EB Minion's Top 25 Games of All Time
by EB Minion

25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1 |

25. The Neverhood Chronicles

There are going to be a few games on this list that you may have never heard of. Among them and kicking off the tally is this puzzle game for the PC. The Neverhood's claim to fame was the fact that every single visual used in the game was created using clay. When I was a kid, I thought that was incredibly cool - I mean, I played with legos and playdoh all the time, and here was this entire world made of the stuff!

So first, it had a cool concept. Then you wander around and solve puzzles in order to explore more of the world around you, and seeing as it was my first puzzle game I got stuck at one point for about a year. This wasn't so bad; the music was made by an entire team of goofballs and kept me entertained

listening to an elf sing the ABCs, among the other random things you could tune into on the radio. After my lack of an attention span kicked in, I put aside the game for a while, spent the next year pouring over my dilemma between elementary school classes, and soon returned smart enough to triumph over the Neverhood once and for all.

Why this game is fucking awesome: The ending (good or bad). You have GOT to play the game all the way to the end. The Neverhood's story was derived from the idea of man learning the difference between good and evil, and so you're given a choice at the very end of the game. If Klaymen (most original name ever) takes the throne for himself, he gets to sock the game's bad guy dead with a single blow and rule the Neverhood forever. If he returns the power to its rightful owner, the maker of the Neverhood, the good ending really is something to behold. Where else could you hear the essential God character shout to his people, "It is now time to GOOF OFF!"? I wish ALL traditional deities were like that.

Overall, The Neverhood has a lot of entertainment value and made me laugh harder than I ever have playing another video game (The burping bush kept me in a fit of giggles for 10 minutes. Don't gimme that look). It's a lighthearted romp through playdoh land, and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys a decent puzzle game and can FIND this game somehow.

24. Halo: Combat Evolved

I've actually been enjoying the video game trend toward the cinematic in these past few years. Sometimes it really is more entertaining for me to flip through an interactive story than to actually play a video game. I realize that Halo's story is convoluted and unoriginal, but hell, I enjoy watching it anyway. The science fiction elements are pretty refreshing when I normally spend my time immersing myself in medieval fantasy, and I don't often play first-person shooters, so actually picking up this game was a breath of fresh air to me.

What makes this game awesome is getting to snipe your friend with a rocket launcher from halfway across the ice level. Okay, maybe that's not it. But I'm pretty lucky, I have friends who I can play with on cooperative mode without us blowing eachother up and bickering because of it. This is not what happens when I co-op with my little brother. Sigh. But seriously, I like the idea of being able to work together and make tactical decisions with a partner, and it is an experience I've only been able to have effectively while playing Halo.

Coolest Memory: So my friend and I were trying to infiltrate the Covenant ship for the first time, and our group of marines had just got slaughtered by the ambush lying in wait for us. We finally neutralized the immediate threat, and there was one marine left; "the last marine," we called him. He was a straightforward, terse and aggressive sunuvabitch, but it always boosted our morale to see him shoot the corpses and ask those aliens to come back so he could kill them again.

So, we finally made it to the ship's hangar, and my friend and I know that trouble's ahead. Last Marine takes point and jumps through the door before we can tell him not to. Not one second later, he is assaulted by the most enormous wave of energy I've ever seen. Plasma pistols, turrets and rifles were firing from every angle, I swear every goddamn covenant in that hangar was shooting him at once. Last Marine was probably dead before the shooting was a third of the way done, but you have to understand that he was being hit with so many shots that they were literally holding him up in the air, his limp body jerking around like a possessed ragdoll before our eyes. We were spellbound as the needlers finally blew up, sending his body flying back against the wall.

I haven't seen anything like it since.

23. Katamari Damacy

There are a number of games out there that are pure, bottled happiness. Anybody playing them is guaranteed to have a good time if they sit back and let the game roll their troubles away. With Katamari Damacy, the game idea is such a novel concept, and the game bolsters so many details that it's hard not to get wrapped up in the game as soon as you get started. Learning that my katamari is 30,000 batteries big, for example, elicited delighted guffaws from me as I continued sweeping the city up in the later levels. And hearing all of those people shriek as they're overcome by the katamari is gratifying as can be.

Why it's fucking awesome: I beat the game late at night on my birthday, surrounded by friends who watched me make the moon, and then roll up the countries of the world one at a time while the kickass ending song played. How cool is that? I'm never the one who plays while other people watch, and it really brought out the attention-seeking brat in my 20-year-old heart.

It was also extremely lucky I had friends watching - I didn't know you could roll the moon across the Earth during the ending credits, and my best buddy clued me in before I missed out!

22. Donkey Kong Country

My main gaming diet consists of RPGs. This means that my platform-gaming skills aren't the best, and there are excessively-few games I can just blast through. One of the Rare exceptions (Get it? GET IT?) is the original Donkey Kong Country for the SNES. There are some qualities about the game series as a whole that I've enjoyed, but the selling point for this game in particular is that I can actually sit down, play through this game and have it beat within 2 hours. I don't have to go out of my way to collect coins in order to unlock the later levels, and I can bug the other Kongs as much as I like without being charged for it.

As a kid, this game was always the videogame rental challenge of the week. Especially when reaching the freakin' ice levels. But I played and played and played until every level was burned into my skull. Once you know the game's layout, you can run from the start of any level, and not stop until getting to the end. It's gaming, pure and simple. Plus, I never did manage to complete the game 100%, so every playthrough tends to show me something I missed last time.

21. Viewtiful Joe

This game had been out for a few years before I picked it up, and I had no idea what it was supposed to be about. When I loaded it up for a quick play-test, my first reaction was something like "Holy SHIT. They still make 2D sidescrollers? ...AWESOME!". The entire superhero motif of the game is just awesome, and the getting to slow down some suckers while I put the hurt on - right before breaking into some hyper speed kung fu - is pretty dang rewarding when it works.

Of course, the game's a tad on the long side, but it tries hard not to be repetitive despite its genre. Anyway, this isn't a review so I'll get right down to it; as ridiculous and corny as Viewtiful Joe's story is, I love it. I love the idea of taking this completely non-serious character and pushing him through a superhero story that parodies other superhero stories. Okay, maybe that last sentence was a liiiiittle convoluted. But really, VJ just has it all; it takes the age-old formula of running around punching and kicking the crap out of every pissant in your way (And giving you a lot of different moves to do it with!) and slapping an over-the-top story on the game label.

Why this game kicks ass: It really is the story. I enjoy playing the game, but having such an amusing plot to go with it just connects me to the game in a way it couldn't have done otherwise. I don't think I'll ever get tired of "Henshin a-gogo, baby!"

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