There were a several games that left an incredible impression on me as an individual. I think I can narrow them down into these five, however.
Phantasy Star II
This was the beginning of the end for me.
I probably had no business playing this game when I was 9 years old, as it had many mature themes. However, I did play it, and I still remember it now with an amount of fondness. Before this game, playing videogames was merely a hobby of mine. They were something to play when I was bored, or when you had friends over. Afterwards, videogames became an integral part of my character. I started to consider myself as a "gamer," and so began my quest to find for more difficult and unique challenges.
Tetris and Street Fighter II
Whereas PhS II changed the way I viewed games, these 2 games changed the way I played them. I remember always going through strategy guides trying to find the best ways to get through stages, the best equipment to use, the best characters to use, etc. In Tetris and SF II, though, there were so many different ways to win. There was no perfect strategy. These games taught me to play games for me. There are individual ways to play practically every game, everyone has their own strategy. There are exceptions, but for the most part, there is no "wrong" way to play any game.
Final Fantasy VI
(Final Fantasy III in the U.S.)
FF VI had the greatest emotional impact on me, and still does to this day. One of the main themes in this installment of FF was abandonment. All of the characters, even the villains, lost something or someone important to them. I immeadiately identified 3 characters:
Locke, for his sense of justice.
Gau, for his personal strength and wildness.
Shadow, for his guilt and remorse of the past.
I feel that is probably the most fantastic RPG made so far. The main themes are very human themes, and it seems that there should be a character that everyone can make an emotional attachment to. I'm getting off track, though. Everything about this game was incredible. After I played this game, the notion came to me that videogames may be considered an art form. Not all of them, just as all movies aren't considered art, but many of them are filled with so much personal expression from the creators, that they can actually teach something fundamental. Whenever I watch the ending to FF VI, tears well up in my eyes. I dare say, that this game is what gives me hope.
Phantasy Star Online
This was the first multiplayer game I ever played. Of course, I felt like I had to play it since it was a PhS game, and I don't regret that I did. I am a very serious gamer, and this game allowed me to meet many people with the same views as me. It showed me that I was not alone. In fact, my friends from PSO and I, that lived in the same area, decided to meet up in real life. We are still friends to this day, and hang out all the time.
Copernicus of the New Age, take this unbearable weight of gravity, and liberate this galaxy!"
~ Kenji Miyazawa