Zelda: Ocarina of Time
I have a very sharp memory of being in high school and being somehow OBSESSED with Zelda 64 coming out. I have always like the Zelda games but I don't think I've ever even made it that far in any of the older ones (including A Link to the Past). That's why I find it strange now that I would draw the Zelda logo all over my high school notes at almost every class leading up to the release of Ocarina of Time.
I remember having a huge debate in my head about how I could afford the golden collectors edition only to be happy that I could get the regular copy. This game was absolutely magical. I feel that if I had been born 5 years later that this game could have easily taken Chrono Trigger's place as my favourite game ever.
I would play this game on the weekends late into the night, and would wake up groggy just to stumble to the controller to pick up where I left off. If it wasn't for school, I would have played the game non-stop until I had not only beaten it, but caught the largest fish, gotten all the golden skulltulas, and gathered all of the hearts. In the end, I did almost all of these things anyways (I would not resort to game guides so I ended up being short a couple heart pieces and 1 skulltula).
Zelda had a great tone to it, and the bright colours and open world really made you look forward to the next zone. The game thrived on the feeling of achievement and I remember feeling over the moon when I found a new cool sword or unlocked the next zone. It might also go without saying, but Ocarina of time was really really fun. What's weird is, this had almost nothing to do with the fighting system that they had in place. I liked the Z targeting system, and thought it was fun, but they didn't really do that much with it. Instead the game thrived on the puzzles the series is known for. The dungeons never felt like a grinding slog of enemies, but instead felt like a giant rubiks cube that you had to figure out. This is what ultimately makes a great Zelda game, and definitely did it for me.