Nice list. Though SotN is IMO a little overrated. Castle is too backtracky on top of having too many long corridors. Aria/Dawn of Sorrow cut the fat. Super Metroid meanwhile had far better progression and gave lots of shortcuts.Super Mario 64 - This game not only inspired just about everything that came after it, it informed 3D game design as a whole. It's remarkable that Nintendo didn't just make a competent translation of Mario to 3D, they fucking nailed it on their first try. It's as important to the history of video games as the original Mario Bros imo. Never has a game felt like such a gigantic leap from one generation to the next. Sometimes I feel like I'm still playing video games purely because I'm chasing the feeling this game gave me when I first experienced it.
Shenmue - This game really stretched the boundaries of what the medium was capable of. It feels dated now, but it pushed the industry forward as much as any other game at the time. I bought and played through it shortly after launch and I'll probably never play it again. It was a special experience and I think I need to preserve that memory as it was.
Super Mario Galaxy - Galaxy is perfect. Nothing about this game should have worked. Mario in outerspace? Manuevering Mario around 3D spheres with a fucking nunchuck and remote? Bizarre physics and camera angles that are almost nausea inducing? Nothing about this game is conventional and yet, it not only works, it's maybe, the best 3D platformer game ever made. Nintendo swung for the fences here and that's when they're at their best.
Mega Man 2 - This one is hard to articulate why it's so special. Mega Man 2 is not exceptional in that the level design is pretty simplistic. The bosses are not crazy difficult. It's visually inferior to some of the later MM games on NES. You can really breeze through it if you know what you're doing. With all that said, to me it's Mega Man in it's best/purest form. It's simplistic like the original without the insane difficulty and more interesting levels. It doesn't hurt that it has one of the best soundtracks ever.
Chrono Trigger - Not a lot to be said about this one. Chrono Trigger nails every aspect of a great RPG - story, characters, dialogue, battle system, etc. The story moves along at a brisk pace and can be completed rather quickly. Chrono Trigger is the perfect RPG with all the fat trimmed off.
Virtua Tennis - In typical Sega fashion, they took a very simple concept and made it incredibly deep yet accessible. This is still the gold standard of tennis games. Sega released several sequels and none of them have touched the original. I still to this day cannot beat the final challenge in the world tour mode, yet I'm still playing through it annually and I will probably never stop.
Castlevania SoTN - Super Metroid set the standard and SoTN elevated the genre to another level - Larger map, more enemies, voice acting, experience system, more items, etc. Several have come close, but none have achieved the level of SoTN.
Donkey Kong 94 (GameBoy) - Donkey Kong 94 throws you for a loop - It quickly goes from the original 3 levels of arcade Donkey Kong, into a really challenging puzzle platformer. There's 50+ levels here and the game is constantly throwing new mechanics at you. It's an incredibly challenging and unique take on my favorite arcade game of all time.
Fallout 3 - I will never get tired of wandering the wasteland.
Super Mario Bros 3 - Super Mario World is overrated.
I'll include brief reasons as it would take way too long otherwise.
1. Ninja Gaiden Black (XBox) - It's the perfect action game. Great combat, controls, levels, aesthetic, and sublime music.
2. Morrowind - GOTY Edition (XBox) - This was previously my favorite game ever. It might still be. Probably clocked over 1,000 hours.
3. Deus-Ex (PC) - See: avatar. JCD is a badass. Great story and amazing music. Great freedom.
4. Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo/HDR (PC/XBLA) - My crowning achievement in gaming as I have beaten some famous players before.
5. Star Wars: KOTOR (XBox) - Still the best plot twist in gaming.
6. Ultra Street Fighter IV (X360/PS4) - I really didn't like the focus attack at first but the whole game REALLY grew on me. Also, it has Dee-Jay.
7. Nioh (PS4) - Spent about 500 hours grinding for loot.
8. Dragon Age: Origins (X360) - Just a superb RPG. I miss this style of RPG games.
9. Street Fighter X Tekken (X360) - Possibly the best roster in a fighting game ever.
10. Donkey Kong Country (SNES) - My favorite platformer.
11. Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 (N64) - Another timeless wrestling game.
12. Shenmue 2 (XBox) - A real adventure. Amazing music, story, and one of the best bromances in gaming.
13. Resident Evil 4 (PS2) - The essential third-person action title. I beat it at least 5 times.
14. Super Mario World (SNES) - Its a perfect platformer and still holds up.
15. Perfect Dark (N64) - The controls have aged poorly but the gameplay still holds up.
16. Yakuza 2 (PS2) - I love the story.
17. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (XBO) - I've never seen a game with better attention to detail.
18. Super Mario 64 (N64) - I still remember playing it for the first time.
19. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SNES) - Another perfect platformer.
20. WWF No Mercy (N64) - A timeless wrestling game that is still amazing.
There are so many games that could easily make this list. And really, up until making this list I had Morrowind as my #1. It might still be, I don't know.