What is your favorite series/franchise of video games ever made and why?
Courtney Osborn, Founder & Editor in Chief:
This is a very easy question for me to answer because I answer it all the time. The Tales series is by far my favorite series of all time. It’s really hard to explain exactly why other than to just say that the storytelling is phenomenal. But I can tell you the moment I knew it was going to be something special to me.
Almost four years ago I was a “hardcore Xbox 360 gamer” as I liked to say. When I moved up to Lawrence, KS to start attending KU I did not have a job for a good 10-11 months. This gave me an enormous amount of time to play 360 games, which led to me flying through them at lightning speed. I literally played every major Xbox release that I could possibly think of. But you see, at this time I didn’t really bother with JRPG’s, let alone understand what they really even were. That was until one day when I rented Tales of Vesperia on a whim from GameFly. I rented it because it had cool anime looking characters on the cover. What could go wrong? I played about 5 hours of it and it was the most boring 5 hours of my gaming life. So I took a break from gaming. For two months I didn’t play a single game. Then one day I realized that Tales of Vesperia was sitting on top of my 360. I thought, “Oh, I guess I should probably play this one more time before I send it back to GameFly….” The rest is history…. I became completely engulfed in the storytelling, lore, and battle system this time. I played it for weeks and couldn’t get enough. Almost a year later I bought my first PlayStation 3, along with Tales of Graces f release. And the same thing happened. I was obsessed with Tales of Graces f; I put more than 150 hours into it in the course of like three weeks.
Since then I have played every new release of a Tales game in the West. It is by far my favorite series.
Chad Waller, Editor:
Why is it that questions like this make me want to pick something obscure? Well I won’t fall for that this time! My answer is Halo. I started playing Halo in high school thanks to the PC (didn’t own an Xbox), and was pretty hooked with the mechanics. The game just plays well. I skipped Halo 2 (have never owned an Xbox), but have played Halo 3 and up. I feel like the games only get better, with Halo 4 being the best of em all. 343 did some great things with that game, and I look forward for their next installments.
Shawn Richards, Associate Editor:
If you had to ask me, I would like to go back to the Jak and Daxter franchise. It had a great story and mythology, amazing humor where it applied, and gameplay that took advantage of the open world nicely. While others are quick to dismiss this series as just another platformer series, it holds a special place in my heart. I can’t single out which game is the best, but I always keep my PS2 handy in case I need to pop one in. Naughty Dog does the best work, and you cannot deny that Jak and Daxter is among the best series if not the best series in PlayStation history.
Steven Shearer, Editor:
It would have to be Grand Theft Auto. I love open world games and GTA was my first open world games and considered by many as the best open world games. However, Batman: Arkham deserves a mention as it’s been my favorite franchise of the seventh generation consoles. And I guess I should mention FIFA since I spend over hundred of hours on it, yearly.
Ryan Latuso, Editor:
Zelda and it’s not even close for me. It started with the original when I was a kid and I still go back to play the originals at least once a year. That series is amazing to me and nothing else touches it.
Dustin LaRoe, Editor:
I have trouble narrowing this one down. How do you compare the quality and feel of all of the 2D Mario games against the lore and possibilities and side quests from The Elder Scrolls franchise? What weight does the comedy and spontaneity of Grand Theft Auto have when you put it up against the sense of wonder and exploration in The Legend of Zelda?
If I had to choose a single series, I would probably stick with Metroid. Almost every entry in this series is a timeless classic that will still be approachable in twenty years time. Unlike The Legend of Zelda, the Wii Metroid games were awesome. (I never tried Metroid: Other M)
Benjamin Luthi, Editor:
Oh man, that’s a tough one. I think I’d have to go with F-Zero. The futuristic, high-speed racing series just never gets old. The original is a staple of the SNES library. F-Zero X for N64 is endlessly entertaining, largely because of the X Cup, which gives you randomly-generated tracks every time you play. F-Zero GX is the highlight of the series, with downright insane level designs and custom vehicles. The GBA titles were excellent as well. I even imported the Japan-only F-Zero Climax because I can’t get enough F-Zero. Unfortunately, the series has been woefully neglected for the last decade or so. Here’s hoping we get a new F-Zero game soon.
Myles Farrington, Editor:
I said it once and I’ll say it again, my favorite series of games is Mortal Kombat. It’s not because I’m good at them, it’s because Mortal Kombat II is where I got my start as a gamer. Not only that, but Mortal Kombat is one of the few franchises that has never failed to excitement when a new one is announced. I’m still hyped about Mortal Kombat X as I’ve been wanting a fresh roster for the series for years, seeing MK9 set that up to happen perfectly had me excited then and it hasn’t wanned.
Aaron Dobbe, Editor:
My answer actually changed fairly recently. It all began on that fateful day that I first played Persona 4. I’ve been a fan of the larger Shin Megami Tensei franchise for a while, but had held off for way too long on trying out the Persona sub-series. When I finally did get around to it, I was completely sucked in and hopelessly addicted. More than 400 hours later, I’ve become totally obsessed with the series’ unique blend of dungeon crawling and social simulation, and all the wonderful characters, lore, music, and effortless style that surrounds it.
It’s worth noting, however, that the Persona games aren’t my favorite RPGs. I still think that the main Shin Megami Tensei games (and their more conventional spin-offs, such as the Devil Summoner games) are far more interesting RPGs, and crucially, I didn’t put any of the Persona games in my top 5 list. That said, taken as a whole, no franchise has really captured my unceasing attention the way that Persona has, and for that reason, I’m naming Persona as my favorite franchise of all time.
Audrey Lips, Editor:
Your first is usually your favorite, so hands down Kingdom Hearts. I played the Final Fantasy series before it (well, some of it anyway because really there’s like a hundred games for it) and it never quite gripped me the way that Kingdom Hearts did from the very first moment of me playing it. I was completely engrossed with the characters, the story, the gameplay-you name it and I absolutely loved it. The crossover between Disney and Square Enix characters (original and Final Fantasy based) was just so cool and whimsical, I’m getting nostalgic and daydream-y just thinking about it! I have played ALMOST every game in the series (Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop 3D being the only one I’ve yet to play so far) and I have to say, while I may not enjoy everyone one as much as the first three games (Kingdom Hearts I, Chain of Secrets, and II) they are all spectacular enough for me to want to rush out and buy, play, and replay each one shamelessly. Seriously, I get goosebumps thinking about how awesome Kingdom Hearts III is going to be when it comes out!
Mike Morrissette, Editor:
I hate this question so much because it’s forcing me to decide between Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. I love them both tremendously, and each have their own merits. Final Fantasy caters to the more -adult- themes in its games like religious corruption, and the evils of superiority. But, Kingdom Hearts hits the cords of friendship and perseverance even when one can’t always find a light amidst the vast darkness. I love them for very different reasons, which makes it difficult to pick just one.
I guess, if I had to go with which franchise I play the most, I’d have to say Final Fantasy – hands down. Between FFXI and FFXIV, I play incredible amounts of Final Fantasy and I’m always engrossed in its vast lore. When I’m at school, what am I thinking about? Final Fantasy. When I’m at work, what am I thinking about? Final Fantasy. When I’m casually baking a cake while watching some obscure indie movie about the benefits of living in a “tiny house”, what am I thinking about? Final Fantasy. What am I playing right now as I attempt to write up this response? Final Fantasy. Basically, the Final Fantasy franchise enamoured and I don’t see myself ever being able to break its spell over me. And can we talk about Final Fantasy XV for a second? Holy shit that game looks amazing, and it’s being developed by the same guy who directed Kingdom Hearts. Both of my loves are colliding and I can’t wait to hear some more about FFXV at (I’m assuming) TGS.
Landon Luthi, Editor:
Ever since the days of the NES, I have been attracted to the bright colors and pixelated music found in the Mega Man games. While the NES had a plethora of amazing titles, Mega Man games stood out the most to me. Mega Man 3 was my Dark Souls in 1990. I would usually wait for my family to be out of the house before attempting to beat this game, as it produced jarring language from deep down inside. I judge games by their difficulty and replay value and use these standards to determine if their are worth paying full price for. Mega Man also won my vote due to its amazing library of near-impossible swearing machines, in which I refer the X and Zero titles. This offers an even wider range of challenging games, which are available on portables and home consoles alike. While incredibly difficult, the Mega Man X series offers continually upstream battles, which are at least as tenacious as Mega Man 3.
Harry Loizides, Editor:
Well I’m going to have to say the Pokemon franchise has and will continue to be a juggernaut in numerous platforms. Starting off as an odd Japanese RPG, the franchise has spanned more than 15 years, over 60 video games, more than 840 television episodes, over 20 movies and specials, and tons more promotional items, not to mention various Pokemon Centers across Japan. The game introduced and encouraged people to play against each other with videogames, which is now a normal thing for games. Not to mention to constant allure to ‘catch ‘em all’. Having this franchise be the first real game I delved myself into many years ago on my GameBoy, Pokemon will always have a place in my heart and my video game library.
Patrick Garrity, Editor:
The one that started it all. Super Mario! This is always my go to game, no matter what title or adventure he’s on, Mario is always fun to play. My favorite of the series would have to be Super Mario World on SNES, I feel this is the game that really open the door for the franchise and one where I spent hours looking for every secret!
Andrew Lee, Editor:
There are so many good video game franchises out there. However, for me the Elder Scrolls series stands as my favourite. Every Elder Scrolls game provides players a vast open world to explore and to experience. We are simply dropped into this vast fantasy setting and Bethesda Softworks leaves the player with full freedom to shape their own adventures. It is just amazing how much attention to detail, Bethesda Softworks puts into creating the world of Tamriel. It’s staggering to read through the many thousands of books scattered around, each one telling a fictional story or provides insight into the world of the Elder Scrolls. Bethesda Softworks is very open with its fanbase and modding community and it is such a joy to browser through thousands of fan created content who have all united together to enhance the experience of the game.
Shaun Fales, Editor:
This is a toughy and almost a tie for me. Borderlands and Assassin’s Creed are both very close for me but the Assassin’s Creed franchise is more of an actual franchise at this point in time so I’d probably go with that. I’ve been a fan ever since the first game released and while it has been a bumpy road, I have stuck with the franchise through and through. Standouts of the franchise for me were Assassin’s Creed 2, Brotherhood and the recently release Black Flag.
Borderlands on the other hand has two great games in the franchise with two more on the way this year. Telltale’s Tales From the Borderlands and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel are two of my most anticipated game for this year and I can’t wait to play them.
Jesse Webster, Editor:
Metal Gear Solid series, It showed me that games with stories can deal with more issues than just rescue a person from a dangerous situation. It also helps that it isn’t afraid to make fun of itself when it needs to be providing a light comic fourth-wall breaking moment in dark situations. I was late to early days of Metal Gear Solid, so I played Metal Gear Solid for PlayStation for the first time in 2003, and loved it ever since. When I got a PlayStation 2 shortly after, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was one of the first PlayStation 2 games I got alongside Max Payne and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Metal Gear Solid 4: The Guns of the Patriots was the very first PlayStation 3 game I played, and I can’t even tell you how many hours I’ve pumped into that game. I have two digital copies of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. One for PlayStation 3, when I got it when it first came out, and one for PlayStation 4 shortly I bought a PlayStation 4. Even now, I am excited to see what Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will bring.
Jake Dekker, Editor:
This is a tough question, but at the end of the day I would have to go with the Mass Effect Trilogy. I am a sucker for science fiction so when Mass Effect was announced I was hyped on it. But when I actually sat down to play it I was blown away. The game played like an interactive story with great combat and beautiful graphics for the time. It felt like something I dreamt up as a kid after watching Star Wars. Except the Mass Effect universe was much more realized than my wildest imaginations. After only a few hours the sci-fi game sunk its hooks into me. From then on I have eagerly anticipated the release of every Mass Effect game that came after!
What is YOUR favorite series of all time?