That Ultimate Video Game List Show was right from the jump one of the proudest and most enjoyable podcast productions I’ve seen or been a part of. Myself, Trev, Cam, and Frank each love and have gaming passions that, as you will see, run a broad gamut. While the final few ranking episodes may have seemed heated or intense, we never lost sight of the love or respect we have for each other and the silly, goofy, absolutely mad fun we had making that show for all of you. People can disagree, sometimes even quite strongly and then at the end of the day, leave with a smile, grab a drink, and remember that art is subjective and we all love what we love for a million reasons.
Anyway, this is how I’d have done it.
20. Pokemon: Soul Silver.
I just like, don’t get pokemon.
Still. Cam really loves it. So shoutout.
19. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Firstly, this is the best Genesis game and while it’s not the best Sonic game, shoutout to Mania, I fully stand by that the blue hedgehog and Sega in general each deserved a place on the ultimate list of video games. The history and arc of the video game story would be very different without each.
All complaints and problems with Sonic are old and tired. Tim Gettys said it best years ago, Sonic games were never about being better than Mario, of course they weren’t. What they were supposed to be was something fun, cool, and something different then a generation of kids had played before. I like Sonic, it’s always been that simple really.
18. Final Fantasy 6
This is very much a situation of this game being here not because I think it’s bad, or not amazing or anything and more because we are really entering into the “Logan just hasn’t played these things enough section”.
I’ve played like an hour of FF6, while it is very much not in my genre wheelhouse, I am excited to eventually really sit down and invest a ton of time into, maybe as a piece of that nerdy content one day. Every single time Trevor talks about this game I get excited and can feel the passion coming off him, so that’s a testament to it.
I just know nothing about it really.
17. Mass Effect 2
In another case of I just haven’t played the game comes along Mass Effect 2, which also served to be arguably the most divisive and intense game of the entire list (despite Cam’s best efforts at making it Wind Waker).
It’s a space game which I love. It’s also a giant sprawling RPG which I am less in love with. Ultimately I think I would like this game, assuredly less than most everyone else, but yeah, again ~space~ is cool y’all and I still love Frank.
16. Persona 4 Golden
The final big installment of Loggy hasn’t played that will get people hot and bothered for right now. I haven’t played it, but based off my tens of hours with P5 (without even getting halfway through that mammoth of a game), I have some sort of an idea.
Never loved these games’ combat or gameplay systems but man, the characters and that world always seem so rich and deep. Maybe I’ll get to it someday.
15. Tetris Effect
I dunno man, it’s like fancy Tetris.
But I will always respect Cam’s love and praise of this game and the deep emotional effect it had on him. Even if it’s a lot.
Video games am I right?
14. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Hugely important game that just ultimately maybe isn’t my kind of experience. Still want to play through the entire thing one of these days. Castlevania ain’t for the faint-hearted tho.
Amazing idea with the reverse mansion.
Is it better then Tony Hawk though?
13. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Hey, look ma it’s another space game that I haven’t played.
Yet, unlike Mass Effect I feel far more confident in saying I would enjoy my time and experience in this world. Paramount above all else because I love Star Wars and those worlds and the rich, brilliantly drawn characters that inhabit them so much. From everything I’ve heard and read, KOTR nails those aspects of SW.
12. Mega Man 2
Best music of any old school system game.
Wood Man’s stage for life fam.
Will never like the slide introduced after this game, thus there’s only one Mega Man game I really like. But it’s a good one.
These games are all perfected by the legacy collections. Which you should get. Because they are great deals and pieces of history.
11. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
I’ve never played Wind Waker but I routinely call it THE Zelda game that might actually make me really like Zelda. As someone who was a big fan of the Oceanhorn art style, gameplay, and just general ocean vibes all very much have me enraptured.
At this point, I just have to get around to it and hopefully love my time. Or at least like it more then Zelda 1.
10. Portal 2
I’ve never played Portal 1 or 2, the last time I will say that on this list.
But I feel total confidence in saying that whenever I ultimately do I will absolutely love them based off of their humor, wit, clever razor sharp puzzles, and wonderfully drawn characters at their heart.
Even if there isn’t any cake waiting for me.
Earthbound is a game I’ve always wanted to invest more time into then the couple hours I have so far. But even in those few hours the games evident charm and just pure glee of it all was abundant.
Earthbound could very well be the JRPG killer app for me that really forces me to sit down and fall in love with the genre. Maybe whenever I play it all the way through I will simply enjoy my time and move on, maybe I will only have mostly neutral thoughts.
All I know though is that this is a game, with a setting, and a breathing world that has captured my attention and left me wanting to see more. That’s not nothing.
8. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
So many vetoes all for not. Cam’s veto of this game, thus changing the nature of the rest of the series and forever filling Cam with regret over the numerous other games that made it on this list that he disliked, including the next game, was also a waste because SOTN ultimately ended up one position lower in the final ranking. Even in the end justice was on THPS2 side.
While not my personal fav Tony Hawk, that will forever and always be 3 which is near perfect, THPS2 is a fantastic, funny, and constantly great skateboarding game and part of a series that helped to define the late 90’s and early 2000’s among my generation.
Tony Hawk slaps fam, that’s all there is to it.
7. James Bond 007 Nightfire
James Bond 007 Nightfire is better than Mega Man. In fact Nightfire is better than most every game. The holder of the title the 18th greatest game of all-time after all our work was done, the true hero of the series remains the little secret agent that could.
Nightfire is so much about what is right with the series. It’s how a first person 007 game should work. Not perfect, not a phenom but a quick, fluid, fun, and constantly engaging story that shakes off the hellish shackles of Goldeneye and the poison it is for the video game Bond series. Nightfire is a breath of fresh air and one of the best early 2000s’ FPS.
It feels like a Pierce Brosnan Bond movie. The early snow levels are among the best Bond missions in a game full stop, nailing the spy thriller vibe. Getting goofier and sillier as the game goes on, space anyone? The vibe and energy are always there to keep things moving and at no point drag on for undue time.
While ultimately 2004’s Everything or Nothing is the best Bond video game story ever, it’s the total package from Nightfire, the fun, charming story, the characters, and the series best ever multiplayer suite that lifts this one up above EON on the whole I think.
Either way, James Bond 007 Nightfire remains one of the greatest games ever made, as declared by That Nerdy Site.
6. Super Mario Galaxy 2
I think Galaxy 2 is the best Mario game I’ve ever played. It is only this low because I’ve played it just the once and so long ago that not all the details are as seared into my memory still as much as what’s to come, but make no mistake it’s a masterpiece and please for the love of god Nintendo let me play it on the Switch.
Fun, silly, dripping with infectious love and joy for the series and handling Mario’s mythology and legacy with cute winking homages to his past more effectively for me then any other game, Galaxy 2 showcases the scope, wonder, and happy smiling joy that has always laid at the heart of the series.
I wrestled a lot between this and Galaxy 2. Truthfully, I’m still not sure I made the correct call, ultimately though I gave the slightest of nods to that first ever trip down to Rapture.
I love Bioshock. I love Rapture and Andrew Ryan, I love the twist and Big Daddys, and god I love Sander Cohen and all his twisted horror so much.
Bioshock is a triumph, it is a game that quite frankly shouldn’t work. It should have simply collapsed under the weight of all its overly lofty ambitions and ideas and never risen to the status of video game iconography.
Yet, what a wonder that it did. Truly one of the most influential, groundbreaking, and epoch-defining titles to exist, it redefined and reshaped how video game stories and characters exist and are told. It became the prism through which they would be judged and viewed.
Philosophy, politics, class, race, civilizations successes and failings, and most potently choice and what makes us human are all themes that are woven into the DNA of Bioshock. They would help to form the seeds of a larger industry wide push to challenge, teach, shock, and help us grow as players and critics. Bioshock is great, it’s shocking still, Rapture enthralls and provokes so much, and Jack’s descent through its world remains just as wonderfully told.
There’s always a lighthouse after all. There’s always a man.
4. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
A deeply, intimately powerful tale, Hellblade could very well be in the running for being my game of the generation. Melina Juergens’ performance as Senua has to rank among the all-time greatest pieces of games acting, made all the more striking and powerful by the fact that she wasn’t even an actress beforehand.
I could go into a whole giant thing about Hellblade, but after that Bioshock spiel, I’ll just say, very very few pieces of art have made me feel like Hellblade did. Challenged, scared, terrified, cleansed, forgiven, angry, and reborn. It is a messy deeply personal journey and one that is also so deeply universal.
Play Hellblade, please.
3. God of War
I’m so annoyed and Trevor Starkey is smiling so wide reading this (EDITOR’S NOTE: He was. – T). God of War is a game I like but didn’t love when I played through, yet it is in my top 3. Indeed is ahead of a game like Hellblade I adore for starters, how is that even possible?
The short answer is because God of War is just that damn impressive.
Even if you don’t love it, you can’t help but marvel at the massive technical and storytelling achievement Cory Barlog and Sony Santa Monica created.
Kratos’ moral arc and journey is astounding to watch unfold with a decade plus worth of prior knowledge and adventures with the Ghost of Sparta. It is a beautifully shown tale of grief and loss and of a father and son’s trek through worlds and the past and future coming hurtling together in terrifying fashion.
I don’t love every aspect of its story, there is a fair bit I would tweak and change, but this is perhaps the finest playing game on the entire list. The Leviathan Axe is the stuff of gaming legends now, genuinely perhaps the finest video game weapon of all-time. The odyssey Kratos goes on, the visuals, the music, the fights, all of it adds up to a masterclass of bringing back a once-beloved character.
Plus Trev loves it so much and always speaks with such passion to it and that’s really quite neat too.
2. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
I love Vice City.
All of it.
The characters, the music, the world, the humor, the smallest of small details, the things that make it alive and breathing. It is one of those indelible experiences that is forever seared into me. It is RockStar at its very best, and it is a crucial formative gaming moment for me.
I know the city of Vice City almost block by block still. The various back alleys and shortcuts. Building up an empire and getting rid of the trash around the city as Tommy Vercetti is the greatest story GTA has ever done.
Ray Liotta perfectly captures the soul of Tommy who is leaps and bounds better than any other GTA protagonist. He’s a human being who knows what he is and uses that to dramatically alter the DNA and landscape of Vice City in unquestionably good and positive ways and also ways that make him unique as one of the few stars of a Rockstar game who become unrepentant kings of the world and stay there.
His descent, his journey, his drug-fueled, action-packed, humor-laced odyssey through the crime, politics, and big business-booming world of Vice is among the truly epic and breathtaking-to-experience crime dramas and a blast every goddamn second.
What more could a kid ask from a PS2 game?
1. The Last of Us
It’s my favorite game of all-time, who are we kidding?
Joel. Ellie. Fall. Winter. Spring.
It’s a masterpiece. Arguably my favorite story ever told, and as powerful an experience as a piece of art has had on me.
Plus, for what it’s worth, it’s the most visually beautiful game with by far my favorite soundtrack
Good game is good.
Please play The Last of Us.