Desperate times call for desperate measures. 2015 is shaping up to be a great year for games no matter what platform you play games on. There’ll to be a ton of games to buy, and not everyone’s budget (not to mention living space) allows for hoarding.
A few games will have to go, and outfits like Amazon, Best Buy, GameFly and GameStop are happy to take on our used games (here in the US). Some games, however, we can’t imagine selling.
Some we go back to over and over again, while others hold some kind of significant value for us. Maybe we just have an emotional attachment to them. These are the games you’ll have to bury us with.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Animal Crossing has always been a unique gaming franchise for me. I assume I play it in the same way a lot of other gamers do. It’s a relaxing escape, really, and it’s a game I visit and revisit again and again over the span of years.
I have Animal Crossing: New Leaf near my Nintendo 3DS at home and whenever I go on trips. I wish I had it digitally, actually, and there have been times when I’ve considered re-buying the title simple for the sake of convenience. It’s the best in the franchise, it offers constant fresh content and I don’t think any other game has the ability to de-stress me quite like this one.
Often, even our favorite narrative games suffer from a disconnect between the story they’re trying to tell and the game mechanics through which the player can advance that story. Uncharted 2 puts us in the shoes of a treasure hunter with a charming wit and a devil-may-care outlook, and then asks us to murder literally hundreds of people while he quips about it. Grand Theft Auto IV has us take on the role of a guy who wants to get away from his past, but who also seems to take glee in plowing through civilians while he breaks just about every traffic law in the book.
BioShock, then, is remarkable for doing just the opposite.
What appears to be a straightforward shooter with a pretty good narrative and stellar art design turns out to be a commentary on free will and unquestioning obedience. The game and its story are interlocked together, and it was refreshing to play a game that seemed to have so much respect for the player. It didn’t hurt that it also had one of the coolest collector’s editions out there. The ceramic Big Daddy statue still sits on my shelf years later.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
There aren’t very many games out there that provide the sheer amount of content and discovery that Bethesda was able to cram into Skyrim. The title is massive. I own two separate versions of it, and I don’t want to get rid of either because of the actual save progress I have on both the 360 and PC. Of course, my PC stuff isn’t going anywhere, but I played the game on the 360 first. It happened to come out right before I built a new gaming computer.
I digress. Skyrim is a beautiful game in a wonderful world packed with an unending amount of quests, characters and encounters. Heck, if there’s one game that I can recommend to anyone on a budget, it’s this one. Sure, it’s getting a little old, but the title keeps giving thanks to its core design. No one should get rid of it.
As far as I’m concerned, Halo 2 stands as the best entry in the Halo franchise. Its story is wonderful, it offers some of the best level design in shooter history and its online package was monumental.
I have the original for my Xbox, and that’s playable on the 360. I also have it in the ill-faited Master Chief Collection. That’s the caveat here. I need 343 Industries to get its anniversary edition of Halo 2’s multiplayer working flawlessly. It’s some of the best shooter multiplayer ever, and it’s a huge reason why I picked up Halo: The Master Chief Collection to begin with.
Here’s something you might not know about Katamari Damacy… Namco originally released the game as a budget tite. It sold for the PlayStation 2 at $19.99 right out of the gates, and I genuinely believe it’s the best 20 bucks I’ve ever spent in gaming.
I didn’t know it then, but Katamari slowly rolled into one of my all-time favorite gaming franchises. Sure, there was a bad period, and we played some really garbage offerings like Beautiful Katamari on the Xbox 360, but, for the most part, the charm in this franchise has been consistent.
Katamari Damacy holds a special spot in my collection of games. I love it. I just hope Sony gives me a way to play it forever through digital means. The PS2s tend to break over time, and I really don’t want this disc to turn useless.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
When it comes to Zelda games, people’s opinions tend to vary regarding which are the best and worst. Some adore Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, while others point towards Ocarina of Time as the pinnacle of the franchise. For me? It’s Wind Waker.
I have played through this Zelda game more than any other, and that includes the originally terribly tedious Tri-force fetch quest. Wind Waker HD on the Wii U is the original game nearly perfected. I’ll never get rid of it. Ever. I have it digitally on my console, and I have the special edition with the Ganondorf statue on a shelf in its box. I won’t sell this thing back. Ever. It’s currently moving for close to $150 on eBay, too. No thanks.
Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption isn’t exactly a tough game to find. It sold well on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, to the tune of over 12 million copies. It’s not like I couldn’t find another copy or ten.
Even so, I still remember the first time I played through the game. It was one of the first times I felt like a game studio had truly captured natural beauty in a video game. It was one the first times I remember thinking something like, “Oh, that looks pretty. I’ll go over there,” instead of heading for the next quest.
This spring, it became simultaneously a sort of comfort food as I worked through a tough time in my life and also a reminder of what open world games can be as I suffered through the disappointment of Watch Dogs. I’ve gotten more out of Rockstar’s first foray into the old west than just about any other game in my collection.
Resident Evil 4
I’ve purchased Resident Evil at least four times. There may be more I can’t remember. I bought it on release day on GameCube, and eventually picked it up on PlayStation 2, Wii and Xbox 360. It’s rare that I’ll play a game more than once, let alone buy it more than once. Resident Evil 4, though, I’ve completed more times than I have fingers. Even now, I still enjoy the precise shooting and the stop-and-pop style of combat.
Even the terrible quick timer knife fight late in the game can’t keep me from loving this title.
I own four copies of Resident Evil 4, one of them is digital, and they’re all mine.
Rez had me in the first minute. It was love at first sight. It was a whole new way to look at games.
The debate about whether games are art is pretty well done with, but Rez for me was the one of the big sparks that set me down the path. The combination of music and movement was unlike anything I’d seen in a game before that. I’m not even sure I’ve seen anything quite like it since. Even the way the game used controller vibration was something new.
I was in college when I first played the game, and on a pretty tight budget. Most of my gaming was in the form of rentals from the rental store I lived across the street from. I played straight through the game on my first sitting and then marched pretty much straight to the store to buy a copy.
I didn’t know how lucky I was, though, when I found a copy at the first place I set foot in. The game didn’t exactly get a huge print run, and copies were already becoming scarce at the time. The availability of a digital version has made its scarceness a non-issue at this point, but it’ll always be one of those games for me that feels irreplaceable.
Silent Hill 2
The first Silent Hill game captured my imagination with its unique take on horror. The completely deserted world had me paralyzed with fear and at the same time compelled to keep going back.
Silent Hill 2 took us back to the same place, but did something very different. The game told a mature story of misdirected love, guilt, and sex. Things were hinted at, but very rarely outright explained. Much the same way the town of Silent Hill uses your own psychoses against you, the game let the player make their own conclusions about many of the events, about the reality of the situation of protagonist James Sunderland.
Unlike many games on this list, Silent Hill 2 has never gotten a digital release. It was part of a high-def re-release a couple years back, but Konami botched that one with some mistakes that affected the look of the game in some pretty major ways. I’m not sure if I even have a PlayStation 2 anymore, but this game will always be part of my collection.