Playing favourites

At the end of last month, I came across a post by THE LDG MAG about Alice: Madness Returns. It revealed how this action-adventure game is based is the novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which itself was possibly inspired by the real-life Alice Liddell. The article is an interesting piece on author Lewis Carroll’s fascination with the girl and Victorian views on children; I’d highly recommend getting over there to read it if you haven’t done so already.

The subject matter was interesting in itself but it was the first paragraph which really caught my eye and inspired me to write. THE LDG MAG’s post began: “Surprise, surprise. This post is about one of my favourite games. I swear I have too many favourite games. Although is there such a thing as a ‘favourite game’? I think there isn’t. There are too many games out there that it makes it literally impossible to narrow it down to just one.”

It’s an intriguing question and one which got me thinking. According to Google, the definition of the word ‘favourite’ is ‘a person or thing that is preferred to all others of the same kind or is especially well liked’. Does this mean that to have a favourite video game is to recognise a single title as standing out for us personally over all other releases? And is that even possible, when there’s a constant stream of new releases to play all the time?

Ask me at different times and my pick will change according to what I’m doing or my mood. If I’m feeling nostalgic or sentimental, The Secret of Monkey Island is the answer I’d give. If it’s Christmas and I’m on a fairytale vibe, it’s more likely to be Fable II. Then if we’re talking about titles with a bit of action, I’d probably name BioShock or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. And then if I’m after an engrossing story, either The Longest Journey or To The Moon are the games I’d turn to.

It seems as though I’m not the only one who doesn’t have a single favourite. When I posed the question ‘is it possible to have a favourite video game?’, Ian from Adventure Rules said on Twitter: “I feel like having a favorite game is so subject to current moods that it’s really hard to narrow down a single one. Zelda is my favorite… except when there’s a new Fire Emblem about to come out, or I’m feeling nostalgic about Paper Mario, etc.”

Athena from AmbiGaming said: “Dragon Age: Origins is always my favorite game. And Metal Gear Solid 2 is always my second-favorite game. But I agree. For me, Origins is in a separate category, and then other games cycle depending on things like mood and how enthusiastic I am about what I’m playing.” And THE LDG MAG themselves replied: “For some people [it’s possible to have a favourite video game]. For me personally, it changes constantly (because I’m so indecisive).”

One of the things I love most about video games is the variety. Back when I was a kid, the most we had to look forward to was a new pixelated platformer every few months, and that was when we were finally able to persuade our parents to take us to the store. Instead we now enjoy entries in a wide range of genres, which tell all sorts of amazing tales (or not), and feature diverse characters with colourful backgrounds and powerful motives.

Obviously there are always going to be types of releases which appeal to us more than others because of our preferences – it’s the adventure genre for me because I enjoy strong narratives and puzzles. But each title can speak to in a different way and teach us something new about the world or ourselves. There’s a video game out there for absolutely everybody and each has the potential to be somebody’s favourite.

So why limit ourselves to just one when there’s so much choice available? Keeping an open mind can lead to interesting discoveries and titles you may not otherwise have played; and who knows, they might just leave a lasting impression on you.

13 thoughts on “Playing favourites

  1. Immediately, I say “yes, it’s possible to have a single favorite game.” Then I think about the question deeper and it becomes harder to answer. The Legend of Zelda for NES is typically my go-to answer for favorite, but then I think about the 14 years I’ve spent playing World of Warcraft; the total hours has to be somewhere in the thousands by now. The Legend of Zelda wasn’t my first game, but it was the first to truly engage my imagination as a kid and it’s the game that’s responsible for my love of gaming today. But would I play it now for the 100th time over a brand new release? Is it truly my favorite if I’ve completely dwarfed its play-time in WoW a thousand times over?

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    1. Your The Legend of Zelda is my The Secret of Monkey Island, I think. It was the first game I truly played for myself and it has therefore stuck with me; and it’s usually the game I mention when I’m asked which is my favourite. But the answer is much more complex than that and is prone to changing with my mood.

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      1. Right? When I think “video games” The Legend of Zelda on NES is the first to enter my brain. That has to mean something? But is something truly a favorite if I’d play another game instead?

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        1. Hmm… I think everyone has a game they attach huge emotional significance to, perhaps the title that got them into gaming or showed them what video games could be. So when we’re asked which is our favourite, that’s the one we naturally revert to because it’s the simplest answer to give without overthinking the question in the moment. But the real answer is usually much more complicated than that… we gamers are a deep and complex bunch!

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  2. Wow, who knew that a single paragraph from one of my posts could inspire someone to write a whole post themselves! I feel like I’ve achieved something, hahaha. But in all seriousness, this is a great topic, and I really enjoyed reading! I definitely like keeping an open mind when it comes to gaming. I try everything and anything because you never know what could become a favourite (a favourite for a while anyway). It’s great to see how video games have progressed over the years 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much for being an inspiration ha ha! I really enjoyed reading your Alice post; looking forward to more in the future. 🙂

      You’re right when you say you never know what could become a favourite. Recently, my stepson needed someone to step in as he was a person short on a game he was playing; and although it was something I wouldn’t usually go for, I ended up really enjoying it and actually buying my own copy. There might be a post about it soon!

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  3. For me it really depends on a few different factors. There are games I would have described as my favourite back when I played them but would hardly be considered that when I revisit them now. There are other titles that perhaps might not be considered the best but I have a happy memory attached to them. Finally I’d say there are also games that you just click with and adore for that.

    Essentially it depends on what you as a person emotionally attach to that game.

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    1. Now that’s very true! I guess there’s a lot to be said for nostalgia. I attach a lot of significance to The Secret of Monkey Island because it was the first game I played for myself but if I could only play one title for the rest of my life… that wouldn’t be it.

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      1. See I’d call Elite on the NES as my favourite game because it was the very first game that grabbed me so much I spent hours on it. Going back now though I’d say it wouldn’t hold up at all to my modern tastes.

        Also read Mortal Kombat 2 for this.

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  4. For me, I have favorites in categories, and it’s kind of hard to explain. Final Fantasy X is my nostalgic favorite, because while it got me into gaming and resonated with me more than any other game in my life, there are many games I would prefer to take off my shelf these days. Skyrim is my favorite game in terms of pure joy “warm fuzzies” I get from popping it on and playing it, whereas Mass Effect 2 is my favorite game from an all-around holistic look at what game I can criticize the least.

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    1. Final Fantasy, Skyrim and Mass Effect 2? Some really strong choices there! I know exactly what you mean about the fuzzies with Skyrim; it tends to be the game I always end up going back to at Christmas time because it puts me in the right frame of mind. 🙂

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