10. True Crime: Streets of L.A. (GameCube)
My first open world game and I spent hours upon hours driving around the city doing random stuff. This game was one of my longest played games ever.
9. Aladdin (SNES)
The first video game I ever beat, and later got so good at I could beat it in less than 30 minutes. A lot of fun with some great platforming elements. The music, too, was very well done.
8. Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (PS2)
Destruction like I'd never seen before. The classic ad is still in my head even all these years later and is one of my favorite game TV spots ever... blow the living crap out of it some more!
I spent a lot of time doing whatever I wanted and I felt in control of my character's destiny. I was, in fact, a mercenary so the point was all about choice and doing what you want. One of the first games I felt truly free and was encouraged to just run around and blow up stuff!
7. Super Mario Kart (SNES)
The classic multiplayer game on the Super Nintendo. I could race for hours, throwing red shells and dropping bananas. I was usually Donkey Kong or Toad.
6. Peggle (Xbox 360)
So simple, so addicting. This game is perfect to unwind with on your own or with a friend. It's also a game my dad and I play together often so it's nice to have a game we can both enjoy. There's skill involved, but you can also just shoot anywhere and maybe get lucky. And yes, the first is better than the second.
5. Super Punch-Out!! (SNES)
A great fun fighting game. First time I played it was in a hotel room with my father on a pay-to-play service on the TV in the room. Every year we went back to that hotel for Thanksgiving and every year my dad and I would play. Eventually I got it on the Super Nintendo and finally beat it.
4. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xbox 360)
The best Call of Duty game by far, and one of my first really enjoyable online experiences. I have so many memories of late night gaming sessions with friends. The weapons were memorable, perfectly customizable without getting too crazy and the maps were well designed. My second favorite multiplayer game ever.
3. Alan Wake (Xbox 360)
My name is Alan Wake. I'm a writer. My name is Erik Hanley, I'm a writer too. This game resonates with me due to my writing. The idea of your creation jumping off the page and becoming real is surreal. Especially with both Wake and I being thriller writers, it's great fun. Love the back story as well. My favorite stand-alone game (American Nightmare is a bit of a spinoff from inside the first game so I see it as unified).
2. WWE Wrestlemania XIX (GameCube)
This game defined my childhood (at least my teen years when I really got into games). This game got me addicted to video games which is both good and bad. I would fire it up right when I got home from school and only shut it down to watch WWE programming or to go to bed. I designed countless characters (Erik the Red, Erik "The Eliminator" Hanley, etc.) and played endless matches. I had outfits, logos, entrance music, and more. I loved the exhibitions, and the very unique "Revenge" story mode. Original and amazing game!
1. Halo 3: ODST (Xbox 360)
Many know my favorite series (not only in gaming but in general) is Halo. I have a huge Halo collection and play these games online the most. So choosing my favorite of the series was hard in a sense, but ODST stands out to me.
The story was perfectly moody with visuals and music. My favorite group of characters have always been the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODST's) and to finally be one was amazing. The more open-world feel gave me that feeling of choice for the first time in the series that I'd loved in other games. The little hints from the Superintendent helping you through, finding clues about your squad, everything was perfect.
In terms of Multiplayer, I owe the Halo 3 multiplayer a lot. It was my first online multiplayer game -- the original Halo 3 was launched the day after my birthday so I attended my first midnight launch for it (after attending a WWE event in my area). I met one of my best friends on Halo 3 multiplayer. I also see it as the epitome of Bungie's original formula with games after it starting the new direction Halo is on now. Firefight, while I agree was hampered with no matchmaking, was a great extra for when you just wanted to shoot stuff, not necessarily other players or do a campaign mission.
It also included a controller -- a Limited Edition with something useful included, not just a decoration...what a thought!
So that's it, my top ten list of video games -- my best of all time. These are the games that connected most with me. Many weren't the most commercially successful, but they were special to me.
Some honorable mentions include: The Master Chief Collection but it was not included due to all the bugs, Sneak'n Peak on Atari 2600 because it's the first game I remember playing, and my last two are Star Trek: Starfleet Academy and Star Trek: The Next Generation -- both on Super Nintendo. Two more games I spent a lot of time on being a Trekkie/Trekker as a child. I spent many hours shooting Klingons and going on away missions to alien ships.
Games have been a big part of my life. They're great ways to de-stress and visit a whole new place. Games are a special form of media I plan to play for a long time to come.
So now you know my list, what's yours?