30 Games to Play Before You Die (A Gamer’s Bucket List)

Death is inevitable. It comes for all of us and none of us will escape it. While this may sound depressing, it should actually be celebrated. As gamers our hobby is time intensive which means we should spend the little time we have before biting the dust, playing games that are good. Before I dive into my 30 games to play before you die recommendations, let me lay out a few rules.

  1. I have to have played the game to make the recommendation.
  2. I can’t recommend multiple games from within the same series (Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2, Dark Souls 3, etc.).
  3. Games I suggest can come from any system or platform.
  4. Games are not ranked in any specific order.

With the rules in place, let’s dive into my gamer’s bucket list, or as more aptly titled, 30 games to play before you die. Let’s get started!

30. Shadow of the Colossus

Platform: Playstation 2

Why it makes the list: Shadow of the Colossus is a beautiful, open world game which tasks the player with bringing back to life a dead girl by defeating various Colossus scattered around the world. You never quite know why you’re on this journey, but there is a constant push to complete it. Stumbling upon a giant Colossus and taking it down is incredibly satisfying. Every aspect of the game works so beautifully and makes Shadow of Colossus a must play before you die.

29. Demon’s Souls

Platform: Playstation 3

Why it makes the list: The first real attempt by FromSoftware to introduce the world to ‘Souls – like’ gameplay is Demon’s Souls. As the point of origin for the now crazy popular Souls series, it’s fun to go back and play the game that started it all. It also helps that Demon’s Souls is a good game and stands as a testament to FromSoftware’s design abilities. Take 30+ hours of your life and spend it playing Demon’s Souls before you die.

28. Goldeneye

Platform: N64

Why it makes the list: It’s hard not to look at Goldeneye through a nostalgic lens. Much of my childhood was spent playing N64 and one of the games which occupied a vast majority of my time was Goldeneye. In terms of a multiplayer experience, I can’t think of any game I’ve had more fun playing. For a game released in 1997, there was an incredible amount of multiplayer customization. Three Oddjobs vs 1 Jaws, slaps only, can be a thing and it’s glorious. Grab your friends, grab an N64, and play Goldeneye. You won’t regret it!

27. Halo: Combat Evolved

Platform: Xbox

Why it makes the list: While shooters like Goldeneye proved there was an appetite for first person shooters, Halo came along and launched the genre into the stratosphere. Taking common genre conventions from other shooters, but putting a distinct spin on them, Halo created a truly unique gaming experience. As a total package, Halo presents an intriguing singleplayer campaign, fun multiplayer, awesome soundtrack, and a silent protagonist in Master Chief which all combine to make Halo a must play gaming experience.

26. The Binding of Isaac

Platform: PC

Why it makes the list: The Binding of Isaac is an example of an indie developer delivering above and beyond any expectations one may have for an indie title. Edmund and co proved that dungeon crawlers have a place in the 21st century. The Binding of Isaac is difficult, satisfying and brimming with content to explore. You can easily dump an enjoyable 100+ hours of your life into The Binding of Isaac. I recommend you do that!

25. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Platform: N64

Why it makes the list: You could honestly substitute in any Legend of Zelda game here, but I had to go with my favorite. In my opinion, the ultimate Legend of Zelda experience is Ocarina of Time. No other Zelda compares to the world design, dungeon design, story, graphics (at the time), sound (OST is probably the greatest ever), and gameplay of Ocarina of Time. If you have little time left on Earth, spending it playing one of the greatest gaming experiences ever.

24. League of Legends

Platform: PC

Why it makes the list: MOBAs have become such a huge segment of gaming in 2017, that it only seems right to include League of Legends on this list. As the top played MOBA in the world, League offers a unique experience which is also free. If you choose to play League of Legends, get your friends together to really amplify your experience. There’s nothing quite like rolling Teemo top and having all of your teammates flame you the entire game. This is a ‘must experience’ before you die.

23. Pokemon Red/Blue

Platform: Gameboy

Why it makes the list: Before Pokemon entered the 3D era, it was originally a 2d, top down rpg game. While most of the Pokemon made today still follow the same game design as the originals, there is still something about the first gen Pokemon which make them feel fresh. Play Pokemon Red/Blue to see fan favorites like Pikachu, Charmander, Squirtle, and many others. If you play any Pokemon, pick the original Red/Blue. You won’t regret it.

22. Super Mario Smash Bros. Melee

Platform: Gamecube

Why it makes the list: While I usually find the first game of a series to be the best, with Smash Bros. my answer is a touch different. While I think Super Smash Bros. on N64 is a good game, Melee came along and pretty much blew it out of the water. Every aspect of Smash was refined and there was so much more content to explore. Get your friends together, pick your favorite Nintendy character and have some fun beating each other to a pulp.

21. Bioshock

Platform(s): PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3

Why it makes the list: Back in 2007, when Bioshock came it out, I was immediately struck by the design decisions made by 2K Boston. Up to this point, I had only played first person shooters that were focused solely on delivering the shooting side of the equation. Bioshock came along and proved that first person shooters could be so much more than that. To this day one of my fondest gaming memories is arriving in Rapture. If you haven’t played Bioshock, you should.


Enricofairme is the pioneering founder and chief author of holdtoreset.com, a premier platform for discussing and analyzing video games. His illustrious career spans six years, during which he has consistently produced high-quality content in the video gaming niche. To stay updated with his latest works and musings, kindly follow Eli on Twitter via the handle @enricofairme.

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7 responses

  1. Clueless says:

    With you putting up Shadow of the Colossus is it worth just waiting for the new PS4 remake? I’ve heard the game is generally supposed to remain the same.

  2. FilmApe says:

    When you put Rockstar on notice, and then the big boss throws three of their games on a 30 games to play before you die list…http://i.imgur.com/XU5G6Jm.gif

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