I’ve been playing video games since I was a child, and I have no idea where I would be without them. There are a number of them that really helped put together who I am as a gamer, but picking 10 was very difficult.

10. Final Fantasy X

A lot of people my age would put Final Fantasy VII ahead of this, and for good reason. What really puts X ahead of VII for me is it being the first RPG game I 100%’d. The Calm Lands were a true marvel in what all an end game even was, and I owe a lot of my min-maxing prowess to this game.

9. Gran Turismo

Endurance races in Gran Turismo weren’t exactly the most popular thing, but when I was younger, I could do them all day. I would often do them non-stop while my dad was at work, so I could help him progress, because everything about cars, racing, and at the time, the graphics, captivated me. This game would be a pioneer in the racing genre for decades to come.

8. Dynasty Warriors

My fondest memory playing Dynasty Warriors was with my younger brother and sister. We would play this series for hours on end, with no signs of stopping. The sheer volume of things you could hack and slash, while also making progress and, in later installments, build your character, is something I loved about this series.

7. Gunstar Heroes

One of the first games I’ve ever played, period. Gunstar Heroes is one of the first beat-em-up, bullet hell style games to ever come out. This was also the very first game I ever beat, and the dice mode at the end was a very interesting way to go about the final boss encounter.

6. Need for Speed Underground 2

If Gran Turismo paved the way for racing simulators, Need for Speed, specifically Undergrouns 2, paved the way for arcade racers. This was the game that for me more into the street racing side of things, and would really solidify my interest in customization of cars.

5. Grand Theft Auto 5

While I don’t have nearly as much time in this game as the others, the RP community in particular fostered a lot of creative form for me, and it’s probably my most watched game on Twitch due to it. It’s like watching a drama, comedy, suspense, and rom-com all in one, and you have no idea what you’re going to get on a given day.

4. Initial D

My old friends telling you how much school I skipped to play this game in arcades would not do this game justice. Initial D completely consumed me and my friends, so much so, that we created a racing group in the NYC area, would travel the city for players, and would hold tournaments!

3. Road Rash

This game is older than most, but this was also the game I would watch the most as a kid.

2. Wangan Midnight: Maximum Tune

It is extremely difficult to describe the impact this game had on me in a top 10 list, mostly because I could write an entire book on how much it changed my life. The allure of street racing in Japan was already a huge thing for me in the mid 2000s, and this game fostered an entire community in the NYC area. If Initial D was the game that got me into arcade racers, Maximum Tune was the game that kept me and my friends together for a very long time.

1. Maplestory

This might be out of left field, but I think I have more hours in Maplestory than any game I’ve played in my life. I was ranked #2 in my server, and #5 in the world at one point. Sure, it didn’t mean much except for how much you played, but hey, I was a teenager and I liked being so high up in a ranking, okay!? I made so many wonderful friends through Maplestory, and I wouldn’t have gotten my start in MMO gaming if it weren’t for this game.

My gaming taste is pretty eclectic as you could probably tell, but I think these games in particular are very near and dear to my heart. I would love to go back and revisit them someday!

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