As a prospective game designer, what are some examples of must play games, with exceptional game design?

I've been gaming since I was 5. . First game I ever got into was Super Mario 64. I went on to 100% it.

The game that got me fascinated with game design as a medium was Metroid Prime for the GameCube, which was a truly exceptional game.

Over the years, I've developed this fascination for games not only as a hobby, but also as a medium. I'm entering college now, and hope to major in game design. Although I've played TONS of games over the years, it occurs to me that I probably have missed some exceptional games with standout stories and game design. .

Any suggestions on what I should be playing to understand excellent game design philosophies? (if the game is REALLY amazing, I don't mind playing really old games, but I'd prefer to stay in the present). :)

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