My Top-Five Retro Games

5. Resident Evil 2

By Capcom for PlayStation (1996)

An old adage in the service industry says "If something's not broken, then don't mess it up!". Resident Evil 2 departed from the isolated feeling of  a lone mansion from of its predecessor and transplanted players into an apocalyptic metropolis suffering from a zombie outbreak. This resulted in an experience that was not only practical but eerily relatable.  Resident Evil 2 was probably a game I should not have played as a child. With over-the-top gore and tense scenarios, this game was literally a nightmare to play. It also featured two strong characters that players could invest in and four possible story consequences depending on the choices they made. Capcom even loaded the game with several Easter eggs, included skins, bonus scenarios, and gameplay modes to encourage additional replays.  

4. Super Mario World

By Nintendo for SNES (1991)

I am a little biased about this title because it was the first video game that I ever played. Super Mario World had a diverse set of levels (Over 96 per its boxart) that increased in difficulty throughout the game. The gameplay set the standard for all future platformers and married great level design with fluid and responsive controls. Super Mario World also featured several secret levels and passages that made players scour levels for secrets in order to find faster routes.

3. GoldenEye

By Rare for N64 (1997)

Videogames based on movies have a bad track-record. GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64 utterly shattered this stereotype in 1997 with an first-person shooter (FPS) game that instantly became a Nintendo classic. This was one of the first games that introduced us to FPS games with its frantic and tenacious gunfights. While GoldenEye's singleplayer holds its own, the game's multiplayer solidified the title's reputation with fast-paced and high-adrenaline gun play that was vacant from many console games.  We all remember the golden gun - a weapon so 'OP' it could one-hit players across the map.

2. StarCraft

By Blizzard for PC/Mac (1998)

By now we all know that (almost) everything Blizzard touches turns to gold. In 1998, Blizzard decided to take a futuristic turn on its hit real-time strategy (RTS) game, WarCraft, by making the game more accessible to newcomers. StarCraft thrived because of its intuitive controls, balanced unit selection, and online multiplayer experience. Unlike other RTS games, Blizzard did not have intricate details or customizations. All units were so well balanced that battles were essentially a rock-paper-scissor match that needed could only be won with the proper unit composition and micro-management.  While StarCraft enjoyed a strong multiplayer community via Battlenet for almost a decade, its presence in E-Sports is legendary. StarCraft was a national phenomenon in South Korea, with thousands flocking to stadiums or tuning into ESPN-style broadcasts to watch 'pro-video game players' play the game.

1. Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time

By Nintendo for N64 (1998)

There's no introduction really needed here. Ocarina of Time is regarded as one of the best N64 game of all-time. Its controls, graphics, and adventure-platformer formula were ahead of its time and set the standard of what to expect from  future Adventure games. Ocarina of Time even had great minor details, like an fishing mini-game, several side-quests, hundreds of collectibles, and most importantly, an amazing soundtrack that is worth listening to by itself!  The game world was massive for it's time and featured several unique areas with diverse enemies and characters. While Ocarina of Time might not be the greatest game of all time, I certainly regard it as one of the most influential games of its time.

Honorable Mention:

Mega Man X (SNES)
Resident Evil 4 (GC)*
Halo 2 (XBOX)*
Metal Gear Solid (PS)
Doom (PC)

*These may not be true 'retro games' but they were also staples of my youth/teenage years.