Krikket posted on her five favourite game series after seeing a tweet doing the rounds asking the same. She thought it a great blog post prompt — and so do I. Except even after almost the entirety of the day thinking about it, I’m not certain at all that I can lock down a top five!

I have a number of ideas, and perhaps that might be the best criteria. The things that come top of mind when thinking about what the best five might be. But even so, I’m almost certain I’ll wake up tomorrow, or a few days from now and suddenly curse as I think of what a horrible mistake I made in omitting something that in retrospect is glaringly obvious.

So in no particular order — except for the fact I’ll start with the two where I directly overlap with Krikket — here we go!

The Elder Scrolls

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

I don’t go back as far as some do with TES; I played a demo of Arena I suppose — but I can’t really claim a love for the series until TES III: Morrowind. But when I fell; I fell hard. It consumed countless hours of my gaming time. Not just in playing, but in hunting down and experiencing a range of amazing mods for the game. Some gameplay changes, some additional story content, some total conversions even.

I’m not 100% sure this is true, but I think Morrowind was the first game where I experienced the power of mods to this degree and it became a feature I loved about games (including the then-future TES titles) ever since.

Oooh; actually — Doom TC’s were probably my first. Not quite on the same modding scale as here perhaps; but then again, playing Aliens in it? Pretty amazing. :D

Civilisation

Civilisation IV — probably the entry I spent the most time with overall.

Sometime in my teens, I managed to somehow convince my mother to get me a CD-ROM and soundcard upgrade for my PC.

I got a Genuine CreativeLabs SoundBlaster 16 with 2x Speed CD-ROM drive in a bundle. Said bundle included a fairly substantial number of games – Ultima 8, Wing Commander II, Strike Commander, Syndicate (!!) and more.

One of those titles was Civilisation. I ignored it at first. It looked boring. City stuff? Top down graphics? Eiw. No thank-you. I’ll go back flying a spaceship thank-you.

Couldn’t tell you what ultimately led me to try Civilisation out despite those impressions. Possibly I’d simply gone through everything else to the point of satisfaction already?

Whatever the reason was, I’m glad I did. Because I found an experience I loved more than I ever would have anticipated from the outside looking in, and I’ve followed the series ever since.

XCOM

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

For this one, I do explicitly mean the rebooted XCOM series starting with XCOM: Enemy Unknown rather than the original X-COM series. I never played the latter, so Firaxis’ rebooted series was my personal entry point.

I thrashed the ever loving bejeebus out of both main game entries though, and their expansions. While I’m still a little skeptical about the upcoming XCOM: Chimera Squad, I’m still pretty dang keen to give it a go.

I just mostly hope that we get another mainline entry announced soon. Bring on XCOM 3!

Dark Souls

Dark Souls III

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time — it may not surprise you to find that more often than not, I don’t finish the games I start.

I had a really rough start with my entry to the Dark Souls games. It looked like I wasn’t even going to get through the tutorial let alone the entire game.

I was convinced the controls were shit, the game was shit, and that the whole thing could just go burn in a lake of fire.

Fortunately, I got over it on a subsequent attempt to get into the game. And while it certainly wasn’t a story of love at first sight; it has been an enduring one — and one that got me past my usual proclivity towards jumping from games to instead finishing all three entries, start to finish, at least once in full. I’ve probably put the most hours of all into Dark Souls III as it’s the easiest of them to get multiplayer going in but I’d be honestly pretty hard pressed to pick a favourite over all.


Those four come relatively easily.

But the last? Oh boy.

Is it Final Fantasy? Dragon Age…? Nah; I loved the first one… But the next two. *sigh*

Mass Effect is certainly a potential; despite the disappointing end.

Warcraft? Command and Conquer? Just Cause?

Oh wow. No. I got it. Just flicked over to my ‘Favourites’ list in Steam. *face palm* There is, in fact, one clear answer to this for me after all.


The Witcher

The Witcher 3

The Witcher 1 was based on a heavily modified version of the Aurora engine. The Bioware game engine that drove Neverwinter Nights (not the MMO from Perfect World!). I was *heavily* into NWN1 for many years. I played DnD sessions online with it. I played on persistent worlds that other modders made. I was incredibly impressed with the CoPaP initiative (Confederation of Planes and Planets) — an extension made by the community which allowed player data to ‘travel’ from one hosted game server to another; essentially allowing for MMO scale worlds to be created in NWN where each shard contained a part of the overall world.

Heck, I even went on to host and create worlds as part of a guild project, where we endeavoured to replicate the release cycle of Asheron’s Call — in that we would have monthly drops of new content to the server, adding to an ongoing world story.

I mention all this, because it was in the midst of all this that I first heard about CD Projekt’s Witcher project. I remember seeing the screenshots and frankly being incredibly impressed that they’d managed such visual fidelity out of Neverwinter Night’s engine.

I had assumed (incorrectly) that being based on this engine; it would be a free addon/mod to the game as most everything else released outside of the main expansions was.

When I found out that this was not the case, I turned up my nose initially.

So I didn’t come to The Witcher until relatively late. It was after the enhanced edition had been released. I don’t even recall now how I ended up with a copy of the game.

But I’m so glad I did.

The depth of story telling and ability to quite dramatically shift the course of The Witcher games even in the earlier releases was a revelation. The Witcher 3 seems a near perfection of their art.

At this point I’m willing to throw my money at essentially anything CD Projekt Red chooses to work on, as they have earned a very high degree of trust from me.


One Last Request

Krikket had one last request in her post. For us to make a suggestion of just a single title to pick-up and try.

The Witcher 3 might’ve been my starting point for her, except that Krikket already has it on her list of games to tackle in 2020.

Civilisation and The Elder Scrolls are shared between our lists already.

So my recommendation might come a little left field; I don’t know for sure Krikket would enjoy it (or even that she hasn’t already tried the series at some point!) — but here we go:

XCOM 2.

Particularly great, is customising soldier appearances and names to bring your friends into the game. xD

Unfortunately; it still isn’t the cheapest title to pick-up outside of a sale. But the length of enjoyment one can garner from the title (assuming it ends up being up your alley!) is pretty incredible; and that’s even before you start adding mods to the picture!


This was a post for Blapril 2020, the annual blogging event (albeit usually as Blaugust), brought forward to help bring a sense of community during the challenging time of COVID-19. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in, year round!