When we talk about the value of games, often we discuss replayability. That magic factor or host of factors that drive players to play games over despite having already beaten them. Sometimes it involves following a different plot or playing as different characters. Sometimes it involves collectibles or gathering special items. Sometimes it involves the drive to fully complete a game. And sometimes, a game is just that fun and compelling that it’s worth playing again simply because it exists.
Replaying Yoshi’s Woolly World for our YouTube channel has got me thinking about replayability, and, frankly, and unfortunately, how often I don’t replay my games these days. Because there was a time when I played the same games repeatedly, and it didn’t faze me. Now, with games being big and expansive, simply seeing a game’s credits, whether the game itself is fully complete or not, is nothing short of an accomplishment. But that’s not to say that I haven’t ever occasionally returned to a big, expansive game in order to relive its experience. Or that I haven’t ever returned to those older games that kept me going for so long. With that in mind, here’s my #Listmas list of my top five…err, six favorite games that I like to keep on repeat.
1. Super Metroid
No side-stepping here. Super Metroid is one of my all-time favorite game. It’s all-around brilliant in platforming, mechanics, story, and music, and it’s one of those seminal games to which current games are still compared. I’ve kept the game on my roster for many years now; it’s just one to which I must return every now and again.
2. Mass Effect
I know that Mass Effect 2 is the better game, but as I’ve written about before, Mass Effect is like a joyous homecoming each and every time I play it. Within it I feel like I could create a million different characters and experience it a million different ways. It’s like a warm blanket or macaroni and cheese; it’s my comfort food of gaming.
3. (tie) Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie
While Super Metroid represents the best of 2D platforming, both Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie represent the best of 3D platforming, at least in the 1990s. Both these games, while not without flaws, are simply too much fun to not revisit. When gaming feels like a burden, you can’t go wrong the breath of fresh (if slightly warmed and nostalgic) air that these titles offer.
4. Red Dead Redemption
While I only just fully replayed Red Dead Redemption for the second time earlier this year, it’s been in and out of our Xbox 360 since I first played it a number of years ago. While the story is great, and its quests are mostly enjoyable, it’s the game’s music and scenery that have kept me coming back. There’s just something so serenely wonderful about traveling a lonely, cragged landscape on horseback.
5. Sam & Max Hit the Road
I’m a sucker for a good laugh, and Sam & Max Hit the Road is full of good laughs, and bad laughs, and sideways laughs. Sure, it’s a short game that can be completed in a matter of hours, and sure, once you play through it there’s nothing new let to find on a second (or third or fourth) playthrough, but its humor and classic LucasArts graphical stylings are all-around great.
What are some of your favorite games to replay?