I have undergone a lot of surgeries due to my physical disability. Constantly having to stay in one place while encased in various casts and slings is a tough thing for a young kid (or anyone really) to endure. Luckily my parents were big gamers and would let me play when I was as young as five years old in order to help cope with these frequent trips to the hospital. I've been a huge gamer ever since and have accumulated a fairly big list of all of the games that I have played over the years.
Here are seventy-eight games (it's all about random numbers) that I feel everyone should play or at least watch someone else play in order to be considered a gamer. Keep in mind that this a list of chronological order, not importance.
78. Pong - 1972
Two paddles, and a ball were all your parents needed in a game to have fun while they walked to school in the snow before the wheel was invented.
77. Space Invaders - 1978
The first game to capitalize on the popularity of killing aliens. It also revolutionized the role of music in video games by establishing a continuous musical loop that changed depending on what was occurring on screen.
76. Tetris - 1984
Tetris was first released in 1984 when Alexey Pajitnov first created the game in the Soviet Union. Great job comrade!
75. Super Mario Bros. - 1985
While Mario's first appearance would be in Donkey Kong, it was Super Mario Bros. that made him the video game icon that he is today. It also showed us the great power of mushrooms.
73. The Legend of Zelda - 1986
An amazing, non-linear dungeon crawler with RPG elements starring a boy named Link as he tries to recover the Triforce of Wisdon. I still want a magic sword that shoots people when I have full health.
72. Rampage - 1986
A classic arcade title that allowed us to control huge monsters that destroyed everything in their path.
71. Contra - 1987
Contra proved that there was nothing more fun than blasting away at infinite waves of henchman with a friend at the same time. Long live the spread gun!
70. Double Dragon - 1987
One of the first successful examples of the beat 'em up genre. It also subverts the idea of co-op gameplay by forcing players who had been working together the entire time to fight each other in the end in order to get the girl. Awesome!
69. Mega Man 2 - 1988
Mega Man 2's password save system, energy tank item and creative boss battles made the Mega Man series the popular franchise that it is today.
68. Super Mario 3 - 1988
The wizards at Nintendo outdid themselves when they thought of giving Mario new powers such as ability to "ground pound" with the Tanooki suit along with more creative levels.
67. River City Ransom - 1989
River City Ransom introduced RPG elements and a sense of humor to the beat 'em up genre. Players could could buy books that granted them new fighting techniques while beating up "The Jocks" and "The Frat Guys" before fighting the final boss. It's a cult classic.
66. Battletoads - 1991
A classic beat 'em up that was really hard and showed the world that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were amateurs. It also has the greatest pause music of all time.
65. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge - 1991
The sequel to LucasArts's Monkey Island series is considered by many to be one of the best point-and-click adventure games ever.
64. Sonic 2 - 1992
The best Sonic game of all time. This sequel had better graphics, better levels and was faster than its predecessor. The two player split-screen mechanic is a bit wonky but I give them brownie points for trying.
63. Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting - 1992
Everyone may shake their heads at Capcom's frequent cash grabs when it comes to the Street Fighter series but this version was a vast improvement over the original.
62. Mortal Kombat - 1992
The controversial debut of the bloody fighting series swept through arcades and every gaming console worldwide. The highly stylized, ultra-violent style of the fighting system along with the inclusion of fatalities cemented it in gaming history forever.
61. Doom - 1993
Doom popularized the first-person shooter by allowing you to control an unnamed space marine as he kills millions of demons invading from Hell. Weapons such as the BFG 9000 combined with insane amounts of gore for the time would help cement Doom in gaming history forever.
60. X-Wing - 1993
X-Wing was considered the first "proper" space combat simulator to feature 3D polygon graphics and use a music system that changed in real time to adapt to events happening during gameplay.
59. Virtua Fighter - 1993
The first 3D fighter ever made. Virtua Fighter's more grounded approach to it's fighting engine made it popular for gamers who were tired of constantly shooting fireballs or performing high-altitude spinning kicks like other popular fighting games.
58. Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger - 1994
Relax Wing Commander fans. This series is getting represented as well. The third entry of the series was introduced 3D graphics and Full-Motion Video (FMV) cutscenes to drive the story. To top it off, the main character was played by Mark Hamill.
57. Super Metroid - 1994
The third and possibly best entry in the Metroid series starring female bounty hunter Samus Aran. The beautiful open-ended world, the progression of items and power-ups to access hidden areas, and the ability to combine Samus Aran's weapon beams make Super Metroid timeless.
56. Tie Fighter - 1994
The sequel to X-Wing with better graphics that had dogfighting for the evil Galactic Empire. Tie Fighter introduced the ability to target specific components of larger capital ships and even let you fly on a mission with Darth Vader himself. No pressure.
55. Chrono Trigger - 1995
Chrono Trigger's follows Crono and his group of adventurers as they make use of time travel in order to prevent a global catastrophe.
54. The Dig - 1995
One of many adventure games developed by LucasArts. A team of scientists land on an asteroid on a collision course with Earth with the intent of using explosives to throw it off course.
53. Command and Conquer - 1995
Joseph Kucan's performance as the evil Kane brought the Real-Time Strategy (RTS) genre into the mainstream. Gathering Tiberium and destroying enemies as either the Global Defense Initiative (GDI) or the Brotherhood of Nod got many gamers hooked on the genre forever.
52. Super Mario 64 - 1996
Mario's debut in 3D gaming set the new standard for platforming as players jumped through painting after painting in order to get the power stars they needed in order to stop Bowser in his tracks.
51. Mario Kart 64 - 1996
The 2d sprites that were created for the racers of this version of Mario Kart haven't aged well but the gameplay is timeless. Newer games in this franchise may have better graphics and frame rates but a part of me feels that Nintendo should've just stopped at this game.
50. Pokemon Red/Blue - 1996
It's amazing to see how many more Pokemon there are now than the original 150 pocket monsters introduced in the first game of the series.
49. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - 1997
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night follows Alucard, the son of Dracula, as he explores his father's castle in order to slay him forever.
48. Final Fantasy VII - 1997
Cloud Strife. The mere mention of the main character of Final Fantasy VII gets all of my friends who had a PlayStation into a nostalgia fit.
47. Ultima Online - 1997
The Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) that every other MMORPG owes its existence too.
46. Tekken 3 - 1997
The combination of the game's controls emphasizing a fighter's limbs instead of attack strengths were unique.
45. NFL Blitz - 1997
My favorite football game of all time. Sure, the Madden series is more realistic but flying across the football field to tackle receivers and performing suplexes on players after the play is over is a lot more fun.
44. Goldeneye 007 - 1997
Goldeneye showed the gaming community that FPS games could thrive in the console market without a mouse and keyboard.
43. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - 1998
The 3D graphics made me believe that Hyrule was a real place, you could ride to places on a horse, the story and in-game engine cutscenes were incredible.
42. R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 - 1998
The fourth entry in the Ridge Racer franchise. The choice of drift cars versus grip cars kept things interesting and the enhanced graphics made night-time racing a blast.
41. Starcraft - 1998
The Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game that changed the world. I still cringe at thought of enduring a zerg rush.
40. Counter-Strike - 1999
The Half-Life mod that turned into a global phenomenon. Counter-Strike gave players the ability to earn money in-between rounds so they can upgrade the weaponry during a match.
39. Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings - 1999
I loved playing as the different civilizations and using my sheep as my main scout unit in the early game.
38. The Sims - 2000
Shifting the focus from city building to being a pseudo-God to individual characters proved to be a popular concept that spawned countless expansion packs and sequels.
37. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask - 2000
The most underrated game of the entire series. Majora's Mask was darker, more challenging, and had a more intricate storyline than Ocarina of Time.
36. Diablo 2 - 2000
The game made for the inner hoarder in all of us. Hardcore mode was a nerve wracking adventure since your character only had one life and couldn't be resurrected.
35. Final Fantasy X - 2001
The reveal at the end of the story was incredible and I really enjoyed the revamped summoning system.
34. Grand Theft Auto 3 - 2001
The game that changed everything. Running over pedestrians in a Banshee became a new favorite past time for gamers all over the world.
33. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec - 2001
A real breakthrough in the racing simulation genre. The graphics were great for their time but the physics engine is what makes this game timeless.
32. Super Smash Bros. Melee: - 2001
The best competitive fighting game of a series that was meant for casual players. Concepts discovered by avid players such as wave dashing makes Smash Bros. Melee a big contender in gaming tournaments today.
31. Max Payne - 2001
Gunplay inspired by Hong Kong cinema wrapped in a film noir story makes Max Payne a game to remember.
30. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
The ability to buy property, police have more options to dispose of you, and that amazing soundtrack puts it the game on this list.
29. Silent Hill 2 - 2001
Silent Hill 2's success at psychological horror makes this the best of the entire series. Let's not forget about the insane introduction to Pyramid Head.
28. Metroid Prime - 2002
Retro Studio's re-thought the FPS genre when taking Samus Aran into her first 3D game of the Metroid series. The sense of wonder, exploration, and perfection of puzzle elements make this one of my personal favorites.
27. Resident Evil (Gamecube Remake) - 2002
One of the best game remakes of all time. Better voice-acting, the addition of Lisa and a beautifully horrifying setting that is still scary.
26. Kingdom Hearts - 2002
The result of a great collaboration between Square-Enix and Disney. Fighting alongside Donald Duck and Goofy in order to defeat Sephiroth sounds like a strange idea on paper but it worked brilliantly.
25. SimCity 4 - 2003
The best city-management game in the series. I hear that they made a sequel to this game but I think that's just a vicious rumor...
24. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - 2003
One of the best Star Wars games ever made and perhaps one of the best RPGs as well. Bastila Shan's character arc that changes depending on your choices is amazing.
23. Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes - 2004
This Gamecube remake of the original Metal Gear Solid brought over fun gameplay elements from Metal Gear Solid 2, had a better presentation of the story, and voice acting that was actually recorded in an isolated sound booth.
22. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater - 2004
The jungle setting was a much needed change for the series that took stealth gameplay to a new level. Let's not forget that the final reveal about The Boss's true intentions were a huge heart-breaker.
21. World of Warcraft - 2004
I would jokingly point out that this is more of a Skinner box wrapped in a game but the reality is that World of Warcraft is loved by millions around the world.
20. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door - 2004
The unique game play and graphical style along with successfully creating a fun plot in a franchise that is known for having one is a big achievement.
19. Half-Life 2 - 2004
The intro cinematic of this game still give me goosebumps and fighting zombies in Ravenholm with the gravity gun is one of the best experiences that I've had in modern gaming.
18. Resident Evil 4 - 2005
An action-oriented change from the traditional Resident Evil style of gameplay that worked beautifully (unlike later titles in the series).
17. Shadow of the Colossus - 2005
A beautiful game that showed the world that the medium is truly an art form. You may want to have some tissues with you by the time you beat it.
16. Call of Duty 2 - 2005
Many gamers forget that the Call of Duty series started in World War II as a way to compete with the Medal of Honor series.
15. Civilization IV - 2005
"Just one more turn!" became a motto in my house when this game was released. My perception of Ghandi also changed forever.
14. Okami - 2006
One of the best games of 2006 that no one has played. The brush gesture system of Okami along with the Zelda-inspired gameplay mechanics make this a game that everyone should play at least once.
13. Hitman: Blood Money - 2006
The best murder simulator on the planet. Okay maybe those are some strong words but Blood Money's level design gave gamers full creative freedom on how to complete their assassinations.
12. Bioshock - 2007
A fun FPS that shows the folly of Ayn Rand's objectivist philosophy. Now would you kindly give me boatloads of money?
11. Portal - 2007
One of my favorite puzzle games with a memorable villain. Portal is proof that big-budget developers can still make something new if they want to.
10. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - 2007
This game would constantly be spinning in my Xbox 360 as my roommates and I would take turns while procrastinating on our work.
9. Left 4 Dead - 2008
Valve's success at creating an A.I. dubbed "The Director" that randomly changes item and enemy placement makes this four-player co-op game highly repayable.
8. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - 2009
Uncharted 2 perfects the idea of a modern reincarnation of Indiana Jones in video game form. It even has a decent stealth component for such an action-oriented game.
7. Amnesia: The Dark Descent - 2010
No weapons, little light, and a monsters that you can't kill make this one of the scariest games ever made. I may have had someone hold me while I was trying to dodge the invisible monster.
6. Fallout: New Vegas - 2010
Fallout 3 may have brought the series into the modern age but the introduction of factions from the original games that you could vie for influence along with the implementation of a Hardcore Mode makes this the better game of the two.
5. Limbo - 2010
A beautiful black and white masterpiece that both scared and intrigued me at the same time.
4. Mass Effect 2
Commander Sheppard. Enough said.
3. Batman: Arkham City - 2011
This sequel finally delivered the great, free-roaming Batman game that was hinted at in Arkham Asylum. Having the chance to play as Catwoman was a nice bonus as well.
. Minecraft - 2011
A refreshing break to the Triple-A blockbusters that normally crowd the gaming scene. A good game doesn't need breathtaking graphics to succeed. It just needs a fun concept and a developer who is dedicated to seeing his idea all the way through.
1. The Last of Us - 2013
I have never been so happy to be emotionally drained after finishing the storyline of a video game with the exception of Shadow of Colossus.