Our Favorite Games Through the Years - Part 6 - Gaming Thoughts

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

This was the era where Chalgyr’s Game Room started, over a decade ago now. What started as a small blog to review some games that were semi-recent-ish at the time has turned into a full-fledged site that has seen numerous contributors over the years. There were a ton of great games that released during this period, as evidenced below.


PlayStation 3: Assassin's Creed II

I struggled with this particular platform, in large because I was deep in the midst of my anti-Sony days (and to a degree, still am) and in part because there are a ton of really good games on the PS3. From the Uncharted series to the numerous Need for Speed titles, to a host of others and all with their own elements of nostalgia or have their own special meanings ... I had been considering putting any one of the numerous Tales games, or the Trails titles, or maybe the Atelier and Devil May Cry games in. So many to choose! So I picked Assassin's Creed II, in part because it's still one of my favorite games of all time (therefore made quite the impression) but also because no matter what I do, when I reminisce about the PS3 days, Ezio always creeps into my thoughts. I could be thinking about Rogue Galaxy and how it was a criminally under-appreciated RPG, or how absolutely wonderful the .Hack games were, or just how action-packed a Tomb Raider title truly is ... but then there's Ezio and ACII just lurking in the shadows, waiting for that moment to strike.

I spent hundreds of hours wandering the streets of ACII, gathering every little thing I could (and of course, spending quite the time making sure my outfit was just right) and sometimes doing nothing more than wandering the streets and soaking in the sounds of a time and space that I'll never be able to experience for real. That's magic right there.

Xbox 360: Halo: Reach

I think that this is a given, though there are some truly great contenders here- from Call of Duty: Black Ops to Dragon Age to Mass Effect 2 to any number of racing or sports games. The 360's library of titles was huge and fit me perfectly at the time, but the one game that I still compare others to to this day ... Halo: Reach. Reach is an interesting beast- any fans of the Halo franchise will likely know about the Fall of Reach; not only was it the prelude to Halo: CE, but by Halo: Reach's release, Halo and it's lore/history were household names. What I find fascinating about it is similar to why I find the success behind James Cameron's Titanic fascinating ... we already know how the story ends yet no matter what, we can't stop rewatching/replaying.

With how Halo: Combat Evolved and the original Xbox ushered in a new era for both Microsoft and gaming in general, Bungie's magnum opus and their last outing with the Halo franchise before moving on to other projects, brought with it the end of that era (for me). While there are many great games that came to the 360 after Reach's release, none of them gripped me the way Reach did. Brilliant and customizable co-op, exciting multiplayer modes, and a deeply touching (and in some cases, slightly traumatic ... ❤️ Kat) story helped close a chapter in my life, one of heartache and pain, but also of insurmountable mountains of joy, entertainment, and healthy escapism- it's only fitting that amongst the pantheon of greats in a console that's hard to beat, it was Bungie's first and final outings with the UNSC, Covenant, and everything in between, that truly gave life to two consoles and an entire decade of memories.

Nintendo Wii: New Super Mario Brothers

New Super Mario Brothers is a bit of an odd one- there were so many great games on Wii, but none really clicked with me the way New Super Mario Brothers did. I think, though, that it has more to do with life outside of the game than it does the actual title. Yes, it's fun, yes it has some excellent replayability, but what made it special to me was that it brought my family closer in a time when things were rough. We'd laugh endlessly as we bubbled our way to safety and it became more about how bad we could cheese the game with the bubbles and less about playing it- I have so many warm memories of late nights after a long days' work and a short reprieve from a colicky baby. Sometimes that's all it takes ... that and the little "bloop" sound that the bubbles make.


DS / 3DS: Etrian Odyssey

I’m grouping these two together. The Nintendo DS and the Nintendo 3DS are like the SNES, an absolute treasure trove of games such as: Final Fantasy Remakes, obscure JRPGs, niche RPGs, Radiant Historia, Luigi’s Mansion, Shin Megami Tensei IV and so much more.

HOWEVER, I’m doing another grouping as this series was simply one of the best and I’m a bit sad that Atlus haven’t found a way to bring it over to the Nintendo Switch. Etrian Odyssey. These old school Wizardry inspired titles, first person dungeon crawlers, not only had a brutal nature to them, but you had another component to worry about. Map making. Did you write down the proper shortcut paths? Or did you mislabel them? Were you well prepared or were you “murderlated” by a giant beast type known as a FOE which if encountered? RUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN

At least in the early stages of each game. There were a fair number of releases and re-released and then to add to the awesomeness there was also Persona Q and Persona Q2 which were side stories to Persona 3-4-5.

Wii: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

So there’s a theme here isn’t there? Yes, more Legend of Zelda. While Wind Waker was cute looking to help mask the dangers ahead, Twilight Princess was dark. At the time being the first title that I was getting for the Wii, I went right through this title with every moment that I could fit in between work and school.

The world design was great, Link wasn’t always just a human but could turn into a wolf to solve certain challenges and this was finally one of those first titles that hinted that the fan theories of history and timelines may actually be a thing…

PS3: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

This is another tough one. Such a library to choose from, but when I think of the PS3? Castlevania: Lords of Shadow comes to mind. Mission based for its story instead of a metroidvania which it’s half of the reason for the style, the narrative of this adventure is what drew me in. Patrick Steward and Robert Carlyle, that right there was enough in the voice acting department to just make one’s jaw drop and they weren’t alone. Add in a great combat system and the ability to return for things that may have been missed? I think I’m going to go play this again now if you’ll excuse me…

Xbox 360: Tales of Vesperia

Bandai’s Tales of Studio’s Tale of Series. From the SNES to the PS1, to the PS2, this would be one of the two main reasons I got an Xbox 360. That and Mass Effect. Tales of Vesperia however to me, other than the lackluster ending and no post credits, would have everything. A protagonist who wasn’t a shiny white knight, a supporting cast that were all great to have around in and out of battle and that includes “Captain Carol” *laughs*. It was everything that I wanted in a Tales of and I was happy with the ports to the latest generation and I totally do not own Tales of Vesperia on the PS3/4, Xbox 360/One and the Nintendo Switch… you do!


PlayStation 3: Tales of Graces F.

For my PS3 choice I have a game that's tied for my favorite Tales title: Tales of Graces F. I consider Tales of Graces F to be one of the best Tales titles in the franchise, right up there with Tales of Symphonia. Tales of Graces had a great battle system, an interesting array of characters, a "true man speaks with his back", and was a great game to play with friends. It's also the first Tales game I never played as the main character, interestingly enough. The bonus dungeon was also really hilarious, and the angriest I've ever been at chickens and eels. I had a lot of fun with Tales of Graces, making it my favorite PS3 title.

Wii: Trauma Center

I'm gonna toss out another one that's probably less well known for my Wii choice: Trauma Center: Second Opinion. Who knew surgery could be so much fun, if not a little frustrating at times? Following the work of a surgeon in training, Trauma Centre is like a surgery simulator where you will perform operations such as putting in pacemakers, removing glass from traumatic injuries and sewing up patients, to confronting a dangerous man-made disease. I have fond memories of playing this in University with my roommates. We decided to all do our laundry, so we brought a TV down to the laundry room and played while watching over our clothes. Good times, good times. Even with the sentimental value though, Trauma Center is a really fun title and series in general, despite some of the earlier installments being a little finicky with your controls. I'm actually thinking about cracking it back out right now. In fact, I will once I finish writing this.


Nintendo Wii: New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Most of the games on my list so far have leaned heavily into the single player experience, with a focus on story. There were plenty of great options on this platform that fit that bill as well – but something about this iteration of Mario Bros. resonated with my family and I a lot. We sat around, playing this game for hours and hours together, and had a blast doing so. It was a chaotic mix of competition and cooperation that brought out the worst and best in all of us, but also created a ton of really fun memories.

Microsoft Xbox 360: The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

This is where things really start to get ridiculous. In some ways, the last several entries I had were a bit easier, because while there were a ton of really good games on most of those platforms, I was generally a broke college kid raising a family who did not get to buy a ton of games. Around the time the Xbox 360 came out, I finally had access to grown-up money, and I started buying a lot more games again. Gear of War was my first real banger for the console, and I loved it, and there were tons of memorable games that came out, but Oblivion was probably my single biggest time-sink on the 360. I did -everything- that there was to be done. I explored the nooks and crannies of the nooks and crannies. I owned all the houses and decorated them with all kinds of ridiculous crap that I picked up and kept like a digital hoard. It was the first DLC I ever bought for a game. Yup, I had horse armor. It was ridiculous, but no regrets either.

Sony PlayStation 3: The Last of Us – There were so many titles that I loved on the PlayStation 3. My most played game was likely one of the Maddens that Landon and I had a long-running franchise of. There are so many good titles here I could talk about at length, and The Last of Us feels like a really ‘safe’, ‘mainstream’ choice given some of my weirder entries up until now. At the end of the day though, this game just hit me emotionally. The story, the characters, the tense gameplay, all of it. My son played through it as well, and it’s one we both talked about quite a bit while we were playing and after. I played through it again on PS4 as well later and was surprised at how much the story resonated with me still, even after a second go-round. 

Article by RobertPierre-YvesRichard, and Nick



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