I'm running late today, having been set back by errands and other assorted lamenesses. So instead of my usual insightful greatness I will have to settle for a cop out list. Top 5 games ever made, ever. Good to better. Buy them all, perhaps twice over.
1) Samurai Showdown 5 (arcade): As much as I have loved the strategic fighting and near-perfect balance of Street Fighter 4, and more recently the adrenaline fueled ultra stylistic slugfest that is Blazblue, neither of them compare to the raw fighting perfection that is Samurai Showdown 5. The game is perfectly styled so that it looks exactly like a cheesy (but awesome) old school Japanese samurai flick. And how does it play? Like butter, my friend. It is cerebral without slowing the pace down too much. This game is all about outsmarting your opponent, no button mashing allowed.
2) Gears of War (Xbox 360): As the Doom 2 manual might put it: Chainsaw bayonet, 'nuff said. Revolutionary game dynamics fuel the short but sweet single player romp through a fun, if unintelligible, storyline. But the real treat is the multiplayer. It is a true testament to how groundbreaking and great the multiplayer dynamics were in this game when people (myself included) played the hell out of it DESPITE the almost ridiculously bad netcode.
3) The Gladiators: Galactic Circus Games (PC): A super innovative RTS from an unknown French developer that went right underneath just about everybody's radar. But not mine. Gameplay wise it is comparable to more recent titles like World in Conflict, only this game did it about 4 years earlier. The singleplayer is a decent Myth style romp, but the multiplayer is where this game shines. There are more good game design choices here than you can count. Unfortunately, the multiplayer servers are no longer in operation, but do yourself a favor and LAN this sucker. You won't regret it.
4) Counter-Strike (PC, the xbox one (which I had) kind of blew): This one just has to get on the list. In my opinion, CS is the game most responsible for changing multiplayer gaming from a novelty niche to something that everybody can be interested in. This game was a perfect storm for me. I had been gaming online for a couple of years already; but playing Quake, TFC, AvP, and Rainbow Six on a 56k was definitely more about the novelty of playing with people around the world and less about having a lot of gaming fun. It came around just as my parents had upgraded to a cable modem. The rest, as they say, is history. I have easily logged more hours into CS than any other multiplayer game, probably by a factor of three or more. And it was a free mod!
5) Vampire : The Masquerade - Bloodlines (PC): I realize that those of you who don't already know the amazing quality of this game are thinking "a game that barely scratches out an 80 on Metacritic is the best game ever made?" The short answer is yes, yes it is. There has never been a roleplaying game with a more immersive, better crafted world and world-lore ever made. Really, the game just does what so many other games have prided themselves in doing, but it does it better. Complex moral decisions (Fable)? It gets done here better. Believable game world filled with realistic characters with multiple agendas (Oblivion)? It gets done here better. A horror sequence that can scare the piss out of you (a dozen lame survival horror games)? Check+, the creepiest game sequence I've ever encountered. The game is perfect... Except for some of the near game breaking bugs. This is how you can account for the less than perfect reviews. Essentially, at launch the game was near unplayable due to bugs. Lucky for you, launch was several years ago. The game continues to get fan patches to this day and I can tell you from personal experience that it is now immensely playable and enjoyable. Pick this thing up on Steam for around $20. You won't regret it.
There you have it. My first Top 5. But why are you still reading? Go pick up Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. NOW!