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Opinion Does a "must play" game exist, or has the videogame hobby diversified enough to make this impossible?

Does a must-play game still exist for all gamers, across all tastes and preferences?

  • Yeah, you bet. I can name off a few (go ahead and name off a few)

    Votes: 22 38.6%
  • No, tastes are too diverse. It's too hard to recommend must-play games for all tastes and preference

    Votes: 35 61.4%

  • Total voters
    57

DunDunDunpachi

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Pretty straightforward question. Does a must-play game exist that every gamer can relate to, no matter what their tastes or interests might be, or is that no longer a thing?

In the late 90s and early 00s, I was playing old 8bit and 16bit RPGs that I missed out on, especially RPGs. This time period is when I first played games like Chrono Trigger and Suikoden II. Back then you could find lists of "must play" RPGs for various systems, and such lists exist apleanty nowadays. If you asked me to make a "must play" list of JRPGs nowadays.... yeesh. I think that would be nearly impossible. I feel as though this is the case across most game genres nowadays. Even within the confines of action-RPG or first person RPG, the diversity is too great to pick a definitive "must play" for all stripes of gamers.

Street Fighter II was another must-play. Even if you preferred Mortal Kombat or KoF or Killer Instinct or Virtua Fighter, Street Fighter II was the common touchstone we all knew. I don't know if a fighting-game fan who enjoys modern stuff would consider any of these old games must-play, though.

However, with gaming becoming ever more available on more systems, have we finally reached the point where there are no touchstones of gaming, no focal points that we can all find commonality on? More kids of this generation have played Minecraft than Mario. Legendary Atari classics like Pitfall and Pong and Adventure are all but forgotten, and the 8bit and 16bit stuff is starting to slowly join that dustbin. Some people just don't want to deal with outdated mechanics or "bad" graphics. I can understand that.

I don't think this is a bad thing. What a wonderful "problem" to have, that gaming is so diverse. It's kind of sad that there are fewer and fewer games "everyone" is playing. Instead, now it's too easy to be in your own genre or niche.

Is even Pac-Man considered a "must play" anymore, or Donkey Kong?
 
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Moogle11

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Universal? Of course not as people have different tastes.

Personal? Sure. There’s always games that I can tell are up my alley, sequels to games I loved that I can’t wait to play etc. Same with movies, shows and books.

In my younger days I had some FOMO and felt some pressure to play hyped games that were getting great reviews and lots of hype on forums. If that’s what you mean I realized that was dumb and I played too many things that I ended up not liking. Now I know my tastes, they’re fairly narrow and I stick to them.
 
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Men_in_Boxes

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Industry is way too diverse IMO. I have zero interest in 97 percent of games shown. The only things I appreciate are multiplayer and strategy, preferably a combination between the two.

Spare me your linear, single player, narrative based "masterpieces". Oh no, wait. It's "Miss me with your linear, single player, narrative based masterpieces."
 

Danjin44

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Every person have their own opinion what game is considered "must play". I personally consider NiER Automata "must play" but the reality is not everyone going to be in to that game like I'm.
 
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peter42O

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Nope.

Like others have said, everyone has their own opinions and preferences. For me, Days Gone was a must play but BOTW or RDR 2, not at all. It's all about what games appeals to you in which you then have interest to play those games.
 
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It's as you said, OP. Everyone these days has their own niches, and as a result it's harder if not impossible to find games lots of people can enjoy together.
 
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Krappadizzle

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Mario 64 is about the only landmark achievement game I can think of. It's completely revolutionized everything. But it's importance is overshadowed by the absolutely monstrous amount of games that just have 3d movement in it that it's achievement is overlooked.
 
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lastmessiah

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Most games made these days are exceedingly similar within their respective genres. Third person cover shooters, first person shooters, RPGs...the things that differentiate them amount to window dressing. I've seen so many games dubbed "must play" in the past years that offer nothing but a new skin over the same old bones. I won't consider a game "next-gen" until it breaks from this mold, and especially until it has enemy/npc scripting that is competent enough to make a single player experience not feel hollow and unchallenging.
 
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Abear21

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Anytime a genre gets pushed forward by a significant margin I personally consider that must play.

Mario64 was a high water mark for console gaming as a whole and is an easy one.

I agree that we see devs make “safe bets” and we don’t see giant leaps in gameplay or graphics all that often, but there are a ton of must play titles released every year.

My short list of must play titles to show the uninterested in gaming why we love gaming...

Portal 2
Tetris
Super Mario World
Ocarina of Time
Tetris
Mario64
Red Dead Redemption (either one)
SO many more!

But really I consider any genre I’m interested in that is truly well done must play.
 
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Dane

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Eh, seriously, I never liked this "must play" thing, I can go pretty much from a poor received game to an acclaimed one out of random. For example, I liked Kane and Lynch 1 and 2 and didn't feel anything that WOW for uncharted 2 as people say.
 

teezzy

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Apparently you simpletons have never played Handsome Mr. Frog.

 
Oct 7, 2019
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I would say everyone should have player Super Mario Bros, Pacman and Pong at least once in their lives. Important pieces of history and culture. Other than that? Nah.
 
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GreyHorace

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Eh. I don't think so. People have specific tastes in their gaming and probably wouldn't enjoy certain types of games.

Take me for example. You can hype up HALO or Call of Duty as must plays but I won't bother because I don't like first person shooters. Same with survival horror games. I'm pretty sure the Resident Evil and Silent Hill games are great but I'm fine with missing out on them because the genre isn't for me.

A game can be listed by people as a 'must play' but that doesn't mean everyone will give it a try.
 

triplestation

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counter strike is like the quintessential competitive shooter, its THE fps

i think it would be internationally agreed upon as THE multiplayer fps

everyone in the world during the late 90s to early 00s went to cyber cafes and payed to play lan parties in CS

and then for the birds eye strategy games it used to be warcraft, and then it got CRAZY with starcraft.. now its all about league of legends

for battle royale games, the must plays are fortnite, PUBG, apex legends and overwatch

for car racing simulators, ill say its iracer

(but as far as i know, the most physically accurate racing sim is rfactor 2)
 
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JOEVIAL

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Universal? Of course not as people have different tastes.

Personal? Sure. There’s always games that I can tell are up my alley, sequels to games I loved that I can’t wait to play etc. Same with movies, shows and books.

In my younger days I had some FOMO and felt some pressure to play hyped games that were getting great reviews and lots of hype on forums. If that’s what you mean I realized that was dumb and I played too many things that I ended up not liking. Now I know my tastes, they’re fairly narrow and I stick to them.

Man I need to do what you're doing. I admit to having FOMO, and because of that I have massive backlog of games that I don't have time to play.

I've been playing games for well over 20 years, so I know what I like and don't like. Like you I just need to stick to what I like, with the occasional bit of variety and surprise thrown in.

To answer the OP, yes I still believe must play games exist. They are older games though... games that you can look back on and realize their importance and timeless design. That only comes in time. You never know how "timeless" a game may be until years after its release. I never thought Skyrim or Minecraft would be timeless releases, but they turned out to be.
 
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Bakkus

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That phrase is always attributed to a passionate gamer who enjoys a broad variety of genres.

Edit: I guess you could always say 'If you enjoy 'x genre'/games which have 'x thing', then 'x' is a must play.
 
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trapanesenyc

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After Red Dead II which I thought was amazing disappointed many I think "must play" kind of doesn't exist any more. It's easier than ever to make a game with higher production value so those games that everyone was playing like COD:MW2 or GTAV kind of don't exist any more.
 
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TheSHEEEP

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There are must-plays within a genre, that's for sure.

Couldn't take any RPG aficionado serious who hasn't played Fallout or Baldur's Gate.
No FPS lover who never checked out Duke Nukem or Blood.
Nobody who claims to be knowledgeable about writing in games can be so without having had a go at Planescape: Torment or the recent Disco Elysium.
 

Vier

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Superkewl

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No, i dont think they have ever existed. There are many games that some people will claim are "must plays" yet I have been gaming since pong and have managed fine without playing them. Maybe I am being too literal...
 

ToadMan

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Everyone loved playing that - it got a lot of people to play videogames who ordinarily wouldn't touch the medium.
 

Sophist

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counter strike is like the quintessential competitive shooter, its THE fps

i think it would be internationally agreed upon as THE multiplayer fps

everyone in the world during the late 90s to early 00s went to cyber cafes and payed to play lan parties in CS

and then for the birds eye strategy games it used to be warcraft, and then it got CRAZY with starcraft.. now its all about league of legends

for battle royale games, the must plays are fortnite, PUBG, apex legends and overwatch

for car racing simulators, ill say its iracer

(but as far as i know, the most physically accurate racing sim is rfactor 2)

Quakers would have a word. Dueling in Quake/UT is the most demanding skill wise when it come to FPS games.
 

Holgren

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The last must-have title I remember (for console audience) that appealed to almost everyone was RE4, and before that OoT. I think the main issue is that there aren't many new games that do something truly innovative, most of them build from what others have already created, adding some novelties but the core gameplay of the genre stays mostly the same. Most probably VR has the potential to create a new one, if only the system was more easily accesible to the public. For most titles nowadays though it is easy to get the "been there done that" feeling.

But the true answer is that must have titles that appeal to everyone never existed. Even as far back as 8-bit/16-bit era there were already enough different games for it to be impossible to have one that everyone can relate to. I would never call SF2 a must play title, fighting games have always been niche and even if you were part of the scene it wouldn't assure SF2 this touchstone status. I could say the same for Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, they were/are must-play titles for someone who is passionate about the hobby, but never for every gamer.
 
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Vier

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I assume you must have played through this multiple times and all the difficulty levels over a long period of time before suggesting this.

Surely you wouldn’t put a game you haven’t even touched onto a list of games everyone must play.


How dare you
 

Men_in_Boxes

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Maybe the only "must play" is a VR game like Astrobot, Lone Echo, Beat Saber etc...

I feel like if you introduce those games to 100 people, there's a solid chance that all 100 are going to have a really positive reaction.
 

NeoIkaruGAF

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A “must-play” never existed. We all come from different avenues of life, we can’t all appreciate the same things. While everyone would agree, with a little knowledge of the medium, that The Matrix is a fundamental movie in the history of cinema, my grandmother, who spent her days watching soap operas and TV talk shows, could never have liked it, let alone understand its greatness or its meaning.

When I was a child and the NES was all the rage, I’m sure the generation that grew up with the arcades of the 70s and early 80s were already at odds with the plethora of platformers that were spawned by Super Mario Bros. Yet SMB and many titles from that era are considered essential. Try to tell that to the people who first gamed on the PS2, though!

I have suggested so many games that were must-plays to me, only to see people disappointed. And I did the same, believing some stuff to be essential only to come out disappointed and bewildered.

Some games may be reference for one reason or another. But you don’t need to play those games just because they are.


Maybe the only "must play" is a VR game like Astrobot, Lone Echo, Beat Saber etc...

I feel like if you introduce those games to 100 people, there's a solid chance that all 100 are going to have a really positive reaction.
Aye, but a positive reaction doesn’t imply that those people will then go out and buy a VR-enabled machine with those games. I guess a “must-play” is exactly that - you want to have it too, play it at home, possibly keep it forever to show it to anyone remotely interested.
 
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Men_in_Boxes

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To me a "must play" and a "must buy" are two different things. I think VRs best games get as close as you can get to being a universal "must play" for everyone. I don't think any game really gets remotely close to being a universal "must buy" for everyone.
 

sn0man

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Pong, Super Mario Brothers, Turbo, SFII, Tetris, Rogue, Doom, Whatever the first MMO is,

if a person wants to know the genre like for an understanding of it then I bet we can get close to something of a consensus. Gaming is so broad that it would be hard but you could still recommend the person to at least try some stuff.

must play no. Agreed upon fundamental/foundational/landmark games yes.
 

sn0man

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To me a "must play" and a "must buy" are two different things. I think VRs best games get as close as you can get to being a universal "must play" for everyone. I don't think any game really gets remotely close to being a universal "must buy" for everyone.

Today’s must play is tomorrow’s no big deal. I think we all have difficulty seeing the long-game.
 

Stilton Disco

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I don't think the diversity of genres available has anything to do with it, it was just a lot easier to recommend the absolute best games that came out in a particular year as 'must plays' before the average title was over 100 hours long, padded out with repetitive busy work and one of over 5,000 titles released in the last 12 months.
 
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Yeah I was thinking about it and it does sound funny when people mention their "must play" games. Funny because the recommended games can differ so much from person to person. What one considers must play other might genuinely think its trash bin material.

Even if you take those 'goty' titles you find people who find them honestly mediocre at best.
 

Damigos

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The must play game i can think of is the one that i ve out the most hours in relation to any other game i ve played :
World of Warcraft

It is extremenly easy for beginners, extremenly deep for pros, wonderful story and lore, in my opinion beautiful artistic graphics and sound and the online community that i ve been in has been completely helpful.
 

yurqqa

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Judging from the sales and the age limitation, the closest ones right now are Mario Karts or Minecraft.

Also maybe Animal Crossing due to COVID-19 (although not everyone could enjoy it).
 

martino

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What you must play is not what you neighbor must play because he's not you.
Video game is big now (90 games trailer yesterday)
My advice don't let marketing tell you what you must play, search and discover your tastes by yourself.
 

Daneel Elijah

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Tetris is in my opinion the only game modern enough to be relevant today and still simple enough to be for everyone . The last of us 2 can technically be considered as a must play, but not for the game quality ( we can't know that without trying it ) but for its accessibility options . Being able to be played by blind people for example goes a long way to make a game really open to all . But better games in that regard ( Mario 64 , fighting games ...) exist .

Can a game as universal as Tetris be made today ? I don't think so . But a Next gen VR game could be . Something like Wii sports but in VR (not the sport part specifically but a game to help players familiarize with VR controls).
 
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Most Nintendo games are amazing for everyone. It's like Disney - everyone loves it.

Personally Breath of the Wild is such game. Shadow of the Colossus second.
 
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Birdo

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Yeah. Older games were more accessible to people because of their simplicity.

If I told my friends to play Shadow of The Colossus, they would all come back complaining that the horse was pissing them off.
 
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