Welcome to the final propper episode of Keepin It 💯, the podcast in which I, Emmett Watkins Jr go through my top 100 games of all time to sort them in proper order.

Over the last few months, we’ve had:
10 Episodes (+Ep 0 and 9.5)
534 Matchups
100 Rejected Games
100 Properly Sorted Games
1,273 minutes of audio recorded (over 21 hours!)
And one live finale that is 11 hours long over two streams.

As for that live stream, it’s embedded into this article, so if you are averse to reading, check it out! I’ll edit the stream into an audio podcast and a proper video on our channel as well in the coming days, so feel free to stay tuned for that as well!

As for the rest of you, here’s the official list of my favorite games of all time.

100) Beats

Remember when music games took over the industry for most of the late 2000s to the early 2010s? Many look back upon the Rock Band and Guitar Hero parties with fond memories, but I had none of those memories. As a fan of hip-hop, rap, and R&B, and someone who didn’t have money for extra peripherals, the best music game fix I could find was on the PSP, for only $5. Beats was a PSP launch title that was exclusively available on the PlayStation Store to download. It was a fairly generic rhythm game, but it’s biggest selling point was that you could import MP3 files saved on your PSP’s memory card into the game to play. This was a miracle for me, as I finally had a way to make gameplay out of my favorite songs. I can’t tell you how many MP3s I downloaded from YouTube just to play in Beats: Throw Some Ds by Rich Boy, Wipe Me Down (Remix) by Foxx, Digital Girl Remix by Jamie Foxx, Deja Vu by Beyonce, Bitch Please II by Eminem; I could continue, but I shouldn’t. Thanks to this feature, I played Beats all the time when I first got my PSP, and thanks to that, and the fact that its color scheme used my favorite color, I will always have a spot in my heart for Beats.

99) Comet Crash

As you’ll probably gauge from the lack of genre diversity on this list, I very rarely travel out of my comfort zone. However, thanks to a childhood spent on flash game sites like Kongregate and CandyStand, I was introduced to many fun strategy games like Vector TD and Bloons TD. And I was able to bring that love over to consoles once I claimed Comet Crash on PlayStation Plus. I had no clue what this game was, only that it was a sci-fi game, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover this addictive tower defense title. By this point, I knew the language of TD games, but Comet Crash went a step further by allowing the player to set the path of units by placing their towers in any pattern of their choosing. This allowed for multiple ways to complete a mission, and that flexibility really appealed to me. Plus, the fact that the traditional cursor was an actual ship that flew over the battlefield, which allowed you to collect asteroids to destroy for cash, made the gameplay more engaging on a more consistent basis than other TD titles. Comet Crash made my love of tower defense most evident to me and, while there are certain genres I love more, its gameplay hook is still super engaging to this day.

98) The Jackbox Party Pack 5

The Jackbox series of games, in my opinion, is the greatest series of local multiplayer games ever created. The balance of instantly understandable, accessible gameplay with utter hilarity and fun in each game makes this series more of a hit at parties and gatherings than anything else, especially with non-gamers. However, every Party Pack can only be as great as its worst game, and The Jackbox Party Pack 5 is a perfect example of this flaw. Mad Verse City is one of my favorite party games of all time, and it effectively gamified the fun and competitiveness of freestyle cyphering in a way that’s accessible to those who don’t even rap. Patently Stupid is equally brilliant, as it gamifies the fun of a PowerPoint presentation. The only issue with it is that it requires a group of friends who aren’t afraid of public speaking to really shine, so most of the time I’m one of the only ones willing to perform said presentations. But after these two, things begin to trail off. Split the Room is a fun Would-You-Rather-like, but it’s not as outrageously hilarious as the latter two games. You Don’t Know Jack is entirely trivia-based, which I just don’t find too engaging and Zeeple Dome is completely shallow as it has none of the humor the series is known for. But despite the few duds, Mad Verse City and Patently Stupid alone easily place this game in my favorites of all-time list.

97) Nidhogg

Generations before the first gamer ever uttered “one v one me bro”, we’ve had dozens and dozens of ways to answer that request. In the digital age we live in now, we no longer use katanas or pistols, now we use video games, and, in my opinion, one of the purest, and most fun, ways to settle a 1v1 is with a round of Nidhogg. It is such an excellent game due to its simplicity. It’s super easy to learn, only requiring 2 button inputs and an analog stick for movement, but it takes hours and hours to master. But at any skill level, Nidhogg proves to be a blast, and I’ve learned that first hand when bringing it to many parties and get-togethers. Getting past your opponent and nearly making it to the end screen only to get a sword thrown into your back is just as exhilarating to experience as it is to watch. But while its simplicity is its strongest trait, it’s also the thing that keeps it from getting a higher ranking, as other games just simply offer more options. But that doesn’t take away from the masterclass of party game design that is Nidhogg.

96) Bastion

Bastion is a game that eluded me for many years on Xbox Live before I finally gave it a shot on PlayStation Vita, and God am I glad I did. Both the vibrant art style and near-constant narration struck me first when playing, the latter of which I feared would become annoying in the few hours I expected the game to take to complete. But I was wrong, not just because the narration was smooth enough to pleasantly contrast the fast, frantic combat, but I also was wrong about the game’s length, as it ended up having much more depth than I expected. The combat was already great as each level forced different playstyles, but upgrading my abilities and changing my weapon loadouts made it even more satisfying. My biggest regret is that, to no fault of the game, I waited so many years to finally beat it. Maybe if I experienced its final hours closer to when I started it, then I would have thought more highly of its story. But even without an impactful narrative, the fantastic gameplay, gorgeous aesthetics, and chill narration made it not only one of my favorite Vita games, but one of my favorite games overall.

95) Costume Quest

Bright and vibrant art styles, endearing characters, and whimsical worlds all easily get me to fall in love with a game. However, I was hesitant to let those aspects sway me at first when playing Costume Quest, as turn-based games are usually not my cup of tea. But everything surrounding that core mechanic got me hooked despite that. While the game is turn-based, the battles use mini-games and quick-time events to not only keep me engaged but also allow me to add extra damage and defense to my moves. But what really kept me engaged long-term is the fact that there was a great deal to do outside of combat, like explore levels for candy, which was made even more fun once I unlocked the rollerskates, and using that candy to buy new costumes and mods. For such a small-scale game, there was a surprising amount of depth and variety to the experience. So that, paired with the charming humor and cute visuals, made Costume Quest and an instant classic for me.

94) Torchlight II

The appearance of Torchlight II on this list is admittedly out of place. I have little affinity for action RPGs like Diabo, so to have such reverence for the most prominent Diablo-clone out there seems crazy. But the game came to me at a time where I was feeling more lonely and isolated than I had ever been (at least until COVID-19 happened). I was in my first semester of college at a school, hours from home, and if not for Skype calls from friends and video games, I don’t know if I would have kept my sanity during those months. Torchlight II was one of those games that I came back to almost daily thanks to its gameplay loop. Getting new and more powerful loot to make my Embermage even more badass was always compelling. Sure, the actual combat consisted of little more than clicking enemies and spamming abilities, but the rewards from those actions were always worth it. Plus, the vibrancy of the art always made the world feel welcoming upon my return. It’s a game that is fairly shallow compared to more recent titles I enjoy, but I had more than enough fun with it to justify a spot on this list.

93) Battlefield 4

Let’s get my biggest criticism of Battlefield 4 out of the way right now: I do not like its campaign. It actually does feel quite a bit more polished than its predecessor, but ultimately, the game still feels like a helplessly generic militaristic romp whose characters aren’t strong enough to inject life into any of the set pieces and plot points. But the reason this game remains on this list is for the mode the Battlefield series is known for: it’s multiplayer. At first glance, its 64 player game modes and modern military backdrop doesn’t seem so unique, and it isn’t, but the gameplay is satisfying as hell. Every weapon and vehicle feel viable, but you’re rewarded when using certain weapons in the scenarios they’re designed for. But what kept me hooked most is the progression system. Yes, it was one of the first EA games to use the monetization system the publisher is so infamous for: loot boxes. But thanks to the disastrous initial launch of the game, DICE supported the title more aggressively than I had ever seen. I didn’t own a PS4 until the game’s second year of content, so I started the game in the midst of DICE giving free Battlepacks DLC and XP multipliers to its community constantly. This made progression way faster than other shooters, and therefore more rewarding. So, its satisfying gameplay, along with receiving a lot of extra content for free, made the game one of my favorites of all time.

92) Borderlands 2

Borderlands is one of my favorite franchises, as you’ll probably discover when this series reappears on this list two more times. But Borderlands 2, the game widely considered the best in the series, is the title I’ve rated the lowest. Well, I simply came back to it recently and discovered that its humor doesn’t sit with me as well as it did when it initially released, despite me being a fan of absurdist humor normally. The excessive variation in loot was also a bit annoying, as the rarest guns with the best stats wouldn’t necessarily be the most fun to use, which lead to way more trial and error than I care for. Plus when playing the DLC content specifically, the game felt lonely and empty when playing solo. But despite those issues, I don’t want that to take too much away from my initial time with it, which was overwhelmingly positive. Playing the game originally was everything 17-year-old Emmett could ever want: a vibrant and colorful world, hilarious characters with great personalities, an engaging plot with plenty of surprises, a rewarding progression system, and loads of unique weapons to use. And in my character’s earlier levels, damage output wasn’t as much of a priority, which meant switching up my weapons and equipment on the fly was much more viable and fun. I still have great memories of Borderlands 2, and I’m hoping to one day be in the mood to return to the rest of its DLC, but for now, It’ll have to settle for the 92nd spot on the list.

91) Darksiders

Darksiders is a game that I had little to no expectation of enjoying. It’s one of many games I tried out solely because I had access to it through PlayStation Plus, and the comparisons to God of War had me interested. What I ended up experiencing was a game that had more in common with a series I had never played, The Legend of Zelda, and this introduction to these new gameplay aspects had me hooked. Every time I was taken to a new level, I was just as excited to see what secrets it held as I was to see what enemies I could fight. As someone who grew up playing games almost solely built around combat, Darksiders helped open my eyes to the satisfaction of puzzle-solving and exploration. But that isn’t to say the combat is bad, as it holds up just as well as the striking art style. The sole flaw is a forgettable story, but it’s a small price to pay for one of the most underrated action-adventure games I’ve ever played.

90) Dante’s Inferno

Remember the time that the publisher known most for multiplayer and sports games, Electronic Arts, released a linear single-player game based on the first part of Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy? No? Well, you should, as Dante’s Inferno was a surprisingly great video game made by the excellent Dead Space developer, Visceral Games. Yes, it had some flaws, but there was plenty to love about it. Combat and setpieces not only aped the God of War series but didn’t a pretty great job of doing so. While its narrative isn’t engaging much, the designs of each circle of hell manage to impress, especially as it’s one of the few games in the genre to run at 60 FPS on such old hardware. It’s difficult to give a reason why this game sticks out when so many elements are borrowed from Devil May Cry and God of War. But the elements they copied were still done well and combined with the unique design of hell, it’s a fun game that leaves a lasting impression.

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