Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those ‘to be a real gamer, you must do X’ kind of articles. We simply thought of a couple of games we think every gamer should try at least once – they’re all unique in a few ways.
Obviously you don’t have to, but we think – whether you enjoy them or not – that you’ll get something from the experience… even if it’s just a Steam/PlayStation/Xbox achievement.
1. PokÉmon Red/Blue
Odds are you’ve played Pokémon games before – you probably grew up with them. We’ve come a long way since the original 150 creatures appeared in a game… now it’s over 750. They’re still fun because we will always love catching new little creatures, but there is something to be said for the original.
Red/Blue were what really started off the hype, and they played quite differently from the newer gen games. Why should you play it? To experience the beginning of something as huge as the Pokémon franchise, and to understand where it all started.
Now, before you cry ‘Oblivion was better’ or ‘Daggerfall is where it’s at’ hear us out. We don’t necessarily think Skyrim is the best TES title, although that has some merit too – this is about the game’s impact.
Why should you play it? Because it changed the TES series and made it more accessible to casual gamers or not-yet gamers. The skill tree system and neat graphics really appealed to a wider audience, and the sheer amount of quests, side-quests, and sweet rolls made for an exceptional experience.
In fact, the game even appealed to non-RPG fans, which is a pretty big deal. Skyrim was very different from previous games (in some regards anyway) which makes it a valuable addition to the TES line-up.
3. Super Mario Bros. 3
There are so many Mario games it’s pretty hard to pick the best one – probably because there really isn’t one. So, why this game then? Originally released for the NES, it was considered one of the best titles for it. It has since jumped to other platforms so even if you don’t have a NES sitting around you shouldn’t find it too hard to get your hands on a copy.
Why should you play it? Because it’s fun. The little Italian plumber and his brother defeating boss after boss only to find out that the princess is yet in another castle, this 2D side-scroller lost nothing of its charm over the years. Not too many games can claim that – although there are a few more Mario titles that can. Long story short, Mario’s journey is one for the ages – Princess or not.
Portal was a milestone when it first came out – a beautiful, well-crafted puzzle game with hilarious characters, companion cubes and all the memes one could ask for. It didn’t have to boast dozens of hours of playtime – in fact you can beat it in an afternoon and still have time left to cook dinner.
Why should you play it? Because it was so very unique and game-changing. Not too many games that have come out in recent years can say that any more – sure, there are some, but many (if not most) things have been tried before. Therefore, innovation is different, but Portal easily achieved it.
Also, GLaDOS. What more reason could you need?
5. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Yes, it’s an obvious one. Link’s greatest adventure would have to be on a list like this. It has a massive world, gripping game-play, appropriate difficulty, and hours of fun? Absolutely. The game has aged surprisingly well for something that came out so long ago. Sure, Link looks a little like something you’d scrape off a shoe, but hey, with graphics being what they were back then, that’s easily forgivable.
Why should you play it? Come on, because it’s Ocarina of Time, obviously.
6. The Last of Us
This game was so popular, it was the sole reason some people bought a PS3. Not us, there are other good games for the console, but it’s definitely a factor. What makes this game so great? Well, the story. It has sadness, loneliness, action, suspense, and it’s one of the most gripping tales we’ve ever experienced.
Why should you play it? There aren’t too many zombie games that can boast an amazing story, and yet this game absolutely can. At first glance it’s nothing special, but if you actually play it, you’ll quickly see what makes it so unique. The gameplay is solid on top of the story, so it’s a great experience all-round.
7. Grand Theft Auto 3
Yet again, it probably isn’t the best game of its series, but it was a huge milestone. For many gamers it was the first time they really got to experience Anarchy as it were – the previous two GTAs were alright, but this game took it leaps and bounds beyond what they had.
It was crass, it was controversial, and for its time, it was huge and full of missions and fun. Why should you play it? Because it set the direction for the games that came after it. Compared to GTA V, the world is absolutely tiny, but if you consider how long it’s been, this first 3D entry changed a whole genre – that of Open World games. That alone would be enough to give it a try, but let’s not forget it’s also pretty fun – plenty of reasons to pick it up.
There probably aren’t too many people under the age of 50 that haven’t played Tetris – gamers or not, it is that iconic. Its spot on this list is really more of a formality – if you’ve really never played Tetris, we’d love to know what rock you’ve been living under since 1986.
Why should you play it? Do we really have to explain? Alright then. For a very simple reason: This game created by one Russian – Alexei Pajitnov – all but carried the GameBoy and handheld gaming as a whole. Try to imagine life without that. Yeah, we can’t either.
9. Chrono Trigger
This game was the first one that included time travelling, and although that may not seem like a huge deal now, back then it was. With time travel being extremely common nowadays, think about what it means that this game started it all – introducing a new concept in games is difficult, and it’s even harder to do it well, yet Chrono Trigger did just that.
Why should you play it? Because on top of being revolutionary, it’s also incredibly fun. It was an extremely good RPG, and did you know the characters were drawn by the creator of Dragonballs? This game is really one for the ages.
10. The Sims
The concept of this game is as stupid as they come – emulate life itself. You can do all the things you can do in real life, but while sitting at home. Turning out to be one of the most fun, and most loved, game concepts ever. It was either a stroke of luck or genius – whichever it was, the Sims are now synonymous with gaming.
Why should you play it? Because you’ll probably never have that many friends in real life, and that’s OK. Your Sim friends will be there for you.