THE LIST: [spoiler:de356073a1]15. Rick Dangerous - Core Design (Atari ST, 1989) 14. Wasteland - Interplay (DOS, 1988) 13. Earthworm Jim - Shiny Entertainment (Mega Drive, 1994) 12. Dark Sun: Shattered Lands - Strategic Simulations (DOS, 1993) 11. Diablo - Blizzard (Windows, 1997) 10. Psychonauts - Double Fine Productions (Windows, 2005) 9. Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura - Troika Studios (Windows, 2001) 8. Vampire - the Masquerade: Bloodlines - Troika Studios (Windows, 2004) 7. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - Rockstar North (Windows, 2003) 6. Planescape: Torment - Black Isle Studios (Windows, 1999)[/spoiler:de356073a1] After the epic controversy of Per's Top 10 MP/SP list and the sad abandonment that is Ratty's Top 20 list, it's time for part 3: The Reckoning. Now remember; these lists are only to be done by interesting people (read: admins, we love abusing power), and are purely subjective favourite games lists, not "greatest games ever" lists. Now, I kind of suck at lists. There's a few games that fall out of this list despite the fact that I pushed the list up to an arbitrary 15 just to include games I wanted to. Stuff like Strife, Pirates! and *gulp* Monkey Island dropped out because while I love those games, they're just outside the 15. There's also plenty of games I simply haven't played enough of, or didn't get the first times I played it and have yet to pick up again, which is why this list lacks Gold Box RPGs, Darklands, Maffia or Bullfrog games. The bottom half of this list is fairly mutable, and could really move about at any time. Also, to take out a redundancy feel, I have not listed more than one game out of any franchise. Often enough top titles in a franchise come close enough to duking it out, and these lists just become snore-fests if you just relist the same franchise over and over. So instead I just take the top pick, even if it only narrowly edges out the competition. It also lacks certain genres, like FPSs or RTSs, not because I don't enjoy the genre but because either nothing sticks out at me or nothing was enjoyable enough for me personally to list. So without further ado... 15. Rick Dangerous - Core Design (Atari ST, 1989) We're one game into the list, and I can already feel the "OMG WTFs" starting to heat up. Rick Dangerous, for the uninitiated, is a classic platformer on Amiga/Commodore 64/Atari ST/DOS, though I played it on the Atari, the only gaming platform available to me at the time. Rick Dangerous is a blatant Indiana Jones-homage/ripoff about British agent Rick Dangerous, who starts out archeologizing before inevitably running into Nazis, and to foil their evil plot he has to travel through an ancient temple, a pyramid, a Nazi castle and a Nazi missile base. "Nazi castle? Nazi missile base? I remember no such thing!" Yes, that might be because Rick Dangerous was completely impossible, and blatantly unapologetic about it. Most sane players got no farther than the pyramid, if there, as your limited lives would quickly dwindle throughout stage 1, along with your small stock of ammo and dynamite. Couldn't have been that hard, you say? Give it a try. If you make it out of the first screen alive it's only because I just warned you that making it out of the first screen alive is a challenge. Rick Dangerous is simply unfair, it's the only way to describe the game; hidden traps with no visual warning at all, falling down screens right into a spiky trap you had no way of knowing was there, countless enemies with no where near enough firepower to deal with them, hard-to-spot ladders and secret entrances you have to use. Rick Dangerous was the ultimate trial-and-error game, asking - nay - demanding you to use your limited life-count to memorize and perfect the execution of every single screen, and then come back to play through the entire game flawlessly. It is endlessly frustrating, and endlessly engaging. Here's a little secret about me: I friggin' love platform games. And Rick Dangerous is simply a good platform game, with intuitive responsive controls and a great look and feel to it, with a simple, cartooney touch to it that has an expressiveness that's been mostly lost in this age of CGI. The story is sufficiently meaningless, the level design solid, the gameplay is just plain fun. But it really is unfair. And that begs the question: would Rick Dangerous have been a better game if it were less unfair? There's sort of two sides to that question; if you ask "would it be more fun" then yes, considering teeth-grinding frustration isn't really "fun" it probably would have been more fun as a simple one-playthrough-does-it platformer. But would it have been a better game? Hell no. And this is part of why I love this game, it represents something game design has lost. Game developers have seemingly forgot that frictionless, unlosable games are a concept fitted to children ages 3-5 but no one else, and the attempts to replace this with fake challenges (where the player is fooled into thinking something is difficult because the game tells him so but gameplay-wise it is not an actual challenge) really works on only the simplest minds amongst us. Rick Dangerous has no such makeup on. It doesn't try to engage you through its story. It doesn't apologize for being impossible but nor does its impossibility stem from any flaws in the design. Instead, we have a game that actually engages by being impossible. As a player, you don't want to let this game win. And because its platform action plays so easily, you keep coming back to try again; it engages you by being so hard. Beating Rick Dangerous feels like an accomplishment not because of charming ending cutscenes about how great the world is now (spoiler: it isn't), but because it's actually really hard to beat the game. <center> </center> Rick Dangerous is one of those games that proves nostalgia isn't always just nostalgia, and that sometimes it seems like games of yore forgot more than our current game designers could ever hope to learn. With both a charm in visual design and wisdom in game design that have been completely lost to us, Rick Dangerous is the kind of gem Rick Dangerous would go to Africa for to save. ... "Waaah!"