I was thinking about it, and here are my top 5 video stories of all time. Just my personal opinions, feel free to list you own. Again major spoilers so read at your own risk!
S P O I L E R S A H E A D ! ! !
5. Half-Life, PC - 1998
While the story for this ultra classic was really nothing more than a full realization of many games that had come before it (scientists unwittingly unleash bad guy through a harmless experiment) it was the way Half-Life told the story, putting you in in complete control of your character through ever cut scene. In 1998 Half-Life made you feel like you were Gordon Freeman and you really were walking through the halls of Black Mesa.
4. Mass Effect, 360/PC - 2007
Bioware has long been known for making incredible stories in their games, and while I loved Kotor and Baldurs Gate, something about Mass Effect just clicked for me. The atmosphere was a every sci-fi geeks wet dream come true, and while the main story was slightly generic (Stop the evil threat that is about to be unleashed and destroy the universe) it was conveyed so slickly and with just the right amount of tension, pacing and sheer epicness that I had to include it. I really felt for Wrex during that pivotal point in the game when his life depending on my ability to talk him down. When Ashley died I yelled a major "OMG what have I done?".
3. Xenogears, Ps1 - 1998
Perhaps the most dense story telling I've seen in a game ever, Xenogears had a story that dealt with philosophy, religion, and history in a way no game has before or since. Maybe the longest lasting rpg on the original ps1, this game had so many twists, so much to take, and so many dubyateef moments. So that bad guy who has been stalking you might be your dad? This has all been happening every 500 years for thousands of years? You have to kill God? Legendary.
2. Metal Gear Solid, Ps1 - 1998
Before metal gear, most games stories were some version of this: Simple farm boy is taken up by a band of wacky bandits and has to save the world (turns out simple farm boy is really a jedi master!) or save the princess who has been stolen by generic bad guy. Many games cut scene were just ridicules text with poorly written and translated dialog, that simply told you were to go next.
Then comes Metal Gear. For the first time in my gaming life, I was thrust into a wholly believable world; I met a charming gear only to watch her get shot and die, I found out a million and one shocking things - I am a clone? This psychic can control my controller? My brother is trying to kill me? I have to kill my brother?
I played this game in a solid 2 day marathon that allowed me time for nothing else. It was perhaps the most immersive game I have ever played. Othe MSG games have also had great stories but none have ever gave me that same feeling of being there that the original did.
1. Bioshock, 360/pc - 2007
Three words - "Would you kindly..." This is one of the few games that actually transcended standard video game story telling and became a piece of real art. The world was completely original, filled with dozens of interesting characters and moments, who can forget Andrew Ryan talking about the government trying to turn his forest into a national park - "God didn't plant those seeds, Andrew Ryan did." What does he do to stop them? He burns it down. After spending several hours hunting the man thinking he is the biggest villain of all time, you start to like him. Then you meet him, find out he's your dad, and that the guy asked you to kill him for him was controlling you, and ... " A man choses, a slave obeys..." Has there ever been a game that a had a moment like this? Committing patricide involuntarily while you realize you are but a puppet being controlled since birth? Breathtaking.