I decided it was time I share my thoughts and knowledge on what I think are some of the greatest games ever to be put to our screens, with this I hope to explain why I think these games deserve to not only be on this list, but also deserve your time to visit them so you too can share in some of the greatest games ever made.
Obviously not all these games are available for modern consoles, but thanks to plentiful remakes, re-releases, digital editions on Xbox, PlayStation 3, PC and many other devices, emulators or even just a few bargains on eBay, it's not hard to get stuck into the kind of games we gamers really deserve to play.
In the last article I spoke about the greatest RPG games to have ever graced our screen which you can read here. This week I'll be taking a look at the best of the best in the Action and Adventure genres.
While strictly speaking, Mario 64 is actually a platform game, but it offered so much more over the first few games in the Mario series that it can fall under many titles, from RPG, Action, Adventure and platformer. Overall though it doesn't matter how you label this game, it's still an amazing experience to play. Being the first of its kind when it broke the platformer template and went into an almost open world style 3D gameplay style, Mario 64 didn't just set a new standard for gaming, but it set it so high that it's a formula nearing perfection that has rarely been achieved since.
As with many Nintendo 64 games its graphics still look shape and clean today, thanks to the simple yet bold graphics style that the console became famous for. Mario is a household name these days and Mario 64 went a long way to break everyone's favorite plumber in to the main stream market. With some fantastic level design, fun yet challenging gameplay and some truly entertaining boss fights make this one of my all-time favorite games.
Where can I play it? Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS and Virtual Console
The Zelda series has been a long standing favorite amongst many gamers, but for me the series really came into its pride with the Nintendo 64. Sure there have been some stunning entries on both older and newer Nintendo hardware, but for me the finest examples were Ocarina of Time and Majoras Mask. Both are still fantastic looking games even today and I have many fond memories of both titles.
Of course you could revisit the entire Zelda back catalogue but these two games alone work just as well in their own right. Link on his forever quests to aid the princess Zelda and save Hyrule with some of the best realized characters and landscapes in Nintendo's history, every gamer should pay at least one visit to each of these gaming masterpieces.
Where can I play it? Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii and 3DS
Easily one of the most understated and undersold games in gaming history, sure the game has been a success, but it deserved to be so much more. With poor sales helping put the last nail in the coffin for the original development studios, it seemed Okami was doomed forever, but quality prevailed and it has gone on to be picked up again and again for a port to the Wii and now at last the PlayStation Network has Okami HD.
The art style of this game is simply stunning, with a hand drawn art style that set an incredible standard upon its original release. Combine that with a super musical score, an award winning story and some of the most creative and entertaining gameplay in history and you have what I like to think is a perfect game. While I wouldn't say it's my all-time favorite game, it's easily in the top 5. If you haven't tried Okami, don't be put off by its strange story and visual style, this is a game you just need to experience first-hand.
Where can I play it? PlayStation 2, Wii and PlayStation 3 (PSN)
This game is a hard one to quantify, it's simple yet bold approach to storytelling and gameplay are very unique, yet that's what makes it so beautiful to play. The developers wanted to remove any elements from the game that detracted from the basic themes of boy meets girl, removing both design and gameplay elements to give the game a minimalist feels.
In the end it's this ruthless approach and focus that makes Ico so brilliant, with its minimal dialogue and (for its time) ground breaking graphics. The premise was fairly simple too, you're locked away in a fortress where you meet a girl named Yorda and your job is to find your way out together while keeping the girl safe, but with a focus more on exploration and puzzle solving rather than fighting your way out.
Ico is well regarded on many top games of all times list as one of the finest examples of both gaming and for the argument "can games be art", either way it's one worth revisiting and with the HD re-release on PlayStation 3 being bundled with a HD re-release of Shadow of the Colossus (the next game on this list), you've no reason not to.
Where can I play it? PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3
Shadow of the Colossus
As I mentioned with Ico, there is a good reason for this game being bundled alongside Ico. Not only is it from the same developers (Team Ico), but it's also another fine example of how games should be. With a stunning art style unlike anything seen before this game is quite often breathtaking.
Each level of the game is in fact a Colossus, which in some cases are several thousand feet tall monsters and it's your job to take them down, but of course you’re just a teenage guy on a horse armed with a sword, which is what makes this game so exciting to undertake.
The whole game has a steady pace to it mixed with exploration and traveling across stunning landscapes in search of each Colossi and it really is a sight to behold.
Where can I play it? PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3
Resident Evil Series
Resident Evil games have been a staple of many gamers digital diet for quite some time now, ever since the launch of the original RE on the PlayStation 1 the game has been popular, spawning many movies, spin offs and more along the way.
But for the purpose of this section, I want to bring the original trilogy to people’s attention, Resident Evil 1, 2 and 3 on the PlayStation 1 were by far the highlights of the series. I am a big fan of the new editions of the game, but you can't really compare them to the games of old as they take such a different approach in terms of gameplay.
The first 3 titles were actually edge of your seat scary, hard as hell to complete and featured real head scratching puzzles that more than warrant a revisit to the start of the Resident Evil Series.
Where can I play it? PlayStation 1, Digital Download
Metal Gear Solid
A lot of people criticize the Metal Gear Solid for a whole number of reasons, but those people likely haven't been with their series from the start. OK there were some games for the NES and Snes that are still great, but here I am talking about Metal Gear Solid 1 (PS1), Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 (PS2) and Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3).
There is nothing that can compare to Hideo Kojimas vision when it comes to stealth action gaming, with it's serious and hardcore gameplay mixed with some unique tongue-in-cheek humor playing out over a rich story that arcs throughout the entire series, this is one game series that really is worth playing all the way through.
Graphically each game was ground breaking for its time and I still argue that MGS4 is still one of the best looking console games to date. Now that Konami have release the games on a HD bundle, albeit minus MGS1, there never has been a better time to visit this series.
Where can I play it? PlayStation 1, 2 and 3