Ethan Castro ’24
In a world where technology has become a standard, almost necessary part of our lives, one of its many forms is entertainment. Gaming as a subculture has exploded in recent years, and a question that many have asked since the dawn of gaming itself is exactly what you’d think: Which games are the best? I can’t give you a clear-cut answer, as in order to understand which games are the best, you must first understand the game itself. With that said, let’s dive into my top five games! (These are all games I’ve personally played. If there is a game that you believe should be on here, but is not, I probably have not played it … YET!)
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
This is an open world adventure game focused on the story of Link, a one-thousand year old warrior whose memory has been lost. Without spoiling any of the story, I can confidently say that this is one of the best games to have been released on the Switch. With a massive scaled world, packed with everything you could possibly think of, Breath of the Wild is an immersive experience that offers gameplay suitable for anyone. Whether you want to beat all the side quests first, or simply go straight to the final boss right off the bat, any playstyle is encouraged. In my 3 years of playing the game (3, not 4, as I’ve regretfully left it untouched since 2021 started) there has never been a point where I felt bored or lost. Even though the game expresses what you have to do explicitly, it leaves it in your own hands. letting you decide when you’re ready to take on the wonders of its world.
4. Super Mario Odyssey
Any long time Mario fan knew this game was going to be somewhere on this list! With the classic Mario vibe, Odyssey is among the best of the 3D Mario games. With a never before seen feature, there’s no wonder it got so much love. Jam packed with content, Odyssey has a total of 18 unique worlds that never stop changing and expanding. Two of those 18 aren’t even available until after you’ve completed the main storyline, showing how much this game really has to offer. While almost every Mario game has been a masterpiece when it came to Nintendo, Odyssey has definitely raised the bar with its one-of-a-kind capture system. It showed new sides to all sorts of characters, and offered such a unique adventure when compared to other Mario games. This game set a higher standard for those that came after it, including notably, the Switch port of Super Mario 3D World.
3. Splatoon 2
Containing out of this world third-person shooter gameplay, and near flawless online interaction, you begin to wonder how they managed to improve a formula from an already amazing game so much. Splatoon 2 offers a story that reflects on the power of friendship, music, and most importantly, ink! With a total of 33 unique story mode stages, paired with multiple multiplayer modes that take place in a myriad of maps that cycle daily, there’s a never ending pool of content for you to enjoy. While the surface level of this game may appear as nothing more than an average shooter, digging deeper will reveal that it is anything but. Besides the previously mentioned campaign and multiplayer modes, there are numerous weapons to choose from. Along with this, there’s a large array of customizable clothing that can be purchased from in game shops, capable of aiding you in your online adventures.
There are no words to describe the absolute perfection of this game. The gameplay of Celeste hinges on nearly impossible platforming stages, providing an immense, but worthwhile challenge. The real meat of Celeste comes with the themes of the game, however. Celeste focuses on the ideas of mental health and self-confidence, portraying the depth of these things in a tear-jerking story that will squeeze your heart in ways that only it is capable of. In a game where each stage features mechanics and music that make you feel the protagonist’s struggles with anxiety and depression, and highs of joy, and accomplishment there’s no reason to wonder why it is placed so high on this list. With no game quite like this one, you find yourself immersed in a world of self-doubt and agony, climbing a tower for no reason other than to prove your capability to do so, to prove it to those that don’t believe you ever could. Undoubtedly, there will never be a rival to the emotional rollercoaster you so passionately ride through your time playing this fantastic piece of art.
- Hollow Knight
This game is my personal favorite, and that’s a sentiment I share with many others. Playing as one forgotten, whose existence is accidental, yet miraculous, you play as the Knight. A being without an identity, made from an essence called the Void. Through your adventures in the world called Hallownest, you find friends, foes, and everything in between. Jump, dash, and most importantly, slash your way through a flawless story that can’t be mimicked. Find out secrets and put together the pieces of the story left for you to uncover. Nothing is handed to you in this game, and that’s such an important aspect of it. One that reminds you how alone your character really is on this journey. Only adding to what makes this game so special, composer Christopher Larkin provides Hollow Knight with a mindblowing soundtrack, greatly enhancing the experience. Utilizing instruments such as harp and violin, capable of emitting such beautiful and unique sounds, the impactfulness of everything is heightened further, making the game not only enjoyable to play, but enjoyable to listen to.
After hearing about all these wonderful games, I hope that you take the time to experience at least one of them! A lot of you already might have done so, and if that’s the case then I hope you enjoyed each experience as much as I did! Gaming is an infinitely diverse world that, when delved into, it becomes easy to get lost in the best kind of way. Continue to see the best in everything, and most of all, have fun!