by Guinevere Avalon
Before I begin, I would like to put emphasis on the word personal. There might be games missing on my list that most assuredly would deserve to be in any top ten list. Some of those titles are BioShock Infinite, Legend of Zelda, Half-Life and I could go on. Why aren't they? Simple answer: I have not played them. This was out of various reasons, from lack of interest to I do not have the appropriate platform (I am a PC gamer) or they have not yet been released for PC (I am looking at you, GTAV).
Without further ado, here are my personal Top Ten Video Games.
10th place - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
It really is hard to not include any Rockstar's games from the famous franchise Grand Theft Auto. Out of all I played, San Andreas has been my favourite by far. The story revolves around the life of Carl 'CJ' Johnson, who after five years returned to his home of Los Santos, San Andreas, torn apart by various crime. Throughout the game, Carl goes around the whole San Andreas and tries to reconcile with his remaining family and control the streets. Although you are playing a gang member, the journey itself is emotional and you can really see the character growth that Carl goes through. I heartily recommend it, but beware! It is only appropriate for adults, as it includes blood, gore, intense violence, heavy language and strong sexual content.
9th place - The Sims
Wow, this really takes me back! The first game I ever bought was The Sims and I still occasionally play it. It is a simple game with a simple goal: make a tiny human out of pixels, and let him thrive in the house that you either bought or made yourself. It sounds easy, but every person who ever played this game knows just how difficult it can get if you do not plan in advance or manage your game-time correctly. To make the matter worse, there are mandatory bills to pay every few days. Still, it is a great game to play!
8th place - No One Lives Forever 1 & 2
My favourite first-person shooter games ever! Besides shooting, it also includes stealth gameplay, which is far more common in the first than in the second game. NOLF takes on the life of secret agent/spy Cate Archer, that works for U.N.I.T., a top secret organization that presides over world peace. While it does not have the best graphics, considering the year it was released, its blend of action, stealth, and humor makes you forget such details. It’s a must for every first-person shooter fan, especially one who loves female protagonists.
As the name suggests, this game brings together perhaps two of the most awesome things ever: LEGO and Lord of the Rings. The game follows the storyline of the trilogy, with all dialogue taken directly from the movie. As in all LEGO games, it provides countless scenes filled with humor and with a lot of gameplay variety. It even provides open world gameplay, which has to be one of my favourite game inventions ever. Here, I can also state some other LEGO games besides Lord of the Rings that definitely deserves an honorable mention, like Harry Potter saga, Star Wars, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Definitely a must for every child and/or LEGO enthusiast!
6th place - Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Amnesia is a very scary survival horror game. Really, if you have a weak heart or just dislike being scared, do not even approach this game, it is that scary! I cannot count how many times I had to quit the game to do something else before I actually finished it. If you want a taste, but do not want to get the game yet, just watch some videos on YouTube from brave lets-players, like PewDiePie. It was how I got hooked on the game. Amnesia: The Dark Descent is about a young man David, who wakes up in a scary castle with no memory (hence the title). He must escape and avoid various monsters as well as solve easy-to-difficult puzzles to escape with his life. As with GTA: San Andreas, this game is not appropriate for children!
5th place - Harry Potter Franchise
I put all eleven games that have to do with Harry Potter in one place, because let's face it, a lot of them deserve top ten mentions. The games were developed by Electronic Arts, with the first one being released in 2001 and the last in 2011. They follow the storyline from the books and involve many great things. I do not think that I need to tell you more about them, as I am sure you already played them!
4th place - The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead is an adventure game that features, yep, you guessed it: zombies. You do not need any knowledge of the comics or TV series at all to play and enjoy this game, but there are some easter eggs and characters that you will recognize if you are a fan. What I love about this game is that unlike other adventure games, it does not focus that much on the puzzles but rather character development, and oh boy, does it get to you. It is very emotional, up to the very end, which, I assure you, will make you cry. The game starts with main protagonist Lee Everett being transported to jail because he murdered someone. However, before he can reach it, the police car crashes due to zombies and the adventure begins! Whatever choice you make, be mindful that they affect the ending of the game, so choose wisely. The game is not appropriate for younger players due to violence and, well, zombies, but if you want to enjoy a good game with an amazing emotional rollercoaster then this is the game for you.
3rd place - Mass Effect series
Here we are at the top three. Mass Effect. I find that whatever I write here will hardly do the game trilogy justice. I started with Mass Effect 3 only a few months ago, being sceptic of it at first. But after I played it, I cannot believe how I managed to keep away from it for so long. Produced by BioWare, Mass Effect series starts in 2183 where the player controls Commander Shepard (the gender is up to the player), an elite human soldier who explores the universe on the ship SSV Normandy. As with The Walking Dead, choices heavily influence the Mass Effect series gameplay. However, at the start of each game, either Mass Effect 2 or 3, you can choose to either import the game save from previous games or start with a completely clean slate with choices you did not make before. I love the variousness of BioWare games where you can literally be anything. I do not want to reveal more, since it may spoil the game if you choose to play, but not only is the game superb, but it also includes incredible DLCs, filled with humorous scenes. My favourite is Citadel DLC. The only thing that I did not like was multiplayer option, which is necessary to play if you want to get the best ending possible in Mass Effect 3. I really have no other criticism and I encourage you to try it.
2nd place - Dragon Age series
Another game series by BioWare, it includes three games, that unlike Mass Effect, each revolves around a different person but are placed in the same universe. Those games are Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition, which will be released in the fall of 2014. Dragon Age: Origins revolves around the Warden, a character completely up to the player's picking, who can come from various backgrounds and races. He is chosen to be a Grey Warden and, after their army is decimated at Ostagar, goes to gather allies and battle against the Archdemon with his friends and enemies. Dragon Age 2 starts approximately when the previous game goes, but spans a timeline of 10 years. It talks about a human called Hawke, who escapes with his family to Kirkwall and slowly begins to shape its destiny. The gameplay is very similar to that of Mass Effect, with again, the heavy emphasis on choice. If you are a fantasy lover and a gamer (or just casual player), you have to play Dragon Age!
1st place - Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
...and all related Elder Scrolls games. Honestly, with my love for fantasy and video games, how can I not not put Skyrim as number one? To put it shortly, the player controls the Dragonborn, a person that is prophesied to defeat the dragon Alduin, who rises to take vengeance upon the world. It is set 200 years after Oblivion and the main province in which all is happening, called Skyrim. Further Expansions, mods and DLCs allow the Dragonborn to travel to other provinces. The Skyrim has everything a gamer dreams of. Open world gameplay, ability to postpone the main questline indefinitely, appealing plot, magic, and dragons! Skyrim is a province of many flora and fauna, as well as climates. I applaud the developers and designers for making such visually appealing game and incredible story that will suck you in and will not let you go for months. The beauty is, no matter if you are at the beginning or the end, you can always get more quests or explore all Skyrim has to offer. It deserves the number one spot!
That is it, folks. My personal Top Ten Video Games. Read the next month's issue for another Top Ten. If you want, you can send me a suggestion in an HOL Message with the topic and I just might talk about it. You can always comment on my choices below or message me with your own Top Ten list; do not be shy!