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December 23rd, 2011, 02:32
Another opening/greeting post, seems like a good place for them. My top 10, no particular order:

1. Starflight - Nobody has =anything= on procedural worlds like Binary Systems did, plus the freakiest, most unexpected and uncomfortable ending ever. Building up my characters, buffing up my ship, exploring farther and farther reaches of space I played this thing for MONTHS. Literally. Still wonder if Borno got his money back.

2. Ultima IV - first time I ever saw a real alternate reward system in place in an RPG you simply couldn't win at all if you played it like any other RPG. Great ideas, many of which were never really replicated, though I swore if I fell asleep one more time on the way to the seer I was going to lose at least an eighth.

3. Might & Magic VI - Epic, huge and fun as hell. Hack & slash candy, but VERY good candy.

4. Planescape: Torment - nothing I can add here that hasn't already been said. Wish there were more, kind of glad there isn't.

5. Dungeon Master - Grand-daddy of every dungeon crawl ever since, equal parts adrenaline, desperation and fear. Running out of light yet? Or water? And pass the worm steak. Yeah.

6. Ultima IX - Yeah, I know, controversial choice, but it's here for two reasons. One, the things they =tried= to do were immense, even if they failed, and two, some of the things they =did= accomplish were awesome. Yeah the game design was underwhelming; yeah the technical requirements were massive and there were more bugs in it than an Australian termite mound. But the first time I stood under a crystal dome in the ruins of New Magincia and watched the rain fall on the dome above me as the sun set, I understood where they'd tried to go with the game, and it was awe-inspiring. They get huge points for that.

7. Deus Ex - Great story, great setting, great delivery, and just enough RPG elements supported by the gameplay to make it juicy. It's borderline RPG in many ways but it was such a good hybrid it deserves a spot here.

8. Betrayal at Krondor - just, wow. Huge world, massive story, solid storytelling, fun and frustrating tactical challenges. You name it, it's in here somewhere. Even bad wigs (especially bad wigs?).

9. Arx Fatalis - I know, I should probably have Ultima Underworld in here instead, but I liked the story better, the gameplay was a lot smoother and more fun, and it was just a bit creepier and more atmospheric because the setting was so thoroughly dire.

10. Dragon Age: Origins - such a triumphant return to party-based storytelling, such good ideas, so completely betrayed by what happened at Bioware afterwards. A brilliant opportunity, shamefully squandered. At least the replay value is high.

Honorable mentions: Fallout (loved them all but the setting completely demoralized me), Daggerfall (best of the Bethesdas, I think), Neverwinter Nights (awful stock modules but amazing community creations), Mass Effect / ME 2 (everyone has their guilty pleasures), The Witcher (basically a tie for #10 on the list) and Zangband (which I still play when I'm feeling masochistic).
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