A few days ago I was asked a simple question: what is the best game you have ever played? After a long time of pondering, to the point where the person asking the question had gone to get himself another drink, I came up with an answer: Uncharted: A Thief’s End.
Before I had the chance to explain my decision was based on the incredible graphical fidelity, and the superbly written characters and story, I was asked another question: what is your favourite game of all time? Without hesitation, I blurted out, along with some of my drink, Uncharted: Drakes Fortune.
My friend looked at me rather quizzically, before enquiring whether they were the same game. I quickly explained, no, but they are from the same series of games. At that point, I realised why my friend looked so bemused. My favourite game and the best I’d ever played were different, but they were from the same series of games.
When you, dear reader, get the chance, ask yourself, what is the best game you’ve played and what is your favourite, and see if it is the same game. I guarantee it isn’t.
There is a huge difference between the best and your favourite. One is discovered by critically pulling a game apart, critiquing to the gameplay, the story, the characters, the look, the style and so on.
Finding your favourite is far more personal, based more on the feelings generated by a play-through. A Thief’s End is head and shoulders above Drake’s Fortune regarding gameplay, visuals, characters and story, yet, if I had to pick one to play right now, it would be the latter.
Drake’s Fortune came out during a difficult time in my life, and it presented a way out. It presented a way out from the world around me, just for a few hours a day. Drake, Sully, Elanor–they all became my friends, almost my confidants, and while that feeling remained throughout the series, it was never as powerful as it was the first time around.
For many people, a game can become more than a game. It can become lodged in your conscious and every time you return, your mind is returned to the tranquil space it occupied all those years before. You don’t think about the faults, and you don’t compare it to others, you remember it for the feelings it gave you, those of which can never be replicated.
The best game you have ever played will come and go, possibly year on year. It is very possible that the answer I gave to the original question would have been Horizon: Zero Dawn or Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. But my favourite, that is much more ingrained.