Games that I …
1) have spent far too much time on
2) have been inspired by, not just in terms of games but life in general.
3) believe have successfully implemented the core applicable game design principals for their genre.
In no particular Order (and what Im playing it on , played it on)
Overwatch (PC & PS4)
I cant believe this is not on any previous list. It released with a lot of issues but straight away you could see the potential. This title really has raised the bar in terms of online MP gameplay design and developer approach of on-going incremental product development and community engagement). Totally reignited this jaded gamer's passion for games. If you haven't played it you are missing out on the phenomenon of a generation. If you are not into online MP just give it a chance the ranking/matchmaking system should ease you in with players of similar skill (mostly).
Deus Ex 1 (PC)
Masterclass 1 in game design, subsequent iterations never quite figured out why it was so great and the latest one was just abysmal)
Ocarina of Time (N64)
Masterclass 2 in game design. There are still no words that truly describe the impact this game had on me, and clearly many others. It was the first, and still one of only a very few, games that transcended the "game" itself, immersing you in a world and adventure so captivating that you never wanted to leave. In this dual analogue world revisiting OOT emphasises the clunky single analogue controls. But even with all our modern game engines and electronics there still hasn't been a game that has bettered this in terms of game ideas. Using the musical tunes as keys and triggers, and the time travel puzzle mechanic must have taken so much up front engine design planning and effort that (besides its, equally as good but slightly rushed, sister game, majoras mask) it has never been implemented again since, even by Nintendo itself in subsequent Zelda iterations.
Shenmue (Dreamcast) (Clunky but so involving)
Sonic 1 (megadrive/genesis) (Never been bettered even by subsequent iterations)
Mario Galaxy (Wii) (played them all but this one really grabbed me hard)
Assassin’s Creed 2 (xbox360) (Perfect example of lessons learnt from 1 implemented in 2 then forgotten in 3+)
Quake 3 Arena / Team Arena (PC - the true Father of all online MP FPS shooters IMO fast and brutal with beautiful maps and a once thriving mod scene)
Resident Evil 4 (Gamecube) (OMG, that atmosphere!)
Minecraft (PC/XBOX360) (whatever you want it to be)
+ Im sorry I just cant leave the following out so....
..Honorary Mentions –
F-Zero X (GameCube) (played this until my eyes bled)
Driveclub (PS4) (with a wheel this is one of the best racers ever IMO and Ive played them all. Cant believe the dev team got shut down by short-sighted Sony)
Streetfighter 2 (it may be nostalgia but the later faux 2D 3D iterations never had the same appeal)
Last of Us (PS3) (captivating)
COD Black Ops 3 (Multiplayer Only) (PS4) (current pinnacle for online FPS shooters IMO no bettered by IW)