It was another usual day at office. I was busy finishing the day's work when, suddenly, my manager summoned me. “We are working on a video games book and need designers onboard. Would you want to take up the assignment?” she asked.
Video games! Need she have said more? Those two words did the trick. I immediately agreed. Cut to next day: I was working on the Fallout 4 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide book! (Could you believe it?) As I created the illustrations, I rediscovered my passion for video games. Looking back, I believe it's the gamer in me that got more excited to do the project than the designer in me!
Agree with me or not, video games are addictive. I caught the bug when I was 11. I was gifted a small black box along with a remote control and a chip cassette called 999 in 1 (you remember it, right?). In fact, the journey of video games has been a long and fascinating one. It all started in 1980 with just two blocks and a moving ball on the screen. Today it has transformed into an industry even bigger than Hollywood. Thanks to the technology boom, gaming has changed in terms of visuals, sound and experience. However, the pleasure and addiction is still the same. So I thought of sharing that addiction and recollect my gaming experience. Here are my top 10 favourite video games.
#10 Mark of the Ninja
Clash between ancient Ninja assassins and their enemies armed with modern technology is a concept exploited by the West a lot. So what makes this game any different, you may ask. Unlike all 3-D Ninja action games, this one is a 2-D side-scrolling action stealth game. It's like playing a modern video game in retro style! The profound gameplay focuses on stealth. No matter how old or young you are, this one will definitely bring out the kid in you.
#9 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Parents don't want you to play video games at night? Go in stealth mode! That's how you play this third-person stealth game. Featuring refined stealth mechanics, the game will make sure you play it as covertly as possible. I used to play it for hours without being noticed by my parents, thanks to the minimal audio and low-lit visuals. The game tests your patience, literally! I didn't find its storyline remarkable but the gameplay makes up for the lack.
#8 FIFA 14
My PlayStation is the only place where I play football since my hectic schedule doesn't allow me that pleasure in reality. But why FIFA 14? Simply because of its simplicity. The game, when played in multiplayer, offers the same joy of playing football with friends on actual fields. Although I still prefer playing it in the real world than the virtual, but let's face the truth: do we have enough green spaces to play football?
#7 Spec Ops: The Line
If you like playing shooter games with squad-based tactics, but don't prefer playing in first person, this game is for you. Here you're not the only one in the battlefield. As the leader of a cavalry troop, you take decisions involving your team, such as giving command to cover fire on a particular target or order medical attention. So decide your fate and choose wisely, as this game focuses more on your decision-making capabilities.
#6 Tomb Raider 2013
Origin of Lara Croft – that's how I view this game. Portraying Lara's ascension, this 2013 reboot of the original 1996-series redefines the beautiful yet valiant archaeologist-adventurer. The game is a departure from its older installments, all of which show Lara in her rough-and-tough avatar. This one will take you on an adventurous journey of a young and virtuous Lara and how the consequences made her a stout survivor. I guarantee that by the end the end you'll be more connected to Miss Croft than ever before.
#5 Sleeping Dogs
Don't go by the title, it has nothing to do with 'dogs'. Interestingly, not many gamers know about this gem. Set in Hong Kong, the game is about Wei Shen, an undercover cop who infiltrates Triad, the notorious underground criminal organization. It features brilliant graphics and amazing gameplay. Trust me, you'll love playing the combat sequences. Violent and brutal, Sleeping Dogs is all about chases, street fights and loads of GUNS! What else would you want?
#4 Batman: Arkham series
Yes, if in trouble, I would rather call Batman than my friends! That's the impact this game has left on me. Kudos to the developers; they have done a marvellous job in creating this action-adventure game. The intense gameplay, noteworthy graphics and commendable storyline will take you deep inside the world of the “world's greatest detective” as you move ahead. Above anything else, why wouldn't anyone play this game? After all, it has BATMAN!
#3 Grand Theft Auto series
The apple-of-the-eye of every gamer, GTA needs no introduction. Just one tip before you play it the next time: chuck the cheat codes and play without using them. You'll discover the real beauty of the game. GTA IV has an impressive storyline that gets even more interesting when connected with the episodic expansion packs, The Ballad of Gay Tony and The Lost and Damned. Now with GTA V out in stores, one more item goes in my bucket list.
#2 Midnight Club 3 – DUB Edition
The best racing game I've played! It gives me the freedom of racing on the streets, not just on pre-defined tracks. Although in the virtual space, but I at least get to drive on the streets of Tokyo, San Diego, Atlanta and Detroit! The variety of aftermarket parts and visual vinyl makes you spend hours to glam up your car. And I'm talking about all sorts of automobiles – muscle cars, SUVs, sports cars, even choppers and motorbikes! So select your vehicle, customize it and choose your own track to the finish line.
#1 God of War and Assassin's Creed
Can there be anything tougher for a gamer than picking a single video game as his favourite? Nay! There are so many that I couldn't settle for one when it came to crowning the numero uno. God of War and Assassin's Creed – it's a tie folks!
God of War series: If you are into Greek mythology, this is the one for you. A single-player third-person action-adventure game, God of War boasts a superb storyline and brilliant gameplay. The player controls the protagonist Kratos, a Spartan warrior who attempts to free himself from the Olympian gods. The best part: you can kill the gods at places such as Athens, Pandora's temple, Tartarus and Olympus as you proceed! It's been 11 years and still the game gives me the same adrenalin rush as it did the first time.
Assassin's Creed series: The game is based on a secret alliance of assassins who toil to make the world free from the Knights Templar. Its timeline dates back to 14 th century and concludes in 18 th century. Assassin's Creed gives you the ecstasy of travelling back in time to Jerusalem, Vatican City, Rome, and assassinating personalities such as Cesare Borgia and Charles Lee – about whom you've only read in books. You also get Leonardo da Vinci and George Washington as your allies! Boy, I wish my school history lessons were this exciting.
I don't claim that these games are the best ones ever created, nor do I tag them as 'must plays' for every gamer. But yes, if you haven't played them, you surely have missed out on a lot. So what are you waiting for? Grab that gaming console now!
(Artwork created by the author)