. F1 series kept popping up. I now watch F1 regularly, bought a racing wheel, and started my interest in sim racing because of it. I’ve tried other entries in the series that have improved things in the last decade. But that’ll always be the one.
Automobilista 1 (PC + Racing Wheel)
First “true” sim I learned when I got my wheel. Mods. Tweaking files. Learning about car setups and what all the gibberish means. It will always be the sim that feels the most right to me.
Risk of Rain 2 (PC)
This is everything I love about gaming these days. I got burnt out by AAA eons ago. I had my fun as you can read with the other games in the list. But the inventiveness of small creators is what I really appreciate nowadays. I bought Minecraft in alpha. I was in on Humble Bundle by #3. Indie games saved my interest in games. And this one has it all. You can get in and out easily. Amazing dev team. Constant updates. 100’s of hours of mindless fun. Great music. Great style. It’s the culmination of the types of games I’ve been enjoying for the last 10 years.
List could change any day of the week but those are all games I would think of quickly enough. Probably should be a 2600 (Frogger), Genesis (Jungle Book) and PSX (NCAA Football) game on there somewhere. But that’ll do for off the top of my head.