Every now and then one of our writers decides to have a little fun with a particular topic. We try to discourage this sort of thing but sometimes not even stern words can hold it back. All we can hope is you all feel like joining in the fun.
What if you could only play 3 games for the rest of your life?
If you’ve been alive for any length of time, which if you’re reading this, you probably have been, it’s safe to say that you’ve witnessed the effect technology advancements have had on the world. This is perhaps no more evident than in video games – an industry that thrives directly from a growth in technology.
This isn’t news to anyone, though. You only need to look at a screenshot of Pong or Super Mario Bros next to something like The Witcher 3 or The Order: 1886 to see how far things have advanced visually. But what about in terms of depth or gameplay? With the advent of faster processors with more cores and larger, faster RAM, writers and story tellers have been able to move forward from the simple, text based narrative to creating full blown cinematic landscapes with incredible draw distances. Worlds and experiences packed so tight with content that you could, theoretically, never have to play another game again.
Look at Grand Theft Auto 5, for example. Los Santos is teeming with things to do; even when not counting the usual blow-everything-up-and-kill-everyone motif. You can play tennis, photograph wildlife, go mountain biking, stroll along the beach, go scuba diving… You get the point.
Be it procedural generation, overarching narratives that intertwine and somehow come back together cohesively or a physics sandbox with a basic set of rules and repercussions, re-playability in video games is more prominent than ever. That got me thinking; considering the sheer variety and size of games, either currently available or on the horizon, its plausible that you could get just as much gaming goodness out of one of your favourite games in 2015 as you could have from a handful games in the past.
So with that in mind, I posed myself and the Player2 crew the following question: if you could pick 3 games from any era to play for the rest of your life, and no more than 3, what would they be and why? It is the old “tropical island” debate, but it is a fun one to talk about.
Several cups of coffee and a handful of 80’s movie inspired montages later, here’s what myself and the others came up with:
James Swinbanks – Writer
iRacing.com – Since I joined the subscription-based MMO racing community back in March 2012, I have probably spent more time on iRacing.com than I have all my other current gaming systems combined. After all, I’m a sim racer at heart and iRacing is the pick of the crop, albeit an expensive one. With 60,000 active members and tri-monthly car, track and feature updates, and an ever growing list of laser-scanned cars and tracks, I feel pretty safe in choosing this as my number 1.
No Mans Sky – It was a close run thing between this and Elite: Dangerous, but No Mans Sky wins purely on the basis of being almost infinite in size and scope and based in science fiction. E:D is equally as fascinating to me, and whilst I’d love to see what they can do with it over the next few years, No Mans Sky seemingly has the right formula from the start. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it.
Fallout 4 – Perhaps a controversial inclusion, but the scope of Fallout 4 is almost frightening. When the producers are 400 hours into the game themselves and are still calling out things they’ve never seen before, you know you’re in for something big. And besides, who wouldn’t want an open-world RPG with customisable power-armor?
Matt Hewson – Editor
Tropico 5 – Well I have 200+ hours in Tropico 4 and well on my way with Tropico 5. It is the perfect Sunday arvo game that I can enjoy while other things are going on. There is something calming for me after a long week to sit down with El Presidente and his band of reprobates and try to run a tropical island with an iron fist.
The Witcher 3 – I am loving the hell out of it but I am only 30 hours in. With something like 150 hours of content plus two expansions that are the size of The Witcher 2, I will never finish. This is the sort of game I can see myself playing for years and then if I ever actually finish it I can always start again and play things out in a different manner.
Just Cause 3 – Explosion Simulator 2015. Seriously though I have put a ridiculous amount of hours into Just Cause 2 and have never finished it and I expect to do the same with Just Cause 3. Creative explosive gameplay that never gets old.
Stephen Del Prado – Deputy Editor
DJMax Clazziquai/Black Square – I bought this in a 2-pack so it counts! One of my favorite rhythm games that will take you from basic 4 button mixes to insane 8 button invisible key madness if you want it to. Infinitely replayable and something I might never master. The link function between the two games lets you play new songs and patterns otherwise unavailable, not to mention post-release patches that basically double the game length and up the difficulty. Potentially the most bang for my buck I’ve ever gotten from a game purchase.
Dark Chronicle – The biggest mish-mash of genres with a gorgeous cel-shaded art style. What starts as an Action RPG dungeon crawler ends up adding a variety of side activities – an Everybody’s Golf mini game at the end of each dungeon, a deep weapon upgrade system, town building, fishing and fish racing, photography and inventing using said photographs, and to top it all off, a 100 level dungeon as an end game bonus.
Skies of Arcadia – Oh why do you make me choose! I would’ve said Demon’s/Dark Souls but it’s been covered a fair bit, so I’ll head back a bit further in time to the Dreamcast. Effing airship pirates fighting an evil empire! Plus the VMU functionality was cool to take to school, even if the batteries died every week. While there was a GameCube re-release, I’d love to see Sega give this game some love with a HD edition.
Karen Marcon – Contributor
Goldeneye – It’s one of the most re-playable FPS and it’s more than just get from point A to B killing everything in your path.
Mario Kart Double Dash – I’ve never had more fun playing a racer than with Double Dash. It’s everything good about Mario Kart turned up to 11. Also, a fantastic game to player with your buddies (sober or otherwise).
Resident Evil – the original and the best survival horror game. Clever, scary and with a big replay value.
Adam Rorke – Writer
Final Fantasy 7 – Many many hours of replay to be had and has always been in my top 10 games list.
Blast Corps – I love this game… I could see myself learning to speed run it.
Street Fighter 4 ULTRA – Why not throw in a game that reward you for hundreds of hours of input
Glen Gugliotti – Writer
Secret of Mana – Probably my first foray into JRPG’s and totally my most memorable. Not only did it have a compelling story, but it also had Co-op, on the SNES no less. It was great game that I still regularly play through.
Dark Souls – A brutally challenging yet ultimately rewarding RPG from acclaimed sadists FROM SOFTWARE. With a story you need to flesh out from item descriptions and lore and a learning curve so steep you may need a sherpa to help you get up the peak. Love it or hate it, there is only One Dark Souls. Well except for Demon’s Soul, Dark souls 2, Bloodborne and soon to be released Dark Souls 3. But you get what I mean.
Total War: Shogun 2 – Very hard to pick a Total War game as there have been some very amazing contenders for best game ever in the last couple of years. Shogun 2 takes us back to where it all began, Feudal Japan. Mastering diplomatic relations, trade and of course, your Daimyo’s honor are great and all, but if you can’t back it up on the battlefield, you won’t last long in the brutal world of assassins, katanas and bow samurai. Of course when the West arrives it all goes out the window because they bring with them the biggest threat to the way of the samurai… Gunpowder.
Jenn Christodoulou – Writer
Final Fantasy 7 – The first ever RPG I played in my childhood and holds MAJOR nostalgia value for me. Not to mention it completely changed my idea of video games all together. The bonds I formed with those characters were totally REAL AND NOT IMAGINARY
Tomb Raider – I can’t pick one out of them all, but it certainly WOULDN’T be that Dark Angel BS they palmed off on PS2. As a kid I looked up to Lara as a role model of sorts (even if all she did was kill animals and look good in shorts). But I always appreciated that there was a game with a female lead who kicked butt.
Dragons Age: Origins (or Inquisition) – I’ve never fallen so goddamn hard for made up characters in my entire life.
Paul James – Writer
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection – The Uncharted trilogy to me is the defining action franchise in the gaming industry. It perfectly combines narrative progression, cinematic qualities, and tightly refined mechanics to become the pinnacle of what modern gaming is. Give me the Nathan Drake Collection and I get three of the best in one awesome package.
Final Fantasy IX – Final Fantasy IX stands as my favourite game of all time and this is for obvious reasons. Final Fantasy IX in many ways is an homage to some of the classics of the franchise, from 1 right through to 6, yet also channels much of what made the more recent titles (7 & 8) so fantastic. The characters were endearing, the world was breathtaking, the ability system was fantastic and the fact that I can enjoy it for upwards of 100 hours just makes it even better.
Zelda: A Link to the Past – While many consider Ocarina of Time to be the greatest game ever made, it wouldn’t be anywhere near that if it weren’t for the successes of A Link to the Past. Atmosphere, wonderful design and deep, deep mechanics make it a joy to pick up and play again and again. Gaming in general owes much to this game but I could go without all that and play is repeatedly.
So there you have it. These are the games we hand-picked as the ones that could keep us entertained for the rest of our lives. So now that we’ve done our bit, it’s time for you to do yours. Sound off in the comments and let us know what 3 games you could play for the rest of your life, and why.
James Swinbanks is a Games Critic currently writing for GameSpot, although you’ll still occasionally see him popping up on Player 2, because frankly, he loves the smell of the place.