#Listmas2016: Favorite Games to Replay

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
Image by Flickr user Ryan Somma (CC)

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
Image by Flickr user Tom Newby Photography (CC)
Image by Flickr user Gamerscore Blog (CC)
Image by Flickr user Gamerscore Blog (CC)

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
Image by Flickr user Colony of Gamers (CC)
Image by Flickr user Colony of Gamers (CC)

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
Image by Flickr user leendeleo (CC)
Image by Flickr user leendeleo (CC)

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?

15 Comments Add yours

  1. TRM1 says:

    Mine would be Super Mario bros. 1, 2, and 3. Plus the new smaller nes system for 60.00 bucks has all 3 and the original arcade version

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      You just can’t go wrong with the classics! I think I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve played through Super Mario 3 and tried the first one only to fail miserably each and every times, haha. ☺ They’ll always be amazingly fun games.

      (Also, wish I had one of those mini NES consoles…someday soon, maybe.)


  2. Mr. Panda says:

    Those are very solid choices. I’ve never played Sam and Max games before, but I think I’d like them, being a fan of point-and-clicks. I don’t like replaying games much, but here’s a list of the few games I will gladly and often replay.

    Super Mario World (every year)
    Super Mario 64
    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
    The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
    Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
    Anything in the Phoenix Wright series

    Liked by 2 people

    1. cary says:

      Oooo, now there’s a grand list of games! Each one wonderful in its own right. I really need to pick up the Phoenix Wright series someday. I’ve heard so many good things about it, and I think I’d enjoy what those games offer. There are just so many of them, it’s a little hard to know where to start. Any recommendations?

      As for Sam & Max, it’s a solid if short game. And one of the driving factor to play revolves around its humor. It’s not perfect, but the writing gets high marks. Plus the animation style is just so bright and poppy. And bevause it’s a short game, it’s perfect for a pick-me-up, too. I certainly recommend it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mr. Panda says:

        For Phoenix Wright, start with the original trilogy, which begins with Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. You can get the trilogy on 3DS or smartphones for a good price nowadays. They’re mystery point-and-click visual novels, but I love replaying them despite that! They’re also funny, and that’s partly why I think I’d enjoy the Sam & Max games as well! Thanks for the recommendation!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. cary says:

        You’re welcome! And thanks for the Phoenix Wright notes. I’ll poke around and see what I can find. They sound like the perfect games for morning commutes and spare moments of free time.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pooky says:

    Good choices!

    I always find myself returning to Final Fantasy 7. I find that immensely replayable. Is that just me? Something about the huge story and all of its little details, many of which you don’t notice the first time around, makes it really rewarding to come back to.

    Also, Zelda games, especially OOT and WW for me, are so so easy to go back and play.

    Hotel Dusk on the DS is one I come back to a lot as well. It’s cosy and comforting but mysterious, and I often forget half of the story so as I start to get towards the end its like I’m playing it for the first time again! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      I can see FFVII as something worth returning to. As you say, the scope of it is so big that it’s easy to miss the small things during a single playthrough. So even just going back through it to catch a handful of new details can lend loads to the overall experience. The same is kind of true for the Zelda games. I mean, unlike in some games where sidequests are just busy work, in Zelda games sidequests often lead to some juicy moments of storytelling. (I’d really like to play through Wind Waker again just for that!)

      And speaking of stories, I’m pretty bad at remembering game stories, so it often happens that, for me, replaying games is almost like playing them for the first time. But, it really all depends on the game. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. duckofindeed says:

    I guess I mostly love returning to platformers because some of the top games that come to mind that I enjoy replaying are Donkey Kong Country 2, Banjo-Kazooie/Tooie, and Jak and Daxter 1. They’re just so much fun to play, and they’re not a terribly big commitment, either. Majora’s Mask is one non-platformer I also love to play again and again. The game brings back memories of days long past, and despite it being a dark game, it’s strangely comforting to replay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      That’s the same feeling I get when I play Mass Effect — it’s really comforting despite the fact that is about the potential destruction of the universe. I just know it so well, from the gameplay to the characters, it’s simply enjoyable to return to every now and again.

      But, when you’re talking about gaming comfort food, you really can’t go wrong with a good platformer. I think Banjo-Kazooie (and Tooie) will always be a couple of my favorites as well. They’re phenomenally fun games that just work on every level.

      I should really get myself into a Jax and Daxter game. We recently moved our PS3 into a more accessible spot, and I’m now working on rebuilding it’s library. Any good Jax and Daxter titles for that system?


      1. duckofindeed says:

        There aren’t any new Jak and Daxter games on the PS3, but they do have an HD remake of the original Jak and Daxter trilogy on the PS3, which are the only Jak and Daxter games worth playing anyway. The first one is a simple platformer, while the other two are greatly changed (a lot darker, and they’ve added guns), but still good. The first game is my favorite. That one’s just pure platforming goodness.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Gosh, at first I thought this was a simple question but the harder I think the more examples are coming to me. I’m definitely with you when it comes to Mario 64; I can’t get enough of that game, especially in its early stages. Star Fox 64 (or Lylat Wars 64 as it’s known here in Euro-land) is another N64 one I always come back to.

    I find arcade/action games in general very replayable, mainly because they tend to be short and therefore non-intimidating to pick back up. Treasure make great action games: Gunstar Heroes and Sin and Punishment are two of their very best which I always come back to.

    Another trend I’m detecting are direct sequels: House of the Dead 2, Time Crisis 2, Streets of Rage 2, Sonic 2, Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2! Basically, if it’s got a 2 in the name, I’ll (re)play your game.

    One last thing, since you’re a big Super Metroid fan. Have you played Metroid: Zero Mission for GBA? It felt like an all-killer, 2 hour take on Super Metroid, with the only thing marring the experience being a slightly weird ending. Anyway would be interested to hear your thoughts if you’ve tried it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      I have played Zero Mission, and I really enjoyed it! I think the formation of Metroid Zero Mission, Super Metroid, and Metroid Fusion is one of the best trilogies in gaming. Wouldn’t it be nice to see another 2D Metroid game, someday? 😉 That game doesn’t quite fit into the interest of sequels, but you’ve got a good point there. Second sequels are usually better, in most respects, than their predecessors, so being drawn to them makes sense. And they makes them worthy of replays!

      As great as Super Mario 64 is overall, I think the beginning levels are just the best. I must admit that in my replays of the game, I’ve rarely found the need to try to beat the game repeatedly. Just getting the first 12 or 18 stars is enough to suffice.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice list! Mass Effect would be on mine as well. 🙂 I’m actually replaying Skyrim right now, and I would say that’s top of my list for games to replay. It’s like a homecoming to me, and the world now feels really familiar to me, yet there are still new things to discover each time I play.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      I’ve been eyeing Skyrim again ever since the special edition came out, so I can’t blame anyone for getting hooked again! Outside of it’s main story, it’s just just a great game world to be in. And it’s so massive and explorable that, as you said, there’s something new to experience with each new playthrough. It’s also really amazing just how much community support there is for Skyrim even though it’s a few years old. Most games just fall away after the few few months of success, but some become unstoppable. Seems Skyrim will be here to stay for a long time!

      Liked by 1 person

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