I’ve had an interesting time with Video games. Growing up, my parents were technically savvy, and thus knew what a time sucker video games could be. I never had any system until I was 8 when I was given a NES that my cousin left at my grandma’s house. I had three games: Jurassic Park, Tetris and Super Mario Brothers 3. The TV was in the living room, and I was only allowed to play when my homework and chores were done. So, due to that, I never had too much time to spend on any one game, let alone replaying it. Even when I could replay a game, it was ALWAYS from the beginning (thank you very much SMB 3. I can still hear the opening world music when I close my eyes to go to sleep at night)
As I got older though, my parents bought me a Super Nintendo for Christmas and got me a TV in my room. The games that my dad enjoyed playing with me the most were sports games. So the entire time I owned that SNES, I had games like Madden 1996, College football ’96, and NBA Live ’98 (which, to this day I can’t get over how broken that game was, if I didn’t put up 200 in a game with 10 minute quarters I was angry.) Of course, I had Super Mario World, as that came with the system. I felt like the luckiest kid in the world. It wasn’t until I got a PlayStation and then a GameCube that I started getting games I could play over again because I wanted to, not because I didn’t have any other options. While I still loved my sports games, I absolutely enjoyed playing some of the best games out there.
Unlike Shaun’s list, I’m not going to only take games with long campaign modes, I’ll do whatever I damn well please.
The Legend of Zelda
Times played through: 5
One of the best games of its time merely because of how epically giant it is for a game made in 1986. This game took up a lot of my time when I got older and my parents let me have a TV in my room (Yes, I had the SNES but I still stuck with playing the NES a lot.) The main reason I’ve beaten this game this many times is twofold: I’ve played through it a few times just to beat it on different mediums (the Original NES, the GameCube version that came out and then the Wii version on the Virtual Console), and then also that second quest, something I’ve only been able to beat one time in my life. I honestly don’t know how I made it through games before the internet sometimes. I would just run around the map throwing my candle at bushes and planting bombs in the map screen hoping to find the next dungeon. Still, what an amazing game it was.
Times played through: 2
Yup, the one that started it all. I tried playing this game when I was about 9 years old and totally didn’t get it. I had never played a turn based RPG before, and trying to read that massive novel of an instruction book didn’t help. I turned 12 and gave it another shot, and man I’m glad I did. The characters had no voice (neither text nor actual voice, the only talking that the game featured was NPCs), if you made two people attack an enemy, and the first one killed it, the second one would attack the now obliterated enemy, and there was never a moment when the game would tell you: go here next, it was always in hints, so it took even longer to figure out. Despite all of that, I still love this game. It came with a massive guide to help you figure out what character could use what weapon and the instruction manual literally walked you through the first part of the game. While the game play and bosses seem cliché and campy now(the Earth, Wind, Water and Fire Fiends were the main bosses, and the final boss was the guy you fought first thing in the game), this was good stuff back in the day. It still has replay value for the fact that you can choose to play with whatever four class types you want. All ninjas? Go for it. All black mages? Hope you have a lot of MP! All white mages? well…good luck on that one.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Times played through: 3
Again, like the original Zelda I beat this game on the first time through, and then a second time on the new game +. We covered this in our top 25 games a while back, but that ending made it all worth it. Critics of the game’s graphics be damned, this is my favorite Zelda game of the series.
Mass Effect 1 & 2
Times played through: 3
I’m lumping this together and counting the beating it 3 times for each game, so I guess 6 total. The beauty of these games is the differences in gameplay, and I’m a total sucker for it. I ended up getting into Mass Effect only after 2 came out and my roommate bought it. After he got it and started playing, I told him he was nuts to start at the middle of the story and we had to go get #1. We went and bought it immediately and from then on it became one of my favorite games of all time. As with many people who have played this game, their playthroughs consisted of the first time just playing the game and picking the options you would want, the second is the strictly paragon route, and the final one is the renegade route. I was never able to appreciate that final run-through though, some of those renegade choices just made me way too sad. RIP Renegade Sheperd’s Wrex.
Knights of the Old Republic
Times played through: 3
I’m a sucker for good Star Wars games, at least the ones that aren’t rail shooters or podracing games. Much like Mass Effect, I took on this game with the intention of playing it through as I saw fit, and then hitting the light side and dark side paths in subsequent playthroughs. For me, despite it being on my top 10 favorites of all time, I felt that the decisions made that effected light or dark status were too far apart. When talking to a woman who needs a permit to get off of a planet you can A) Give her the permit and an extra 1000 credits to start a new life B) give her the credits C) Kill her and take her 5 credits from her. Extremes…massive extremes.
Super Mario Brothers 3
Times played through: ?????
Come on, who hasn’t played this through a bunch of times. Warp whistles people! It’s the only way to go!
Times played through: 8
New game +, it’s such a breeze once you can one-hit almost everything for the first half of the game. It allowed me to enjoy the story of the game more because I didn’t have to worry about the fear of dying and having to restart at a stupid save point. I am also counting beating the game with just Marle and Chrono 5 minutes into it as a play through. It’s my list and I can do what I want. This game with all its endings and the new game plus made it easy to go back and beat it multiple times. I think through the 8 playthroughs I got 7 different endings. That’s the game that keeps on giving right there.
Times played through: ?????
Can you ever really “beat” Tetris? I say no, but I’ve put way too many hours into this game on my NES and my DS. I literally maxed out the score on Tetris DS to the point where it wasn’t even fun to play anymore. My score was all 9s and I ended up putting myself in bad positions just to see if I could get out of them. I did…every time. The game finally ended when I sadly allowed the pieces to stack to the top, preserving my high score for all of eternity.
I can say that this list would be much more extensive if I included games that I started a second or even third playthrough but never finished (FF X, FFVII, Mass Effect 3, GTA: San Andreas for example). For me, it’s got to be a truly amazing game that sucks me in for more than just the ending. It’s got to be something that’ll give me a new feeling and new adventures every time…except for Mario and Tetris…those guys just keep me entertained always.