There are a few different ways to look at this, but what I'm interested in is whether your favorite game is something you first played in your youth, or something you first played as an adult.
So for instance, if your favorite game is something that released when you were a youth but you didn't actually play it until you were an adult, you would pick adult not youth.
Also for the sake of the poll if your favorite game is an updated version of a game you played long ago, choose the option for when you played the earlier version. For example if you played Ocarina of Time as a youth and it became your favorite game and then played Ocarina of Time 3D as an adult and think it is the definitive version, you should still vote youth.
My theory is that, even though we still love new games, most of us have a favorite game from back in the days that just hasn't been surpassed (newer definitive versions aside) in our eyes. We'll see what the poll says.
I got Majora's Mask when I was about 4 years old and was terrified of the game. I always had to rush past the title screen because seeing the mask zoom in and out with the ominous sound design scared me. The pressure of knowing that everyone was depending on me to stop the moon and knowing that I wasn't good enough was overwhelming. These were my "friends" from Ocarina of Time that I had become so familiar with from playing that game constantly and now the stakes were suddenly much more dire and the challenge was greater. They all needed me to save them, but no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't do it. I couldn't even make it to the first dungeon. I wasn't good enough to save anyone and they all suffered because of my failures. It's kind of silly now, but that stuff is super serious when you're a kid. The plight of those bunches of polygons feels much more real, and your heightened imagination makes game's world feel all the more complete.
But as I grew up and got better at games, and steadily made more progress. I'd return to Majora's Mask every couple of years and get better every time, making more progress and helping more people. Eventually I was able to finish the game and collect everything, saving everyone and improving their lives. That sense of progress and improvement over the course of years was immensely satisfying and it has stuck with me as my favorite game. Today, I'm very familiar with Majora's Mask and can collect just about everything without a guide or checklist, so the game has taken on a sense of appreciation from me as a challenge to get as much accomplished in a 3 day cycle as possible and how efficiently I can complete the game.
But as I grew up and got better at games, and steadily made more progress. I'd return to Majora's Mask every couple of years and get better every time, making more progress and helping more people. Eventually I was able to finish the game and collect everything, saving everyone and improving their lives. That sense of progress and improvement over the course of years was immensely satisfying and it's stuck with me as my favorite game.
For me, that question is basically Ocarina of Time/Majora's Mask, which I both played for the first time prior to elementary school but really sunk my teeth into around 2nd or 3rd grade, versus Spelunky, which I first played a couple years ago. Right now I'm leaning towards Zelda, but I know that on a different day I might pick Spelunky, so I abstain from voting.
It's funny, being only 20, this poll ought to be pretty heavily biased towards my childhood, but I feel like games nowadays are so much better than they were a decade ago that I wouldn't be surprised if all of my favorite games get replaced within the next five years. There's a pretty great Aunoma quote about how it isn't good enough to surpass old games, you also have to surpass people's memories of those old games, and I think developers are finally getting to the point where they'll be able to do that. Zelda Wii U stands a real chance at beating out Ocarina of Time for me, and that's super exciting.
@Secret_Tunnel Don't we know like next to nothing about Zelda U (or maybe more likely Zelda NX)? Not to say you can't be hyped but it's sort of odd to me to have so much confidence in something with so little known.
They're saying all the right things. The focus on world exploration over going through a linear story is what makes me like the N64 games over, say, Skyward Sword or even Twilight Princess. It seems like all they've gotta do is not mess it up and they'll have, at the very least, a really fun open-world game.
Now, how likely it is that they'll be able to capture the magic of the N64 Zeldas that I've had 15 years to feel nostalgic about, who knows. Star Wars pulled it off, so it's not impossible.
Well, the NES was still cranking strong when I was an 18+ adult, so that sort of limits my Youth options.
Honestly I don't even know what my favorite game is anymore, as it's changed so many times over the years. Adventure (2600), AD&D: Tarmin (Intellivison), MegaMan 2 (NES), ZAMN (SNES), etc. etc. I've got favorites that just never seem to slip out of my All Time Top 10 (Galaga), but my #1 pick usually changes with every new generation. Though Link To The Past always seems to slip in and out of the #1/#2 spot.
I guess my current #1 game is Farming Simulator 2013/15.
I thought Twilight Princess was pretty good as far as world exploration went. It was the only game after the N64 Zelda's to give me that feeling of wonder as I uncovered a new cave or area. Skyward Sword certainly didn't.
But yes, that looks to be where the focus is, which is excellent (and explains the delays.) I'd hate to think we're getting this massively huge world with nothing in it.
(I'm looking at you Great Ocean with tiny one-secret islands)
My favorite game is from my youth, although it's changed a few times (Ocarina of Time to Wind Waker, back to OoT, and finally to Super Metroid). I feel that games haven't been as good since after the GCN era or so.