Do you have a favorite game? Probably, right? If push comes to shove, most of us probably have that one game that we love more than the rest. A favorite game isn’t necessarily a static thing though. Favorites change, just as gaming changes, just as we continue to change. I know my favorites have changed over the years. However, it’s not so much that games changed than it is that my relationship with them changed.
I’ve probably had three games that I could call my “absolute favorite” over the course of my life so far. The first was The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It was the title that first got me into video games in the first place after all. It was the first game I ever played, the first game I ever beat, the first game I ever mastered…there were quite a few “firsts” when it came to that game. I still have a soft spot for it, and I still enjoy playing it it, but it’s time as my favorite was relatively brief. That distinction was almost immediately snapped up by The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask when it released in 2000.
Oh man, Majora’s Mask. I’ve taken just about every opportunity to talk about this game that I can, and I still can’t seem to say enough! It’s one of those rare games that I can play over and over again without ever getting tired of it. Seriously, between the original and the 2014 3DS version, I’ve probably played through the game at least 10 times. It’s to the point where I’ve committed just about the entire game to memory. All the dungeon layouts, all the heart pieces, the best way to complete the alien fight, even the routines of everyone in Clock Town! It’s all right there in the ol’ noggin! I don’t know why it affects me so. I could be the dungeons. It could be the much more personal story. It could even just be the soundtrack. Whatever the reason though, Majora’s Mask is, to this very day, a game I can pick up and play through without any problem whatsoever. I just absolutely love it! However, it’s no longer my favorite game. That honor is currently held by the original Mass Effect.
I’ve had an odd relationship with Mass Effect over the years. It’s probably been my actual favorite game since I first completed it back in 2008, and for a long time I was able to play it in the same way I was able to play Majora’s Mask. All told, I probably clocked around 7 or 8 complete playthroughs between 2008 and 2012. I learned every secret and mastered every class. I made Shepard’s story my own and relished every minute I got to spend exploring this fictional version of the Milky Way! Things change though, and the spell was broken upon completing Mass Effect 3.
I’m not really sure about what happened. It may that the disappointment of the third game’s ending kinda shocked me out of it. Or, perhaps the fact that the journey was over was enough to quell my desire to play the games. Whatever the reason, I found myself with almost no desire to step into the shoes of Commander Shepard again. The strange thing is: I still consider the original Mass Effect to be my favorite game.
I still don’t have much desire to go back and play it again, but I still see it as something special. I still remember that magical feeling of playing it through for the first time and still remember being a near-rabid fan of the series. It’s still the game I compare all other games to, and it’s still the game to beat. I may still enjoy picking up and playing Majora’s Mask, but no other game has yet to inspire the same kind of fervor in me that the original Mass Effect did.
So, it’s changed. My favorite changed until I played Mass Effect and that game ultimately changed my own personal definition of “favorite”. It’s no longer the game I enjoy playing the most, but is now instead the game that had the most impact on me. In all likelihood, both will change again. There are always new games to be played, and new experiences to be had. So, honestly it would be quite strange if Mass Effect wasn’t dethroned at some point. In fact, I can hardly wait for that to happen!
What’s your favorite game? Has it always been your favorite? Has the reason it’s your favorite always been the same?