Every gamer has a few titles they can play over and over again, with each playthrough providing an abundance of joy.  Here are my experiences with ten such games, in order of release date.

1.  Skate or Die 2, NES

I distinctly remember renting this one many times from our local video store (Olney Video).  I never got very far in the actual game (I don’t think I ever made it past the mall, which was the second area), but I still played the hell out of it as a kid.  Chances are pretty good my parents could have bought it for less money than they spent renting it for me.

2. Metroid II, Game Boy

My Game Boy went with me everywhere (as previously mentioned in another article), but when Metroid II hit, I wasn’t just playing it on the go: it was all I did for nearly a month.  I lost count of how many times I played through this one, but by the time I was done with it I knew everything there was to know about Samus’ return.  Even though the gaming bug had already lodged itself deep in my brain by the time Metroid II was released, it still played a vital role in giving me an appreciation for playing through a game multiple times.

3.  Kid Chameleon, Sega Genesis

I played Kid Chameleon almost exclusively in my childhood best friend’s basement.  I have no idea how far we got in it, but I distinctly remember being constantly surprised at how many levels there were.  Kid Chameleon wasn’t necessarily difficult, just draining.  You had to be a real trooper to put in a marathon…I’ve often considered popping this one back in the ol’ Genesis and giving it another shot.

4.  Secret of Mana (aka Seiken Densetsu 2), SNES

One of the first articles ever posted on this website was dedicated to my time spent with Secret of Mana.  Check it out…and please don’t mind the horrid writing :)

5.  Star Fox 64, Nintendo 64

This one was mostly played in another friend’s basement (seeing a pattern here?)  While we did a bit of multiplayer, we mostly focused on the single-player, alternating each level between us.  Much like the original Star Fox, I got to the point where I knew the whole game inside and out…yet it was insanely fun every single time I played it.  To this day, I’ll still load it up every now and then (during our last N64 marathon, we played Star Fox 64 for about 3 hours straight.)

6.  Time Stalkers, Dreamcast

Time Stalkers didn’t get a lot of love, but I enjoyed the heck out of it.  It had decent graphics for its time (despite being released right in the middle of the “crappy 3D” era), an interesting storyline, and fun gameplay.  At the time, I appreciated it’s low difficulty, since I had just gone through a bunch of difficult old-school games.

7.  Deus Ex, PC

Deus Ex was a game that blew everyone away when it was released in mid-2000, a full year before Halo would hit the market.  Deus Ex was one of the games that PC gamers pointed to when Halo went critical, as an example of why Halo didn’t do anything knew.  To be fair, Deus Ex was WAY ahead of its time, but still: to all the Halo fanboys from around the turn of the millenium, your arcade shooter was old hat when it hit the scene :p

8.  Okami, PS2

Even though the celestrial brush was much easier to use in the Wii version, I LOVED Okami on the PS2.  It was amongst other games on the PS2 (such as Ico and Shadow of the Colossus) that supported the idea of games as art.   sadly went under as a result.  It wasn’t their last game, but its failure at retail was cited as the primary reason Clover Studios (who also developed the Viewtiful Joe series) went under.

9.  Shadow Complex, Xbox 360

Shadow Complex is considered one of the best games on Live, and for a damn good reason.  Using the now-classic Metroidvania style of gameplay, Shadow Complex was a game that could be completed fairly quickly (my first run-through clocked in at a little over 5 hours, knowing absolutely nothing about weapon or item location.)  It was written by Peter David, one of the great Star Trek novelists,  and takes place in a world that was made into a series of novels by Orson Scott Card.

10.  Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Wii

I often cite Muramasa as the only reason anyone should ever need to buy a Wii (although I hear there may be a Live and PSN version coming soon), and for good reason: not only does Muramasa look like a painting in motion, but its combat system follows the “minute to learn, lifetime to master” line of thinking.  The story line can be a bit confusing if you aren’t into Japanese lore, but it’s still one hell of an entertaining romp.

Note:  I found some very contradictory information regarding Metroid II’s release date (four websites gave me four different dates…)  It either came out just before or just after Kid Chameleon, but I honestly am not sure which release date to believe  Since I played Metroid II before I played Kid Chameleon, I put it earlier in the list.