It was not an easy feat to grow up as a gamer in the late 90’s India, especially in Kerala where the large demographic had an average daily income of 30 rupees and no one cared nor bothered to keep up with the trends in gaming or technology in general. That means I spent most of my time playing or fiddling around in my brother’s dinosaur PC to which, time was not kind and a semi-broken NES playing old, obsolete or forgotten games the popular kids didn’t want anything to do with. But for that, I’m thankful for those games basically made me the type of gamer that I am today. So without beating around the bush too much, here are my top 5 games of all time.
5. Super Mario Bros 3
This is a gaming franchise that needs no introduction and no explanation. If you randomly pick 10 adult gamers and ask them about the game, chances are at least five of them must have played this gem at least once. This platformer is fun, addictive and challenging all at the same time. Hundreds or even thousands of hours were spent staring at my old black and white Television playing as everyone’s friendly neighborhood Italian Plumber. An absolute classic.
4. Gothic 2
The Gothic series is to Germany what The Witcher is to Poland. Some of the most immersive and atmospheric hardcore role-playing games with level design that puts the Elder Scrolls series to shame. Being the niche European RPG, Gothic series still haven’t received the spotlight the likes of The Witcher franchise received. Gothic 2 improved every single aspect of the first Game while providing a massively detailed 3D world for the time. The game went on to receive an expansion and still is regarded highly across various RPG communities and the developer Piranha Bytes became the German household name for RPGs.
Doom. The name is enough to bring fps lovers back to memory lane and the game that redefined the fps genre 25 years ago. The game improved on the then-incredible smooth pseudo-3D graphics engine from Wolfenstein 3D and proved a hallmark title with visceral fast-paced gameplay and tonnes of weapons to mow down the denizens of hell with while listening to the kick ass metal music. Just look up Doom e1m1 and you’ll see what I’m talking about. From the adrenaline pumping first episode, through the dark and eerie hallways of the mars space station and finally culminating in an epic battle in hell itself, Doom provides a satisfying and no-nonsense approach to the first person shooting fest. Doom launched id software into worldwide recognition and gave the developers enough money to buy their own Ferraris(and that they did) You will know that Doom is truly a phenomenon when the game was installed on more computers than Windows 95 itself. It holds up even in this modern and day and age and I go back and play through the episodes quite often.
2. Fallout 2
The 90’s is often fondly remembered as the golden age of computer role-playing games. We got games like Ultima VII, Baldur’s Gate, Diablo, Wizardry 8 and much more which are now considered to be the behemoths of the crpg genre. But the title that would soon become one of my favorite games of all time would prove to be none other than 1998’s Fallout 2. A spiritual successor to 1988’s Wasteland and a direct sequel to Fallout, Fallout 2 provided gamers with an alternate timeline where technology, politics, and culture followed a different course and soon got subjected to a nuclear holocaust. Filled to the brim with pop cultural references, black humor, choices and consequences and a persistent world which reacted to your actions, Fallout 2 soon became heralded as the best Fallout game till date and one of the best RPGs of all time. Fallout 2 is the first pc game I ever played and even though my six-year-old self-didn’t understand a word of what was going on, I kept coming back occasionally to see what more wonders it had to offer.
1. Planescape: Torment
You know a game is truly unique when people describe it as the best book they have ever played. Such is the case with Planescape: Torment. Based on the fantastically weird Planes multiverse setting from Dungeons & Dragons PnP, the said game cast philosophical questions and moral dilemmas at the player that finally led to the ultimate question; “What can change the nature of a man? ” Torment is said to be bigger than the Bible itself in terms of the amount of text present. That combined with the excellent writing of industry legend Chris Avellone, the weird yet charming Planes multiverse and the philosophical themes sets this game apart. It’s one of the very few games that pulled off the amnesic hero trope so well and one of the three games ever that made me shed a tear at the ending cinematic. Which ones are the other two? Well, that’s a story for another day.
So there you have it, the top 5 games from the latest editor on this site. How many have you played? What’s your top 5? Agree or disagree, and why? Let us know in the comments.
And while you are at it, check out these list from the rest of our team too, to discover even more iconic games: