Video games are unique in that they get multiple sequels or iterations of the same series, yet they don't get bashed for it like films do when they go overboard (I'm looking at you Saw). Well... most series don't get bashed.
We play games that are in the same series because we are familiar with them, and when we know a sequel or successor is out, we buy it because it's gotta be good right? You liked the other games in the series, so you gotta like the one that just came out! Buying games is a hard decision for some people, and when you're a fan of a franchise/series, you can easily make a decision based on your tastes. Would you buy the new mario platformer that just came out... or the indie platformer that you're not that sure of? I know some people would choose the latter, but the majority of people would choose the former. It's because of the familiarity of it.
Anyway, enough chatting about why franchises/series are important to buyers of games.
I don't play FPSes all that often, but when I do, I play single-player experiences rather than multi-player shootouts, and Half-Life is a superb single-player experience. It takes all the narrative of a game and puts it through your eyes. There are no 'cut-scenes', but rather, you take part in the scenes that are happening throughout the story. The story of Half-Life is really why I love this series, and while other people may say it's not that great, to me, it's one of the better video game narratives out there.
Oh, and by the way...
WHERE THE FUCK IS EPISODE 3, GABE?
Team Ico Games
While the games aren't directly related to one another, they do seem to take place in the same universe. Fumito Ueda has created a pretty unique world with these games, and I've enjoyed both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus immensely. The atmosphere and emotion of these games hit me very hard while playing them. Not to mention the music from SotC, which has to be some of the best orchestrated pieces I've ever heard in a video game. I'm looking forward to seeing The Last Guardian release as well. I don't have a PS3 at the moment, but if any game could make me cave in and buy a PS3, it would be something from Team Ico.
While I haven't played Animal Crossing in quite a while, the time I have played it, I remembered fondly. Whenever I play an Animal Crossing game, it sucks me in, and I play for months. (Unfortunately, City Folk didn't do that for me.) The Gamecube version had me hooked after getting it for my birthday one winter, and the DS version made me so happy that I could take my town around with me anywhere, but City Folk, just didn't feel the same. I hope that the Animal Crossing for the 3DS will have more added to it to get me hooked again. Who knew fishing, catching bugs, digging for fossils, talking to animal neighbors and collecting furniture could be so addicting. For those who know Animal Crossing, you know how I feel, for those who don't... well... either you get it or you don't, you just gotta give the series a chance.
Super Smash Bros.
I'm sure this is a favorite for a lot of people reading this, because it might include some of your favorite characters, or maybe you just think it's a fun game. I like Smash Bros. because of it's concept, taking a bunch of video game characters and pitting them against each other in a fighting game. It also allows me to find out about other games I probably would not have played before. Thanks to Melee, I bought the Fire Emblem that came out for the Game Boy Advance because I was curious about the series. And thanks to Brawl... well, and my co-editor/friend Ink, I became curious about...
About... about... *sniff*
...ahem, sorry, that song just always gets me.
But yeah, Brawl and Ink got me curious about the Mother series. This is the only series that has ever competed for my love of the Team Ico games, and it's made it's way up past it on my list. The nontraditional JRPG stories that they tell are what interested me the most, and the very real emotions that are conveyed by just simple text just astounded me. That's not the only thing though, the humor in these games is just fantastic, that is, if you like quirky stuff. If you haven't played any of the Mother games, and aren't that much into JRPGs because of their stories, then this might be for you, because it's very different... and if you like JRPGs and you haven't played any of these games, then... what's wrong with you?!
*Ducks and hides from Renjaku's hatred of The Police*
I know some people here won't agree with my placement of this on the list, but damn it, it's one of my favorite franchises, just for the sheer enjoyment I get out of it. I've spent hours playing this game with friends and by myself, whether it be playing the fake guitar, singing, or learning a bit of keyboard. There is a great investment one has to take with this series also... well... that is if they want to get the most out of it. When having a large Rock Band library, you get a lot more variety in the songs you play, and it's actually helped me discover a lot more music and has broadened my horizons in that aspect. It has also reminded me of music that I have forgotten in long years passed. I do have quite a few complaints with the franchise, but the good always outweighs the bad.
(The tone of this song sort of expresses just how I feel about being out in the ocean, exploring what is unknown to land. Adventure!)
I know there are only two games in the series so far, but if you know me, you know why it's so high on the list. I was really impressed with just how much of a game they made out of a scuba-diving simulator. Collecting the information on the marine life and taking photos of my dives is something I want to do in real life eventually, but in the meantime, Endless Ocean is a great substitute. Like Animal Crossing, if you enjoy these games, you know how I feel, and if you don't... then you hate the ocean!
I think everyone here might have Mario in their top 10, if not, then... what are you doing here?
I do enjoy the spin-off games, like Mario Kart and the sports games, but I love the main series as well as the RPGs the most. I've played just about every Mario platformer there is, though I haven't beaten them all. Nintendo has a way with platformers, and the Mario platformers always have tight controls and great level design. I can always go back to a Mario platformer, play it and get a smile on my face. So far, it seems the Galaxy games have topped my list as the best games of this generation, and I hope that there's more where that came from. It seems likely from the screens we've seen of the Super Mario game for the 3DS, and I'm drooling with anticipation. As for the RPGs, well, I've also played nearly all of them, and the Paper Mario games are my favorite. Again, I'm eagerly awaiting what they have in store for Paper Mario on the 3DS.
(The anime's music will never be this good again.)
It may be due to the hype and excitement of playing Pokemon Black recently, but again, like with Animal Crossing, when I get into Pokemon, I play it a LOT. It's that addictive and tantalizing nature that makes me rate this so high on my list. Training and collecting Pokemon is just as much a craze to me today as it was over a decade ago in 1998. I'm very excited to see what Nintendo has in store for the Pokemon games being developed for the Wii and 3DS. I'm hoping that the new Wii game will be better than Battle Revolution, and that the 3DS game is the third pillar of the Black/White games. Though, if they're just some spin-off, I won't worry, because the shear amount of content in Black will keep me busy for quite a while, and I'm planning on doing a Nuzlocke run with Platinum.
Honestly, I don't know why I like Metroid so much.
Is it the sense of isolation the games present?
The unique environments that Samus has to explore?
The awesome music is has?
Well, maybe I do know. It's all of those things. To sum up how I feel about the series, here's an image of my opinions about each game in the franchise:
Surprised? Well, I was debating on whether to put Zelda in my Top 10 or not, but ultimately decided not to put it in, because, well... I'm not that big of a Zelda fan. I do enjoy the games, a lot... but not enough to have it be one of my favorites. Maybe the fact that my favorite Zelda is Link's Awakening, and that I think Twilight Princess is better than most others may show that I'm not the biggest fan.
Roller Coaster Tycoon
This is a series I played a lot of when I was bored in the afternoon of the late 90's/early 00's. Building and managing theme parks seemed so cool to me, and it made me want to visit them... though not ride many of the rides. I'm actually terrified of Roller Coasters. I recently purchased RCT3 Platinum off of Steam, I already had the game before, but not the expansions, so having it on Steam is a delight. It doesn't have quite the 'Chris Sawyer' charm that the other games had, but it has a ton of content and has allowed people to make incredible parks.
The Zoo Tycoon series hits home a bit more with me, and it was very close to being in my top 10. If it wasn't for Endless Ocean, this probably would have been up there. Unfortunately, I don't think there will ever be another Zoo Tycoon, Blue Fang has no mention of it, they recently made a Facebook game called 'Zoo Kingdom', maybe they're just trying to make some money so they can make another Zoo Tycoon. The Zoo Tycoon 2 collection is fine, but for some reason, I felt that some things were missing. Maybe I just want an Aquarium Tycoon... is there such a thing? Well, there's a SeaWorld Parks Tycoon, but that's just horrible.
Well, that's my list. What do you think?
And what would be in your Top 10 franchises/series?
Oh my GOSH! I can't think of this now... (I made this list, and bumped Zelda, woo! While high scoring, I'd rather play any of these. Really. Especially nowadays..)
Honorable Mention: Donkey Kong Country Ignited my reemergence into getting a game every year for Christmas. The games that followed were still pretty good (calm down, DKC2, people), but not as good as the first. Haven't played 'Returns' yet, but I did get it -- naturally -- for Christmas. The circle is complete.
10. Marvel Ultimate Alliance / X-Men Legends thing Maybe its because I'm just playing through it right now, but a 4p beat-em-up w/ RPG elements and customizable teams and costumes? Oh my goodness.
9. MVP Baseball Deeply engaging sports game, and you get to manage several tiers of your organization from a single seat. Oh, and the gameplay is pretty rad, too.
8. Punch-Out!! The first game is awesome (w/ Mike Tyson), the second game is awesome (on SNES), and the Wii game is pretty good, too. More Punch-Out!!, please.
7. Star Wars Rogue Squadron DAK! And all of the other guys are here, too. I bought Rogue Leader at launch w/ Luigi's Mansion. I played it so much that first weekend I was hearing TIE Fighters even after I stopped playing. Seriously.
6. Animal Crossing Your own town with your own animal friends. You human pals can come over, too! 6-ball shirt, baby!
5. Rock Band Brings the whole family together, and you get to sing some awesome tunes, too! Incredibly challenging even after years of owning it. Oh, and it drains you of hours at a time when you don't even realize it.
4. Mega Man A staple on the NES for years. Should be 8-bit FOREVER. Anything less would be uncivilized.
3. Tecmo Bowl Fans of this franchise will never forget it. Simple enough for anyone to play, and loved by enough that you can pick it up TODAY and still be entertained. The Super Bowl series was even better.
2. Tales of Symphonia Not a lot of games, but they AVERAGE 9.4 in my collection. Huge.
1. OGRE BATTLE The ultimate of ultimate games. What a freakin' beast. I CAN'T BELIEVE THE WII NEVER GOT ONE!! Its PERFECT!!! I want to go home and fool around with my army, even though I don't even have a save file going right now. Changing classes is beyond rad.
Surprise Run-In!: WWF/WCW THQ Games: Slide in the ring, hit someone with a huge STOP sign, love it, leave to a chorus of boos. Ah, wrestling. Soak it up.
EDIT- Oh, and your other question.. Yeah, I can see most of your list. I figured Pokemon and Endless Ocean would've been on there. I took the big franchises off my list. They're going to end up on everyone else's lists anyway. For those that know me, I don't like things to get "too big," and when something does, my appreciation of it falters a little bit. Sometimes I like when something is gigantic, but most of the time, I don't. I was on the Britney Spears train before she left port, and then it started picking up steam, and I got off before she went bonkers. Games are like that for me, too.
Metroid has been very frustrating in recent years, Zelda has caused me great despair, and Mario stuff..I dunno, I haven't played a Mario game besides New Super Mario Bros. Wii in many years. I guess they could probably get on the list somewhere? I was never a huge Mario fan though. They're good games, sure, but not my "favorite." Does that make sense? Same goes for those other ones I mentioned.
10. Ghouls & Ghost (or Ghost & Goblins) 9. Ninja Gaiden 8. Final Fantasy 7. Monkey Ball 6. Kings Quest 5. LucasArts Adventure PC games (Day of the Tentacle, Indian Jones, ect.) 4. Monkey Island 3. Mario 2. Resident Evil 1. CastleVania
I don't think it is fair to add in spin-off games. Anyway, this is tough. Hmm.
There are the obvious Nintendo ones...
Mario / Metroid / Zelda / Smash / Kart / F-Zero
And then a not so obvious Nintendo one...
Advance Wars (should be obvious)
Throw in some non-Nintendo...
Mega Man / Ico Team / Resident Evil?
Well, that is ten right there, although I'd probably have a different list if I gave this more than 2 minutes of thought. /EDIT For instance, Castlevania should probably be in there somewhere. And Phoenix Wright. And maybe Layton.
Wait... does "Shin Megami" count as one franchise? I guess not.
I was wondering about how I should include Shin Megami Tensei games too. I don't think it goes against the idea of the thread to include it while considering all of it's awesome series. The Vs. Games come to mind as well.
I don't think I can put together a Top 10 list right now and feel satisfied with how I structure it, but some of my favorites would be the Ace Attorney series, and Nintendo classics like Zelda, Soup-ah Mario, Metroid, Pokemon, and Pikmin.
My list is awful because apart from my top 6 or 7, I don't play franchise games very often, and I've had very few opportunities to play non-Nintendo games (apart from stuff on the PS1), and if I've only played one game in that series, I don't count it. All of that leaves me with a list that looks something like:
10. Mario Party (just because it's one of the only franchises I could think of that I've played more than one of despite not being a favorite) 9. Mario Kart (same reasoning as above) 8. Pikmin (same reasoning as above) 7. Pokemon 6. Smash Bros 5. Banjo-Kazooie (would be higher if there were more games) 4. Metroid (would be higher if there were more games in the series like Metroid Prime 1 and 2) 3. Mario 2. Donkey Kong Country 1. Zelda
I thought about putting Final Fantasy on my list, but then I thought about all of the Final Fantasy a) I haven't played and b) that blows. A good gauge is the percentage of games that you like from the series. I like 100% of Tales of Symphonia. I like 80% of Mega Man. I only really like/play probably 40% of Zelda games.
1. Zelda 2. Metroid 3. Mario (love the platformers, RPGs, and Kart games) 4. Metal Gear Saga 5. Castlevania 6. Uncharted 7. Dragon Quest 8. Elder Scrolls 9. Marathon/Halo (I consider these games to be in the same universe) 10. Resident Evil (but recently Dead Space has filled the void left by the terrible games released after RE4)
@TriforceBun I came close to putting FF on my list but couldn't do it.
I really liked 4, didn't like 5 as much, loved 6, loved 7, HATED 8 (one of my most disliked games of all time), loved 9, and liked 10 (though I never finished it. After that, I haven't played any of them, because the series just hasn't interested me at all.
This is definitely my favorite racing series. Ever. High speed, arcadey action. Huge jumps. Impossible stunts. Ridiculously fun. The only reason this is so far down the list is because, sadly, the franchise appears to be dead. Such a shame.
9.)Metal Gear Solid
Ah, Metal Gear Solid. It's a great experience. I was really wow'd by the PSOne game back in 1998 - I had never played a stealth game before, nor have I enjoyed such a cinematic experience in a game before. Very, very good series. The only one I'm kinda "iffy" on is the 4th one. Director Kojima got a little too carried away with the cinematics, IMHO. All the other games though? Good stuff!
This was another game that introduced a genre I had never played. I really didn't love the first one, but after playing the amazing sequel, I fell in love with the series. The only one I can say I didn't love was the third one. Not a big fan. The others I either liked well enough, or outright LOVED. I gotta admit though, I haven't played Resident Evil 5 yet. Does that disqualify my choice?
Man, what could be said about the Blue Bomber that hasn't already been said before? I've loved just about every iteration this guy has come in (yes, I know it's not the same robot in each series. Shut up! ). Tough as nails platforming, tight shooting action, amazing soundtracks, and at least up until the 16-bit era, great graphics. The only game in the franchise I can say I don't like is Mega Man 7. Everything else is fantastic. The Gameboy iterations were my favorites, Capcom really let their creative team loose with those.
6.)Super Smash Bros.
It's a fighting game series starring all my favorite Nintendo characters, beating the snot out of each other. What's not to love? I spent an embarrassing amount of hours playing these games - especially the N64 original back in college.
Name a bad Super Mario game. Just try. Stumped, eh? That's because they're all great. Besides that, I more or less grew up with this series, so it holds a special place in my gaming heart.
Gotta catch 'em all! Then battle them in simulated cock fights! And the creatures will love you for it! Besides being a great RPG series, the fact that the games kind of force social interaction makes this series unlike any other. It's a cultural phenomenon, a top-selling video game franchise, and engrossing and addictive as ever.
This series has eaten up so many hours of my youth, teen years, college years, and now my adult life. I don't know what it is, but there's something immensely satisfying about landing a simple three-hit combo on someone and finishing it off with a SHORYUKEN that just isn't replicated in any other game. The fighting genre is one of my most favorite genres, and Street Fighter reigns as king above the others.
One of my favorite franchises from my youth. Addictive gameplay, FANTASTIC music, superb graphics, all wrapped up with the mythos of Bram Stoker's Dracula? Oh yes. This is one series that I can't seem to get enough of. Absolutely fantastic. I love this series.
1.)The Legend of Zelda
Well, we're all Nintendo fans here, so we all know why this series is so good. My favorite is Link's Awakening, due to the creativity and innovation that entry had. Not to mention the impact it had on the series as a whole. Oh, and it was a blast to play. But that's not really unexpected, right? Can't wait to see how Skyward Sword turns out.
There are many series that I'd liked to have put in my list, but haven't played every game in (mainly newer series with only one or two games, like Valkyria Chronicles or Dead Space), so I didn't feel it was right to put them in. I also didn't put in Deadly Premonition since it's just one game, although Swery has hinted to the possibility of a sequel/prequel in the past. Until that time comes though, such a series will be absent from here. With that in mind, here's my list (with my thoughts on numbering subject to change):
10. Ninja Gaiden - I've only really played the first two NES games, but they're some of the best action games I've ever played. I'm proud to say that I've beaten both of them I have yet to play Ninja Gaiden III though, which I hear (the US version at least) is the most difficult in the series. I've played bits and pieces of the 3D Itagaki games, but I wasn't quite as engrossed in them as I was with the NES games. Still though, they're both so consistently enjoyable and challenging, so they deserve a spot on this list.
9. Metal Gear - This series has steadily progressed with each passing game. Comparing the original Metal Gear to Metal Gear Solid 4 is quite an endeavor, yet you can still recognize the series' roots of stealth gameplay no matter how many new controls or cutscenes get added. The story sometimes gets hard to follow, but if you can stomach it, it's pretty fun, and quite effectively emotional at times.
8. Dead Rising - The first Dead Rising game is so much fun to run through and mess around in. It's also challenging to master, but once you do, it's very satisfying to take on. I haven't played Dead Rising 2 yet, but Case Zero was really enjoyable, and addressed some of the issues the first game had, such as poor survivor AI and shooting controls.
7. Donkey Kong - Lots of people love Donkey Kong Country 2, which is astounding, but the original DKC and DKC3 are also both very much worth playing. I enjoy seeing the progression the DKC sub-series has taken from game to game. The original arcade games are also quite enjoyable. Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. are both great fun, and Donkey Kong 3 is pretty nice too. I haven't played Donkey Kong Country Returns yet, but I look forward to doing so.
6. Mega Man - This is mainly for the X and Legends series of games. I like some of the original series games too, but X (particularly the SNES trilogy) and Legends are where it's at for me. Mega Man Legends 3 is probably my most-anticipated game at the moment.
5. Mass Effect - I love the story in this series, of course, but I also appreciate it for its gameplay. It features third-person shooter gameplay which is more fair than most that I've played. There are no one-shot deaths to be found here (at least on Normal difficulty), so it remains consistently challenging, yet manageable. I can't wait for The Arrival DLC to come!
4. Umihara Kawase - These games are incredible. I love Umihara Kawase! This series is a joy to play over and over again. Each time you can come across new secret paths to follow, or discover new tricks to pull off with Umihara's grappling hook. If any series deserves a chance outside of Japan, it's this one.
3. Mario - I've always liked Mario, and it's one of the most consistently good video game series around. Every single game brings new things to the table, and the series shows no signs of slowing down. The RPG sub-series is also worth noting. Super Mario RPG is great, and the (first two) Paper Mario games are really great. I'm looking to check out Paper Mario 3DS whenever it comes.
2. Resident Evil - This would probably have taken first place if Resident Evil 5 hadn't sucked so hard. The early Resident Evil games are pretty awesome, being both replayable and atmospheric, and Resident Evil 4 is hands-down my favorite game of all time. I'm really looking forward to Mikami's upcoming Shadows of the Damned. It looks like the true successor to Resident Evil 4
1. Contra - This is without a doubt my favorite series ever. Just about every game in it is immensely replayable, with tons of challenge and depth to enjoy. Great games in the series continue to come out to this day, with Hard Corps: Uprising easily being one of the best the series has ever seen.
EDIT: For whatever reason my entry on Contra was eaten up upon posting, but I've restored it.
I had to put a racing genre on here because I love me a good racer, and it came down to Burnout of NFS. Honestly it's a tossup, but Burnout 3 is the best racer I've ever played so I give it the edge. The game was pure fun.
Every game is so polished. They have lost a little luster in the last few years, but some of the best games ever are Zelda games. My personal favorite is Link's Awakening.
8. Twisted Metal
This series takes me back to spending nights with my best friend and playing TM 1 and 2 all night long. I loved it, and he always kicked my ass. Then Black came out and blew me away. One of my favorite games ever.
7. The Elder Scrolls
I have to admit, my experience with this series is lacking. But Oblivion knocked my socks off, and it reminded me of the type of game I wanted to make when I was little. It was one of the freshest experiences I've ever had in a video game.
6. Resident Evil
I love the RE games. I love the tank controls. I have nothing else meaningful to say.
5. Smash Bros.
Add it all up, and I've probably played this series more than any other. It has endless replay-ability, and it's hilarious and fun every time. Items is the proper way to play BTW.
4. Grand Theft Auto
The series has its share of haters, but there are few better video games out there IMO. Love the freedom and the stuff you can do in the game.
3. Mario platformers
The series speaks for itself. It's the pinnacle of platformers and the 2D versions in particular are unmatched in the genre.
2. Final Fantasy
Ask me on a different day, and I'd pry say this is my favorite series. XIII was a joke of a game, and XII wasn't quite up to par, but the series overall is amazing.
1. Metal Gear Solid
I was surprised to see that this wasn't even on a lot of peoples' lists. I love the story, I love the gameplay. It's corny - I don't care. Solid Snake is a badass, and you find yourself cheering for him like crazy. Snake Eater was ridiculously good. They're all great. Hell, I even like 2.
Disclaimer: Shrunk some screens, hope that doesn't stretch the screen too much. Also, this list was tough to make.