Editor Spotlight: Shawn Richards’s Top 5 Games

Hello, readers. Nice to see you. Looking great today, but enough about you. You came here to read about my favorite 5 games in the entire gaming industry. Just know that I was asked to choose 5 games from a ton of games that I have played in my 21 years of living, so this was hard to do. Also, I have not played a lot of games that some people are going to put on their lists (like The Last of Us and Mortal Kombat games, for example). This is my list, and I hope this gives you, the reader, some insight into my thought process and why I enjoy games.

Number 5: Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Vita)
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So, when the last generation was upon us, I switched over to the Dark Side with the Xbox 360. So, I never experienced some of the great exclusive franchises that the PlayStation 3 had to offer like inFAMOUS and LittleBigPlanet. However, when I got Uncharted: Golden Abyss, I was stoked to play it. I always loved Naughty Dog from their Crash Bandicoot games, and I want to see what the award-winning cinematic Indiana Jones-esque game was all about.

Aside from all of the stupid quick time swipes, I loved the game. The game pushed the graphics of the Vita to showcase what it could do. Some of the controls were worked in, but mostly made sense in the long run. The charcoal rubbings and wiping the dirt and examining artifacts was something I really loved. The story was long, but it also made it seem like a game and its sequel, with different environments within the jungle and an engaging story that kept me going. Learning a bit about Nathan Drake and later Sully was great, and I can’t wait to inevitably play the original trilogy.


 

Number 4: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (Vita, PS3)

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Before people jump down my throat about this “Smash Bros. clone”, I will love this game for a long time. This game is number 4 on my list for three reasons:

1)  This game brought me back into the gaming fold. Early in the PS3/Xbox 360, I slipped out of gaming and focused on my academics and this thing called a “social life”. My mother had a Wii, so I decided to look up Super Smash Bros. Brawl. When I found Sony making this game, I was excited to see what it had become and what it could do. This game brought be back and gave me a reason to play again.

2) This game was the first experience with the PlayStation community. When I played it on my Vita, there was a tournament that I decided to join. Talking with the players while admittedly kicking their butts was great and different from my experiences on Xbox Live, where prepubescent boys could still have relations with my mother.

3) PlayStation All-Stars became my comfort food. Sometimes, when I get overrun by games or just tired of these new releases, I return to a game for no reason. I keep going back to PSASBR not because of the story (or lack thereof) but because of the mechanics and sheer fun I had with it. Sure, it might have been a clone of Smash Bros., but I ultimately had more fun with the PlayStation version.


 

Number 3: Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
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Here comes the nostalgia factor. My first console was a SNES, although I did play with other and earlier consoles after that. The first game I remember me and my sister beating was DK Country. Years later, I got another SNES and this game came with it. Although I also got Super Mario World, I loved DK Country because it was beautiful. Mario always looked bright and shiny, while Donkey Kong Country ran the gambit from bright forests to dark forests to industrial levels. The models of the characters are still beautiful today. While some people like the second one better or the new Wii versions, you cannot deny the original, which had one of the best soundtracks of any game. Tell me Jungle Japes doesn’t pump you up. I dare you. I double dare you.


 

Number 2: Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 1(Vita)

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If I cry here, don’t judge me. At the end of The Walking Dead, I cried like I did at the series finale of House. (It was a manly tear, dammit!) While the gameplay is minimal but influential, it is the story that tugs on the heartstrings. You come to know the characters, love them, hate them. It provides the real emotions that you would encounter in a real zombie apocalypse. In a world where the term “shitty licensed game” is redundant, this is one that really stands out. It could be said that Telltale found their stride after a horrific Jurassic Park game and a Back to the Future game that, although decent, almost broke time. The Walking Dead shows that given enough time and passion, a licensed game can become something that makes people laugh and cry.


 

Number 1: BioShock (Xbox 360)

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While people may complain and say that after the shocker that was heard throughout the gaming industry, this game was too gamey, I think that BioShock is my favorite game because of that. The moments where I was just using my wrench and looking at these splicers and the Little Sisters legitimately creeped me out. Rapture itself was a world that I found myself trapped in a world that was caving in due to not just water pressure but of the society itself. I am not a fan of horror because of the usual cliches that hang around them, but BioShock was the first that made me feel uneasy just being in the environment.

While the huge shocker in the middle was amazing and a defining moment for me, I felt like it was the way that the story and gameplay were seamless. Yes, the ending was pulled straight from the “How Not to Perform an Ending”, but everything leading up to that had some gameplay factor. Fontaine making your plasmids go out of whack? It shows just how much control he has over you. You turning into a Big Daddy? This shows how Tenenbaum’s mind works and the desperation she is going through to stop Fontaine. She openly despises the creatures, but she hates the man more.

Which leads to the big shocking scene, which was perfect. When Andrew Ryan first talks, he knew he was about to die, and he accepted it. He proved his point to the character, but also to the player. When he said “A man chooses, a slave obeys,” he wasn’t just talking to Jack, but also the ME. I was a slave to the game. Sure, I could have turned the game off, never to return to it, but it was in a cutscene I couldn’t back out off. I was a slave to BioShock, and because it hit me on that level, I have to give it the top spot.


 

Honorable Mentions

I feel obligated to put some honorable mentions here because there are so many great games out there that I have played that couldn’t make it onto the list. Borderlands 2 is an amazing game that fell short from coming on this list because of its shitty checkpoint system. Portal has one of the greatest songs and villains of all time, but its short length didn’t really appeal to be as much. Resogun, my favorite game on the PS4, became my comfort food game for a while due to its aggravating yet calming difficulty and bright colors. Spec Ops: The Line was another amazing game that made me sad (not cry) and had a great effect on how I play games, but the fact that it frustrated me at times made it short from coming on this list. I could go on, but I feel like I made my point.

How am I wrong? What are your top 5 games? Let me know either in the comments or via Twitter @LittleBigHamm.

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