The Gamer's Bucket List
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#1 Amazon Best Seller! ─ Which games are worth playing?

The 50 best games: From pixelated pioneer adventures to stunning space odysseys, the boundaries of the video game world are expanding every day. Grand epics and gritty mysteries. Fierce competition and friendly cooperation. Powerful emotions and uproarious laughter. Video games are fantastically diverse and wonderfully creative, but not all games are created equal. With so many games out there on so many different consoles, computers, and devices, how do you decide which games are worth playing? Backed by years of writing about games professionally and decades spent playing them, Chris Watters lays out a list of 50 games to entertain and enlighten you. Whether you’re trying to learn more about the world of gaming or strengthening your claim to true gaming fluency, these are the games you’ll want to play, and why you’ll want to play them.


Chris Watters has been writing about video games for almost a decade. As an integral part of the editorial team at one of the most popular gaming websites, he has previewed and reviewed high-profile games, published numerous in-depth features, and scripted and presented a number of web series. He regularly hosts live stage shows with guests from all over the gaming world at events like E3, PAX, and Comic-Con.

Chris majored in Spanish Lit at Wesleyan University and, while his knowledge of Don Quixote has yet to bear fruit, the language proficiency, analytical acumen, and Super Smash Bros. skills he acquired have been immensely helpful in his professional endeavors.

Chris currently lives in Berkeley with his wife, Jill. He socializes on Twitter at @CTWatters, and wishes he owned a real-life incarnation of Missile, the plucky Pomeranian from Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective.



Introduction 15

Spelunky 18

Assassin’s Creed II 20

Dead Space 22

The Last of Us Remastered 24

Portal 2 26

Mass Effect 2 28

Gone Home 30

Journey 32

Red Dead Redemption 34

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 36

Nidhogg 40

Psychonauts 42

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP 44

Super Meat Boy 46

Rock Band 3 48

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 50

Super Mario World 52

Half-Life 2 54

God of War III 56

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty 58

Minecraft 62

Tetris 64

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons 66

Animal Crossing: New Leaf 68

XCOM: Enemy Unknown 70

Forza Motorsport 5 72

Rocket League 74

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 76

Sid Meier’s Civilization V: The Complete Edition 78

Mario Kart 8 80

Trials Evolution 84

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary 86

Katamari Damacy 88

Grand Theft Auto V 90

Super Metroid 92

Her Story 94

Kerbal Space Program 96

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition 98

Surgeon Simulator 2013 100

Dark Souls 102

The Sims 3 106

Persona 4 Golden 108

Batman: Arkham Asylum 110

The Walking Dead 112

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D 114

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 116

Mega Man 2 118

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 120

Final Fantasy VI 122

Super Mario Galaxy 2 124

My Bucket List 126

Author Bio 128

A Quick History of Video Games 131

Appendix 138


“ A comprehensive starter’s guide to the wonderful world of video games. Watters’s punchy prose is a delight; his brief, informal summaries perfectly capture the best of what the art form has to offer. The perfect book for anyone who’s never played Minecraft, but is too ashamed to admit it. ”

Laura Parker, contributing writer, The Economist“ We are all going to die. You can’t avoid it. But you can chose how you go. Outside, in the sunshine, like some sort of animal, or inside your darkened living room, playing games? If you want to get through the 50 excellent games in this book, then the choice is clear. ”

Tim Schafer, President and CEO of Double Fine Productions