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The #1 Greatest Video Game of All Time

This is it. The final entry in H&F’s Greatest Video Game of All Time series. This is big-time stuff. This is our ultimate FAVORITE game ever in the world. These games are important to us, tied to who we are, and in our hearts. We’ve finally arrived. If you missed the others on our countdown, please check them out: #25,#24,#23,#22,#21,#20#19#18#17#16#15, #14#13#12#11#10, #9#8, #7#6, #5#4#3, and #2

#1 Greatest Video Game of All Time

Kai – Morrowind I struggled to decide which of my top 3 is my most favorite game, but in the end it had to be Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.  No other piece of art has ever transported me to another world like Morrowind.  The art, the lore, the music, and the quests all contribute to an amazing world that you can truly get lost in.

Like most Elder Scrolls games, you start out as a prisoner, this time exiled to the island of Vvardenfell, home of the dark elves or Dunmer.  You wake up as your ship reaches the harbor, with vague memories of a strange dream.  With only a vague instruction to meet with an Imperial agent named Caius, you’re dropped off into this strange world, with the freedom to take part in any of the hundreds of stories taking place throughout the land.
 
I’m not sure what it is that makes Morrowind so much better than the other Elder Scrolls games.  Perhaps it’s the lack of guidance and hand-holding, causing the player to feel like they’re exploring a wide-open world, rather than the set of fairly linear narratives in Skyrim and Oblivion.  There are great secrets hidden within the world and the game allows the player to find them rather than leading the player to them.  Also a tremendous amount of work and care was put into the art and lore to really make the world feel real and it really shows.  The graphics don’t quite hold up anymore (at the time they were amazing), but the game is still really engrossing.  
 
If you want to see the best of what gaming has to offer, you have to try Morrowind.

The #2 Greatest Video Game of All Time

We are down to the SECOND greatest video game of all time! I can’t believe we only have two games to review left! There are some really spectacular games in this list and each of you should consider playing all of them if you haven’t already! It’s funny that all the top games are RPGs, but hey, we’re kind of awesome so it’s to be expected. If you missed the others on our countdown, please check them out: #25,#24,#23,#22,#21,#20#19#18#17#16#15, #14#13#12#11#10, #9#8, #7#6, #5#4, and #3. Enough talking…check these awesome games out!

#2 Greatest Video Game of All Time 

Kai- Half-Life series  Half-Life changed everything.  It took the Quake engine and created an entire universe out of it.  No longer were you moving level to level, killing everything in sight.  Instead the entire experience is a seamless journey through the life of a scientist in a top-secret lab the day everything goes wrong.  In fact, the first 30 minutes of Half-Life involve no violence whatsoever.  It was the first FPS to succeed at immersing you fully in an alternate reality.

Not only that, but Half-Life also was extremely friendly to the modding community, producing the world-famous mod Counterstrike, as well as Day of Defeat and many others.  Its lifetime was extended many times over by such mods, as well as several expansion packs exploring the story from other’s perspectives.
 
When Half-Life 2 was released it again revolutionized FPSs.  It continued the trend of a seamless artificial world (this time a futuristic and alien Earth).  It also had an amazing physics engine and multiple mini-sequels (“episodes”) which extended the story.  I have no hope for a Half-Life 3, but the originals still stand up due to the quality writing, gameplay, and professional voice acting.

The #3 Greatest Video Game of All Time

We have now come to the top THREE greatest video games of all time! Can you feel the heat? I don’t want to blab too much in the introduction so we can get right down to the fun stuff!  If you missed the others on our countdown, please check them out: #25,#24,#23,#22,#21,#20#19#18#17#16#15, #14#13#12#11#10, #9#8, #7#6, #5, and #4.  

Kai – Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri Alpha Centauri is my favorite strategy game of all time.  It does a fantastic job combining strategic depth and science fiction theme.  It takes place in the near-future, after a colony ship from Earth is sent to Alpha Centauri.  During the journey, the colonists lose contact with Earth, the captain is murdered, and the colonists break into 7 ideological factions.  The game does an amazing job conveying the transition from small compound in an alien wilderness to a planet-wide technological utopia.

In terms of gameplay, it was an enhanced version of the earlier Civilization games.  Its biggest addition was customizable units (a base body with added components/weapons/armor).  It still suffers from the Stack of Doom mechanic of the earlier Civ games, but the other elements definitely make up for it.
 
Firaxis created a pseudo-sequel with Beyond Earth, but it’s more of a mod than a real standalone game.  If you feel the need to spend a weekend colonizing an alien planet, Alpha Centauri is your game.

The #4 Greatest Video Game of All Time

We are now at our #4 Greatest Video Game of All Time. Two people have the same game today! We are getting down to the nitty gritty. If you missed the others on our countdown, please check them out: #25,#24,#23,#22,#21,#20#19#18#17#16#15, #14#13#12#11#10, #9#8, #7#6, and #5

Kai – Mass Effect 2  As I’ve said before in these posts, I love science fiction, especially grand space opera.  No game has made me felt more like I was living in a space opera than Mass Effect 2.  It’s an action RPG with an epic story, detailed worlds/locations, and interesting characters.  The settings and writing alone make it worth playing as an interactive novel, but the combat and characters make it even more fun without getting in the way of the story.

I felt Mass Effect 2 stood out specifically for its darker story and improved combat (although I really enjoyed all three games).  If you’re looking to spend a month or two living on a starship and saving the galaxy with a crew of friends, I can’t recommend anything other than the Mass Effect series.

The #5 Greatest Video Game of All Time

Today, we arrive at a biggie. #5 of the Greatest Video Game of All Time! We’ve traveled many months to get to the Top 5 and we have finally arrived! Will there be any similarities? Will they all be different? What game company is going to be the most loved? You’ll just have to read on! If you missed the others on our countdown, please check them out: #25,#24,#23,#22,#21,#20#19#18#17#16#15, #14#13#12#11#10, #9#8, #7 and #6

#5 Greatest Video Game of All Time

Kai – Civilization II – One of the first games I really got into, Civilization II is an epic game spanning all of human history.  I haven’t played every iteration of the series, but I played 2, 4, and 5 heavily.  I love them all, but have the fondest memories of Civilization II.  

Civilization II was similar to SimCity 2000 in its massive impact on the computer gaming world.  I distinctly remember during 4th grade YMCA summer camp reading the strategy guide and making an ordered list of all 90 technologies.  My cousin and I would play it every summer (along with the related game Colonization), conquering continent after continent.
 
It played like an epic game of Risk, starting in 4000 BC and ending with humans headed to Alpha Centauri (or total nuclear war).  You built cities, controlled armies, researched technology, and constructed wonders, all to prove that your civilization was the greatest.  I’d recommend any of the versions of Civilization if you haven’t tried any, but if you’re looking to jump into world conquest right away, Civilization 5 is probably your best bet.  Just don’t blame me when you can’t stop playing one more turn.

The #6 Greatest Video Game of All Time

Here we go–with each entry more epic than the next! We come to the #6 Greatest Video Game of All Time! If you missed the others on our countdown, please check them out: #25,#24,#23,#22,#21,#20#19#18#17#16#15, #14#13#12#11#10, #9#8, and #7

Kai – World of Warcraft – World of Warcraft was the first massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) I ever played.  Fit had been playing it for a little while and encouraged me to join.  I created a Gnome mage named Norqueatus and started exploring the frozen tundra of Dun Murogh.

World of Warcraft is the most approachable MMORPG I’ve played, due to its rock solid engine/controls and the slow growth of your character’s powers.  Initially you’re sent on very simple quests with only a single spell, but by the end you’re fighting dragons with dozens of spells and twenty-four other players.  It has a very balanced learning curve.
The art and lore are also top quality, provided a cartoonish world with every imaginable type of scenery.  Quest storylines are complex and your character can really change the way the world looks and acts.
 
I don’t play much anymore (other than purchasing and leveling up with every latest expansion), but that’s mostly due to feeling like there’s nothing new for me to try (not to mention the amount of time that is required at high levels of play).  If you’re looking to live in another world for a few months, no other game has the combination of an easy learning curve and massive scope.

The #7 Greatest Video Game of All Time

Number 7. Hungry and Fit’s favorite number! This is a big one for the Greatest Video Game of All Time countdown.  If you missed the others on our countdown, please check them out: #25, #24,#23,#22,#21,#20#19#18#17#16#15, #14#13#12#11#10, #9, and #8

#7 Greatest Video Game of All Time

Kai – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – One of my favorite RPGs ever, KOTOR and KOTOR II are two of the finest Star Wars games.  They capture the core of Star Wars, making you feel like you’re really living in the space opera’s universe.

It’s a fairly linear RPG, with most of the exposition happening in dialogue and resolved in combat (with force powers, sabers, and blasters).  There’s also card games, pod races, and space travel.  You pick up all kinds of interesting allies along the way who serve as the party members on your adventures.
 
Perhaps the most innovative component to KOTOR is the dark side/light side aspect.  As you play, the choices you make affect your character’s force attunement, changing how people treat you and the types of force powers you can use.  I never managed to be much of a Sith, but there are real moral choices to be made.
 
If you’re looking to live in the Star Wars universe for a week, I can’t recommend anything other than KOTOR and KOTOR II.  Their graphics may not be quite up to par, but the story and characters are well-written and well-acted, so it still really holds up today.

The #8 Greatest Video Game of All Time

We continue our way down the top 25 video games of all time! Our choices are weighed quite heavily now as these games that have been in our hearts for many years must be decided upon. You have now seen the same game pop up for multiple people. I can’t wait until the end when we list them all out for everyone and see what stacks where. We could even weigh the games with the most and highest picks! And if you missed the others on our countdown, please check them out: #25, #24,#23, #22,#21,#20#19#18#17#16#15, #14#13#12#11#10, and #9.

Kai – Rise of Nations My favorite RTS (real-time strategy) game ever, Rise of Nations is a historical RTS spanning all of human history.  You pick a civilization and start with a small settlement in the Ancient Age, build farms and buildings, conduct diplomacy and trade, raise armies and research technologies, and eventually end up in modern times with stealth bombers and nukes.  

Rise of Nations combines a great theme with really solid mechanics, getting rid of a lot of the tedious elements of earlier historical RTS games.  In addition to fun multiplayer, the Thrones & Patriots added some fun historical campaigns, allowing you to play as either side of the Cold War or Alexander the Great.
 
My best memory of Rise of Nations is my friend Jason and I stay up all night playing game after game (each one lasting 45 to 90 minutes).  We put in dozens of hours in both multiplayer skirmishes (usually allied against the AI) and single player campaigns.
 
 I haven’t played it in years, but I can’t imagine it’s any less fun now than it was then.  There’s a new “Extended Edition” on Steam, so there’s no excuse not to pick it up and give it a try if you’re looking to spend an afternoon taking over the world.

#9 Greatest Video Game of All Time

Striving into the top 10–we arrive at #9! If you have no clue what this post is about, please read here. And if you missed the other on our countdown, please check them out: #25, #24,#23, #22, #21,#20#19#18#17#16#15, #14#13#12#11, and #10. This list was created by the video game brain trust–please enjoy!  

#9 Greatest Video Game of All Time

Kai – Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight Coming out in 1997, Jedi Knight was a revolutionary shooter that took the Dark Forces world and applied the lessons that Quake had brought to the FPS scene.  It created a real world within the Star Wars universe with evil Sith, hapless stormtroopers, and lots of drama.  Mysteries of the Sith (an expansion) came along and really filled in the detail, with extraordinary level design.

Even better than that, it had great multiplayer (played on the Internet Gaming Zone, Microsoft’s foray into online gaming).  Only 4 players could play at a time and there were lots of hackers, but it was my formative online gaming experience, and was really a lot of fun.
 
The game has not aged well and there are few benefits of playing it today (other than seeing the laughable live action cutscenes).  If you want to play similar game today, I’d recommend the sequel Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.
 

#10 Greatest Video Game of All Time

We’ve finally cracked the Top 10 of our 25 Greatest Video Games of All Time list! How exciting! This list comprises all of our favorite games from 5 different people with different backgrounds. If you are unfamiliar with this list, then check the following out:  #25, #24,#23, #22, #21, #20#19#18#17#16#15, #14#13#12, and #11. Let the top ten start…now!

Kai – The Secret of Monkey Island: Monkey Island Monkey Island is hilarious.  Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer created a world that is a parody of every pirate movie ever made.  As the best game released during the “golden age” of (now defunkt) LucasArts’ point and click adventures, Monkey Island is a perfect representation of the fun, laid back attitude of those SCUMM-based games.  

In terms of gameplay, you have a set of adjectives you can apply to the environment and anything you pick up along the way.  It’s a puzzle/exploration game that forces you to try and think logically about the world and come up with interesting solutions.  
 
It has a great theme as well, with wonderful writing and expressive 2D pixel art.  Maybe it’s because of when I played it (I was 9 or 10), but the game is iconic in a way that few games have replicated.  So many distinct images and moments stick with me from it.  Each character made an impression, despite being a collection of pixels and a few written sentences.  
 
If you’re looking to spend a week in a hilarious pirate adventure I can’t recommend Monkey Island highly enough.