Videogaming is one of the most versatile and thought-provoking forms of entertainment out there. They teach us about ourselves, they enrich our lives, they let us bond with unforgettable new friends and push the boundaries of what it really means to interact with a work of art. But, let's not kid ourselves, usually we play games because they're barnstormingly fun and properly satisfying to the point of afterglow.
So, to this end, we've prepared a list of some of the most satisfying moments in videogame history. There's no rhyme or reason here, just ten of our most exquisitely gratifying gaming experiences that leave us smugly grinning at our tellies and handhelds like an utter loon. Naturally we want to hear from you in the comments, and perhaps create a brand new democratic list in the discussion thread!
Honourable mentions: Beating Shao Khan, dual-wielding anything (especially RCP-90s), getting a massive cascade in Puzzle Quest, beating Chrono Trigger, defeating Gannondorf, Wii Sports hole-in-one, scoring an impossible goal in FIFA, LOOTSPLOSIONS, "Monster Kill... kill... kill...kill!", annihilating the Four Kings, achievement unlocked, crushing your best lap/ghost time, surviving Ninja Gaiden
10: The Post-Mortem Hail Mary
We've all done it, even though we all know better. When staring death in the face, we should go to ground or use our equipment, but in the heat of the moment it's all too easy to clench the triggers and throw a grenade god knows where in the vain hope that we take someone with us.
It's stupid, except that sometimes it works. And it feels just... so great.
By far the most satisfying 'post-mortem Hail Mary' comes courtesy of the Halo series, when you manage to stick a plasma grenade to a fully-manned Warthog the split-second before it runs you over. Dying has never felt so awesome.
9: Paying Off Tom Nook
Animal Crossing is fantastic, but as someone who's played it for many years, I freely admit that it's a chore simulator. Catching fish, catching bugs, digging, digging, digging, all to pay off an avaricious raccoon who saddles us with infinitely more insane levels of crippling debt.
Thankfully, the joy of finally paying him back is well worth the hours of work... though of course, there's always another room to add...
8: Shooting Handsome Jack In His Stupid Face
Who's the Butt Stallion now, Jack?!
If only we could do the same to Tom Nook.
The best puzzle games are full of "Eureka Moments," those uniquely satisfying instances when you suddenly, out of the blue, realise that a solution has been staring you in the face. Perhaps a basic gameplay mechanic can be used in a surprising new way. Perhaps you can deploy another portal to increase your speed. Maybe what you need, more than anything, is a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle. Regardless of the specifics, Eureka Moments tend to be heralded by players whooping with delight, if not running naked around the municipality and hugging the concerned citizenry.
6: Levelling Up... Just As You're About To Die
The situation's looking bleak. Mobs assault you from all sides. You've aggroed the boss. Ganky death awaits you, and as you quaff your last potion, there's no hope of survival.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, you gain the last few experience points necessary to level up, causing your health and mana to instantly replenish. Fear turns to nigh-orgasmic delight as you clean up the horde, and kick back with some new skill points and attributes to assign. Mmm.
5: Slotting The Line Piece Into Place
"Where's the line piece? WHERE'S THE ****MOTHERING******* LINE PIECE?!"
Oftentimes, it never comes, teasing you expertly as tears well up in your eyes and cramp sets into your white knuckles. But when a line piece finally makes its glorious appearance, slotting neatly into place, it's hard not to throw your Game Boy into the air in a fit of absolute toe-curling ecstasy.
4: That Last-Minute Mario Kart Overtake
You know what I'm talking about: that glorious last-second overtake as you approach the final corner, when your mate suddenly screams in anguish as you powerslide past to the win. There's nothing quite like it, regardless of which version of Mario Kart you favour, and the rush of endorphins means that you won't even feel the thudding pain of the inevitable dead arm.
Of course, if your opponent got hit by a blue shell, it tastes all that much sweeter. Yes, yessss, your tears taste so good [that's enough of that - Ed]
3: Showboating With Plastic Guitars
Beating the toughest songs in Guitar Hero is one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences out there, but it pales in comparison to grabbing a wireless axe, climbing onto the sofa, playing it behind your head and then leaping down onto the floor in an epic metal stance. The broken AV equipment (and shins) is well worth the dopamine hit.
2: Beating Super Meat Boy (Or, Erm, Any Level Therein)
Over the last few years, we've come to crave tough challenges, and Super Meat Boy absolutely delivers. It's sublime torture, a constant reminder that you, the player, just aren't quite fast and smart enough to beat the next outrageously difficult level. I found myself making up ad-lib lyrics to each of the backing tracks, a sweary improvised monument to all my failings and my fat impotent fingers.
But, sooner or later, the head rush of endorphins and pure pleasure upon finally kicking that level in its level-hole is enough to knock you out cold.
Cop-out? Oh yes. A big fat one. But the fact remains that nothing compares to that singular glorious moment when you triumph against all the odds and WIN. Whether you've just aced a perfect serve in Wii Sports tennis, survived an enormous EVE Online fleet battle, run back the flag in Facing Worlds, pulled off a fatality against Shao Khan or smashed your own best lap time, the glowing feeling of accomplishment and victory is why many of us play games in the first place. Taking part is its own reward, of course, though it's always nice to be the player behind the killcam rather than on the screen.
Basically, insert your greatest victory here.
So, dear reader, it's time for you to have your say... before you get back out there, and WIN!