This article originally appeared in PSM3 magazine.
Twelve years. Five consoles. 2500+ games. Choosing the greatest 50 gaming moments from PSM3's history hasn't been easy - a mixture of fierce debate, nostalgia and emotion. Our final 50 has been selected by PSM writers past and present, honed by your votes and - ultimately - decided by the team members still on deck. What. A. Selection. It's been our honour to share them.
[WARNING! - CONTAINS SPOILERS]
20. MODERN WARFARE 2 - NO RUSSIAN
Format: PS3 / Dev: Infinity Ward / Released: November 2009
"Remember - no Russian." How could anyone forget? MW2's No Russian level puts you behind a gun aimed at hundreds of innocent civilians in a massacre you can't prevent. Whether you opt out of Infinity Ward's gratuitous killing spree or not, Makarov's mission was a success. It set the stage for global war in MW3, and kept the game in real-world tabloids for weeks.
19. LITTLE BIG PLANET - MEET SACKBOY
Format: PS3 / Dev: Media Molecule / Released: October 2008
"Planet Earth. Or as the rest of the omniverse calls it, the orb of dreams." For all the many, many hours of creativity, bafflement, breakthrough and awe that follow, little is quite so dizzying as the bravura opening five minutes of LBP: a concert of kid's laughter, video, crayons, interactive platforming and Stephen Fry's delightful voiceover. It's like nothing you've experienced before, and perhaps PS3's first truly epic moment: the dawn of a new way to play.
18. GOD OF WAR - PROTECT YOUR FAMILY
Format: PS2 / Dev: Sony Santa Monica / Released: June 2005
Kratos wasn't always the lunk-headed psychopath we see in GoW III, but a surprisingly empathetic (if no less violent) prisoner of fate. After swearing allegiance to Olympian god Ares, Kratos is tricked into murdering his wife and child - whose ashes are bonded to his skin as a cruel reminder. During GoW's conclusion, Ares tries to break Kratos mentally, who has to protect his family from multiple waves of foes in a ghostly realm. It's rock hard - you need to keep stopping to cuddle your family - but success yields thrilling moral, and physical, redemption.
17. UNCHARTED 3 - THE CARGO PLANE
Format: PS3 / Dev: Naughty Dog / Released: November 2011
This. Can't. Happen. Except it does, as Drake dangles from the back of a cargo plane - soaring above a stunning open desert - you inch up the rigging in real-time dodging bullet fire. It looks astonishing, with sublime framing amplifying the breathless tension. In reality, no games leave you 'open mouthed' with awe, yet this left one team member doing exactly that.
16. FALLOUT 3 - NUKING MEGATON
Format: PS3 / Dev: Bethesda / Released: October 2008
Deep in the Capital Wasteland at the centre of the town of Megaton lies an unexploded nuclear bomb. It's harmless, as atomic bombs go, but the town itself is an awful blight on wealthy Allistair Tenpenny's view from the top of Tenpenny Tower. So go ahead, take that bribe and wipe Megaton off the map for the millionaire. Or don't... The choice is yours.
15. METAL GEAR SOLID 2 - RAIN ON YOUR SCREEN/THE DEMO
Format: PS2 / Dev: Kojima Productions / Released: November 2001
It's rare that a demo challenges your notion of everything a game can be, but MGS2 does just that - never more so than when you enter first-person mode and see blobs of rain (like, real rain) hit the screen. MGS2 reset the rules for interaction and creativity.
14. SILENT HILL 2 - REUNION WITH MARIA
Format: PS2 / Dev: Konami / Released: March 2001
You saw Maria die. The double of your dead wife was skewered by Pyramid Head, so when you meet again your flaky grasp on reality fractures entirely. There's no greater psychological terror in games.
13. MASS EFFECT 2 - SUICIDE MISSION
Format: PS3 / Dev: BioWare / Released: January 2011
Mass Effect's NPCs are so much more than the standard numpty meatsacks. And when you lose a crew member in Mass Effect 2's suicide mission because of a choice you did or didn't make, it becomes painfully apparent how attached you were. Better to have loved and lost, eh?
12. RESIDENT EVIL 4 - THE VILLAGE
Format: PS2 / Dev: Capcom / Released: March 2005
Leon's arrival in a nameless Spanish village is a brutal start to perhaps the best game ever made. No tutorial, no quarter given, just all-out siege in a muddy settlement of freaks. You barricade doors, knock down ladders, and you might even feel safe... till you hear that chainsaw.
11.HEAVY RAIN - LOSING YOUR FINGER
Format: PS3 / Dev: Quantic Dream / Released: February 2010
Ok, so David Cage's emotive, wonkily scripted, whodunnit is essentially a series of QTE events stitched to a branching story, but Heavy Rain asks you to make big decisions - often without warning - knowing you'll have to live with the potentially grave consequences. How far would you go for the one you love? In one harrowing scene, you're asked to cut off your finger, or risk never seeing your son. Is it a bluff? Do I use the rusty saw, axe... or pliers? The choice is yours: but do cauterise the wound, if only to avoid infection. Hard decisions. Unpredictable consequences. Genuine emotion.