After a couple weeks off recovering from PDXCon, we’re back with the fourth entry of our series on the best games of all time! Since Loresworn has only been around since 2015, but D.M. and T.J. have been having opinions about games much longer than that, we’re embarking on a journey through every year from 1980 to the present, listing our favorite games that came out each year. Every week we’ll be discussing a specific year, listing what we think are the five best games from that year. At the end of this saga, we will look over all the games from each year to create Top 25 Games of All Time lists for each of us, and a grand Top 100 Games of All Time to stand as Loresworn’s final word on the subject!
Be sure to check the last page for the current rankings in the Best Game-lympics, where we will be scoring the current leaders in the Platform, Developer, and Country of Origin categories based on where each of their games place on each year’s list.
Last Week: Best Games of 1992
Next Week: Best Games of 1994
T.J.’s Picks, #5 – #2
One of the major reasons Myst sticks in my mind is because it was creepy as hell to play as a kid. It’s all the more impressive that it managed to pull that off in that it’s not really a horror game. All the eeriness and unease came from the atmosphere and the slow burn way it presented information. It drops you into this lonely, disconcertingly quiet world that manages to be both serene and subtly menacing at the same time. The desire to dig deeper and discover was ever present, and it left me with many indelible memories.
4. Master of Orion
Master of Orion took a type of game I’d already fallen in love with via Civilization and put it in space. And we all know everything is better in space. I didn’t play nearly as much MoO 1 as I did of its stellar sequel, but it was one of the first and most ambitious attempts at a genre that is now packed with imitators – including a recent franchise revival that wasn’t nearly as revolutionary or engrossing as the originals. There’s noting quite like building your first star empire and blasting all kinds of aliens to dust.
The fact that this is only my #3 should give some indication of how competitive this field is getting. In addition to being another one of those classic “Games Our Parents Didn’t Want Us To Play”, DOOM was just straight cool. You were a hardcore space soldier with a shotgun and a chainsaw who got to run around blowing the shit out of actual demons from hell on the surface of Mars. The weapons were satisfyingly impactful. The enemies were scary and awesome. id’s level design prowess was really coming into its own. And it had a really great sense of progression, almost like Dante’s inferno, as you progressed from only mildly demon-infested facilities into the maddening bowels of a damned dimension. There’s a reason many say the first person shooter came of age here.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Not only was Link’s Awakening a fantastic follow-up to the amazing A Link to the Past, it’s overall one of the most memorable Zelda games for me – possibly because it was the first one I could carry with me on the Game Boy and play whenever and wherever I wanted. D.M. and I used to sprawl out across from each other, bulky handheld consoles propped up on our elbows, and explore in parallel, occasionally collaborating to solve a tough puzzle. Plus, it has possibly the only compelling love interest in franchise history. Marin > Zelda, every day of the week.