This is part 2 of a 3 part list – The first covering Nintendo, and the last will cover Windows PC, Mobile, and Sega. I’d recommend starting there for the first 55 games, and For now though, lets enjoy the wonders of what Sony and Microsoft have offered over the years with the next 45 games I’d recommend you take into a bunker with you to endure the fallout of our inevitable Trumpacylpse. If you read the first post, the following is largely unchanged if you want to skip to the good stuff and scroll down to the list.

Lists are hard. You try your damnedest to round out to whatever number sounds good to you but something always seems off. Raise the number to include more then it feels like filler. Rattle off what’s already been established and what’s the point? Sure I could just print a list of the best video games ever. How different would that list really be though? As time goes forward we seem to further homogenize our views of what’s worth playing and what’s not into a cycling list of the same few games, just in a new order. Still I read them all and scrutinize despite knowing the strings involved behind the curtain. I can’t deny that I love making lists though so I decided to give myself a challenge. It started as listing a few scribbles on paper and grew into this semi-complete list of 140 games that sit before you now. Criteria and rules?

  • 5 games per system/designation. IE; Gameboy Color = Gameboy, and PC is broken down by decades starting in the 80’s.
  • Unless there’s a paradigm shift in how the game is played, one entry per series across all platforms
  • The list should compose of games that highlight the variety of the system, not necessarily “the best”.
    • Subnote – if I didn’t create this rule, virtually every choice of mine would have been RPGs
  • The games must be approachable in their current state today in 2017, not as they were at release.
    • Some games don’t age well and because of this will not be included.
    • This also means games that were amazing with a multiplayer focus may have been lobbed off
  • I’m going off of NA releases, and heavily bent towards games I have either first or second hand experience with. Sorry, no “but this limited print of an import JRPGs that influenced everything ever and OMG HOW DID YOU NOT INCLUDE THIS ON YOUR LIST”. Tangible, real, accessible games only.

By all means, feel free to state your arguments as to what should/shouldn’t make the cut. Just remember this isn’t a “best games for the platform” as much as it is a “this is why this platform was great”. The five games are unranked and represent a set to be plopped down in front of a group of players that’ve never experienced it in hopes of highlighting the range offered by that platform. That being said, these lists are meant to compliment one another and if you isolate them it might be confusing to why these games were chosen. A good example of this is you won’t find Super Mario 64 (OMG WHY?!) – Because I felt Super Mario Galaxy better represented the Wii yet the two games are similar enough to not need both games muddling up the lists.

Without further ramblings – Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of it all now. The lists of games and a bit about them… For part two we’ll be looking at Sony and Microsoft’s catalog of platforms.

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After the PlayStation Experience keynote just wrapped in Las Vegas I had a small realization… Sony is building an accessible archive of video games. It seems everyone keeps getting up in arms every time a rerelease is announced for a titles… Either an HD upgrade, PS1 classic, or port across last gen to this. The vocal, angry minority of the internet rages about wanting new games and new IPs. I get that, I really do. I love playing new games. I also love playing my old games too. I’ve been burned in the past by trading in my  N64, PS1, and PS2 games and then regretting it years later when they are sparse or expensive. With the Xbox360 / PS3 I opted not to trade in any titles and keep my catalog. I got tired of reaching for Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2 and it not being in my collection. I realize this isn’t everyone, but it’s me and I like having that option.

So here we stand with the PS4. The PSX keynote bombarded us with 2015 releases of PC, PS1, and PS3 games coming to the PS4. Day of the Tentacle, Bastion, Final Fantasy 7, and Super Stardust Ultra. They also had new titles being released with Uncharted 4, What Remains of Edith Fitch, No Man’s Sky, and The Order: 1886. Some have mentioned prior to the release of the 8th gen of consoles that this may be the last generation of new consoles as we know them. Maybe this is true. If that’s the case and we’re expected to be playing with these machines for the next 10 years… Why wouldn’t we want this smorgasbord of gaming delight? As much as people have argued the price of PSNow, it does offer the ability to play a slew of PS3 games as well. They’re not native to the system though so personally I’d welcome ports to run on PS4. We’ve seen some good stuff like Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition, GTA5, Sleeping Dogs, and Tomb Raider: DE all bring last gen games forward. Soon we’ll have Dark Souls 2 available. If none of these are exclusive to PS4, what’s the big deal?

A c c e s s i b i l i t y . Previously finding a slew of old consoles and games in my attic, I’ve come to realize while the games stay fun and relevant, the hardware becomes more and more obtuse. I had to make a trip to Radio Shack (*shudders*) to purchase a piece that lets me connect an Atari 2600 to my TV. I needed to buy an adapter for my TV to take a component cable from my N64. Controllers get gunked up over the years. Also, my TV only has two HDMI slots so I’m already shuffling between my PS3, PS4, X360, and Wii U more often than I’d like. Hardware is the thing that bogs retro gaming down. If I had one device that played all my games across all platforms, that would be absolutely choice. For a lot of people, PC is that beast. I work with them all day though and get burned out dealing with them. Optimizing, reformats, downloading and reinstalling OS’s, getting new drivers, weird bugs, etc. When I game, I just want to drop in a disc, click on boot and play… When I can skip the disc part, even better.

This is where the PS4 is really starting to shine for me. There are all sorts of awesome experience previously limited to PCs. I can play old titles dating back to the mid 90’s with some of these offerings. I really wish PS4 had PS1 Classics native support, but until then I have releases of games like Final Fantasy 7 and Grim Fandango to hold me over. I have indies like Octodad or Transistor. We’re seeing a bunch of last-gen PSN gems coming forward with Bastion, Journey, and Unfinished Swan. PS3 games are getting remastered and updated like Grand Theft Auto 4. All of this is releasing while new PS4 games are being created like Drawn to Death, Bloodborne, and Street Fighter 5. It’s doing EVERYTHING. It’s appealing to a TON of demographics. From the content of their games, to the dates of the games, and the size of the games. You have free to play, PSN budget games, and full retain games. It’s slowly but surely building a massive archive of instantly accessible classics, quirky oddballs, AAA, and artistic gems. I really believe that 5 years from now, the PS4 library could possibly be the greatest variance of games available on single console at this rate. Yes, PC’s will reign supreme with being able to always rely on a massive catalog dating back as far as time can tell… For folks like me though, I welcome this open mindset Sony is laying out for the PS4. I’ve never played Grim Fandango and thanks to this initiative of keeping old games alive (even if the naysayers just think of it as padding) – I’ll get to play the game I missed out on years ago.