For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a gamer. The first console I remember owning is the SNES and the first game I remember playing is the Duck Hunt/Super Mario Bros. combo game. (And yes, I want to shoot that Duck Hunt dog right in the eye just like many of you.) Nonetheless, as I’ve played more and more games over the years, I’ve developed certain gaming tastes. For example, I am not a fan of First Person Shooters/war games. Still, I have come across certain video game franchises that I have grown to love. These are my Top 10 Favorite Video Game Franchises.
I remember when their were only 150 of you. Well, technically, 151 if you are counting Mew. But I digress. I guess I spent the best years of my little life playing these games. I wanted to be the very best like no one ever was. To catch them was my real test. To train them was my cause. While Pokemon will always hold a place in my heart, I feel like the franchise has gotten a bit bloated and stale. Nintendo has tried to add things to Pokemon (like the characteristics, beauty contests, and such) that I just don’t like. Plus, each game just feels the same to me. Catch Pokemon, train them, fight a boss, move to the next town. Rinse and repeat as needed. Still, there’s no other games quite like the Pokemon series and it will always be remembered as a big part of my childhood. Pokemon, what happened to you?
Portal is one of the most interesting and creative puzzle games I’ve ever come across. Honestly, I’ve only ever played the second game myself. However, I have seen multiple Let’s Plays of the first game. And I have loved what I’ve seen. The puzzles are all intriguing and get tougher (but still fair) as the games go on. I always have a sense of great satisfaction when I find the solution to a particularly daunting puzzle. Of course, the games are also very well written. I find the second game hilarious and the characters are particularly well developed and always are entertaining to watch. Now and forever, I’ll be thinking with portals.
8. Soul Calibur
Soul Calibur is my favorite fighting franchise, bar none. Really, the reason stems from a fond memory I have regarding a cruise ship arcade. Soul Calibur 2 was the most popular machine on that ship and I would play it as often as I could. The characters for the games are very creative, along with their stories of trying to find the cursed sword that the series is named for, Soul Calibur. I also love that each new game in the series has added popular characters, like Link, Darth Vader, Yoda, and Spawn. In case you’re wondering, my character is and always will be Nightmare. His design is awesome and I just love playing as him.
7. The Super Mario Bros. platformers
As I said above, Super Mario Bros. is one of the first games I remember playing as a kid. I have fond memories of sitting on the couch and passing the controller back and forth with my dad. Even to this day, I love the new games coming out, including the 3D platformers. Heck, Super Mario 64 is probably my most played Nintendo 64 game of all time. I think I’ll always find these platformers fun. Yes, Mario has expanded to other games. Tennis, board game parties, puzzle games, and the like. For me, though, nothing will ever beat his platforming roots. They’re challenging, fun, and easy to pick up and play.
6. Prince of Persia
How do I define Prince of Persia? Action platformer? Action adventure game? Action game with puzzle elements? How about all of the above? The Prince of Persia games are a perfect blend of platforming, puzzle, and action elements combined with an interesting story. If I had to pick a favorite element of these games, I would have to say the platforming segments. There’s just something so satisfying about climbing around obstacles and up walls like a monkey. The action elements, while fun, are at times frustrating, especially if you’re out of sand, low on health, and you have to get past THOSE DAMN BIRDS WHO WONT LEAVE YOU ALONE. I’M JUST TRYING TO CROSS A BEAM HERE, YOU LITTLE… Ahem. Still, it’s a fun series that makes me really want to take up parkour.
5. The Rayman reboot
I wasn’t really into Rayman as a kid. I never even really played the original games. However, when Rayman Origins came out, I was hooked from Press Start. The artwork for both it and Legends is bright, colorful, and extremely bizarre. Right up my alley. The platforming gets so much harder as you progress through the game. Honestly, it gets frustrating as heck. However, that just makes it all the more satisfying when a level is beaten. The series has also been very creative so far with its level design. For example, I absolutely love the musical levels of Legends. They are without a doubt my favorite part of the franchise so far. I can’t wait to get more fun from this little… aardvark? Dog? Rat? Well, whatever he is, he’s one awesome… one of those.
4. Batman: Arkham
What’s not to love about the Batman: Arkham games? It’s got stealth elements, fighting elements, puzzles, fantastic characters, intriguing and compelling stories, a wonderful sandbox game feeling. These games have it all, AND Batman. The first game, admittedly, felt a little too linear. For the second game, though, the developers really pushed the limits and let the players really feel like the Dark Knight. Plus, the voice acting is absolutely phenomenal. It’s one of the only franchises I feel really makes you feel like your favorite hero.
3. Sly Cooper
Out of all the classic cartoon platformers (such as Crash Bandicoot, Ratchet and Clank, Jack and Daxter, etc.), the Sly Cooper franchise is my absolute, all time favorite. The artwork is sleek, cartoony, and fantastic. The characters are funny and loveable. This game, when I was younger and still today, really make me feel like a thief. The stealth elements are done very well, making me almost hold my breath while trying to pick a thug’s pocket. The villains are all very creative, having their own personalities and designs. It is just an all around awesome game. The first trilogy was so good that I went so far as to buy the HD collection when I bought a PS3. It’s one of the only series I would ever intentionally buy twice. I think that definitely counts for something.
2. Professor Layton
Professor Layton is a mostly text driven series of hand held games and probably the best—
Ah, yes, I almost forgot. Entry number two is a tie. It’s the Professor Layton series and…
2. The Ace Attorney series
The Professor Layton games and the Ace Attorney games are very similar to me. They are games that rely heavily on stories and (simply fantastic) characters, they involve a lot of reading, and they rely on the players using their knowledge and wits to win the game. Honestly, the best parts of these games are the stories and characters. Absolutely no other game has a story quite like these. They are very smart, intriguing, and simply mind boggling. I am certain you’ll never see one of the many twists and turns coming. And, honestly, that makes for a very interesting and compelling mystery series. I had to put these both in the number 2 spot because I couldn’t talk about one without the other. And, yes, I VERY much want to play Phoenix Wright vs Professor Layton. BRING IT TO AMERICA, CAPCOM, PLEASE!
1. Kingdom Hearts
Are these the best made games? No. Do they tell the most coherent story? No. Do I love them? With all of my heart. (Ah? See what I did there?) Kingdom Hearts is my favorite franchise of all time, and that’s due in no small part to my love of Disney. When I heard that a game was coming out that would explore multiple worlds from the Disney movies, I just had to check it out. And what I got was an action packed, emotional, and awesome story. Admittedly, the story is a bit convoluted, especially as the series has gone on. But I still get extreme satisfaction when I board my gummi ship and head for a new world filled with characters from my childhood. And getting to summon the Genie and Stitch, two of my favorite Disney characters, as helpers in battle? Well, that was just icing on the delicious cake. Kingdom Hearts is a wonderful treat for any Disney fan.
That’s the end of my list. I’m sure there are different opinions out there. Please share some of your favorite franchises in the comments. Perhaps your ideas will give me new games to check out. Until next time, I’m off to play some old, familiar favorites.